The Kimber R7 Mako surprised a lot of people when it came to market. Kimber is known for their metal-framed, hammer-fired 1911's, not striker-fired, polymer-framed guns. Gun media made a lot of noise for a short while and then there was silence.
I was curious about the R7 Mako for a reason I never saw mentioned in reviews; it's not a basic Browning tilting barrel, it's one of Wilhelm Bubit's brilliant designs. Then I learned about the Bubix Bro ( a company run by Wilhelm's son) marketed in Austria and made the connection. I highly suspect that the Kimber R7 Mako is the Bubix Bro for the US market. The disappearance of Bubix Gmbh from the internet may confirm that company is no more and Kimber bought the design.
With that conspiracy explanation of the gun's existence out of the way, let's take a look at the Kimber R7 Mako.
What Is It? The R7 Mako is a "micro compact" that blurs the undefined lines of the category much in the way the Canik MC9 does. It's certainly small, but reasonably so in a way that means the pistol can still be comfortably employed. Magazine options make for 11, 13, or 15-round capacity which when combined with the 3.37" barrel also help this pistol flex up into a "sub-compact" role. We picked up one in a bundle kit that included a total of five magazines, night sights, a holster, bar, and an optics-ready model. There are many different item numbers out there so be attentive when shopping online.
A closer look can be had in the tabletop video below.
Height (inches) 90° to barrel: 4.3
Weight (ounces) without magazine: 19.5
Length (inches): 6.20
Magazine capacity: 11 Round Standard, 13 Round Extended and 10 Round Flush
Captured Recoil Spring Assembly
Width (inches): 1.0 at grip
Slide material: Stainless, Finish: FNC
Barrel: length 3.37", material: Stainless, Twist rate (left hand): 1:10 Left
Sights: 3-Dot TruGlo Tritium Pro Night Sights w/ Orange front ring and White rear rings
PRODUCT CODE for combo we tested:
Product #: 3800022
MSRP: $679 $529.99 at Guns.com
Who's It For? The size and melted shape of the R7 Mako makes it perfect for carry, the trigger however is not one I'd recommend to a newer shooter. Takeup is short, and the wall breaks crisply. The weight is deceiving, this is a fine trigger for target shooting, but may be a bit on the short side for use under duress.
What About This Kit? Yes, for a heck of a deal the R7 Mako can be bought complete in a range bag, with holster and a total of five magazines. The magazines included depend on which SKU you order. I jumped on a bundle that had one ten and four 13-round magazines for $529.99. You can pick up the same deal HERE.
What About That Bubits Action? The Bubits-improved Browning Action is still a tilting barrel like the common Browning action you see almost everywhere. The difference is the lock between the barrel and slide has been moved to the rear of the barrel hood. As a result the slide must have a closed top, but more importantly the barrel does not have to tilt as dramatically to unlock. In theory, (and in our experience) this makes for a smoother recoil impulse as the barrel isn't shifting as much in hand while cycling. We experienced this first in Bubit's own BB Techs BB6. Unfortunately the BB6 was a short-lived model with only a few hundred being imported to the US. The same technology has been licensed by Taurus for the TS9 which formerly wasn't available in the US but is now for a limited time. We'll have more on that gun when we get to it.
Eager to experience this action type in a small pistol, and see how that crisp trigger, longer barrel, and excellent grip texture is on the range we of course subjected the R7 Mako to the standard GBGuns range protocol:
Cold Shots: Truly our first rounds through the gun, on camera, with first thoughts shared.
What's For Dinner™: A test to see what ammunition the gun will eat. Does the gun feed the round from slide lock, will it cycle and feed another round of the same type, does the slide lock to the rear on empty, and is there any notable point of impact change with different loads.
For this gun we used the following ammunition:
Priced and linked where found at the time this article was written
50gr+p Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense $31.99 / 20 at Optics Planet
90gr 1776 USA Lead-Free Sporting $14.79 / 50 at GrabaGun
100gr Hornady Critical Defense Lite $23.89 / 20 at Global Ordnance
115gr Blazer Aluminum Case $17.59 / 50 at Optics Planet
115gr Wolf Steel Case FMJ: $13.77 / 50 at Sportsman's Guide
115gr Igman FMJ $588 / 1500 at Firearms Depot
124gr Hornady Critical Duty $22.61 / 20 at Global Ordnance
124gr Federal Premium Hydra-Shok $29.99 / 50 at Global Ordnance
150gr Federal Syntech Action Pistol $21.05 /50 at Palmetto State Armory
158gr PPU Subsonic FMJ $24.69 / 50 at Sportsman's Guide
Sights & Trigger Control: on a 6" spinner target at a distance of 12 yards. We got this from Titan Great Outdoors and use it to gauge how learnable the trigger is and usable the sights are for forced, timed, precise shots.
Practical Accuracy: Five shots from a distance of seven yards at a one inch target. This isn't so much about printing a tight group as it is a culmination of our shooting experience and time for us to collect thoughts prior to making a conclusion.
After Shots: Final impressions and reflections from the range session.
You can watch the entire experience including some interesting notes learned while shooting in the Shooting Impressions video below:
On the Range we were impressed with how controllable the R7 Mako was. It wasn't painful to shoot, and although jumpy, I'm comfortable saying it's less jumpy that other micros. What did surprise us was the trigger. It's a nice trigger, possibly too nice for a carry gun. What type of trigger feel is appropriate for carry is entirely a personal choice, but even after carrying and training with the BUL Armory SAS II UL 3.25 and Grand Power K100 I would feel less comfortable with the R7 Mako without spending a lot more with it. My reasoning is that while the weight is appropriate, the wall is so crisp and clean that when combined with that striker-fired "maybe now?" break it can be tough to time a shot if you prefer to stage your trigger. Each pull feels different.
Our other slight irritation is another thing that might get better with time. Like so many other micro compacts the advertised magazine capacity seems to be one more round than the magazines want to take. It could be that with time they'll break in, but I could only manage 12 rounds in our 13-round magazines.