Skip to main content

Kimber Micro 9 Hits Hard and Carries Easy

Kimber's New Micro 9 is a 1911-style defensive pistol that is easy to carry and delivers terminal performance

Kimber Micro 9 Hits Hard and Carries Easy
Check Prices

When it comes to defensive pistols, one size definitely does not fit all. Size, shape, weight and functionality are factors that prompt a customer to purchase one gun versus another. Understandably, when a person hands over hard-earned money to a dealer, they're hoping to get a handgun that feels just right based on perceived needs.

My preference for defensive carry is 9mm. Pistols chambered in 9mm tend to be smaller, lighter, more concealable and easier to shoot at speed than those chambered in .40 S&W or .45 ACP. Even from a terminal ballistics standpoint, today's 9mm bullet performance is on par with the .40 S&W and .45 ACP — just ask the FBI, who recently returned to the 9mm after depending on the .40 S&W for more than 20 years.

Kimber's new Micro 9 is a 9mm chambered, 1911-style pistol that's the size you'd expect from a .380 ACP-caliber pistol.

Micro 9 Close-up


At a recent event held at the prestigious Gunsite Academy in Paulden, Arizona, I was introduced to Kimber's Micro 9. The Micro 9 is a 9mm chambered, 1911-style pistol that's the size you'd expect from a .380 ACP-caliber pistol.


At just over 4 inches tall and a hair over an inch wide, the Micro 9 is wieldy. It weighs just 15.6 ounces yet features much of the same functionality as heftier 1911s. As such, the controls are readily accessible for even small-handed shooters.

The Micro 9 is offered in several variants. The version I tested was the Micro 9 Two-Tone, featuring an aluminum frame and matte-black steel slide. The contrasting frame and slide are complemented by classic-looking rosewood grips. The pistol could easily pass for the kid brother of one of Kimber's full-size 1911s. Fortunately, there is more than a family resemblance. The Micro 9 actually functions much like the time-tested 1911 that much of America has grown to love over the past century, in large part due to its ergonomic design and unparalleled trigger.

Model 1911s are known for fitting average-sized hands well. The Micro 9 offers the same comfort to shooters with smaller hands, making the controls easily accessible. Although not large, the thumb safety can be flicked on and off with ease. The Micro 9 doesn't feature a grip safety like most 1911s, but rather it has a checkered backstrap and beavertail that mates well to the hand.

The slide stop of the Micro 9 is right where it ought to be. After inserting a magazine, you can run it like a slide release by simply rolling your hand over and pressing the lever down with the left thumb, the technique I prefer. (If you use the right thumb, you may unintentionally send the slide forward before the magazine is fully seated, which would lead to an unwelcome empty chamber.) Of course, you could also charge the slide without pressing the slide stop by racking it over the top.


The Micro 9 is not immune from the drawbacks of pocket-sized pistols. The grip leaves no room for the pinky, which translates to a little more muzzle flip during recoil. This, coupled with the pistol's light weight and 9mm chambering, make it a little snappier than the same caliber pistol with more heft and more real estate with grip.

Another knock on pocket pistols is their sight radius. The longer a pistol's sight radius, the greater degree of accuracy one can expect to achieve. The Micro 9 has a much shorter sight radius than a Government Model 1911. To compensate, Kimber gave the Micro 9 prominent steel sights. The sights on the model I received for testing were black on black and had horizontal striations. It should be noted that Kimber now ships their Micro pistols with white-dot sights, which is good because my only complaint is that all-black sights can be difficult to align in dark environments.

The beveled magazine well funnels the magazine into the pistol, making for a smoother and faster reload. The Micro 9 ships with a 7-round magazine (6-round magazines are available separately). The model I received, however, had a flush-fitting six-round magazine. The magazine release button is big enough to operate easily and is checkered for optimal control.


The Micro 9, like all of Kimber's Micros, features a lowered and flared ejection port. This helps reduce the likelihood of a spent round failing to eject, thus interrupting the cycle of operation. (Having fired hundreds of rounds through the Micro 9, I didn't have to contend with a single failure to eject).

Model 1911s are known for fitting average-sized hands well. At just over 4 inches tall and a hair over an inch wide, the Micro 9 offers the same comfort to shooters with smaller hands. Controls are easily accessible.

Gunsite Field Test

While Gunsite's founder, the late Col. Jeff Cooper, was a huge proponent of large 1911s and the venerable .45 ACP cartridge, the colonel was not privy to recent technological advancements, which have made smaller caliber pistols more accurate, reliable and effective.

