October 2009

Three More Ankle Guns: Kahr, Springfield, and Walther 40s

Kahr’s $786 PM40, Walther’s $713 PPS, and the $1329 Springfield Armory EMP are three very different—but ultimately all very good—choices for deep concealed carry.

In the July 2009 issue of Gun Tests, we evaluated three small revolvers chambered for 38 Special. These guns were chosen specifically as candidates for concealment inside a holster strapped to the ankle. In this test we will look at three semiautomatic pistols suitable for ankle carry or other deep concealment. Each of the guns in this test are chambered for 9mm or 40 S&W, but we went with the bigger round here. Our test guns are the $786 Kahr PM40 No. 4043 40 S&W, Walther PPS No. WAP10002 40 S&W, $713; and the Springfield Armory Enhanced Micro Pistol No. PI9240LP, $1329. Despite their small sizes, these guns are as pricey as many popular full-size models. But if it comes down to drawing a gun from deep concealment, at least you can take comfort in knowing you’re not about to depend on a cheap pistol. In fact, all three guns completed our tests without malfunction.

For testing in the summer heat we arrived at Phil Oxley’s Impact Zone, located in Monaville, Texas, at daybreak (theimpactzonerange.com). The shade of a cypress tree and a steady breeze helped us keep cool as we practiced firing each gun standing offhand and from the bench before attempting shots of record. Then we fired five-shot groups from sandbag support to establish accuracy from the 10-yard line. We also engaged two different action tests that we hoped would tell us more about each gun’s capability when fired standing without support.

First, we tried our familiar test of delivering two shots to the center of an IPSC metric target followed by a single shot to the head area of its humanoid silhouette. Center mass on the target consisted of an A-zone measuring 6.0 inches wide and 11.0 inches tall. The head area measured 6.25 inches by 6.75 inches overall, with another A-zone measuring 4.0 inches by 2.0 inches to designate a preferred area of impact. After an audible start signal, the elapsed time of each shot was displayed by an electronic timer. Ten separate strings of fire were recorded. Test distance was 7 yards.

Our second action test also required three shots per draw but only to the center of the target. Instead of holding the gun in both hands, the shooter utilized only his strong hand (right hand only for a right-handed shooter or left hand only for the left-handed shooter). In each case the start position was holding the gun pulled back toward the chest with little more than the muzzle at the bottom of the shooter’s vision. Upon start signal, the gun was thrust toward the target.

Our list of test ammunition consisted of four different loads. For our bench session we fired Winchester USA’s 165-grain FMJ rounds and two choices from Black Hills. They were remanufactured loads (sold in blue boxes) topped with a 180-grain FMJ bullet and Black Hills new manufacture 180-grain jacketed hollowpoints packed in red boxes. For our action test, we relied upon Black Hills new manufacture 155-grain JHP rounds to help us paint a picture of how each gun might perform filled with defensive ammunition when rapid fire was called for. Here is what we learned.

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