Join Date: Sep 2012
As to small pocket guns, my answer is a M&P340 with Speer Gold Dot +P 135 NYPD ammo. Works every time, any time, all the time.
As to a small pocket pistol, the Ruger LCP and the S&W Shield, .380 and 9mm, are the best of the bunch for ergonomics and function.
KelTec makes kits that you get to make into a gun. They don't even hide it. See their web site about how to fluff and buff a KelTec like a PF9. The one I owned lasted three rounds before braze welding the firing pin to the slide interior passage.
The Kahr CW9 I owned was one fix or another over and over. Below is the "list" of what it took to make it run only to ultimately go back to dropping magazines. Unless you are a mechanical engineer or a professional pistol fixer, avoid Kahr. You never know what you are going to get.
The Ruger pocket 9 still has issues with primer debris in the firing pin way. The trigger stacks so much it is no fun to shoot. Almost all the pocket guns have a long trigger pull and a long reset. Hard to use. Not Glock like. The S&W Shield has a very good Glock like trigger pull and reset. First choice if a M26 is too thick. Go with the M26 if you can stand the thickness and weight. Then the Shield. Then the LCP.
The Kahr is perhaps an easier size pocket pistol. That is its only advantage.
A Glock, any Glock, will probably work all the time. A Kahr will only work between failures to work, new defects, parts wear, and other malfunctions.
Follows is a short list of the things it took to make a Kahr CW9 even remotely reliable. Notice the result of the work, expense, trouble, ammo testing: Failure.
Things it took to make it increasingly reliable:
*the rounded top front of trigger turning down cut my finger on first magazine. I removed metal, reprofiled the part that acts as a trigger stop in the forward motion, smoothed the part that rotates down away from the frame when you pull the trigger. If you have large hands, it rotates down and cuts your finger. A Kahr person on the phone said the worst that happens when you remove the trigger forward motion stop part of the trigger is that the free pull lengthens slightly. No harm by changing it.
*inside of trigger guard was rough cast plastic where your finger rubs as you pull to the rear. Polished the plastic so as not to retard my finger coming to the rear.
*disconnector was eating plastic in rear where upside down U is located for slide contact. Harbor Freight Mini-Dremel did its magic removing burrs from the stamped disconnector/trigger bar part. Burring stopped.
*magazines would not drop free when mag catch released them. Mini-Dremel removed burrs from the trigger bar reduced dragging on the magazines. Helped, not the full answer. They would mostly fall free.
*barrel had burrs all over from factory machining. Mini-Dremel neatly smoothed the sharp feathers and polished corners for smooth operation.
*striker tang-firing pin "sear" burred on bottom making a catchy draggy pull. Polished it with 600 grit paper backed with a flat stone. Much improved pull without a late in stroke catch.
*hand cycled the action 200 times just to loosen up the system and identify spots that rubbed.
*fired 200 rounds of WallyWorld WW115FMJ perfectly. Zero malfunctions. Every time, I loaded 7+1 to stress it as much as possible. Worked perfect. (Except for mags dropped out 2 or 3 times for unknown reason at the time. Worried me, but it never did it again. Remember this for later.) Thought gun was good to go. Time to test hollow points. Wrongie when I switched to hollow points.
*Where the barrel hood meets the chamber at top, there was a machined ledge about 1/32" tall under the hood upon which every brand of hollow point would catch and not enter chamber 3-4 shots out of each 8. Speer Gold Dot, Federal HydraShok, Winchester PD something, EVEN Hornady Critical Defense would hang up on it. Solution equaled you guessed it. Mini-Dremel away the L_ of the ledge and made it into a /_ if you get the idea. Polished and deburred the entire rear end of the barrel and hood in any place where a bullet could possibly come in contact. In Colt .45ACP terms, it was throated and polished. Also polished the feed ramp and rounded the bottom corners where they were getting burred on something.
*result equaled perfect function with any hollow point. Since the ledge was reshaped, it has now eaten perfectly, feed/fire/eject, about 500 rounds since the above fixes. When the ledge went away, no more catching bullet noses, the thing works perfectly.
*magazines dropping free when the mag catch was pushed were problematic. Found feathers from casting the plastic frame hanging inside of plastic handle holding mags in. Defeathered handle inside and mags drop free.
