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Kahr CW380

Product Tests

CW3833 (2.58" Barrel)
Black polymer frame, matte stainless slide
MSRP: $419.00

Caliber: .380 ACP
Capacity: 6+1
Operation: Trigger cocking DAO; lock breech; "Browning - type" recoil lug; passive striker block; no magazine disconnect
Barrel: 2.58", Conventional Rifling, 1 - 16 right-hand twist
Length O/A: 4.96"
Height: 3.9"
Slide Width: .75"
Weight: Pistol 10.2 ounces (w/o magazine)
Grips: Textured polymer
Sights: Drift adjustable white bar-dot combat rear sight, pinned in polymer front sight
Finish: Black polymer frame, matte stainless steel slide
Magazine: 1 - 6 rd, Stainless


The CW380 pistol has a 2.58 inch barrel, an overall length of 4.96 inches and a height of just 3.9 inches. It weighs just 10.2 ounces without a magazine. The pistol has a black polymer frame and features 4140 steel inserts molded into the front and back of the frame for added rigidity. It has a machined, solid 416 matte stainless steel slide and a textured polymer grip.

The Kahr CW380 features a lock breech, modified Browning type recoil lug, and utilizes Kahr's seven patents including the "safe cam" action found in all Kahr pistols. The result is a micro-compact pistol with very little recoil and quick follow-up shots. The pistol features drift adjustable white bar-dot combat rear sight and pinned-in polymer front sight.

Differences between the Kahr CW380 and Kahr P380 models include: the CW series has a conventional rifled barrel instead of the match grade polygonal barrel found on P models; the CW slide stop lever is MIM (metal-injection-molded) instead of machined; the CW series slide has fewer machining operations, and uses simple roll marking instead of engraved markings; the P380 comes with two magazines, but the CW series comes with one 6 rd steel magazine with flush baseplate. Lastly, the slide locks back after firing the last round – another feature missing on a number of other value-priced compact semi-auto pistols. The durability and reliability of the CW380 model makes it a strong consideration as a backup gun for law enforcement.”


Since every state now has some version of concealed carry law, small pistols and revolvers have become very popular. Manufacturers have responded to this need with a variety of products in many different calibers.

 For the past couple of years I've written “Product Test” articles on several of these offerings. One of my favorites has become the Kahr CM9. It is compact, very well made, trouble free and fires the powerful 9mm luger cartridge. I've found the CM9 to be very accurate with a variety of shells and the trigger is the best I've found on any compact pistol, maybe the best of any size pistol I've fired.

There are times however when even the very compact CM9 can be inconvenient to carry, especially in the hot summer months here in South Carolina.

For that reason I sought out a smaller pistol but not wanting to lose the muscle memory from the CM9, I chose the CW380 from Kahr. It has all the same features, just in a smaller package which makes the transition all that much easier.

The first step I always take with any new gun is to disassemble, clean and oil it. At times I've found many new guns to be both dirty and dry. That was not the case with the CW380 however. It was pristine and had oil in all the important places.

Fully loaded with seven .380 shells, the CW380 weighed in at 13.3 oz. The CM9 fully loaded with seven 9mm shells weighed in at 1 lb. 3 oz. I could drop the CW380 in my front pocket and barely know it was there.

Kahr recommends that you break in their pistols by firing 200 rounds them. For this process, I selected a variety of .380 shells, including Winchester FMJ 95 grain @ 955 fps, DRT 85 grain TMJ @ 923 fps, Remington 88 grain JHP @ 990 fps and Polycase ARX Inceptor 56 grain @ 1150 fps.

Most of these pocket pistols will be carried much more than fired but I really wanted to see just how accurate this little .380 was and of course to find out how well it functioned with various makes of shells with different bullet weights and velocities.

When I first took the CW380 to the range I had only the Winchester, Remington and DRT shells, so I used them for both function and accuracy testing. Throughout the process I had only one “fail-to-feed” and that frankly was my fault. I failed to pull the slide all the way back when feeding a full magazine of the Remington shells. It was easily cleared by dropping the magazine and allow the shell to fall downward into my palm.

I was pretty impressed with most of the groups, some better than others but there were some 2” groups and some 4” ones but not at all bad for a new pistol with a very short barrel.

I have only one complaint about the CW380 and that is the size of the trigger guard. It's pretty small. It's something that would probably go unnoticed in ordinary use but when I shot 200+ rounds through this very small pistol, my trigger finger was a bit sore from rubbing against the trigger guard.

On the plus side, the trigger pull which was already pretty good, became as smooth as any I've seen. It lightened noticeably and was as smooth as butter at the end of the 200 round break-in period.

I will let you know how the Polycase ARX Inceptor rounds performed in a separate “Product Test” article.

So, how would I rate the Kahr CW380? It's a keeper. If you're looking for a small, easily concealed yet powerful pistol, that is both accurate and reliable, I'd recommend the CW380 from Kahr.

To see more of the products offered by Kahr, including the CW380, please visit and to read more “Product Test” articles, please visit


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