March 10, 2023
Anderson Manufacturing is a name I’m sure familiar to many readers of Firearms News, but the name in conjunction with the photos you’re seeing with this article might be causing some confusion. Yes, this is the same Anderson Manufacturing known for AR-15 parts — and yes, they’ve come out with a new pistol based on the Glock pattern, the Kiger 9c.
This is a polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol chambered in 9mm, supplied with one 15-round magazine made by Magpul. The Kiger 9c is roughly the same size as the Glock 19, but in external dimensions it is not an exact copy. The Glock 19 has a 4.02-inch barrel, whereas the barrel in the Kiger is 3.91-inches as it is cut back to the front of the slide and the Glock’s tube sticks out a little bit. The Kiger’s barrel is aggressively crowned, and I like the look of it. Overall, the Kiger 9c is 7.35 inches long, 5.2-inches tall with a magazine inserted, and 1.22-inches wide. Anderson states the Kiger is fully compatible with Glock Gen 3 parts, which is smart — while Glock currently is up to their 5th generation of “Perfection,” more Gen 3 guns have been made than any other, and in fact are still in production for a number of reasons.
Glock lists the unloaded weight of the G19, with and without an empty magazine, as 23.63/21.16 ounces. The Kiger tips my digital scale at 22.0/20.4 ounces. As the Kiger uses standard Gen 1-3 Glock-pattern parts on the inside, the difference in weight is the result of lightening cuts in the frame and slide. Oh, and the lack of steel inserts in the provided Magpul magazine.
The slide is quite typical of Glock copies — a little more angular than the rounded edges seen on an actual Glock, and with vastly improved handling. The Kiger sports angled, wide, flat-bottomed serrations front and back. There are angled cuts at the front of the slide to smooth reholstering. Kiger 9c, along with the Anderson logo, are etched in silver on the left side of the slide. This is a stainless steel slide, with a DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating. DLC is both durable and corrosion resistant, and on top of stainless steel it means this pistol is built to withstand a lot of use and abuse. Glock has experimented with a number of slide finishes over the years, but the one they’ve used on their Gen 3 guns is a poor choice as it is slick under your fingers. Between the not-so-aggressive rear-only slide serrations and the slick metal coating, Gen 3 Glock slides are not as grippable as they should be. The Kiger 9c doesn’t have that issue.
The Kiger 9c takes standard Glock-pattern sights. The sights on this gun are polymer — the front is secured via a screw and sports a big white dot. The rear sight is plain black. Simple, but they work, and I consider polymer sights perfectly acceptable on a budget-priced concealed carry pistol. Glock considers them acceptable on their top-of-the-line military/duty service pistols, and there I have to disagree….
The frame is where the Kiger clearly announces that it is not a Glock, as it sports significant external changes. Internally, it’s pure Glock including the standard molded-in stainless steel slide rails. The undercut, square trigger guard has aggressive serrations on the front and underside. The frame offers a four-slot true MIL-STD 1913 “picatinny” rail for mounting lights, which I feel is superior to the Glock rail pattern in function, but not without issues, as you’ll see. The texturing seen all over the frame is nearly the equal to hand stippling, and a result of the improvements to injection molding. There are textured sections just above the front of the trigger guard, and there you’ll also see a little lip/shelf on the bottom of the textured area, to help keep the thumb of your support hand in place.
The design changes to the Kiger frame intrigue me. When the Glock design was still new, the most popular modification to the frame was giving it a reduced, “1911-style” grip angle. And many companies making Glock clones sell guns with 1911 grip angles, or with interchangeable backstraps that get you close to a 1911 grip angle. I’ve always loved the more aggressive Glock grip angle, and Anderson has kept that with the Kiger, although flattened the backstrap of the gun. Not just that, but on either side of the grip you’ll see aggressively textured areas that are raised from the body of the gun. This has the result of widening the grip, and you can see that wideness in the front and backstrap of the gun, which are far closer to flat than on a factory Glock.
