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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.