Previous Post
Next Post

 

There have been adverse reports about this pistol emanating from trustworthy people. Most of them have complained of FTFs, with the intermittent FTE tossed in as a variation on a theme. One word often associated with the Solo in those reports is “unreliable.” Unreliable is a polite descriptor that’s a synonym for “untrustworthy,” and nobody wants  an untrustworthy carry gun.

Suffering an FTF at the range is a drag, sure, but it’s not the end of the world. Wait for the hangfire, tap, roll, rack, assess — we all know the drill. But the Kimber Solo is not a range toy, and despite its runway-model good looks it was not intended to be a safe queen. The Solo is designed to be a fighting gun, built to carry concealed (pocket holster anyone?) and shoot a fairly powerful round when necessary for self defense.

Viewed in that light, an FTF isn’t a mere inconvenience; it’s an invitation to a funeral. An unreliable self-defense pistol is a liability of monstrous proportions. Jumpy yet? Making things worse, Kimber inadvertently contributed to the rumor mill by demanding the exclusive use of “premium” ammunition to feed this silvery sweetheart. For the uninitiated, premium means “really effing expensive,” which implies that the Solo is a delicate little subcompact pistol that cheap range ammo would somehow damage.

To make matters worse, Kimber strongly encourages replacement of the recoil springs after only a thousand rounds. They gotta be kidding, right? A thousand rounds is nothing. My personal EDC has handled many thousands of rounds, and the recoil spring is still just as fresh as a teenage brat. Twenty boxes of ammo might be two solid range sessions for TTAG gun tests, and perhaps a pleasant hour of shooting for our own Foghorn. While each shooter’s “average” mileage is going to vary, even Kimber should admit that a thousand rounds between changes doesn’t seem like a lot of headroom and does not build confidence in the Solo’s long term reliability or durability.

Against that backdrop, I was suspicious of the Kimber Solo. Yes, it was pretty, but I did not want to be led astray by a pretty face. Not that such a thing has ever happened.

Handling the Solo

When I opened the box, my Solo-phobia began to moderate. The little semi-auto carry pistol not only looks very desirable, but the build quality is unmistakable. Despite weighing only 17.2 ounces, the Solo feels hefty, like it was carved from a single block of silver, even though the frame is aluminum. Everything fits together as tight as a gnat’s ass. The stock is well-angled, so the Solo points naturally despite having grasping room for only two fingers. The grip panels are plastic but not plasticky, and nestled in their recesses they look like part of the handle, not just tacked onto it.

 

 

Solo pistols are adorned with snag-free three-dot sights that actually seem like they might be useful for something other than shredding the lining of one’s pockets.

 

I was also impressed by the beefy extractor, which is a part that I would expect could be strained on a small gun that fires a powerful round. All in all, this pistol feels like it’s made to be shot. Even the magazine feels stout. To top it off, the lovely presentation purse — excuse me, the handsome soft case accompanying the pistol — would make a nifty stocking stuffer all by itself.

The magazine needed a firm press to snap into its home, which was fine with me. I figured that a tight fit would loosen over time, while a loose fit would only get wobbly. The magazine well is nicely beveled, which should facilitate rapid magazine changes. Speaking of which, anyone who wants to practice rapid magazine changes will have to shell out for extra magazines, since this pistol comes with only one. Kimber offers additional six-round mags for $27 bucks a pop, or five for $105 should anyone be interested in stocking up for the annual mouse-hunting season.

Slide release was very smooth and positive. The slide had deep cocking serrations at the rear to facilitate this. Dry firing this pocket piece proved that Kimber’s disclaimer was accurate — the Solo is not a scaled-down, 9mm 1911. It’s a single-action, striker-fired, conventionally recoil-operated baby 9mm and, though it may look like a double-action, nobody will ever confuse its trigger with that of a well-tuned 1911s. That’s not to say that the 7-pound trigger pull of the Solo is heavy or that the pull is as long as a Kevin Costner movie, but it’s not the 4 1/2 pound instant-on giggle switch for which well-made 1911s are justly famous.

Dropping the magazine required very firm pressure on the ambidextrous magazine-release button (located at the base of the trigger guard). The button did not loosen up over time, trashing my theory that tight is temporary but loose is forever. Let’s just say that accidentally dropping an empty magazine isn’t going to happen with the Kimber Solo and let it go at that.

I field stripped the Solo to clean out any excess lube or dirt that might have accumulated in transit. Unlike some pocket nines, the Solo field stripped very easily. I lined up the slide-stop lever with the wee disassembly notch, pressed the small nub where the lever penetrates through to the right side of the frame, pinched the lever fully out from the left side and most of the work was done. The manual states that if the lever proves too tight to pinch out with finger pressure, a flat screwdriver could be used to pull the lever from the frame. Releasing the striker from the sear — that means pulling the trigger — enabled the slide assembly to be removed from the frame. There. That was easy.

I couldn’t help but notice the odd, spittoon-shaped barrel. The flared muzzle-end probably guarantees a snug and secure fit in the slide, but why the barrel is equipped with its ungainly looking pot belly, only Kimber knows.  The bulbous shape looks bizarre and probably adds to the cost of manufacture, but if it works as it’s supposed to work, that’s great.

 

 

A few swipes of a clean rag and a minute of reassembly later, the Solo was range-ready.

Shooting the Kimber Solo Carry

I loaded the six-round magazine with five rounds of Remington Golden Saber hollowpoints, which is one of the “premium” brands recommended by Kimber. I hate wimpy magazine springs because they often lead to misfeeds; I also hate very tight springs because they always lead to scarred thumbs. The spring inside the Solo’s magazine had just the right amount of resistance, and the cartridges loaded uneventfully. I did not top off the mag or the pistol because I prefer to shoot five-shot test groups during the first time I test it.

The Solo, being a single-action pistol, is outfitted with an ambidextrous thumb safety in the usual position. The safety’s operation was very intuitive as I toggled between no-go to go and back again, each time with a satisfying “snick.” Tactile feedback is critical with any gun, but especially from the safety of a carry piece that is likely to be deployed in a hurry, if at all, and in the dark.

I aimed, I fired, I hit the target. Accuracy was pretty damn good, too. Here are the first five shots I took with the cold, never-ever-before-fired pistol.

It’s not target pistol accuracy, but it’s plenty good enough for alternate dispute resolution.

Kimber claimed that the pistol would need a break-in of 24 rounds, or four full mags, so I was expecting malfunctions right off the bat. Mirabile dictu, I didn’t have any. None. Zero. Zilch. Niente. Mag after mag of premium ammo went through this pistol with nary a hitch. There were no misfires, FTFs, FTEs, light strikes, hiccups, explosive farts, the heartbreak of psoriasis, nothing. You name the problem, and I didn’t have it. Reliability was flawless.

So much for break-in. But that’s not to say that all was perfect.

I’ve fired a bunch of tiny-nineys and they are all just a bit snappy. Naturally, some are snappier than others. This small pistol was quite snappy. Not as snappy as a Louisiana swamp turtle, but snappy nonetheless. Although the gun didn’t try to hop out of my hand as fast as my monthly income, muzzle flip was prodigious and not easily controlled.

The non-1911 trigger was also an issue. While the trigger was classically smooth and light enough for serious shooting, its reset point was somewhere in northern Rhode Island when the rest of the gun was somewhere in southeastern Massachusetts. When a long reset is coupled with vigorous muzzle flip, the result is always rapid-fire inaccuracy. The Solo was not an exception to this immutable law.

Smallish groups could be slow-fired, as one of my fellow instructors demonstrated at a later outing by placing two out of two, touching, in the red, at five yards. That particular minigroup was the best of many, and could be covered by a nickel with change left over. Rapid fire produced wider groups. Keeping five rounds in an eight-inch circle proved to be challenging but still possible.

I like to shoot one-handed because I was trained that way and because in a real fight, my other hand might have something else to do. Like gallantly pushing aside a helpless bikini model, or shielding a frightened child, or texting, or zipping my fly. After trying to shoot this compact pistol with one hand, I can state without fear of contradiction that the Kimber Solo is to rapid one-handed shooting what a bowling ball is to water polo.

Not willing to let well enough alone, I decided to test the Solo pocket pistol with the crappiest commercial ball ammo available to me, contrary to Kimber’s demand that I use premium hollowpoints. And just to push the envelope, I crammed six into the magazine, racked the slide to chamber a round, and after flipping the safety to the fully upright and locked position, I topped off the mag. I was hoping to make the gun jam, because a tough gun test is all about being tough on the gun.

