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Low cost pocket 9mm discussion

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by barefoot, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. barefoot


    Oct 26, 2010
    San Antonio
    Forgive me - I know I'm covering some old ground here, but since there are recent entries into the market, I'd like to get a feel for the readily available pocket nines (<=$400) on the market. Plus summertime is here and I'm really starting to feel my G27 in my lighter clothes, so I'm in the market.

    So of the following, which have the least issues? best features? Are there any I've overlooked (within the parameters of single-stack 9mm and $400 or less)?

    Kel-Tec PF9
    Kahr CM9
    Kahr CW9
    Beretta Nano
    Ruger LC9
    S&W Shield 9
  2. B_RAD


    Jan 2, 2008
    NW AR
    Kahr CM9 is my choice. I have a PM9 that has been perfect so I bought the CM9 for an extra.

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  3. awpk03s


    Apr 1, 2007
    Kahr CM9 is what I carry. Fantastic pistol.... Accurate, reliable, and very small and light for easy carry.
  4. Shipwreck-The-Sequel

    Shipwreck-The-Sequel Beretta 92 Nut!

    May 11, 2010
    Hockey City, Texas
    I would suggest the Shield 9mm, if you can find one.

    I had a PM9 Kahr for 2.5 years... I considered buying a slightly bigger P9, as the recoil on the PM9 was not my favorite... The P9 shot about the same to me...

    I have hated M&Ps in the past, because of the factory trigger. I tried renting a Shield for the heck of it, though... I was hooked. Found one 2 days later...

    Spent the past 2 months looking for a second one. Finally got it a few days ago...

    I have 1250 rounds thru my first shield. Recoil is a lot less than the Kahr PM9. Better trigger makes double taps easier, too. I shoot the gun very well, also... Feels like a much larger gun.

    I have owned a number of subcompacts over the years. This is the FIRST one where i did not feel like I was at some disadvantage over my usual carry gun - a Beretta 92.

    Out of all the ones you listed, I would only look at the Kahr and the Shield... However, I like the Shield better. I sold my Kahr pM9 the first week I had my shield...

    A size comparison between the PM9 and Kahr:


  5. cowboywannabe

    cowboywannabe you savvy?

    Jan 26, 2001
    the lowest cost and proven would be the kel-tel PF9, next i would guess is the ruger lc9. if you spend more money you can get the kahr....
  6. Shipwreck-The-Sequel

    Shipwreck-The-Sequel Beretta 92 Nut!

    May 11, 2010
    Hockey City, Texas
    But that Keltec is NOT really a fun gun to shoot at the range.
  7. hoghunter82

    hoghunter82 FL Glocker #182

    Jan 21, 2011
    Central Florida
    I really liked the Kahr CM9. Perfect CCW 9mm. Not sure why I sold it?? Guess I needed the $ to fund another purchase.

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  8. Rustin


    Oct 12, 2011
    Central Ohio
    I hate to be that guy, but I think the lightweight revolver is much better for a pocket pistol. With it's curved grip, drawing is a breeze whereas a pocket auto has those corners which tend to get caught up on the draw. I know it's hard for people carry a 5 shot revolver when a 9mm shield is such a solid gun, but it doesn't matter how well that shield preforms if you can't get it out of the pocket or it jams because you were only able to get a two finger grip in the .04 seconds of time you have to draw. I just like to put that out there because I was in the same boat as you. I asked none other than Massad Ayoob whether or not I should get a snubbie or 9mm for deep concealment carry. He illustrated the fact that a semi would be pressed against your body in a deep conceal position and it you would have to dig your hand in to get a more secure draw whereas the revolver, because of the cylinder, sticks right out in an easy to draw manner. He phrased it like this' "I'd rather have 5 shots NOW than 7 shots 2 seconds from NOW."

    I got the .38spcl LCR and never looked back. It's a wonderful gun for CC. 13.5 ounces and very manageable. Give it a thought!
  9. hoghunter82

    hoghunter82 FL Glocker #182

    Jan 21, 2011
    Central Florida
    After I sold my CM9 I ended up getting the Ruger LCR .38+p as well. Love it, especially with the boot grip. Pocket carry is a breeze.

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  10. Nakanokalronin

    Nakanokalronin JMB & MTK

    May 13, 2008
    I had 2 PF-9s and I wouldn't really call them "proven" firearms. I've owned many KTs but as of late, the companies QC is lower than normal. Screws still back out or break, FTFs and FTEs still happen, user tinkering is sometimes necessary to get them to run right and they have a random peening issue on the slide hood from improper heat treating. The fact that KT has very low round count life expectancies for all of their firearms is another thing to consider if you feel like staying proficient with said gun. I'm at the personal conclusion where their price point and CS is no longer attractive.

    Now I'm sure 10 people will chime in and say their PF-9 runs great. Mostly that's what people state "Mine runs great and feeds anything. I carry it everyday." I know we had a member on here that did that, you know a couple mags is plenty and all.:upeyes: I've read plenty of similar claims on other forums as well so take what is said with a grain of salt.

    Just do some research before asking brand fans about round counts and breakages before you make a final decision. My vote is for the Shield as it seems to be one of only a few small/slim 9mm offerings that made a running start out of the gate with no faults in the first production run. I'm up to 1,000rds already through my Shield which includes 7 different brands and 3 weights and not a single malfunction. The recoil is also less than the other small/slim 9mms I've owned or shot with a trigger that is far above most others.

