Concealed Carry & Home Defense

Gun Review: The New Kahr CW380

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By Mark Kakkuri, American Handgunner

Kahr’s new CW380, while small, would be too small to hold and shoot well and, therefore, less than ideal for use as a concealed carry pistol. At least, that’s what I initially thought.

After all, I figured, it’s less than five inches in length. And it’s less than four inches in height. And it’s way less than an inch in width at the slide. Moreover, it weighs less than 11 ounces. It fires a .380 cartridge — a round that is less than what some would consider adequate for self-defense. Indeed, the barrel is less than 2.6 inches in length and so, I thought, it would be less than accurate at any distance past three yards.

Once I received the CW380 for testing, however, it’s less-than physical dimensions were a wonder to behold. It is downright tiny. While it doesn’t look like a toy, it’s smallishness, relative to many other handguns, is amazing. There’s hardly anything to it, size or weight-wise. I immediately placed it in my front jeans pocket where it hid easily. Suddenly I wanted this less-than firearm to more than function on the range. I wanted it to fire reliabily and accurately and not result in my getting carpal tunnels from contorting my strong hand around it to make it work.

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Brushing aside any notions of pre-cleaning or breaking in, I headed for the range, hoping to put my shots inside the proverbial pie plate at seven yards without any fuss. This, I opined, was a more than reasonable expectation for a pocket pistol with a barrel barely longer than many snub-nosed revolvers. A box of HPR .380 self-defense ammunition would get this exercise started.

While prepping to shoot, the Kahr CW380 sort of disappeared in my very average sized hands. Two fingers wrapped around the stocks but seemed to have enough purchase to handle whatever recoil the fired rounds would produce. Manipulating the slide required a firm grasp on the stocks with my strong hand and a firm grasp on the slide with my weak hand — a maneuver which covered virtually the entire slide from front to back. At first the recoil spring fought me; after a few rounds it seemed to loosen up and was easier to handle.

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Loading the CW380 was easier than I thought: the rounds slid into the six-round magazine easily and the magazine seated postively. When pointing the CW380 at the target, my trigger finger naturally pointed forward, against the slide, and reached to just past the muzzle. Without yet shooting it, the CW380 had reached some kind of limit for me. Its less-than dimensions couldn’t be any smaller and still be reasonable to shoot well.

I racked the slide, chambering a round. Aiming down range, I placed the pad of my trigger finger against the wide, smooth trigger. The knuckle of my shooting finger seemed to stick way out to the right. The rear notch sight sat atop the three-quarter inch slide which sat atop my hand. While I was clearly holding the CW380, it seemed like I wasn’t holding on to a lot of anything.

I squeezed the trigger.

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Firing the CW380, all the less than attributes of the gun proved to be more than adequate to the task.

The Kahr’s trigger stroke was long but more than smooth and broke cleanly. Six times. When the round fired, the muzzle jump was more than controllable. The gun stayed in my grasp and easily came back on target for a follow-up shot. Six times. The rounds found their way to a printed paper target — at about seven yards distance — with admirable consistency and accuracy. Six times. All that, right out of the box. For a gun that’s less than on so many levels, it’s more than enough gun.

Watch for additional less-than / more-than reports of how the Kahr CW380 carries and functions over time. In fact, if you have any specific questions you’d like me to address, just leave a comment here.

Get more information on Kahr Arms and other firearms related companies at the American Handgunner Product Index. Thanks to American Handgunner for this contribution. Click here to visit them – click here to get American Handgunner delivered to your door for $9.95 a year.


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