Skip to main content

A New Kahr

A New Kahr

The new CW45 offers concealed-carry punch at an affordable price.The new CW45 offers concealed-carry punch at an affordable price.


I'm a proponent of double-action-only triggers on defensive handguns, and some of the most user friendly of the many DAO pistols on today's market are made by the Kahr Arms Company. The trigger stroke on Kahr pistols is smooth, light and stage-free. This is accomplished by means of a system in which a trigger stroke of approximately 0.7 inch rotates a cam that then unlocks the spring-loaded striker safety and draws the striker to full cock position before releasing it to fire the pistol.


There are no external safety devices on Kahr pistols. Instead, a striker block immobilizes the partially cocked striker from any movement, and it can be deactivated only by pulling the trigger through a complete stroke.

Locking is via the barrel hood bearing on the front edge of ejection port. Upon firing, the slide moves rearward and a cam on the barrel lug pulls the barrel down, unlocking it from the slide. The slide continues rearward, extracting and ejecting the spent case.


KAHR ARMS: CW45


Type: DAO semiauto

Caliber: .45 ACP

Capacity:6-round magazine

Weight: 21.7 oz.

Barrel length: 3.64 in.

Overall length: 6.4 in.

Height: 4.8 in.

Width: 1 in.

Slide: matte stainless steel

Grip: textured polymer

Sights: white bar rear, white dot front

Price: $606

Manufacturer: Kahr Arms,508-795-3919

A recoil spring, located on a full-length guide rod under the barrel, pulls the slide forward, stripping a round from the magazine and chambering it. As the slide goes into battery, the barrel and slide are locked together by the barrel hood moving up into the ejection port.

Kahr pistols use an offset barrel with the trigger mechanism beside it, rather than under it, to provide a frame design with a high grip close to the centerline of the bore, which provides enhanced recoil control while reducing muzzle flip and felt recoil A self-cleaning extractor forces powder residue away from the extractor to prevent fouling buildup, and a rather impressive ejector throws spent cases well clear of the pistol.

Kahr introduced its first polymer frame pistol, the P9, in 2000. The P9 was soon followed by a line of full-size, compact and subcompact 9mm and .40 pistols. To satisfy the fans of the most popular large-bore pistol cartridge of all time, next in line were the P45, TP45 and PM45 chambered for, you guessed it, the .45 ACP. The most recent additions to its line of polymer pistols is the CW45.

While it bears a strong family resemblance to the P45 and uses the same textured polymer frame (Kahr pistols have a snag-free exterior, a nice feature for a pistol meant to be carried and drawn from concealment) the CW45 is intended as an entry-level or economy model. It's priced at $200 less than the P series .45s.

For this reason there are certain features that differ from the P series, the most obvious being the slide. To keep cost down, the exterior of the slide has fewer machining operations, resulting in a more slab-sided appearance, while the front sight is pinned in place rather than using a dovetail cut as on the P series. There are also fewer markings, and these are engraved rather than rollmarked.

The polymer grip frame is nicely checkered and textured to provide a non-slip purchase. The CW45's slide stop is produced by a metal-injection-molding process; on the P series it's a machined part. The barrel on the CW45 has conventional rifling, as opposed to the P series' polygonal rifling.

The positioning of the CW45's slide stop lever and magazine release catch contributes to a smooth outline for snag-free draws.

While none of these changes lessen the practicality of the pistol, they combine to reduce the price, freeing up money that could be spent on accessories and--most important--practice ammo.

I have been a fan of Kahr pistols since they first hit the market, and for the past few years one of my regular carry guns has been a PM9. This is especially true when I dress in a manner that precludes carrying a larger handgun, and since here in North Carolina we have eight months of summer and four months when the sunbathing is poor, I tend to dress light.

Upon first examination of the CW45, I didn't get all that excited. I mean, to be perfectly honest about it, a Kahr is a Kahr. Every Kahr pistol operates in the same exact manner; the controls are in the same locations, and the DAO triggers have the same excellent pulls.


Accuracy Results: KAHR CW45

.45 ACP BulletWeight (gr.) MuzzleVelocity (fps) AverageGroup (in.)
Federal Hydra-Shok1651,0401.80
Cor-Bon +P DPX1851,0322.13
Black Hills FMJ2307772.50
Winchester SXT2308522.25

Notes: Accuracy is the average of four, five-shot groups fired from an MTM Predator rest at 15 yards. Velocity is the average of five rounds measured with a Chrony chronograph 15 feet from the muzzle. Abbreviation: FMJ, full metal jacket.


What I found especially attractive about the CW45, though, was the checkered, hand-filling grip and how the pistol sat low in my hand. You can tell that a lot of thought went into the CW45's ergonomics because when I lifted it to eye level it was pointing where I was looking.

And the sights get my wholehearted approval because I believe that the white dot (front) and bar (rear) system allows the fastest sight alignment of any setup on the market today.

Last, the supplied six-round magazine fell free when the easy-to-reach catch was pressed--empty or loaded, slide forward or locked open.

Since the Kahr's purpose in life is to be a close-range, defensive pistol, accuracy testing was conducted at an intermediate 15 yards from an MTM Predator rest. Considering my past experience with Kahr pistols, I should not have been surprised at the level of accuracy that the CW45 displayed, but I was.

While it showed a preference for Federal's fast-stepping Hydra-Shok load, everything I stuffed into the magazine shot to point of aim and produced groups running in size from 1.63 to 2.75 inches.

After chronographing the four loads, I got down to the more serious (and fun) part of the handgun evaluation process. I belted on a Galco Yaqui belt slide holster and dual mag pouch and, after loading up several spare magazines, I proceeded to run the CW45 through the following offhand drills on a pair of D-1 targets.

