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Old 10-03-2007, 13:41   #1
nebodaky
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Mythbusting the "no steel insert" polymer Kahr frame rails

In light of the MK9 versus PM9 thread posted earlier and the following quote contained within it....

Quote:
Originally posted by ilight I looked at a PM9 and just couldn't quite bring myself to invest in a poly gun that didn't seem as "durable" as my Glock 23. Whether or not my opinion was correct, I felt a little uncomfortable with the no metal insert poly frame rails, etc.
Let's put this "polymer only rail" Kahr myth to bed once and for all... I wish I could sticky this post since there's so much confusion/mis-information about the polymer Kahrs on these here internets.

edited to add: it got stickied...

I love my Glocks and they work great, but, for reference, there's actually more frame mounted steel rail bearing surface in the smallest poly Kahr than in any current production Glock.

From the trigger forward, there are complete steel rails on each side that ride in the cut outs on either side of the front of the slide. There are also rear steel rails/inserts on either side at the back of the frame. The polymer "rails" in between serve no structural purpose other than making the slide easier to guide back on during reassembly. In fact, when I asked Kahr about this, they said those poly "rails" could be completely cut out and would not affect function in any way.

Sorry for the less than stellar photos (of a PM9), but here goes...

Front of frame...notice the two steel rail inserts running from the trigger area forward. The three coiled spring in the center is the trigger return spring around the trigger axis.

Kahr Club

Rear of frame...notice the steel rails on either side. The "long" steel piece on the left is the ejector.

Kahr Club

Close up of PM9 frame rail with slide fully retracted (barrel/recoil spring assembly removed).

Kahr Club

Top view of frame with front and rear steel rails. Notice the yellow circled areas and how there's more steel rail/slide engagement surface area than the slide/frame contact on a Glock. The red circled areas are the polymer "rails" that do NOT bear any load from the slide. Again, they're only there to guide the slide back on after field stripping and could be completely cut away and not affect function at all.

Kahr Club


Circled areas are the four Glock (G19/same caliber) frame rail inserts, for comparison.

Kahr Club

Last edited by nebodaky; 10-03-2007 at 17:32..
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Old 10-03-2007, 16:06   #2
RepeatDefender
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Well done, informative post. Thanks for the pics and for sharing.

---Satisfied Kahr P9 owner!
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Old 10-03-2007, 16:10   #3
nebodaky
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Quote:
Originally posted by RepeatDefender
Well done, informative post. Thanks for the pics and for sharing.

---Satisfied Kahr P9 owner!
No problem and I'm glad I could be of service! I have several poly Kahrs and they all work perfectly fine.
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Old 10-03-2007, 17:13   #4
nebodaky
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To the "sticky god", thanks!

I just got tired of all the non-steel insert polymer only frame rail bashing here and on so many other internet sites.

The poly Kahrs, especially the PM9 (in my opinion as I have 2 of them), are excellent concealed carry and RELIABLE pistols.

I'm glad to have provided a photo/text reference that can be linked to other gun forums when they bash our poly Kahrs.

Last edited by nebodaky; 10-03-2007 at 17:18..
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Old 10-04-2007, 04:48   #5
ilight
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Good post! Sorry to be the cause of your thread..... As I said, it was only my opinion, and I never bashed the weapon. I love all Kahrs, but maybe felt more comfortable with the all steel version (for whatever reason). You've cleared up a lot of misconceptions though. Thanks!
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Old 10-10-2007, 14:08   #6
gimpy
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Thanks nebodaky,
I now appreciate my PM9 more than ever.
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Old 10-11-2007, 08:29   #7
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Quote:
nebodaky
Senior Member

......I love my Glocks and they work great, but, for reference, there's actually more frame mounted steel rail bearing surface in the smallest poly Kahr than in any current production Glock.

From the trigger forward, there are complete steel rails on each side that ride in the cut outs on either side of the front of the slide. There are also rear steel rails/inserts on either side at the back of the frame. The polymer "rails" in between serve no structural purpose other than making the slide easier to guide back on during reassembly. In fact, when I asked Kahr about this, they said those poly "rails" could be completely cut out and would not affect function in any way.
That first paragraph of your quote could be telling us something about differences in known reliability and service life between the two brands. I will grant the fact that the smaller Kahrs probably are stressed harder than their larger Glock cousins--just because they are approaching design limits due to small size.

I'm not necessarily going to buy Kahr's (or your) assertion that the *only* reason the plastic slide rails are there is to aid in aligning the slide upon reassembly. I do think that might be a secondary benefit, but stiffening the thin, small plastic frame might very well be the primary reason for them. Even the longer (than Glock) steel rails up front could be an attempt to strengthen the frame or provide added longevity.

