Kimber Micro CDP–More than a Backup Gun

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Kimber 380

Polymer guns of this size are often seen as last resorts. The Kimber is much more than that.

A lot of the small pocket pistols on the market are not all that much fun to shoot.  Even in .380, they are jumpy and prone to stinging and slapping your hand when fired.   It’s hard to improve your shooting techniques with these little pistols when they bust your knuckles or pinch your hands every time you shoot them.  Most are not known for their accuracy.  I usually equate them to the “belly guns” of the old west, guns you had to stick  in someone’s belly if you wanted to actually hit your assailant.  The Kimber Micro CDP defies all of these preconceptions.  It is a comfortable joy to shoot, and the accuracy is surprising for its diminutive size.

Honey I shrunk the 1911

I have to admit that I am the target market for these pistols.  For one, I am a big fan of the small pocket pistol for deep concealment.  I also like the .380 as a summertime carry round.  But the biggest appeal to me is the Micro’s design.  If you are a 1911 shooter, this will be a very intuitive platform.  It is based on the Colt Mustang.

Kimber 380

The 380 is significantly smaller than a 1911, yet the .380, even in the small package, is easy to control.

Now I’m not saying that the Micros or the Mustangs are simply shrunk down 1911s, they aren’t, at least on the inside. But they do share some important features. They look and feel like small 1911s on the outside. The safety lever, magazine and slide release are all in familiar places.  Even the trigger feels like a 1911’s.  It is single action, of course.  You carry it cocked and locked.  That is the appeal here, a small carry piece that feels like its big brother. If you carry full-sized single action pistol, or one of the chopped-down variants, the Micro will function in almost exactly the same way.

Specs

Kimber makes the Micros in a couple of different setups.  All of the models feature aluminum frames.  That helps contribute to an unloaded weight of around 13 ounces. They all have what Kimber calls “Carry Melt,” meaning sharp corners are smoothed out to help keep the pistol from getting hung up when its drawn from concealment.   All are chambered in .380 ACP and come with 6 round magazines. The frames are just a hair over 1 inch wide, 4 inches tall and about 5.5 inches long.  The stainless barrel is 2.75 inches long.  The base model has an MSRP of around $650, and they go up from there.

Kimber 380

I’m not 100% sold on lasers, though they can be an added measure of assurance for shot placement approximation.

The Micro CDP (Custom Defense Package) without laser grips has an MSRP of $1,121. The model we are reviewing is the Micro CDP LG.  The LG means it has Crimson Trace grips.  The CDP Micros are all built in the Kimber Custom Shop and should have a bit nicer fit and finish over the standard models.  They also have a few extra features that contribute to their use as carry pistols.  These include an ambidextrous safety and Tritium night sights.  The review model’s MSRP of $ 1,406.

Out of the Box

As I was taking the Kimber Micro out of the box for the first time, my wife walked by and commented that it was cute.  She is right; it really is kind of cute. That was my first impression of it, too (though I wasn’t going to say the word out loud).  It’s the small size that makes it seem cute. The matte stainless of the slide coupled with the black of the frame and the wood grips is pretty good looking, and on a full-sized pistol, I would call it handsome.  Kimber does know how to make a good looking gun.  The fit and finish on this little guy are great.  It is tight.  It feels solid.  The feel of the gun inspires confidence, even before you pull the trigger. Guns that feel this well put together are typically accurate and reliable.  Yet that fit comes with a cost. As I mentioned, Kimbers aren’t cheap, and this one is no exception.  It feels like a pistol should for this price point.  But how it feels is always second to how it shoots.

Kimber 380

The controls are close together, and may feel cramped to those who shoot 1911s.

Shooting

Cute looks aside, the Micro’s performance makes it really stand out.  I took it to the range a couple of time to put it through the paces.  In the first 2 magazines, I did have two rounds that failed to eject.  The spent cases extracted but they didn’t kick out.  I was shooting Monarch .380 FMJs.  After firing those first 12 rounds, there were no more problems.  I ran everything I could find though the Micro–light FMJs to hot hollow points.  It ate them all and asked for seconds.

The recoil is very mild. I reacquired my sight picture almost instantly.  The Micro really is a pleasure to shoot.  It points instinctively and quickly. It also doesn’t hurt or sting your hand like some other little carry pistols.  Being pleasant to shoot is important when you get into training with a carry piece, and you won’t shy away from practice with a gun like this.

Kimber 380

The trigger pull on the Kimber seems higher on the scale than it feels.

