Many of us, when we were kids, at Christmastime, or on our birthdays, would always look for the biggest present, and open that one first – because we all knew that, the bigger the present, the better the present. Well, I don’t know about other folks, but I’ve learned, as I grew older that, some of the best gifts came in small packages. My first Christmas, with my lovely wife, Mary, in 1979, found us without jobs – no income – and a tiny foot-tall artificial Christmas Tree. And, we agreed that we would only spend $25 on each other’s gift. I got a nice Buck 110 folding knife and I present Mary, with a Timex watch – and we were both extremely pleased with our meager gifts. Needless to say, both gifts came in small packages.
Today, I still believe some of the best gifts, come in the smallest packages, and that leads us to the Kimber Micro 9, 9mm Parabelum handgun. It is one of the smallest 9mm pistols on the market. At first glance, this little gun appears to be a dead-ringer for a 1911 pistol. However, there are changes – out of necessity, to required some of the operating parts to be different from the internals of a regular 1911. One thing the designers at Kimber did was to keep this a single-action trigger pull. However, it isn’t like the 1911, instead of a trigger that moves back and forth, it is hinged and actually pivots upwards just a little bit, but it is still a single-action trigger pull. The ejection port is lowered and flared, so empty brass, as well as loaded rounds will cleanly eject. The extractor is very small. I had some concerns about it – but it works just fine – all the time.
The slide on my Micro 9 is made out of stainless steel, and Kimber has some of the tightest tolerances they could produce on this little 9mm handgun. There is no play between the slide/barrel/frame – none – it is “that” tight. The frames on all of the various Micro 9 frames are manufactured out of Aluminum – doesn’t matter which model you want, it will have a lightweight Aluminum frame. And, on this model, the frame is anodized in a silver color, not quite matching the stainless steel slide.
This model Micro 9, has the outstanding 3-dot white sights on the slide – and I still think these are some of the best handgun sights to be had. The slide also has angled serrations on the rear – both sides – of the slide for a sure grip in any weather conditions. The barrel is also made out of stainless steel, to help ward off the elements, and it is only 3.15-inches long – about as short as you can have it, and still have a 100% reliable pistol.
Moving down to the frame, we have a pure 1911 slide stop/release, and thumb safety, up for safe, and down for ready to fire. However it differs from the 1911 models in that, the thumb safety can be applied without a round in the chamber. The magazine release is nicely checkered and very easy to reach without shifting the gun in your hand. The hammer is an oval combat-style. It looks great and works great – never had a misfire. The trigger is made out of aluminum, and the face of it is grooved for a sure purchase on it.
The front strap on the grip is smooth, and I immediately added some skateboard take for a sure hold on the gun. There is no beavertail grip safety – not needed – as the 1911 has. The grips on this model are checkered black rubber – and I’m in the process of trying to decide on a different pair, since this gun is too nice for plain rubber grips. The magazine – it only comes with one, holds 7-rounds and extends below the beveled magazine well, but it matches nicely with its curves – you can purchase a 6-round mag from Kimber, but I like the 7-round magazine – gives your pinky finger something to hold on to – and you really need the extra purchase on this little gun, that only weighs in at 15.6-ounces – we are talking a lightweight EDC pistol.
From the Kimber web site: “Ideal for shooters with small hands, as well as those who insist on mild recoil combined with enough power for concealed carry or home protection, the Micro 9 pistols are the right choice for many applications…” Well, this little gun works with medium-sized and large hands as well, and mild recoil – it’s all in your perception of what “recoil” might be. There is considerable muzzle flip when the gun is fired, even with standard 9mm FMJ ammo, and quite a bit of muzzle flip with +P loads, but you can control it, with practice.
Some of the other specs on this little gem are that it is only 6.1-inches long, but looks shorter. The recoil spring is 11.5-pounds – and there is a full-length recoil spring guide. The gun is 1.06-inches wide, but appears smaller. The stainless steel barrel is ramped – I like that on 1911-style handguns, for a more sure feed of various kinds of ammo. Some Aluminum-framed 1911 style pistols have problems feeding some aggressive bullet styles and they chew up the frames quite a bit – not as bad as it used to be – when frames weren’t heat-treated properly.
