TFB REVIEW: Kimber Micro 9 Pistol

I will make no apologies for my love of polymer, striker-fired sub compact carry pistols. For the most part they are inexpensive, reliable, lightweight and accurate. Plastic pistols also can lack soul, character and style. Accepting to review the Kimber Micro 9 Crimson Trace pistol was a conscious choice to both push me out of my comfort zone and to return to a steel framed platform with classic lines – in a size that can be easily concealed by any shooter.

Writer’s Note: You are responsible for following all firearms safety rules. When in doubt, stop what you are doing, read the manual and/or contact the manufacturer.

Introduction:

My personal feeling is that the days of the 1911 as a concealed carry pistol should be over. Note the ‘should-be’ preface: For one, you will never hear me suggest to anyone what gun they should or shouldn’t carry. Those are personal choices where the pros and cons can only be considered by the owner/operator.

I have also discussed my reluctance to manual safeties in the past, but I don’t claim to be an expert in every platform. As such, I am going to suspend my disbelief in levers, hammers and carry conditions for the Kimber Micro 9 review.

Kimber is a company known for quality and precision and after opening the box my initial impressions on the Micro 9 confirmed their reputation. The pistol comes well packaged in a black top-opening box. Inside is a soft nylon case with room for a spare mag or two.

The Micro 9 feels solid: there are no rattles to be heard, no machining marks, lines are clean and the finish on both the aluminum frame and the steel slide are impressive. The burgundy grips really complement the two-tone color scheme.

Specifications:

Kimber Micro 9 @ TFB

Kimber Micro 9 @ TFB

MSRP: $894

Street: $800-$820 (est)

Caliber: 9mm

Specifications:

  • Product #: 3300101
  • Height (inches) 90° to barrel: 4.07
  • Weight (ounces) with empty magazine: 15.6
  • Length (inches): 6.1
  • Magazine capacity: 6
  • Recoil spring (pounds): 16.0
  • Full-length guide rod

Frame:

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Width (inches): 1.06

Slide:

  • Material: Steel
  • Finish: Matte Black

Barrel:

  • Length (inches): 3.15
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Twist rate (left hand): 16
  • Ramped

Sights:

  • Black
  • Radius (inches): 4.3

Grips:

  • Rosewood with Crimson Trace Lasergrips

Trigger:

  • Solid Aluminum, match grade
  • Factory setting (approximate pounds): 7.0
IMG_1326

Kimber @ TFB

I only have a few comments for this section. A six round single-stack 9mm magazine is a bit on the anemic side. However, the Micro 9 is a light sub-compact gun meant for personal protection. The 6+1 ammo capacity is only a limitation if your expectations don’t match the mission.

Everything else is self explanatory. The Rosewood Crimson Trace grips look a tad bit plasticky in person, but still well made. Just don’t expect hand crafted exotic wood and you won’t be disappointed.

Operation/Controls:

Being a small pistol, all of the controls on the Micro 9 are easily within reach, even for the smallest hands. The mag release button is firm, dropping magazines freely and confidently. The thumb safety is easy to activate and deactivate and locking the slide to the rear is done with minimal effort.

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Kimber @ TFB

The Crimson Trace laser grips are well designed and intuitive. On the bottom rear of the left grip panel is a on-off switch to be used for mid to long term storage. On the front strap is a rubber pressure pad that sits in line with the shooter’s strong hand middle finger.

The pressure needed to activate the laser is balanced – meaning if you want it on, it’s on. If you want it off, it’s off. Crimson Trace far from being a new company and you can tell that their products have evolved over the years.

One inherent property to all red lasers is that in increased ambient light, the usefulness of the aiming dot is inversely proportional to the distance to the target. And the Micro 9’s laser is not immune – after 10-15 yards in daylight, the red dot almost disappears.

Speaking of the laser, the windage and elevation adjustments are easily set with the included hex wrench. It took me about two minutes to zero the laser to a 10 yard point of impact (POI). As with any laser or even sight setup, remember your offset. Zeroing at a specific distance means that you will have to adjust your point of aim (POA) for other distances.

Having said that, one of the selling points of the Crimson Trace laser grips is that the laser is placed as close as possible to the bore line. The shooter won’t have to do much in the way of POA/POI adjustments.

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Kimber @ TFB

 

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Kimber @ TFB

 

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Kimber @ TFB

Handling:

This is a small pistol. Comparing it to my normal carry gun, the G26, the Micro 9 is absolutely tiny. Which means if you have large hands it might take some adjustments to your normal shooting grip. It’s not to say that the Micro 9 is uncomfortable, but my palm certainly slipped off the bottom edge of the grip.

IMG_1358

Kimber @ TFB

I also needed to adjust my trigger finger position; using my normal pad placement bent my finger into an unnatural shooting position.

In the end, the Micro 9 is just a small gun and the ergonomics are part of the compromises you will make when you decide to opt for something small and ultra-concealable.

Kimber @ TFB

IMG_1348

Kimber @ TFB

Shooting:

What do you want first, the good news or the bad news? Let’s start with the “bad” news:

My biggest issue with the Micro 9 Crimson Carry is that the laser placement doesn’t allow for my trigger finger to be at-the-ready. Now admittedly, my normal carry gun doesn’t have a laser. However, it feels like the one on the Micro 9 can only be used when my finger is on the trigger.

Maybe with practice and training I could have found a home to rest my tigger finger. But with the limited amount of time I had with this pistol, I couldn’t get it to work for me.

IMG_1365

Kimber @ TFB

Now for the good news:

The trigger is perfectly dreamy. It is ultra smooth with a clean break – just what you’d expect from a top-tier 1911 manufacturer. Even after a few hundred rounds, the trigger wasn’t gritty and the pull was consistently even and smooth. Well done.