I measured the trigger pull on the review gun above 7 lbs, but it doesn’t feel like it’s that heavy.  To me it feels more like 5 pounds.  Maybe that is a size thing?  Compared to a lot of other pistols, I have more of my finger in the trigger guard, so it could be a leverage advantage.  But it’s more likely the quality of the trigger that makes it feel lighter.  This has the nicest feel of any pocket-pistol trigger I have felt.  There is zero creep and no grit.  There is also no take up.  It’s a pull-and-bang. To put it simply, it is great.

I had a Kydex holster from Multiholsters.com that was made to fit a Colt Mustang.  The Micro fit perfectly. I used this holster to run some concealment drills.  The Micro drew smoothly and was quick to come on target, exactly what you want in a carry piece. This is a gun that should be holstered if carried in condition one, as the safety is crucial.  It fits extremely well in both small of the back and appendix carry styles.  Even with the 7 pound pull, I wouldn’t trust it in a pocket.  But if you’re considering spending more than a thousand bucks on a pistol, odds are you can pony up for the perfect holster, too.

Kimber 380

Accuracy with the tiny .380 beats a lot of the 9mm pocket pistols we shoot. This group is from 25 yards with Hornady Critical Defense.

Accuracy

With the Micro’s short 2.75 inch barrel (and the shot sight radius to go along with it), I wasn’t expecting the Micro to be a tack driver.  I was wrong. This little guy shoots great.  From 7 yards, I shot a tight seven round group; all of the rounds were touching except for one flyer that was an inch high (and that was probably my fault).  While I was testing reliability, I fired from 25 yards.  This little guy grouped them at just over 3 inches.  I can’t shoot that tight from 25 yards with some full-sized pistols.  Perhaps most surprisingly, these group sizes were consistent with all of the ammo I was shooting.  Monarch, Winchester, and Hornady Critical Defense all shot nice tight groups.

Kimber 380

The laser isn’t going to show the exact point of impact, but these three shots were all made with the red dot on the 8.

I used the Crimson Trace laser, too.  From 7 yards the group was about 3 inches higher than where the dot was on the target.  The laser works, and works well.  In low light situations, especially, it could be a benefit. Yet you shouldn’t rely on it.  It is an extra, really. The pressure pad on the front strap turns the laser on when you grip the gun.  There’s no special grip needed.  Yet you do have to remember to turn the switch on at the grip panel before you set out for the day.

Final thoughts

The Kimber Micro is a great little pistol.  Its look, feel, reliability and accuracy all add up into a dependable little carry gun.  If you already carry a 1911, this design will almost be second nature. However, some people are not a fan of carrying a single action pistol that is cocked and locked.  I get that. I understand the hesitation.  For one there is a safety that has to be pushed off and that adds an extra step before it will fire.  But that is where training with your carry piece comes into play.  Sometimes we can all be guilty of not putting enough trigger time in as we should. With the Micro you will have no excuse; it is a total pleasure to shoot.

Kimber 380

This Multi Holster fits the gun perfectly, even with the laser grip.

Kimber 380

With the short sight radius, the .380’s accuracy is more reliable at short ranges.

Kimber 380

The tolerances on the small gun are really tight. There’s no rattle anywhere.

Kimber 380

Stainless on black with the red finish on the grips makes for one colorful gun.

Kimber 380

The laser is activated with the pressure switch on the front strap.

Kimber 380

The small switch on the grip panel turns the laser on and off.

Kimber 380

Part of what makes a Kimber a Kimber is this attention to detail. The hold up to close scrutiny better than most.

Kimber 380

The front sight is dovetailed in, so if you have to make adjustments (or replacements) you can.

Kimber 380

Recoil is a bit snappy, as the whole package is light, but it is still manageable and reasonably fast.

Kimber 380

The tritium sights are white in the daylight and a soft green at night.

Kimber 380

The fit of the barrel in the frame is precise, which helps with repeat accuracy.

Danger! Don't look at the laser.  Also, looking down the barrel isn't recommended either.

Danger! Don’t look at the laser. Also, looking down the barrel isn’t recommended either.

Kimber 380

Carry ammo, or ball, doesn’t matter. The Kimber didn’t give us a single problem feeding or extracting ammo.

Kimber 380

With a dedicated single action holster, make sure the safety is on before you force it in.

Kimber 380

The high sight ridge on this Multi Holsters rig never touches the front sight.

Kimber 380

The three dot set up on the Kimber makes for fast target acquisition.

 

{ 72 comments… add one }
  • Scott sledge August 31, 2015, 11:26 pm

    I bought the little micro cdp last week for my wife, she loves it. I tried it out, the accuracy is fantastic at 40 yards it will give 6″ groups. I have a coustom covert 2. 45 cal we live in the country and shoot a lot. I have a 938 sig, after 30 or so rounds the trigger pinches your finger, I like it after I filed off the bottom of the trigger. But the little Kimber will out shoot it. I like it so well I’m going to get one. It is the best small gun I ever fired. I also have a lcp its a sloppy build, but I never had a jam, I give the Kimber micro cdp a 5 star for sure….

