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R7 Mako 9mm – Kimber’s “Shark” Pistol: A Game Changer?

Image of new Kimber R7 Mako. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

I promise you, title aside, that it is not Shark Week here at 19FortyFive. We have no intention of stealing The Discovery Channel’s thunder. That said, I do like to give a little zoological gee-whiz sidebar whenever I discuss a weapons system with an animal name, though, and I will not buck tradition now.

The mako shark (scientific name Isurus oxyrinchus) is referred to as “the peregrine falcon of the sharks,” an allusion to the fastest bird in the world. It is considered one of the more dangerous shark species to humans because of the speed with which it can attack and its ability to leap into fishing boats.

To be clear, the newish Kimber R7 Mako pistol is not meant for use as a shark repellent, but rather as a defensive tool against human bad guys. 

Kimber Mako History and Specifications

Kimber jumped late into the polymer-framed. striker-fired pistol game. The company has long been known for their factory custom 1911 pistols, such the LAPD SIS pistol that I reviewed back in December. Kimber released the Mako in August 2021, declaring it is “unlike anything you’ve seen from Kimber. Or anyone else.”

It may come across initially as a case of “me too-ism,” but then again, one could say the same thing about, say, Smith & Wesson and SIG Sauer, late joiners in the 1911 pistol game, or Beretta taking its sweet time to release a .40 S&W caliber pistol when it did so in the guise of its Model 96

The Mako is a micro-compact 9mm semiautomatic pistol with a 3.37-inch barrel, an overall length of 6.2 inches, a height of 4.3 inches, and a width of 1 inch. Magazine capacity is either a flush-fit 11+1 standard or a 13+1 extended magazine. Weight including the optics-installed version with the Crimson Trace CTS-1500 Reflex Sight and an empty extended magazine is 33 ounces. The slide is described as “stainless steel with an FNC finish,” which refers to ferritic nitrocarburizing.

This process imparts high surface hardness, improved wear resistance, and fatigue resistance to a wide variety of carbon-steel, alloy-steel, and cast-iron parts. The manufacturer notes that the frame material is a “glass-filled nylon grip frame and stainless steel central block.”

For those who prefer more traditional iron sights to optics, the gun comes with co-witnessed Tritium Pro Night Sights with orange front ring and dual white rear dots. Meanwhile, Kimber declares that “unique barrel-lockup design is the key to its best-in-class accuracy.”

R7 Mako: Shooting Impressions

Yours Truly has not yet had the opportunity to swim with the Mako, so I will have to turn to other gun writers for their range reports. The manufacturer is especially proud of a glowing December 2021 review by American Rifleman Executive Editor Evan Brune, who reported that, “Our accuracy testing with the R7 Mako indicated a striking degree of precision in five-shot groups, with averages coming in well under an inch at 7 yards, about half the group sizes of comparable guns using a SIG Sauer-style barrel hood lockup … This pistol has one of the best factory triggers on any handgun available today … and when it breaks, it just snaps, crisply and cleanly. In fact, the trigger-pull weight feels significantly lighter than it measures. Kimber specs out its trigger from 5 lbs. to 6 lbs., 12 ozs., and ours registered 5 lbs., 3 ozs. on a Lyman digital trigger-pull gauge.”

Meanwhile, Tamara Keel of American Rifleman’s sister publication Shooting Illustrated reports 5-shot groups at 15 yards with three different loads – IMI Di-Cut 115-grain jacketed hollowpoint, MagTech 124-grain JHP, and Winchester 124-grain FMJ – averaging out to 2.06, 2.52, and 2.69 inches respectively. 

Indeed, in January 2022, Shooting Illustrated bestowed upon the Mako the prestigious Golden Bullseye Award for the “Handgun of the Year” category.

That’s a pretty ringing endorsement and boosts my own curiosity to try one out. 

Want Your Own?

According to Outdoor Life, the base model of the Mako sells for $599, while the optics-laden version sells for $799. Meanwhile, True Gun Value reports that the 12-month average price is $476 used.

Kimber R7 Mako Review

Image: Kimber.

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Christian D. Orr has 33 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011.  In his spare time, he enjoys (besides shooting, obviously) dining out, cigars, Irish and British pubs, travel, USC Trojans college football, and Washington DC professional sports. If you’d like to pick his brain in-person about his writings, chances are you’ll be able to find him at the Green Turtle Pasadena in Maryland on Friday nights, singing his favorite karaoke tunes.

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Christian D. Orr is a former Air Force officer, Federal law enforcement officer, and private military contractor (with assignments worked in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, Japan, Germany, and the Pentagon).