*finger grip extensions were an extra lump in my pocket in a pocket holster and felt funny under my finger firing??user concern, not defect. I reshaped each magazine so as to eliminate the little finger hook. Just enough to match the slope of the plastic above the little hook. Not a radical reshaping, just enough to get rid of the projection and blend the profile into the magazine tube and bottom plate. It felt better firing and stuck out less carried.
*sighting in was a trip and a half. Rear sight destroyed a couple expensive brass drifts. It was simply too tight for any gun sight. Finally had to shape a steel punch to move the rear sight without hurting anything before the rear sight broke loose for proper adjustment. To move one you have to put the slide on a firm but non maring surface, use a steel drift, and wack it a good one. Not precise, but I got it perfect.
*the CW9 is now zeroed for Hornady Critical Defense 115 FTX ammo. It shoots about 1" high at 15 yards. Same sight position works with 115 WW FMJ. Same sight position works with 4.1 Bullseye, Hornady 115 FMJRN reloads. All three loads shoot to same zero. This is the factory ammo sight height selections which have to use 115 grain ammo for an elevation zero.
*heavier and heavier bullets shoot more and more to the left and up. Hornady's Critical Duty 135 grain 9mm is close to the three loads above because it is kinda slow for a 135 grain 9mm. Standard 147 9mm loads move left and up quickly. Never shot any +P as no need with the Hornady Critical Defense ammo expanding and holding together to penetrate well.
*so having 500 rounds through it with zero failures since all the fixes were done, I thought I was finally good to go.
*then I ran accross a "warning" about the magazine follower internally disconnecting the magazine catch as there were 4 rounds remaining and/or again when there were 3 rounds remaining in the magazine. The follower goes by the mag catch slot in the magazine and in going by pushes the mag catch out of its slot in the mag. This is aggravated by the twisting effect of the finger grip extension floor plates. I read this note and said, Naw, not mine. Wrong again.
*I stripped my pile of magazines and found the four original ones I bought at purchase chewed up with plastic sticking here and there. The newer ones were beginning the process of self destruction.
*There is a simple fix there. I sanded and polished away the chewing making a 45 degree bevel sort of rounding and hope that stops the chewing. Pretty much on the order of the pictures in the site thread referenced above. It at least removes plastic material sticking out into the mag catch slot. The chewing up of the follower in two spots seems a constant process until the follower no longer contacts the mag catch. Something to watch for in the future as I clean magazines. I had no interest in grinding away any more than it took to uniformly smooth the chewed up places and round the areas as in the referenced site. Test firing reveals no problems in do this.
*the finger grip hook on all my mags is gone now so as not to contribute to the inadvertent release of magazines by twisting or by pulling down on the hook. I like them better that way anyhow. Some people like the little hooks.
*The slide stop was too easy to put on by accident and I developed a good fix for that. If you overtighten the screw, it freezes the spring. The spring screw needs to be snug, but not forced too tight.
*The magazine came uncatched in my pocket one day. I put in a new Kahr catch and spring. Then it unlatched the mag when my daughter was shooting it.
*The reason for this became obvious. With the slide, barrel and spring off, and a magazine body with no follower and no spring or floorplate inserted, you could see what was going on. If the magazine twisted one way, the catch was in the slot deep. If the mag twisted the other way, the catch held by less than half the thickness of the magazine wall. When the frame flexed with firing, it uncatched and the mag dropped.
*She said it was a nice size gun for a purse, but if it FUBARs the first and only time she would ever shoot it, it was toast. Kid smarter than me. Her advice: Don't waste time trying to make something work that doesn't.
*Got another new catch and new spring and test fired it 100 rounds. It worked perfect. I then swapped the GD thing off for something that goes bang every time. What a waste of time and 800 rounds of ammo testing it.
*Daughter shot my M26. She said it was stupid for a purse gun. Too many rounds missing from the magazine. The backstrap comes only half way down your palm which makes it rock. Even if you use a plus2 follower, the gun is not shaped right. With a flat floorplate, it is only two fingers anyhow. And still no backstrap support.
*She shot a M19 and bought one as the perfect girl's purse gun. Many rounds in the mag and the backstrap is long enough to promote comfort and control. It is all of a 1/2" and an ounce bigger than a M26. Far better size wise efficiency.
*Already having a M23, I agreed.