  • Todd August 16, 2015, 7:50 pm

    What I like so much about the Kimber over the others mentioned is the ease of slide when clambering a round. This comes in handy when it is being used by a women.

  • Ron July 12, 2015, 5:37 pm

    @Sam, Excellent review and, especially, great pics of the micro. As a Kimber fan myself, I’ve struggled to justify to myself to buy a micro. Currently, I have a Solo Carry and a Compact CDP II. I would have a hard time choosing the micro over the Solo as the Solo is so damn smooth with absolutely no possible sticking points. And, if I didn’t mind the potential sticking points, well, I have the Compact CDP II. So, I’m wondering what is it about the micro that caused you to choose it over the Solo? I’m genuinely curious as I’ve never handled or shot one. Thanks.

  • tony b July 2, 2015, 3:18 am

    Just picked up a micro carry advocate for $750 , it shoots very well ,has little kick back and Im able to come back on site quickly and it has tritium sights already, the slide is supper smooth as well as the trigger, has little to no play it just snaps. Weight is on par with my other carries. It has surpassed the shooting pleasure at the range of my PPK and regardless of what others might say I find the PPK to be a very well built and accurate firearm. My Ruger lcp may do the job in an emergency but is a real chore at the range anyway I traded a Desert Eagle for the Kimber and can honestly say I am glad to be rid of that useless beast.

  • kenny February 8, 2015, 9:18 pm

    I just bought a kimber micro carry in .380 cost 569.00. Love this gun very accurate very nice highly recommend.

  • Paul Reynolds December 29, 2014, 10:46 am

    The new Kimber .380 looks identical to my Kimber Solo 9mm except for the hammer. My Solo is hammer less. I certainly hope the review and the gun is better . The review in the magazine was great, so I bought one . Kimber says to use personal defense type ammo, and they are correct .I’ve tried different FMJ , affordable ammo, but it’s not dependable . Standard ammo either doesn’t eject completely or misfires. I’ve put over 1000 rounds thru it and it’s a bit better put undependable with anything other than expensive personal defense ammo, which is too expensive for the range . I talked to Kimber and their position is ,tough luck, you need to use PDA ammunition in it . I suggest you try this new one before investing any money in it . Personally, I’m done with Kimber , and their attitude .

    • Eric Haulenbeek May 29, 2016, 7:03 pm

      I’m very sorry you feel the way you do toward the folks at Kimber, Paul. I’ve always had great service from them. My first Kimber was an Ultra Carry II in .45 ACP. What an absolutely delightful gun to shoot. It feels great in my hands, target acquisition in a snap, and recoil is directly back against my shooting hand, not pushing the weapon up. I can shoot multiple rounds at fifty feet and keep a 6″ pattern. Then I bought a Solo. Wow, what a different experience that’s been. Trigger pull is long and iffy, as in ‘when’s this thing going to shoot!’ It reminds me of a Ruger LCP I had, and quickly sold! I just don’t like a striker fire pistol. Somehow I thought Kimber would’ve done a better job of it than Ruger. I was wrong… but the wife likes it for size and she’s comfortable with the weapon too, so it’s still a member of the family. When the new Micro came out I bought one instantly! I knew I had to have one of these pocket pistols… and what a sweet little gun to shoot. It has the manners of my Ultra Carry II but in a smaller package. I’ve put no less then 200 rounds through it an only one misfire! I think that was the ammunition I was using though. Don’t buy cheap crap just because you’re only going to the range with it. Buy just what you would use when you carry! So now I’m carrying the Ultra and a Micro. I love these guns, and they feel like a part of me now too. When I buckle my belt in the morning I always grab my Kimbers… it’s become a habit. Give it some more time Paul, and use the good stuff at the range. It’s expensive, but your life could depend on it one day.

      • Dirk December 29, 2016, 12:38 am

        Ruger lcp is hammer fired 👀

  • Damon November 7, 2014, 4:04 pm

    Exactly like my Sig P238 SAS (Sig Anti Snag)= (Kimber “Carry Melt) Except the rear site on my Sig had a grove for cock assist. … which priced out right at 700.bucks with another hundred for an upgraded steel trigger install, if I added the laser grip (340+) it would be up close to the Kimber price. I did not see what the Kimber trigger is made out of? Steel, plastic? So those saying Kimber is twice as much are a bit off. You have to compare feature to feature. Too be fair this article states the base model is around 650. MSRP (retail?), The Sig comes in at 500. retail for a cheaper version (Academy Sports). That being said, I love my little Sig but I would rather have the Colt… we all have brands that we love ;o). Oh and yes Cocked and Locked with a round in the chamber! BTW on the Sig and possibly the Kimber, you can cock the hammer then set the safety without a round in the chamber. At this point with the safety on, you can at anytime rack the slide to chamber a round. This is also handy for clearing a round. Just drop the mag, clear the round, insert mag … all with the safety on.