I was disappointed in the Solo’s monotonous consistency, as the gun performed flawlessly time after time, no matter what ammo I shoved into it. It devoured gristly Silver Bear like it was prime filet mignon. PPU proved as reliable as the afternoon mail. The Solo also shot 115-grain Fiocchi, which Kimber claims is too light to reliably cycle this pistol. Well, it wasn’t. The 9mm pistol cycled perfectly through two boxes of light ball ammo without a flinch. Satisfied with what I’d accomplished on day one, I decided to leave the range and allow my thoughts time to crystallize, intending to return a few days later for some serious torture testing.

Before my second trip to the range to retest the Solo, I ran into trouble. Actually, trouble ran into me. I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle. Many Christmases ago grandma got run over by a reindeer and had a song dedicated to the event. Me? I got run over by a Buick and all I got were these lousy bruises. And lemme tell ya, those cars are very solidly constructed. Fortunately, the bike and I survived with nothing broken, not even a spoke. However, my accuracy suffered as a result, as did most of my body which also turned the color of a freshly picked eggplant.

Nevertheless, I sucked it up and limped back to the range just a couple of days after being felled like an oak before a bulldozer. Gee whiz, the things I do for you people.

The Solo’s accuracy suffered as much as I did when I shot it with basic range ammo, but not enough to make me want to throw half dollars downrange instead of dimes. I’m not suggesting that you try this at home, but I’m saying I shot a couple more boxes of non-premium, non-recommended rounds through this particular Solo. Kimber recommends 124-grain or heavier hollowpoints. I used 115-grain ball ammo, and once again they worked just fine.

Conclusion

I’m not discounting the early Solo failure reports. In my opinion — and this goes for cars as well as guns — early adopters are unfairly punished for taking a chance on unproven engineering or new production. Teething problems notwithstanding, the Kimber Solo Carry that I tested was as consistent and reliable as precipitation in a rain forest. The Solo proved to me that it’s a sweet little handgun that reliably fired hundreds of 9mm rounds including the most craptastic, both imported and domestic, without any problems. The Solo Carry has killer good looks and fires a killer round, so what’s the issue?

Potential buyers who can get past the reputation may gag at the price. The MSRP for the Solo Carry is $765, and as befitting a small gun from a small-market manufacturer, discounts are also on the small side. Pistols from Ruger, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson and other manufacturers that are comparable in weight and firepower to the Solo can be purchased for less, and in some cases a lot less. It’s a very competitive market.

Diehard Kimber fans might not mind paying a few extra hundred for this pistol. If they do, they should be rewarded with a great-looking, fine-shooting, good-handling, accurate, all-metal gun that works like a charm.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Model: Kimber Solo Carry

Caliber: 9mm

Magazine capacity: 6 rounds

Materials: Aluminum frame, stainless-steel slide

Weight empty: 17.2 ounces

Barrel Length: 2.67″ 1:10 twist rate

Overall length: 5.5″

Sights: Fixed front and rear, three dot

Action: Striker fired, single action

Finish: Matte black lower (KimPro II); stainless-steel upper

Price: $765 MSRP

RATINGS (out of five stars)

Style * * * * *

Step right up and don’t be shy, because you will not believe your eyes. She’s a beauty…one in a million girls. Why would I lie? It’s not like I own stock in the company.

I added that last part.

Ergonomics (carry) * * * * *

It’s tiny. If it was any more slender that its 1.2 inches, it could slide under a door like a delivery pizza. It’s lightweight and perfectly capable of hitching a ride in almost any pocket or purse. There’s just no reason to leave home without it.

Ergonomics (firing) * * * *

The gun points well. The grip is comfortable but short, so shooters who demand a full grip or the ham-handed will have to purchase the optional eight-round extended magazine. Good luck finding one. The trigger is smooth and reasonably light, but anyone expecting a 1911 trigger will be disappointed. The trigger does not reset quickly. The sights are just fine. One-handed shooting is strictly a one-shot-at-a-time affair unless aiming at an airplane in flight.

Reliability * * * *

I was shocked to find that this much maligned pistol showed itself to be completely reliable during our all-too-brief time together. Long-term durability is a different issue and would require thousands of rounds for a true test. Based on apparent quality, the overbuilt extractor and following the manufacturers’ ammo and spring-replacement policies, it seems that this pistol should last a long time. Still, I consider replacing the springs every thousand rounds an unacceptable inconvenience.

Customize This * * *

Rejoice, Star Trek fans. A nifty laser is available from Crimson Trace in black basic or rosewood. I also expect that, in time, there will be a variety of high-zoot grip panels available in the aftermarket, crafted of exotic woods, mother of pearl, faux elephant ivory and fuscia taffeta, all designed to enhance this pistol’s elegant appearance. But, really, what purpose would be served by gilding the lily?

OVERALL RATING * * * *

Holding up to seven rounds of 9mm ammo, I would be confident carrying this pistol just about anywhere that doesn’t have “stan” in its name.

More from The Truth About Guns:

GLOCK 19 vs GLOCK 26 for Concealed Carry: If You Really Have To Just Choose One

Gun Review: 1903 Colt Automatic .32 ACP Hammerless Pistol

ShootingTheBull410: GLOCK 42 vs. Kahr PM9. Yes, the PM9

Gun Review: Springfield Armory 1911 EMP 4″ Concealed Carry Contour 9MM

The Best Pocket Pistols in .380 ACP For Concealed Carry

Previous Post
Next Post

258 COMMENTS

  1. So, the 8-rounders are hard to find? Pity. I would think that the added grip area would help with the muzzle flip. Not a lot, of course. You’re still shooting 9mm through a gun weighing barely over one pound. Every little bit helps, though.

    Glad you’re okay, Ralph. We really need stricter car control.

    • The girl who ran me over was maybe 25 and cute, too. She was very upset and wanted to drive me to the nearest hospital, which offer I refused.

      Before the police and Rescue arrived, I told her that I’d be okay and that she could leave the scene. She protested and asked, “don’t you want my license and phone number?”

      I said,”I’d love to have your number, but I’m old enough to be your grandfather.”

      I recognize that getting plowed into by two tons of steel might be an extreme way to meet pretty girls, but it’s cheaper than Match.com.

    • Kimber’s after market service SUCKS! I had to send in my CDP II because it kept jamming they have yet to return it.
      Does Kimber have SO MANY problems with their guns that they have a big back log? Or are they too cheap to hire enough people to deal with problems?

      • I have tried to shot the Kimber solo 9mm with 115 grain bullets and the first 200 rounds went through fine, now I have a single shot. No one told me this at Gander mountain when I purchased the gun about the ammo requirements in fact he sold me 350 rounds of 115 blazer ammo with my purchase, now we are chasing our tails and I will do what ever I have to make this right if I cannot work something out tomorrow.

        • Gander Mountain went out of their way to replace this Kimber with a sig, which I have yet to fire the sig but have faith in the sales manager which sold it to me. It was sold to me by a unknowing salesmen who has probably been trained now. My hat’s off to Gander Mountain for fixing a wrong made by one of their salesmen and their great firer arms manager. Thank you Joe Flynn

        • Hello Joe, Looks like you came out good. I too did not know anything about having to shoot specific ammo when purchasing my Solo for my wife. Sales person never mentioned to me when he was showing us the gun. I t was after I made the purchase and started showing some friends the nice little Solo. Wow I thought I had really bought a nice piece. My friends immediately popped my happy bubble and told me I should have read the forums on this gun before I bought it. So my Solo still was in the box I bought it in as well as two extra magazine clips I also purchased and I went straight to the computer and started to research the Solo. What I discovered was heart breaking bad news. So I have had this gun for two years now and I refuse to fire it because I know it will start having the issues and I have suffered enough.I probably soon will run an ad in the local papers and get whatever I can for the unfired Solo.I will never have anything positive to say about Kimber.They are way over priced and are not as reliable as a much less expensive Ruger and a whole lot of other less expensive fire arms. Thanks Joe. Let us know how your Sig works out. Was it the 290 ?

        • The slide stop spring (not present in a 1911) is on the wrong slide of the stop. It will push the stop into the slide when the gun recoils and re-cocks. That causes the slide to lock every shot.

      • I purchased a new Kimber 1911 stainless ll just a little background a M1911a1 was my primary duty weapon when I was a MP then I went through MPI school and carried a .38 snubby.

        I was a competitive shooter at the state & national level with 4th in the state out of 3000 shooters in pistol, rifle & machine gun. I was trained to guard generals so I was given training that otherwise my MOS wouldn’t have allowed.

        I know how to clean & repair all of my weapons but this Kimber stainless 1911 had rust & pits under the grips when I got home to field strip clean & lube it like you should with any new weapon you buy.

