Firearm: Kimber R7 Mako (MSRP: $599 optics-ready, $799 optics installed)
Proving just how hot the micro-compact 9 mm double-stack market is right now, Kimber just released its own take on the genre with the R7 Mako. The Mako offers 11-round capacity in the flush-fit magazine and an extended magazine that holds 13 rounds. With its 3.37-inch barrel and 6.2-inch overall length, the Mako is on the larger side of the micro 9s, but still easily in the category. Weight is 19.5 ounces, width is 1 inch and height is 4.3 inches with the flush magazine. The Mako is currently only available in 9 mm.
Distinguishing the Mako from most of its competitors is that all models are optics-ready. Kimber’s nomenclature, once you understand it, lets you know at a glance: OR means that the handgun is optics-ready, while OI means optics come installed on the handgun in question. For the Mako, the footprint is the standard RMSc, and for the optics-installed model a Crimson Trace CTS-1500 red-dot sight is included.
There are a several features of note on the Mako. First is the closed ejection port, giving the Mako a distinct look. The second is the ambidextrous nature of the controls – the slide stop lever and the magazine release can be activated by both right- and left-handed shooters. Lastly, the texturing not only surrounds the grip, but also continues along the frame over the trigger guard. This provides extra grip on this small pistol as well as providing texturing for the support hand, quite the thoughtful touch.
Other points to note are the cocking serrations fore and aft, the contrasting front and rear sights and the takedown lever that looks similar to the Glock mechanism. The extended magazine provides additional purchase for the pinkie finger, and the trigger is the expected bladed-safety variant. Price-wise, Kimber’s R7 Mako is competitive with the vast majority of its competition, making it yet another great choice for those in the market for a micro 9 mm double stack pistol. And, like we say, having more choices is a good thing.
Holster: Mission First Tactical IWB/OWB ($49.99)
As we’ve stated previously, one of the perils of new pistol designs for the concealed carrier is finding gear right off the bat. There’s little more frustrating than finding the perfect pistol only to be limited to “one size fits many” offerings that don’t provide the retention or usability you seek. However, in the case of the R7 Mako, Kimber worked with Mission First Tactical to have the company’s excellent IWB/OWB holsters available.
We’ve covered the single-sheet Boltaron models from Mission First previously and found them to be well-constructed, easy to get on and off with the beefy plastic clip and affordable. The model for the Mako is similar in appearance to other appendix-style models we’ve tested for other handguns, and has superlative fit and retention for this new model.
Optic: Crimson Trace CTS-1550 (MSRP: $179.99)
The R7 Mako OI comes with a Crimson Trace CTS-1500 red-dot sight installed. Should you be looking for this optic separately, Crimson Trace offers the CTS-1550 red-dot sight, which as far as I can tell is the same thing only without the circle around the “CT” logo. Both sights have a 3-MOA dot, auto brightness detection and shutoff and ultra-bright LEDs.
Two points of which to be aware, though, on both the CTS-1500 and 1550: the battery, like many of these miniature sights, is located under the unit, meaning it will need to be taken off the pistol to replace. This may require the sight to be re-zeroed. It allows the unit to sit lower on the slide and co-witnesses with iron sights. Second, the unit has a polymer housing rather than aluminum, which in this case saves weight on a tiny pistol. It’s something to keep in mind, in that the polymer will provide less protection against bumps and knocks.