  • Jeff August 6, 2014, 8:32 am

    Wow! A Sig P238 at only twice the price. Awesome!

  • Jim July 28, 2014, 11:19 pm

    What is the difference between this gun and the Solo, I have the Solo and use it as my carry gun. At 9mm I feel the Solo has a better round than the .380.

    • Mark N. July 31, 2014, 12:31 am

      Functionally, the differences are that the Solo is 4 oz heavier, has a DAO trigger, and shoots 9 mm instead of .380. Plus it has no external safety.

      • Michael March 16, 2016, 4:30 pm

        My Kimber solo carry 9mm has a manual thumb safety.

  • Todd July 28, 2014, 7:32 pm

    My XDS .45 was a great pocket pistol. I would take 5 round .45’s over 6 round 380’s any day.
    Had to breakdown and get an IWB holster for my new Para USA Elite Officer 1911.
    not a fan of hammer-less stryker-fire guns anymore, No more longer, harder trigger pull on that 1st shot.
    Cocked & Locked, Safety is off in a fraction of the time needed to draw and acquire target in sights. And single action trigger is short smooth and sweet, from the first shot til the last.

  • Beachhawk July 28, 2014, 6:43 pm

    I have a Kimber CDP Ultra II in 45ACP. I have been carrying a Sig Sauer P238 (380) and P938 (9mm) for a couple of years now. They are both good looking guns, easy to conceal, and a dream to carry and shoot. Kimber is late to the game and just now catching up! I’ll be interested to see if they also come up with a 9mm in this model.

  • Frank July 28, 2014, 6:33 pm

    This new Kimber is beautiful. I own a Kimber Gold Match 1.
    I don’t understand why they made their 380 so large. My Kahr PM40 is exactly the same size with more than twice the energy. My LCP is soooo much smaller in thickness and height X width

  • Downrange45 July 28, 2014, 6:18 pm

    Very nice looking firearm, would love to find it in my Christmas stocking, and if I did, I most likely would carry it. Occasionally. Pay $1,400 or even $1,100 for it? Never. I consider the firearms that same money would buy and all of them appeal to me more than this one. Pass.

  • Rey July 28, 2014, 5:47 pm

    Can they not make it 1/4 inch thicker and half an inch longer and make it a 9mm? I’d rather have this same size in a 22lr.

  • Travis G July 28, 2014, 3:22 pm

    Seems a few are quick on the trigger, or at least point the finger here today. Base price is in line with the Colt Mustang and Sig. Remember MSRP is exactly that. Seems to me the difference then is the ‘carry melt’. As an owner of a Mustang I can say for certain the ‘melt’ would be a nice option as the Mustang has very sharp edges. And I seriously doubt a smith would do it up proper for the difference in price.

  • Russ July 28, 2014, 3:13 pm

    Hey everyone!
    I hope I can help all the complaints out by showing you what I’ve found while looking for pocket pistols and CC guns over a long period of time.
    I can’t find a better more innovative quality pocket pistol than the Boberg.
    For less than the Kimber you get a Rolls Royce with Boberg, and it comes in 9mm. or .45 acp
    So check out the Boberg XR9-S and the XR45-S–> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dp4W1Zz7dE

    And if your sort of cash, for about $350. there’s the S&W-M&P Shield in 9mm./.40
    Check it out here—> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9nmfgDlHhs
    And after 1.000 round follow up—> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZYNLzcpFVQ

    Keep in mind, (as far as cash is concerned) these may be fun to shoot, but the real reason for this purchase is to save your life. I would get them both, starting with the Shield.
    Register both at the same time for CC.
    If one is used and taken in for evidence, you still have the other to cover yourself during downtime.
    Anyway, I hope this helps.

  • Pat Patterson July 28, 2014, 2:35 pm

    Ultimately, they are ALL niche guns. What’s the niche for this? It has a legitimate market, but my guess is that nobody is going to crossover to Kimber because of this gun. It’s for Kimber owners.

