When you first get a Kahr, you may notice the heavy weight of the recoil spring and certain others as well. This is all part of the designers plan to keep these pistols running smooth and reliably for a long time. The springs are built thick and heavy to provide the maximum absorption of recoil for the longest life possible. This inherently can cause some issues with people that are not gifted with a good universal method for power stroking their pistol. I want to share a couple of tips and observations on how to handle these springs properly. First I want you to realize that the CM9 recoil spring is a dual spring system with a big spring on the outside that is not retained on the stainless steel guide rod, which hosts a smaller and equally strong spring. When disassembling and reassembling this pistol for the first few hundred rounds, be very careful not to launch that spring at yourself. This is one mistake you may not walk away from with just a little less pride. Also make sure the spring is not protruding through the front of the pistol where the guide rod is supposed to go through. And if you really want to be able to tame these springs well and bring down the weight, you can do so just by using a couple of drops of oil and working them in. This can especially help with the trigger return springs.
All the Kahr pistols have the same DAO trigger system. The trigger is smooth, a moderate weight, and breaks very clean pretty much right out of the box. The travel on the trigger is not very long, yet people still use it as an excuse for not shooting it well, which to a trained individual, points out a host of flaws in education and skill. This is not to say that some people just don't have the time to adapt to the trigger due to not being able to get much range time. But most of the people I hear complaining about the trigger pull end up giving lame excuses and state that they want a hair trigger on their carry gun so they can shoot it faster. This is of course a topic for another article, but let me just say that this is ridiculous and completely unsafe. The trigger on the CM9, I believe, is perfect for its size and purpose. It isn't really that heavy, and it actually is pretty easy to shoot fast with good precision. I don't really have an opinion of the triggers on the larger models since I have never used one.
The build quality on the Kahr CM9 is pretty good in comparison to its competitors. It has good and tight fitting, strong springs, strong polymer, and well finished metal surfaces. I have seen reviews where people give Kahr P/C series pistols a hard time because the rails on the frame are not 100% metal all the way down and think that the integrity is sacrificed. This is nothing short of wrong and ignorant. The back of the rails are metal and the rest of the rail is made of polymer, yes, but the dust cover utilizes stainless rails that guide the front of the slide and keep it moving straight back. The polymer, in my mind, merely acts as a reinforcing element that holds the slide steady by lowering the side to side, and up and down movement.
Now as far as the individual parts quality on the CM9, it has been given flak for being the "cheaper" Kahr. But if you compare it to pistols that are in the same category, you may find that this pistol still comes in at a higher quality of manufacturing. I do not find the MIM slide stop to be a big deal at all. Many companies charging way more for their products use MIM parts, and people have zero issues with them. I think going to standard rifling in the barrel is a good idea all around for versatility, and to save cost. I don't see that much advantage of a polygonal bore in a 3" barrel since you already lack the ability to use heavier pistol loads like 147 and some 124 grain loads that are more designed to be used out of 4" barrels at the least. The minor velocity increase is not going to allow you to go back to those heavier loads. The only cost saving gripe I can think of is the fact that you get one magazine with the gun. The magazines themselves cost about $50 a pop. That basically means I am not getting a spare mag any time soon since I would rather spend that money on ammo.
When shooting the CM9, the quality of the pistol comes out in force. You don't notice the trigger being that long and the recoil is very low for a pistol of it's size. Every bit of quality in the design of this pistol comes out when shooting. The recoil is a mere thump and the grip holds the pistol in your hand quite well. Now this isn't to say that this pistol doesn't move in your hand, but the recoil isn't as harsh as some of it's competitors. The trigger pull when shooting does not give the feeling of being too long of a pull or too long of a reset. Between the recoil and the time it takes to get the sights back on target, the trigger pull and length of pull are perfect for fast and accurate shooting with this pistol. That said, you can still run this gun faster if you take the time to get faster without losing accuracy.
Don't get too hung up over the old saying "you get what you pay for" because it isn't always the case. Though this pistol costs less than the other "higher quality" Kahr pistols, the CM9 is still made better than the competition and it performs better as well. Kahr has been making guns specifically for concealed carry for a little over 20 years now. They sure have dialed in how to make a high performing pistol in DAO.