Kahr Arms CW9 Black Carbon Fiber, by Pat Cascio

Today, we are taking a look at the Kahr Arms CW9 Black Carbon Fiber handgun. I’ve reported on several Kahr Arms handguns over the years. Most are pretty much the same as the one before it, or the one after it. Still, Kahr manages to come out with different and exciting versions every single year. To be sure, Kahr makes handguns that are meant to be concealed. They aren’t full-sized service-type pistols, although they do have something coming out along those lines. Still, they are well-known for easily concealable handguns, for the most part.

Kahr’s Double Action Only Trigger Action

Kahr handguns are Double Action Only (DAO). And as I’ve reported before, they are the Rolls Royce of DAO trigger actions, if you ask me. You just have to experience it to understand what I’m talking about. Yes, the trigger pull is long but buttery smooth. And there is no “git along” as you pull the trigger completely through. The trigger is smooth all the way through the trigger stroke. However, it does take a little bit of time to get used to this DAO trigger pull. But once mastered, you’ll really like it. You can’t “stage” the trigger pull like you can on some double-action revolvers. Kahr’s aren’t meant to work that way. You simply get your sights on-target and pull the trigger completely through. It really is just that simple. Don’t try to slowly pull the trigger. Just get on-target and pull the trigger completely through the stroke.

Kahr Arms CW9

Kahr Handgun Breakin

One thing that does bother me a bit with Kahr handguns is that they either work 100% of the time brand-new out of the box, or they need a good break-in period. Oftentimes, you might have to run 100-200 rounds of ammo through a new Kahr before you’ll want to trust your life to the gun. However, most of the Kahr handguns I’ve tested have been good to go out-of-the-box. Just be advised to run ammo through the gun before carrying it to make sure it won’t stutter on you.

The CW9 Black Carbon Fiber

The CW9 Black Carbon Fiber (9mm) I tested for this article is a little different than a CW9 I received as a gift from my wife and daughters a couple years back for Christmas. Oh, everything is pretty much the same. The one magazine you get holds seven rounds and one in the chamber. Magazines are readily available, and you should always carry a spare mag. The barrel is 3.565 inches long. The gun weighs a mere 15.8 oz unloaded without the magazine in it. The slide is brushed stainless steel, and the sights have a dot/bar set-up. The front sight is a dot, and the rear sight is a bar. These sights are very fast to pick up. And, of course, there is the DAO trigger pull. The gun is only .90-inch wide, which is easy to conceal. And the grip is made out of polymer. However, there is a difference in the grip material, a big difference.Kahr Arms CW9

The CW9 Grip

Kahr calls refers to the grip difference as a Black Carbon Fiber finish. It looks, for all the world, like black carbon fiber, and it has a rubbery texture to it. The gun grips you back. There is no way, under any weather conditions, that this gun will slip out of your hand. I don’t care if your hand is covered in oil, the gun won’t slip away from you. Yes, I’m that serious about this coating.

Frame Finish

This Black Carbon Fiber finish on the frame is actually two-tone. It appears to be black/white in color– a very modern look. I don’t know how Kahr pulled off this feat of magic, but this gun sells itself. It has the eye candy appeal when you see it. And once you put it in your hand, the gun is sold. It feels “that” good. The trigger pull is super-smooth, as to be expected. There is nothing to not like here.Kahr Arms CW9

Minor Complaint

The one minor complaint I have with all Kahr handguns is that they are a tiny bit difficult to reassemble, after you’ve taken one apart for a good cleaning. There is a very small spring that the slide stop/release has to fit under in order to keep the slide stop/release from activating when the gun is fired. Care must be taken to get the slide release/stop under this spring. If you assemble the gun wrong, you can break this spring. It’s easy enough to replace at home, but pay careful attention to the owner’s manual about re-installing the slide stop/release, and there won’t be any problems.

Ammo for Testing

I had a great selection of 9mm ammo on-hand to run through this CW9 Black Carbon Fiber pistol. I try to run different types of bullets through guns to see how well they function. From Buffalo Bore Ammunition I had their 147-gr Subsonic Heavy load, which is a JHP bullet. I also had their 147-gr Hard Cash FN Outdoorsman load, which is rated at +P, 115-gr Barnes TAC XP all-copper hollow point +P+, and their 115-gr JHP +P+ fodder. From Black Hills Ammunition I had their 115-gr JHP +P, 124-gr JHP +P, 115-gr FMJ, 115-gr EXP (Extra Power) hollow point, 124-gr JHP, and the 115-gr Barnes TAC XP all-copper hollow point +P load. So, this was a good representation of different types and shapes of bullets. Some were standard velocity, some +P, and some +P+. And, to be sure, some subcompact guns just won’t function with +P+ ammo. That slide is moving back and forth very fast, sometimes too fast to pick up the next round coming up in the magazine. However, Kahr magazines have very stiff springs. They get those rounds up there fast.Kahr Arms CW9

Test Results

My shooting was done at 15 yards. That’s a fair test for a subcompact pistol used for self defense. However, I did a little bit of shooting at 25 yards, too. I’m happy to report that there were zero malfunctions from start to finish in my testing. All the ammo ran smoothly through the little Kahr. However, the 147-gr +P Outdoorsman load let me know I had some power there. This is the same load used by a licensed Alaska Big Game Guide to stop a charging Brown Bear. Check out the store on the Buffalo Bore website.

At 15 yards, with the gun over the hood of my pickup, resting on a rolled-up jacket, I was getting some 3-inch groups with most loads. One load exceeded that but not by much. This equates into a head shot at that distance. One load was just ever so slightly under three inches, and that was the Black Hills 115-gr JHP load. Still, when you can get consistent groups around 3-inches all day long with a subcompact 9mm handgun, you’re doing pretty good. In all, I ran 300-rds through the gun. I was expecting to run more during my testing, but the gun was running so smoothly. I didn’t see any sense in burning through more ammo than needed. Besides, in a small gun like this little Kahr CW9, it gets tiring to concentrate on shooting small groups for the accuracy portion of my testing.Kahr Arms CW9

Shooting at 25 yards, I was getting consistent hits on a small pumpkin. Those shots equated to head shots, if you will, on a person. If I did my part, I hit the pumpkin every single time. That’s pretty good accuracy from a subcompact 9mm pistol, if you ask me.

Its a winner!

I hope to see Kahr come out with more of their handguns with this Black Carbon Fiber texturing on the frame. It’s a winner in my book. It looks good and feels even better in the hand. I would love to see the CW45 with this gripping surface.

– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio


  1. Thanks for the review as always. I’m thinking of getting my wife a new pistol after seeing that the SP101 DOA 357mag trigger pull had the little gun shooting very large groups. My wife did better with some striker fired guns and after some of your other reviews on Kahrs I’ve been itching to get one. I noticed there was no price range listed, but a quick search should reveal that for me. I’d love to see a review on the CT9 since Sportsman’s Guide is selling them for $285.00. I re-read the CT40 review and the overall size seemed too big for concealed carry. I’m wondering if the 9mm is any better since the length is the same at 6.5 inches, however, the weight is a bit lighter at 18.5 ounces. Of course, I’ll pull the specs on each and compare, but with your reviews on the CW9 I might just have to see what the cost is for this and bite the bullet.

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