  • Noel P. July 28, 2014, 2:23 pm

    Kimber is famous for quality and this pistol reflects that. I recently bought a Masterpiece Protector as I wanted a all metal gun and not one of those Poly ones such as the Ruger that can fail on you (Ruger is about a direct copy of the Kel Tec .380 and that has failed on me) so I got it. It hurts to shot with high velocity copper bullets but it is accurate and it does work. I have one private design problem with then but I’m sure they can fix it. Lets face it .380 in small guns is for only when you really need it and do not want to look like you are carrying. My collection is hovering at 10 right now and I like them because I used to have to carry one. The worst was a PPK. Worst trigger pull in history in that caliber for a small double action pistol. Still I have mine. Best was a SIG 230 as an all around gun. I wish it didn’t have that butt release for the magazine, but you know what they say about wishes. Others I liked were the Beretta produced Browning PDA .380. I could use the safety easier than the Beretta version and I thought it looked good. The capacity of the magazine was 13 rounds so it was OK. Close runner ups were the CZ 82/83 series and the Llama Colt like little .380. I still use the SIG though.
    A lot of moaning over the price and I warrant you that I winced also but if you need something and its your and your friends and family at stake spend the money. It’ll pay off well and Kimber’s resell at decent prices so think of it as an investment. Just look at the CDs pay outs and you know you have a better investment. Now this is just about a little carry gun if we start talking about real guns I’d be singing a different song !

    • Dan Cody September 8, 2014, 1:04 am

      I agree the Sig 230 is th for the Kimbere way to go. easy to reacquire sight picture, smooth shooting and easy to soak up recoil (I am fully disabled so the few ozs. of extra weight helps) the mag release is difficult. Its crazy to pay extra hundreds unless you are a “Kimber Man”. Kimber is a good pistol but its not a SIG!

    • Dan Cody September 8, 2014, 1:05 am

      I agree the Sig 230 is th for the Kimbere way to go. easy to reacquire sight picture, smooth shooting and easy to soak up recoil (I am fully disabled so the few ozs. of extra weight helps) the mag release is difficult. Its crazy to pay extra hundreds unless you are a “Kimber Man”. Kimber is a good pistol but its not a SIG!

  • John Nicholson July 28, 2014, 2:17 pm

    Kimber makes great guns, no doubt about it. If you are armed with a Kimber, you are well armed. But, they are a little pricey for my budget. I want to make a plug for my favorite carry .380 which sells new for between $289 to $339 and also has none of the small pocket gun .380 faults. The Bersa Thunder. I like them so well I own five. Four in .380 and one in .22 rimfire just for cheaper practice. I’ve never yet had one jam. The trigger pull both double action and single action is good (sure, there are better but not for the price). You have a capacity of 8 rounds with the regular Thunders and 9 with the concealed carry version. I have two of both. They point naturally, don’t jump badly or sting and at 3.5 inches have a longer barrel (equals slightly more velocity) than most small .380’s and are easily concealed yet still you can get a full grip on them.

  • Unlicensed Dremel July 28, 2014, 1:52 pm

    This would be 100 times better, and actually a good idea if it was a 9x19mm (and would therefore have to be what, 1/4″ longer and taller, and 3-4 ounces heavier?) .380 is worthless as teats on a boar hog nowadays. More expensive AND weaker, and doesn’t make the gun appreciably smaller. Kimber’s on quite a FAIL run.

    • Mark N. July 31, 2014, 12:24 am

      See Kimber Solo. 9 mm, same size factor, DAO trigger, same capacity, same trigger pull (7 lbs), 17 ozs, and the base unit is $815. This new gun has missed its price point for all except the elite who buy guns because they are “pretty.” And that it is–but I would buy two P238s (or better two P938s), one for each pocket, for the same price.
      And I say this as a Kimber owner (Pro Carry II) that I bought for about $700 some long time ago. (I have had a love/hate relationship with this gun since new. It was terribly unreliable, failing to feed consistently, until I bought a new recoil spring directly from Wolff, Now it (finally) runs just fine.)

  • Ken Tomas July 28, 2014, 1:45 pm

    Looks like the Sig Sauer P238 with Kimber markings to me.

  • Rich Burr July 28, 2014, 1:39 pm

    After purchasing their Solo and having it jam with anything but expensive high end defense rounds I’ll pass. I know their site mentions this, but I’ve heard of some of them working fine with all ammo and some, like mine, that won’t. Tells me that their manufacturing process isn’t very consistent. For the high dollar they charge…. It should be.

  • Edward G Hoffmann July 28, 2014, 10:39 am

    I prefer the Colt Government PocketLite .380 over the smaller Mustang, or the Kimber Micro CDP. The longer grip fits my large hands better and the longer barrel give it a better sight radius, yet it’s still small and lightweight enough for comfortible concealed carry. It’s also a very smooth shooting pistol. I’ve owned several .380’s and nothing else is as pleasant to shoot as the mini 1911 Colt style pistols.

  • Trevor Pickett July 28, 2014, 10:13 am

    I have carried Kimber Solo for years. Love it. I also carry Sig P238 as pocket for warm weather and dockers/dress pants no jacket. Gold Star Holsters makes the perfect pocket Holster. I never worry about my firearm discharging on this holster. It is called the pocket protector, check it out.

