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.
Does Kimber have any recalls, if so who do I contact? How do I safely ship my firearm to be fixed.
Kimber does have a few recalls. You can view those here: https://www.kimberamerica.com/safety
Contact the number on the site if you have one of those models they mention.
Just call Kimber and let them know the issues you are having. I got free 2 day shipping and had my gun back in less then a week and runs like a dream.
I LOVE the gun. It is smooth.. heavy trigger though… safety is easy and perfect for concealed carry. HOWEVER… the magazine was designed by some Medieval Torturer… it’s as sharp as a razor blade… and harder to put a shell in than if it were SuperGlued together….. I’ve been shooting for 40 years and NEVER cut myself when loading, even when in a rush in the field……. but the first reload on this baby and I’m bleeding. Customer service? Third Degree on what I was doing, my background and experience……. then they sent me a new mag. Let’s see if it’s better. But, once loaded… in the holster…. I’m confident and comfortable carrying an American Made 1911 all metal gun for protection in this crazy world. Recommend for personal carry…. USA.. USA…
My brother purchased this gun for our 65yr old mother for an everyday carry.. The gun constantly hangs on feed. It fires FMJ round ok with, not nearly as many hang-ups, but defense rounds are a no-go. For $700 you can do much better. Because if its poor relability this gun is now a gun safe queen. It almost never gets fired.
Feed issues with some defensive rounds with filler in hollow point that drags in feed ramp? Test other ammo, just like any gun.
Safety engaging during recoil, mag ejecting, or slide locking while shooting? Train with your weapon. A different grip, carefully and thoroughly trained, works well.
My right thumb holds that manual safety. It never comes up. Lefty holds differently. More of a bridge across to frame below slide. Bridge goes over-not on- the mag release. Lefty thumb also ejects mags now. Righty grip stays put during mag change. Left thumb pops mag release and pulls mag, inserts new one, AND taps the slide lock release. Bang! Back in battery faster than ever. AFTER significant training. Hope this helps.
(Using Kimber Micro 9 Rapide Black Ice.)
I had the same exact issue using three different Kimber mags. Ran several different types of ammo. Couldn’t get any of them to feed properly after one round. Dumped it and got my money back.
Kimber # 1
I had FTF, sent it back to Kimber and they replaced a few parts, and polished feeding cone, works like a charm. Those micros do not like 115 grain FMJ. Must use 124 grain. Poor quality control. They just send them out, and maybe you will fix it yourself. I wonder if problems like these go all the way to the top of the line.
I am with you here. My micro 9 sits in the gun cabinet because of the hang ups on the feeding cone. I am embarrassed to tell anyone that I paid 500.00 bucks for this piece of crap. Tried to get issue resolved with Kimber but that went about as expected, just like the gun
I have the micro9 crimson trace. No problems, shoots great; I really like this gun. blog seems biased negative, its a great high quality firearm. sorry you cut your fingers lol
I loved my Kimber micro 9 nightfall edition for the 3 or 4 months I owned it, fit great in my hand, comfortable to shoot and carry, great sights and really accurate. Then for some inexplicable reason it occasionally started dropping mags after 1 or 2 shots. Not long after it starting dropping every mag. I was using the really $$$ kimber mags and using heavier grain ammo as suggested by the mfg, didnt matter. That really $$$ piece of garbage just would not behave… oh and it started jamming up and not ejecting too.
A real disappointment!