October 2017

Micro 9mm Pistols From Kimber, Springfield Armory, and SIG

Two of these small Nines are based on the 1911 design, while the third is a new DA/SA pistol from Springfield. All are capable, but we prefer the micro-size 1911s from Kimber and SIG Sauer.

Micro 9mm Pistols From Kimber, Springfield Armory, and SIG

Our pistols included, from top to bottom, the SIG Sauer P938 Emperor Scorpion, the Springfield Armory XD-E 3.3 Single Stack XDE9339BE, and the Kimber Micro 9 Desert Tan (LG), with the parenthetical meaning Laser Grip. All three pistols performed flawlessly, but we found some differences between the SIG and Kimber that are worth noting. What separates these two 1911-style platforms are aesthetics, controls, and ergonomics. We’d have no issue carrying either pistol. The Springfield Armory XD-E is designed with a double-action-to-single-action trigger, which is a new direction for Springfield Armory. On the Springfield, we would change the decocker and perhaps the geometry of the trigger.

We’ve received emails specifically requesting we review the Kimber Micro 9 and SIG P938. Readers wrote that they “like the idea of guns made out of actual metal that operate in a very similar manner to a M1911.” So we obliged and assembled a pair of 1911 micro-9mm pistols, a Kimber Micro 9 Desert Tan (LG) with laser grip and a SIG Emperor Scorpion P938. We also added to the mix a new polymer-frame 9mm with a DA/SA trigger, the Springfield Armory XD-E. It is not a 1911 platform at all, but the XD-E is a pistol in the same size class as the Kimber and SIG. All are chambered in 9mm Luger, have barrels that measure from 3- to 3.3-inches in length, employ single-stack magazines, and are designed for concealed carry.

For speed testing, we performed the Bill Drill at 7 yards firing a magazine as fast as we could while still keeping hits in an 8-inch circle. The intent with this drill is to improve speed without eroding accuracy. It also helps us run the pistol dry, check for slide lock back, perform numerous magazine changes, and repeatedly use the slide release as well as test rapid sight alignment and trigger press. We start at the low ready position. All three pistols performed reliably and consistently.

The micro 1911s look similar to a 1911 pistol, but the operating systems are quite different. The Kimber and SIG 1911s are scaled down for conceal carry and have 1911 design elements such as the controls, single-action triggers, and grip angle to create a true back-up-sized 1911. If you are familiar with a 1911, then the transition to one of these micro 1911s will be seamless. The thumb safety, slide release, and magazine release are just like those in the 1911 design. These mini 9mm pistols disassemble with ease, so maintenance is not a chore. We found we liked the mini 1911s in 9mm, and the vote was evenly split between the SIG and Kimber.

The XD-E is an entirely new beast that one tester said looks like a DA/SA trigger mechanism placed in an XD-S receiver mated to a MOD.2 slide. Maybe that’s how it got drawn on a cocktail napkin? Who knows. Our team thought the XD-E needed a few tweaks, though it proved to be a capable shooter. Here are the details on all three.

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