Kimber is one of the better-known handgun makers in the US market. Besides their popularity thanks to seeing use in some movie franchises in recent years, they’re well known mostly for their series of high-end and certainly high priced 1911 style pistols. In this piece, we’re going to examine one of their most popular products, the Micro 9.
As you can tell by the titles, I spend a lot of this piece on problems. This is not an indictment on Kimber or the Micro 9 per se, but I think it’s important that people looking to purchase a gun have an idea of some of the most common issues owners are coming across in daily use.
Kimber Micro 9 Problems
The Kimber Micro 9 is basically a small 1911 chambered in 9mm. The small size makes it ideal, at least in theory, for concealed carry. But the most important thing in a concealed carry firearm, as far as I am concerned, is reliability. A firearm that might not work has no place, I argue, being used for the defense of your own life. So, before you buy a Kimber Micro 9, consider these problems that some people have had over the years.
Ejecting Casings Into Face
Some users report that their Kimber Micro 9 does fire, but when it does, it often ejects the spent casing violently backward, often right into their faces. This is usually an indication of too much recoil energy getting back into the gun and it can lead not only to missing your next shot or dropping your firearm in surprise but also to excessive wear on things like the slide rails. Also hot brass in the face is, generally a pretty unpleasant experience, especially if it’s in a self-defense situation so you’d be unlikely to be wearing eye protection.
Unintentional Magazine Ejections
Additionally, some people have reported that the magazine from the Kimber Micro 9 sometimes ejects from the firearm, especially when using non-Kimber magazines that are supposedly interchangeable with the factory magazines, and a lot more affordable, too. This is an obvious problem, in that it would reduce the Micro 9 into a single-shot weapon, which is a lot less than ideal for self-defense. This is probably caused by a weak spring or a badly designed magazine catch: this would require the gun going back to Kimber to testing and refitting, which means more time without your rather expensive firearm. Using Kimber magazines seems to help some, but not all, people who have this issue.
Difficulty Ejecting Magazine
On perhaps the opposite side of the ejection issues, some Kimber Micro 9s experience failures to extract, leaving the spent casing inside of the chamber. This is usually a fairly easy fix but might require something like a knife to get the casing out. Most people who concealed carry also carry knives, but having to remedy this failure while someone is trying to do you harm is, obviously, a less than good situation. Some people cite that a change in ammo helps with this, but there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on what the right ammo is.
Safety Turning on From Recoil
On guns with a few rounds through them, apparently, the safety also loosens up and can come on when the gun recoils. Although this can be fixed easily and quickly, it’s still something that prevents the firearm from discharging when you want it to, which is a lot less than optimal when you need to defend yourself. Aside from drastically changing your grip, this is one of the issues that require that the gun goes back to Kimber to be fixed, hopefully permanently.
Slide Locking During Firing
A few people have also found that the slide will lock open in the middle of the magazine. This is odd for a 1911, in that most of them only lock back with the last round, on an empty magazine. If it happens on a full magazine, most 1911 users would instinctively drop the magazine. In a self-defense situation, doing that would mean leaving ammunition on the ground that should be in the gun. Magazine design could be part of the issue here, so switching magazines might fix the issue in most cases, but again, there’s no consensus on the issue.
So, what’s the deal with the Kimber Micro 9? Some suggest that the design itself is simply poor: the 9mm cartridge is just a little too powerful for such a small 1911 style design, so the gun, in effect, beats itself apart over time. That certainly explains some of the issues, like the slide locking and ejection issues.
Others suggest that Kimber has gotten far too used to having a reputation for being “nice” guns simply because of their price tags. Since a lot of their production has moved overseas, quality control might not be what it should be, and Kimber is focusing, it appears, on making guns that look cool as opposed to self-defense tools that work well.
The design itself has been done by a lot of other manufacturers, most notably Sig with their 938. For less money than a Kimber Micro 9, you can, usually, find a 938 with all of the bells and whistles, including a threaded barrel.
Kimber Micro 9 For Sale
Kimber has released several versions of the Micro 9 that are available for purchase today including the STG, the Stainless Steel, and the Nightfall styles. While they are not the cheapest guns on the market, they can usually be found for around $650.
Kimber Micro 9 STG
Kimber Micro 9 Stainless Steel
Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall
Every gun model from every manufacturer can sometimes have issues – though some more than others. If your Micro 9’s problems are dangerous or prohibiting you from using the gun effectively, I would reach out to Kimber or the store where you purchased the gun and try to get a new one to see if the problem persists.
Even if the problems listed above are only on some guns, you may not be willing to take the chance on it not working when needed as a self-defense tool. In short, Kimber seems to have somewhat lost its way on the Micro 9. You can get them in about any color you can think of, including shiny teal and purple. The focus on the sheer variety of odd finishes and combinations of parts has potentially taken precedent over quality control, and thus the Micro 9 will likely remain a staple of used gun sections at pawn shops.
George has been an avid shooter for twenty years. He began shooting when he was gifted a Browning SA-22 for target practice. Now, as an academic, he combines his love of firearms and knowledge of history to write for firearms blogs and is still a frequent sight at the local range.