Kahr PM45 .45 ACP Big Bore Pocket Pistol

 

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

May 14th, 2008

 

 

 

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Just about five months ago I reviewed Kahrís tiny polymer-frame PM9 pocket pistol. Like all Kahr pistols, it proved to be a high quality, reliable little auto pistol. Kahr pistols have a good reputation for reliability and innovative design, and the PM9 offered impressive performance in a very small package. However, some want a bigger cartridge than the 9mm, and Kahr also offers their PM model chambered for the .40 S&W cartridge. Now Kahr has upped the ante a bit more by offering the PM45, which packs .45 ACP power into a very small package.

Like the PM9, the slightly larger PM45 has a plastic frame with a steel insert which supports and guides the slide during its cycle. The magazines are stainless steel, and hold five rounds of .45 ACP ammunition, for a total loaded capacity of six rounds. The design of the Kahrís feed ramp is offset to allow the trigger bar to ride higher in the frame, resulting in the pistol sitting lower in the hand for a superior feel and excellent recoil control. The surface on the frame is textured for a good grasp without being abrasive to the skin or clothing. Running my hand over the surface of the slide, no sharp edges were found, giving the pistol that feel of a used bar of soap. Nothing is there to cut the hand, or to gouge into the flesh while carried concealed.

The PM45 is small and slim for a .45 ACP pistol. The barrel length measures 3.136 inches. The slide width is just a fuzz over one inch. The maximum width, across the slide latch, measures 1.165 inches. The maximum height, including magazine base pad and sights is 4.85 inches. The overall length is 5.85 inches. The reach from the top of the backstrap to the smooth trigger is only 2.51 inches. The trigger pull measures a very smooth four and three-quarters pounds. The magazine release is placed exactly where God intended it to be, just behind the trigger guard, and it works well for both right-handed and left-handed shooters. The PM45 comes packed in a hard case with a trigger lock and two stainless steel magazines. Each magazine holds five rounds and wears a base pad that serves as a rest for the little finger. The PM45, like other Kahr pistols, is a striker-fired design, and thus has no hammer protruding from the back. The safety is internal on the Kahr, and in use one just points the gun and pulls the trigger. The Kahr slips easily into a pants pocket, but is perhaps best carried in a slim inside-the-pants holster for maximum concealment. The Cross Breed Supertuck would be an excellent choice to carry the PM45 well-hidden from view. Weighing in at only 19.2 ounces empty, the little PM45 is a joy to carry.

I fired the PM45 with a variety of high performance ammunition, and also with my semi-wadcutter handload. The only ammo to give problems was the handload, but after a few dozen rounds, it also worked flawlessly in the little pistol. Every brand and type of factory ammunition that I tried functioned perfectly in the PM45, and turned in respectable velocities. Chronograph testing was done at a distance of twelve feet over the sensors of a Chrony Master Beta Model chronograph. Air temperature was in the seventy-five degree range, at an elevation of approximately 400 feet above sea level. Velocities are listed in the chart below in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weights are listed in grains. JHP is jacketed hollowpoint. EPR is a specialty high performance type bullet loaded by Extreme Shock. SWC is a handloaded lead semi-wadcutter bullet. DPX is the Barnes all-copper hollowpoint bullet loaded by Cor-Bon. PB is a specialty hollowpoint bullet with a nylon ball nose loaded by Cor-Bon, called PowRBall.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Buffalo Bore JHP 185 1015
Buffalo Bore JHP 200 930.7
Extreme Shock EPR 185 841.9
Cor-Bon JHP 165 1118
Cor-Bon PB 165 1060
Cor-Bon JHP 185 979.9
Cor-Bon DPX 185 960.4
Cor-Bon JHP 200 961.5
Cor-Bon JHP 230 853.3
Handload SWC 200 800.5

As noted above, functioning was perfect with all of the high performance ammo. Accuracy was also very good. I did not try the PM45 for accuracy from a bench rested position, as that would be outside the realm of the pistolís intended purpose. The little Kahr is a fighting pistol, made for defending oneís life in the most up close and personal of social conflicts. I did fire the Kahr offhand at varying distances, and it proved to be more accurate than I had expected. Handheld standing at fifteen yards, the PM45 grouped my handloads into one and three-quarters inches, and did almost as well with the hotter factory ammo. The only thing that was a bit annoying about the little pistol, is that it had the habit of throwing the empty cases onto my forehead. Other than that, no complaints at all. The sights are sturdy, easy to see, and have tritium inserts for visibility in low-light conditions. I prefer a good set of tritium night sights on a fighting pistol, and Kahr offers the PM45 with or without tritium inserts. It is worth the extra money to opt for these. Most gunfights take place at night, and I am glad to see that Kahr puts a good set of sights on this small pistol.

Small, lightweight auto pistols are getting better all the time, and the Kahr PM45 is very likely the smallest and best pocket-sized .45 ACP on the market. It is thin, smooth, reliable, and accurate. It fits the human hand so well, and is simple and easy to operate. It offers six shots of .45 ACP power in a pistol that is as compact as a five-shot .38 Special. It is made in the USA, and is available now.

Check out the complete line of Kahr pistols 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 the PM45 online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.

To order any of the high performance ammunition listed here, go to www.buffalobore.com, www.corbon.com, or www.extremeshock.com.

Jeff Quinn

For a list of dealers where you can buy this gun, go to: To buy this gun online, go to:

 

The PM45's compact size is evident compared to a folding knife (top) and a Smith & Wesson Model 342PD J-frame .38 (center & bottom).

 

 

 

 

The compact PM45 disappears in the pants pocket, or slips easily into the waistband.

 

 

Captured dual spring system.

 

 

 

 

Feed ramp is offset for the trigger bar.

 

 

1-3/4" 15-yard offhand group.

 

 

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Click pictures for a larger version.

 

Kahr PM45 .45 ACP big bore pocket pistol.

 

 

 

 

The PM45 comes with hard case, padlock, and two magazines.

 

 

 

 

Always a welcome feature on a fighting pistol: Tritium night sights.

 

 

Slide release (top) and magazine release (bottom).

 

 

Trigger travel is only about one-half inch.

 

 

Large extractor gets a good hold on the case rim.

 

 

The PM45 strips easily without tools.

 

 

Case head is well supported.

 

 

Workmanship is clean inside and out.