Kahr T-9 review and Endurance test
Some of you may have quessed that i am interested in the Kahr pistol line. I had a PM-9 and currently still have a P-9, a T-9 and a TP-45. I bought my first Kahr in 1999 while stationed at West point and it has served well as a CCW pistol. To be clear I am not a high volume pistol shooter and have only done a few pistol courses, mostly with an old Kimber .45.
A few years ago on a whim I picked up a Kahr T-9 to use as a training 9mm. I know, but I live in NY and opted for a single stack vs. a nutered double stack. It's a compromise, but I fully understood the choices. Other things have alway taken higher priorities so I just never seemed to get back around to the T-9 so it sat in the safe for most of two years. I did do a few basic mods to address issues I had with it out of the box.
I purchased it old stock off of Gunbroker for $525 as I recall. This took months of watching since the T-9 is fairly uncommon and by best estimates fewer then 1000 have been made. The pistol arrived and I found a few points on the frame that bothered me so I put it in live for a trip to Cylinder & slide to be dehorned and to have the mag well opened slightly. I also had them releive around the mag release as I found the grip just slightly interfered with depressing the mag release w/o changing my grip.
I had planned on installing a set of Hienie Straight 8 sights like my P-9, but at the time Hienie was not producing them so I ended up with Novak three dot sights.
Holster selection I also found to be thin, but availible. I ordered a Blade-Tech holster for the training rig and a Mitch Rosen ARG for carry.
I have used it a few times since then(about 500 rounds), but stayed with my P-9 for the most part. I had found early on that I had trouble with the slide locking in battery while shooting. Grip is a common source of this problem with the small grip on the Kahr line, so I did a dozen things and could not solve the issue.
That is until I started looking closer at the slide stop. What I found was the slide stop was loose and basicly floating in the pistol. Under recoil this would cause the slide stop to jump up and catch the slide locking it to the rear. I found that the screw which retains the slide stop spring was loose, so the spring was appling no pressure on the slide stop. I talked to Kahr which agreed with my trouble shooting and they promptly sent out a new spring and screw.
Not to be beat I locktited the orginal screw and left the orginal spring in place, then buried it in the back of the safe again. That is until I saw the 2,000 round challange. I ordered up the ammo, cleaned the pistol well and applied a heavy load of CLP to the insides. I was not sure of this since I had not been back out to the range since working out an issue with the pistol.
For day one of the testing I brought 850 rounds of ammo. It was a mixed batch of Swiss surplus, Blazer and Speer Lawman ball ammo. I used the BladeTech holster, 3 mag pouches and 4 factory 8 round mags for testing. All shooting was done from 25 yards to 3 yards and done from the holster with various low speed drills. For test purposes most mag changes were speed drills allowing the mags to fall to the ground, but I also did a fair number of changes with retention. Each set of drills would run though all four mags before a pause to reload them.
I kept up the pace high enough that the T-9 slide was hot to the touch and completed firing the first 850 rounds in about 2 1/2 hours. This was largly because only one other person was on the range, and started helping me load mags.
Over the course of that time I confirmed why I had picked the T-9 to be a training gun over the P-9. The increased weight and larger grip made for a better day shooting then if I had used the P-9. More important I found that the pistol I had doubts about actualy worked and that the modifications I had made were worth it. That said it does have some quirks worth discussion.
1. Trigger return. If you are used to a short reseting trigger on you pistols you might need to adjust. The Kahrs are designed to have a long revolver like reset. As a dedicated Kahr shooter it is not an issue for me, but others may need to take that into consideration.
2. Grips. Releaving the grip near the mag catch realy increased the ablity for me to get a positive mag release. I did however, find that I need to figure out a good way to recontor the grips. By around 700 rounds I had a nice blister on the base of my dominate hands thumb from a high spot on the grip. I would like the rubber grips such as are availible for the K-9, but they are not an option for the T line. I'll take the mod on myself.
3. Sights. Novaks are nice, but I will return to Heinies now that they are availible again.
Reliablity. For most of the users on this board this is the bottom line. So far I have good news. I have one mag related malfunction, likely shooter induced. During a speed reload at around 650 rounds mag 3 released the top round before the slide released and stopped the pistol. I had to rip out the mag to clear the malfuntion, but had the pistol running again in no time. I believe this was due to the top round not being properly seated in the mag. It was also a mag loaded by my new freind on the range.
Other comments about my choice of the T-9. I have often heard the praise of pistols in that "sweet spot" like the Commander, and H&K P-7. I felt that the T-9 provided that same balance, so it seemed like the perfect NYS carry pistol. It conceals easily and you never have to go through any questions as to the vintage of your mags should you need to use it.
I'll continue the shooting this weekend and hope to finish up the 2,000 Challange and post the after pictures and results. The T-9 is not for everyone, but so far is a pistol that seems to deserve a look.
Nice review, thanks. The T-9 is a pistol that has always interested me.
The K-9 is a pistol that I've CCW for years, off and on. 8 in the pistol plus two 8 round spares is quite a lot of ammo for a CCW.
If they would change to rubber grips then it would be cheaper to make and cost less so Kahr could actually make more and sell more.
