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Thread: Kahr P380 (vs Micro Desert Eagle vs Keltec P3AT)

  1. #1
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    My first .380 was a Keltec P3AT. I appreciated its form factor and concealment factor but really did not like the gun. It was cheap, it didn't feel particularly comfortable or satisfying to hold, it hurt my hand and trigger finger to fire, and I experienced various jams and failures that never quite went away. Because of all that, I wasn't ever too excited to practice with the gun at the range, diminishing its value as a self-defense weapon.

    I replaced it with a Micro Desert Eagle. That is a beautifully made firearm... all metal, substantial feeling, and mechanically sound and reliable. I really like the large trigger-guard and the loaded chamber indicator, and the gun is a bit of an engineering marvel in terms of how it's put together. Right from the beginning I never have had so much as a single jam or other anomaly... outstanding reliability. Much more satisfying to hold and fire than the Keltec. But 3 problems emerged. First, it's just a smidge too heavy for duty in my pocket. Second, firing it still hurts my hand a little. And third, the trigger action, while still better than the Keltec, leaves a lot to be desired. Too long with an odd break and so accuracy suffers.

    So I was still looking for the ultimate in pocket a .380. Today I bought a Kahr P380 and fired about 50 rounds. The trigger action and general feeling when firing this thing is in a whole different league then the other 2. The trigger is like butter... smooth and predictable, no odd break to interrupt my aiming. A satisfying recoil and most importantly, it does not hurt my hand to fire. The sites are improved vs the other 2 guns, and the P380 actually has a real slide stop too. My accuracy is better with this gun than the other 2 and I can see myself enjoying practicing with it. It's also lighter than the MDE, making for a bit easier pocket carry.

    The downsides with the Kahr: no loaded chamber indicator (not a big deal), polymer frame vs. metal (not a big deal, considering how good it feels to fire, and also helps with weight)... and the big one: *lots* of jams and related failures. Kahr actually says right in the manual that this gun has a break-in period, so I am going to give it the benefit of the doubt and see if it gets more reliable after another 150 rounds or so. Fortunately, the gun is fun and comfortable enough to actually do another 150 rounds (if someone told me that I had to put 150 more rounds through a P3AT or MDE I'd just give up right then -- wouldn't want to live through it).

    So, if the Kahr breaks in nicely, it's the hands-down winner.

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    First, where the heck did you find that P380?! 2nd, how much? 3rd, great choice, should have picked it up first.

    I'm very miffed to hear, however, that you've had jams. The "break-in" bothers me but my Kahr has never jammed so I'm confident in it. I'll be watching for your update after the break in.

  3. #3
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    I have a Kahr MK9. I love it. Always reliable as long as I am responsible and don't feed it WWII surplus. (Yes I have done this)

    The gun is like butter. and Sniper accurate.

    My only complaints are the magazines, and are pretty common among Kahrs. They drop rounds. The feed lips are angled so and so smooth the the spring pressure is enough to move the round along until it pops out on its own.

    This makes carrying a spare mag problematic. You put a loaded 6 round mag in the carrier and when you draw it, it only has two rounds or maybe only one in the mag still. The mag has been pushed up in the carrier and there are loose rounds in the carrier.

    That is my only complaint. othe then that I love it.

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    I have fired, extensively, the Kahr in .40, 9, and 45acp. The only problem I had, with any of them, was when using reloads. The chamber dimensions are tight, and as a result, reloads need to be spot on, quality. There were a few jams during break in period, but they went away quickly. Quality guns at a reasonable price.



    edit for spelling

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    Tai- Do give the Kahr the chance to get through the break-in period.Then you'll love it.The poly-Kahr's need this to smooth out some of the close tolerances and seat the parts where they need to be. I've owned over a dozen Kahrs (Currently a custom K9 Elite '03 and a Lasergripped MK9), and in my experience, the polymer Kahr's need the break-in period, and the steel-framed ones do not. My guess is that in about 100 rounds, the jams will begin to diminish and then they will be gone forever by round 200. Oh, and the poly-Kahrs do like to run wet, especially during the break-in. Good luck, you made a good choice!

    Kito- They are around. I was in Mary's Pistols yesterday and they've had one in the case for a couple months now. You'll spend more on the Kahr than you would on a Keltec or Taurus or Micro DE, but once the break-in period is over it is a much more accurate, reliable and easy to carry package than either of the other options.

    tr- I've heard of the Kahr mag round-dropping problems, but I've never had it happen to me. I carry a loose 7rd MK9 mag (K9 mag w/spacer) in my left front pocket every day and I've never had rounds come out. Guess I've just been lucky!


