Kahr CM40 Sub-Compact 40 Caliber Semi-Auto Pocket Pistol

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

March 1st, 2012



Click pictures for a larger version.



The Kahr CM40 holds six shots of 40 S&W ammunition.



CM40 comes with hard case, instructions, trigger lock, and one magazine.





Grip is integral with frame, and well-textured for a secure hold.



Magazine release (top), slide lock (bottom).



The CM40 is equipped with an excellent set of sights.






Striker lock prevents firing unless the trigger is pulled.



Ever since Kahr introduced their CM9 pocket pistol about a year ago, people have been asking for an equivalent pistol chambered for the 40 S&W cartridge. Kahr already produces the almost identical PM40, but like the comparison between the PM9 and the CM9, the CM40 is a lower-priced version of the dandy little PM40. The PM/CM pistols are Kahr’s smallest pistols that are chambered for the 9mm Luger and 40 S&W cartridges. All Kahr pistols are relatively thin, fit the hand well, and are easy to shoot. Last time I checked, Kahr produces more 40 caliber pistol variations than anyone else, with 27 different versions listed. Kahr has three basic sizes of pistols, none of which could be considered “large”. They are all thin and proportioned well, both to the cartridge and to the human hand. Kahr pistols are available with polymer, carbon steel, or stainless steel frames. Their lightest are built with a polymer frame, reinforced with steel where necessary. The new CM40 has a stainless slide and a polymer frame.

When the CM9 was introduced, it was and is a more affordable version of their PM9. The differences between the two pistols are mostly cosmetic, and using a different rifling design. Either rifling design will spin the bullet, and although the CM9 ships with one fewer magazine than does the PM9, the much lower price makes the CM a bargain, compared to the more expensive PM9.

The same thinking was applied to the new CM40. The slide markings are different, the rifling is different, and it ships with one magazine instead of the two magazines that are supplied with the PM40. However, the CM40, as of the date of this writing, has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of only $517 US while the PM40 has an MSRP of $786 US. To save you the trouble of searching for your calculator, that is a savings of $269. That is enough savings to buy six more magazines and a box of 40 S&W ammo. Even better, as most of us are not going to carry six spare magazines for our pocket pistol, buy one extra Kahr magazine and a Crimson Trace Laserguard. I am a big believer in a quality laser sight for a defensive pistol, and the smaller the gun, the more it needs the laser for accurate shooting. These small guns are built for defense, and a good laser, which comes on instantly as the weapon is drawn, helps the shooter to get an accurate shot onto the target quicker, in low light conditions.

The Kahr CM40 is about as small and light as it gets for a dependable 40 S&W semi-automatic pistol. It is sized perfectly to ride comfortably in a pants pocket. Specifications are listed in the chart below. Weight is listed in ounces. Trigger pull is listed in pounds of resistance, as measured on a Lyman digital trigger pull scale. Linear measurements are listed in inches. Weight includes the empty magazine. Height includes magazine base and sights.

Chambering 40 S&W
Weight with Empty Magazine 17.8 oz.
Trigger Pull 4.6 lbs.
Barrel Length 3.07"
Barrel Diameter 0.548"
Rifling 1 in 16", RH
Overall Height 4.25"
Overall Length 5.62"
Slide Thickness 0.94"
Grip Thickness 0.945"
Trigger Reach 2.45"
Magazine Capacity 5 Rounds (6 & 7-Round Available)
Magazines Supplied 1

Velocity testing was done at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level. Range temperatures hovered around the fifty-five degree Fahrenheit mark. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second. Bullet weights are listed in grains. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint bullet. DPX is a homogenous copper hollow cavity bullet. PB is Cor-Bon Pow’RBall, a specialty hollowpoint bullet with a nylon ball inserted into the hollow nose. FMJ is a full metal jacket bullet. Velocities were recorded at a distance of ten feet from the muzzle, and are the average of several shots for each load tested.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Cor-Bon DPX 140 1129
Cor-Bon JHP 135 1188
Cor-Bon PB 135 1232
Double Tap JHP 135 1192
Double Tap Barnes 125 1275
Buffalo Bore JHP 155 1187
Buffalo Bore JHP 180 1009
Buffalo Bore FMJ 180 1002
Black Hills JHP 180 909
Stryker JHP 180 870

The Kahr CM40 shot very well. As expected, reliability was one hundred percent. The little Kahr fed, fired, and ejected every cartridge perfectly. Recoil was snappy with the Buffalo Bore, Cor-Bon, and Double Tap ammo, but controllable. A small pistol like this, firing the 40 S&W, is going to have some recoil, as expected. However, the little Kahr is not painful to shoot, and it packs a lot of power into a very small package. Like all Kahr pistols, the CM40 is expertly crafted. Quality of material and manufacture is readily apparent. The Kahr design allows for a thinner design than most, yet the pistol fits the hand well. The CM40 is a very affordable, small, lightweight, powerful, and reliable pocket pistol, and I highly recommend it.

Check out the extensive line of Kahr firearms and accessories online at www.kahr.com.

For the location of a Kahr dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com

To order a Kahr pistol online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.

To order quality 40 S&W ammunition, go to www.buffalobore.com, www.luckygunner.com, www.theamericanmarksman.com, and www.doubletapammo.com.

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.







CM40 compared to Ruger's LCP 380





Disassembly requires no tools.