Drill 1 Three yards. Draw pistol and fire three rounds on each target with an unsupported (one handed) grip. Perform a combat reload and repeat twice.

Drill 2 Seven yards. Draw pistol and double tap each target with a supported grip. Re-holster and repeat three times.

Drill 3 Ten yards. Draw pistol and fire six rounds, slow aimed fire, on the first target. Reload and repeat on the second target.

Despite the fact that it was firing large, heavy bullets--some at pretty impressive velocities--out of a lightweight pistol, the CW45 handled very well. Felt recoil, while stiff, was very controllable, and I was able to make fast, accurate follow-up shots with no problems. I could reach both the slide stop and magazine release without moving the pistol around in my hand to any noticeable degree, and the beveled magazine well allowed smooth, fumble-free reloads.

Kahr pistols feature a massive claw extractor and monster ejector to ensure 100 percent reliability.

This expenditure of ammunition produced a pair of targets with every single round inside the confines of their respective X and 10 rings. No complaints here.

The only complaint I did have about the pistol was a relatively minor one: The supplied six-round magazine feed lips had sharp edges, and if I wasn't careful when loading them I scraped my thumb and fingers rather painfully. (I received another CW45 magazine at a later date, and the feed lips had been reshaped to correct this problem).

I used the CW45 for several weeks as my regular carry gun and found it easy to conceal and tote around all day in the Galco holster. I was hardly aware that I was packing a .45 under my vest.

I believe the CW45 would be an excellent choice for those fans of large caliber handguns who need--or just want--a lightweight, easily concealable, fine shooting pistol chambered for the most popular big bore pistol cartridge of all time.

Whether you are a police detective, armed professional, licensed civilian or homeowner, the CW45 should be capable of doing whatever you want or need a pistol to do--at an economical price.

The white dot/bar sight system allows very fast alignment. The rear sight is cut and angled to reduce glare.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Going To The Range

Going To The Range

Jim and Scott show you how to make each trip to the shooting range a quality experience.

KelTec CMR30 22WMR Review - Compact, Versatile & Fun to Shoot

KelTec CMR30 22WMR Review - Compact, Versatile & Fun to Shoot

Designed for lightweight, low recoil accuracy, the CMR30 .22 WMR features a nice, single-action trigger, ambidextrous dual non-reciprocating operating handles, ambidextrous safety and heel catch magazine release. The KelTec CMR30 is a .22 Magnum carbine that holds 30 rounds in each of its two flush-fit magazines. That's a lot of firepower for a 3.8-pound, semi-auto, collapsible truck gun. It comes out of the box as you see it, including Magpul sights and ambidextrous, non-reciprocating dual operating handles. She's a straight blow-back tack driver that delivers a ton of fun.

Federal Premium Punch Defensive Handgun Ammo: Reviewed & Tested

Federal Premium Punch Defensive Handgun Ammo: Reviewed & Tested

Handguns editor Scott Rupp fires some Federal Punch .380 defensive handgun ammo into ballistics gel the range for a performance test run.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

According to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a lawsuit againstJudge Postpones Oral Arguments to Stop California Microstamping Law 2nd Amendment

Judge Postpones Oral Arguments to Stop California Microstamping Law

Handguns Online Staff - May 07, 2014

According to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a lawsuit...

With the introduction of the XD-M Elite line of pistols, Springfield Armory one-ups itself.Springfield Armory XD-M Elite Precision Review Reviews

Springfield Armory XD-M Elite Precision Review

James Tarr - August 21, 2020

With the introduction of the XD-M Elite line of pistols, Springfield Armory one-ups itself.

If you're in the market for a 17-round, compact .22LR pistol that's feature packed, then the P17 is definitely an option for you.KelTec P17 22LR Pistol – Feature Packed, Accurate & Fun to Shoot Rimfire

KelTec P17 22LR Pistol – Feature Packed, Accurate & Fun to Shoot

Handguns Staff - August 14, 2020

If you're in the market for a 17-round, compact .22LR pistol that's feature packed, then the...

While some modifications require an experienced gunsmith, the average shooter can install most parts in just minutes.
Instead, the curtain-rod engineer with a8 Popular Drop-In Glock Mods Accessories

8 Popular Drop-In Glock Mods

Dusty Gibson - July 17, 2013

While some modifications require an experienced gunsmith, the average shooter can install most...

See More Trending Articles

More Compact

The Ruger Security 9 Compact 9mm (model # 3818) is a shootable, dependable gun with a low price tag.Ruger Security 9 Compact Review Compact

Ruger Security 9 Compact Review

J. Scott Rupp

The Ruger Security 9 Compact 9mm (model # 3818) is a shootable, dependable gun with a low...

Mossberg dives into the CCW market with the MC1sc 9mm pistol (#89001), their first striker-fired semiautomatic.Mossberg MC1sc 9mm Pistol Review Semi-Auto

Mossberg MC1sc 9mm Pistol Review

Brad Fitzpatrick

Mossberg dives into the CCW market with the MC1sc 9mm pistol (#89001), their first...

Pinfires and some other handguns come in small sizes, typically measuring about an inch in length and weighing less than an ounce. One that is hard to beat is the 2mm pinfire. Some fire a projectile at a listed 1,000 fps, producing a single foot-pound of energy.Tiny Pinfire Pistols - Old School Compact

Tiny Pinfire Pistols - Old School

Bob Shell - February 27, 2019

Pinfires and some other handguns come in small sizes, typically measuring about an inch in...

The M2 version of Walther's CCP boasts new features while keeping those that made it a great carry gun.Walther CCP M2 Review Compact

Walther CCP M2 Review

J. Scott Rupp - October 23, 2018

The M2 version of Walther's CCP boasts new features while keeping those that made it a great...

See More Compact

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Handguns App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Handguns subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now