Friday, October 21, 2011

Kimber Solo vs. Ruger LC9 :: First Impressions

Top: Kimber Solo // Bottom: Ruger LC9
The Kimber Solo is one of the most anticipated Mini 9mm's. I say 'most anticipated' because even though the Solo has been on the market for almost a year it is still a pistol that is few and far between. Whereas; the Ruger LC9 is available and most importantly affordable. Let's start the side by side:

Click to Enlarge

Slide/Receiver
While both pistols have a steel slide and barrel they are a bit different. The Solo uses stainless steel with a satin finish on the slide; while the LC9 uses an alloy steel with a blued finish.
The receiver of the Solo is aluminum with a KimPro II finish in contrast to the LC9's glassed-filled nylon. Both fill the hand nicely without feeling too small. The Solo is a bit shorter in the grip due to the LC9's finger ledge.

Sights
Both pistols are outfitted with fixed 3-dot sights with a nod towards the Solo for having (in my opinion) more usable (larger) sights. While I find the LC9's sights a little more tedious; they are still sights (a vast improvment of the LCP)
Left: Ruger LC9 // Right: Kimber Solo
Trigger
I do prefer the LC9's trigger over the Solo's. The LC9 has a long double action pull at just over 6 pounds. The trigger is smooth and breaks consistently. It is also worth noting that the LC9 is hammer fired. In contrast the Solo is a striker fired pistol. It's trigger is factory set at 7 pounds and has a long pull as well. My only complaint about the Solo's trigger is that it feels 'squishy'. As you begin to take up slack the trigger becomes heavier then squishy and then somewhere in there it fires. This isn't a deal breaker by any means, but I would have hoped for a better trigger from Kimber.
Top: Kimber Solo // Bottom: Ruger LC9
Safety
Both pistols have a manuel safety. The Solo has a very 1911-like safety located on both the left and right sides. It operates just as a safety should; easily. The LC9's safety is smaller and a bit more difficult to actuate. Being located only on the left side of the pistol; it appeared to me to be almost an afterthought. While being very positive in its operation the LC9's safety is a market driven feature that is not out of place.
Left: Kimber Solo // Right: Ruger LC9
Takeaway
I have only fired the LC9 to date, so I cannot comment on how the Solo handles. What I can point to is the numerous issues the Solo seems to be plagued with; while the LC9 seems to do what any good gun should: WORK! I have no doubt that Kimber will work through the hiccups it's having and put out a fine product, but as of right now the Ruger LC9 wins this one.

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3 comments:

  1. Kimber needs to see that last photo comparison. The Solo is meant for ccw and/or backup, so why is the slide's muzzle flat and square?????? If they continue on producing Solos they will eventually round the muzzle off so they'll stop getting bashed about it. That flat muzzle looks completely out of place.

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  2. I've never noticed it before, but you're right. The front of the Solo almost looks 'unfinished'. I'm sure the CDP model will be rounded off.

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  3. I think they left the Solo slide flat to keep as much weight in the slide as possible. I own the Solo and the LC9. The Solo is a beautiful little pistol with a glass smooth trigger. Very accurate. I really like the Solo, but I can't trust it. Too many ongoing problems.

    The LC9 is a good little gun, but the trigger is looong and breaks right at the front strap. Don't like the trigger but the pistol is reliable and accurate.

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