Kahr CT40, by Pat Cascio

I’ve been a huge fan of Kahr , since I laid my hands on the first one I ever spotted in a gun shop. The double-action only trigger pull on their handguns is second to none; it is butter smooth. Some have described the trigger pull as the Rolls Royce of DAO triggers, and I’m not about to argue the point either. The one “problem” I have with any of the Kahr handguns I get in for testing and for writing an article on is that I simply can’t return the samples; I end up purchasing them eventually, because I like their guns so much.

My youngest daughter gave me a Kahr CW45 about three or fours years ago as a Christmas present. I also purchased a second one from the local gun shop, because I loved the way the gun felt and operated. A couple of years ago, my wife and two daughters gave me a Kahr CW9 for Christmas; it was another winner. The only problem I had with it was that it did require slightly more than 200 rounds through it before it operated 100% of the time. Then again, Kahr recommends you fire at least 200 rounds through their guns to insure they operate 100% of the time. This particular gun really needed that break-in period for some reason; most of the Kahrs I’ve had worked 100% right out of the box.

This brings us to the Kahr CT40, which is a fairly new model in the Kahr stable. I ran across this one, which is used but as-new, at the local gun shop I haunt. The asking price was just too low for me to pass it up; I’m so weak. The CT40 is chambered in .40 S&W, and this model holds 7+1 rounds. The grip is ever so slightly longer than that of the CW9 series of pistols. I’ve found that the CW9 and my CW45 are just right, when it comes to fitting my hand and providing great concealment. To be sure, Kahr handguns are designed to be some of the best pistols that are easy to operate and conceal.

The CT40 has a 4” long barrel with a length of 6.5” and a height of 5.12”, and it is only 0.94” wide. It is slim. The gun weighs in at only 21.8 ounces and has a stainless steel slide and black, textured polymer frame. The sights are the bar/dot, with white dot on the front sight and bar on the rear sight, which is very fast to pick up. The gun only comes with one magazine, but spares are readily available, and you should always carry a spare magazine with any autoloading pistol.

In the past, I tested the Kahr CM40, and I got one from Kahr for an article. I also purchased another one. These are outstanding concealed carry pistols, and I carried one or the other in an ankle holster for quite some time. They are much smaller than the CT40, with a shorter barrel and being shorter in the grip area. Then again, they only hold 5+1 rounds. The one “bad” thing with these little guns was that they were punishing to shoot, and if you didn’t have a firm grip on the guns there would be feeding problems. However, if you had a firm grasp when firing, the guns worked perfectly.

The CT40 is quite a bit bigger than the CM40 was. It’s longer front to back and top to bottom. I was looking forward to giving it a good workout and considered carrying it on a daily basis with a spare 7-rd mag. Here’s where things got a little “complicated”, in my humble opinion. The CT40 is, as mentioned, longer and taller, and it hurts when it comes to concealed carry; the gun is just a little bit bigger than I wanted to conceal. Oh sure, I’ve carried much larger handguns concealed without any problems, and there were no problems carrying the CT40 concealed either. However, Kahr is known for small, concealable handguns, and in my humble opinion this one is kind of like the proverbial red-headed step-child. It just doesn’t work for me as a small handgun, even though it is small, and it isn’t quite big enough to fill the roll of a full-sized handgun either.

I certainly understand where Kahr is coming from with the CT40; those who want to carry more ammo in the handguns wanted something like this. However, to my thinking, I’d rather carry a round or two less and go with the Kahr P40, CM40, or CW40. I don’t mind giving up a round or two for a lot better concealed carry handguns, especially when I’m carrying at least one spare magazine for the gun. Maybe it’s just me, but we’ll see.

From Buffalo Bore Ammunition, I had their 140-gr Barnes TAC-XP all-copper hollow point standard pressure ammo and the same in 125-gr, but both are really stout loads. I also had their 155-gr and 180 gr JHP +P loads, which are very hot loads. From Black Hills Ammunition, I had their 155-gr JHP load, 180-gr JHP load, and their 140-gr Barnes TAC-XP all-copper hollow point load. So, I had a fair selection of ammo to run through this CT40.