Speaking of accuracy, the Micro 9, despite its small frame, proved plenty accurate for combat as Gunsite's chief operating officer, Ken Campbell, ran our group through an abbreviated 250 Pistol Course, which is intended to provide the foundation upon which a shooter develops real combat skills with a pistol.

I shot the Micro 9 against shooters armed with larger pistols and fared quite well. One course of fire was a head-to-head challenge. At the sound of the shot timer, shooters drew and engaged a steel pepper popper located 10 yards downrange.

This drill reminded me of a Wild West shootout in which only the fastest and most accurate pistolero lived to tell the tale. The Micro 9 pointed naturally, and its smooth trigger helped me consistently ring my steel adversary's bell. To all but my pinky, which was left dangling below the grip, shooting the Micro 9 felt much like shooting a full-size 1911.

The Micro 9 concealed well in an appendix-positioned Galco holster. My untucked shirt completely hid the rig, without even a hint of printing. Although the pistol is small enough for pocket carry, the grip proved sufficient to acquire from an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster, my preferred mode of carry.

As one would expect with a 1911-style pistol, the single-action trigger on the Micro 9 was smooth and clean. Kimber lists the trigger pull weight at 7 pounds, but it felt lighter. This can be attributed to the short, sliding trigger that is a hallmark of the 1911. In a nutshell, the Micro 9 carried like a pocket pistol yet performed like a real Government Model 1911.

With scaled-down 1911s, reliability is often an issue. They tend to be more finicky than other pistols, especially when it comes to feeding hollowpoint ammunition — and hollowpoints are what you want to carry in your defensive pistol for their enhanced terminal ballistic performance.

At Gunsite, we shot Federal's new American Eagle Practice and Defend ammunition, which features 124-grain full metal jacket (FMJ) rounds for practice and 124-grain HST jacketed hollowpoint (JHP) rounds for defense, as well as Federal American Eagle Syntech, which is comprised of a 115-grain total synthetic jacketed (TSJ) bullet. Syntech is designed to produce less barrel friction, which suggests cooler operation with less fouling. Federal also purports that Syntech produces considerably less splashback on steel targets than FMJ rounds, making it a safer alternative.

All three Federal chamberings ran amazingly well in the Micro 9, with nothing more than a little lubrication after about a day and a half of shooting. It was impressive to put the Micro 9 through its paces in a training environment as opposed to merely plinking. It was reassuring to witness firsthand just how well this little 9mm pistol performed.

The Micro 9 has a much shorter sight radius than a Government Model 1911. To compensate, Kimber gave the Micro 9 prominent steel sights. While the author's test gun was equipped with black-on-black sights, Kimber now ships their Micro 9's with white-dot sights.

Accuracy Testing

With the Gunsite experience behind me, it was time to conduct the obligatory accuracy testing on the Micro 9 at my home range. I was not concerned with the demonstrated accuracy of the Micro 9 at typical shooting distances. Whether it would allow me to shoot tight groups from 25 yards while seated and using a sandbag rest seemed far less relevant. After all, the Micro 9 wasn't designed as a target gun.

So, I took Kimber's Micro 9 to an indoor range whose lighting was somewhat of an issue, especially while trying to align blacked out front and rear sights over a target hanging 25 yards downrange. (Here again, the white-dot sights that Kimber is now shipping these guns with would have made this task easier.) During such testing, the greatest hindrance to tight groupings was the difficulty in establishing a consistent point of aim on the target.

Aiming issues aside, the Micro 9 proved to be "minute of bad guy" at worst. The average group size was about 4½ inches. Not tack-driver status, but not too shabby from a 3.15-inch barreled miniaturized 1911.

My rounds were consistently grouping about 5 inches higher than my point of aim. I also experienced this phenomenon when shooting offhand at the 10-yard line, but to a lesser degree. This is not uncommon with small pistols, which are typically sighted-in at distances not exceeding 7 yards, where the manufacturer predicts they would most likely be employed.

The best group of the day was an impressive 1.59 inches with 124-grain Federal HST, which also produced the best average grouping at 3.33 inches. Not far behind was Winchester's 147-grain FMJ, with a best group of 2.7 inches and an average group size of 3.82 inches.

The Micro 9 doesn't feature a grip safety like most 1911s, but rather it has a checkered backstrap and beavertail that mates well to the hand.

Aguila 124-grain FMJ printed a best group of 3.12 inches and an average group of 4.48 inches. The 124-grain American Eagle registered a best group just under 4 inches and an average of 5.16 inches.

Although I saw no issues up-close at Gunsite, the 115-grain Federal Syntech was the least accurate, with a best group of 4.4 inches and an average of 6.14 inches.