I do not argue with their assertion that the gun would run w/o the plastic in the rail area--but would it reduce service or frame life? Perhaps the overly generous (??) use of metal and plastic in the rails (in comparison to a Glock) could be contributory to the plastic Kahr's well known failure to go completely into battery problem.

Nail
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Old 12-22-2007, 20:38   #8
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Polished feed ramps in my 4 Kahr polys, no problem going into battery, couple have 2000 plus through them and have feed them everything. First round I always engage with slide stop.
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Old 01-24-2008, 16:41   #9
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An addition from the (faulty ammo related) KB thread that exposed the substantial embedded steel under the forward rails...
Attached Thumbnails
Kahr Club - Click for larger version  
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Old 09-13-2008, 20:14   #10
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if you guys and girls...sig, glock, kel-tech and kahr..did a 2 to 3 months of testing and firing a large amount of ammo...and re -inspecting the rail. prevent major damage and injuries. but, it is best you did a white shoes test. I learn this in the military, at my weapon school. used a liquid white shoe polish, apply light on the rail area. let it dry. then put you slide on your lower reciever. start pull the slide a few times. then, removed
your slide, and inspect the wear down of your weapon. this help you on spotting the even or uneven wear.

billye1952

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the shoes polish come easy with solvent and a tooth brush
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Old 09-13-2008, 20:14   #11
billye1952
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railing

if you guys and girls...sig, glock, kel-tech and kahr..did a 2 to 3 months of testing and firing a large amount of ammo...and re -inspecting the rail. prevent major damage and injuries. but, it is best you did a white shoes test. I learn this in the military, at my weapon school. used a liquid white shoe polish, apply light on the rail area. let it dry. then put you slide on your lower reciever. start pull the slide a few times. then, removed
your slide, and inspect the wear down of your weapon. this help you on spotting the even or uneven wear.

billye1952

P.s.

the shoes polish come easy with solvent and a tooth brush
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Old 11-28-2008, 12:27   #12
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Great information. Thanks
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Old 02-03-2009, 20:03   #13
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GREAT INFO! My PM9 has shot 500 rounds of all types of ammo including +P and +P+ with mo issues!
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Old 12-03-2009, 11:01   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsdkms View Post
GREAT INFO! My PM9 has shot 500 rounds of all types of ammo including +P and +P+ with mo issues!
Mo issues than what?

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Old 12-04-2010, 12:20   #15
Durden
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I really wanted to thank the OP here with this outstanding thread, the pics and the information - and for taking the time to put it all together!

This is an example of the best use of the web, truly, in terms of gaining fundamental knowledge about any subject.
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Old 06-08-2011, 17:40   #16
2ndAmVA
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Good work, Nebodaky.
I noted the poly rails, too, and wondered a little.
But your illustrations shed a new light on this.
Kudos!
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Old 06-03-2012, 19:43   #17
Ida81
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Very informative, I have been considering a pair of Kahr's. The CM and CW 9.

Is the ejector on the Glock bent? Could just be the picture but my G23 ejector looks more straint then the one pctured.
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Old 06-03-2012, 19:59   #18
janice6
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It's hard to fathom any polymer pistol that could be manufactured without adequate steel reinforcing of the rails. The forces involved with the slide would shred any "full polymer" in very short order.

I wouldn't believe this even without the pictures.
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Old 05-11-2014, 11:37   #19
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Here's a picture of a Kaboom that exposed the embedded frame rails in the front... pretty sturdy.

A lady who experienced this made the posts and once in a while they come in handy for illustration.

Don't go for a second strike or chambering another round after a seemingly unproductive trigger pull without checking the barrel for obstruction! There was a squib in the barrel on this incidence.

Kahr Club

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Old 11-04-2014, 23:36   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janice6 View Post
It's hard to fathom any polymer pistol that could be manufactured without adequate steel reinforcing of the rails. The forces involved with the slide would shred any "full polymer" in very short order.
Rugers P95 series of pistols were made with no metal in the rails. The entire length of the frame was devoid of any metal insert for the slide to ride on. Although I havent gone out looking for reports of any problems with it, I'm sure that in the twenty years they've been floating around I would have heard of a few by now if it was a problem.

From Wiki:
Introduced in 1996, the P95 incorporated a number of changes from earlier P series pistols; including a shorter 3.9" barrel and a new frame made of fiberglass-reinforced polyurethane, based on Dow Chemical's "Isoplast".[3] This reduced the weight of the pistol by 4 ounces (110 g) and reduced manufacturing costs. Chambered in 9mm Luger. Unlike other polymer framed handguns on the market at the time of design, the P95 had no metal inserts in the frame. The high strength polymer allowed the slide to ride directly on the polymer frame rails which simplified manufacturing and further reduced production costs.
The P95 (as well as most of the other P-series) were only discontinued in the last few years, so they apparently had a pretty good production run...something I cant imagine if there were problems with the metal-less rails.
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