With 14.5 million CCW permit holders in the U.S. it’s little wonder that there are so many manufacturers offering good carry guns. Kahr has been making reliable semiautos for more than two decades–long before half the grannies pushing grocery carts across the supermarket parking lot were carrying heat–and that offered the brand plenty of insight into what shooters want. Guns need to be light but manageable to shoot, easy to break down and clean, and affordable. Really expensive carry guns have a market, yes, but many shooters need something that they can afford and afford to beat up during daily carry. To meet the needs of all consumers Kahr offers two distinct pistol lines; the Premium Series and the Value Series. This year the company is offering up a new addition to the Value line, the CT380 Tungsten. Rather than run down each feature of the gun in typical review fashion (which I will do in Handguns Magazine), I’m going to address the most common questions that people typically ask if they’re considering buying a new pistol.
- What makes a “Value” gun different from a “Premium” gun? Answer: Not much. Basically, Kahr’s Value guns have fewer machining steps, rollmarking on the side, MIM parts, and traditional non-polygonal rifling. If none of that makes sense or matters to you the Value line is what you’re looking for in a carry gun.
- Is it really made of Tungsten? Answer: In all fairness, nobody every really asked this. Actually, the CT380 has a Tungsten Cerakote finish. For the uninitiated, Cerakote is a baked-on ceramic finish that has a matte appearance and is tough enough for daily carry. It’s also available in a bunch of different colors–like Tungsten.
- How large is the gun? Answer: The CT380 is a single stack .380 ACP, so it’s quite thin. Slide width is actually only three-quarters of an inch, and the gun is 4.4-inches tall and 5.5-inches long. The Kahr is a bit taller than competing .380 single stacks because it comes with a seven-round magazine with finger grip.
- What’s that thing on the grip? Answer: it’s called a Grip Glove. It’s soft to the touch and adds very little width or weight to the gun. It’s a nice touch.
- Does it have a manual safety? Answer: No. The final stage in cocking the striker actually occurs when the trigger is being pulled, so there’s a fair amount of trigger travel. It’s a fairly light, smooth trigger, though.
- How are the sights? Answer: Basic but functional. The front is pinned, the rear is dovetailed into the slide. It’s a standard three-dot configuration and the sight are functional under most lighting conditions.
- Did you carry it and, if so, what were your thoughts? Answer: I did carry it, and I liked it. The gun is trim and fits well on the hip, so it’s easy to conceal. The extended magazine is a bit awkward since it adds a point to the gun that will make it obvious to just about anyone that you have a gun, so pay attention. Accuracy results and complete function tests are covered in Handguns, so I won’t get into all the details here. But this is a light, dependable, tough gun for those who don’t mind not having a manual safety. It’s also quite a bit more comfortable to shoot at the range than most compact .380s because of the grip design.
- How much will it cost me? Answer: MSRP is $439, and street price will be lower than that.