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.
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.
Street: $800-$820 (est)
- 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
- Material: Aluminum
- Width (inches): 1.06
- Material: Steel
- Finish: Matte Black
- Length (inches): 3.15
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Twist rate (left hand): 16
- Radius (inches): 4.3
- Rosewood with Crimson Trace Lasergrips
- Solid Aluminum, match grade
- Factory setting (approximate pounds): 7.0
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
- Laser placement is difficult for larger hands.
- 6+1 Capacity.
- Quality manufacturing.
- Tiny but complete package.
- Buttery smooth trigger
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.
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