Kimber Solo

I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the Kimber Solo not functioning properly. As a gunwriter, a curious person and a fan of Kimber, I decided to find out if the fussing was accurate.

First, I talked to some of the others in the office. A couple of people said they had had issues with the Solo not feeding with certain magazines. It seemed as if some magazines worked fine, while others caused the slide to lock back even though there were rounds in the magazine. Looking at the magazines, I thought that some were slightly longer in length than others. Surmising that this could be the problem, I measured every magazine we had in house. A caliper showed that all the magazines were within .01 inches of each other, meaning this is probably not the problem.

Next, I headed to the range with a Solo, six magazines and a few boxes of 9 mm ammunition. I quickly noticed that while the Solo’s magazines are rated for six rounds, putting in that sixth cartridge took some strength. Also, the top round would be crooked in the magazine unless care was taken to get it just right.

After seating the magazine in the gun, I pulled the slide fully to the rear and let it go. The gun did not go into battery. Instead, it caught about half way forward, and required a hard shove to seat the round. Once loaded, however, it ran all six rounds without a problem. In fact, every magazine worked perfectly, even when conducting follow up drills from the low-ready position.

I ran more than 100 rounds through the Solo without a single malfunction while firing. I even tried limp wristing to force a malfunction to no avail. The only problem I had was when trying to load the gun with a fully loaded magazine. While the gun would strip a round, it would usually require a push to put the gun into battery. This was not a problem if there were only five rounds in the magazine.

With the results I received, my first thoughts run to break in period. I personally believe that most handguns need to have a few hundred rounds run through them before they will run properly, especially guns that have tight tolerances, such as Kimbers. And this includes magazines. I won’t carry a gun for self-defense until I have become completely familiar with it, which requires a few boxes at the very least, and I prefer 300 to 400 hundred. That’s about how many it took to get my carry gun, which is a Kimber, in perfect working order.

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26 Responses to Kimber Solo

Doug wrote:
October 09, 2014

Ran over 200 rounds of FMJ from various manufacturers, 124 and 147 grain. All had at least one FTE per magazine. Decided to try the 'RECOMMENDED' ammo. Federal HST 124 grain. Functions flawlessly. Tried the other ammo again, same result, FTE's. If you want the gun to be reliable, spend the money and use the proper ammo. Don't know why so many people have problems with the spring during reassembly. Take the grips off and you can see the spring and how the slide stop catches it. After reassembly, press up on the stop. It should have some downward spring tension. Simple really. Grip screws are the only problem. Keep an eye on them. They will loosen after a few magazines and fall out. I finally put some loc-tite on the threads and that has solved the problem. I think it is a great gun. Best trigger of all my pistols!

Pavel wrote:
September 25, 2014

I disagree that handguns must have break period. I bought new three Berettas Px4 17 rd, Px4 13 rd, Nano and Ruger LCP - all them start shooting from first round without any problem! What if run two hundreds rounds and seems OK and decide to use as self-defense, then 201 round in critical moment faild? I have problem with new Kimber Solo SDP with wrong install at factory Spring, Slide Stop. So after first shot slide get back and no second load happen. I got picture from factory how it properly install that spring. After figure out myself and using the picture I determine that picture from factory also wrong. Also wrong part of movie on factory website about how show this spring. Any way, I am going to range will see how wrong I am.

Elisa wrote:
September 01, 2014

I got the solo stainless. I love the gun for many reasons. However, I'm carrying a different gun at this time because my Solo is having issues. Actually all the issues mentioned above except the magazine doesn't fall out. Two friends purchased solos at the same time as me. One is also having issues. The other I haven't talked to. I will be interested to hear how he is getting along with his. I'm hoping to get these issues resolved because I really do love this gun. I'm just glad it isn't my only gun.

Mark wrote:
April 28, 2014

I also must be an unlucky Kimber Solo owner. My wife just bought one on Saturday and I bought a Sig P938 because I had gun envy. Boy I was not envious of that Kimber when the 4th round fired in that gun stovepiped. I was using the recommended expensive 147gr. rounds that Kimber put on their welcome letter. After about 12 jams in a box of 20 with both of us shooting this 'gun,' I used the Remington 115gr target rounds and actually got a full clip to shoot! It was incredibly accurate too and the trigger is wonderful. Unfortunately, that was the ONLY full clip that went through that gun without a problem. After numerous attempts to get this gun to fire without stove piping, we packed that paperweight up. There should be a lemon law concerning guns because this is the worst gun I have ever shot. The Sig shot flawlessly every single time...I wished that the kimber trigger was on the Sig. Out of every manufacturer of handgun that I own which is Glock, Ruger, S&W, Beretta, Sig, and Kimber. I have NEVER had any misfires in any other weapon. The glock has shot over 2000 rounds without any problems, no repairs, nothing. I thought Kimber was a 'top' brand. I am believing the saying that if you want a gun to shoot, buy a Glock. If you want a gun to look at, buy a Kimber.