    Edit to add some Kahr picture-action...







  6. #6
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    I decided I was interested in getting a P380 and called around figuring it was a lost cause as far as local availability goes. When I called Discount Guns in Kirkland, he said "I'm holding one in my hand right now." About 30 minutes later it was mine. I paid MSRP, $649. (Aside: I like that store -- generally friendly, and low pressure/********.) The fellow in there said that when they get P380's they go *fast*.

    At the same time I bought a Desantis Super Fly pocket holster. It's sticky and has an extra flap across the front to *completely* conceal any hint of the outline of the gun. The effect is just that little bit more deeply concealed than the specialized Blackhawk pocket holster I am using for my MDE. The MDE won't fit in a standard pocket holster due to the large trigger guard -- another small negative for that gun (can't use many standard pocket form factor holsters).

    I might head down to West Coast Armory today to squeeze another 100 rounds through the P380 and see how it holds up. One thing I noticed in the manual was Kahr's recommendation that the first round from a mag be seated by releasing the slide stop to allow the slide to rack, and not trying to do it manually. I think I might have been "over-babying" the gun... it needs to be manhandled a little to get all the parts into an optimally smooth state.

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    It's not a recommendation, its a requirement. The first round MUST be chambered using the slide release or it may not get fully into battery. I've never been able to rack-chamber my CW9 successfully. I only tried it experimentally.

    G20, thanks. That's a bit far for me to drive, however. That K9 is a masterpiece, how many rounds do you have through it and how long have you had it?


    ETA, I've never had a problem with any of my 3 mags dropping bullets. I carry two spares in a Gould and Goodrich double carrier on my support side, they always come out ready to go. It's adjustable for tension so maybe that helps.


    ETA again, I'd love to see pictures of the .380!

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    kito109654 wrote:
    G20, thanks. That's a bit far for me to drive, however. That K9 is a masterpiece, how many rounds do you have through it and how long have you had it?
    Thanks! The K9 has been with me for around 3 years now, and it's got about 1500rds through it or so. Nevera failure of any kind. I "finished" customizing it around 8 months ago. The shopping list includes: slide flats/bbl crown & hood polishing, smoothed and thinned wood grips, polished allen head 1911 "carry" grip screws, tritium Big Dot 24/7 sights, Steve Bedair SS guide rod, all new Wolff springs, and probably some other stuff that escapes me right now.TheElite trigger (standard, of course) has been smoothed over and it isNICE. Great guns!

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    I love my CW9 - it's my primary carry gun, since a 1911 is only good for OCing (I'm shaped like a beanpole). I've added a stainless guide rod, which markedly improved the smoothness of the slide and stopped the couple of jams I had with it initially. I have been told that the barrels wear out quickly, however and not to use them as range guns. Of course, this was by the lady behind the gun counter at Sportsman's, so take it with a grain of salt.

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    kito109654 wrote:
    I'm very miffed to hear, however, that you've had jams. The "break-in" bothers me but my Kahr has never jammed so I'm confident in it. I'll be watching for your update after the break in.
    I took the P380 to West Coast Armory today and put another 100 rounds through it -- a mixture of Winchester white-box and PMC brass. The former ammo has a snub-nosed profile and latter a rounded one. At the end, I put a few rounds of Gold Dot hollow points through it too (later I realized that that's not brass and so is against range rules, so I won't be doing that again). So I got a good smattering of different shapes of ammo, which I figured would have me covered if feed issues on this firearm are influenced by bullet shape.

    I am happy to report that in marked contrast to yesterday, I experienced not a single jam or malfunction of any kind with the P380 today.

    Besides the break-in thing, this could conceivably be due to several factors.
    1. I hadn't cleaned or oiled the weapon prior to my first experience firing it, but I did do so after finishing yesterday, so it was oiled up nicely for today.
    2. The first 50 or so rounds I put through were cheap crap I got a gun show. Today I used better quality ammo.
    3. I did not baby the gun. When inserting a new mag today, I would let the slide rack from the open position (held by the slide stop), more violently chambering the first round.
    ... or it might just be the break-in .

    I still have 50 rounds to go in the Kahr's recommended break-in regimen, but it's starting to look real, real good. I continue to enjoy firing the Kahr more than I do the MDE, and now that it's proving to be reliable, it looks like the Kahr is a keeper.

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    Oh, technically that is not correct maintenance so I'd bet the jams were from that. Just my hunch though. I cleaned mine thoroughly before shooting it, and like I said, no jams.