        The gun shop tried to get Kimber to replace the weapon but Kimber’s rep said no & Kimber said it must have been the way I stored it, I asked for a new one since I hadn’t even fired it but they offered to refinish it & I told them no that there had to be something wrong with the stainless quality they said not possible.

        Well I had a metallurgist check the stainless & they found it to be a loose interpretation of stainless it is a fact that guns can’t be made from the type of stainless that doesn’t rust but Wilson’s combat & Ed Brown use a better quality of stainless that is as close to rust proof as you can get without the metal being too brittle.

        I was 40 years old when I bought this Kimber and have stored my blued weapons the same way with a heat rod & desiccant packs in the safe with not a spot of rust on my other 1911s or other rifles but Kimber didn’t care & the Kimber cult attacked me telling me how to maintain a firearm which is laughable to say the least.

        I sent the stainless ll off to robar they prepared it and applied NP3 to it but said the pits were fairly deep & they hadn’t seen this with a pistol that hasn’t ever been fired or carried. Robar is outstanding and I’ve had several weapons finished by them without issue but the Kimber stainless ll had rust start coming back out especially in the pits so they blasted more metal & used NP3+ all free of charge & they covered shipping but I had to give them permission to blast deeper and the weapon has stayed rust free for 4 years of hard constant use as I perform personal security & put a lot of rounds though it.

        As I said earlier I bought it when I was 40 and at 44 the rust came back so that’s when Robar offered to blast deeper and use NP3+ all on them from shipping there & back but they don’t usually have to go that deep when preparing a weapon but their lifetime warranty is just that it’s a lifetime warranty.

        The NP3+ is so strong/hard that it gets put in & out of a hard plastic Blackhawk serpa 2 holster several times a day and still not a mark on the pistol.

        I’ve seen a lot of complaints about the metal quality of Kimber pistols & especially their stainless quality from the timeframe that I bought mine so they were either buying the cheapest stainless they could or had a bad supplier or bad batch but it’s a fact that it was a problem on their side & their offer to refinish the weapon which they said would take a couple months instead of just swapping out a new pistol was bad business especially since their refinish would have just rusted through again anyway, it took a lot of hard work by Robar to get this “stainless” Kimber to stop rusting & get rid of the pits.

        Shame on Kimber & those that would blame the consumer just because they were lucky enough to get a good one from Kimber or unlucky enough to get a bad one but Robar gets all of my guns now because service matters & I buy any make other than a Kimber due to the way they handled my situation.

        They even had the nerve to attack me on several forums when I was asking about other 1911 owners and if they had problems then their attack dogs I call the Kimber cult came in for the kill.

        • There will always be times when a product is made wrong or mistake made, what separates the good from the bad companies is the way you’re treated by the company.

          We all know that large companies are able to absorb the cost of a bad product whether they knew it or not, if nothing else they can examine the product to find out why there is a problem.

    • I bought a Solo (or three) and proceeded to disassemble it. I was dismayed to take it to the range when I found it would not load any subsequent shell after each initial fire. So the rumors were true? Not so fast. I called Kimber and they quickly pointed out that the typical reason for failure to feed issues are from improper reassembly. Sure enough, the tiny spring that operates the slide catch is easy to overlook since it’s not found on a 1911. You can barely see it poking its nose out from under the grip near the catch cavity. Reassembling so the spring hooks onto the catch caused my Solo to function flawlessly since.

      • Same problem first time my wife used her gun. Someone at the shop must have played with it before she bought it.
        I reassembled it and it works great with any ammo above 124 grain. 115 gr is hit or miss. My glocks are just as picky.

        • I don’t own a Kimber Solo, but judging by what I’ve heard, I have difficulty believing your statement that you Glock is “just as picky” as the Solo. I have a G19 and I’ve put all kinds of 115gr cheap ammo through it without ever experiencing a failure of any kind. If your Glock is “just as picking” as a gun that is known to regularly jam when using 115gr ammo, and has a spring that is required to be replaced after a 1,000 rounds, something is wrong with your Glock. I’m not a Glock fan boy or anything, but they’re one of the most reliable guns made.

          • I guess sometimes we all make mistakes in our speaking.I really don’t think Jon has Glocks that have the issues of the Kimber Solo or maybe I should say I can’t see a Glock that is picky on ammo as a solo. Glock has a reputation that matches the best.The solo has a reputation all alone unreliable at any trigger pull.

            • It all comes down to engineering.
              Normal glocks were not designed to work with machine pistol ammo.
              If you are going to usethis type of ammo, glock has a stronger firing pin spring that can be added to fix this problem. You need to remove it and use the normal spring for pistol ammo. If not the firing pin will occasionally puncture the case and cause problems.
              The kimber was designed as a small concealed carry gun that runs hot heavy for caliber ammo. you may not like that it was designed that way, but it isn’t really a problem.

              • I am not going to bash the solo anymore.Enough has been said.Need to be fair with the folks that like their solo’s.Also I respect anyone that has served our country and their statements are good enough for me.

          • Two glocks actually. A gen 2 19 and a gen 2.5 26. Both were my brother’s duty weapons. He doesn’t really like guns so when he quit his job as a Leo to flip houses full time, I ended up with them.
            Neither gun will reliably cycle cheap ammo. The ammo that I know doesn’t work are WWB and UMC bulk packs.
            I like glocks, I carried a different 19 in Iraq. They do great with 9 mm NATO (124 grain loaded just slightly hotter than normal), but my kimber has never failed using the same ammo.
            So neither my kimber nor my glock work well with cheap ammo that’s normally loaded to the low end of pressure. Yet for some reason the glock is held as the gold standard and the kimber is considered junk. To the point that random people on the internet accuse me of lying to them when I tell them that both types of guns are picky about the same ammo.

  2. “tight as a gnat’s ass” ROTFL. Interesting review Ralph, i am still not crazy about the shape of the barrel (without explanation for the shape of it), but the fact that it ate up silver bear without hiccups says something to me.

  3. Great report. I’ve been looking at these for some time but lost interest after talking to some dealers. Sounds like Kimber “may” have the kinks worked out. I’m looking to replace my Kahr PM40 (which is a handful to shoot), but watching the video, the Solo looks equally so. So, maybe the P290 then?

    On a different note, just curious if your mouse-hunting quip is in reference to yesterday’s news story of the Utah guy who shot his roommate while shooting at a mouse in their kitchen. Good stuff. Hope you’re healing well.

  4. Great review as always, Ralph.

    Glad you are okay and please keep the rubber side down. How did your gun in the Remora fare during your car-bike interaction?

    I never gave much thought to the one handed shooting thing, but those are very valid points. I think I will stick with a Glock 26 which handles one handed duties fine. I am curious what the fully loaded weight of the Solo is? I would guess 23 ozish. One oz more (with seven rounds loaded) lets you carry the Glock. Three oz more carries the G26 plus 11 rounds total. The G26 is not a happy pocket gun, however.

    • How did your gun in the Remora fare during your car-bike interaction?

      I was pocket-carrying a S&W 642, which came through the incident in perfect shape. As an aside, I had a nice conversation with the police officer who responded to the accident call (along with a fire engine and an ambulance). I mentioned that I was carrying. He didn’t bat an eyelash and never asked to see my permit.

      The police in my town are absolutely NOT afraid to have citizens carrying. If anything, it’s encouraged.

    • Pick up the Glock in one hand and the Solo in the other. They aren’t even in the same class of guns. The Solo is a true concealed carry pistol. The Glock is small but the Solo is very small.

      • The best place for plastic on a gun is in the very tip of the bullet. Keep all the plastics. Plastic Guns! Can’t wait for the next round.. plastic guns made in China. Now that ought to make a man rich. Fall hard on those cheep way over priced plastic guns. You haven’t lived till you drop one on a dead run and have it crack the slide. The next shot if your lucky, will send the slide flying. You can the throw the plastic frame at the B-guy. If the clip stays in….. it will at least weigh a little more.

    • I reviewed the Sig P290 and the Solo. The Sig had very little muzzle rise, and facilitated both rapid fire and one-handed shooting. The P290 was the recoil winner, hands down. The Kimber has its own strengths, but recoil isn’t one of them.

  5. I enjoyed the review on the Kimber Solo. To be honest, my all time favorite pistol is the Colt 1903. When I saw a picture of the Solo for the first time the impression I had was that it looked like a modern Colt 1903. That is probably one reason I want one. I carried the Colt 1903 as a CCW even though there are some draw backs to it. An extra mag isn’t only hard to come by but expesive to boot. But one thing I knew about the Colt 1903 is I could hit what I aimed at easily & with confidence. Reading your review & others on the Solo I am not sure I’d be as confident hitting what I aimed at with it but I still want one. I have yet to see one other than in a picture and I suspect you can’t restt three fingers around it but that didn’t keep me from buying a Ruger LCP (two for that matter.

