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KAHR CW9: Why a 200-Round Break-In?

Kahr Arms is a well-known company in the firearms industry that makes a line of slim, compact handguns. If you didn’t know, the Kahr Firearms Group includes more than just Kahr Arms. Auto-Ordnance, Thompson, and Magnum Research are also brands of the Kahr Firearms Group. I owned a Kahr handgun some time ago but haven’t shot one in a while. When I found the CW9 on sale, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity and pulled the trigger.

One thing I do remember about the Kahr I used to own is that it needed to be broken in before it functioned properly. If you read much about the Kahr line of handguns, there are some mixed reviews out there about the trigger pull, stiff slide, and, in some cases, not feeding properly. Every gun on the planet will have a slew of people with varying opinions, and that’s a good thing. We are not robots and need to form our own opinions.

I’ve spent some time with my CW9 after bringing it home, and maybe I can clear up a few of those questions that linger about the Kahr CW9 pistol. The most obvious one is: Is the gun reliable? The short answer is yes, the gun is very reliable after the break-in period. Let’s talk about the CW9 basics before we get into why it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for a 200-round break-in.

Kahr’s CW9 handgun

The Kahr CW9 is a small double-action-only pistol designed for concealed carry, chambered in 9mm Luger. It has a barrel length of 3.6 inches with an overall length of 5.9 inches. It weighs 17.8 ounces with an empty magazine, which is about the same as a Glock 43. The pistol also boasts a pinned-in polymer front sight and adrift adjustable white bar-dot combat rear sight. The trigger pull on the CW9 is long yet smooth and light for a double-action trigger.

The 7-round single stack magazine is less ammo than other guns out there, but it’s thin and easy to conceal. [Photo: Jason Mosher]

This is where some have complained about the CW9, but I don’t have a problem with it when you consider what the gun is for. Double action-only triggers make accuracy more difficult when you’re shooting at bullseye targets or long distances. However, the CW9 was designed for CCW and general self-defense purposes. Some still prefer a light trigger for this type of carry, but others like the longer double-action for CCW.

While +P ammunition may work for practice and self-defense purposes, Kahr suggests standard velocity ammo because of the increased wear it can place on the gun. The CW9 has fairly aggressive slide serrations, making it easier to rack the slide when carrying it with wet hands. Overall, the quality of the CW9 handgun is great, but it does require a break-in period. So, let’s jump into that subject, which may explain why some have argued the Kahr CW9 is not reliable.

Why do handguns have a break-in period?

Opinions vary on whether new handguns require breaking in before being used for home or self-defense purposes. Some argue that all guns should work reliably out of the box, while others see breaking in a gun as a requirement for optimal performance. Breaking in a handgun can increase reliability because it helps smooth out areas with unneeded friction. A gun is full of metal parts that must work together.

In today’s world, we have machines with extremely tight tolerances, which is good. But it can also make some guns hard to function when they’re new. As you fire the gun, areas that have a lot of friction wear down. This helps the gun cycle properly and, therefore, be more reliable. Some experts advise breaking in a new gun by firing 100 rounds through it. Others, however, advocate firing it 500 times or more before using it for home or self-defense purposes.

Guns are not made the same, and using the same standard for all guns doesn’t always work. Each manufacturer uses different tolerances and different methods. I agree that any self-defense gun should be fired on the range before being used for self-defense. But when it comes to how many rounds you put through it, I believe in following the manufacturer’s guidance. For the Kahr CW9, that recommendation is 200 rounds. My next step is to head to the range and put 200 rounds through the CW9 pistol.

On the range with the Kahr CW-9

I will admit, back in the day, I didn’t pay any attention to what the manufacturer recommended for breaking in a gun. I took it out of the box, fired a few rounds at the range, and called it good. This was mostly because I’m an ammo snob, and I’d rather save it than shoot it. I also know a lot of other people who do the same thing. But if you are going to trust a handgun with your life, I would follow the break-in recommendation. I plan to add the CW9 to my CCW inventory, so I want to make sure it functions as it should.

Kahr CW9 on the range.
The Kahr CW9 requires a 200-round break-in before carrying it for self-defense. [Photo: Jason Mosher]

Out of the box, the CW9 does feel stiffer than other guns. The slide is harder to cycle, and even the magazine has a lot of pressure on the spring, making it a little tough to eject. It was about my third magazine before I had a failure to feed. It did the same thing two more times at around 80 rounds. The magazine capacity is 7 so it does take a while to get through 200 rounds. After the third failure, however, I didn’t have any other issues. It feels a little snappy shooting, but even that feels like it cleared up some after the first 100 rounds.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I don’t mind the double-action, only the trigger pull. I was able to hit everywhere I aimed within 20 yards. After that, it got a little harder to keep tight groups, but again, this gun is for self-defense, so I’m fine with its accuracy. If someone were shooting this gun and did not read the owner’s manual, they would probably be disappointed with it. Knowing it has a 200-round break-in, however, made it completely acceptable to me. I haven’t started looking into holster options yet, but that will be my next endeavor.

Final thoughts on breaking in the CW9 handgun?

I like this gun better than I remember from my Kahr years ago. The grip has a rubbery feel, which makes it comfortable to shoot. Field stripping was a pain because the takedown pin didn’t want to come out, but that’s also something that will probably correct itself as the gun is used more. With its size and weight, it’s not a gun that most people would go shoot for fun, but I can’t say it was unpleasant by any means.

Kahr CW9 handgun with US Constitution.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a copy of the US Constitution in the box with my Kahr CW9. [Photo: Jason Mosher]

This will make a great CCW gun, and it will be easy to conceal. Not that it speaks to the quality of the gun, but Kahr included a copy of the Constitution in the box. Kahr Arms is manufactured in the United States as well, so I think this was a cool idea. The little pocketbook also has “interesting facts” about our Constitution, making it a fun read. If you haven’t tried shooting a Kahr before, I would recommend checking them out. It’s a great gun at an even better price.

The post KAHR CW9: Why a 200-Round Break-In? appeared first on The Mag Life.

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