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Old 05-23-2013, 11:10   #1
halfmoonclip
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Kahr P380 reputation

I owned a P380 pistol and liked it very much, but it had occasional reliability problems. I traded it away, and have been using a Ruger LCP in its place. The Ruger is stone reliable (as is every one I've ever seen), but I much prefer the sights and ergonomics of the P380.
So, on an impulse, I'm trying another one.
Anyone have any firmly held opinions on the littlest Kahr? Advice? Caveats?
Thanks,
Moon
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Old 05-23-2013, 18:03   #2
michpatriot
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Kahr p380

Well I've had mine for about a year and a half and have shot 1200+ rounds with many of the rounds testing new fixes to problems that I was having ...I did extensive work to mine , changed the angle of the ramp and width, removed material from the extractor..clearanced the slide where the round contacts on its way up the breech face,polished every sliding contact surface inside the pistol, and then finally replaced the worn out recoil springs. Now its stone reliable. Now I can ease the slide foreward and it will strip a round from the mag and chamber it like it should. This gun would not chamber a round period when I got it. I had to hand feed the rounds into the chamber to get it to fire. It was a lemon in every sense of the word...But I dont give up easily and really liked the trigger and accuracy of this little pistol so I invested the time and now wouldnt sell it for any amount.
Your mileage will obviously vary...
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Old 05-23-2013, 20:03   #3
ScottieG59
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Shortly after they were released, I bought my Kahr P380. I performed the break-in using different types of ammo. Early on, I was not feeling I could trust the P380, but I was using cheaper and weaker ammo. In time, I formed my opinions.

I find the P380 likes to be held firmly, just as other small semiautomatic pistols do. Otherwise, it will have occasional extraction issues.

The P380 does not like weak ammo. It has a firm spring and the weak stuff may not cycle the slide completely. A weak grip or limp wrist makes it worse.

The P380 is surprisingly accurate.

The P380 improves with use.

It handles the higher pressure 380 ACP ammo very well. Actually, it shows better reliability with carry ammo than with range ammo.

I really liked that the slide locks back after the last round, but I often do not notice the slide is locked back until after I try the trigger. Given that it feeds ammo on a fresh magazine best when the slide lock is released, it is still a good feature. The P380 is less reliable when slingshoted or power racked.

The compromise of using the 380 ACP for defense in an easily concealed weapon makes less sense to me than it did when I bought the P380. I can conceal my Kahr PM9 as well as I can the P380. I carry 9mm +P 124 grain Speer Gold Dot Hollow Point ammo in the PM9. Even the hotter 380 ACP ammo does not compare with standard 9mm, much the less 9mm +P.

Also, the PM9 has been extremely reliable with all the ammo I have fed it, even the cheap and weak stuff, even during the initial breakin. The P380 is just more finicky with ammo. With the right ammo, it is reliable, but I can conceal the PM9 just as well, so why bother?

After getting the PM9, I do not consider the P380 in my carry choices. I still have it and I will keep it. It may find a way into the rotation as a backup, or as a backup to my backup.

Last edited by ScottieG59; 05-23-2013 at 20:06..
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Old 05-23-2013, 20:46   #4
halfmoonclip
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Took mine to the range today; put 100+ rounds thru' it, and finished the day with Gold Dot carry ammo. I had a few failures to go into battery early on, and a few failures to fire with some imported ammo. But, hot and dirty, the Gold Dots ran 100%.
The ergos remain better than the LCP, as are the sights. I could pound the daylights out of the scoring rings at 30+ feet without drama; great trigger.
I've done a fluff n' buff on mine, and did some additional polishing after the return from the range. I'm hoping for great things.
I've got a Kimber Solo as well; it is nearly as small as the Kahr, but there is enough difference in size and weight to make the .380 a better deal for concealment.
Happy for additional comments,
Moon
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Old 05-24-2013, 14:37   #5
michpatriot
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Funny I first bought the pm9 and then realized if I wanted a 9 with me it would never replace my Glock26 as far as reliability goes as well as firepower, so I offed it and got a real pocket pistol for comfortable daily pocket carry the p380 fits the bill whereas the pm9 felt like a brick flopping around on my thigh...whistling: the key to using mousey rounds is to know the limitations and not use the little rounds where only a 9mm+p+p+A+p would suffice like against hardened targets like tanks. Like I said your mileage could vary quite a bit.