  • Brett July 28, 2014, 9:58 am

    REALLY… A $1400 copy of Mustang? You would be better of buying both a Sig 238 (a copy of the Mustang) and a Colt Mustang for the price of the Kimber…

    • Tim June 13, 2015, 7:24 am

      Bought the 1400.00 number for 700.00 nib.

  • Mark Reynolds July 28, 2014, 9:18 am

    $1400 for a .380? I’ll take 3 G42’s please.

  • Gerry July 28, 2014, 9:12 am

    What a rip-off of the Sig P238. And it’s a lot more expensive.

    • Mark N. July 31, 2014, 12:13 am

      Then again, the P238 was a rip-off of the Mustang while it was on “hiatus” from Colt (and after the patents had expired). Colt saw how popular the P238 was, now that CCW is the “in” thing, but came late to the party with a better manufactured version of their old Mustang, but at a price premium over the Sig.

  • Zeus July 28, 2014, 8:59 am

    Great Review! Makes me want to convince my wife we need one or two of these Kimbers to match our full size pistols. Finally, a great write up that speaks to the bottom line on the current “trend” of laser sights as well as showing this test guns point of impact versus point of aim using the laser. Too many people that come in my shop seem to believe that the laser sight is the final answer to poor marksmanship and will allow them to shoot “lights out” at any range without the need for proper training and practice. Laser sights are indeed “just an extra” and will usually only get you in the ballpark with shot placement at the distance they are zeroed. For me, their advantage is as mentioned; during low light situations. Remember, just like tracer ammunition, lasers “work both ways” and can help give up your position to your adversary. First and foremost one must train using proper techniques to gain proficiency with this or any other firearm or weapon. Then when you THINK that you’ve mastered it, train some more and keep training as often as you can. The ONLY other thing I would have liked to have seen covered to complete this review would be chronograph results of the ammo tested. Other than that, job well done! keep up the good work and thanks!

  • Mike Kolendo July 28, 2014, 8:53 am

    I just don’t get it? With all of the small 9 mms around why would anyone spend a grand on a substandard caliber gun like this? I love Kimber. I own a Solo and love it but, a .380 with a single action trigger? You know people are going to carry it in their pocket. meaning it will take two hands to get into action or, even worse, will be carried condition one, susceptible to having a very painful accidental discharge. What is Kimber thinking? Or what is anyone willing to buy this thing thinking? Please don’t buy one of these things unless you are going to buy a quality holster to go along with it!

    All of these companies are now coming out with more small .380s after good, small 9 mms are in abundant supply. It has to be a pure marketing ploy because they are simply fulfilling a need that doesn’t exist.

  • Albert LaTour July 28, 2014, 8:51 am

    Please review the Sig 238 or 938 I have the 938 and it is also an excellent small gun.

  • DirtE30 July 28, 2014, 8:45 am

    Nice article, nice gun… However, unless you just have more money than you know what to do with, why would you buy this $1450 gun when Sig has been making the exact same thing for years now in the P238?! You get all these features for half that cost and since I own several, I can attest that it handles, looks, and shoots just as you describe here. It’s also based on the Colt Mustang, and built in their custom shop. How can Kimber justify a 100% price difference on an identical (for all practical intents) gun?! Kimber has finally arrived to the .380 prom, only to find the King has already been crowned.

  • bill45colt July 28, 2014, 8:39 am

    ive had a Star Starfire for 30 years, alloy frame,,,same pistol. Nothing new here.

  • Tom Koch July 28, 2014, 8:14 am

    That is one of the best written reviews that , I have personally had the pleasure to read.
    Any , and all questions are covered in your article , great job.
    I want to purchase a nice small hand gun , but the truly well built gun is out of my , and most any others price range who are on disability , or any type of fixed income.
    Do you have any advice for us on a gun that is more in our range , and still a quality gun?
    Thank you for your time in this matter , and have a great day.
    Tom

    • Jim July 28, 2014, 8:59 am

      On a budget look at the 2nd gen S&W Bodyguard in 380. The model without the built in laser can be found sub $300. I didn’t care for the first gen of the gun but was impressed with the 2nd. It shoots like a larger gun without any pinching or pain. Decent trigger, nice 3 dot sights, 1911 style safety, DAO so you can carry with safety off. It fed any ammo I ran through it straight from the box with zero failures. The first one we brought into the shop I took out for a test run. I was impressed enough to add it to my stable even though I needed another carry gun like a hole in my head.

