I still love Kahr handguns. Their form. Their function. The ideas they represent (the guns, not the company - no judgement on corporate politics here). The brand rose in popularity as an unintended consequence of the 1994 "Assault Weapons" ban, which limited magazine capacity to 10 rounds or less. anti-gun politicians, who thought the legislation would mark the "start of the ending" for traditional pistol manufacturers, spurred a growth in a forgotten facet of the industry. Instead of strolling off into the sunset, the manufacturers began re-focusing on the carry gun. Advances in metallurgy made since the 60's meant that they could actually build pretty good small semi autos that shot real cartridges this time around. Kahr was well positioned to take full advantage of the political environment.
The company was small, nimble, and most importantly, based in the USA (which has laws on the books restricting the importation of small handguns, but no such laws governing their stateside manufacture). I'm not a Kahr historian (and I'll admit being too lazy to open another tab in my browser right now), but I believe the K9 was the first model off the line. Small, solid stainless steel. Heavy as hell, and tiny to boot. The gun is an absolute dream to shoot. It was followed up by other stainless models, and finally, Kahr's move into polymer frames. Once the subcompact PM9 hit the scene, it became a smash hit for Kahr and a black eye for people who would prefer an unarmed populace.
If you've read this far, you'll know that this isn't a review. I was just thinking about how Ruger, Glock, Smith & Wesson, and Walther are taking all of the "small gun" press 20+ years after the fact. Even today, I still prefer the Kahr platform to all of them (I haven't shot the G43 yet). The newer offerings on the market are really nice...don't get me wrong. There's just no denying that the Kahr lineup stands tall against any of them. I personally own three Kahrs (K9, P9, and PM9), and I still recommend them FIRST when someone asks me for advice on a small carry gun. They're probably one of the only gun platforms remaining with a "break in" period specifically recommended in the user manual. Rumor and here-say would indicate that they're finicky when it comes to ammo, but I've never had a malfunction from either gun at any time.
Fellas, if you're looking to buy a gun for your wife and you don't want to ask her which one she wants, just buy a K9. It's heavy, which makes it very soft shooting for its size. Even If she hates it, you'll love it.
Just for you guys - I pulled two of them out for a photo shoot the other day while testing out a new camera. enjoy!