Kahr CT9 Review: More Of The Same (Great) Stuff
Kahr Arms has carved out a niche for themselves in today’s gun culture. They are known for making small, lightweight, easy to carry guns. The 9mm CT9 continues to build on that tradition. It’s a thin, lightweight 9mm pistol that holds eight rounds. At just over 18 ounces in weight without a magazine, it’s an easy gun to carry around with you all day long.
The Kahr CT9 is a single-stack compact 9mm pistol with a polymer frame. The frame is aggressively textured to give you a better grip. The texturing, though, is not so aggressive that it starts to rip up your hands during a long range session. The single magazine that’s included with the gun holds eight rounds. The pistol has an MSRP of $449, but you’ll probably find it for sale for less than that.
The Kahr CT9 is a little bit taller and longer than most other guns in our test. The longer slide allows a little more separation between the front sight and the rear sight, which helped me maintain a better sight picture under rapid fire. Surprisingly, this doesn’t affect concealability all that much. The reason for this is that when we carry a gun using a holster on our waistband, it’s the slide that gets tucked into our pants and is hidden away. The result is that, unless we’re carrying something ridiculously long (like, say, this from Cimarron), a pistol’s length has little effect on how easy it is to conceal.
The pistol’s height, however, does affect how easy it is to conceal. The outline of the grip is what shows up first when we move about. This is also known as “printing” and it can lead other people to ask if you’re carrying a gun on you. Taller guns, like the Kahr CT9, have longer grips. That, in turn, makes them easier to spot when carried concealed. This problem can be solved with holster selection and by paying more attention to your choice of cover garment. The fact still remains, though, that the shorter the pistol, the easier it is to conceal.
In my hands, the texturing and stippling on the frame of the Kahr CT9 felt good. It was enough for me to get a good grip on the gun, but didn’t rip up my hands under rapid fire. The pistol’s size prevents it from being used as a pocket pistol, but its slim design makes it easy to carry on your hip. The dot and post sights on the slide are a bit different than the sights on the other guns in our test. With most of the other guns, you line up three dots (as is with the more-common three dot sights) to acquire a good sight alignment. With the CT9, you place the white dot of the front sight on top of the white bar of the rear sight, and you’re good to go.
One of the distinguishing features of Kahr pistols is their slide release levers, which seem to be a little more prominent than those from other manufacturers. On occasion, this has caused my thumbs to painfully rub against the lever under rapid fire. I had no such issues with the CT9. Thanks to its long grip, I had no issues holding onto it on the range, and all the controls were easy to use with very little grip adjustment.
To test the accuracy of the gun, I shot four five round groups of three common 9mm rounds off a bench at 15 yards and recorded the group sizes. The Kahr’s longer slide gave it more sight radius (distance between the front sight and the rear sight), which is supposed to help with accuracy. However, the dot and post sights are designed to quickly get the gun on-target in tense situations, not for precision shooting at distance. As a result, the CT9 placed eighth in our accuracy tests. In reality, though, that translates into just over 6/10s of an inch at 15 yards. Not that big of a deal.
Ammo Test Results
American Eagle 115 Grain FMJ
Average Group Size: 3.45 inches
Minimum Group Size: 3 inches
Maximum Group Size: 3.7 inches
Average Velocity: 1101 fps
Average Group Size: 3.8 inches
Minimum Group Size: 3.5 inches
Maximum Group Size: 4 inches
Average Velocity: 1019 fps
Federal 147 Grain HST JHP
Average Group Size: 3.35 inches
Minimum Group Size: 2.3 inches
Maximum Group Size: 4.6 inches
Average Velocity: 923 fps
Overall Average Group Size: 3.53 inches
Like the other guns in our test, we shot 300 rounds of various kinds of 9mm ammo through the Kahr CT9:
- 100 Rounds of American Eagle 115 grain FMJ
- 100 Rounds of Wolf 115 grain FMJ
- 55 Rounds of Fiocchi 124 grain FMJ
- 25 Rounds of 135 grain Hornady Critical Duty JHP
- 20 Rounds of Federal 147 grain HST JHP
The Kahr ran them all without any issues, despite these rounds having different bullet weights and types and different cartridge materials. This means it passed our reliability test.
The Kahr CT9 is a great choice for someone looking for a 9mm compact single stack pistol for everyday concealed carry. Its 8+1 capacity is more than most of the guns in our test. This gives you a little more security when out and about. While it is a bit taller than some other compact 9mm pistols out there, it’s also nice and thin. This helps with both concealment and comfort. Kahr continues to build on their reputation for making first-rate compact pistols. The CT9 is a gun you should seriously consider using as your everyday carry pistol.