    Kimber makes nice 1911’s and from some of what I have seen I like the way they handle. I suspect the Solo would be similar.
    Rob Drummond
    Hillsboro, NH

  6. I bought my first Kimber in 2002, and I’m one of the die hard Kimber fans. I own several custom shop Kimbers, and I just received my Rimfire Super(it took 14 months) which is one of the most accurate pistols I’ve ever shot. I was going to buy the Solo when I first heard about it, but I was turned off by all the bad reviews. I loved your review Ralph, and I’ll consider buying one after I get to sample one at the range.

    • I’m sorry you weren’t around for the tests. Because you’re a Kimber guy, I would have been very interested in your input. FYI, this pistol has nothing in common with Kimber’s 1911s, except for the name.

  7. Personally, I would wait until mid-2012 to purchase one of these.
    My local firing range, Calibers, in Albuquerque, NM has 1 for rent. It is down for repairs, replacement of springs, pins, etc, roughly 1/2 to 2/3 of the time, according to the gunsmith there. Also, according to the sales staff, they have sold 8 Solos since January, and all 8 have had to be sent back to Kimber to have some malfunction repaired. 3 of those 8 have been sent back at least 2 times. For a $700 gun, that’s unacceptable. The gun’s like a Playboy bunny: looks great, but there’s nothing inside and it doesn’t function.

    • Personally, I would wait until mid-2012 to purchase one of these.

      That would be the prudent thing to do. FYI, Kimber raised the MSRP from $724 to $765. Next year, will it be $800?

  8. I got a P290 a bit ago and carry it as a secondary in my strong side pocket. I’m in love with it. Now…that gun with the six round mag has the trigger guard nicking my finger. Does the Solo do that with you or not?

  9. Ralph, Great Review, I’m a fan of the Solo. Why can’t I find one for sale anywhere? been looking for months.

  10. I’ve been meaning to reply to this. I bought a Solo in early November.

    I sort of followed Kimber’s break-in advise, starting with 100 rounds of 124gr Federal FMJ. I then put 20 rounds of 134gr Federal Hydra-Shok JHP through it. There were no failures.

    After that, I tried to make it fail by going through a box of 115gr Blazer aluminum case and a box of Remington 115gr FMJ. I even alternated the Blazer and Remington in the magazine, and threw a few Hydra-Shoks in at random. I also limp-wristed a few rounds, but no failures. Finally, one of the guys at the range gave me a dozen or so rounds of 147gr lead handloads, which the Kimber sent downrange with no problems.

    The only problem I had was with the trigger — it’s very curved and pointed at the end, so my fingertip was pretty sore at the end of the day.

  11. Very nice looking and good handle ability for it’s size. Although, Problems. Sear spring end fell off shelf in rear of frame during fire rendering firearm inoperable, Kimber says they have only had this problem one time. one too many I say. Extractor will not pull spent shells out of chamber consistently causing a jam. I lock open the action, pull the clip and simply tip the gun upward and dump the spent round. (it is not stuck) Expansion pin securing trigger into the frame slowly works itself out during fire.
    I am currently sending back to Kimber. Will post results at a later date.

    • After only a 12 day wait my newly rebuilt Solo was returned from Warrenty with a new slide, barrel, spring assembly, sear and spring assembly. It operates like a totaly different firearm, Flawlessly I might add. 115 Gr Federal FMJ even fires perfectly now. I would have to note that after 50 or so rounds with no jams or problems I took the gun apart for cleaning and noticed that there was no wear at the barrel or slide lock. and I mean no peaning whatsoever. This is great. Kimber would not document the issue of the sear spring falling off but they did repair/replace.

  12. I bought a Solo, and could not get it to cycle without jamming. I sent it back to Kimber and they replaced barrel and slide. After repair it still did not work, they
    have now sent me a new gun for replacement and I will soon take it to the range
    to test it.

      • Have tried the second completely new Solo, and it has the exact same problem the first had that they could not fix. How can this be this is Kimber? It simple will not cycle without jamming. I cannot believe they would send me two guns that will not cycle properly. I hope they have stopped manufacturing them.

        • Thinking maybe you should look at the operator. It’s not like the pistol is a one of a kind pistol. Sorry to be so blunt about it, but visit the gun forums long enough and you’ll see plenty of hate for every pistol manufacture out there.. Getting one lemon is just bad. Getting two back to back is BS. If you don’t want to follow the manufacture specifications don’t buy the gun.

  13. Any thoughts on how the Solo would compare with the Beretta Nano and is a review of the Nano in the future?

  14. Any word on when the stainless model is being manufactured this year? So far, they have only released the two-toned.

  15. Im looking for small 9mm for my wife, who can shoot my Glock 26 better than I can. Does the Solo have that much recoil to eliminate this gun for her. She really loves the looks of this gun… I have never seen one at the range we shoot at so I m pretty sure we can’t rent one to fire. As someone said earlier, the Glock is not a “happy pocket gun “. Its got to feel good for her to carry… Thanks.

  16. Great review and comments about “Solo” and potential issues. What are your thoughts about “Solo” compared to the Sig P-238? In-short, looking for a good functional pocket gun with a decent weight, caliber, and of course reliability. Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated.

    • Beretta Nano impressed the hell out of us at the SHOT Show range day. Still like the Ruger LC9 as well—save the safety. Otherwise, man-up, get a proper gun and dress around it.

  17. I waited almost a year for a Kimber solo carry stainless,I finally gave up and bought a Kahr MK9 Elite, beautiful little 9 mm and dependable,about same price as a Kimber stainless and shoots just as well.I really wanted a Kimber but factory just couldn’t produce.

  18. Months after leaving a deposit, I finally got my Solo. Rather than the basic model I ordered, I received the CDP with laser grips. After two FTE/FTF events during the break in using recommended ammo, the rest of the first 1000 rounds were flawless.

    Compared to the DAO Kahr pistols I have (PM45, PM9 and P380), the Solo’s trigger is close to perfect. I shot accurate groups, and I don’t think the muzzle flip or recoil is bad at all. I rather carry this than wish I had the gun back home in the safe.

  19. Got a Solo after about 6 months of waiting. The mag release empty was stiff but when I got it home and loaded the magazine it was nearly impossible to eject. Sent it back to Kimber for repair but came back with the mechanism replaced with no change. Ended up selling it as it was going to be a carry for my wife.

  20. Excellent and comprehensive review of the 9mm Solo Carry from Kimber. After almost a full year on a waiting list, I recently received my Solo Carry Stainless and find Ralph’s review spot on! The gun is a pleasure to carry. I like the nearly total ambidextrous nature of the controls and the ergonomics of the gun! The gun is very easy to field strip for cleaning and just as easy to re-assemble. Ralph is totally correct about the magazine release…you won’t accidentally dump a mag when you are in a fight! Besides, shooting 9mm ammo in a 17 ounce gun is going to require some practice, skill, and physical strength…so “Man Up” and CCW this fine firearm! Finally, I strongly recommend the Mitch Rosen holsters and mag pouch sold on Kimber’s website, and do buy extra magazines…all of these items are top quality. All you 1911 lovers out there will have probably now found your new back-up gun (BUG), with the more “proprietary” thumb safety and a safer yet very smooth CCW trigger pull. All y’all stay safe!

  21. Glad to hear the “Solo” is working great. Still waiting to compare the new Sig P938 to the “Solo” before I drop the $$$, as both these firearms are pricey but both appear to be high quality from very good manufactures. Hope to hear/learn more insite as more persons describe their experiences, both positive and negative, with the “Solo.”

  22. I just got my local and State permit today. CT, it was pleasant, from the town up. The State Police person told me where to go buy 2 firearms, and I bought this Kilmer Solo and a .357 Revolver, which I can’t remember the name, and I have loaded this Kilmer solo, I have both a pocket holster and am wearing it on my belt. I have to call my instructor, he’ll be joyous. He carries a little Kahr.

    I haven’t taken a shot yet. As a matter of fact, I have never shot a 9 mm anything. I have been practicing on blowback heavy air pistols. Big deal, but I am getting pretty good in my basement.
    I probably shouldn’t fire this in my basement. The woods out back are calling for me to come on out with a few shoot ‘n c’s, to shoot dead trees…quiet please. My Kilmer Solo carry is speaking. I bought it because it has a nice safety, and I have a need never to be beaten senseless again. It’s become a pet peeve. Nice small auto. Now to open the Revolver. It’s a 4 inch Ruger GP 100 .357. I bought 38+p and some huge home defense rounds. But that’s for another thread.
    Thanks for the review, witty writing. Man, putting 6 bullets in these Kilmer magazines (I bought extra) destroyed my already destroyed fingers. Maybe I can hire a guy… (Gun was 659$ new and in stock, not sure if I’m supposed to say where.)
    Peace
    The Frettbird. (first comment, I’ll learn to shut up.)