Last edited by michpatriot; 05-24-2013 at 14:45..
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Old 05-24-2013, 15:22   #6
halfmoonclip
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Made another range run today; put another 75 rounds downrange. After the fluff n' buff, the gun ran smoother; everything fed, and no failures to go into battery or misfires.
But there were three uninvited slidestop engagements, these on LTC reloads. Unhappily, this seems to be a Kahr thing; a 9mm from years ago did this, as did the previous .380.
It didn't happen with FMJ factory stuff, so I'm not sure what conclusion to draw.
Wish to hell you got the ergos of the Kahr with the utter reliability of the Ruger.
Moon
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Old 05-24-2013, 21:43   #7
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The function of the slide release lever as it is related to holding the slide back after the last round is fired is dictated as you may well know by the magazine follower contacting the inner portion of the slide release lever when it is empty of rounds. With the slide locked back on a empty mag you can observe the contact of the mag follower to the inner portion of the slide release lever. Next make the same observation with a loaded mag in the pistol with the slide locked back, and you will observe that the bullet sitting in the mag is very close to.touching the little tab on the slide lever that would be pushed up by the empty mag .bullets that actually touch the inner portion of the lever will cause the slide release to malfunction . This can be avoided with a little clearancing of the tab...or avoiding the use of brands /style of bullets that make this unwanted contact.
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Old 05-24-2013, 22:15   #8
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Mich, been down this road with previous Kahrs, and your solution is sound.
The bullets at issue were lead truncated cones; unhappily, they may be the only projectiles available at the moment for reloading. Function was perfect with a variety of FMJ rounds as well as the Gold Dots, of which I have a very limited supply.
Love to find some Berry's plated round nose, but they aren't to be had at the moment.
Moon
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Old 05-25-2013, 19:39   #9
Cole125
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I have had my Kahr P380 for over a year. Early on I had issues with the slide locking open before the magazine was empty. Kahr sent me a new slide lock lever and that fixed the problem. I have over 600 rounds through it, with very few issues. The issues it did have I blame on bad ammo.

I have found the P380 functions best and most reliably with hot +P ammo such as Buffalo Bore(my carry load).
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Old 05-25-2013, 21:06   #10
Boot Stomper
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FYI the 2013 Ruger LCP have better sights and slightly different trigger. Jump forward about two minutes in the video to see the changes.


Last edited by Boot Stomper; 05-26-2013 at 05:55..
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Old 05-25-2013, 21:57   #11
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The best fix for the Ruger sights is a carefully drilled dimple on the front sight and under the rear sight notch, with a dab of white paint in each. This gives a contrasting sight picture that is bunches easier to pick up.
That's one of many things I do like about the Kahr; it has the Walther-style 'dot the i' sight picture.
I'm not convinced that the hammer is any different on the newer Ruger, BTW.
Moon
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Old 05-25-2013, 21:58   #12
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Cole, in what way was your replacement slide stop different from the original?
Moon
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Old 05-26-2013, 05:54   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halfmoonclip View Post
The best fix for the Ruger sights is a carefully drilled dimple on the front sight and under the rear sight notch, with a dab of white paint in each. This gives a contrasting sight picture that is bunches easier to pick up.
That's one of many things I do like about the Kahr; it has the Walther-style 'dot the i' sight picture.
I'm not convinced that the hammer is any different on the newer Ruger, BTW.
Moon
Do you have pictures of the sight modification or a web link.
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Old 05-26-2013, 07:04   #14
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Originally Posted by Boot Stomper View Post
Do you have pictures of the sight modification or a web link.
Boot, it will take a couple days, but I'll try to post something. It's a worthwhile mod.
Moon
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Old 05-26-2013, 15:58   #15
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I am very happy with my P380.
I picked it up from the store at about 4:30 PM, lubed it and shot it in a BUG match an hour later. First rounds through it.
I WON!

