Time to put aside other concerns and thank God for the blessings He has given you. Let’s spend some quality time with our family, friends, and neighbors. Preps can wait ’till tomorrow.
Be Safe. Be Prepared.
One of the fastest growing market segments in the firearms industry in the past few years has been the compact, concealed-carry pistol and even the sub-compact .380 caliber ‘pocket pistols’. While I own one of these diminutive pocket gems (mine’s a Kel-Tec P3AT), I prefer the power of larger, more powerful round and the added accuracy of a longer barrel in my concealed carry firearm. This year, I’ve pretty thoroughly chronicled my experience with the Taurus PT 709 Slim I purchased several months ago. A quick glance back into the archives of this site will lead you to my writings about my previous experiences with this gun. I will summarize those writings in a few sentences for those who choose not to decend, lantern in hand, the creaky, dust-covered steps of the archives.
My PT709 Slim was an absolute dream of a CCW gun for the first 3oo rounds or so at the range. The trigger was crisp and the actual pull was short and predictable (once you got used to the longish ‘dead-space’ in the action). It was reasonably accurate for a three-or-so inch barreled 9mm although it did tend to shoot a tad low. It just fit my hand like it was made for me and I loved the futuristic, angular look of the thing. Then, the light-strike FTFs (Failure To Fire) started. Not an excessive number, mind you, but enough to reconsider it as my carry weapon. After all, the weapon you choose as your means of personal defense should elicit zero doubt in your mind that it is going to function flawlessly if you ever need to use it. and frankly, although I loved the gun, the Slim did not yet earn my trust. I sent it back to Taurus after talking a few times with a technician about the light primer strikes, and in 6 weeks, the Slim was back in my hands and my gun safe – along side a brutish Kahr CW40 I bought in the sexy Slim’s absence. Hey, I mean, a man has needs, you know?
Why the Kahr? Simple. In every discussion I’ve ever heard about dependable, concealable pistols, Kahr was always highly praised as being both. I always picked one up at the gun show and hefted it, but the price tag always gave me second thoughts. I know, I know. . what price do you put on your life? But, hey – I’m a teacher. we aren’t exactly rolling in disposable income, you know, so price always matters to me. Invariably, I sighed, and put the Kahr down. Until I discovered the CW line of Kahr pistols. These guns, available in 9mm, 40 S&W, and .45 ACP were built with the same Kahr dependability, but lacked the finer finishing touches that distinguished Kahrs from the more prosaic firearms. Where other Kahrs have a match-grade polygonal rifling in their barrels, the CW line has standard rifling. Regular Kahrs have finely machined slides, a machined slide-stop lever and drift adjustable front sights, the CWs have simple, engraved slides, injection molded slide-stops, and a fixed front sight. Sure my CW40 lacks the beautiful sculpting of the PM40 and came with one less magazine, but I got the vaunted Kahr dependability and workmanship while saving nearly $200 off a standard 40 S&W Kahr . Not too shabby. Sure, it’s boxy and brutish and utilitarian looking, but it goes ‘BANG’ every time I pull the trigger. And what more could you ask for? FYI: Since returning from the factory the Slim also goes ‘BANG’ every time I pull the trigger. And therein lies the dilemma. Which do I carry? Taurus or Kahr. What follows are my experiences with both as daily carry weapons.
I’ve been carrying one of these two slim and compact guns nearly every day for the past few months and have had ample time to put them through the ringer both at the range, and on my hip in an Uncle Mike’s #12 holster. Here are my impressions on both these wonderful weapons in a few selected categories:
As you can see by the photo on the left, the battle over which slim pistol is slimmer is pretty much a wash. The Kahr and the Taurus both spec out at .95″ and .94″ respectively – amazingly thin. Casually tucked into the front waistband of my pants, both the Kahr and the Taurus virtually disappear beneath a t-shirt. They make every other pistol I’ve ever endeavored to ‘conceal’ feel like I was trying to hide a Beretta 92. But thickness, or the lack thereof, is not the be-all and end-all of concealability. An equally important factor is grip length – as it is usually the bottom of the grip, or, more accurately, the angle the bottom of your grip makes with your body that causes it to ‘stick-out’ sometimes. Here, the Taurus has a slight advantave in two ways. First, as you can see by the picture below, the length of the 709 Slim’s grip is about .33″ shorter than the Kahrs, making it less likely to show beneath a cover garment – the dreaded ‘print’. It should be said here that these guns are so thin that the length of the slide is not a significant problem, just a point of departure for comparison. But not only is the Taurus’ grip shorter, but it’s bottom, the butt of the magazine, fits flush with the grip. The Kahr, on the other hand, is not only longer in the grip, but the magazine protrudes about .25″ from the bottom of the grip. While many may welcome the extra .25″ of purchase on a small pistol, the sculpting on the molded butt-plate is too wide on the shirt-side of the weapon and actually inhibits concealability. My solution? On the right side of the molded butt-plate, I used an exacto knife followed by a file, then some sandpaper to completely remove the molding for my pinky finger. The result is a much stealthier look, with no loss of purchase. If the truth be told, though, I can grip the Kahr with all three free fingers of my right hand – a very good thing while firing such a small pistol loaded with 40 S&W hollow points – while I must wrap my pinky around the bottom of the Taurus’ smoother grip. Therein is the difference in philosophy of both gun manufacturers. Kahr sacrifices aesthetics for a better grip while Taurus offers a more concealable, but less-than three fingered grip.
For pure concealability my vote goes to: the Taurus PT709 Slim.