Kahr Arms CW 380 Tungsten gussied up pocket pistol.

Today concealed carry pistols are very popular and that benefits the consumer in several ways, giving us a plethora of options on a concealed carry platform. One that I have been eyeballing since it was introduced is the Kahr Arms CW 380 Tungsten. Now this pistol is the same as the CW 380 except the slide is Cerakoted a tungsten color. A friend of mine has a CW 380 in carry rotation and to my knowledge he has not had an issue with the little pistol since he got it a couple of years ago. Not that I would not take his word, but I wanted to see for myself so I requested a test sample from Kahr Arms and they obliged.

It was not long after that the new Tungsten Model arrived with the Pachymer grip sleeve and magazine with the finger extension. The grip sleeve looked as if it would make the grip more awkward but it actually makes the feel a lot better. The little magazine, though does not add an additional round it does give a little more real estate on the small pistol.

Initial Impressions 

The little Kahr is a fine striker fired polymer pocket pistol in .380 Auto

The trigger had take up as you would expect for a striker fired pistol breaking under six pounds with some over travel. The trigger is not as bad as can be expected on such a pistol. Kahr ships the little pistol with a Pachmayr sleeve that stretches over the grip area. Though it may look a little funky it makes the pistol much more comfortable to hold and shoot, but if you don’t care for it it can be left off.

The CW 380 field strips by aligning the take down notch in the slide to the slide stop and pulling it out. Remove the slide by pulling forward and the rest is exactly as you expect.

The three dot sights are nicer than what I would expect to see on a pocket gun with the rear sight being drift adjustable. Though they were easy to reference and worked well allowing for accurate shooting easily to thirty feet, they offered no snag points to get hung up on the draw.

We ran Hornady American Gunner, Critical Defense, Federal HST, Remington Ultimate Defense, Defender FMJ, and PMC FMJ with zero issues. The Winchester round nose flat point would occasionally offer difficulty chambering the first round. The flat point would hit the steep integral feed ramp and hang up.   Once the gun was running there were no problems with the Winchester RNFP but for this pistol I would stick with jacketed hollow points or standard ball rounds, as they offered no problems. The above groups are typical for six rounds fired at twenty five feet, offhand.

Range Time 


After about 250 rounds without any real issues I was satisfied the little Kahr CW 380 was plenty reliable and more than accurate for what the pistol was designed for. Being such a tiny pistol it is a bit more difficult to shoot as compared to a full size gun but you have to recognize all handguns are a compromise, and since this pistol is meant for ease of concealed carry  it’s size is conducive to that purpose. With that said, it does shoot easier than other pocket guns I have shot and reviewed. Now the slide is a bit tough to rack so you need to keep that in mind, which is not uncommon for small guns. With proper technique and grip much of that can be overcome. As with any firearms you need to be sure you have a solid understanding on how to run and maintain your firearm. With a carry pistol those points are even more important, so getting your carry permit is just the first step in carrying a defensive handgun. You need to train and practice and train and practice as shooting is a perishable skill, so please keep on top of that. Please don’t discount the .380 Automatic as a defensive cartridge as bullet technology has come a long way, illustrated in my ballistic test. Rant off. If you are in the market for a small carry gun the Kahr line of .380s are a solid choice and the CW 380 is an inexpensive way to have a reliable and accurate little pistol. The limited edition tungsten cerakoted slide does add a bit of aesthetics to the little pistol. All in all I am very satisfied with the little Kahr and believe it would serve well as a carry and defensive pistol.


Caliber: 380 Auto
Capacity: 6+1
Operation: Trigger cocking DAO; lock breech; “Browning – type” recoil lug; passive striker block; no magazine disconnect
Barrel: 2.58″ conventional 1:16″ righthand twist
Overall length: 4.96″
Height: 3.9″
Slide width: .75″
Weight without magazine: 10.2 ozs
Grip: textured polymer
Sights: Drift adjustable white bar-dot combat rear sight, pinned in polymer front sight
Finish: Black polymer frame, matte 416R stainless steel slide, this model has a limited edition tungsten cerakoted coating.
Trigger pull: 5 3/4 pounds


Kahr Arms 

Defender Ammunition 



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2 Responses to Kahr Arms CW 380 Tungsten gussied up pocket pistol.

  1. Barbara Elliott July 29, 2017 at 5:25 pm #

    I have large hands for a woman but I had no problem shooting this — enjoyed this video & review. Keep up the good work, Hunter.


  2. Tom Crawford July 31, 2017 at 11:09 am #

    I bought one of these pistols not long ago. Mine did not come with the grip sleeve, which would have been welcome, but did come with a spare magazine, which was even more welcome. I had the same experience as you did with the test sample, in that mine was reliable and very accurate, surprisingly so. It did not like the Winchester Flat Point FMJ either for first round feeding, but then again, neither do any of my .380 pistols.

    But there is one point worth mentioning that surprised me a bit. I’m a full-sized male (some would say a bit more than full-sized) and I’ve spent decades shooting pretty much whatever pistols I want, and doing so frequently. This has left me at 60 years old with arthritic hands, and I was surprised to find how hard it was for me to manipulate the slide on this pistol. I have other Kahr pistols, but this one was so stiff that even after break-in, I felt that trying to clear a malfunction in an emergency would have been prohibitively difficult. I sold the pistol to a friend due to this issue. He is quite happy with it. I found .380 happiness with a Glock 42 which was easier for me to operate, albeit not quite as accurate for me as the Kahr.

    This is not the fault of the gun, but is something to keep in mind or at least test before buying this gun, if it will be used by anyone with hand strength issues. Since my sample was ordered online, I was unable to check this in advance. Otherwise, this seems to me, after testing, to be a very nice small pistol.

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