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Seeking Kahr P380 Shooting Tips & Advice

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by 9mm guy, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. 9mm guy

    9mm guy Tualatin Active Member

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    I'm a relative newcomer to firearms; I've been shooting for about two and a half years. Although I consider my primary carry gun to be the Glock 19, I am finding that I carry my Kahr P380 a lot due to its incredibly convenient size. However:

    1. I am having trouble being accurate with this gun. I know that shooting these small, pocket pistols are much more difficult. Any tips on how to shoot it better? I am presuming that this is more my fault and not the gun. I usually end up shooting too low. Is this usually grip or stance problems? Maybe some trustworthy YouTube videos? (There are so many, I don't know which one to trust.)

    I practice shooting it at the range trying to make tight groupings at around 6 1/2 yards on paper targets. Maybe the target is too far away? Maybe this gun is made for 5 yards or less? I've already taken some lessons in handgun shooting and hope to take more in the future. But until then, any tips or advice would be appreciated.

    2. The other problem I'm having is that this gun jams about 2-3 times every 50 rounds or so. Is this normal? Should I consider this an acceptable rate of a failure? (I'm guessing the answer is no.) I have both failure to eject and failure to extract. My guess is that I am limp wristing my shots at first but this still happens after consciously firming my wrist. Is this me causing this or bad ammo or possibly something wrong with my specific gun? I've shot close to a thousand shots through this gun and so it's been broken in already.

    This Kahr doesn't like metal or aluminum ammo. (Such as the Tulammo) And so I only feed it brass ammo; usually the lowest priced brass ammo at Cabelas or Walmart that I can find. (Usually Prvi Partizan also known as PPU in blue box, or Perfecta in the green and brown box). My carry ammo is HPR and so I shoot both the HPR hollow points and FMJ through this gun since I carry both types.

    I don't have either of these problems shooting my Glock 19, as these problems are unique to my Kahr. Sorry for the long post. Thanks to everyone in advance for all your answers.
     
  2. SHPD_Retired

    SHPD_Retired Saint Helens Well-Known Member

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    I had a Kahr 9mm and it says there is a 500 round break in period for it. I had a few problems at first but after about 200 rounds I never had another failure to feed or extract. I used brass cased ammo also. As to the grouping what I noticed mostly is that the trigger is a bit odd, meaning that there is no break in it, you pull it all the way to the back in one smooth movement, then it fires. Most people are not used to this. I have a Glock 42 (380) and have no problems with it at about 7 yards. I would not go back any further and expect a good group out of me. Not sure what the gun would do.
     
  3. CHLChris

    CHLChris Portland Metro East Love me some guns! Bronze Supporter

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    I own a P380 (2 actually). They just shoot low. The sight picture must be different than most other guns. Instead of burying the front sight in the rear notch you need to put the front sight above rear by about the same height as the rear sight.

    So...sight picture from bottom to top, from perspective of shooter's eye:

    Rear sight
    Slide (same height of rear sight)
    Front sight
    Bad guy/target

    That's my experience. And I have found they are surprisingly accurate for their size.
     
  4. CHLChris

    CHLChris Portland Metro East Love me some guns! Bronze Supporter

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    BTW Kahr customer service is awesome. Give them a call and see what they say about the failures.

    My Kahrs never fail!
     
  5. Otter

    Otter Oregon - mid Willamette Valley Active Member

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    Are you using reloads in it? My Bersa will have failures with light loads. If I stay at max loads I don't have any issues.
     
  6. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Regarding your question #1, there are a number of factors to consider:

    1. How far are you shooting? Those types of pocket guns aren't really meant to be shot out to 25+ yards (though some folks can do it). They really are for close range, I'd say under 10 yards typically.

    2. How are you shooting? Are you being deliberate with each shot? Or are you firing off multiple rounds?

    3. Is this your first experience with a DAO (double action only) pistol?

    I'd be willing to wager a guess that trigger control is a big part of your issue. With these types of little pistols, getting a proper grip, proper trigger finger placement, can be difficult.

    The best advice I've heard on shooting DAO guns is to practice by slowly pulling the trigger back, all the way to the point just before it breaks (fires), then hold a second or two, aim your shot carefully, then finish squeezing the trigger. I had been having trouble with a SCCY CPX-2, and tried this method, my accuracy improved. If you take your time in practice, and repeat this process until you can demonstrate some better accuracy, you should have a more natural feel for the trigger when you really need it. Practice with the trigger, feel for the reset and pull your second shot from the reset rather than letting it all the way out.