The Micro 9 is also laser-accurate (pun intended). I was able to hit 12 inch steel targets off-hand from 25 yards with relative ease. And admittedly i’m not a bullseye shooter. The accuracy can be mostly attributed to the refined single action trigger, however the tight manufacturing and finishing tolerances must play a role as well.

This pistol is well made – you can feel it in the the way the slide glides on the frame. Ejection is a perfect three o’clock throw. And maybe I’m used to the blowback of suppressed handguns, but even after a few hundred rounds, the Micro 9 still looks brand new.

I had zero failures to feed, failures to fire or any other malfunctions. Chambering, ejecting live rounds, magazine feeding and other operations were flawless. Engaging the thumb safety was a natural motion, even for a non-believer like myself.

I don’t like to read other reviews on products that I am evaluating until after I have finished, so I will add this quick note. Some reviews state that the Micro 9 “kicks like a mule”. I didn’t experience any heavy recoil, even with full-powered carry loads. The “kick” was equal to or less than that from my G26.

Micro 9 Conclusions:

IMG_1368

Kimber @ TFB

So, here’s my take on the Micro 9: If you are accustomed to carrying a full sized 1911 of any caliber and would like to have the option to carry a complete, well-made and accurate package with the same manual of arms, this pistol is for you. The one caveat is that you should try before you buy if you are concerned that your hand size or finger positioning might get in the way of the laser.

If you are already a 1911 fan, you will not be disappointed in the Kimber Micro 9.

IMG_1385

Kimber @ TFB

Downsides:

  • Laser placement is difficult for larger hands.

Neutral:

  • 6+1 Capacity.

Upsides:

  • Quality manufacturing.
  • Accurate.
  • Tiny but complete package.
  • Buttery smooth trigger
IMG_1372

Kimber @ TFB

 

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Kimber @ TFB

Kimber was founded with the singular purpose of building fine sporting firearms, better even than classics from the golden age of American gunmaking. Modern manufacturing techniques would be embraced and used to advantage, but assembly, fit and finish could only depend on practiced hands. There would be no compromise in features, materials or performance.


1024px-Kimber_Manufacturing.svg

Kimber America – http://www.kimberamerica.com/micro-9-cc

P: (888) 243-4522

Special Thanks:

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FFL/SOT – MAC Tactical 



Pete

LE – Science – OSINT.
On a mission to make all of my guns as quiet as possible.
Pete.M@staff.thefirearmblog.com
Twitter: @gunboxready
Instagram: @tfb_pete
https://www.instagram.com/tfb_pete/


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  • ShooterPatBob

    My wife fell in love with these the moment she saw one. I bought her the two-tone model without laser for her birthday for under $500. It’s an excellent little pistol and recoil is very light for its size.

  • kipy

    I recently jumped ship from my Sig P938 for a Micro 9. It might be an unpopular opinion but so far I like the Kimber quite a bit better. I never liked the plastic trigger on the Sig and I really don’t like how they come with an ambi safety. Kimber fixed those problems and I think the trigger pull is marginally better.

    • You don’t WANT an ambi safety? Without out one, Kimber essentially makes this a right-handed shooter gun, only. No lefty will buy it. You’re leaving out a large portion of your customer base in doing so.

      • ShooterPatBob

        Believe it or not, most of us lefties have figured out how to use a safety with the trigger finger. The vast majority of my handgun collection, including carry guns, are configured as “right handed” safeties. Adapt and overcome! I appreciate ambi safeties, but I also understand that 90% of the population is right handed.

        • Toxie

          Yeah, no not on a 1911. Maybe you have tiny triple-jointed hands, but us normal lefties can’t sweep a safety such as the Micro 9 off with your trigger finger. Bring on the Ambi-safety!

        • Rickey Morris

          I’ve got two Left handed configured Pistols I received from my Uncle when he passed and I shoot them without much thought to the difference. Often we hear grumbling for the sake of pointing out one flaw. Kimber is a fantastic brand, that I sell probably two to one on higher end Pistols because they just work!

  • retfed

    Two points:
    1. Where you say there were no FTFs, etc., the picture shows a FMJ round. Later you mention the lack of excessive recoil with “full-powered carry loads.” So, did you shoot it with JHP rounds? Which ones?
    2. My main concern with lightweight subcompact single-action autos is that so many people pocket carry them in Condition Three, then delude themselves that they’ll rack the slide when they draw it in an emergency. (A smaller group carries them with a full chamber and the hammer down, thinking they’ll cock it during their draw.) Read some of the comments on various blog posts to see what I mean.
    I think you should only carry DA or striker-fired autos in your pocket.
    I know this wasn’t the subject of this article, but I think it’s worth a mention.

    • DIR911911 .

      because it was a gun review , not an opinion piece on what to carry.

  • iksnilol

    Would’a loved one in doublestack.

  • johnny smithers

    Something about a 1911 without a grip safety bothers me. It’s one thing to tape it off in a foxhole in world war two (not that I know anything about that) but in 2017 as an every day carry it just feels wrong.

    • retfed

      I carried a .45 Detonics back in the late 70s/early 80s. It had no grip safety, and the only thing that did was make the backstrap easier to grip.
      And the Hi-Power has no grip safety.
      It’s all in your head. Not that there’s anything wrong wit that.

  • Marcus D.

    Hey guys, it isn’t a 1911, it just looks like one. This is the Colt Mustang, as re-envisioned by Kimber, just as the P238 and the P938 were the same gun re-envisioned by Sig. The safety is completely different (and it does not lock the slide), and the trigger is hinged. With the laser, the price point is competitive with the Sig with a laser (which attaches to the trigger guard and avoids the problem this reviewer had).

  • Fr33zy

    >Kimber is a company known for quality and precision

    Pfft

    Quality rust maybe.