With a 13+1 capacity and the option of an optics-ready slide, the very concealable Kimber R7 Mako is competitive in the micro-compact field.

Introduced in August, the R7 Mako is a striker-fired 9mm with a polymer frame. When it comes to specs, it runs just 6.2 inches long overall, 4.3 inches high, and 1 inch wide. Weight, in its most basic form, is 19.5 ounces. 

Kimber R7 Mako 9mm pistol
The Kimber R7 Mako is a straightforward striker-fired design optimized for concealed carry that benefits from ambi controls. It is available with and without a factory optics cut for micro red dots using a Shield pattern. (All Photos: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

This puts the new double-stack ultra-compact Kimber in the same category as guns like the Sig Sauer P365 and Springfield Armory Hellcat series. 

Kimber R7 Mako 9mm pistol
The Kimber R7 Mako compares favorably with many "deep concealment" guns such as a Taurus GX4 micro-compact, the Glock 43, and a Smith & Wesson J-frame snubby, with the benefit of typically having a larger magazine capacity than the latter two. 


Kimber says the R7 is specifically designed to be dependable, with a rear-mounted barrel-locking lug to reduce the unlock angle of the barrel, therefore creating a consistent round presentation and low-felt recoil.

We have fed our test Mako just slightly over 500 rounds of factory-loaded 9mm ammo over the past month. The bulk of this was Winchester bulk pack (USA Valor) 124-grain NATO FMJ, mixed with some 115- and 147-grain loads. A handful of lacquered steel stuff from parts east of Warsaw were thrown in as were a few 20-round boxes of Browning (147-grain X-Point) and Winchester (USA Ready Defense 124-grain +P) defensive ammo. The total number of gun-related malfunctions were two, both FTEs in the first mag with grungy old Tula steel case.

Kimber R7 Mako 9mm pistol
We have run just over 500 rounds through our R7, which proved utterly reliable with everything we gave it after the first mag. 


Related: We Take a Closer Look at the Kimber R7 Mako 



Fitted with what Kimber terms a "Performance Carry Trigger," set to between 5- and 6.75-pounds right out of the box, we found it had a smooth, consistent pull with a clean break at about 5.2 pounds in testing. Using a safety insert lever in an aluminum shoe that breaks flat, it has a short and audible reset that the user can feel. 

Check out this video of the trigger in action: 

Using a 3.37-inch stainless-steel barrel with a 1:10 LH twist, and equipped with excellent TruGlo Tritium Pro Nights with an orange front ring and white rear dots that co-witness with an optic if installed, we found the R7 to be exceptionally accurate, especially for its size.

Kimber R7 Mako 9mm pistol
Able to cut holes at 7-yards, the above ragged smiley face and riddled "little man" were shot at 15 yards offhand. Keep in mind the little man is only 5x3 and would fit inside the center mass of the LTR-II target. We had no problem with torso plates at 25 yards. 


Kimber R7 Mako 9mm pistol
The undercut trigger guard and slim grip allows users with smaller hands to have better control. My wife, for instance, who stands 5' 2", had no problem manipulating the R7 and putting rounds on target. 


Kimber R7 Mako 9mm pistol
The TruGlos co-witness with the Crimson Trace CTS-1500 3 MOA micro red dot, which comes standard with the R7 Mako O.I. (optics included) model. The CTS-1500 has an auto shut-off feature when not in use, is auto-dimming, and has a 20,000-hour battery life. 


How does it carry?


Kimber R7 Mako 9mm pistol
Weight of the R7 Mako O.I., with the CTS-1500 installed, the extended magazine inserted, and 14 rounds of Browning 147-grain X-Point loaded, is 28.6 ounces on our scale. My first carry gun back in the early 1990s was a much heavier and larger Browning Hi-Power with the same capacity and the only hollow points it could feed reliably were 115-grain Hydra Shoks. Times change.
Kimber R7 Mako 9mm pistol
I logged about 200 hours in the past month carrying the Kimber in a ​​​​​DeSantis Slim-Tuk (#137) Kydex IWB holster that is cut on the top to allow the use of the MRD. Carrying in about a 3-o'clock position, my personal preference, the combo was comfortable and readily accessible, able to get off a just under 2 second par time to first shot on target from concealment. I'm sure I could work that lower with steady practice, even being an old wheezy guy. 
Kimber R7 Mako 9mm pistol
While both are stamped "10 rnd," the two mags shipped with the R7 currently have an 11+1 and 13+1 capacity, respectively. My guess is the stamp is there for Kimber to be able to ship the same body with a different follower to state-limited areas. Additionally, 15+1 magazines will be available "in the very near future," says Kimber. 



There are few rocks that can be thrown in the R7's direction. While the grip texture and ergonomics are great, the slide serrations are very shallow, getting worse when wet or muddy. In profile, you would think the red dot would be awkward in carry but in actuality, I found that the leading edge of the very high TruGlo rear sight gave the most "side-burn" while carrying. 

Another gripe is that the red dot, when carrying concealed under a garment, rapidly got cloudy and was a magnet for grit and dust even though Kimber's ejection port construction keeps it less dirty on the range than some other designs.

Kimber R7 Mako 9mm pistol
To be sure, give it a wipe before heading out every day. Also keep in mind that this is most assuredly an issue with all MRDs on carry guns. 

The R7 Mako O.I. has an MSRP of $799 – but comes with a red dot – while the standard model that ships sans the Crimson Trace is $599. When stacked up against some other makers' micro-compact 9mms, that falls towards the higher end of the competition. Still, it is American-made rather than an import from Brazil or Croatia, so that takes a little sting out of it. 

Finally, and this is nitpicking considering it is on a polymer-framed gun, but the red dot cover plate that slips into place on the top of the slide when the CT1500 is removed is polymer. 

Kimber R7 Mako 9mm pistol
The Mako uses a Shield mounting pattern and the MRD plate is polymer. It is secured with T10-pattern Torx screws


Final thoughts

The pluses far outweigh the minuses on the R7 Mako at the end of a 500-round eval and the gun proved dependable, accurate, easy to use, and carried well during everyday activities. It takes down easy for maintenance and requires little in the way of such work. 

Stay tuned as we aim to stretch the Kimber R7 Mako out to 1K and beyond.

revolver barrel loading graphic