    If that doesn't help a bit, consider working with a trainer that can assess your personal style of shooting, they may be able to spot corrections that we can only speculate about online.
     
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  7. 2Wheels4Ever

    2Wheels4Ever Portland Well-Known Member 2015 Volunteer

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    My dad was having the same issues when he first got his cm9. Shots going 4-5 feet low of intended target. I just went shooting with a friend who bought a brand new ruger lc9s, and he was having the same issues. You are jerking the trigger down. In both instances above, I tricked them by handing them a "loaded gun" to shoot at a target. When no round when off, they could see just how much the gun was moving down as the trigger was pulled.

    Practice dry firing until the gun does not move at all at the trigger break, then when you are shooting next, pull the trigger as slowly as you possibly can. The break should come as a surprise. Once you get the feeling of not jerking the trigger, speed up your trigger engagement speed. Shooting these small guns takes practice, and lots of continuous training. I find I have a similar problem when I switch from shooting my G35 to my G27.

    Hope this helps; it has helped two people with similar issues already.
     
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  8. winchester270

    winchester270 Lafayette Active Member

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    I had a khar cm9, it was an outstanding pistol, but not right for me. I did not prefer the smooth trigger pull as I could not accurately judge the timing of the break. But when I shot slowly it was very accurate, when I did the trigger right. I would also add as everyone else has, that a consistent grip is key to accurate pistol shooting. The grip ended up being too small for me to be consistent when I tried drawing quickly.
    These guns have such a long smooth trigger pull it is nearly impossible to anticipate the break. (in my experience) and your accuracy may suffer accordingly. Its all about trigger control, and that is the area I have to practice with on every range trip.
     
  9. Natty Bumpo

    Natty Bumpo Clackamas County Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I own several Kahrs, including the P380. Every now and then, there's one that shouldn't have left the factory. Go over to the KahrTalk Forum and see for yourself. And, by the way, Kahr isn't the only manufacturer that one can point to in this regard.

    The P380 is part of Kahr's premium line. And you paid a premium price for it over other pocket .380's from competing brands. Failures of the kind you are experiencing after 1000 rounds are unacceptable. Period.

    I would not assume the fault is yours...as it is most likely not. And the failures you describe are unusual to Kahrs, as most involve failures to properly feed or to fully return to battery after firing, extraction and ejection. You should consider not carrying the P380 for defense until you can get this resolved.

    Call Kahr Customer Service. In the end, what you want is for CS to send you a pre-paid return label. With this label, you can box it up, place the label on the box, and have UPS come to your house (or you take it to them). So you return it to the factory for service at no cost to you. Kahr should then diagnose the problem and deal with it and send it back fixed. It goes without saying that you will need to be gracious and diplomatic in order to ensure that this is the outcome.

    In terms of shooting accurately, don't be too hard on yourself. It is a very small, very light pistol, and, like most small, light pistols it is harder to shoot than a heavier, larger pistol. Although, among the small, very light polymer 380's, it is among the easier ones to shoot well. Get the piece fixed before you worry about any of this.
     
  10. RicInOR

    RicInOR Washington County Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Grip, grip and more grip.

    It's a single stack, right. Compared to the G19 it is pencil thin.

    One thing that can help is getting some traction, like grip tape. If you don't like it, it can be removed. And it is a cheap fix. There are others.

    Not having the grip necessary can lead to the gun moving more in your hand during recoil than you think, and that can lead to double feeds, stove pipes etc.

    Another issue with pocket size guns is where the controls are. I had to sell my PF9 because during recoil the mag release button would be pressed by my fingers - and a loose mag leads to all those same problems. Other people don't have that issue because they are just slightly different.


    Good luck.
     
  11. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    As Natty Bumpo says, it may be the gun. We got Wifey her first gun ever! It was a Kel-Tec P-11, (Don't EVER buy a mouse gun for a first gun!). Well, the dam thing shot about 4', yes that's FOUR feet, low at 30'! We were pretty naive at the time and actually paid the $70.00 to ship the thing back to Kel-Tec, and they fixed it. Still hated the trigger on that gun, she now carries a Sig938.
     
  12. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I really like Crimson Trace products and their laser helped me with aiming my .380 Keltec P3AT.
    Once it's dialed in, it is really apparent where you're aiming and how hard it is to keep the barrel steady with those long and stiff triggers.