Not many people complain that the Glock grip is too fat. If anything, people wish it was a little slimmer, which was why the Glock models 43/43X/48 with their slimline frames have been such a success. But Anderson went the opposite way for their carry gun, making it thicker, for what I’m told are ergonomic reasons. The extra thickness did strengthen the grip area. The Kiger frame is not just thicker in the textured lower grip area but at the top of the grip area, just below the slide. Anderson calls these “textured touch points.” After over a decade of carrying/shooting a 1911, I shoot everything with a thumb-high hold, and these wider spots on the frame better allow me to rest my right thumb atop the frame while shooting. Whether your thumb is against or atop this textured section, it should help provide more control while shooting.
The front- and backstrap have wide horizontal serrations. If you’re going to serrate these areas, it should be done like this, horizontally instead of vertically. The gun wants to jump up in your hand while shooting more than it wants to twist, and these help with that. I’ve seen these in promotional materials listed as “ladder traction” areas.
The magazine release barely protrudes from the frame, and you will not be able to depress it by accident. Anderson supplies the pistol with a Magpul Glock-pattern magazine. These magazines work great when new, but I’ve heard they don’t offer the longevity of factory Glock magazines because they don’t have a steel liner. The bottom of the frame is cut to accept the Magpul GL9 Enhanced Magwell, which is an inexpensive polymer piece that only adds a bit of length to the grip while significantly increasing the magazine well opening. Considering the magazine already sticks out further from the frame than the GL9 magwell does, I see no downside to installing this magwell, even on a carry gun.
At the rear of the frame you will see a small beavertail. I’ve got skinny, flat hands, and no matter how high I choke up on a Glock I can’t get any flesh behind the slide—but I know a lot of guys for whom this is a problem. This beavertail will help prevent slide bite if you actually have adult man hands. The top rear of the beavertail is serrated, ostensibly to cut glare, but I think it’s more for appearance, as the serrations match those on the striker cover.
If you hang around the internet, you might have noticed several online retailers, including AIM Surplus and Brownells, selling the stripped SCT 19 frame made by SCT Manufacturing. That is the frame used in the Kiger 9c. I reached out to my engineering contact at Anderson, and was told, “We worked with SCT on the development of the frame, the frame is a joint venture between us.” Brownells, etc. advertise that these frames sport “enhanced ergonomics.” I don’t know if I would agree they are enhanced, but they are definitely altered from standard factory Glock.
Anderson lists the trigger pull on the Kiger 9c as 5.5 pounds. Hoo, boy. Okay, hold on for a short but wild ride… I’m sure Anderson lists the trigger pull on the 9c as 5.5-lbs simply because Glock (for decades) listed the trigger pulls on their standard Gen 1-3 pistols, equipped with their “5.5-pound connectors,” as 5.5 pounds. And internally, the Kiger 9c is 100% compatible with all Gen 3 Glock parts. However, that declared pull weight was never accurate, and somewhere between a misrepresentation and a lie by Glock. Standard Glock trigger pulls on Gen 1-3 guns with 5.5-pound connectors run between 6.5–7.5 pounds, and they always have (which is heavier than people who know what they’re doing want, and why the Glock aftermarket trigger industry is so huge). Glock pistols only started providing truth-in-advertising trigger pulls when they reached their 5th generation guns, and then only because the FBI demanded lighter trigger pulls (because Glock only makes changes to their guns when not doing so will cost them military/LE contracts).
Currently, Glock advertises the trigger pulls on their Gen 3 guns, which they still make, as 28 Newtons. When translated into American that’s 6.29 pounds, and much closer to reality (although still light). And no, they didn’t make the trigger pulls on current Gen 3 guns heavier than earlier Gen 3 guns, they just stopped with the false advertising. They also wanted to differentiate the Gen 3 specs from the Gen 5 guns, which have trigger pulls listed as 26N (5.84 lbs.).
