GUN TEST – KAHR TP45

Safety Officer Anthony Wojtyla holds timer as handgun instructor Herman…

Safety Officer Anthony Wojtyla holds timer as handgun instructor Herman Gunter, III shoots the TP45 in the one-hand stage during an IDPA match.

I’ve followed Kahr Arms since the long-ago time when founder Justin Moon first appeared on the scene with a cool little 9mm pistol. One thing I’ve learned over those years is that while many companies respond to end-user feedback on a customer service call-in line, Kahr Arms tends to answer their customers from the production line, as well.

Customers loved the original all-steel K9, but wanted something more rust-resistant than its blue finish. Kahr responded with a stainless version. Shooters loved that, too, but asked for something smaller. Kahr responded with the MK9. Customers loved that as well, but wanted both sizes to be lighter. Kahr responded with their hugely popular polymer frame series. Customers asked for .40s: they got ‘em. They asked for .45s, and they got them, too.

For those who wanted a Kahr pistol with its famously smooth and light double action-only mechanism, capable of accepting GI-capacity .45 ACP magazines, Kahr came up with the TP45.

Gun Details

I liked this gun when it first came out, not too long ago, and I still like it now. The grip-frame is lengthened front to back to allow for the .45 ACP cartridge, which of course is longer than the 9mm and the .40 S&W for which it was previously chambered. The result is a slightly longer trigger reach than on the smaller caliber Kahrs. That’s fine with this writer, because the little ones have always had too little reach for me, and I’ve wound up needing a straight-thumb hold to keep my thumb from blocking the trigger finger. That doesn’t happen for me on the TP45, and trigger reach is such that my index finger sits with its distal joint perfectly centered on the trigger. This is the “sweet spot” for leverage that double action revolver masters called “the power crease,” and it works just as sweetly with a double action semi-automatic such as this one. For those of us “Old Skool” shooters who still grasp fighting handguns with our thumbs curled down, the longer trigger reach can also keep the thumb in that position from blocking the trigger finger, as has happened to me on the smaller Kahrs.

Height – measured from the top edge of the slide to the bottom of the slightly protruding magazine floorplate – is roughly 5.5 inches. When grasped in my supposedly “average-size adult male hand,” about 0.75 of an inch of gun butt protrudes below the little finger of the firing hand. Those seven fat .45 ACP rounds stacked in the magazine have to go somewhere.

The grip shape compensates by being thin, and therefore lying flat to the body in concealment. In fact, the whole pistol is thin. The slide is well under an inch in diameter. This aids in concealment no matter how you carry it, and aids in comfort when you carry it inside the waistband. If you’re worried about butt length, just tilt that puppy’s holster a little bit more forward, so the rear corner of your pistol’s butt points up toward your shoulder blade.

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Front night sight module on TP45, right, was a tad dim compared to the one on 9mm counterpart, left. Author has found this unusual for both Kahr and Trijicon.

Our test gun came with good, easy to see fixed night sights. They “shot a little left” for me at 25 yards. They also shot a bit low with the post-in-notch sight picture I was using, but I suspect that aiming with the three-dot sight picture instead would bring those hits up some.

The night sights were Trijicons. The white outline (important for indexing in daylight) around the Tritium module in the front was not as clear and bright as those on the rear sight, or the sights on a 9mm TP9 to which I compared the TP45. Nor was the front Tritium unit as bright a green in the dark as the two on the rear sight. Being a picky sort, I made a note to myself to get this fixed at the factory if I decided to keep the gun.

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