Kimber Solo 9mm
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Thread: Kimber Solo 9mm

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Kimber Solo 9mm

    My range buddy is an avid shooter and a big Kimber fan. He recently purchased a new Kimber Solo 9mm to replace his current CC piece.

    He performed a general cleaning before taking it to the range. On the very first round downrange, the pistol ejected the cartridge and the slide locked back as though the magazine was empty. Releasing the slide allowed the next round to chamber, but it continued to malfunction with each round fired. We examined the magazine (it only comes with one) and could see no defects.

    He called Kimber and they suspected that he had not installed the tear-down pin under the small spring as noted in the owner manual. He was sure he had followed the manual during the initial cleaning, but reinstalled the pin and we went back to the range...same problem.

    (I'll add that the pistol is designed to operate with 124 grain (minimum) cartridges, and he was firing 147 grain ammo.)

    He sent the gun back to Kimber. When it returned two weeks later with a nice letter saying that the gun was just "tight", we went back to the range. This time, he didn't disassemble the gun beforehand. Same problem. The pistol is effectively a single-shot weapon.

    He's sending it back again today.

    We all know Kimber makes fine guns that are machined to close tolerances, but this one seems unreasonable.

    Has anyone had similar issues with the Solo?

  3. A few weeks ago, my husband was making and testing some 9mm rounds for my son and I to use. He would make a batch, then test it in each of our guns (my M&P and my son's Sig P226). Each time, he was having a great deal of difficulting getting the rounds to put the gun into slide lock when the magazine was empty. He tried several different formulas, thinking that they weren't powerful enough, tried crimping them down better to increase pressure, and still, had the same problem. The guns just wouldn't slide lock. Finally, he came in looking pretty sheepish. "I figured out the problem," he said.
    "Really? What is it?"
    "Well, my thumbs are too big."
    "What? Your thumbs are the same size they've always been!"
    "Well, I'm putting too much pressure on the slide-lock release when I am shooting, so the guns just won't go into slide-lock."

    Now, clearly that is the opposite problem from what your friend is having, and maybe it really is a problem with the gun, but it wouldn't hurt to have someone else shoot it and see if they have the same kinds of problems. Maybe even someone with less experience, or a different grip, or who has a different type of job or something like that. When you are really good at something it can be difficult to "think outside the box" on issues like these.

  4. #3
    I agree with the thumb issue. Had the same problem with my G22. Last round fired, no slide lock back. Fixed my grip, turns out thumbs were too high. Hope it works out, I'm looking at Kimber next.

  5. Unusual. I'm assuming that you sent the mag back with the Kimber. And I'm assuming that you used factory ammo. As chapin and blaze said, check your grip. Try different ammo. If that doesn't work, consider this:

    I have a 1911. I will not mention the brand, but it is not a Kimber. When it was new, it would jam. At the time, I lived a few miles from the factory. I was sent to the private business of the company's chief assembly line manager, also a gunsmith. He noticed that the ejector was hitting the inserted magazine. (???!) He shaved a few mm off the ejector and the gun has been fine since.
    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote. NRA CSSA GOA 2AF CCRKBA / Tactical Pistol Instructor

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    State of Confusion
    Kimber would not release a gun with a known problem of that magnitude. I'm inclined to think the compact size is prone to getting a thumb to affect the slide cycle.

  7. Yep. Sent the Solo back to Kimber twice and they finally replaced it. It came back and I traded it for an EMP. Rather then locking back my issue was the slide wouldn't stay locked back. Look also for peening on the barrel and the slide. The gun seems to need an exceptionally firm grip. I had others try and with any limp wrist mine would FTE. My thought is Kimber pushed the engineering limits and any QA issues cause major problems.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    I don't have "first hand" knowledge of this information, but after researching the problem I described in the original post, it's "rumored" that Kimber is stopping production of the Solo until they can work out the issue.

    I'll add that both my buddy and I have many years "behind the wheel" of 1911's (et al) and I don't really think we were limp wristing the Solo. Maybe, but it's doubtful.

  9. Ok, I'm looking at Kimber's website and I've even handled one of these. A shooter may very well encounter the same problem I've encountered with students using the Sig Sauer Mosquito pistols. Grip issues.

    The super compact nature of the Solo can be great, though it can present challenges and overcompensation due to that grip size. What happened with the Mosquito was that some students were overcompensating their grip which resulted in them applying upward pressure on the slide lock lever (unintentionally). It was just enough pressure that it would lock back on a loaded magazine. I took the student's Mosquito to trouble shoot it and could only replicate the result by applying upward pressure on the slide lock lever. the student corrected his grip and the problem was nonexistent from that point forward.

    Rule out the human input error 100% before sending that Solo back to Kimber (if it's not too late already). Have 2 or 3 separate shooters fire it and watch those hands carefully. Each shooter can observe another to make sure they're not applying ANY upward pressure in their grip to the slide lock lever.

    The Solo is literally a two-finger grip (ring and middle), which causes the need for compensation elsewhere. That's why when folks tell me they cannot stand subcompacts I ask if they held it with or without a grip extension. A minor change like a grip extension can alter how a subcompact feels and ultimately how it shoots for the user.
    Kimber America | Solo 9 mm Pistols

    Rule out the human error and you're left with equipment and ammo....ammo not likely being the issue. Hopefully the Solo isn't plagued with problems, it feels so nice in the hands.

  10. #9
    I've had a Kimber Pro Carry .45 for awhile now, and experienced a few fail-to-feed problems when I first got it. Kimber suggests putting at least 500 rounds through their guns, at least in the 1911's, before contacting the factory about any issues. Do they suggest the same break-in period with the Solo? I've had my eye on getting one since they came out but was waiting to see what other problems people might be having with them before I go spending the money for one.

  11. Kimber Break in

    For the Solo the manual says just 20 rounds of Horndy TAP, Gold Dot, Etc. The one I had took over 100 rounds to work well. However things went downhill and ultimately Kimber replaced the gun (which I sold unfired)

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