The good news is that I had zero malfunctions with any of the ammo tested, and in all I fired 300 rounds through the CT40. There’s more good news. The recoil was easily handled because of the much longer grip area, compared to the CM40, CW40, or P40. I didn’t really expect the recoil control to be all that much more manageable, but it was. I was totally surprised that with the slightly longer gripping area the gun was very easy to shoot, all things considered. The 155-gr and 180-g JHP +P loads from Buffalo Bore were a bit snappy to say the least, and I wouldn’t shoot a steady diet of this hotter ammo through the Kahr CT40. However, all the other loads aren’t bad at all in the CT40.

Accuracy testing was conducted at only 15 yards, resting the gun over the hood of my pickup on top of a rolled up sleeping bag. I was getting groups all around three inches, if I did my part, and that is outstanding accuracy from a “small” handgun in a hot-stepping caliber like the .40 S&W. The Black Hills 140-gr Barnes TAC-XP all-copper hollow point gave me some groups a little bit below 3”, and that’s nothing to complain about, so it was the accuracy winner.

I carried the CT40 for several weeks and changed holsters. Both were leather holsters from Blackhawk Products , made in Italy and outstanding concealed use holsters, plus a great buy. So, I was giving the CT40 a fair shake when it came to concealing it. However, for whatever reason, this gun didn’t resonate with me. I’d rather carry my CW45 or my CW9 instead of the CT40. There wasn’t anything wrong with the gun; it functioned 100% of the time, and I loved the DAO trigger pull. However, there was just “something” about the gun that didn’t appeal to me. It’s the first Kahr ever like this.

I ended up selling the gun back to my local gun shop, and there it has sat for several months now. The guys at the gun shop tell me what I already knew. When a customer would ask to handle the gun, they all said it was too long and that they wanted something shorter in the butt region of the gun for better concealed carry. So, it wasn’t just me with this complaint. I’m thinking that, for once, Kahr didn’t hit a home run with the CT40, but they still got onto third base, and that’s not bad.

When I think about Kahr handguns, I think of guns that are easy to conceal– not too big and not too small– but “just right”, as Goldilocks once said. That extra round in the 7-rd magazine just makes the gun a little bit longer than should be for someone who wants a concealed carry gun. I’m sure it will appeal to a lot of shooters, but when a gun sits on the shelf at my local gun shop for more than a few weeks, there is a problem, and the CT40 still sits there. Again, there’s nothing wrong with the gun; it performed great and was easy to control, even with the hottest .40 S&W loads I fed it. But this one just wasn’t ringing my chimes.

– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio

One Comment

  1. Each to their own I guess..

    Super compact .40cal? Not for me, thanks.

    The very things you’ve identified, are the very things I need in a CC gun, especially in this spicy caliber.

    Comparing this model to my early 1990s K9, I find the grip length fits my dawgs much better, and without the dangling pinky syndrome to deal with.

    I also appriciate the extra barrel length over the standard 3.5″ most of these type guns offer. Factually speaking, the longer barrel has less tendency to flip upwards when setting down. This tends to keep the grip area snug against my oversized stomach when carrying appendix style.

    Overall, considering the insane price I paid for this shooter, I’m overwhelmed with the Kahr quality, accuracy, and hopefully – long term durability. Paying less than $250.00 for this gun, I’d do it all over again if given the chance.

    For me and many years of shooting and carrying a .357 revolver, I find this gun Light Years ahead of anything my old S&W could offer. Other than the ballistics differences, this gun and it’s wonderfully short stroke and much smoother trigger pull has made all the difference in both speed and accuracy for me. Plus the added benefit of two extra rounds can’t be denied.

    For those who are still carrying a full size revolver, you need to check this thing out. No doubt, Kahr had us in mind with the release of this model. Trying one, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

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