    IMHO, the Shield is better suited as a slim IWB gun although those that seem to be able pocket fullsize service pistols will most likely disagree.
  11. WarEagle32


    Mar 15, 2011
    I have owned 3 PF9's and I would not trust my life to them. You could get a Sig 290 for around 5 and it's much better than anything you mentioned. I've owned most of your list.
  12. 09crue


    Jul 27, 2009
    *Kel Tec pf9- very compact,probably the lightest,and least expensive of the pocket 9mm's..some will say the quality is suspect though..

    *Ruger lc9- reliable,second least expensive of your choices but loaded with too many unneeded safeties IMO,including LCI,mag disconnect,internal lock,thumb safety and looong triger pull

    *Kahr cw9/S&W Shield- both identical in size,not exactly pocket guns,both reliable,the Shield does have a thumb safety..

    *Kahr cm9- overall the smallest and most pocket friendly of your choices..if your preferance is pocket carry,this would be the one to pick..

    *Beretta Nano-underrated IMO,has a nice short grip,no external safeties but kind of blocky..early runs did have some reliability issues.
  13. I'm in the same boat...trying to find a shield 9mm right now, and it's pretty tough! My old man had a cw9 and loved it, but I wasn't fond of the trigger...
  14. Haldor

    Haldor Retired EE

    Oct 22, 2006
    Central Arizona
    Kel-Tec PF9: < $250. Light, thin, very reliable (for me). It is not a fun gun to shoot. It is a bit big for pocket carry IMHO and feels cheap. I have one, it fits my need for a summer gun (carry a lot, shoot a little). I do have about 1K rounds through it without any malfunctions which makes me comfortable carrying it.

    Kahr CM9: $400. Definitely pocket sized, excellent quality and reliability. Would be my top choice in this category if I didn't already have a PF9. Has an excellent proven track record.

    Kahr CW9: $400. Similar to the CM9 except it's not really pocket sized. Rather have the CM9.

    Beretta Nano: $400. Decent construction, is pocket sized. Problem I have with it is that it is really top heavy (like the XD pistols) with a tall slide and a short grip. I haven't fired one, but from handling it, I doubt very much if I would like it. I predict it will have a lot of muzzle flip. I have heard rumors of reliability problems with the Nano. Has only been out for a short time, so I would be leary of trusting it.

    Ruger LC9: $300. Decent construction, questionable reliability. Have not heard great things about this pistol. The people I know who have one are looking for something else (most of them want a Shield).

    S&W Shield 9: $440 around here, if you could find one. Nice size, nice quality construction, excellent trigger. I liked then one I fondled, but the CM9 is more compact and is just as well constructed. You can also buy a CM9 now which is more than you can say for the Shield (at least around here). Not many in peoples hands so reliability is still unproven. If you need a gun now, the Shield is probably not an option.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012
  15. hsprincipal


    Nov 19, 2011
    I prefer the Nano to the others mentioned. Mine has been 100% and carries very well. My CW9 has also been reliable but I like carrying the Nano better. I carry it IWB and pocket with no problem. It shoots very well, recoil is not bad and it's very accurate.
  16. 427


    Nov 23, 2009
    There's also the Zastava M88. It's single action, single stack and ~$270 brand new. It's a Tokarev variation.


    They're accurate little pistols - a little larger than the size of a Colt 1903/1908.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012
  17. gators096


    Jul 20, 2010
    south carolina
    Nice thread.
    I have had the Kel-tec PF9 and NO issues with it and kick myself for getting rid of. I have had the Nano and liked it, no failures but it was a little bulky so in my quest for something smaller, lighter I sold it and now have a Kahr PM9(picked it up in a trade plus a few bucks) and took it today to shot, I was so excited to get the chance until I put 6 rounds in the mag. It would not feed, it just jammed right there on the feed ramp and would not slide into position. I tried the 7 round mag, same thing. I put 5 in it, HEY it worked. When it worked it fired without any issues and I really like the size, trigger, sights and recoil is just fine with me. It just bothers me that you cant load the mag to the max it will hold, cause it wont feed. The only ammo that it did feed when loaded with 6 or 7 was just good ole ball ammo, anything else failed to feed correctly. SO I am still on a waiting list for the shield and may look at a Smith and Wesson scandium 5 shot revolver.
  18. seamaster


    Feb 19, 2003
    I have the LC9 and I'm satisfied with it. It's been perfectly reliable and as accurate as anything else I have. I wear XL gloves and it feels fine on my hands. I even like the trigger. I consider it "replaceable" which is exactly what I wanted. I've had it since january and don't feel a need or want for something different, I guess that means I like it!
  19. IvanVic


    Apr 19, 2012
    The kahr or the Ruger. Things to consider: the kahr's first round must be chambered with the release, or you risk a jam (supposedly). The trigger on the ruger is very, very long. It also has a manual safety. If the ruger had a better trigger, I would say LC9 hands down. My advise is to attempt to shoot both of them first, if you can.
  20. ChicagoZman


    Jun 29, 2010
    New option that has been in the store recently is the Bersa BP9. After you stop laughing, find one and handle it. They're a little long in the grip (8+1) for pocket carry but would work great IWB. Feel good in the hand and have a very nice (IMO) DAO trigger with a very short reset. Also comes in .40 version.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012