by Luis Valdes
Kimber was once looking to jump into the Striker Fired Polymer Duty Size Pistol market with the KPD series. KPD stood for Kimber Pro Defense. This was around the 2005-2006.
This was during the era when police department across the country were starting to drop their DA/SA and DAO Hammer Fired Metal Framed Duty Guns. You could say it was the start of the second pistol revolution in American law enforcement. These police departments wanted something lightweight, polymer framed, and chambered in .40 S&W. GLOCK was still leading the market with close to holding 60% of the market.
Smith & Wesson was starting to regain market share with the M&P series after the screw up that was the Sigma. Ruger, FN, SIG SAUER, and HK were nowhere to be seen as far as striker-fired goes. While Springfield Armory wasn’t in the LE market. They were doing very well on the civilian side with their acquisition of sole importation rights of the Croatian HS2000 (XD Series) and marketing it as the X-treme Duty Pistol.
So Kimber seeing a new possible market; decided to jump into the LE Duty Gun game since they were already doing fairly well as an established manufacturer with their 1911s and they had some specialty sells to some SWAT teams across the country.
The gun was to be the hot new thing from Kimber. Interchangeable back straps, twelve-round capacity in .40 S&W and 16 rounds in 9mm, and it was all to be in an affordable striker-fired, and made in America.
The 2006 SHOT Show press release from Kimber said:
“The KPD will be offered in .40 S&W caliber initially and has all the bells and whistles currently popular in pistols of this design including an integral light rail, ambidextrous magazine release, ample magazine capacity (12 rounds), large dovetailed three-dot combat sights with night sights available as an option, and interchangeable backstraps that allow the user to fit the gun to their hand. It is a handsome gun and made in the U.S.A.“
It would also come with an internal lock and a magazine disconnect as an option.
Here are screen captures from their website back in 2006.
They put ads in every gun rag in the rack and built anticipation.
It was even listed in the 2006 price guides.
I remember this gun was being talked about heavily here on Arfcom. Folks were really excited to see such an offer from Kimber. Then out of nowhere, the gun disappeared. By 2008, Kimber pulled all ads from their magazines and removed the gun from their website.
I remember visiting their booth at the 2007 SHOT Show in Orlando and there was no sigh of it. At the various trade shows like NRA Annual meetings and other SHOT Shows, I’ve asked Kimber reps whatever happened to it. The floor reps at the Kimber booth had a clue as to what I was talking about.
The most common theory that I’ve heard is that Kimber didn’t want to produce the gun so they sold the design to Ruger and Ruger released it as the SR9.
The Ruger SR9 really does look like the Kimber KPD. But if you look at the Ruger versus the Kimber. The slide stop pin location is different as are a number of other features.
In my talks with Kimber, what really happened is that they decided not to go into the LE striker-fired market and instead sat on the design, reworked it, and released it as the Solo.
Their Senior Marketing Director told me “I have only been with Kimber for about 4 months so I had to ask around about the KPD .40 Evidently we had issues with this design and decided not to move forward with it.” He further confimred that they basically reworked it into the Solo and later the EVO SP.
When you look at the Solo and the KPD. The slide stop pin, extractor, trigger pivot pin, magazine release button, and general layout match up. Same with the EVO SP
In the end, it is a gun that never saw the light of day. I’m curious how many KPDs are currently sitting at Kimber and if any will ever see the light of day.