September 25, 2023
Kahr Arms S9 Handgun
Kahr Arms S9 Handgun as part of an EDC Loadout.

Way back in 2018, Kahr Firearms unveiled a new-then pistol called the S9. At that time, this was a much-needed upgrade to their already outstanding line of concealed-carry handguns. They took the best features of their C9 and P9 series and added front cocking serrations as well as a Picatinny rail.

Has that gun stood the test of time? Let us take a look. Kahr sent me a sample to test.

Kahr S9 Handgun

Kahr Arms S9 Handgun

There is a lot of good and careful thought that went into the design of these pistols. My favorite is the overall smoothness of the outside. You would be hard-pressed to find a burr, sharp edge or anything else compromising the slide on a Kahr.

The narrow polymer grip has a mix and match of mild texturing on the sides and a more pronounced texture on the front and back. The best feature of the S9 has to be the addition of the accessory rail.

Some folks think a flashlight on a carry gun is overkill or unnecessary. I could see that point if we were talking about 1000 lumens lights or old-school weapon-mounted lights (WML) that added too much length and bulk.

Kahr S9 in 9mm

Today, that is not the case; modern weapon-mounted lights (WML) have gotten smaller and more efficient. I do not leave home without a pistol sporting a WML and a stand-alone light. If you do not feel the same way, there are plenty of Kahr pistols out there without the rail.

That said, there is not a whole lot of real estate on the railed dust cover (this is the forward part of the frame in front of the trigger guard). Your 600 Lumens light and laser combo may not fit on here. Also, you will need to go the custom route for a holster with a WML installed.

If you are still against the notion of a small light or laser, a training aid such as the Mantis X will fit perfectly.

Kahr S9
Kahr S9

The Kahr Arms pistols sport an offset barrel lug that positions the barrel beside the trigger mechanism instead of on top. This gives the shooter a lower bore axis, which transfers the recoil in a straight line and gives the shooter better control of the pistol for faster follow-up shots.

The trigger is a bit on the heavy side at about 7 pounds, but it is smooth and crisp. I compare it more to a good double-action revolver as opposed to your run-of-the-mill striker-fired pistol.

The matte-stainless finish on the slide makes for a nice two-tone look, and Kahr added forward cocking serrations to this model. For years, I railed against them as they encouraged the dangerous practice of putting your hand over the muzzle, and I thought they ruined the classic lines of too many pistols. However, I must admit that they are sort of growing on me.

Arachnigrip Slide Spider for Kahr S9
Kahr Arms S9 with an old school Arachnigrip Slide Spider,

Range Time

At the range, the pistol functioned flawlessly.  Kahr pistols are somewhat unique due to a self-cleaning extractor that ensures reliable function by pushing away dirt, unburnt powder, and the like. When I shot my first Kahr years ago, I was initially concerned due to the tolerances being so tight and the very tight look of the internals. A company representative informed me about this feature, and it is something I have noticed on every variant I have shot or owned.

At the ten-yard line, I shot my best 5-shot string with that ammo measuring 1.73 inches at its widest point using Winchester White Box 115-grain FMJ.  Hornady Critical Defense 115 grain FTX performed better-giving groups that averaged 1.52”.

I think the three-dot sights helped in this regard; the last Kahr pistol I fired had quite a different sight picture if I remember correctly.

Kahr Arms S9
Kahr Arms S9

Kahr Arms S9 Final Thoughts

I have always been pleased with the compact concealed-carry handguns offered by Kahr. The Kahr S9 holds true to everything I always found good about the design, including their look, feel, accuracy, and reliability with the added benefits of the rail and of course, the front cocking serrations.

As always, try one before you buy one if you can. Some people may find these lightweight handguns to kick a bit too hard, and this little guy is a hair under a pound in weight.

KAHR S9 Specs:

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 7+1
  • Operation: DAO striker fired
  • Barrel: 3.6″, conventional rifling; 1-10 right-hand twist
  • Length O/A: 5.9″
  • Height: 4.5″
  • Slide Width: .90″
  • Weight: Pistol 15.8 ounces, Magazine 1.9 ounces
  • Grips: Textured polymer
  • Sights: Drift adjustable white Two-dot rear sight, pinned in polymer front sight
  • Finish: Black polymer frame with matte stainless steel slide
  • Magazines: 2 – 7 rd, Stainless
  • MSRP: $477
  • Website:

About Mike Searson

Mike Searson’s career as a shooter began as a Marine Rifleman at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire adult life as a Gunsmith, Ballistician, Consultant, Salesman, and Author and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1989.

Mike has written over 2000 articles for several magazines, websites, and newsletters, including Blade, RECOIL, OFF-GRID, Tactical Officer, SWAT, Tactical World, Gun Digest,, and the US Concealed Carry Association as well as AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

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