I remember back in the 2005 to 2007 time frame that Kimber was looking to jump into the striker fired polymer pistol market with the KPD series. KPD stood for Kimber Pro Defense.
The market was hot for new competition at the time. This was the second pistol revolution in American law enforcement. Agencies across the country were looking at ditching their metal-framed, hammer-fired DA/SA & DAO guns and going for lightweight, polymer-framed, striker-fired pistols and have it chambered in .40 S&W since it was still the go-to cartridge for service ammo.
GLOCK was still the undisputed king and Smith & Wesson was just starting to regain credibility with the M&P series after the fiasco that was the Sigma and their horrible chimera conglomeration with Wather; the SW99.
SIG SAUER, Ruger, and HK were nowhere to be seen as far as striker-fired goes. Springfield Armory was striking gold on the civilian side with their acquisition of the Croatian HS2000 (XD Series) and marketing it as the X-treme Duty Pistol. Walther was still is distant third with the P99. Steyr, while around with their M and S series, didn’t really sell since no one knew who they were.
So Kimber, seeing an opportunity decided to jump into the game. It was to be the hot new thing. Twelve-round capacity in .40 S&W and 16 rounds in 9mm. Interchangeable back straps, the famous Kimber quality in an affordable striker-fired, and made in America. It would also come with an internal lock and a magazine disconnect.
The 2006 SHOT Show press release from Kimber said:
The KPD will be offered in .40 S&W caliber initially and has all the bells and whistles currently popular in pistols of this design including an integral light rail, ambidextrous magazine release, ample magazine capacity (12 rounds), large dovetailed three-dot combat sights with night sights available as an option, and interchangeable backstraps that allow the user to fit the gun to their hand. It is a handsome gun and made in the U.S.A. www.kimberamerica.com
They put ads in every gun rag in the rack and built anticipation.
It was even listed in the period price guide books at the time.
I recall the internet was abuzz with this gun around 2006. Folks wanted it and would go to their local gun shops and ask their dealers to order one for them. The constant reply was “no time-frame on delivery” or “wholesalers don’t have them yet from Kimber,”
Posters across forums like AR15.com, DefensiveCarry.com, and 1911forum.com were abuzz. They all said the same thing. Folks are wondering where they are and if any had appeared yet on store shelves.
But then *POOF*. In 2007 Kimber pulled the ads from the magazines, stopped showing it at trade shows, took it off their website and print catalogs. It was there and then gone as if it had never existed.
At the 2007 SHOT Show in Orlando, I recall visiting the Kimber booth and there was no sigh of it. Ever since then, I’ve asked Kimber reps at a number of SHOT and NRA Shows whatever happened to it. They give me non-answers and look at me as if I’d dreamt it all up. Even at this last NRA Show in Dallas, none of the floor reps at the Kimber booth had a clue as to what I was talking about.
Theories abound on what happened. Some range from the bizarre, like it was all an experiment by the CIA to see if they can plant false memories in gun owners. But the the more common theories variations of this: Kimber realized that the striker-fired market was a tough cookie to crack and sold the design to Ruger.
The resemblance is certainly there.
But the slide stop pin location is different as are a number of other features. Then again, if Ruger did buy the design from Kimber, they very well could have refined it. Kimber ceased talking about the KPD in late 2006 and Ruger released the SR9 in October of 2007. So it’s possible, but it isn’t probable.
My theory is one based on more fact than crazy conjecture: Kimber simply decided not to go into the LE striker-fired market and instead sat on the design, reworked it, and released it as the Solo.
If you look at the Solo and the KPD. The slide stop pin, extractor, trigger pivot pin, magazine release button, and general layout match up.
In the end, whatever theory you subscribe to, the Kimber KPD .40 never came to be. It was heavily pushed and marketed and then it rapidly disappeared into the ether and has pretty much been forgotten. We can only wonder what might have happened if Kimber had decided to roll it out.