TFB Review: Kimber R7 Mako

    Kimber is well known for making 1911 pistols. It was only recently they started to make striker-fired pistols. They started with the Solo and then the Evo SP. However, the Evo SP is a single stack pistol and people love more capacity. Well, your desires have been met. The R7 Mako is the Kimber subcompact you have been wanting with a healthy amount of capacity.

    Kimber @ TFB:

    R7 Mako Is Optics Ready To Go

    R7 Mako in hand.

    Kimber sent in their R7 Mako O.I. (Optics Installed). It comes from the factory with a Crimson Trace CTS-1500 red dot sight. It also comes with TruGlo Tritium Pro Night Sights. The front sight has an orange ring while the rear sight has white rings. The rear sight has a U-Notch in it to help facilitate lining up the big orange dot.

    R7 Mako Unique Slide

    The slide is an interesting design choice. There is something odd about it. The barrel hood is not exposed like most semi-auto pistols.

    See how the top of the slide is continuous? Kimber designed the R7 Mako slide for two main reasons. First, with less barrel exposed, there is less chance of foreign matter getting into the pistol. Which is great for a subcompact gun that will more than likely be carried IWB. Secondly, the slide protects the front lens of the micro red dot. You should not have gun powder residue coating your red dot.

    Grip texture For Days

    The grip texture is something you immediately notice and feel when the R7 Mako is in your hands.

    I especially like that the texture is mirrored on the other side and there is plenty of it along the side of the frame. It provides a great reference point for your support thumb and has great traction for better recoil management.

    Field Stripping The R7 Mako

    The Mako is similar to other striker-fired handguns. However, the slide is removed a little differently. Like a Glock, you need to pull the trigger, pull the slide back a smidgen while pulling down the takedown lever. The next step is different from a Glock though. You ease the slide forward a millimeter or so forward of its natural resting position and then lift the slide off the frame rails.

    Underneath the slide is similar to other striker-fired guns.

    See the curved cutouts in the slide rails? Just above the recoil spring?

    See below, I traced the cutout. There are cutouts on either side of the slide. This is where you lower the slide back down onto the frame to reinstall the slide.

    R7 Mako Has Capacity

    The Mako comes standard with a flush-fit 11 round magazine and a 13 round extended magazine.

    13-rd on the left, 11-rd on the right.

    I prefer shooting with the 13-rd magazine so my pinky finger has a purchase on the grip.

    Mako Vs The Competition

    At first glance, the Mako does not exactly stand out aesthetically from other handguns. My wife thought the two pistols below were the same gun. Just one has a red dot.

    R7 Mako vs Springfield Hellcat.

    One thing you notice immediately when picking up the R7 Mako, it feels thicker and taller than other subcompact guns. Also due to the Mako slide design, it is taller to encompass the barrel. My friend Jerry shot the Mako and said the slide reminds him of a Hi-Point pistol.

    L-R: Glock 43, Glock 43X, Mako, Hellcat.

    Hellcat on the left, Mako on the right.

    Hellcat magazine vs the Mako. Both hold 13 rounds.

    Since the barrel is encompassed by the Mako slide, the slide is taller than other handguns like the Springfield Hellcat.

    Hellcat on the left, Mako on the right.

    How Is The Mako To Shoot?

    I was pleasantly surprised by how soft the recoil was. Even my friend Jerry, seen above, commented on how soft and manageable the recoil was. We think this is partly due to the heavier slide. Kimber says the barrel is low tilt which translates to lower felt recoil.

    The Crimson Trace CTS-1500 was perfect for the R7 Mako. My first red dot on a pistol was a JPoint which was made by Shield for JP Enterprises. In fact, the CTS-1500 looks exactly like the JPoint only with better glass for the lens. The JPoint uses an acrylic lens.

    The Kimber R7 Mako has a flat bow aluminum trigger that breaks at 90º.

    Mission First Tactical is making IWB Kydex holsters for the Mako. You can flip the belt clip onto either side. The Mako is fully ambidextrous. No need to swap parts.

    Final Thoughts On The R7 Mako

    The R7 Mako will retail for $599 MSRP. That is for the Optics Ready version. If you want the Optics Included version, like the one they sent for a review, then it will be $799 MSRP.

    At first glance, the R7 Mako appears big and chunky but when you compare it to similar handguns, it is not that much bigger. The slide is thicker due to the design to cover up the barrel hood. This is both good and bad. It is great because it helps reduce dirt and debris from entering the gun. It also helps keep gun powder residue from the ejection port from coating the red dot. However, the compromise is a taller slide. The slide is wider too but that is independent of the barrel design. So this adds weight to the gun and reciprocating mass.

    Capacity wise is decent and seems it is the standard at 11-rds for the flush magazine and 13-rds for the extended magazine. I am curious what accessories will be made for the R7 Mako since the accessory rail is proprietary. Hopefully, a light and laser will come out for it. If I had to choose one, I would want a light on this gun.

    The Kimber R7 Mako is a great shooting gun. I recommend getting the Optics Included version, that way you don’t have to worry about getting the optic and mounting it. But if you wanted to, you can get the Optics Ready version and choose your own red dot that fits the Shield RMSC pattern. The price is not terrible and as I said it shoots great. While it is not a drastic departure from other subcompact striker-fired offerings on the market, it is a solid gun and something to look into if you are considering getting a high capacity striker-fired optics ready pistol. For more information, go to Kimber’s website.

    Nicholas C

    Steadicam Gun Operator
    Night Vision & Thermal Aficionado
    Flashlight/Laser Enthusiast
    USPSA competitor

    Any questions please email him at [email protected]


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