    • Frettbird, be safe with your new Kimber and practice a lot. Remember to take lessons or guidance from someone with a lot of firearms experienc. You should enjoy your Kimber as they are known to produce outstanding firearms. Also, the GP-100 is an excellent revolver; you did well on your purchases. Best of luck in getting to know each of your firearms; a couple thousand rounds of practice down range and you’ll feel like you’re starting to know your “Solo” and “GP-100.”

  23. I’ve sent my Solo back to Kimber for the second time. The issue is what you and others stated shouldn’t be a problem: Accidental magazine release which then causes fail-to-feed. Mine is a fairly early model, and I wonder, since the magazine release spring in mine isn’t stiff at ALL, if Kimber has changed to a stiffer spring in later models. Since the magazine release is ambidextrous, and the buttons project out on each side quite a bit, and they are square topped, I think what is happening is that on recoil, the mag release button is hitting my thumb and causing release. I thought it was my technique, but I had a local gun guru and a friend who is ex-highway patrol and an excellent shot both fire it, and they both experienced the same issue.
    I will say that Kimber product support is easy to contact, and very responsive, and they speak American English, and they are gun people. I am confident the issue will be resolved, and eagerly await its return, because otherwise, it is everything you described.

  24. Thanks so much for the thorough review! I was really considering the Solo, despite the report problems. But… your description of the trigger is enough to turn me off for technical reasons. Thanks for that!

  25. Had a Solo for 2 weeks. Sold it after repeated jams with Gold Dot 124+P and 147, Golden Saber 124+p and 147, DPX, and American Eagle 115, 124, and 147 FMJs. This from 4 different magazines. If it’s THAT picky, it’s not worth carrying.

  26. I own 2 of these and I have had no problems with either factory ammo or my reloads. The only issue I have had is when I reassemble it my 52 year old eyes sometimes misses the small wire that the magazine lock needs to catch. The gun is very accurate for its size and is very easy to carry! My wife loves her’s!

  27. I’m glad you didn’t have any issues; I bought this for my wife to be a little more firepower than her Sig 238. and it has been nothing but trouble. 115 gr. Federal American Eagle jammed/FTE’d every time. Clear the shell, cycle the slide, aim, bang, jam again. We upgraded to 147 grain Federal AE flat-head (we were told they were equal enough to the recommended “premuim” rounds) … two rounds in, the dots in the rear sight disappeared…mailed off to Kimber, replaced the rear sight, back out to the range with the 147 gr, still FTE, incomplete cycling of the slide, and then a couple of FTF’s as well. We could not even get through a whole magazine. As the author said, unreliable means untrustworthy, and I won’t let my wife carry an untrustworthy gun. Back to her 238, and we’re going to return or sell the Solo and replace it with a Sig 938 or the new XDS.

    • See – you are the freaking problem with this gun’s reputation. You buy it – totally ignore and disregard Kimber’s instructions on use and then whine about it not working right. I’ll bet your lawnmower wouldn’t run so well if you put kerosene in it. And you’d probably bitch about that too.

      • Amen! People, read the instructions that come with the gun. It tells you what ammo to load. It can’t get anymore simple than that. If you do that you want have any problem…if you feel that is not for you get something lessor. I knew this going in to my purchase of a CDP solo and have not had one misfire…ever!
        On another note…complaining about the cost and necessity of purchasing a spring..that’s like buying an insurance policy and hope you don’t need it. I bought this for one reason, my life may depend on it some day and I want to be sure it is ready to go if needed. The cost..? that is about the cost of two boxes of ammo and a small price to pay. I know with confidence when I’m ready my Kimber CDP will be also!

        • Mr. Pete and MS Hollar,

          We should not be too critical of people who use substandard ammo in their Solo pistols and complain about malfunctions. Many online professional reviewers have pointed out that this is a weakness that Kimber must address. A lot of people are just not going to spend $120 for 100 rounds of target practice when they can buy 100 rounds for $15 – no matter what the manual says. Maybe these complaints will force Kimber to modify the Solo so that it will work properly with 115 grain ammo, which would benefit us all. The same case can be made for extending spring life to 3000 or 4000 rounds. We all know that Kimber can make these modifications if they get enough pressure from their customers. Meanwhile, folks like us who will never sell our Solos because we think they are great will stand to benefit from future improvements made to our favorite pistol.

          Sam

          • Sam, I love the feel and looks of the solo. What I do not like is the fact that for personal defense is I can’t trust the solo in a life threatening situation. It is not about 115 grain ammo. We all know this is not the recommended ammo for the solo. I get that. My complaint is that you shovel out $700.00 to $800.00 bucks for what is supposed to be a high end firearm. I have read so many reviews where the people do use the recommended ammo from 125 grain up to 147 grain paying the $30.00 for 20 or 25 rounds and the solo still has the feed issues with the best ammo out there.This is just one issue and there are the other issues as well that also puts your life in danger. Besides the clips falling out and the spring that just sits on a ledge that comes loose causing jams. Also this gun is pretty untill you shoot a couple hundred rounds then you start seeing wear on the slides or maybe you have to push the safety lever back in place because for some reason it protrudes out. My gosh I have $400.00 guns that shoot anything you feed and gets thousands of rounds shot and still don’t have to worry about replacing springs and you don’t have to look at metal shavings from the slide action that you see on the solo. Give me a break it ain’t just about 115 gr. ammo.The folks at Kimber should have to replace the solos with a gun you can really rely on for a lifetime.The folks that really like their solos are the folks that only shoot them if they have to.They work fine in the glove compartment. You better cross your fingers if you really have to save a life with it.Sorry but just read the reviews from the people who have did some shooting with this gun.The factory has done nothing about the issues except say they can’t find anything wrong and we are stuck with their mistake.

  28. Sorry to report but my solo is up for sale. Two jams. Not the kind you would expect but following a soft strike and failure to fire
    I could not retract the slide more than an 1/8 inch. Took a gunsmith to free it up. Sent to factory.. nothing.
    Second jam when trying to unload it.. the slide stuck again. Since the round was still live I fired it. Back to the factory..nothing found.

    Regrets Gun go uy buy

  29. You people that are selling your solo that you are unhappy with. Are you telling the prospective buyers about all the problems it has? If so I would think you would have to sell it for a huge discount. I wouldn’t buy one unless it was almost give away price. I see them on Gunbroker for 800 and up. One was used for 805.

    • I agree, I’ve been looking for a CCW 9mm. I decided on a solo. Gunbroker has them used, I tried to buy one and luckily (after reading these reviews) I didn’t meet the reserve. However, I did purchase a new one on Gunbroker for $640! I couldn’t believe I won. If I would have got a used solo that was malfunctioning, and it came “as is”, I would have been pissed. At least mine is new and I can deal with Kimber with a warranty if it malfunctions.

      Thank you for this great review, I can’t wait to get my solo in about 5 days!

  30. I have a test Solo and plan to write an article about it. I have shot it less than 30 rounds so far, only one failure to lock on last round with PMC 115gr ball. Remington GS 124 +P worked, as did S&B 124gr ball. No, it isn’t a 1911 at all (not even close). I guess the thing to remember is that being as small and light as it is, recoil is going to be brisk, but not as outright punishing as a .38 snub wheelie with +P ammo in it. What rounds I have fired were shot a 25 yds from a bench. Feed reliability appears good, and the mag catch spring has been substantially beefed up since the earliest guns.

    Just remember when you are dealing with a light slide, fast cycle time, and a fair bit of recoil, you are going to need heavy magazine springs to keep up with that slide, and that slide is also going to need a heavy spring to reduce slide velocity down to safely unlock when pressure has dissipated.

    It does disappear into ordinary jeans or khakis pockets readily and while I agree with many of the posters here about having to replace a recoil spring (or the entire buffer assembly – $35!, gulp) every 1,000 shots, if that is what it takes to maintain reliability, then consider it preventative maintenance just as you would any other fine instrument, automobile, or motorcycle.

    These days of $940 S&W Scandium M340s also don’t make me cringe quite as much as the Solo’s MSRP, which is substantially less on the street but still not exactly “cheap.”

