May 2011

Two More Small 9mms: Solo Goes Solo Against Kahr’s CW9

Kimber’s Solo Carry lives in the tiny-nine world by virtue of its petite size. We acquired one of the $747 Solo pistols and tested it against another nine we’ve never tested, Kahr’s $549 CW9.

The trend for making smaller and smaller pistols continues, with new guns by major makers coming out every few months, it seems. We just tested the supposedly small, but actually midsize by modern standards, new Ruger LC9 against the established Kel-Tec PF-9, with the latter coming out the winner. Many 9mm handguns now come a lot smaller than that, with the Kahr PM9 and the Rohrbaugh being among the smallest. Yet the Kel-Tec PF-9 was thinner and lighter than the small Kahr, while still being large enough to grasp and shoot easily, if somewhat attention-getting on recoil.

Now Kahr has come out with a lower-priced version of the PM9 called the CM9, and we’ll have one of those in hand shortly. Meantime, Kimber has announced its Solo Carry, which is in the tiny-nine world by virtue of its size. We acquired one of the Kimber Solo pistols ($747 MSRP) , and in our eagerness to test it, put it up against another nine we’ve never tested, Kahr’s CW9 ($549 MSRP). The big question we had was, Just how small can a gun become yet still be manageable when loaded with serious ammunition? In the course of our testing another question arose, and that concerns how strong the shooter has to be to manipulate the small guns with stout-enough springs to control hot loads.

We tested them with four types of ammunition: Black Hills 147-grain FMC, Winchester 115-grain BEB, Remington 115-grain JHP, and Federal 124-grain Hydra-Shok JHP. Here is what we found.

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