Richard L. Gray wrote:
April 03, 2014

I too, like everyone else it seems, have a problem with the rounds feeding properly if I fully load either the regular magazine or the extended magazine. I look forward to a good manufacturer coming out with some aftermarket mags for the Solo. They will sell a ton of them!

Ted Mann wrote:
March 27, 2014

Like many others, my Solo works fine with the 6rd mag, but the 7th rd in the 8rd mag nosedives (2nd to be fired, that is). Curiously, however, the 8rd mag seems to work well with Hornady Defense, which isn't one of Kimber's recommended rounds (only 115gr). I would like for this pistol to work well, because I like everthing else about it.

Roscoe wrote:
March 22, 2014

I just purchased a Kimber solo yesterday. Took it home and cleaned it and ensured the spring was installed correctly. I ran 2 boxes og 124 grainthrough it and had a failure to eject every 3rd or 4th round. I even had a fte with only one round in the chamber and no mag. I had 3 people run the gun with the same result. I ran a ruger lcp9 and a s&w shield without a single issue and they are half the price. The kimber is boxed and ready to go back for repairs.

Phillip Rosen wrote:
February 13, 2014

Just purchased my Solo after a recommendation from a trusted 'gun person'. He warned me about the spring but I still missed it when reassembling. Luckily, I figured out what I had done wrong before shooting it. I've only had the chance to shoot one box of 147 grain ammo. No problems at all. I'm looking forward to carrying the Solo now that IL has allowed CCW!

Bobby wrote:
February 08, 2014

I bought a Solo in October 2013 and followed the recommendations and more. I ran a box of 124g Gold Dots and two boxes of 124g Golden Sabers with no malfunctions whatsoever. I then switched to cheaper 124g NATO for range use, again with no problems. Then I bought the 8 round magazine and had two FT Feed in the first two loads, in both cases the third round in the mag. As long as I'm using the 6-round mags, I have had no failures at all. The mags are impossible to eject unless I push them in slightly while pressing the release. But it is no problem to load all six rounds and I have no problem seating the mags or racking the slide. I like the Solo and I trust it as long as I'm carrying the 6-round mags.

David wrote:
January 27, 2014

Hey Bob. I just bought one of those SOLO 'Ferarris'. It's my 2nd Kimber. Put 100 rounds through it 124 Federal. Had to put only 5 rounds in the 6 round mag because it will not take a 6th round...When you do get a 6th round in the magazine it will not load...And with the 8 round magazine...could only load 6 rounds. It would take a 7th round but would not load properly. I know Kimbers are supposed to have a 'break in period' but for th price of this gun..that is ridiculous. I bought it to replace my J frame SW or my 6 shot colt detective special. The Solo may as well be a brick after you shoot 5 rounds because it I very difficult (two hands) to eject the magazine and a real bear to load the magazines...My recommendation, buy Sig, or a Ruger or a sd Colt or S&W Shield...My NA Arms .32 cal is more reliable and less trouble. I was told that Kimber had the bugs worked out....wrong....Expensive lesson for a not very reliable handgun

Bob wrote:
December 02, 2013

Oh boy. More SOLO bashing! Just purchased my second SOLO last week; this time the stainless, and with 200 rounds through it already it has been flawless. My first SOLO, the two-tone, had over 900 rounds through it with no malfunctions of any kind. I traded that one for a Ultra Carry but missed the SOLO so much I just had to have another. This is without a doubt the finest micro nine on the market and if people would follow the ammo recommendations and learn how to assemble it correctly there would be far fewer complaints about this gun. Of course many gun owners are ignorant and can't handle a Ferrari when all they've ever had were Chevys...

Laura wrote:
August 28, 2013

I have a simple fix for the issue of the mags coming loose/falling out while firing and for the mis-feeds/jams. It is a simple shim. For $5.00, I will make and send you one. If interested, please email me at Put Kimber Solo in the subject line so I do not dismiss it as spam.

Ralph wrote:
July 09, 2013

I am in the same boat as Bill M. They have offered to send me a 45 as a replacement, but that has never arrived. Now it is to the point where I am catching them in lies. I have 3 S&W, a CZ, 2 Barettas, an old Ortgies and a Bernardelli. All of which function flawlessly. What i found out the hard way is that once you buy a Kimber, you are stuck with it.