I own a TP9, T9, PM9 and a P380 and I shoot them all.

Kahrs like a lot of lube. Keep them well oiled.
Kahrs like a firm grip. Limp wristing is a cause of many problems.

They are so well made. Keep your Glock, a Kahr is a thing of beauty and if well taken care of will never go wrong on you.
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Old 05-26-2013, 20:05   #16
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Originally Posted by halfmoonclip View Post
Boot, it will take a couple days, but I'll try to post something. It's a worthwhile mod.
Moon
Thanks. Did you do the mod or a gunsmith?

I just bought a used LCP for $200. Could not pass up the deal. The trigger pull and sights were my biggest hang up with the gun. The Trigger I will master with practice, but the sight are what they are.

Thanks again.

Last edited by Boot Stomper; 05-26-2013 at 20:06..
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Old 06-18-2013, 10:51   #17
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Own two P380's - Yes, one is pink. Only malfunction I had was shooting Winchester PDX1 - failed to feed. Swapped over to the Hornady Critical Defense/Zombie Max and have had zero issues. Makes a nice tertiary duty carry and secondary off-duty weapon. To me, the Kahr sets the bar a little higher for the small 380 pistols. The thing is very accurate.

I've shot numerous LCP's and they functioned well. I just don't like them. Sold my Diamondback as quickly as I could... Nuff said there.
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:08   #18
halfmoonclip
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My P380 is currently in a bubble wrap pack and about to be dropped off at FedEx for transit back to the mother ship.
Issues include:
-unwanted slide stop activation with rounds still in the gun (a problem I've had with all 3 Kahrs I've owned)
-failure to go completely into battery, as shown by 'wipe marks' on primers, off center firing pin strikes, and an occasional failure of the trigger to pick up the striker
-the slide feels 'loose' at the end of its trip forward, as if the recoil springs are weak
As noted, this is my 3d Kahr, and if the factory doesn't make it right PDQ, it will be my last. I am batting exactly 0 with the brand; the slide stop problem was present in a poly 9mm and a previous P380. As noted, love the ergos and the sights, but it has to go 'bang' every damn time as the LCP does.
I'll try to post pics of the sight mod on the LCP, but I did it myself. A lighted magnifier and a fine centerpunch will get you started; clamp the slide in a padded vise and punch the front sight and under the rear one; then freehand drill the dimples with your choice of drill diameter. About 3 fingers of Jameson before the job will help, but it isn't hard...it's just easy to screw up. I changed a buddy $50 for doing his, because I'd have felt obliged to replace the pistol if I'd have slipped.
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:08   #19
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Originally Posted by michpatriot View Post
Well I've had mine for about a year and a half and have shot 1200+ rounds with many of the rounds testing new fixes to problems that I was having ...I did extensive work to mine , changed the angle of the ramp and width, removed material from the extractor..clearanced the slide where the round contacts on its way up the breech face,polished every sliding contact surface inside the pistol, and then finally replaced the worn out recoil springs. Now its stone reliable. Now I can ease the slide foreward and it will strip a round from the mag and chamber it like it should. This gun would not chamber a round period when I got it. I had to hand feed the rounds into the chamber to get it to fire. It was a lemon in every sense of the word...But I dont give up easily and really liked the trigger and accuracy of this little pistol so I invested the time and now wouldnt sell it for any amount.
Your mileage will obviously vary...
Do you have any details or how-tos for these mods?
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Old 06-20-2013, 22:35   #20
Cole125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halfmoonclip View Post
Cole, in what way was your replacement slide stop different from the original?
Moon
Sorry for the delay in replying! The replacement slide stop seemed to be polished a little more than the original. Fortunately it has been reliable with the new slide lock.
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