Monday, August 29, 2011

Cousin Wallace shoots little guns.

Wallace reports on the Kahr P380.

I continue to be pleased with the little Kahr P380 I purchased a couple of weeks ago. It's still in the "break-in" phase so I fire a few rounds out of it every chance I get. The first session I experienced a few fail to feed stoppages. I have since taken it apart & lubed critical areas. Since then ( knock on wood) I havent had any more FTF issues. It could have been "weak" loaded ammo or something else, who knows.

Yesterday I fired a couple of magazines through it during a quick trip to the range. There were no failures to feed but when both magazines were emptied, the slide failed to lock back. Maybe the ammo was too weak again??? It does have a stiff recoil spring so it may only function best with more potent ammo???

Accuracy was stellar! I only tested two loads @ 7 yards from a standing position and shot fairly quickly....not fast and reckless, but not super slow-fire either. The first 5-shot group with Winchester 85gr Silver-Tip Hollow-Points grouped into 1.25", just about a half-inch to the right of point of aim. Elevation was spot on. The second 5-shot group was with handloads using a 95gr Rainier TMJ. This goup was also a half-inch right and about a half-inch low of point of aim but the group was a mere 7/8ths of an inch! For a teeny pocket pistol, that's match grade accuracy. This little pistol will shoot!

Whilst at the range I conducted a couple of "unofficial" expansion tests by shooting gallon milk jugs filled w/water (placed back to back). Altough this isnt as technical as the FBI protocall series of test firing into 10% ballistic gel through clothing, etc, it does give one an idea of how a bullet might perform. I only had a couple of HP offerings to try, the Federal 90gr Hydra-Shok and the W-W 95gr STHP mentined above. The Hydra-Shok passed completely through both jugs (just barely) and expanded to about .53". The Silver-Tip made it though the first jug but stopped inside the second jug. Expansion from the ST was obviously much more violent as the first jug "exploded" more and the flattened bullet measure approx .67". Both were classic mushrooms. The hydra-Shok could be expected to provide a bit more penetration but the STHP probably would be the more reliable expander. Wish they made a +P Talon for .380.

After returning home I decided to get out the calipers and take some measurements, comparing the Kel-Tec P3AT with the Kahr since they seem so close to being the same size. Below are the measurements (unofficial) so you can get an idea how they compare.

OAL: Kel-Tec = 5.15" - Kahr = 4.82" ---- .33" or about 1/3rd of an inch.

Height: Kel-Tec = 3.63" - Kahr = 3.82" --- less than .2" ( it should be noted that the Kahr actually has a rear sight that sticks up above the frame where the Kel-Tec is just a groove intregal w/the slide. If you measure and ignore the rear sight's height, the measurement was just 3.71" for a difference of less than 1/10").

Slide Thickness: both pistol's slides were 3/4" wide.

Barrel Length: Kel-Tec = 2.62" - Kahr = 2.44" --- less than 2/10" (measured from breech to muzzle)

Loaded Weight: Kel-Tec = 11.5 oz. - Kahr = 14 oz. ( 6 + 1 rds of Silver-Tip ammo )

As you can see, they are pretty close to the same size but their ease of "shootability" is vastly different! The Kahr has better sights, much better trigger, feels better in your hand, noticeably less recoil and very high quality. It is heavier and twice as expensive.

I still like the little Kel-Tec as it has been super reliable and accurate and was inexpensive. It is however, a very difficult pistol to shoot effectively and requires some special "techniques" in order to be able to shoot it with a reasonable degree of accuracy. I think much of the same could be said of the little Ruger LCP since they look almost identical.

I've either owned or shot the Colt Govt .380, AMT Backup, Walther PPK/S and S&W Bodyguard pistols. The .380 ACP has always had some appeal to me as being just about the smallest calibre available in some of the smallest and most concealable handguns. All the above pistols had something I wasnt satisfied with. I've stuck with the little Kel-Tec for several years and will hang on to it. I think the little Kahr P380 will be another one I'll keep as so far, it has impressed me. I made the mistake of giving it to my wife though and she is very proud of it, showing it to all the family with pride. Dont think I'll be getting it back!

As always, I hope this will be of interest. Your comments & experiences welcomed & encouraged.


North said...

My wife carries the Ruger LCP and the Bodyguard 380. I really like the Bodyguard a lot over the LCP. (But I carry a .40)

BTW I added you to the GBBL:

Old NFO said...

Robert, it took about 200 rounds to actually break in my Kahr P-9. At least initially I also had problems with slide lock with 'target' loads, but full power loads have never given me any trouble. The trigger actually DOES get better with use too!

Anonymous said...

I had originally picked up the Ruger LCP but after trying the Kahr I sold the Ruger to a friend and never regretted it.

When I first bought the P380 it refused to feed anything, even ball. I spent 10 minutes cleaning up the leading edge of extractor and it's been flawless since then - approaching 1000 rounds now.

The rudimentary sights on the LCP coupled with my crappy eyesight made it hard to hit anything past 5 yards. The mild checkering on the grip frame had me re-adjusting my grip after every shot.

The sights on the Kahr let me make decent hits out to 25 yards and the aggressive checkering on the grips make it much easier to shoot.

The Kahr is roughly twice the price of either the Ruger or the Kel-tec 380's and it's worth every penny.

Paul said...

Try a Taurus TCP. DA trigger is excellent.