Kimber Pro Carry II Review

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NOTE: This product review was made possible by GunsForSale.com.  To get up-to-date information on where to find cheap Kimber firearms for sale, please visit GunsForSale.com.

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.

Kimber Pro Carry II with Surefire flashlight

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.

SPECIFICATIONS
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.

FRAME
Material: Aluminum
Finish: Matte black
Width (inches): 1.28

SLIDE
Material: Steel
Finish: Matte black

BARREL
Length (inches): 4
Material: Steel, match grade
Twist rate (left hand): 16

SIGHTS
Fixed low profile
Radius (inches): 5.7

GRIPS
Black synthetic
Double diamond

TRIGGER
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.

Kimber with Mil-Tac G-10 Grips

Range Time

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.

10 Yard Target

Conclusion

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☺

Related

Phil White

Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m the senior writer and moderator at TFB as well as the review manager. I really enjoy answering readers questions and comments. We can all learn from each other about our favorite hobby!


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  • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Steve (The Firearm Blog)

    Commenters, Phil has taken a lot of criticism in the past, but he has listened to the critics and has been very objective in this review.

  • Woodroez

    Might want to modify the specs to include 9mm.

    Do all full-size Kimbers use the full-length guide rod? I had always assumed that outside of the ‘melty’ exterior finish, the Kimber full-size models were true-blue 1911.

    • Andrew (European Correspondent)

      Woodroez, Kimbers have full length guide rods and any Kimber with “II” in the name utilizes the Swartz firing pin block. There are a number of other differences, but those are some of the big ones.

      UMC is marginal ammo and I’d not really consider malfunctions with it as an indicator of significant problem with the pistol, although replacing the Kimber extractor and slide stop are always a great idea. Next stop is putting a finish on the carbon steel barrel ;)

      Nice review, Phil. I was under the impression that the alloy framed Kimbers were more expensive, though.

      • Phil White

        Andrew,

        You hit it on the nose. I can’t advise it but I disabled my Swartz. Pretty simple to do. That wasn’t on this gun but the Aegis I use now. The alloy frames may be a little more in most cases. I say a little but then $100 is a lot to me. Yes that lack of barrel finish is a problem if you don’t keep it lubed. It will get some rust eventually.

        Thanks!

    • Phil White

      Woodroez,

      All of the full size Kimbers have had the full length guiderod over the last several years. In fact all I’ve been sent for testing or purchased have had one. They aren’t needed but they seem to be popular.

    • Phil White

      Woodroez,

      I just recalled the Warrior and Desert Warrior that was entered into competition for the new US military gun(spec ops I believe) has a GI plug. That’s the only one though.

  • http://www.RomeoTangoBravo.net RomeoTangoBravo

    Dang, you beat me to the punch. Nice overview. I’ve been shooting my Kimber Pro Carry 9mm for about 6 months now and looking to do a review early next month once I pass 2000 rounds. I experienced the same malfunctions using Remington UMC ammunition and once I switched to a different brand all of my FTE/FTF and other issues ceased to be a problem. Good work; keep it up!

    • Phil White

      RomeoTangoBravo,

      Thank you sir! I very much appreciate it:-)

  • http://www.examiner.com/firearms-in-detroit/rob-reed Rob Reed

    Good review. That’s the Kimber my wife wants, after shooting a friend’s gun. I do have some local experts on 1911′s if we have any problems once we get it.

    Right now, the only problem is cost.

    Btw, the specs are for .45, not 9mm.

    • Phil White

      Rob,

      We both missed that one I’ll change them shortly. Thanks! I’d sure have it fixed locally. I’ve never been to excited about factory warranties.

    • Phil White

      Rob,

      Rob and all —– Kimber’s website says it’s available in 9MM but list no specs for it. It’s two ounces heavier because of the smaller gole in the barrel:-) Other than that the 9mm stats are just not available?

  • 18D

    Love what Kimber has done for the 1911 community. I would like to see more traditional models though. I would also like to see some of the MIM parts go, eventhough I have had no problems with my Kimbers in that regard. Overall decent guns.