I will be following this thread closely. My mom actually likes the pistol but when she held a K9 with wood grips like a T9 she said she perfered the rubber grips. That's saying a lot my mom has some experience with pistols (perfers autos) but has no predisposition to wood, rubber, or plastic grips. The rubber was more comfortable to her.
I also prefer the rubber and would actually buy one with the hogue rubber and novak night sights.
Got out to the range today with my daughter for more shooting.
Round count started at 850 and went to 1250.
At the end of the session it looked like this:
I started out with a 15 yard 100 round slow fire group, I am not that high speed of a shooter as you can see. At least one one reason for the large group is I was not holding the same aim point.:
followed by a 15 yard 8 round slow fire group at 950-958.
Then I had a stovepipe on the last round in the mag. Cleared when I dropped the mag(poor Picture)
The rest of the day had no issues. The daughter was tired at this point so the remaining rounds were fired in rapid fire drills.
Sitting at 1250 it's nice and dirty
Total time on the range with it today 1 hour.
Tonight provided another hour of range time. with two people loading the same 4 8 round mags I was able to fire 500 rounds bring the total to 1750 rounds.
Again I fired various drills at 7 to 15 yards reloading from both retention and speed loading dropping the mags to the dirt. All ammo fired was Speer ball. Overall I rate the training value of tonights drills as crap. I simply rushed to much and will have to get back to the basics before I attend the next MDTS class I can get into.
Tonight brought three malfunctions. One weapon induced andtwo shooter induced. At about 1450 I had a failure to extract on the last round. The case was sitting half in the chamber and resting on the top of the follower. If it had not been the last mag in the string I may have missed it during the reload or had a double feed with the next mag. Examining the spent case and the extractor showed no obvious reason for the failure, but the pistol was so hot from the rapid fire that the trigger was hot. Perhaps the case stuck in a slightly over heated chamber.
The next two malfuntions were both failure to feeds. In each case they were the first rounds on a reload. I attibute both to operator error. In each case the mags were not fully inserted into the pistol and when the base of the magizine was slapped the slide slamed home on the round.
1. Tonight I started out shooting with gloves on on. The were thin $10 work gloves like the ones I used in OEF. They provided a very positive grip, but I found it all but impossible to depress the mag release. After the first 100 rounds I put them back in the bag and shot the rest bare handed. Tonight I had no issues with blistering at the base of my thumb.
2. Many say that the Kahr line will work best per the Kahr instructions to only use the slide release. Throughout this testing I have used both the slide release and sling shot methods to load with. The two failures to feed were both done using the slide release.
3. The Kahr line is known for being very tight and for being a carry alot and shot a little weapons. To my knowledge I have never seen a high round test published/posted before, which is one of the reasons I decided to do this. The slide is starting to be slow to return to battery, but is still chugging along. Overall, I don't thing this review is going to put anyone into the Kahr Camp, but I do find it a informative test for me. I have pushed the Kahr past the window that it is best known for and tried to compare it to traditional duty pistol reliablity.
Once I am done with this I will give it a good cleaning, and likely keep on shooting it, to include my next class. Right now the only change I want to make is to customize the grips. They need to be thinner (or an extended mag release) and have a slightly differant profile. Anyone good with machining G10 or Micarta?
When I got my K-9, Kahr recommended changing the recoil spring every 3,000 rounds.
As I have shot at lot of +P, and +P+ ammo, I have changed my recoil spring twice, and my striker spring once, in the almost 4,000 rounds fired out of my K-9.
I am really enjoying this thread. It seems like you're really putting that T-9 through its paces.
I completed the challange today. My hands are black from wiping down the pistol. All in all I have mixed feelings about the test. One it pointed out to me just how much I need to get into some classes again. The layers of rust over my fundimentals realy hampered a few stages.
Today I had three more failures to feed between 1900-1924. Each was the first round on a reload. The feed ramp was heavyly coated with carbon and a little rough. For two the failure to feed cleared when I slapped the bottom of the mag. The other I had to drop the mag to clear the stopage. The round fell right out the mag well.
No other issues at the completion.
Nothing broke. 1 failure to extract leaving the round half way out the chamber sitting on top of a empty mag. 1 Stovepipe. 6 failures to feed on the reload.
I did find out that Kahr recommends replacing the recoil spring every 1,000 rounds. Seems like a short life for the springs, but maybe replacing the spring at 1,000 would have dropped all six of the failures to feed. Likely the failures to feed were user induced
It's not a Glock, but after I replace the spring I will keep going. The re-set doesn't bother me now either.
Pistol: Kahr T-9
Ammunition: 800 124 gr DAG Surplus, 300 115 gr. CCI Blazer, 900 115 gr. Speer Lawman
Dates of testing: 26-July-10 to 26-Sept-10 Total rounds fired: 2,000
Nice test report, and you're right, I don't recall seeing a Kahr endurance test previously.
Mics other notes:
I now have the following Hex head grip screws installed: Ed Brown Slim Hex head 1911 grip screws.
I ordered them from Brownells:
087-000-059 SS SLIM ALLEN HEAD GRIP SCREWS 4 PK
I also have a second T-9 in hand now, although it is currently at Accurate Iron. This one will continue on as my training pistol.