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Several times I’ve started a review off with some history of the company making the gun being reviewed. This time however that story would be an article unto itself! Kimber’s history is really interesting. It’s actually a good read. Just Google Kimber’s history and enjoy the story.
One thing I can say about Kimber is they make a very impressive looking 1911. There are many configurations, calibers and finishes to choose from not to mention the limited edition guns as well as the custom shop pistols. I have two 1911’s I carry everyday. One is the full size Kimber Aegis II in 9MM and an American Classic Commander in 45 ACP which is available from Guns For Sale.com. The Aegis is one of the best looking 1911’s I’ve owned. It’s been a very good performer as well.
The Kimber I purchased and used for this review is the base model Kimber Pro Carry II in 9MM. This model has a steel slide and aluminum frame making it a very light pistol to carry all day. It’s by far the most affordable Kimber available as well. There’s nothing fancy about this pistol it’s strictly a working gun. About the only options for this 1911 are night sights and choice of caliber.
I purchased this particular model for a concealed carry 1911 to use during the summer months. This Kimber has a four inch barrel with plain sights. I never purchase a 1911 with a barrel shorter than this because of reliability concerns. A 1911 with a three or three and a half inch barrel is a difficult tool to balance all the variables ensuring a reliable 1911 you can count on in a defensive situation.
Caliber: .45 ACP
Height (inches) 90° to barrel: 5.25
Weight (ounces) with empty magazine: 28
Length (inches): 7.7
Magazine capacity: 7
Recoil spring (pounds): 22.0
Full-length guide rod
Also available: 9 mm Stats for the 9MM aren’t available–sorry! The weight is 2 ounces more.
Finish: Matte black
Width (inches): 1.28
Finish: Matte black
Length (inches): 4
Material: Steel, match grade
Twist rate (left hand): 16
Fixed low profile
Radius (inches): 5.7
Aluminum, match grade
Factory setting (approximate pounds): 4.0 – 5.0
After getting my new Kimber home I spent some time dry firing and practicing presentations from the holster. The best way to practice dry firing is to purchase plastic bullets with a spring inside to absorb the energy of the hammer dropping. You won’t damage the pistol practicing this way. Now you might say what has this got to do with anything? After a hundred or so presentations from a fairly new holster the matte finish started to wear at the front left side of the slide. The wear wasn’t real obvious but it was there. After a week or so there was also finish wear on the thumb safety where it rubs against the holster. Whether this is an isolated case or something you can expect I can’t say but it does cause some concern. I wasn’t really upset about it since a little Birchwood Casey bluing blended in well enough to cover the wear. This is the first time I’ve had any problems with a Kimber finish. It’s also the first one I’ve owned with the matte finish. In some of the pictures you can see the wear on the thumb safety.
After a couple of days I was able to head to the range and look forward to sending some rounds downrange. I took a bag of 115 grain handloads as well as Gold Dot JHP in 124 grain, Cor-Bon JHP’s in 125 grain and Remington UMC ball ammo in 115 grain.
I loaded up three mags and set my standard police B27 target up at ten yards. The mags hold nine rounds in 9MM. After firing the ninth round the slide failed to lock back. The fired case was still in the chamber. I hand cycled it which did eject it. I set this magazine to the side and went on to my second magazine. On round number eight I had a stovepipe which I swiped off and racked the slide ejecting the unfired ninth round. These malfunctions were with the Remington UMC ammo. I emptied the mags and loaded them with my handloads. After I resumed firing I still averaged one malfunction out of every three mags or twenty seven rounds fired.
I’m starting to get concerned of course so I disassembled the pistol and looked it over for any obvious problems. Nothing obvious was broken or loose etc. Generally a 1911 that has problems like this has an extractor problem. Then there was that occasional failure to lock the slide back after the last round fired in the magazine. That problem usually can be attributed to the slide release.
I stopped shooting for the day went home and stripped the pistol down to the last pin. I found a small burr on the MIM slide release (at least I believe it’s MIM) which I replaced with a Wilson slide release I had on hand. While I was at it I also replaced the extractor with a Wilson Bullet Proof. I normally have extra parts around since I do light customizing on some 1911’s.
The next day I went back to the range. After firing a few rounds and adjusting the extractor the Kimber starting working as it should. There were no more failures during this range session. I did shoot all of my handloads then loaded some of the other brands mentioned to see how it would function with hollowpoints. Again, no problems and it fed everything I ran through it.
The target pictured below is a B27 police target. A total of thirty six rounds were fired into this target.
This is the first time I’ve experienced a problem with a Kimber even though I’ve heard of QC issues at times over the years. Why this pistol was allowed out of the building I’ll never know. I know these guns are supposed to be test fired prior to shipping and yes mine had a spent round in the case.
No matter the reason this should not have happened. Yes I fixed it but only because I’m very familiar with 1911’s. Otherwise it would have gone back to the factory for a couple of weeks.
Over the years I’ve owned half a dozen or so Kimbers and tested several more and have never been disappointed. Granted any company can let a gun with a defect slip through the door. It’s happens but the buyer goes through the aggravation of sending the gun off and just maybe have a nagging doubt about that gun as long as they own it.
I still like Kimber pistols and will probably buy another at some point but I understand why those who have had problems are a bit gun shy about the brand. Yes pun intended☺