    • Phil White

      18D,

      Well sir those MIM parts are here to stay. Cost is much less and to be honest they are getting better at it no matter who makes them. I’m afraid the traditional models may be gone. When they moved to Yonkers they tried the custom featured models and they sold well sooo:-)
      I agree they do make decent guns. In fact I carry an Aegis II a lot.

      • 18D

        Phil thanks for the reply. Despite what people have said, I have had no problems with the MIM components. In fact, the Kimber slide stop, thumb safety, and standard grip safety have the best contours of any of the competition IMO. I just feel that machined parts look better and would probably hold up better for hard use. I love the Kimbers, and like I always say, if you don’t like something on a factory 1911 there are 100 manufactures building replacement parts. With that being said I’ve always had great success building custom guns using Kimbers.

        • Phil White

          18D,
          You bet I’m always glad to take part in the conversation:-)
          Great point and as you have done I’ve changed out parts such as the extractor and slide stop especially. I normally use Wilson parts as replacements. I’m fairly hard on mine as far as firing a lot of rounds. A 1911 is my daily carry gun so I’m picky about how they run over time. I’d rather change the part out in the beginning rather than waiting for it to break.

  • Mr. Normal

    Your problems and the frequency of problems mirror those I had with a Custom II in .45 I once owned (my first handgun, years ago).

    Failures to feed, extract, lock on the last round, all of the “Kimber” issues. It went back once, was gone for 10 weeks, and came back worse than when it shipped. Second time back (I do not have a bucket of 1911 parts laying around) it came back and would go about 100-150 rounds between stoppages.

    One of your first sentences hits it on the head – Kimber makes some of the best LOOKING commercial 1911s on the market.

    However, I have known no other manufacturer to send as many bad guns into the market and not issue a general recall. The notion that I spend $700 (this was before prices skyrocketed) on a gun that was 80% finished is ridiculous.

    • Phil White

      Mr.,

      That was the first thing that came to mind when I started this review—they sure are good looking but that won’t save me in a fight. To be honest I’ve changed out the slide stop, extractor and thumb safety on most of mine. A MIM slide stop can be a problem over time. I think they changed them back to a normal steel but I’m not sure that’s the case on all of them.
      I’ve certainly read about problems but this is my first experience with a problem Kimber.

      • Mr. Normal

        Phil,
        Like a lot of folks, I desperately wanted to love my Kimber but found myself battling through hardcore buyer’s remorse.

        I think they have the “new 1911″ aesthetic down like none other, but am simply shocked at the number of guns I see, saw, and know we’re shipped as less-than-reliable.

        There are a dozen other companies making reliable 1911s at or under $1000… I used to buy the “it’s a race car” nonsense but that’s like saying a 2012 Impala off the lot is ready for NASCAR. Utter BS.

        Finally (sorry to soapbox), Kimber’s CS department attitude toward factory-shipped lemons was so flippant as to be laughable. It wasn’t until I had to tell them “yes, I’ve stumbled through over a thousand rounds and you’ve already had it back once” they took me seriously. By then, it was too late – there are so many other companies more deserving of my hard-earned money.

        • Phil White

          Mr.,

          True and I sure can’t say anything to the contrary. Heck you buy a Rock Island for under or slightly over $500 and it works first time everytime. Customer service is the best in the industry. What’s wrong with this picture!!!

    • W

      Mr normal, to affirm what you have to say, I bought a kimber pro carry II and had similar problems with failure to feed. Basically, the slide wouldn’t completely return to full battery, with a round seemingly non-aligned with the chamber. The problem was extractor tension, and as i understand it, that is a common problem with some Kimber 1911′s. Needless to say, I sold it after getting it up and running and bought a HK 45 (I use a Glock for concealed carry). I personally dislike 1911′s, though I think many have a emotional attachment to them, despite their flaws as a obsolete handgun that is excellent on the range but questionable to place your life on. The best 1911 I have is a relatively worn classical Colt that has a looser slide, though I prefer my HK or a Glock.