Bill M wrote:
May 23, 2013

My Solo returned last week from the Kimber repair center. (see previous posts) First repair,no bang, sear spring replaced. Second time, mags fall out and would not feed with 6 in the mag and 1 in the chamber, Slide would not remain open after last round and peening from barrel locking lug area on the slide. All this occured upon first range session after the first repair. When I recieved the gun back after the 2nd repair the enclosed description of the repair said that they replaced the magazine catch. Interesting, there was nothing about the slide peening, not firing with 6 in the mag and the slide not staying open on the last round. When trying the gun,after the second repair, it was IMPOSSIBLE to pull the slide back far enough to chamber a round, if there were 6 rounds in the mag and would not eject the first round with 6 in the mag. I have given detailed descriptions verbally to the Kimber rep and have sent letters back with the gun detailing the problem or problems. As of now, Kimber has fired about as many rounds through the gun as I have. I am finished speaking to Kimber, other than to try to get in touch with the CEO and give him a piece of my mind, FWIW..I am sure that they will want me to send the gun back again...Sorry, this is America...3 strikes and you are OUT.. What kind of a husband would I be if I gave this to my wife for self protection when I dont trust the gun myself. I am not a Kimber basher, as I own several 1911s and 1 rifle. I am sure that there are more happy Solo owners than disappointed ones. I also feel sure that some people would not complain because they dont want to admit that a product they paid that much for has problems or defects ...If someone asks my advice on purchasing a Solo then I would tell them...Go to the local county fair,pay 1 dollar, take a chance and draw a duck...You may draw a may not

Frank D wrote:
May 09, 2013

I want to like my Solo but it's been a rocky relationship so far. Did the "miss the tiny little spring" on the take down/slide stop when I did the cleaning before firing so the first time at the range I had nothing but malfunctions. Came home, called Kimber, and learned about the spring issue. Got the pin in with the spring in the proper place and headed back to the range. Still lot's of feed and stovepipe issues. Third time at the range it started to "break in" and function fairly well but not flawlessly. Last night was the fourth trip with it and it put 60-70 rounds downrange with only two stovepipes. To be fair, both stovepipes were with 115 gr fmj ball ammo which is not recommended. I'll give it one more try with 124 gr or above jhp, as recommended, to see if I can get 100% reliability from it. If not, the quest for a sub compact 9mm will continue. My SO bought a Sig P938 and last night was her first time at the range with it. It sent everything she put in it downrange without a problem. I prefer the Solo over the Sig for firing but if the reliability is not there with the Solo there may be a Sig in my future!

Bill M wrote:
April 12, 2013

The Solo that I purchased in December is back at Kimber's repair center for the 2nd time. First time, Sear spring falls off the ledge issue. First range time after the return of the Solo, I loaded 6 in the mag and jacked one in the chamber. Perfect operation. Then I tried to load 6 rounds into the mag and one in the chamber. Mag fell out and FTE. Then the mag fell out about every 3rd or so shot. The 2 new mags that I purchased did the same thing. Also the new style magazines would not hold the slide open when empty. The new styled mags have a different shaped follower and seem to slip past the slide lock when empty. I must say that the gun has an excellent trigger and has not failed to feed on any type of ammo, even cheap stuff. I own 4 Kimbers and am used to throwing away the factory mags and replacing them with Wilsons. I also know that if you want a decent trigger the get rid of the Kimber hammers, sears and disconnects and replace them with quality aftermarket parts. One thing about Kimbers, they shoot amazingly tight groups for production pistols. Some even better than custom jobs. I like Kimbers but I think that the Solo, like the other mini 9s, is just a "Pop Culture" thing. "Have it your way" Your finish, size, grip flavor and any type sight that you want. Maybe I am just getting old but I believe if manufacturers could have built a reliable micro pistol they would have done it years ago. This is not a Kimber bash YET..As I reminded Kimber in the last return letter, "I feel certain that your company that is the "Home of the finest production firearms" will correct my issues and all other KNOWN issues relating to the Solo. If they do not correct the problems this time then it may turn into a Kimber Bash..

Pete Rod wrote:
March 19, 2013

When I first got my Solo I did what most did. Strip it down and cleaned it. I then took it to range and fired it. Nothing but stuck open slide with rounds in the mag. No big deal, let me see what the web has to offer. Turns out when I cleaned it and put it back together I did what most did. I miss the small spring for the slide lock. After putting it back together the right way nothing but bull eyes at the range. Love this gun and would trust it with my life. BTW, it shoots everything I put in it.

