Good things come in small packages. This is especially true when it comes to Kimber. With the race in the gun industry to shrink the size of guns for a growing CCW market, Kimber has taken the time to build pistols that run as great as they look. While Kimber’s overall line is extensive, they offer two specific guns that I am a fan of for every day CCW carry.
Watch video at bottom of article to see how the Kimber Micro 9 and K6 revolver perform on the range.
Kimber Micro 9: Big Performance — Small Package
The Micro 9 is the ballistic evolution of Kimber’s successful Micro 380 pistol. While the .380 round can hold its’ own, the 9mm round is superior in performance. What is unique and enjoyable about the Kimber Micro 9 is it offers a pocket-sized pistol for shooters who still prefer 1911 style controls on the gun. While it is slightly different in that there is has no grip safety or barrel bushing, it does retain the thumb safety and traditional magazine release as well as the exposed hammer. The gun is pure Kimber and is a sleek 6.1″ long and a breath over 4″ in height. The barrel and slide are machined from quality stainless steel to improve resistance to moisture and the frame is cut from aluminum to help manage weight.
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What I like most about the Kimber Micro 9 is it has a traditional 1911 style trigger. This trigger design has been the gold standard for pistols with people desperately trying to fit it into other pistol designs. One other small variation from Mr. Browning’s design is the function of the safety. Unlike full sized 1911 pistols the slide can still be manipulated with the safety engaged. This has some benefits but took me a moment to wrap my 1911 centric mind around it. The magazine is a 6-round flush fit — yes, you can get an extended mag to provide one more round but you begin to defeat the purpose of having a small pocket gun. The magwell on the Micro 9 is beveled to help with smooth reloads and the ejection port is lowered and flared to ensure consistent ejection. Topping the gun off are steel sights. While to some it may seem unimportant, it is an acknowledgement by Kimber of the serious nature of this gun. The Kimber Micro 9 is designed as a personal defense weapon and steel sights are simply more durable and reliable.
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Performance wise, the Kimber Micro 9 did very well. Like any small pistol, the lack of real estate on the gun can cause grip issues. I would not say this, or any gun, is for everyone. If you have giant paws then this gun may not be for you. For the average sized person though the Micro 9 fits quite well. I found it to be a comfortable fit and easy to run. In the seven yards and in range, the gun shined and would be a solid fighting tool. We are still talking about a small gun shooting a 9mm round so the laws of physics are still in play. It was snappy but not unmanageable by any stretch. In fact I had the opportunity to run hundreds of rounds through it and never reached a point where I was fatigued by the little gun. I even had the opportunity to run it in a shoot house and it did a fantastic job. At the end of the day I give it very high marks.
Wheel Gun Time
Keeping with my “old school” vibe in this article, the next Kimber I would carry is the K6 revolver. The K6 is offered in a variety of configurations ranging from one with a laser grip to a base stainless model. They are all chambered in .357 Magnum and are promoted as the world’s lightest small-frame six-round .357 Magnum revolver. It is a hammerless design and has had all of the harsh edges smoothed out to make it a very comfortable carry gun. One of the things Kimber did to help keep the gun small was to bore the cartridge cylinders close to each other. While most may never notice, this ingenious piece of engineering drastically cuts down on the size.
A nice function centric point on the gun is the inclusion of an enlarged serrated cylinder release to help with manipulation. The track is smooth and the release is very easy to index. One of the challenges some people have with revolvers is the trigger. Unlike the revered 1911 trigger or even a striker-fired trigger, revolvers tend to have a very long and hefty pull. This is not the case with the K6. While the gun I shot officially tested in at 9.5 lbs. of pull, it was one of the smoothest I have run. In fact, I tested it three times to make sure it was reading correctly. The smooth non-stacking nature of the action allows for fantastic staging of the trigger for fast and accurate shooting. The ability to stage the trigger allowed me the opportunity to get solid headshots on turning targets under a clock. Like the Micro 9, Kimber got serious when it came to sights. In fact the K6 has what I will call “real” sights on this gun. Not just a machined notch and groove, but an effective front slight blade and low-profile rear sights. I attribute this part of the design to the accuracy I enjoyed with the gun. Chambered in a fighting caliber and weighing in at a mild 23 oz. it would make a good carry gun for many people.
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Like the Kimber Micro 9, I had an opportunity to spend quality time with the Kimber K6. Imagine if you will, three full days on the range and essentially all the ammo I could shoot. Hornady ammo was in the house and was not shy about letting us burn through rounds. They have always been solid performers and this testing proved to be no different. It was an opportunity I took seriously. While I am far from a master level revolver shooter, I was able to easily run every drill thrown our way. From fast turning targets to failure to stop drills, the gun ran well. Even with a short sight radius it proved to be an accurate pistol. Much of this I attribute to the trigger and sights on the K6. It was very close to shooting a standard semi-auto gun. I ran a mix of .38 Special as well as .357 Magnum rounds in it. The Hornady .357 Magnum 125-grain Critical Defense rounds were a solid choice for the gun. They were every bit the fight stopper they are designed to be with only a minimum of recoil. Would I shoot .357 all day, every day? No, but I would certainly train with it in order to master the gun. Some people have put the revolver on the antiquated firearms list, but I would disagree. As I mentioned before, there is no one gun that is perfect for everyone. You may be a serious revolver shooter and not even know it. With that being said, I would encourage you to consider the K6.
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While Kimber has a metric ton of different guns to choose from, I like the Micro 9 and the K6. They have the traditional Kimber fit and feel while meeting my needs for a small pocket-style pistol. When you are pressed to do the math, it’s obvious a full-sized gun with a higher magazine capacity is the more obvious choice for personal defense. However, if carrying a full sized gun just isn’t your cup of tea then I would recommend taking a good hard look at these two offerings from Kimber.
For more information on Kimber, visit: www.kimberamerica.com
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