The Glock/Kiger has a pivoting trigger, so where you measure it makes a difference (that’s simple lever/fulcrum physics). I measure pulls on Glock triggers about one-third of the way up from the tip, which would be where the center of your finger should be if properly placed on the trigger. Measured there, the Kiger 9c provided a 6.5-pound trigger pull that was pure Glock sproinkiness. People love the Glock pistol design in spite of its trigger pull, not because of it. The plasticky trigger pull is a couple pounds too heavy, and not exactly crisp, but because it is the same pull each time, and the pistol has good ergonomics including a low bore which reduces felt recoil and muzzle flip, people can shoot it well.
FYI for a quick, cheap, and completely safe way to take at least one pound off your trigger pull, all you need to do is swap out that 5.5-pound connector for a 3.5-pound connector. Connectors cost between $10–$25 depending on the brand, and installation requires only a punch and about a minute of your time if you’re familiar with the process and hurry, or five minutes if it’s your first time. They should be shiny and have a mirror finish. Ghost Inc. makes great connectors, but perhaps the best one on the market is the Taran Tactical Ultimate Connector. It’s the most expensive at $24.99, but they’re what John Wick uses….
I’d never heard the term Kiger before, and when first introduced to the pistol I asked the folks from Anderson what the name meant. 9c of course means 9mm compact. I was informed that a Kiger was a type of horse — a mustang, in fact — and had been chosen to go along with the theme of the company, whose logo features a galloping horse. And with that mention, let me address the elephant in the room…or rather the pony.
Anderson Manufacturing is well known to people in the industry and budget-minded consumers as makers of affordable AR-15 components. If you’ve ever built up an AR-15 on a budget, chances are you used an Anderson lower. But the gun world is no different than many other consumer markets in that many people are brand conscious, and believe that the more something costs, the better it has to be. That is not necessarily true. To quote my friend and fellow gunwriter Dave Fortier, “An AR lower is a lower is a lower.” Provided that the lower receiver is in spec, the only difference between brands is the name/logo on the lower receiver. But some people will never believe it.
All AR lower receiver manufacturing these days is done by computer-controlled machines — often the exact same model of HAAS 3-axis CNC machine. And many gun companies don’t even make their own lowers—they’re made by some other OEM company, with a marking variance approved by the ATF so only one name is on the receiver. For instance, I don’t know how parts on their ARs Colt actually still makes (they’ve never made their magazines), and that’s just one example. So, dimensionally, these lowers are all the same. But you can’t tell that to the people for whom price equals quality, and think a $159 stripped AR lower receiver just has to be better than a $39 one, because. These are the same people who refer to the Anderson horse logo as the “poverty pony,” and call people who can’t afford HKs “poors.” But there is a difference between “inexpensive” and “cheap.”
I have built up ARs for myself and my children on Anderson receivers (and they’ve been running just fine for years, thank you very much), so that should tell you how I feel about their products, and their machining capabilities. And now they have applied those capabilities to the Glock platform, using the inexpensive SCT 19 frame to help keep costs down.
Now for a bit of bad news. Because of the different frame rail on the front — which is larger than the Glock frame rail — holster fit might be an issue, depending on the brand and tightness of your holster. The funky lines of the trigger guard might hamper holster fit as well. I tried it in half a dozen Uncle Mike’s and Galco polymer holsters, and fit was about 50/50. Leather holsters will be more accommodating, as will nylon, but you don’t want a nylon holster. That’s one of those undeniable truths of life, like if John Wick had owned a cat, no one would know his name.
There are stories that I’ve heard, but have not been able to confirm, about the Glock 19 clone produced by another budget AR manufacturer. Namely that no sample in the hands of reviewers has managed to make it to 300 rounds without breaking. I have not been able to confirm this (which is why they will remain nameless), but the fact that you haven’t seen any notable YouTubers reviewing the gun, combined with the fact that the company itself seems to be practically giving them away free with the purchase of any of their ARs/AKs, tends to lend credence to the rumor. So, to assure myself that the Kiger didn’t suffer from the same inferior materials I decided to put at least 300 rounds through it as part of a mini torture test.
