Kimber Micro CDP .380
Caliber .380 ACP
Length 5.6 inches
Height 4.0 inches
Weight 13.4 ounces (empty)
Magazine Capacity 7 rounds
Frame Aluminum
Slide Stainless (satin silver)
Barrel length 2.75 inches

Despite Kimber’s stellar reputation, the Micro CDP .380 used in this test suffered from serious performance issues as the slide stop not only did not hold the slide to the rear, but it fell out of the gun during testing. The moral of the story: vigorously test your defensive handguns before you bet your life on them.

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It is soooo hard to have a bad day at the range, but even a bad day at the range (as long as no one has been hurt) is better than a good day at work. Every once in a while, a bad range day happens. Today was one of those days.

I have always considered Kimber an excellent firearms manufacturer, and still do. I have owned two of their handguns, a 10mm and a compact .45, both of which I have carried on duty. While the .45 worked fine, the 10mm—a Custom Eclipse II—had to go back to the factory for feeding issues after I purchased it. It came back running like a champ. It was a 1911 after all and was chambered for a round the 1911 was never designed to fire.

A Bad Report on a Member of the Kimber Family of Firearms

So it pains me to have to give a bad report about a member of the Kimber family, but my experience at the range with my sample Micro CDP .380 requires that I pass my findings along.

First let me say that the Micro CDP is a beautiful handgun. Produced in the Kimber Custom Shop, it features a matte black aluminum frame, stainless steel satin silver finished slide, rosewood double diamond grips, and Carry Melt treatment. The Micro CDP is quite eye catching. But a defensive pistol has got to run like a million bucks, and not just look like a million bucks.

I went to the range with a former police cadet of mine, Sgt. Charles Chandler, who is now a Detective Sergeant with a major suburban area agency. Sgt. Chandler is also an experienced firearms instructor who has been teaching in his former police academy for ten years or so, and I wanted to get his full-time cop impression of the Micro CDP.

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Testing Out the Kimber Micro CDP .380 at the Gun Range

Using SIG Elite Performance FMJ ammo as the initial test round, I fired the first six-round magazine. The Kimber sights are excellent, very prominent (unlike the sights I had on my “I wish I still had it” Colt Mustang Pocket Lite micro .380), three-dot affairs with Tritium inserts. They are very easy to pick out and stood out well against the light silhouette target we had set up at 30 feet. Recoil from the SIG Elite ammo was negligible, and it was easy to keep the Kimber on target until the third shot, which failed to fire. The Kimber slide had not fully returned to battery, so the firing pin never hit the primer. Not a big deal.

However, the three remaining rounds failed to return the slide fully into battery, and the slide had to be forced forward with my left hand to get the shot to fire. Perhaps some break-in time would be required. Maybe switching to the slightly hotter SIG V-Crown .380 loads would give a bit of needed oomph to bring the slide back into battery when firing. The group I fired, even with the malfunctions, was a good one: about 4 inches at 30 feet.

I turned the Micro CDP over to Sgt. Chandler. This time, there was only one failure to go into battery, but then we found the major malfunction. Apparently the slide stop worked loose during the firing of his six rounds of ammo which, we soon found out, kept the slide from locking back on the last shot. Not only that, when Sgt. Chandler retracted the slide to the rear, the slide stop fell out. He wasn’t aware it had until he walked over toward my position at the rear of the range and noticed it missing. Then, he walked back toward his firing point and found the slide stop on the ground. I checked the CDP, cleaned off the slide stop, and put it back into the gun. I did a function check and it appeared to be operational. Fortunately the slide and barrel had not launched clear of the frame.

Sgt. Chandler went back to the firing line with another six round magazine. He fired the six rounds without malfunction but the slide failed to lock back. He checked the CDP and found the slide stop had worked its way out but had not fallen free. We stopped further testing for safety reasons.

A malfunction like this is unacceptable. Nothing in the CDP appeared broken. SIG Elite Performance ammo is of the highest quality, and was not the problem. There is a lesson here to be learned or reinforced.

Never carry or use any firearm for protection of life or limb, even if it has a $951 MSRP like the Kimber Micro CDP, until you have taken it to the range and shot it. If a gun comes from the factory with defects, I’ve found that most defects will show up in 50 rounds of firing or less.

If you have a Kimber Micro CDP and have not fired it much, please take it to the range for testing. The slide stop on my sample gun came loose in about nine rounds. If your Micro CDP has been running fine, it likely will continue to do so, so don’t panic.

I have advised Kimber of the issue.

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