BRIEF: The Kimber Solo, while not for a novice shooter, is an astoundingly capable concealed carry pistol.
So, after much delay and anticipation, I finally took full ownership of my Kimber Solo DC. (I was unaware that, as a recently retired federal LEO, I could no longer take possession of a purchased firearm the same day in Rhode Island. Yes, the powers that be here have decided that, the day I was no longer active duty, I could no longer be trusted with purchasing a weapon and not waiting a full 7 days before taking possession. So much for 34 years of service to society.) Without delay, and without even the benefit of a thorough cleaning and lubrication, I took it right from the sales desk to the establishment's range and put 75-100 rounds through it.
A brief preface: I had looked the pistol over when it arrived at my LGS from the gunbroker seller, and it looked like it had come directly from the factory. I'd be shocked if the previous owner had even fired it. Second, the Solo looked even higher quality than I'd remembered from handling one in the past. The all-black DC with the Micarta grips is very sharp, and my Kahr PM9 seems much more blocky and less refined in comparison. STILL, I've had my share of pistol disappointments in the past couple of years, and with all the negative press swirling around the Solo, I tried to remain cautious in my optimism.
On to the range. I brought along my PM9 for comparison, since they occupy the same single-stack niche. Similar in size, similar in weight, same ballpark for price. My PM9 needed a little break-in, but it's been 100% reliable after the first 150 or so rounds.
All the shooting was done at 7 yards (the minimum distance at this indoor range). I used solely Gold Dots 124 grain 9mm +P…it was one of our carry rounds in ICE after extensive testing, and if you look at tests like those done my Lucky Gunner it hits the sweet spot for FBI-testing penetration. Rapid fire is discouraged at my range, so I fired at a fast but not hectic pace. I used a bad guy target, aiming at center mass. (I don't, and never have, shot for bullseye accuracy. i've been trained to combat fire center mass in a hurried manner, and my goal is to put the rounds in a salad-plate-circumference at combat distances ((less than 20 feet)). Both I and my gun have done their job it that's where the rounds go.)
I fired the Solo first, and after two magazines my initial impressions were 1) Wow, what a natural shooter, and 2) D**n, that is one angry little firearm.
The Solo feels great in the hand. It's a natural point-shooter, but Kimber also put amazing tritium 3-dots on it to aid the process. It presents great for a pistol that feels like a little .380. The magazine release button takes a bit of pressure (good for a carry pistol), but the magazines jump out once it's pushed. I found the slide release harder to work, but since I've always been trained to slingshot, it is inconsequential to me. I also won't use the safety, but found that it was easy to engage and snicked into place with certainty.
The trigger is sublime…short travel, light and consistent pull, and a break that will surprise you every time. Even at that, though, I was able to learn to stage it, taking out just a little bit of slack so I could really bear down on the sight for the last 1/16." But once that trigger does it's job…BEWARE! The Gold Dots are a pretty hot round, but shooting them out of my Glock 26 felt like .22s compared to the Kimber. I have no problem with heavy recoil, but even I was laughing with the range master after about 50 rounds…my hand felt like it'd been beaten with a rubber hose. Still, I didn't buy the Kimber as a range gun. It's intended as a small, EDC single-stack 9mm with a tiny profile that's easy to dress around, and it does fills that roll with aplomb.
Perhaps most importantly, the Kimber cycled 100% of the rounds without a hiccup. All my fears were laid to rest after reading so many horror stories,
I shot my Kahr intermittently throughout the process, and the PM9 suffered by comparison. It may have handled the recoil a bit better, but the Kahr trigger, although excellent, was nowhere near as good as the Solo. It's sights didn't present quite as well for me, and it felt a bit…chunky…compared to the Solo. (This is all subjective, mind you…the PM9 is a great little single stack. It just lags a bit compared to the Kimber.)
A tribute to both pistols at the end of my hour-long session: a center mass crater was completely blown out of my target, and even the few flyers were but inches away and well within the 5-point zone. Both are amazingly accurate pistols, especially for their size.
Bottom line: I may have, at last, found the carry pistol of my dreams. It exudes quality, is nicely smoothed out around the edges both for aesthetics and carry, has the best trigger of any pistol I've owned, and is 100% reliable with an effective self-defense ammo. Just for fun, when I got home from the range I compared it two my two .380s, the RM380 and the Pico. The KImber is bigger, but it's close. Close enough that it's got me wondering how many times I'll be reaching for the Remington or Beretta in the weeks ahead. Neither can compare to the Kimber for either range ergonomics or ballistics, so unless I'm in minimalist clothing that makes the extra couple of ounces or centimeters matter, I'm thinking the Solo is going to get the bulk of my carry duties.
And did I mention how dead sexy this little pistol is?