S Eggington wrote:
March 08, 2013

I have owned a Kimber Compact CDP for 16 years, and I can attest to the fact that it is the most accurate, most reliable of the many handguns I’ve owned and/or shot. Due to the exceptional experience I’ve had with it, as well as the disappointment I’ve found with the Shield, Nano and other micro 9s, I decided to purchase a Solo CDP. I couldn’t be more happy with the quality, reliability and accuracy of the Solo CDP. The craftsmanship is outstanding, and the included Crimson Trace LaserGrips, as well as the night sights, ensure rapid acquisition in any lighting condition, without the need for a special holster, or a less than natural activation procedure for the laser. The only issue I have with Kimbers is the ease with which the paint will scratch. I’m sure I will wind up applying a CeraKote finish to my Solo CDP once it gets bad enough, as I did with my Compact CDP after owning it for 15 years, but then again, I’m pretty careful with my weapons and don’t toss them around. The only thing that made the whole Solo CDP carry experience even better was the addition of a Garrett Industries Silent Thunder Solo IWB holster. Ron and Sheryl Garrett make an amazing line of holsters.

J Black wrote:
March 05, 2013

E Garica, make sure you have it assembled correctly. Lots of people thought they had a faulty firearm until they realized it was not being properly reassembled. I have had zero problems what so ever with my SOLO...

E Garcia wrote:
March 04, 2013

Just got the Solo CDP...will not fire, jam open..tried drif mags..etc..took it back to bass pro shop ..this is the worst hand gun made..for the price ..this should be top quality ...kimber has a major problem ..the produce is poor compare to other gun makers

Scott wrote:
December 31, 2012

I am a big fan of Kimber. I have one of their 1911s and I have wanted a Solo ever since they were first on the market. I guess everyone wanted one too cause they were very hard to come by. The good news is that it gave me plenty of time to research. I have found numerous complaints on the functionality of the Solo. In fact, I was talking to a gun dealer, and he said that Kimber has actually stopped production of the Solo until it is re-engineered. My Brother in law just happened to be in the right place at the right time and got himself a Solo. I, on the other hand, had to go with my second choice and got a Sig Sauer P938. It is almost identical except it is about 1/3" longer and is single action like the 1911. I am actually glad to have gone with the P938. Even though I am a huge Kimber fan, I am really happy with the Sig. I would recommend it before the Solo.

Bernie wrote:
November 29, 2012

I must have been lucky and bought a second generation Solo this spring. No issues with function or accuracy. The mags are a bear to load. The mag release is stiff and I find it easier to seat the magazine with the slide locked back. I have no issues carrying this weapon off duty

Clayton wrote:
October 04, 2012

I agree...the Solo has issues. For me it started as basic failure to eject, extract, and jams. The slide was nearly impossible to pull back, and the slide release stuck. I assumed all that would loosen up with break-in. Unfortunately we never got to break it in. I had to send the slide back to Kimber to have the rear sights replaced, as they came off the first time I fired the gun. The entire gun is now at Kimber because I've had failure to extract, eject, stovepipes, and failure to fire. It is impossible to break in a gun that will not go more than two rounds without an issue. Personally, not worth the $800 I paid. When it's returned from Kimber, it will be sold and replaced with something different. I can't trust this thing to function when my wife needs to use it, then it's not worth jack as a concealed carry gun.

Icabod wrote:
October 03, 2012

Also had one of the first Solos. The original approved ammo list was some 12 brands and types. Supposedly the break in was 20 rounds. The pistol never worked. No ammo, no grip, no lube kept the thing from stovepipes, FTE, and jams. It went back twice. The second time was due to the slide not staying locked back and metal peening off the barrel and slide. Kimber replaced the pistol. I took a look and then traded it for my EMP. Never had had any problems since.

Cliff wrote:
September 13, 2012

I bought one of the first ones out and had nothing but problems with it not extracting or ejecting. It went back to the factor twice with no improvement. The factory rep. told me that "this was not the kind of gun one would take to the range and put 100 rounds through it." Then how can I practice with it or trust it? I got rid of it and bought a Ruger LC9 and it worked with the same "factory" ammo that the Solo would not work with. Kimber does have a problem with this gun.

Nels wrote:
September 13, 2012

I fully understand break-in process. Not being able to reliably function with a full mag is NOT a break-in problem. It is simply a PROBLEM. Last summer I tried the Solo. It looks great, but functioned less than Kimber-like and bites the hand. I chose a P290. You won't find a bigger Kimber 1911 fan than myself, but even I won't make such excuses for the Solo as "break-in" crap. That's fan-boy talk to cover for a design flaw.