Kahr vs Solo

Kimber’s new little Solo sub-compact is developing into quite the nice little carry package. While the main competitor, the Kahr sub-compacts are just not measuring up anymore.
The best selling Kahrs are the CW series guns. These have a cast slide, polymer frame, and come with just one magazine… but they are only 400 bucks. The nicer forged steel P series guns are right up there in Kimber Solo price territory, but they do come with an extra mag. They are good little guns and I am quite fond of them… but the ones people buy are the CW series and we’ve had some issues with them lately. The new ones from the factory are real notchy, sticky, and sharp. Very unpleasant guns to hold and operate. They are hard to pull the slide back and even more difficult to drop the slide again… the fit an finish look fine on the outside, but the way they work… just very poorly. These CW guns are actually hurting the Kahr brand. Had to take a return on one this week on one I sold, and that’s just not cool. A CW45. Those folks are never going to look at buying another Kahr for the rest of their lives. And I can’t blame them.  At that point you can’t try to talk them into the upper end Kahr pistol – because they look damn near the same.  They just got turned off one to spend more on another that looks the same?  Doesn’t work.
Then you pick up that Kimber solo. Whole other world. It’s like going from a Flinstones Kahr Car, sorry… to a Mercedes Benz.  Smooth action like melted chocolate.  None of the Kahrs can come close to that feeling.  They could – but they don’t.  Kahr persists in their sharp edged slide lock levers and sharp frames textures.  It’s like you reward yourself with buying a Solo, and punish yourself with a Kahr… and I have to say that I hate saying that.  Because I really do like Kahr! They are accurate, reliable, with great triggers… but they feel sharp and rough and are a hard sell.

Kahr needs to revamp their lines.  New cosmetic lines, a more agreeable texture on the grips.  The actions need to feel smooth and when someone – specifically women – try to press the slide release lever, that slide needs to drop with little effort instead of making their thumbs bleed.   Round off the sharp corners on everything.  Make it something you want to hold on to.    You do that… simple reworking of existing stuff without any reengineering… then Kahr would dominate the CCW market and we could price those at 499 instead of 399. The upper end P-series… would be redundant.    Kahr could dominate… they seriously could.

13 thoughts on “Kahr vs Solo”

  1. Kahr needs to revamp their lines… a more agreeable texture on the grips.

    The aggressive block checkering on the P380 is actually one of the things that sold me on the gun. I’ve got big sweaty paws and it’s one of the few tiny guns that will not slip around in my grip when firing.

    1. Glad you like them… someone has to. But I’ve heard a lot more folks who said the opposite and purchased something else because of it.

  2. The slides for the CW series are identical to the P series except for the external cosmetic machining, rollmarks, and dovetail slot for the front sight on the P series. The barrel on the CW series is conventionally rifled while the barrel on the P series is polygonally rifled. The CW series uses a MIM slide stop lever, which could conceivably fail easier than a machined lever.

    That’s a shame about the interior finish on the newer guns. I’ve owned two CW9s and I carry a CW45 regularly.

  3. My wife and I each own a Kahr. I have the PM40, and she was the CW40.

    I’m not sure they can spare enough material off the slides to round off the edges. I say this because both of our Kahrs are very finicky in that you have to maintain a death grip on the pistol in order for them to cycle properly. If you don’t hold the pistols tight against recoil, the slide doesn’t go fully into battery.

    I think they need every last grain of weight in the slide that they already have. That, or a lighter recoil spring.

    I still LIKE the PM40, and carry it periodically. 6 rounds of .40 in a .380-sized package.

  4. I have a PM 40. For a while it was a POS. I had extreme difficulty with cycling issues. I called up, they said I was limp wristing. I put the thing in a vise and squeezed the trigger, still having issues.
    After taking the thing apart, i found a few things:
    1. Magazine followers are made of cheap plastic and were breaking.
    2. The slide release internal catch (which hits the magazine follower to hold the slide open on the last round of ammo) had a burr on it which was catching against bullets in the magazine. This was preventing the round from seating properly in the magazine and sliding up the feed ramp.
    3. Ammo with a wide bullet which doesn’t taper off won’t feed properly

    In order to get the thing working, I had to file down the burr, and only switch to winchester hollow point ammo which tapers sharply and won’t catch on the slide release internally.

    Now it works flawlessly, but I shouldn’t have to do this. I shouldn’t have to read online about failure to feed issues on 20 different blogs to find out potential fixes. I am not some expert pistol smith. When I pick up a pistol, it better Load, chamber, lock, fire, unlock, extract, eject, and cock every time I squeeze the trigger. (I remember armorer school).

    I wouldn’t buy another because they didn’t QA my first one. It is a great pistol from a size, weight, power, and accuracy standpoint, but it should work great out of the box.

  5. Umm thats not what I am seeing on sites I go to Ogre. Alot are saying they are holding off the Solo until the “bugs” are worked out after members report on problems….maybe the “testing’ phase is over but it was/is there.

  6. Are the K9′s as sharp and blocky? The one’s I’ve held were pretty smooth. But those aren’t cheap either.

    I still would like a PM9 one day. One day. . .

  7. I bought a CW9 a few years ago. After a bit of brek-in, it worked flawlessly. The Solo? I haven’t had the opportunity to fire one but in handling it, it feels like a bar of soap. They need to stipple or checker the front strap at least.

  8. Haven’t shot a Kimber Solo yet, but it looks and feels great. The only thing that I don’t like is that Kimber recommends to only use 124 or 147 grain ammo, which is a bummer.

    On the other hand, I’ve carried a Kahr CM9 for over a month and it has been a great little pistol. Doesn’t have quite the high end feel of the Kimber, but the trigger is fantastic and it has been 100% reliable.

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