The trigger pull is advertised at 7-lbs on all Micro 9 pistols, and I had a terrible time trying to gauge the poundage that it took to trip the hammer, but it seems like 7-pounds is about right – it feels heavier than it actually is. I think Kimber can bring that trigger pull down at least by a pound with a little work. Still the gun was easy to shoot.
I Bought Two
I have a brace of Micro 9 pistols, because I liked the first one so much, I purchased a second one. I’m not going to reveal my purchase price, because it was such a deal – on both guns. However, even if you paid full retail price, it would be a steal-of-a-deal, honestly. My wife liked shooting the Micro 9, but isn’t ready to give up either of her regular carry guns. These days, I’m thinking that, with all the violence we are seeing all across America, that a 7+1 round pistol may not be “enough” to carry, to ward off multiple attacks – even with a spare 7-round magazine on-hand. So, the Kimber Micro 9 is reserved – for the time being, as a back-up piece, in an ankle holster. However, I do have a nice hip holster from Craft Holsters if I elect to make this a regular EDC piece. If you haven’t heard of Craft Holsters, check out their web site, they have some great products at more than fair prices. You will have to wait several weeks for a holster, because they are running behind on meeting demand, but it is worth the wait.
So, all things considered, the Micro 9 is an outstanding little 9mm pistol. I did quite a bit of shooting with it – put 300-rounds down range – plinkin’ at rocks, fallen tree branches and some targets – the gun is just a lot of fun to shoot – other than it takes a little effort to get that 7th round loaded into the magazine – very stout magazine spring.
From the nice folks at Black Hills Ammunition, I had the following ammo on-hand for testing: Their 115-gr FMJ, 115-gr JHP +P, 124-gr JHP +P, 124-gr JHP, 115-gr Barnes Tac-XP +P and 100-gr HoneyBadger +P loads. I had zero malfunctions with any of the aforementioned ammo – and that’s good news, especially in a micro-sized pistol. Many times smaller semiauto handguns aren’t 100% reliable with a variety of ammo.
The skateboard tape on the front grip strap, really helped anchor the pistol in my hand, especially when doing some rapid-fire shooting – I like to shoot semi. The mainspring housing is checkered, but only partially, but that also helped anchor the gun when shooting it. Of course, the checkered rubber grips also give you something to hold on to as well, but like I said, I’m looking at replacing them, with something nicer – something made out of G-10.
My accuracy testing was done at 15-yards, because of the short barrel and sight length. I rested the gun over a rolled-up sleeping bag, over the hood of my pick-up truck. I don’t use a Ransom Rest, like other gun writers do – they want to wring out the most accuracy from their tests. However, I don’t think that shows the potential of the gun’s practical accuracy when used for self-defense purposes.
Kimber says you can use +P ammo in this little gun, and I did – and I would carry +P ammo for self-defense. Now, with that said, I would limit my use of +P ammo for self-defense use – not for target practice. Get some good self-defense ammo, like something JHP or the Black Hills HoneyBadger – that is an all copper solid bullet that is fluted – for self-defense. All of my self-defense pistols are stoked with HoneyBadger ammo – I have a lot of faith in it. Then test that ammo to make sure it functions in your pistol, and load the gun with it – just don’t use it for killing rocks and bottles – it gets very expensive, to say the least.
Best accuracy was with the 124-gr JHP load from Black Hills. If I was doing my part all the time, I was getting groups just below 3-inches, and I think the Micro 9 can do even better with more practice. I did blast some rocks out to 50-yards, and I was hitting where I was aiming – not small rocks, mind you, but bigger-sized rocks. So, this is more than accurate for self-defense use – it will solve your problems.
As I stated, I liked this gun so much, I purchased a second one – but I haven’t broken it in, yet! If you’re in the market for a small, 9mm handgun for self-defense, this one might just fit your needs. Check one out – they are popular, so you might have to shop around to find one – or two. The Micro 9, is a “big” surprise in a small package – remember that!