    Glad to hear that it behaved well for you today. I am a huge Kahr fan.

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    I second the recommendation of the Desantis Super Fly--I use one for my P3AT and it's awesome!

    As far as chambering the first round, is there any semiauto for which the mfr's recommendation is other than "release the slide stop" and/or "pull back the slide and let it go"? Rounds 2 through n get chambered by the slide moving forward under the full force of the spring, why should round 1 work any differently? :-)


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    kparker wrote:
    I second the recommendation of the Desantis Super Fly--I use one for my P3AT and it's awesome!

    As far as chambering the first round, is there any semiauto for which the mfr's recommendation is other than "release the slide stop" and/or "pull back the slide and let it go"? Rounds 2 through n get chambered by the slide moving forward under the full force of the spring, why should round 1 work any differently? :-)
    "and/or" no, however, many specify one or the other. You can ONLY load a Kahr with the slide release. You not supposed to slingshot the slide, it doesn't work. The extractor moves differently in each scenario.

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    I am quite happy with my Kahr 380. I have put 320 rounds through it with only 1 malfunction and that was a failure to eject somewhere around round 50. It is great.

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    kito,

    In re-reading, I think my point wasn't made clear enough: NOBODY but nobody says to ease the slide forward, do they?

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    kparker wrote:
    kito,

    In re-reading, I think my point wasn't made clear enough: NOBODY but nobody says to ease the slide forward, do they?
    Nobody makes barrels out of plastic either. :?

    I missed the point I guess, what did that have to do with the thread? You have thoroughly confuzzled me! LOL

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    kito,

    Behold tai4de2 at 11:19am:
    One thing I noticed in the manual was Kahr's recommendation that the first round from a mag be seated by releasing the slide stop to allow the slide to rack, and not trying to do it manually. I think I might have been "over-babying" the gun... it needs to be manhandled a little to get all the parts into an optimally smooth state.
    Unless I'm misunderstanding him, that's exactly what he was doing: riding the slide back to chamber the first round "gently" (and then perhaps having problems as a result). I was just endeavoring to point out that (afaik) every manufacture makes the same recommendation, it's not just something specific to Kahr.


  18. #18
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    I was pulling the slide back all the way and letting it go. Kahr specifically states in the manual that this is *not* equivalent to releasing the slide from stop.

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    We should get together and do a range day of .380's. I'll bring my Sig 230, maybe we can get a Bersa out there as well.

  20. #20
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    I put another 50 rounds or so through the P380 without a single glitch.

    I've now fulfilled the 200 rounds break-in that Kahr specifies, and the last 150 rounds all went without any issues...

    So I sold my Micro Desert Eagle at the WAC show today and the Kahr P380 is my new pocket carry piece.

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    What is the issue here??? get the Bersa .380 ,inexpensive and probably the best on the market.







    Bersa is on the left....

  22. #22
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    I have a Kel-Tec P3AT and have only had jams with Remington Golden Saber ammo. The Federal Hydra-Shocks and Winchester SXT/Rangers work just fine.

    I'm still waiting to test Hornady Critical Defense and the new Winchester Bonded PDX-1 in it.

    I haven't found Speer Gold Dots for it.



    I don't think my Kel-Tec likes the heavier bullets that the Remington Golden Sabers use but the other two types of defense ammunition I've shot through it were flawless.

  23. #23
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    DEROS72 wrote:
    the best on the market
    "Best" is a subjective thing.

    The more I fire my Kahr, the more I like it.

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    Cool

    Hey i know this is an older thread. Do any of you guys head to the range regularly with one of these p380's? I'm on the west side of washigton here. (occasionally shoot at Wades with a fried, used to be a member at issaquah, haven't tried west coasts range yet but am real close to it). And I really want to try one of these p380's before i drop the 600+ on one, having never owned a kahr and only shooting a pm9 once. I of course would bring my only little box of 50 shots of .380. I just would really like to experience the recoil. I'm used to a Keltec p32 which is only 32 caliber, i know alot of posts i've read on the internet state the Kahr p380 is much better than the Keltech P3At, but no one ever compares it to the p32.. I even find the p32 a bit uncomfortable to shoot at the range.

    Anyways If anyone wouldn't mind i would love to shoot one of these sometime to see if its something that would fit me.

    Thanks! sorry for the reviving of the old thread!

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    I'll stick with the perfected designs of John Moses Browning (BBUH) as utilized in my Colt Govt. Stainless Pocketlite .380, thankyouverymuch.


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