  31. Let me preface this post with this: I live on a ranch in Wyoming, we are avid hunters and own numerous guns.
    My husband took me to town for our anniversary and gave me the choice of a ring or a gun. Of course I chose the gun. I fell in love with the Kimber Solo the moment I saw it. It is absolutely beautiful and fit my hand perfectly. It was also the most expensive in its class, but I had heard great things about Kinder so I had no problem spending the extra.

    WHAT A HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT!!! BIGGEST WASTE OF MONEY EVER!!!

    The first time I fired it, it jammed. And then it jammed again. And again. Turns out I was not using the correct grain (the salesman told me it didn’t matter what ammo I used- hah!). So after reading the owner’s manual and some reviews online, I drove the 100 miles to town to purchase the correct ammo. The gun jammed again. And again. This time it took a lot to dislodge the cartridge. I was pissed (and a little scared). But I was sure that Kimber would stand behind their product.

    I HAVE NEVER HAD SUCH HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!

    They basically told me that it was because I’m a woman. Fortunately for him, he was in NY and I was in WY. After 2 phone calls I was told to send the gun in, even though they’re sure there is nothing wrong with it.
    I bought the gun August 3. Three months later I still have no gun. They have had the gun in their hands for 10 weeks with not even a phone call. When I called today, they said there is nothing wrong with the gun and when the storm is over they will ship it back. And for the third time, the customer service rep hung up on me.

    DO NOT PURCHASE A KINDER FIREARM!!!

    I would have been better off purchasing a lame horse.

  32. As the owner of 4 Kimbers I must say. I like Kimbers because they put all of the bullets in the same hole. They take some break in, throw the factory mags away and spend a couple of hundred on a sear, disconnect, hammer and springs. Then you have a handgun that IMHO is as accurate and reliable as any production or custom gun. I decided to purchase a Solo for my wife. With her not being a hammer cocking person and after watching her put 2 boxes of ammo through a friends Solo with no problems. I chose the Solo over the Sig 938. Contrary to what I have read on the net, this thing eats any type ammo that I have thrown at it. However, during the second trip to the range, I got a failure to fire. No feed or eject problems just no bang. Upon removal of the slide it was easy to see that the sear spring tail had slipped from its home position to a recess in the frame. I could see where the spring tail had “walked off the ledge into the frame recess”. It was a simple thing to move the spring back to it home position. But after a few rounds, same thing. NO BANG. Disturbing… not because of a broken part but because there is no way that the spring tail can possibly remain on that little ledge. There is no groove for the spring to sit in nor is there a pin to keep the spring from sliding off. We took the slide off of my friends Solo and the sear spring is the same way. It just sits on that small ledge. His Solo has not had the spring to fall into the hole, so to speak.

    This issue is something that any designer should have avoided. After calling Kimber, they sent a mailing label for return shipment. They would not discuss the obvious problem. They only said that “there have been no occurrences of this before”. I know this not to be true because someone on the net described the exact problem. Now my Solo is at Kimber for a repair, or redesign, that will take 4 to 6 weeks. Just to replace a spring? I know that Kimber’s QC has gone downhill, but so have most other manufacturers. But just DANG. Has anyone else had this problem?

    BTW. The new unfired round in the chamber had a dimple in the primer, I assume from the sear not catching the striker. That could have been interesting..

    Thanks,
    Bill

    • I’ve had my Kimber Solo for 13 months now and I’ve fired about 400 rounds. I’ve never had a FTF or FTE but this past week I had a failure to fire. The rear tail of the sear spring slipped off its shelf rendering the sear, hence the weapon, inoperative. This has seriously affected my confidence in this pistol’s reliability. There is no groove or indentation in which the tail of the spring can rest thereby preventing it from slipping off the shelf. Thus, I can only assume this will happen again until the design is improved. Since Mr. Murphy is lurking everywhere, the next time this malfunction occurs will be when I really need the pistol to function properly. Kimber — are you listening? This is serious!

      • Steve,
        Have you discussed your spring issue with Kimber? Just curious as to what they told you and their attitude about the whole thing. Mine has been at Kimber since January 8, 2013. I have not heard from them. I am almost afraid to ruffle their feathers because they may “Back Burn” me.

        Thanks,
        Bill

  33. I bought a solo 2 months ago. Shoot about 150 rounds no problems with function.
    But my ambidextrous safety selector has play when pushed on from side it pops back and forth threw the frame about a 1/16 of an inch. When pushed tight to frame from side with slide release it will click in up and down position. When pushed tight on other side it does not click in down position and feels odd. If anyone else has a solo and could see if theirs has play in it and let me know I would appreciate it. Thanks

    • Kimber Solo returned last week after 6+ weeks at Kimber repair center for the “Sear Spring” issue. It appears that they replaced the sear spring with one that appears to have more of a bend in the tail. This new shaped spring tail sits much further to the left side of the frame. I would think that this design should keep the spring from falling off the ledge into the frame recess. It ran through 50 rounds of Winchester white box and 25 rounds of various defense ammo with no failures of any kind. I also received 3 magazines that were back-ordered for 2 months. 2 of the three NEW mags will not engage the slide stop on the last round… Hey…I guess I should be happy the the gun operates….

  34. Bill,

    Just got mine back from the Kimber factory yesterday. They simply installed a new sear and said nothing about addressing the real problem which is where the sear spring rests. I gave them a very detailed description of the problem and shipped that letter with the gun. I’m very disappointed that they choose to ignore such a fatal flaw. I’m going to try a phone call to see if I can find out why they won’t deal with this issue. I’m not counting on a satisfactory result. This almost great little pistol will probably work great…with the always nagging thought of when will the sear spring slip off and render the weapon useless? Guess it’s back to my Glock 19.

    Steve

  35. I purchased my Solo in March 2012. I am left handed and liked the ambidextrous safety. I’ve fired 500 rnds (200 white box and the rest Golden Sabres) with not a single FTF, FTE or jam. The only flaws were operator error, it took me a moment to adjust to the trigger reset and if the slide lock is not properly reinstalled so that it catches the spring on the frame, a malfunction will occur. I installed a Hogue JR grip sleeve and greatly improved the recoil control. Since the initial break in period, I’ve carried it daily inside the waistband. pocket and on the belt. After reading the most recent posts, I checked my sear spring position. I found it to be positioned well to the left side of the frame and I am confident in the Solo’s operation. I like the solid feel and appealing looks of my Solo.

  36. Great review. Well written, informative. Big problem is waiting 10-12 months and they won’t even take a deposit.

  37. Since my last post I have received my Solo back from Kimber. This was the 2nd repair. I returned it because of this. After loading 6 in the mag and 1 in the chamber the brass did not eject. No stovepipe, seemed as if the slide did not go all the way back. Also, the magazine fell out. The original mag and the 2 new mags all fell out. They fall out if you have more than 3 rounds in them.The new style magazines would not contact the slide stop and leave the slide open after the last round. I also noticed some flaking of the barrel locking lugs in the slide area. Not just finish, but chips of metal. I described the problem(s) in detail with the Kimber service rep. I also enclosed a letter with description of the problems in with the packaging during return. Upon receiving the gun from Kimber, I looked at the repair invoice. “Replace magazine catch” fired several mags of ammo. The chipping of the slide and the magazines not holding the slide open were not even addressed. Sorry Kimber, strike 3, you’re out. I own several Kimbers, I like kimbers. But they missed the mark on this one. What kind of husband would I be if I gave a non dependable gun to her for personal protection. HEY, Honey…Your solo is fixed.. Just dont put more than 3 rounds in the magazine.. NO, I think it’s going to be, Hey, babe aint this new Smith & Wesson shield sexy…Solo is going bye, bye.. The good news is, I only paid 600 for mine, New.. With the way that these things are selling, I could probably make a couple of hundred off of it. I will probably bow up enough to call Kimber one more time and try to reach the CEO Just to tell him how crappy his service dept is…He would probably just say.. Send it back, we will make it right.. NO, I already tried that twice, and if it takes a CEO to get gun repaired, then there is the problem..”Home of the Worlds finest production firearms”…I call BS on that one too.

    • Well, after so many persons in this blog having issues with the SOLO it was easy for me not to purchase one. Thus, I purchased the Sig 238 and use Bufflo Bore Ammunition. In-short, a great firearm with the power to boot and no issues with approximately 600 rounds through it.

      Sounds like Kimber needs to revisit both it’s quality and customer service before they loose too many current and future customers.