Of course, the weather refused to cooperate on the day in question, so for my first day of shooting I headed to my indoor range of choice, Double Action Indoor Range and Gun Shop in Madison Heights, MI. There, using the single provided Magpul magazine, I proceeded to put 320-plus rounds through the Kiger 9c. Double Action frowns on rapid fire, even if you’re a world-famous author and TV personality (or me), so I set up a cardboard UPSPSA target at seven yards and practiced single shot draws and presentations, going from low and high ready, drawing from my Blade-Tech holster (which only kinda sorta fit the Kiger) and shooting from awkward positions (canted hard left and right). I put 100 rounds of Remington 115-grain FMJ downrange, but the remaining 220+ rounds were all hollowpoints ranging from 115- to 150-grains, standard pressure to +P. I got the slide of the Kiger too hot to touch, but the pistol never malfunctioned.
As for the non-standard geography of the Kiger’s frame, I never noticed it while shooting — and that is the highest praise you can give a pistol frame. Seriously. If you’re noticing it while shooting, something doesn’t fit your hand right. With all the corners on the Kiger’s trigger guard I was expecting it to poke me, and it didn’t. I think my favorite JHP load out of the ten or so sent downrange was Federal’s 150-grain HST Micro. This load is meant for smaller concealed carry pistols, and very soft recoiling. As the short barrels of subcompact don’t provide much velocity, Federal increased the weight of the bullet to ensure proper penetration. Out of the Kiger it was a pussycat.
Once back home I was (once again) dryfiring the pistol, and I noticed that the trigger pull seemed lighter. So, I yanked out the NRA weight set and once again weighed the trigger pull. And found my little durability session had taken a full pound off the trigger pull — measuring it in the same spot, trigger pull weight was now 5.5 pounds on the Kiger. And a tiny bit crisper. Seriously, the only bad thing I found about the pistol was the problematic holster fit.
Subsequent trips to my club allowed me to knock down steel and practice my double taps. The Kiger continued to perform. I tried Liberty Ammunition’s Civil Defense rounds through it — these 60-grain copper solid JHPs will do an honest 2,000 fps out of this gun, while having significantly less recoil, sometimes so much less that some guns won’t feed them. The Kiger 9c didn’t have any problems. After 350+ rounds (honestly, I lost count) this pistol still looks new, and had zero jams, hiccups, or malfunctions. Accuracy-wise it performed on par with most Glock 19s, factory or clone. It seems a solid alternative to the Glock 19, with an MSRP at least $150 less than the Glock 19, depending on what gen G19 you’re looking at.
For decades, the Glock 19 was considered the carry gun against which all others were judged, and Anderson’s Kiger 9c lived up that time-honored title. The basic sights worked, especially at realistic defensive distances, as did the trigger, and the pistol proved itself to not just be shootable but 100% reliable, which — by far — is the most important quality of any firearm meant for self-defense.
Anderson Manufacturing Kiger 9c Specs
- Type: Striker-fired, semiautomatic
- Caliber: 9mm
- Capacity: 15 rds.
- Barrel: 3.91 in., 416R stainless steel, DLC finish
- Length: 7.35 in.
- Height: 5.2 in (w/mag)
- Width: 1.22 in.
- Weight: 22 oz. (unloaded)
- Slide: 416R stainless steel
- Finish: DLC
- Grip/Frame: Polymer
- Sights: Polymer, white dot front, plain black rear
- Trigger Pull: 6.5 lbs. (tested)
- Safety: Trigger lever, striker drop safety
- MSRP: $429
- Accessories: One 15-rd. magazine
- Manufacturer: Anderson Manufacturing
About the Author
James Tarr is a longtime contributor to Firearms News and other firearms publications. A former police officer he is a USPSA Production Division Grand Master. He is also the author of several books, including CARNIVORE, which was featured on The O’Reilly Factor. His current best-selling novel, Dogsoldiers, is available now through Amazon.
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