Kimber's new Micro is an honest pocket pistol, a .380 that shares a lot of DNA with the Colt Mustang and SIG Sauer P238. It's somewhat like a tiny 1911 in appearance and handling but different in engineering, and it feels like it was born in your hand. First announced in 2013, Kimber began shipping Micros last year in black, stainless and CDP configurations. For 2015 six souped-up models were added, including the Raptor tested for this article.
When people consider a new carry gun, the first things they usually want to know are caliber, size and capacity. I've long considered the .380 Auto cartridge to be the bottom of the barrel in terms of adequate personal protection, but at least it's in the barrel. To give it its due, I've seen modern .380 ammo produce some pretty impressive results when put through the FBI's performance protocol.
In terms of size, the Micro is just about right for a pocket pistol. There are smaller .380s, but few are comfortable to shoot, and accurate rapid-fire is pretty much unachievable. I can drop the Micro into a back or a hip pocket or in the pocket of a jacket, and while I know it's there, it's not easy to see and it's not particularly uncomfortable.
Width is more important to me than length or height. The full width of the Micro- measured across the ambidextrous safeties- is 1.1 inches, and functional width is less. Across the grip it's just a shade over one inch, and the widest point on the slide is only three-quarters of an inch. Stuck into a Galco Stow-N-Go holster in the appendix position, it just disappears.
As for capacity, the Micro is a 6+1. I love Smith & Wesson's Airweight compact revolvers
, which are similar in size and weight, but I've got to admit I'd rather have seven rounds of .380 Auto onboard than the five rounds of .38 Special the revolver holds.
Of single-action design, the Micro must be carried cocked and locked. Unlike many tiny guns, it feels good in the hand. It also points naturally, which is high on the list of characteristics I look for in a tiny pocket gun. Even the abbreviated grip doesn't bother me; the little finger on my shooting hand naturally rests beneath the grip, against the bottom of the magazine, and the scale-like texture on the frontstrap of the satin-finished aluminum frame offers a secure grip.
Robust, low-profile, three-dot tritium night sights come standard and are dovetailed into the top of the stainless-steel slide. Between the front and rear sights the top of the slide is scalloped, in keeping with the Raptor theme. The scallops perform the dual duty of lending aesthetics and serving to reduce top-side glare.
The combat-style hammer has a half-cock notch, but the included manual cautions against using it as a safety. The ambidextrous safety itself will be intuitive to 1911 shooters, but it has some idiosyncrasies. Flipping it up engages the safety, which activates, the company says, "an internal cam surface that prevents the hammer from moving forward."