      • Todd Emoto July 28, 2014, 2:04 pm

        The S&W Bodyguard is the way to go, I bought one after using several other .380s that are NOT fun to shoot. I own a Kimber .45 and love it but you’ve gotta really want their .380 for the price. You can shoot the S&W all day. The only thing the S&W needed, in my opinion, was a trigger job to reduce the trigger travel by 1/3. I got mine from Galloway Precision.

    • Rich Hodges July 28, 2014, 12:45 pm

      I love the look and apparent quality of the new Kimber the the price is prohibitively high! I still believe the Ruger LCP380 with a Lasermax is the best quality pocket pistol. Easy to carry, handle and accurate. The .380 Critical Defense will do more than “sting.”

    • Ross B. July 28, 2014, 2:13 pm

      Look at any of the Kahr Arms pistols. Their low-priced ones are a great value! Hand-fitting yet compact and very reliable. Get one in 9mm, .40 or .45. Personally, I like the Ruger LCR revolver in .38 Special with Hornady Critical Duty ammo, but you only get 5 shots! If you need more, don’t go to that neighborhood! 🙂
      Best of luck!
      Ross

  • Mike Kolendo July 28, 2014, 7:53 am

    I just don’t get it. up front, I admit I am not a fan of the .380, especially when there are so many small 9 millimeters around. but, you know that this gun lends itself to pocket carry, and many people are going to do just that. as stated in the article, if carried for self defense this action needs to be carried cocked and locked. obviously that is not a suitable gun to put it in your pockets under those circumstances. but, carried with an empty chamber, it will require two hands to get into action. so the combination of a substandard caliber to begin with, and a gun that will take entirely too long to be ready to fire, just doesn’t make sense at all. it only makes sense with a double action trigger like the solo, and you are still left with a rather an effective calibre.

    • A.D. Hopkins January 22, 2015, 1:30 pm

      Pistols of this general configuration may be safely carried with the hanmer down, chamber loaded, and safety off, if the firing pin is a floating type that is not long enough to contact the primer when the hammer is down. But I personally test the firing pin to make sure it really is that short, because many an original and safe firing pin has been replaced with a longer and unsafe one. You unload the pistol, lock the slide back, and press against the rear of the firing pin with the narrow edge of a steel ruler or similar device. Press the ruler flat against the frame. Looking into the ejection port at the same time, if the firing pin extends from its hole even a tiny bit, the pistol is not safe to carry in that condition. I have also tested a few of these guns by striking a blow to the lowered hammer with another hammer — the type used to drive nails — and found they would not fire a live-primed case if they had the proper floating firing pin. As for firing in an emergency, the hammer is so positioned that a person with average-sized hands can learn to cock it very quickly as it comes out of the pocket but before the pistol comes into full arms-extended presentation. Not as quick as a double-action if you had to do a speed-rock draw at nose-biting range, but still pretty quick even at that. And to a normal stance, quick as anything else with practice.

  • Paul July 28, 2014, 7:45 am

    C’mon Kimber! $1400 for your spin on SIG’s P238? Gimme a break!
    Not a Kimber hater: own Compact Custom myself. Good gun, but nothing special.
    From Solo to Micro: overpriced and overrated. Come down to Earth, guys.

  • Alex Wagner July 28, 2014, 7:24 am

    I use a CDP lg as my carry gun and I love it. It cost me an arm, leg, and my first-born child, but the money was well spent. It is a pocket gun I can trust and that I want to carry with me. If you can find one for less than msrp, buy it. Also, I just started carrying the new Lehigh Defense 380 ammo on the advice of ShootingtheBull410 and I am impressed with that as well.

  • john July 28, 2014, 7:14 am

    Way over priced for a 380

  • Fred Fagan July 28, 2014, 6:59 am

    Beautiful weapon with all the features of a Sig P238 BUT twice the price. Have carried the Sig for a few years as a summer weapon. Great tritium sights and have extended mag for an extra round. I also have Kimber 1911 as well as a number of other brands of 1911s. Kimber is a super weapon but I personally think Sig provides the same quality and performance at a much better price. Have the SIG P938 for cooler weather and their 1911 carry for when it’s cold. Since they are all the same design my muscle memory is pretty consistent. Both are great marques but I’ll stick with Sig.

  • Charles L Bloss Jr July 28, 2014, 6:48 am

    I will never carry a single action pistol. I prefer to carry double action first shot, single action subsequent shot, pistols. For instance I carry a Smith CS45, or 4513TSW. I carry a Walther PPK, PPK/S or sometimes a TPH. I was trained on S & W revolvers, then a 645, and subsequently a 4506 which was the Sheriff Office carry gun when I retired. I was given an almost new one which had been to the range once, when I left. The Sheriff Office now carries .40 Glocks. I like .45 caliber, .380 for backup, in summer sometimes a .22lr. That is just my preference. Any pistol is right to carry if you have been trained on it, like it, and practice until you are proficient with it. My last LEOSA range I shot 86%. Not bad when I shoot only once a year, and don’t usually practice.

