Kahr P9: Designed For Personal Protection

posted on January 25, 2023
Company founder Justin Moon had assembled a small team to help make and market his first pistol by 1993. The few prototype P9s they produced for testing and review were getting glowing feedback and by 1994 Kahr Firearms began shipping guns.

Justin Moon was hooked once his older brother took him target shooting for the first time. The 14-year-old was eager to master the skills, learn more about firearms and by age 18, he already had his New York State concealed-carry permit. The pistols available at the time for everyday carry seemed subpar to the young man, though, and he began thinking how the perfect self-defense gun should be. It needed to be almost effortless to carry, in his estimation, safe, yet remain capable of stopping a felonious assault with authority.

Entry into college to pursue a degree in economics—in Harvard, no less—would have been enough to erase those thoughts in most college freshmen, but not Moon. He never abandoned that vision and, in time, was sketching designs for an improved defensive pistol. He’d decided 9 mm Luger was the right cartridge, but to trim the bulk felt a single-stack magazine was best. Along the way, he invented an improved double-action trigger for striker-fired pistols, one that’s now trademarked as the “Safe Cam” by Kahr Arms. Jeff Johnston reported complete details on the mechanism and the company for American Rifleman a few years ago, and it’s well worth a look.

Moon had assembled a small team to help make and market his first pistol by 1993. The few prototype P9s they produced for testing and review were getting glowing feedback and, as fate would have it, those reports were coming out just as President Bill Clinton signed the so-called "Assault Weapons Ban."

By late 1994, the fledgling company shipped its first major batch of pistols, the K9, which was capable of holding seven 9 mm Luger cartridges in the magazine and measured less than 1" in width. Their frames were CNC machined from steel, though, and as a result the gun weighed 23.1 ozs.

To lighten the load, Kahr Arms designed a polymer frame and in 1999, it first appeared in the company’s P9 pistol. The reception from enthusiasts was a warm one, and that demand has not slowed to this day.

Models currently available from the company still wear the trim 3.565" barrel it first appeared with and have an overall length of 5.8". Height is 4.5", and the slide's width is a trim 0.90". Weight comes in at only 15 ozs., empty. Adding an unloaded magazine bumps overall weight to 16.9 ozs.

The frame is polymer, grips are textured and both are black. The stainless-steel slide wears a blackened matte finish, and the barrel's polygonal rifling is twisted 1:10". The P9 is double-action only and is semi-automatic. The pistols ship with a pair of seven-round magazines and one eight-rounder. Sights are drift adjustable and contain tritium. MSRP is $795.

There are also two versions with an external thumb safety and loaded chamber indicator. Each wears a slide with a matte stainless finish. The model with tritium night sights has an MSRP is $996, but if you’re comfortable with drift-adjustable white-dot sights, the price drops to $876.



Rifleman Q&A: Sidehammer Navy Revolver

Can you identify this .36-caliber percussion pistol? It has no serial number or markings of any kind, save the number 17 on two of the parts. I did not completely dismantle it.

The Armed Citizen® Feb. 3, 2023

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Rifleman Review: Kimber R7 Mako

Kimber's R7 Mako micro-compact handgun was a serious departure from the company's traditional lineup of handguns, but as we uncovered in our testing, there's a lot to like about this latest concealed-carry gun.

5 New Optics For 2023

Today's optics are a far cry from the glass used yesteryear. Now, optics incorporate amazing technological innovations, all ensuring that shooters can get on target quickly and easily.

Preview: 5.11 Tactical Apex Pant

Clothing choices are highly subjective, but when it comes to functionality, the purely objective qualities of an ordinary pair of pants can either make them the default everyday choice or relegate them to the back of the closet.

2023 Southern Vermont Primitive Biathlon

You won’t be seeing any exotic bolt-actions chambered in .22 LR winning Olympic gold if you attend the Southern Vermont Primitive Biathlon and Winter Shoot, which takes place February 11-12 at Skinner Hollow Farm in Manchester, Vt.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.