Looking for the best small 9mm for under $400? We review and field test the KAHR CM9 and discover why it’s the ideal 9mm for the money.

The KAHR CM9 worth more than retail

Not long ago I received the KAHR CM9 which is in 9mm. I took it out of the box and wiped it down, broke it down and added some light oil. I found this little 9mm breaks down very simply and goes back the same way. In my first examination of the CM9, I found it felt great in my average size hand. My little finger did hang over the end but what would you expect from a very compact semi-auto 9mm. I thought to myself, “If this little power house shoots well I will just have to buy this one.” To say the least I was initially impressed.

A few days later I went to the Oklahoma City Gun Club to test fire this semi-auto KAHR CM9 in 9mm. To make the test even more critical, I used steel casing 9mm ammo. Steel casing ammo tend to have feeding problems especially the brands from overseas. I loaded up the six rounds in this little power house with a 3.0 inch barrel. The ammo used was Winchester 115 Gr. FMJ USA FORGED 9mm. This ammo is remembrance of using old military 9mm ammo.

Ruger Firearms

In firing the CM9, my assistant Gridley and I fired 200 rounds through this 9mm semi-auto. During the firing we had zero…zero jams, miss fires or keyholes. The DAO (Double Action Only) was smooth but lengthy as in all DAO semi-auto pistols. But as the shooting continued I learned in the trigger pull where this bad-boy was about to touch off. Once I accomplished this, I was able to get some very decent groups at around 15 yards. Most shooting confrontations for CCW holders as well as law enforcement, takes place between two and ten feet. For this reason Gridley and I mainly stuck to 10 to 15 feet. The felt recoil was not bad at all. If lady shooters like to shoot 9mm semi-autos, than they will love the CM9.

Another feature I like about the CM9, most if not all KAHR 9mm magazines fit. I used a magazine from a ST9 in 9mm and it worked perfectly. If you buy one of these great little 9mm, I would get an 8 round magazine for backup. In fact I would get four additional magazines.

Overall impression is I am very pleased with the CM9, and consider it the best small 9mm for under $400. Gridley was so impressed he bought this one. He loves and carries his CM9. Me? I came up short on getting my own CM9 but there will always be a next time.

KAHR CM9093N Specs

  • Barrel: 3.0 inches)
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 6+1
  • Operation: Trigger cocking DAO, no magazine disconnect
  • Over All Length: 5.42 inches
  • Height: 4.0 inches
  • Slide Width: .90 inches
  • Weight: Pistol 14 ounces without magazine, around 15.1 ounces with magazine.
  • Grips: Textured polymer
  • Rear Sights: Drift adjustable white bar-dot combat
  • Front Sight: Polymer pinned front night sight.
  • Finish: Black polymer frame, matte stainless steel slide
  • Magazine: 1 – 6 rd. flush floorplate

MSRP: $499.00
Can find for: $338.12

Winchester 9mm Luger 115 Grain Full Metal Jacket, USA FORGED
Muzzle Velocity: 1190 from a 4” barrel
Case: Steel
MSRP: Around $23.00 per box of 150 rounds.


Winchester 9mm Luger 115 Grain Full Metal Jacket, USA FORGED

Henry Repeating Arms