  • Atimatik July 28, 2014, 6:25 am

    This gun looks very nice and appears to be extremely similar to that of the Sig P238 (another “mini” 1911 style, single action .380).

  • randy July 28, 2014, 5:58 am

    It’s nice to see Kimber following their history of innovation by copying guns that have been successful for other companies (Colt, Sig).

    • Brandan` July 28, 2014, 3:51 pm

      So I guess in your opinion Colt should be the only firearm manufacturer to make 1911’s. and Glock the only one to be allowed a polymer frame. And Armalight the only AR-15…

      • James July 30, 2014, 4:07 pm

        yes.. Colt rocks

  • Mike Vax July 28, 2014, 5:07 am

    While this pistol looks great and is convenient for a 1911 shooter to handle, there is NO .380 worth the price Kimber is asking!

  • Keith July 28, 2014, 3:36 am

    I like the pistol, I hate the round. Why not 9 millimeter Parabellum? The .380 round has less stopping power but is more expensive.

    • Larry July 28, 2014, 9:51 am

      Want a 9mm model? Get a Sig P938…same design for 60% of the price of the Kimber. Want the .380 model? Get the Sig P238 for just a bit less.

      • dink winkerson July 29, 2014, 12:39 pm

        The p938 will strip the top round out of the mag if the gun is not empty, not wild about that in a carry piece. If 380 is your thing, S&W bodyguard shoots just as accurate at 7 yards as this thing did and it’s a $400 gun. never shot it at 25 yards, you’ll go top jail for shooting at one that far away.

        • dink winkerson July 29, 2014, 3:07 pm

          Sorry, didn’t mention it strips the top round of the mag when you drop the mag.

      • BigBarn July 29, 2014, 8:51 pm

        Larry, the Sig P238 is more like half the price, I just bought my new Eclipse, and it cost me $625, out the door. Great pistol, I really love it, very accurate and easy too shoot. The thing I really like about it, instead of the Kimber, is the weight of it, all steel frame and slide, and I hardly notice the recoil even with plus P rounds. And my wife loves it too!

      • Donnie August 1, 2014, 11:14 pm

        Larry just purchased the Sig P938 Blk. W/ Rubber grips, Love it, A nice pocket side arm to carry on hot days, Here in Fla.

    • DBcooper July 28, 2014, 9:51 am

      I guess you would not mind being shot with a 380

      • Bill July 28, 2014, 2:10 pm

        The .380 certainly has stopping power. Your assailant will die about thirty minutes to an hour after he kills you!!

        • halftwin July 30, 2014, 9:56 pm

          Shot placement! No one seems to remember Gabriel Principe killed Archduke Ferdinand and his wife with a .32acp thru a car door (when they really made car doors). No, death wasn’t instantanius, but they were both dead before they got to the hospital around the corner. My little brother was killed by a .22 short (high velosity) death was instant. A slug from a .380 is not a pill I would want to take.

  • James Nassan July 28, 2014, 2:47 am

    Leave it to Kimber…

  • Dustin July 28, 2014, 2:47 am

    Llama did it decades ago. Llama MicroMAX .380. Mini 1911. Available in Stainless. I have one. Aside from the Aluminum bushing wearing out, it works as well as it did 10,000rds ago…

    Of course, it’s not as pretty… And only cost me $120.

    Just more proof that the Gun Industry never does anything innovative…

    • William July 28, 2014, 8:04 pm

      I’m sure my Thunder 380CC is much better. It has a capacity of 8+1 and it is reliable at 10-15 yards. Secondly, KelTec P11 9mm pistol, capacity 10+1. Both of this are very small and very easy to conceal. If I want to carry a firepower with a knock out power, I carry a PT145 Pro. There are people who will disagree with me about Taurus, however, it is concealable, reliable, almost accurate to shoot. At 20-25 yards, I can put the whole load inside the an 8″ Birchwood Casey target.

      • Stephen December 3, 2015, 8:20 am

        I have a Taurus PT 92 AF 9 mm and I love it. Feels better in my hand than any pistol I’ve ever held (and I’ve held many). The sights aren’t the greatest (very basic to slightly crude, and not good in twilight), but other than that I don’t think you can beat this 9 mm for the money. It’s decent to great in every other department. Solid as a tank. Wonderful safety. Very easy to strip and clean. Totally reliable. The whole trouble with this gun comes from the fact that it’s made in Brazil. People just can’t get around that, not even after they learn it’s made on Beretta machinery by Beretta craftsmen or people Beretta trained. I don’t care if this gun was made on the moon, it’s great. Not for the concealed crowd, though. It’s a big gun.

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