  38. I purchased a brand new solo for my wife in november 2011. After reading all these reviews I have determined this Kimber is not to be relied on. Therefore all the joy I had about buying what was supposed to be a top of the line gun has gone to frustration therefore I have not even taken the original price tag off the trigger guard which is $689.99 and have not fired this gun at all. The reason I have not fired the gun is because I am trying to sell it and get back as much money as I can to replace the Kimber with a reliable gun. 6/6/2013 Any suggestions are welcomed

    • The Sig P238 (.380) or P938 (9mm) are both well made and capable of shooting the powerful Buffalo Bore ammunition. This is a well built, strong and accurate small handgun that has its issues worked out and dependable. Thus, if the Kimber SOLO can’t keep up its quickly loosing the high end status it once had.

      • Thanks Mark, My wife has two 380 cal. An LCP & Ivers Johnson. She wanted a very small gun like the SOLO in 9mm. I jumped in there and ordered the SOLO and took the associates word that KIMBER was a high end gun. After I received the gun and took it to show some of my friends how beautiful it was that is when the frustration started. My friends said I should have checked the reviews first because the SOLO was having huge problems. So I stated checking the web sites and true enough I was very disappointed in all the trouble the people were having with SOLO. So I told my wife we were not going to load or shoot this gun and ruin the value ,that I have plans to sell it and buy her another very small 9mm with a proven tract record.

        • My wife wanted a solo so we picked one up and actually tested it.
          It was awful, slide would lock open failure to eject. Horrible gun.
          I figured out it was assembled wrong. It stopped locking open, but still only ejected 70% of the time.
          Then I found out about the ammo requirement. I wish that was in the manual not just the website.
          If you miss the little spring on the slide stop, it will lock open every shot.
          If you use under powered ammo, it will fail to eject.
          With any decent ammo above 124 grains, it runs great.
          People love to bad mouth expensive guns. Spend a few cents on quality ammo and it is a very good little pistol.

          • Thanks Jon. We have had this beautiful a little gun over a year now and it has stayed in the box. I just hate to go out and shoot it brand new condition because I felt like I had a better chance of selling it unfired with price tag still attached to trigger. Yes I have thought a lot about buying some really good ammo and shooting it but I am afraid that for the long haul I will be disappointed. It is a shame that you can purchase a gun for half the price and can rely on the cheaper gun for your life as to apposed to one you spent a arm & leg for.Kimber should have did a better job on the engineering of this firearm before they stuck it to their customers to do the testing. I will never have any faith in a Kimber firearm. I have Rugers and CZ75B and have shot any brand of ammo in I chose to buy and have never had any trouble from their guns. It cost me better than $700.00 to see that Kimber firearms were just made for looks.Yes my new unfired beautiful little SOLO is going to go for the best offer I can get.

        • One of my favorite guns growing up was a Ruger p89. Dad still has it. He bought it as his first auto. A few years later he bought a glock 19 and 26. Both glocks are picky about ammo. Glock told him they will only cycle high pressure ammo.
          He uses the Ruger to shoot the ammo the glocks won’t use. Not bad for a $300 gun. That said all three of those are huge compared to the solo. When you push the envelope tolerances get tighter. Same way my jeep runs great on cheap gas and oil while my wife’s German sports car takes premium everything.

          • I understand what you are saying. From all the reviews Ive read and watched on the SOLO it looks like a lot of people still had trouble even using the required ammo specs. Also it looks like even when you strip the gun down to clean you would have to go out and shoot it first to make sure you picked up that little spring that has to be just right when reassembling. I would hate to see a life lost because that little spring was missed. Also the reviews show metal shavings in the slide after shooting.Also clips falling out ??? Just too many issues for me to carry this gun for protection, always hoping it will fire and fire again ??? Believe me I would love to keep and be able to depend on this gun but it is in my head now that I just can not rely on it. Good to hear about the P89 you mentioned. I have the KP89 and I love it.

  39. I did not see this particular problem mentioned, so I thought I would throw my two cents worth in, having learned this the hard way.
    Beneath the rear end of the slide stop, there is a very small loop of spring which looks like it is extending from the left grip. This MUST be located in the groove in the center of the back of the slide stop, in that this spring is what holds the slide stop down during firing and prevents it from engaging the slide stop notch, holding the slide open, and making it appear that it has jammed. If you do not specifically make sure that this spring is properly located, it will almost certainly end up under the slide stop, where it does no good.
    Depending on the shape of the bullets being used, the bullet being fed from the magazine can hit the inner portion of the slide stop as it comes up into position for feeding, forcing the slide stop into the slide stop notch.
    My experience is that if this spring is not properly positioned, the gun can jam almost 100% of the time, or only occasionally. I have never had it jam with the spring in place. I own Smith & Wesson, Kahr, Diamondback, Ruger, Sig Sauer, Glock and Kimber automatic pistols, and the Kimber Solo is the only handgun that I own that has this feature, which is why I missed it the first time I field stripped the gun.
    Check this particular issue before you complain too loud. I placed a somewhat embarrassing call to Kimber Service, complaining of a “design flaw” before the service person very politely straightened me out. When all else fails, read the manual!

    • Thanks for the info. This is just another reason I can not have any faith in this gun for protection & carry. You are right about this being such a beautiful little gun. I have had this gun a year now and have never put a bullet in the magazine and have not ever tried to fire this gun. I am checking out the Guns America classified adds and when I understand what I have to do to advertise this Kimber Solo on their site , my plans at this time is to do so. That is why I do not want to fire this gun in hopes of being able to sell and get back some of my money.If I could have faith in this gun I would love to keep and use it. Any suggestions on legal ways to sell this gun and the two extra clips would be helpful.

      • Any gun dealer will buy your gun legally. Cabelas, Gander Mountain or other Large gun dealer, but don’t expect retail prices. Many times you can sell at a gun show, more easily than Guns International.

        • Thank you. I do still have this Solo and still have never put a round through it. I do plan to sell it and I am aware I will have to take a loss. All though I would hope to keep my loss at 2 to 3 hundred dollars. I have not advertised the gun for sale or carried it to any gun shows. I guess one day I will run across someone who would love to have it. It is a beautiful little gun and it just stays in the box. Thank you for your response.

        • No I traded the solo in for a Kahr CM9 . Liked the Kahr CM 9 so much I have purchased two more CM9’s for a total of three.

  40. Not a thing wrong with my Solo, it eats any ammo I put in it. I just cannot find fault with this piece. I am surprised at all the negativity about this gun! Excellent concealability!

    It is a bit hard on the hands, kicks pretty good! That is what small, light guns do though. I have to say I really like this little gun!

    • Glad you are having a positive experience with your solo. When was your gun produced. I still have my solo but I have never fired this gun yet. I HAVE HAD IT NOW FOR 2 years and have not fired it. I would love to keep and use this gun but I am afraid it will start hanging up ammo and have issues that I read about. I have thought about calling the factory and ask if they have made any changes in the gun and maybe send them my gun for updated parts that would fix any of the issues. I know this sounds crazy since I have never fired the gun. I did not want to fire the gun because I thought it would be easier to sell new in the box unfired. You may have a newer model with all the bugs worked out. That sounds amazing that you have fed this gun with any type of ammo and have not had any problems.

      • Gary you are obviously a liar as this post contradicts the post you made previously about trading your Solo for a Kahr.

        • Hello Dustin. You are not at all sharp. The post you falsely accused me of contradicting if you will pay attention to the date was posted Oct.1/2013 The post that was made about me trading my solo for the Kahr was posted Feb.5/2014. Where is the contradiction???? The fact is just as I stated I traded the solo for the Kahr CM9 . I liked the CM9 so much I bought 2 more for my Daughter and my wife.Also what you call my constant posting was actually replying back to the people that contacted me first on this site.It takes a pretty small man to call someone a liar with no facts to back it up. Also you kinda show your ignorance when you say I am biased. I own several different brands of firearms. I am biased towards the firearms that work for me on reliability and ammo that it will shoot with reliability. So far that only leaves the Kimber solo out for me and if you research the the reviews you will also see that most of the people that bought the solo were sorry they did.You never posted your opinion on the solo or anything else but me.My guess is that for some reason you are annoyed tell me Dustin what really is it about the solo that has you annoyed.Did you waste your money on one and are taking it out on me??Or maybe you bought one and are afraid to go out and shoot it because you too do not want to be disappointed.I know it is something.Remember this site is named The Truth About Guns. I have told my truth.

  41. Just purchased a Kimber Solo CDP after watching You tube Video where the reviewer shot all kinds of ammo, including not recommended , 115 gr and ball ammo. I shot mine today with one of the recommended ammo, 147 gr Golden Saber. Shot 4 clips with no problems and accuracy was great.Very comfortable to shoot. I love this little gun.

