Initial thoughts on Kahr Arms’ new PM9 with LCI and External Safety

The Kahr Arms’ PM9 has been among the best concealed carry options since it introduction, but because of the draconian Massachusetts gun laws, Kahr has never been able to sell this pistol in their home state.

To make the pistols Massachusetts compliant, Kahr added 3 new “features.”

1) Loaded Chamber Indicator

While the addition of a loaded chamber indicator is pretty benign, I think that Kahr’s implementation of it is less than ideal.

What should be a small unobtrusive raised bump when a round is in the chamber (which should be ignored by the user because of rule number 1), Kahr has labeled it with significant lawyer-ese.  The indicator has the word “INDICATOR” etched into it in red and the clean lines of the slide now include the statement “Warning! Loaded When Indicator Is Up”

2) Magazine Disconnect

I am actually a fan of magazine disconnects for new shooters that haven’t yet learned that removing a magazine doesn’t unload the gun, but a 14oz 9mm is not a beginners gun.

Once a shooter has internalized the four rules of gun safety, I believe that it should be assumed that if the finger is on the trigger the shooter knows the condition of their weapon and intends for it to go off.  The belief is strengthened by the fact that this is a defensive weapon and that a struggle for the gun is possible.

2) External Safety

Partially because of affects of stress in a critical incident, I am not a fan of a manual safety on a defensive weapon; although I do understand the drawl of being able to turn the gun “off” under stress or for a new shooter  I am also aware that it is possible to incorporate disengaging a well designed safety into the presentation, but this is not a well designed safety.

A John Browning designed 1911 safety requires the shooter to move a relatively large safety lever approximately 15deg to disengage.  The new Kahr Arms safety is small, placed too far back to be easily reached and requires it to be move approximately 75deg, forcing the shooter to actually push it forward and then down around its pivot point.

In addition to the safety being non-ergonomic, it activates like a Beretta and allows the trigger to be pulled.  I am not a fan of this implementation because it is my belief that in a critical incident the user may not be able to identify that the weapon is not firing and even if they do, they may not be able to diagnose why under stress, a locked trigger can give the shooter a specific tactile clue.

The new model is not completely without benefit however; Kahr has significantly improved the trigger on this model and everyone I spoke to at the show asked if it would be made available on the other models… Unfortunately the answer is “No.”

The “Enhanced Trigger” has been shortened by 33%, with the same pull weight and signature smooth double action pull.  This change corrects on of the biggest issues most shooters have with small pocket-able 9mm’s, where the trigger breaks so far back that the shooter can have difficulty manipulating it.

Kahr will initially be offering the Massachusetts compliant models (with the enhanced trigger) across the country in the P9, PM9 and PM40 models and if I were able to overlook the implementation of the safety or if the enhanced trigger were available on non-safety models I might seriously consider upgrading to a newer PM9… the new “enhanced trigger” is that much of an improvement.



  1. says

    I grew up in MA and bought my first guns in the state. Its not even the laws that make things so ridiculous, rather the Attorney General has a list of approved guns and enforces policies that make things so horrible. I’m glad to have moved out.

    What makes these policies worse is that mag disconnects and LCIs are accidents waiting to happen. Many guns require trigger pulls to disassemble (i.e. Glocks and the Ruger Mk3). Inserting a magazine with rounds in it could cause an unwitting discharge in the hands of someone who doesn’t have firearm safety fully ingrained. A LCI could falsely indicate an empty chamber if it malfunctions so trusting this is just as bad. Guns without these require good habits. Forming bad habits on ‘safer’ guns only cause more problems for the users.

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