Light carry weight is one of the most important features of any pocket pistol, and with 9mm models it is essential, since the pistols are only slightly larger than most .380 ACP semi-autos. Let’s take a closer look at two popular subcompact 9mms and see how they compare. The first is from a newer manufacturer, SCCY, and the latter is from Kimber, a well-established maker.
SCCY is one of the newest U.S. manufacturers, which puts the Daytona Beach, Florida, arms-maker on the cutting edge of manufacturing technology, and the company uses that to its full advantage to produce high-quality parts at a lower cost. The company builds all of its components in-house, much like Kimber, and there is no outsourcing of parts except for springs. SCCY even builds its own magazines. Every part at SCCY goes through multiple inspection and quality-control steps before the final assembly process.
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SCCY’s 9mm CPX-2 holds 10+1 rounds and is offered in a virtual color wheel of more than 20 frame and slide color combinations. For this comparison, I chose a subtle two-tone CPX-2 with a black slide and a distinctive sniper gray frame. Other SCCY color choices include frames in black, white, crimson, purple, orange, pink, turquoise and Flat Dark Earth combined with either black or stainless steel slides.
The hand-filling Zytel polymer grip offers solid heft for a polymer-framed pistol, plus an extended triggerguard with ample room for a gloved finger in cold weather. A large and easily activated slide release and positive button-type magazine release complete the exterior features. The gun uses a stainless steel, broach-rifled barrel, and the DAO trigger and internal hammer mechanism are ruggedly built for dependable operation.
Kimber Micro 9
Breaking down the barriers between size and caliber has been Kimber’s forte for years. Established in 1997, Kimber became world renowned for building 1911s of unparalleled quality and standardized custom features as well as compact 1911s. But the real heart of Kimber’s ingenuity was revealed when the company introduced the groundbreaking 9mm Solo in 2011. The Solo became the smallest single-stack, 6+1, 9mm pistol in the world.
Kimber then turned its sights on the .380 ACP with the Micro CDP and an entire line of Micro .380 models. Looking like a highly refined Colt Mustang with a standard capacity of 6+1, the .380 ACP Micro series left Kimber one remaining challenge: to step up in caliber from the .380 ACP to the larger and more powerful 9mm while keeping the gun almost the same size. In 2016, Kimber introduced the Micro 9 with a 6+1 capacity and measurements that are barely larger than the .380 Micro CDP.
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The Micro 9’s stainless steel slide is made to the same high tolerances as Kimber’s other pistols. The alloy frame has a distinctive matte silver finish and very smooth lines similar to the Solo’s “carry melt” design. The grip is shaped for strength and a solid hold using an upswept beavertail and a deeply checkered mainspring housing. The frame also sports very sharp-looking rosewood grips. The controls are Colt inspired, though the thumb safety has the same improved contours as the .380 Micro CDP’s. In many respects, the Micro 9, like the Micro CDP, is a scaled-down 1911 without the grip safety, making it a very familiar gun to handle for shooters experienced with the 1911.
Where the Kimber design really kicks in is the fit and finish. Standard features include a highly polished stainless steel barrel, a lowered and flared ejection port for reliable ejection of spent shells, a beveled magazine well for quick reloading and dovetailed, combat-style front and rear sights. These are steel sights mounted in machined dovetails, so they can be upgraded to white-dot or tritium night sights. The gun comes with one flush-fitting, six-round magazine, and extended seven-round magazines are available.
How They Stack Up
Right out of the box, the CPX-2 has two notable advantages over the Kimber: superior capacity and an internal hammer-fired DAO action with a second-strike capability. The trigger pull averages 9.5 pounds with a very smooth inch of take-up, a crisp break and zero overtravel. It does, however, take almost a full release of the trigger to reset, whereas the reset on the Kimber’s aluminum, match-grade trigger is almost immediate. The Micro 9 wins here with a short, smooth pull averaging 6.16 pounds with a mere 0.19 inches of travel, no stacking, a very crisp break and a short 0.13-inch reset. The tradeoff with the Kimber is the second-strike capability.
Comparing their sizes, if you take into account the length of the beavertail grip design on the Kimber Micro 9, the SCCY CPX-2 is almost exactly the same overall length (about 0.24 inches shorter), but almost a full inch taller and 0.26 inches wider due to its higher-capacity double-stack magazine. But the CPX-2’s magazine also includes a finger extension for a full grip. The SCCY and Kimber weigh 15 and 15.6 ounces unloaded, respectively.
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