A whole slew of new "skinny" 9mm's came tumbling out of the Shot Show 2011 bag last week, and of course anytime a reputable maker of handguns like Kimber introduces a new gun, well, it needs to be looked at. Until I can fire one, which is really the only test there is, I can't say much about it.
Average Joe over at Average Joe's Handgun Reviews has a review on the Kimber over yonder at Kimber Solo 9mm Concealed Carry Pistol. The Kimber page says the gun weighs 17 oz. unloaded with empty mag and is 1.2" wide. It's 5.5" long and 3.5" tall. It'll hold six (6) 9mm cartridges and according to Joe, Kimber recommends ONLY 124 grain bullets. Well, of course, an ammo limitation is a limitation, but read Joe's review about the video he saw to see why Kimber makes that recommendation.
Now lets look at my Glock 36, which I think is one of the ultimate concealable autos out there, at least in terms of "big boy guns". It's .45 caliber, and also holds 6 shots in the mag. You can get mag extensions for the gun, but that frustrates the purpose, being concealability. It weighs 20.11 oz. unloaded with mag and 26.99 oz. loaded. It's longer and taller than the Kimber Solo, at 6.77" long and 4.76" tall.
Note that the "slim" M36 Glock was introduced roughly 11 years ago.
Here's the shocker: The Glock Model 36, in .45 caliber, is thinner than the Kimber Solo. The Model 36 Glock comes in at 1.13" and the Solo measures 1.2". That's not a significant difference in width, but for a new pistol (i.e. The Solo) which is being touted as easy to conceal, I'm surprised Kimber didn't break the 1" mark here in width.
Me still thinks that the pistol packer wanting a small and reliable ultra small 9mm might want to look at the Walther PPS. It comes in under an inch wide, and has gotten pretty good reviews in terms of shootability, particularly when compared to Kel Tec 9MM's.
I did a quick check on the new Sig Sauer P290, about which I know very little. It weighs a few ounces more than the Kimber (20.5 unloaded with mag) but is thinner than the Kimber (.9" except for lever which makes it 1.1"). The Sig is 5.5" long and 3.9" tall and holds a minimum of 6 in the magazine. Just a wee bit bigger sized and weighing a bit more, I'm looking foreard to trying out all of the newly introduced mini-9mm's.
Of course, there are a lot of differences in these guns. Joe does a good job of picking out the things that stand out about the Kimber offering, but I'm not seeing anything that will make me replace the Model 36 Glock in my High Noon Mr. Softy IWB anytime soon or that would be much more concealable.
I didn't pen this post to pick on Average Joe's review of the Kimber Solo. Like I always say, the only test of a gun is to actually shoot it yourself. Kimber makes mighty nice guns. A friend has one of the Ultra CDP mini-1911's, the first version, and it's a fine shooting handgun that I'd like to have. I shot it with some Federal low recoil personal defense .45 ammo and it was quite nice to shoot. I shot it with some Silvertips and some hardball and although it had a bit more wallop with the full power loads, it was still mighty nice to shoot. And highly accurate, right out of the box.
And yes, it's some bigger than the Solo, but I do have a hankering for a Ultra CDP II. Other than a J frame or a Colt D frame revolver, that's about as small as I want to go.
In any event, the Solo is a big step in a cool direction by Kimber, and one that I hope they doesn't give up on.