The new full-size, single-stack CT40 from Kahr Arms is an accurate, powerful and reliable personal defense pistol, and its light weight and skinny dimensions make it particularly well suited to concealed carry. And perhaps best of all, it’s priced right.
A member of the Kahr “Value Series,” the CT40 ($449, chambered in .40 S&W) is a slightly modified version of Kahr’s Premium Series TP40 ($697). So what does that $250 cost savings actually “cost” you? In terms of power, functionality and reliability, absolutely nothing.
A series of major upgrades to Kahr Arms’ American-based manufacturing facilities and production processes over the last few years has made it possible to cut manufacturing costs without compromising quality, and pass the savings along to the rest of us. The CT40 is “less fancy” than the premium-priced TP40, but the only differences we could discern between the two models were a bit less machining on the former’s brushed stainless steel slide (the hard edges are not smoothed out or “broken”), a staked-on front sight in place of the TP40’s dovetailed front sight, conventional barrel rifling instead of polygonal rifling and the fact that the CT40 comes with only one 7-round, stainless-steel magazine instead of three.
Because of the reduced slide machining, the CT40 is slightly heavier than the TP40 (21.8 oz. vs. 20.1 oz. with magazines). Both pistols take the same 7-round magazine, and except for the differences noted above, they appear to be identical.
Like all Kahr pistols, the CT40 is a trigger cocking, striker-fired, double-action-only pistol that operates from a locked breech with a Browning-type recoil lug. It incorporates a passive striker-block safety, but foregoes external and magazine-drop safeties. The 4.0” stainless steel barrel is rifled at a right-hand twist rate of one turn in 16”. Overall dimensions are 6.5” long by 5.3” high, with a slide width of only 0.94”. The low-profile sights consist of a fixed white-dot front and white-bar rear that is drift adjustable for windage. Other features include rear slide serrations, stainless steel trigger shoe and stainless steel slide release.
All Kahr pistols are designed by company CEO, Jason Moon, as personal defense weapons. Their unique cocking-cam trigger system uses a cam to both unlock the passive safety and finish cocking and releasing the striker, resulting in a safe and smooth double-action-only trigger stroke that is fast to fire in defensive encounters. The downside of this cam-based system, however, is a rather long trigger stroke, which measured right at 3/4” with the CT40. That long stroke is a non-issue in a personal defense setting, but made it a bit difficult to hold the pistol steady and on target when shooting for accuracy. Average trigger pull weight measured 5 lbs. 5.5 oz.
The CT40’s grip-frame angle is less than 1° shallower (i.e., more vertical) than that of a 1911 pistol. With a 2.5” trigger reach and aggressively textured front and back straps, it provided excellent ergonomics and grip traction for mid- to large-size hands.
In our experience, most .40 S&W pistols produce a snappy recoil impulse, and the CT40 was no exception. Perceived recoil was sharp but not objectionable, with some muzzle rise, but the pistol’s excellent grip-frame ergonomics made it readily controllable. Rapid-fire function testing on our Salute Products steel-plate targets was uneventful—zero failures to feed, fire, extract or eject.
We tested the CT40 for accuracy from the bench at 25 yards, and despite its relatively long trigger stroke, we were able to produce pleasingly small 5-shot groups. All five Federal Guard Dog 135-gr. FPs (1,200 f.p.s./432 ft. lbs.) went into a cluster measuring 2.42” center to center, with a best three of 1.35”. HPR 180-gr. TMJ (917 f.p.s./357 ft. lbs.) produced the best 5-shot group of 2.11”, with the best three printing 1.22”. Black Hills’ 155-gr. JHP (1,150 f.p.s./450 ft. lbs.) came in a close third for all five (2.45”), while producing an amazing 0.56” best-three. That kind of accuracy and consistency across three brands of ammo and three bullet weights makes the CT40 a winner in our book. See it at your firearms retailer, or contact Kahr Arms, Dept. OT; Tel.: (508) 795-3919; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web www.kahr.com