Compact Kimber Solo offers virtue of 9mm chambering
by Buck Pope
In the firearms world, a name that is known for quality, appearance and dependability is Kimber. This firm, which has its manufacturing plant at One Lawton St., Dept. GWK, Yonkers, NY 10705, and sales headquarters in Montana, represents products made here in the USA.
Kimber recently introduced a new compact handgun that is not only small in size but has one big advantage over many other compact handguns: this one is chambered for the 9mm Luger cartridge.
I actually saw the Solo for the first time at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in January. Steve Buttel with Kimber quickly slipped one into my hands and waited to see what I thought. First off, I immediately liked its looks. It looked similar to a number of its big brothers and had the ergonomics of the 1911.
I immediately thought the pistol would be a .380 Automatic due to its compactness. However, I was quickly corrected by Buttel in saying “No, it’s in the 9mm Luger cartridge.” I have always been a fan of the 9mm mainly due to the ease in shooting the cartridge and its mild recoil.
In looking at this combination of stainless steel and aluminum pistol I immediately thought of what an ideal “Boot” pistol it was. My term for this being a handgun that was very compact and can be easily hidden from view. This to me is a big plus, that the Solo is chambered in the 9mm Luger which has close to twice the energy of the .380 Automatic.
This can be a big advantage in a defensive-type situation. As an example, referring to Winchester’s Super Elite Bonded PDX1 124-grain ammunition that shows a velocity of 1,200 feet-per-second (fps) and 396 ft. lbs. (fp) of energy, and compare that to a .380 Automatic’s 96-grain load that offers 1,000 fps and 211 fp of energy.
The Kimber Solo is offered in two models, namely the Solo Carry and Solo Carry Stainless. Both pistols have the exact same physical dimensions according to Kimber’s specs.
The model I received to review was the Solo Carry Stainless. The pistol is made in two metals, the slide is steel and the frame is stainless steel. This pistol stands only 3.9 inches tall, has a length of 5.5 inches, a width of 1.2 inches and, with an empty magazine, a weight of 17 oz. The stainless magazine has a six-round capacity with an available eight-shot stainless extended magazine available on special order.
The pistol has a nice set of sights on it, a two dot white rear sight that matches up with a single white dot front sight. The sights are dovetailed in position.
The slide, which is made of steel, has a row of diagonal serrations in the rear portion that are cut deep enough for easy grasp and movement when you have to rack the slide.
It has an ambidextrous thumb safety offered on both sides. The safety is very solid and firm. The mechanics of the slide and the field stripping of the pistol are like that of a 1911. The barrel is 2.7 inches in length.
I noted the machining on the frame, which is a high grade aluminum, and the slide is detailed and reflects quality workmanship. The finish on this pistol is like that of the Kimber Pro II. The trigger pull is even and smooth. There is a good bit of take up and then a rather short heavier pull. The pistol also has a loaded chamber indicator located on the top of the barrel hood, which is a nice feature. The front barrel bushing is tight and the entire pistol is nicely firm and tight. The grips are black in color and are made of a hard synthetic type material.
I was rather anxious to take the Solo out to my shooting range in the nearby foothills. I had two brands, bullet types and weights to test. The first load was the Federal Premium Personal Defense 124-grain Hydro Shok JHP and the other a Sellier & Bellot 140-grain FMJ.
Both brands and types of ammunition functioned well through the Solo. I did not spend a lot of time trying to get small groups with either ammunition. I shot my target at 15 feet and certainly got good enough grouping to satisfy my needs. Using Mountain Plains Industries targets, as an example, I shot three-shot 2-inch groups. This pistol is intended for very up close targets and its accuracy is certainly more than adequate for that. The recoil from this compact pistol is noticeable enough that after several rounds you’re aware you’re firing a larger caliber in a small compact 17-oz handgun.
Even being a small handgun, the pistol has enough beef for one to handily hold the pistol and hav e total control.
The loading of the magazine is critical as one must make sure the cartridges are pushed forward to avoid any hang ups. Once the last round is fired the pistol remains open, ready for a fresh magazine.
I like this pistol for several reasons. First off, it is a good looking handgun and very much in keeping with Kimber standards; secondly, it is very compact which allows one to easily keep it hidden in numerous places well out of sight.
In addition I like the idea of the 9mm Luger caliber. It has that extra power and to me this is a real plus. Another positive it is made here in the United States of America.
The Solo comes with one magazine (I do wish there were two) and is packaged in a nice zip cloth bag with the Kimber logo. Bottom line this is one handsome and functional little boot pistol. The Solo has a suggested retail price of $747. For more information, phone: 800-880-2418; online: kimberamerica.com, or write to the address given above.
Federal Premium Ammunition
Mountain Plains Industries
Seller & Bellot
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