Kimber’s Micro Carry, a miniature 1911 in .380 ACP that should tickle the fancy of all who feel “Old Slabsides” may just be the greatest invention of all time. The obvious difference is size, with the Micro having a 2.75-inch barrel, overall length just longer than 5.5 inches, 13.4-ounce weight and, of course, the .380 ACP chambering.
Like its big brother, the Micro is a recoil-operated, semi-automatic pistol that fires single action from a closed breech. The standard magazine holds six rounds and fits flush with the base of the pistol. A slightly longer magazine that holds seven rounds is available as an accessory. It features a short “bumper” at its base that makes for easier and more reliable seating with one firm push of the support hand during a speed reload.
The Micro Carry I received is the basic model with barrel and slide machined from stainless steel and an aluminum frame. Both front and rear sights are steel rather than plastic and are dovetail-mounted in the slide. Windage adjustments are possible simply by drifting either front or rear sight right or left. Changing elevation requires contacting Kimber for a taller or shorter replacement front-sight blade. The sights are larger than I recall on other 380s, with a deep, square notch in the rear and black, parallel post up front. The sight picture was superb, almost bullseye-shooting quality, when I shot five-shot groups for accuracy in the afternoon sunlight. Kimber has other models of the Micro with night sights that might suit you better for potential nighttime encounters, or dealing with sudden threats in dimly lit areas like underground garages.
While the grip’s frontstrap is smooth, the rubber grip panels and mainspring housing assembly have a checkered finish for enhanced control of the pistol during rapid fire. Although .380 ACP handguns are not known for heavy recoil, all guns obey Newton’s second law, and having some textured surfaces to resist gun movement—particularly on a gun this small—is a good idea. I have difficulty using the word “beavertail” in describing the features on a pistol this size, but the backstrap does extend around and beyond the Commander-style hammer and protects the web of the shooting hand from slide cuts, which is a nice touch.
Micro arrived with three of the flush-fitting, six-round magazines. All three had holes drilled in the base, so attaching bumper pads should be simple, even for a guy with my limited tool skills. With these short magazines in the gun, only the two middle fingers of my shooting hand fit on the grip, with my pinky curled against my palm under the frame. This might change with an extended magazine, but not having one of the longer mags for testing, I can’t address that for certain. Given the .380’s light recoil, the pistol was not difficult to control in rapid fire, particularly with a proper two-hand grip. If, for any reason, you had to fire with just one hand, you might have to do a little grip-shifting before the magazine is empty, so some one-handed practice would be in order. In fact, a little one-handed practice is a good idea with any self-defense handgun, particularly a small pocket pistol like this one.
Whether or not you can reach the release button without moving your hand, you still must get the lower part of your palm and your little finger out from beneath the magazine well so the magazine can slide out. When that’s done properly, the empty magazine flew out of the gun, readying it for a fresh mag.
Interestingly, with a firing grip, the thumb of my shooting hand can reach and operate the slide-lock lever. Perhaps this falls into the bad news/good news category. It’s possible that, depending on your grip, you might depress the slide-lock lever while shooting, thus preventing the slide from locking rearward after the last shot. This is not necessarily fatal—the click of the hammer on an empty chamber serves the same purpose as being unable to press the trigger with the slide locked back. Both are clues that you need to do something else, in this case, reload. If you’re familiar with your handgun, the momentary confusion shouldn’t cost you too much time. The good news is being able to reach and operate the lever with your shooting hand gives you an option for sending the slide forward that you don’t always have on a larger pistol.
Because of the almost target-style sights and short, single-action 1911 trigger pull, I expected the little Micro to perform well in accuracy testing, and I was not disappointed. I don’t have a setup for testing handgun accuracy from a machine rest. I rest my forearms on something, usually a range bag, and send five rounds downrange. There are no rest or refreshment breaks between shots. My one concession to maximizing accuracy is that I use the fingerprint pad of my trigger finger to press the trigger straight back as smoothly as possible. The pistol’s group sizes speak for themselves.
When training for a life-threatening encounter, however, I slide my finger farther into the trigger guard and contact the trigger at the first joint of my trigger finger. In this scenario, I’m trying to shoot faster, or at least establish some rhythm, simulating the multiple shots and repeat sight pictures that will most likely be required to finish a fight. Doing this with the tiny Micro required an adjustment in my shooting grip relative to the position of my support hand, because my trigger finger extended through the trigger guard and rubbed against my other hand, making a consistent trigger pull extremely difficult. If you have exceptionally long fingers, you may have to make a more-dramatic grip adjustment than I did. For those who have carried small pocket revolvers, this isn’t such a big deal, because they’ve used a different grip for tiny guns. If you’ve only shot and trained with duty-size semi-automatics, you might have a bit more difficulty making the adjustment to a small-pistol hold.
Again, some field time would be in order before reaching any formal conclusions. While I think of the little Kimber as a pocket pistol, there’s no reason not to carry the Micro in a conventional belt holster. Galco offers the Stinger holster, which fits the Micro perfectly and will let you carry the gun concealed in complete comfort all day. It’s just that the little pistol’s compactness suggests it’s destined for a concealed-carry role in the most minimal wardrobe socially acceptable, in a pocket or belly band.
The Micro functioned perfectly and placed its rounds exactly where I pointed the sights. It’s comfortable to carry and easy to conceal. What more could you ask of a compact, defensive pistol?