During accuracy testing, the now dirty and dry Micro 9 failed to go completely into battery on three or four occasions. Each time, I slammed the rear of the slide with my left palm to remedy the problem. This begs the question, "Are scaled-down 1911-style pistols reliable?"

While they may be slightly more prone to malfunction than striker-fired pistols, many find micro 1911s much more conducive to delivering accurate fire thanks to their ergonomic design and straight-to-the-rear trigger press.

If you're going to carry a micro 1911 pistol, choose one from a reputable manufacturer and perform regular maintenance. With its ease of carry, shootabilityand its 9mm chambering, Kimber's Micro 9 seems to have all the bases covered.

Kimber micro 9 CDP 9mm

Check prices, read customer reviews or buy it at Everest

Check Prices

Current Magazine Cover

Enjoy articles like this?

Subscribe to the magazine.

Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Air Gun Reviews: Why Shoot Airsoft?

Air Gun Reviews: Why Shoot Airsoft?

In this Guns & Ammo TV segment, Gun Tech Editor Richard Nance and Pro-Shooter Jim Tarr discuss the benefits of airsoft training for uniformed professionals and armed citizens alike.

Benelli Lupo Bolt-Action Rifle Review

Benelli Lupo Bolt-Action Rifle Review

It is unlike any other rifle on the market because it offers features no one else does; those looking for a rifle that fits like a custom-made firearm should look no further than the Benelli Lupo.

Cameras Don

Cameras Don't Lie: Subsonic 9mm vs. .300 Blackout

In this segment of "Cameras Don't Lie," a subsonic-ammo showdown, 9mm vs. .300 Blackout fired from AR rifles.

Guns & Ammo TV: Cameras Don

Guns & Ammo TV: Cameras Don't Lie: 9mm vs .45 ACP

The age-old question, 9mm vs .45 ACP. For some, this has been asked and answered already. For others, the debate goes on. In this segment of “Cameras Don't Lie,” competitive shooters Patrick Sweeney and Jim Tarr head to the range to put the vaunted loads on record, and then consider the footage.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

You might be surprised how many Americans (even gun owners) think machine guns are illegal.Machine Guns — Can You Own One? Rifles

Machine Guns — Can You Own One?

Eric R. Poole - December 15, 2020

You might be surprised how many Americans (even gun owners) think machine guns are illegal.

The story of a confederate sniper’s revenge and an exclusive look at his rifle.The Story of Civil War Sniper Jack Hinson and His Rifle Historical

The Story of Civil War Sniper Jack Hinson and His Rifle

Kyle Lamb - January 12, 2018

The story of a confederate sniper’s revenge and an exclusive look at his rifle.

The Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan is arguably the best production-grade precision hunting rifle available.Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan Review Rifles

Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan Review

Joseph von Benedikt - March 25, 2019

The Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan is arguably the best...

See More Trending Articles

More Handguns

Nighthawk Custom and Korth have introduced two new offerings, the Korth NXS and NXA 8-shot .357 Magnum revolvers.Nighthawk Custom Korth NXS and NXA – First Look Handguns

Nighthawk Custom Korth NXS and NXA – First Look

Guns & Ammo Staff - July 23, 2020

Nighthawk Custom and Korth have introduced two new offerings, the Korth NXS and NXA 8-shot...

CZ introduces the TS 2, a long slide SA-only gun designed for Limited Division in USPSA that will also be popular as a range plinker.CZ TS 2 Pistol in 9mm – First Look Handguns

CZ TS 2 Pistol in 9mm – First Look

Guns & Ammo Staff - December 28, 2020

CZ introduces the TS 2, a long slide SA-only gun designed for Limited Division in USPSA that...

Springfield Armory is proud to introduce the Ronin 1911 in 10mm, a powerful and reliable pistol built for a lifetime of service.Springfield Armory Ronin 1911 Pistol in 10mm: First Look Handguns

Springfield Armory Ronin 1911 Pistol in 10mm: First Look

Guns & Ammo Staff - November 17, 2020

Springfield Armory is proud to introduce the Ronin 1911 in 10mm, a powerful and reliable...

The new FN 509 LS Edge pistol is built on the FN 509 platform, and the results are a pistol that delivers versatility, accuracy and speed.FN 509 LS Edge Pistol — First Look Handguns

FN 509 LS Edge Pistol — First Look

Guns & Ammo Staff - January 11, 2021

The new FN 509 LS Edge pistol is built on the FN 509 platform, and the results are a pistol...

See More Handguns

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Guns & Ammo App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now