    41uxvi1gM3L._AC_UL160_SR160,160_.jpg
     
  13. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Put a snap cap in the chamber and dry fire that thing 400-800 times. Re-lube it and see how it shoots then.
     
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  14. CHLChris

    CHLChris Portland Metro East Love me some guns! Bronze Supporter

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    The shooting low issue is different than the feeding problems, of course.

    Concerning the ffeding problems, the OP must call Kahr and get that taken care of. Assuming it is past the 200rd break-in period, any failures are unacceptable in a carry gun.

    Concerning the shooting low issue, I have had two different P380's and they both had the exact same picture that I described. For whatever reason, they simply shoot a low POI with a standard sight picture. I just learned to adjust my sight picture for that pistol and now it is much more accurate than one would assume a "belly gun" could be.
     
  15. robertg

    robertg Sandy Oregon Silver Supporter Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    I never got used to the trigger, my first shot was always low. If I took my time I could shoot it pretty good, but the combination of the long trigger pull and being too small for my hand made me trade it in for a Glock 42 for my .380 needs. Also you really need to go out and just shoot 200 rounds thru it to break it in. That's the first thing I did when I got it. Man, my hand hurt after that, but it ran perfect. Don't use cheap ammo though.
     
  16. RicInOR

    RicInOR Washington County Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I believe that the first suspect in all small gun issues is your grip.

    Maybe some grip tape will help.

    Jamming can be caused easily enough when the gun moves in your hand - FTE / FTF etc.

    Try increasing pressure with your off hand.
    and tape is cheap and something you can remove if you don't like it.

    Second, ensure you are not 'riding the slide" that is you don't have any fingers on any of the controls, such as the slide lock, or the slide itself.

    best of luck.
     
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  17. Armyteam94

    Armyteam94 Snohomish County New Member

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    If you are getting tight groups that are low, then you need adjust your sights. If you are not shooting tight groups and low, then I would and always mix a single bullet in a mag of dummy ammo and see if you are anticipating your shots. This is especially a problem with small handguns. I have been shooting for awhile and find anticipation to still be a problem.
     
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  18. SynapticSilence

    SynapticSilence Battle Ground, WA Well-Known Member

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    I have had several Kahrs including a CW380, the bargain line brother of the P380. Even though they're remarkably smooth, the Kahr triggers have a long double action pull with little stacking to tell you when to expect the striker to be released. Most low hits are due to either jerking the trigger or not pressing the trigger smoothly back, causing the front sight to depress downward. You should try dry firing the weapon a lot, focusing on your sight picture to see if it changes at all during the trigger pull. Either that, or have a spotter off to the side watch your barrel when you're shooting to see if he/she can notice any downward deflection. Also, if you're squeezing the grip harder as you pull the trigger, you'll get low shots. Your grip should be consistently tight all the way through. As to the misfeeds, I'm betting it's your cheap Ammo. Kahrs have very tight tolerances. Cheap Ammo often doesn't and also may be inconsistent in terms of powder charge, velocity, etc. if I recall, Kahr suggests the use of only quality Ammo. That's because the recoil spring is heavy enough that it takes an adequately powerful round to cycle the slide, extract and eject the spent round, and strip the next round off the top of the mag stack and chamber it successfully. Anything that detracts from the energy of that cycle, including limp wristing, can result in a misfeed. If you call Kahr Customer Service, they're going to ask what ammo you're using. My bet is they'll tell you to shoot a couple hundred quality rounds out of it to see if the problem occurs and only then let you send it in on their dime for repair. Good luck. They're nice handguns but I finally sold all my Kahrs of various calibers. The only .380s I have left are a Magnum Research Micro Desert Eagle (great tiny steel/alloy DAO pistol) and a brand new Ruger LCP Custom. The LCP Custom essential fixes everything that was ever deficient with the LCP from trigger pull to having real sights. Good luck getting it dialed in.
     
  19. CHLChris

    CHLChris Portland Metro East Love me some guns! Bronze Supporter

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    Why did you start 2 threads on this?
     
  20. 9mm guy

    9mm guy Tualatin Active Member

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    Thanks for your post. That's a lot of great information. One question though: what do you consider cheap ammo? I'm guessing you mean that I should shoot quality ammo since I am sure just because ammo is cheap, it doesn't mean that it is not quality. Is the PPU and Perfecta considered not quality? And I ask this not as a challenge but as an open question. What is considered non-cheap, quality 380 ammo? PMC? Herter's? HPR? As a beginner, I don't know what ammo is considered quality and what is not. Thanks for your answer in advance.