  42. I purchased a Solo in December 2012. I lubricated it before firing the first time. I quickly learned that the Solo is extremely critical to lubrication. I had so many failures during that first session that I was embarrassed to be observed by others at the range. The only way I’ve been able to get any reliability from the Solo is to LIGHTLY oil, staying well away from firing and ejection mechanisms. Then wipe off oil so that you can not feel any evidence of oil. The four corners of the slide do tolerate a small amount of grease, although this does not prevent the black coating on the slide from being worn off after an alarmingly few rounds are fired.

    Once the lub was correct, subsequent trips to the range have gone flawlessly with all types of ammo fired, even reloaded. However, this does not mean there are no problems with the Solo. Despite all advise to the contrary, I do not keep a round in the chamber. More often than not, the first round does not load in the chamber. I’d hate to cock the pistol in a life or death situation only to pull the trigger on an empty chamber. The only way I know around this problem is to keep a bullet in the chamber. Subsequent bullets seem to load without problem. I do feel better having a bullet in the chamber because the Solo has a safety, although I personally would rather carry with an empty chamber.

    To compensate for these shortcomings with the Solo, I purchased a Sig P290. I’ve never had a failure with the Sig. The problem is the Sig is larger and heavier than the Solo. It’s not a good choice for pocket carry. It’s too heavy. The Solo is the perfect size and weight.

    Of course the Solo is a beautiful pistol while the Sig looks like a military weapon.
    I hesitate to fire the Solo too often because of excessive wear and spring wear out. (I haven’t found an internet site who sells the Solo springs and my local gun dealers don’t seem to want to bother with them.)

    Conclusion?: In a life or death situation I’d reach for the Sig every time. In a low risk C&C situation, I’d load a round in the chamber of my Solo and slip it in my pocket – praying that I don’t have to use it.

    • Thank you for the info. What a surprise, I was just researching the Sig 290 on the web and just checked my mail and saw your comments. Will the sig 290 fit in your front pocket? I still have my Solo and this gun is still new in the box and never fired. I love the gun but just do not trust my life with it. That is why I am researching for a 9mm that will fit in my pocket.I sometimes carry my wife’s LCP380 in my front pocket.I want a 9mm that I can rely on and be able to carry in my pocket.I also want one you can shoot several thousand rounds without spring replacements.I have been saying that I am going to sell my Solo for two years now but have never put an add in the paper as of yet.I called the Kimber factory and talked with them about the issues with their Solo and they say all the issues on the forums are just a very small picture. They still claim the Solo is the best micro 9 you can get. They told me to shoot my Solo with high quality ammo and if I have a problem that they can duplicate they will be glad to fix. I am still skeptical and will eventually get rid of my beautiful little Solo. Thanks for your help

      • Gary, Yes, I carry the P290 in my front pocket and also in a IWB holster. It is heavier than the Solo, but in loose pants can be carried in front pocket. It works great in a jacket pocket. It’s very accurate. You won’t go wrong with a Sig especially with this new wave of “Knock Out.” Ed

  43. Joe Flynn says:

    November 6, 2013 at 22:19

    I have tried to shot the Kimber solo 9mm with 115 grain bullets and the first 200 rounds went through fine, now I have a single shot. No one told me this at Gander mountain when I purchased the gun about the ammo requirements in fact he sold me 350 rounds of 115 blazer ammo with my purchase, now we are chasing our tails and I will do what ever I have to make this right if I cannot work something out tomorrow.

    Reply

    avatarJoe Flynn says:

    November 7, 2013 at 22:47

    Gander Mountain went out of their way to replace this Kimber with a sig, which I have yet to fire the sig but have faith in the sales manager which sold it to me. It was sold to me by a unknowing salesmen who has probably been trained now. My hat’s off to Gander Mountain for fixing a wrong made by one of their salesmen and their great firer arms manager. Thank you Joe Flynn

    • Looks like you were done fair Joe. I too was not told about the specific ammo you had to use in the Solo.I found out after the purchase was made. But i have never put a round through my Solo because after reading all the bad reviews I decided I was not going to keep this gun. Who wants a gun you can’t rely on ??? Did you get the P290 Sig ? I know I will never buy another Kimber. There are too many less expensive guns out there that you can really rely on and can shoot any ammo you put through them.A Ruger is a better gun than Kimber,not as pretty but very reliable and there are plenty of $300.00 and $400.00 guns that will outlast and much more reliable than a Kimber.

  44. Hey Gary I was just curious which firearm you went with? I myself bought the solo after being so excited to find out it wouldn’t cycle the rounds right before I even got to fire it. Off to New York it went! Got it back, it shoots nice & looks great but still doesn’t like to load rounds sometimes. Bottom line..I’m not keeping a ccw pistol for looks & don’t trust it enough to carry it.

    • Hello Michael, I have not purchased a replacement yet for the Solo. I have not yet tried to sell the Solo. I will be putting an add in the local papers any day now to sell the Solo, I have just not been in a hurry.For now I have been using an LCP 380 and an Ivers Johnson Pony 380. I also have Ruger 9mm and a CZ75B stainless 9mm. I will be getting a small 9mm to carry instead of the 380’s. I have not made up my mind yet. I will do a good research before I purchase a micro 9mm.The Solo is very pretty but is not a gun you can put your life on. Too many issues. Kimber has really put a huge dent in their reputation for building a reliable gun.I learned a lesson from buying the Kimber Solo.I will get a Ruger or Sig, Springfield, S&W, Baretta, but never a Kimber. That says a lot about Kimber and I havn’t even fired my Kimber because of all the issues I have read about. Thanks for you response.

  45. Yeah I agree. I myself will never own another Kimber. I just sold mine today and got 675.00 out of it. I had only ran 3 clips through it but I decided I better take the cash and run. I’m looking at purchasing a sig p224 but I cannot get over the 1000 dollar price tag even though I own a 229 I paid close to that for. Want to go with a xds in a 45 but I hate the feel of a plastic gun..

    • Hey Michael. Wow ! you did good getting the $675.00. I have never fired my gun and also bought 2 extra Kimber clips when I purchased the Solo. With tax I have $800.00 in this gun. I would be very happy to get $600.00 and every thing is still in original packages and never even loaded. How did you go about selling your Solo. Local news paper, internet or what. Did you look at the Sig p290 ? I WAS WANTING TO HAVE A LOOK AT ONE.I want something as small as the Solo but it has to be reliable . I would also like a good trigger. My cz75b has the best trigger I have ever felt. The cz is too big to carry in my pocket. keep me informed as to what you get.My 380’s are small enough but I sure like the power of the 9mm. Also the 9mm rounds are a lot cheaper to buy than 380.Get back tome when you can and let me know what method you used to sell your Solo if you don’t mind. Have a good day Michael and I hope to hear from you soon.

  46. Yeah that’s why I took the cash n ran! Haha. I posted it on a local gun page on Facebook that people sell firearms.. Mostly all individuals but a dealer actually bought it for himself. I still had the receipt and everything. I gave 729.00 for it before taxes and bought a outside the waistband holster. I guarantee it will bring more than you think it will.. They are kinda rare & sharp looking. I had a ton of offers and only took a day to sell it. Ill have to check out that sig p290.

    • Michael,

      I bought a Solo and after having the usual problems, I bought a Sig P290. The Sig has never failed with any ammo. I trust it completely. It is heavier and bulkier than the Solo, so it’s harder to conceal, but it’s durable and it works. It’s got about a two inch pattern at 25 yards when handheld. You won’t go wrong with the P290. Ed

  47. I also had an extra clip I forgot about that went with it but I didn’t pay for it. Kimber sent me that for having to wait on it 2 months while it was in New York getting fixed if that’s what you would call fixing it.it was better & could actually chamber a round but it still wasn’t a sig. Had no trust in it anymore. I had the solo stainless btw.

    • Hey Michael. My Solo is the two tone. I do like s/s but I had to wait 4 months for the dealer to get the two tone.I think the Sig p290 may be a little bigger than the Solo . When I do sell the Solo I will get out and have a good look at the Sig P290. I just want to find a good 9mm that I can carry in my pocket if possible.By chance do you have a contact to the dealer that bought your Solo. I would give him a call and make him a deal on my Solo.I know a tenn. state trooper that carry’s the Sig 357. He loves the gun.

  48. Thanks for that info Ed! I love my P229 chambered in a .357 sig. Best pistol I have ever bought and trust it like no other! ill have to look into a p290

  49. Hey Gary sorry it took so long to reply, I have been looking for that guys card & cannot find it. However I do have a buddy’s friend’s dad that was interested in mine. He lives in Tennessee so I told him about your solo you have for sale. I am from Missouri btw. I messaged him back on Facebook letting him know mine sold but I knew where another brand new one was for sale.