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Whether or not you think a high-priced everyday carry gun should dine exclusively on high-powered, high-priced hollow points, your ballistic life saver shouldn’t go click instead of bang. Ever. In the above video, Christian from the American Firearms School was firing 147-grain American Eagle FMJ. Occasionally. This contravenes part of the company’s warning that the “Solo is designed to function optimally using premium hollow-point self-defense factory ammunition with bullet weights of 124 or 147 grains.” Yes, well, we’d already tried shooting [manufacturer recommended] Federal Hydra-Shok JHP and Bill Wilson Signature Match 125-grain hollow-point ammo with even less success. About that. Turns out the SOLO did not like Wilson hollow-points at all . . .

The Kimber has a funny sort of reset; between shots, you have to let the trigger return to its full, upright and locked position. (Note: the Wilson ammo didn’t fire from the git-go.) A 147-grain nine-millimeter cartridge has plenty of oomph for a small gun; limp wristers need not apply.

All that said, a variety of veteran shooters mucked-about with the SOLO without any better result than Christian’s three-out-of-four success rate. Some (i.e. me) with less.

As promised, I brought the Kimber SOLO to my gunsmith for expert analysis. He used pointy-tipped Blazer aluminum 147-grain cartridges to confirm the obvious (the gun she no fire) and agreed with my equally obvious diagnosis: light primer strikes. Which kinda makes the choice of ammo a moot point, really.

So the ergonomically excellent Kimber goes back to the gun dealer and, presumably, back to the factory from whence it came. For fans of the brand, it’s a crying shame.

[NB: As with all anecdotal evidence of a failed firearm, YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary). Whenever you buy a gun upon which your life depends, make sure you fire it. A lot. What you don’t know can hurt you. Or not hurt someone who needs hurting. Who could end-up hurting you.]

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  1. Ideally no defensive gun should go out the factory door like that, but I would tolerate a few break-in issues from a cheaper gun than I would from a premium-priced one. Light primer strikes are often caused by grit in the firing pin channel, and solely the result of shoddy assembly.

    • Ruger SR9s were/are plagued by greasy assembly lube on and around the firing pin. Folks complaining about light strikes and even pins stuck in the rearward position were told to detail strip the slide and get the gunk out. It worked for me.

  2. how embarrassing for Kimber, even with their QC in the toilet, they still have their name recognition, too bad the most unique thing they have built in god knows how long was not ready to leave their factory. Why were they in a rush to release this considering the price they are asking?

  3. It might be a good idea to disassemble any new gun and verify it’s clean, properly lubricated, and and doesn’t have any burrs.

  4. I have some older Kimber Custom Shop 1911’s that are great. I have though failed to see why the SOLO is so great. Since it’s 9mm why not go with an even smaller but much more reliable and just as ergonomic CZ RAMI?

  5. I was very mean to Kimber earlier, and everyone who knows me knows that I LOVE my Kimbers. I hope this gun is just a lemon, and not a problem in the design of the new gun.

  6. Though I love almost all of CZ’s products (especially the -75 line of pistols), the RAMI I owned was not great. It was not small enough, too heavy, and most importantly, not reliable. I traded it in for another, tried different ammo, different shooters, and still had the same issue. I could not cure the inconsistent FTE. I think when they cut down the dimensions for the RAMI, it lost that special something that makes it’s larger brethren more reliable. I’ll stick with an LC9, PPS or a PM9 for now

  7. Picked up my Kimber Solo on Monday, cleaned it as recommended. Off to the range on Tuesday. Two failures to feed in 35 rounds or Hornady TAP, 124g, otherwise great ergonomics, and accuracy. Back to the range Wednesday. 6 rounds of Silvertip 147g fired and the darn safety breaks and the gun jams. I believe the retaining pin broke and lodged in the gun. Anyway, to say the least, I’m really disappointed in Kimber. My expectation is with the price I paid, the gun would have worked flawlessly. Back to the factory. My expectation is great customer service. We shall see.

  8. Had a Solo. It went back to Kimber twice and then was replaced. I traded the new one for my EMP.
    A good day was firing a clip without a problem. I used only ammo from Kimber’s list (since greatly reduced) and cleared the monster after each session. Never ever wi buy another Kimber.

  9. I have 100 rounds through my Solo so far, and have had no problems. I was nervous taking it to the range because of all of the internet nightmares I have read about for the past 8 months while I waited for my gun to arrive, and also because the range where I shoot requires that I buy whatever ammo they’re selling, so I don’t really have the luxury of selecting from Kimber’s preferred list. The range had 124 gr Blazer ammo (not hollow point). No misfires, no stove pipes, no problems at all. I don’t think I’ll actually start carrying the Solo until I have another 400 rounds through with no problems, but so far I’m impressed with size and accuracy. I was initially surprised at the snap, but I may just need to work on my hold.

  10. Bought a Solo, and used 115 gr American Eagle, first outing FTL every shot. Talked to the dealer and he said clean and oil it up well. Second outing much better still a few FTL and FTE also tried UMC 115 gr from Wally World.Third outing a week later multiple FTE/FTL, seems the shell would not eject and the next shell would jam it up in the chamber. Would have to drop the mag out and shake the casing out. Tried the hollow points (Spencer I think) 124 gr with a bit more kick but still miss feeding.Think she is going back to Kimber……really frustrated. I love the size and feel when she fires good, but too unreliable now.

  11. I finally returned my Solo and got a full refund. It is such a great looking gun, yes, love the ergonomics, accuracy was excellent, outstanding trigger, Perfect size. Mine had the barrel and slide replaced twice. I wanted it to work but the black Kimpro finish looked terrible, it scratched easily, and was flaking off around the safety levers. Could not trust it.

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