The CT Laser Sight does little to change the overall profile of the gun.

A good friend of mine asked me the other day if I would help him sell his Kahr CW45 since I have a little more experience in private party sales and am a self-professed (or is it possessed?) wheeler and dealer when it comes to this sort of thing. Anyway, I digress. Whenever I sell something, I always like to take pictures of the piece that not only do the gun or accessory justice, but also make the item fun to look at and appealing to potential buyers. It’s essentially the same principle I use when photographing items for review. Sometimes you don’t have a choice or location doesn’t allow you to be picky, but anyone can take a picture of something slapped down on the carpet and post it to the web.

After a bit of the afternoon feeling up this gun in my hand and squeezing off a few dry fires, I was sure I really liked this gun and needed to convince myself not to buy it from him. Not only is it super reasonably priced to move quickly, but it’s got a Crimson Trace lasergrip/trigger guard sight installed to sweeten the pot a little more. I figured the best cure for my infatuation would be to do a little research and post up a quick handgun review on the pistol to give my initial thoughts to any potential buyers. Bear in mind all of this is in the context of my handling the gun without firing a shot.

First impression is a little gaudy. I mean it’s not bad to look at, but it’s not the sexiest gun you’ve ever seen. Ironically too it’s also a little top heavy as the frame and grip are all polymer (or glass filled nylon or something) and come across as much lighter than that of the stainless steel barrel and slide resting on top of this mini-beast. Remember, the CW45 is a .45 ACP so a really lightweight gun plus the ever reliable .45 is enough to make you regret filling your hand with a featherweight cannon if your focus and technique are weak. Lightweight .45s are not for the feint of heart.

With those early impressions settled in, I grabbed for the grip which has pretty generous checkering/stippling on the front and back strap while almost feeling anemic as it settles into your palm. The Kahr CW45 is a Kahr Arms “single stack” answer to the difficulty of concealment from say a Glock 30 compact .45 auto which has a double stack magazine and in my opinion (remember I do love Glocks) is anything but compact. Like a Glock the Kahr CW series is without an external safety which makes some uneasy, though I want to be quick to add the safety of their striker fired Double Action Only trigger system which while being DAO is a surprisingly short pull and lighter than I had anticipated. The sights aren’t technically what you would call “bar dot combat” style, though the front and rear sights are stackable, but almost seem moot with the Crimson Trace installed.

Despite some apparent (in my opinion) downsides. The overall feel of this gun in the hand is very attractive.

One downside of this gun is round capacity. Since it’s just a single stack magazine and .45 ACP rounds are a bit on the chubby side, carrying a 19.7 ounce gun (empty weight) for just 6+1 rounds of .45 seems a bit hectic in my mind. But different people have different preferences. Each hand holds each gun differently, comfort and confidence play huge roles in choosing a concealed carry weapon, and many who are committed to carrying something in .45 ACP may not be to worried they’re only getting 7 rounds total BECAUSE it’s .45 ACp and they won’t need more.

Just like any gun, if the performance and reliability is there, it all comes down to personal preference. Whatever it takes to get you to carry the gun you say you’re going to carry, then those are the distinguishing factors that matter the most.


12 Responses to Kahr CW45 Quick Review

  1. Eric says:

    Question…have you shot a glock 30? I was thinking about a glock 30 but came across your video and was impressed. Now I wonder which one kicks less and is more accurate?

    • Ebbs says:

      I have shot a Glock 30. It’s been about 3 years ago or so but even with a double stack 10 round magazine the recoil felt more stiff than it did from the Kahr CW45 you saw reviewed here. Also, it was a single stack mag so its thinner and despite having a true double action trigger and being a bit longer pull it was much smoother and more accurate than the Glock. Hope that’s helpful.

  2. Eric says:

    It is helpful thanks Ebbs. I was set on the Glock 30SF then thought maybe Kahr has a .45 I might like. I have a CM9 Kahr and think it is great. Much less felt recoil than my Fathers Rugar LC9. I also have the Crimson trace on my CM9.

    If the Kahr CW45 had less felt recoil than the 30 and is quite accurate then I am sold. I will be looking to purchase one shortly. Thanks for the information.


    • Ebbs says:

      One more thing on that Kahr. If you’re looking at it for CCW then it’s the definite winner, it’ll feel much thinner concealing than the Glock 30. If you’re just looking for a compact .45, then go with the Glock. Honestly you can’t beat a Glock IMO, save for some CCW applications.

      • Eric says:

        Thank you. I was thinking it would be my cold weather CCW. So for this duty you would suggest the Kahr correct? I have a Sig P229 .40 for home… along with some appropriate long guns. So with that known… you seem to indicate the Kahr gets your nod.



  3. Tom says:

    I recently purchased a used Kahr CW45. I own a Kahr P380 so I understand how Kahrs operate. First, you clean the hell out of it. Second, you polish all contact points with 600 grit sandpaper. Third, oil it. Fire 200 rounds for breakin. I love my CW45! Not much recoil for a 45. Amazingly, accurate for a “short” length barrel. If the gun doesn’t work for you, then something is wrong with the gun or you. I think it is probably the latter.

  4. Roger says:

    I have a Kahr P9, have shot at least 1000 rounds without any failures. I like how concealable it is…I forget it is there.
    I am going to buy a CW45 when I can get the money, no question.

  5. Joe says:

    I was in the store today and trying to decide between a used Para Ordinance P12 1911 style and the Kahr CW45. My concerns were the felt recoil between the two guns (the Para is 24 oz. empty vs the 19 of the Kahr) and the used Para was $100 more than the Kahr. Plus the double amount of rounds in the Para…

    In your experience will the 5 oz. of extra weight make that much difference in felt recoil?

    Thank you

  6. Warren Smith says:

    Regarding the recoil on the Kahr CW45. If you notice the feed ramp is off set to the left This allows room for the trigger bar and allows the barrel to be lower keeping the recoil more aligned with the hand and arm and not above it.

  7. James says:

    I’ve owned a CW45 since 2012 and to this day it’s still not a reliable gun.
    I’ve shot well over 1200 rounds through it and it’s anybody’s guess as to whether or not it will return fully into battery for another shot. I’ve had good runs with it and shot up over 50 rounds with no failures. But then, you’ll get a few failures within 25 rounds. Many, many types of ammo through it and no changes. Failures with all. Contacted Kahr in 2012 and they said keep shooting it. This was after 300-400 rounds. This really irritated me. Kind of expensive to just sling lead for no other reason than to see if the gun works. Because even if I get some shots off and have zero problems, when will it happen again? It always happens.
    With all the semi autos I own this Kahr is the one I can’t trust. I think I own 17.
    I have no desire to deal with trying to send it in. I know I will have to pay for shipping. Nah. Considering the gun never did work right they should fix it and all on their dime. I sent 3 different emails to Kahr in 2013 and 2014 and not one was answered. Only the very first one I sent in 2012. I see how well their customer service is already.

    • Ebbs says:

      Time to take your complaint to the phone boards. Here is the number for Kahr’s customer service: 508-795-3919. This type of issue is unacceptable. Their firearms have a 5 year warranty so you’re still well within that. I have owned 3 Kahr P and C series pistols and the only one that had a failure was the miniscule PM9 and it happened during the break-in process.

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