Click pictures for a larger version.
Slide locks open on an empty magazine.
Just got in a variety of Buffalo Bore ammunition.
Author's favorite 380 load.
Barnes XPB bullets as loaded by Buffalo Bore (left
& right) fired into ballistic gelatin at ten feet,
compared to conventional 95-grain Hollowpoint (center). All
three penetrated slightly over ten inches, after passing
through heavy denim.
Striker block safety prevents the weapon from firing
unless the trigger is held to the rear position.
It was just a bit over four years ago that I
reviewed the Kahr P380 pocket pistol.
At that time it was one of the best choices in a lightweight,
compact 380 ACP carry gun. Today, the P380 is as good as it ever
was, and is a dandy little pistol, but in my opinion, the new
CW380 shown here is a better choice for most of us. The CW380 is
the same size, weight, and quality of the P380. It has the same
wonderful Kahr-smooth trigger pull, and the same Kahr
reliability, but it sells for a much lower price. Kahr is able
to sell the CW380, like the pistols in the CM series, for a
lower price by making a few changes which make the CW
less-costly to manufacture, without sacrificing quality.
The CW380 uses standard rifling, instead of
the polygonal rifling of the higher-priced Kahr pistols.
Standard land-and-groove rifling has worked perfectly for over
two hundred years to impart a spin to stabilize the bullet in
flight, and it is the type of rifling used in probably at least
ninety-five percent of the weapons produced in the world today.
It works well in this Baby Kahr, and allows the pistol to sell
for less money. The sights on the CW pistols are also different,
but still are fine pistol sights, and better than most others
offered on small pocket pistols today. The way in which the
slide is marked is also a less-costly method, and is another
feature that allows the CW to sell for a lower price than the P
series pistols. Lastly, the CW380 only ships with one magazine
instead of two, again lowering the cost.
In the real world, the only one of the above
differences that concerns me as meaningful is the one fewer
magazine provided with the CW380. However, the CW380 sells for
$230 US less money than does the P380 as of the date of this
review, and that will buy about seven Kahr 380 magazines at my
dealer’s shop. The MSRP on the magazines are $40 US, but they
go for around $32 each. Even at full MSRP, you can buy five
mags, with enough money left over for a box of premium 380
ammunition. The CW380 is pretty much the same gun as the P380,
just at a price that is competitive with other quality 380
Critical specifications for the CW380 are
listed in the chart below. Weights are listed in ounces. Linear
dimensions are listed in inches. Trigger pull is listed in
pounds of resistance, as measured with my Lyman digital trigger
pull scale. Height includes sights and magazine floor plate.
Maximum width is measured across the top of the frame, and
includes the slide lock.
|Weight with Empty Magazine
||3 lbs., 12 oz.
||White Dot, Rear
I fired the CW380 with every
brand and type of 380 auto ammunition available to me to check
for reliable function. I fired a variety of ammunition over the
chronograph to check velocities, with the results listed in the
chart below. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (FPS).
Bullet weights are listed in grains. JHP is a jacketed
hollowpoint bullet. TAC-XP and DPX are Barnes hollow nose
homogenous copper bullets. FMJ is a full metal jacket roundnose
bullet. FP is a full metal jacket flat-nose bullet. PB is Cor-Bon
Pow’RBall. HC is a hard-cast flat-nose lead bullet.
Velocities were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea
level, ten feet from the muzzle, with an air temperature around
the fifty-one degree Fahrenheit mark, with thirty-five percent
|Buffalo Bore JHP
|Buffalo Bore FMJ
|Buffalo Bore HC
|Buffalo Bore TAC-XP +P
|Buffalo Bore JHP +P
|Buffalo Bore FMJ +P
|Buffalo Bore HC +P
The little Kahr is a pleasure to shoot. The
trigger pull is butter-smooth, and the shape of the trigger is
just right for pain-free shooting. Kahr got the trigger right.
Some others do not, and the result is a sore trigger finger when
shooting some of the 380 pocket guns on the market. Even after a
long session of firing ammunition through the CW380 for function
and velocity testing, the Kahr remained very comfortable to
shoot. Reliability with each type of ammunition tested was
perfect. Every round fed, fired, and ejected flawlessly, and the
slide never failed to lock open on an empty magazine. Plus P or
standard-pressure ammunition, it didn’t matter. The Kahr fed
it and spit it out. Accuracy was excellent. I fired the CW380
hand-held at targets from seven to twenty-five yards, and in
good light, the sights are very easy to use effectively. For
even better accuracy, and especially
for use in low light, I mounted a Crimson
Trace Laserguard laser sight on the little Kahr. The laser
sight that fits the P380 ( part number LG-433 ) also fit’s the
CW380, as the polymer frames are the same. The CT laser is very
easy and instinctive to use, and adds less than an half-ounce of
weight to the pistol. For me, the Crimson Trace laser is a “must
have” on a carry gun.
Any of the hollowpoint or the hard-cast
bullet loads listed above would be a good choice in this little
Kahr, but my favorite is the Buffalo Bore load that uses the
Barnes TAC-XP bullet. This bullet is homogenous copper, and
expands reliably, even when fired from a short barrel. It is
rated Plus P, but is easy to fire from the CW380. If you prefer
milder loads, Buffalo Bore now also offers a variety of
The CW380 has a manufacturer’s suggested
retail price as of today of only $419 US, pricing it
competitively with other quality 380 pocket pistols, but
offering Kahr quality and reliability. I did something with this
new CW380 that I have never done before. The invoice arrived the
same day as did the pistol. Kahr, like most other manufacturers,
sends out their firearms on a ninety-day consignment, and after
I do the review, I can either buy the weapon or return it. I
opened the box, looked at this Kahr, and immediately wrote the
check and mailed it in, before I ever fired this CW380. It isn’t
that I was in dire need of a 380 pocket gun. I have a few
already, but I knew that this little jewel was not going back to
Kahr, so I mailed the check without delay. I can’t recommend
any weapon higher than that.
The little Kahr CW380 is a great choice for a
pocket-sized 380 auto pistol. It is small enough and light
enough to always be within reach. It is reliable, accurate,
well-made, and made in the USA.
Check out this and other 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 the CW380 online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.
To order a Crimson Trace laser online, go to www.crimsontrace.com.
To order quality 380 ACP ammunition, go to www.buffalobore.com,
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Click pictures for a larger version.
CW380 comes with hard case, instructions,
Triggerguard lock, and one six-round magazine.
CW380 (left) compared to Jeff's Ruger LCP 380
Crimson Trace Laserguard.
Laser activation button.