January 23, 2024
When we think of Kimber, images of nice 1911 pistols come to mind. While the company actually started in the rifle world, they have made a solid reputation as a manufacturer of quality metal-frame pistols, including a wide variety of those beautiful 1911s, as well as the more recent K6s family of revolvers.
Enter the R7 Mako. The Mako was Kimber’s first venture into the polymer-frame, striker-fired pistol market, and it was a success. Like most companies, Kimber has seized upon the success and built various versions and packages around the R7. The latest version to come out of the doors of Kimber is the new R7 Mako Tactical.
The R7 Mako Tactical is a pistol built to deliver all the features for the modern-day defensive-minded firearms owner. The polymer frame features molded stippling for a solid grip in all conditions. It is a unique design that provides a good purchase on the gun without being too aggressive. The polymer frame also makes the pistol lightweight, coming in at 19.5 ounces, unloaded. Measuring a mere 1 inch wide, the R7 Mako Tactical is slender and easy to conceal. The gun also gives us an impressive 16 rounds of total capacity, 15 in the mag and one in the chamber. The extended mag also enlarges the grip to accommodate even the largest of hands.
The low-tilt, 3.37-inch stainless-steel barrel is interesting. The barrel lug sits farther back than most barrel designs and minimizes cant when the slide is unlocked. Less cant means less movement which reduces perceived recoil. The barrel is also threaded with a ½x28 pitch to host any modern suppressor or other 9mm muzzle device. All of Kimber’s R7 Makos are optics ready. The Optics Installed (OI) version comes with the Holosun HS 407K already mounted. The Mako also comes with 3-Dot TruGlo Tritium Pro Night Sights with orange front ring and white rear rings.
The gun follows a growing trend and provides the shooter with ambidextrous controls. This not only supports both left- and right-handed shooters but is also a tip of the hat to those who train with both hands. Trigger-wise, Kimber uses its performance carry trigger. With a pull weight of 5 to 6.75 pounds, Kimber’s flat-faced trigger breaks crisp and clean with a good reset.
One of the first things you notice about the R7 Mako is the unique slide design. The closed top gives added strength to the slide. The design ensures positive side ejection and protects optics from case strikes and residue build-up. Kimber, long known for its carry melt dehorning treatments, has done shooters a solid by beveling the front end of the slide. It not only removes sharp corners, it also makes reholstering the Mako even easier. The gun’s feature set is finished out with a versatile Picatinny accessory rail. The R7 Mako Tactical has all the bells and whistles people want on a modern everyday carry (EDC) gun.
Kimber was kind enough to send me a sample prior to its release. The model I received came with the Holosun HS 407K installed. First impressions of the gun were positive as the fit and finish of the gun are good. Tolerances on the gun are tight, as you would expect from Kimber. There was no rattle, and the slide fit exhibited just a little side-to-side play. Aesthetically, the gun does have a “plain Jane,” blocky feel to it, but the texturing and design lines in the grip save it from the ugly category. On the range, the gun performed well. The extra extension on the magazine provided me with enough real estate to easily grip and manage the gun. The trigger is decent in the defensive gun world, but I wouldn’t mind it being a touch lighter. Mine consistently broke at 5 pounds 9 ounces and had a fairly short reset. As with all things metal, I believe in time the trigger would improve smoothness-wise. While you won’t be taking this to your local IPSC Championship match, it certainly serves well in an EDC application.
While I am not a fan of benching a pistol for accuracy, I wanted to see what the R7 Mako Tactical could do. At 15 yards I was able to get a decent 2.25-inch group with Federal 115-grain Syntech. With that out of the way, I put the new Mako through its paces in defensive applications ranging from bad breath distance to 100 yards on steel. Inside 15 yards, the Kimber R7 Mako Tactical proved to be a good fighter. Yes, I did take some shots at the 100-yard steel target. Once I had my hold, I was pretty consistently able to ring the steel. Does this have a real-world application? Not really, and you would have to be in a very bad spot to try to make a 100-yard defensive shot. It is, however, fun to try.
Manipulations on the gun were easy and the ambidextrous design worked well. My only criticism is the depth of the mag release cut out. The angle I had to move with my thumb interfered with the magazine dropping from the gun. This may not be the case with every hand size, but it was an issue for me. Overall, the gun performed well with no malfunctions or hiccups.
Because the barrel was threaded, I felt compelled to mount a suppressor. For this session, I would use the new Dead Air Mojave 9. It is a very nice low blowback can with Dead Air’s new Triskelion baffle system that promotes continuous, yet efficient flow of gases. The Mojave 9 proved to be a good addition to the Mako R7 Tactical. While it doubled the length of the gun, it made shooting even more enjoyable. Performance-wise, the R7 Tactical had no issues with the addition of the suppressor, and the function stayed flawless.
As an EDC application pistol, I believe the Kimber R7 Mako Tactical will do well. It is light, thin, and compact. Yet it gives us a 16-round capacity and an optic option. Kimber has done a good job at knocking the hard edges off the gun and it is comfortable to carry. I have been a fan of Kimber’s work for a long time. When the first Makos hit the market, I did some head-scratching. While they were a little late to the striker-fire revolution, they came in with a solid pistol. The latest evolution of that gun, the R7 Mako Tactical, is a solid addition to the line. If you are looking for an EDC gun that will serve you well, you should take a minute to get your hands on the Kimber R7 Mako Tactical. You won’t be disappointed.
Federal 115-grain SYNTECH
- Velocity: 1130 fps
- Best group: 2.25 in.
Remington 115-grain UMC
- Velocity: 1145 fps
- Best group: 2.75 in.
Aguila 115-grain FMJ
- Velocity: 1250 fps
- Best group: 2.85 in.
Testing was three, five-round groups shot at 15 yards.
Kimber R7 Mako Tactical
- Type: Striker-fired semiautomatic pistol
- Chambering: 9mm
- Capacity: 15+1
- Barrel: 3.8 in., threaded
- Overall length: 6.8 in.
- Height: 5.2 in.
- Width: 1.10 in.
- Weight: 24.5 oz
- Price: $927
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