  • Slim934

    Out of curiosity, he mentions the use of snap caps during dry fire practice? Is that really necessary anymore? Most of the info I’ve been finding on snap cap use seems to indicate that they were really only useful for older built guns and for certain designs.

    Steve Anderson in “Refinement and Repetition” for example explicity states that they provide no benefit in modern firearms, despite the fact that he claims to dry-fire thousands of times/year.

    • Phil White

      Slim934,

      It’s not a bad idea to do so but you don’t have to use them. The only type you need a snap cap is with a stiker fired pistol. Still without a snap cap in does cause more wear and stress on the parts.

      • JC

        From my understanding snap caps are only neccessary on rimfire guns because the firing pin can damage the end of the chamber. However, they aren’t a bad idea on other guns especially if you are going to do a lot of dry firing for practicing.

        • Phil White

          JC,

          Very true on rimfire guns. I got the information on striker pistols from a conversation with a rep from Glock. I checked with Springfield and they said the same thing. I didn’t get a why this is true but I imagine it has something to do with the wear on the striker?
          When we got new revolvers at the PD way back in the dark ages we were encouraged to sit in front of the TV and snap them as much as we could stand to help break them in.

  • Nathaniel

    I’ve been a long time critic of Phil, and I’m really quite glad to say that he’s done a marvelous job on this review. Not being afraid to admit that a company or brand should have done better is important, and Phil has definitely done that here with something that really didn’t meet his expectations.

    Thanks, Phil.

    • Phil White

      Nathaniel,

      I appreciate it! This Kimber just came along and well you know the rest. I hated to get a messed up gun but it happens sometimes.

      Thanks Nathaniel!

  • Nathaniel

    Whoops, I commented twice. Steve, can you delete one?

    • Admin

      Done – thanks as always for the feedback, Nathaniel

  • Lance

    Ive got so much crap because the 1911 is old But Kimber proves why its a great weapon durable hard hitting and is ver accurate. Plastic isnt needed and thats why a 1911 is a great gun still.

    • Phil White

      Lance,

      Amen brother:-) It may be old but I love em! Old Kimbers bring a lot of money if you can find one. Those were straight up 1911′s like one of the readers was wishing for from them these days.

    • Nater

      The thing had constant malfunctions until the author went an replaced several parts. That is supposed to prove the 1911′s worth? If anything it does the opposite.

      • Phil White

        Nater,

        It’s not the guns design it’s the way it was put together and improper QC. There are some very good 1911′s out there that have been checked properly Kimbers included. Some only cost half the price of this one—RIA for instance. This Kimber is the only 1911 I’ve had significant problems with and the last I hope.

      • Nater

        In this case, probably, but there is a lot more to it than that. The 1911 was designed a hundred years ago, manufacturing realities have changed drastically since then.

        A hundred years ago, machine time was very expensive and human manual labor was very cheap. It made economic sense to machine parts oversize and then hand fit them to keep the amount of time anyone part spent being machined down. The 1911 was designed for such a manufacturing environment.

        Today the situation is completely reversed. With CNC, precision machine work becomes cheaper and cheaper each year while at the same time human manual labor becomes ever more expensive.

        I think this is, along with superior mechanical design, are the reasons why an HK, Sig, or Glock pistol are at least an order of magnitude more reliable than any 1911 you can buy.

      • W

        not to mention the USP was “the” best safety/reliability tested handgun on the market for its time. A new HK 45 variant had 50,000 rounds put through it without a major overhaul and 10,000 rounds between cleaning. Utterly impressive. Similar Glock tests have also yielded comparable results. I dare anybody to show me a 1911 that has had that many rounds put through it without parts replacements or a major overhaul.

        Precision machining is the future…its time to accept that.

  • Davey

    Good, objective review. It’s going to offend the sensibilities of the Kimber Fan-boys, but this seems to be typical Kimber performance. Departments (folks that are responsible for maintaining a fleet of pistols) have had problems with many of the MIM parts including the slide release and plunger tube. Yeah, these parts are steel, but they’re not going to pop out of a mold and be as hard or tough as tool steel. OTOH, it’s cagey marketing to civilians. How many of these are sold to people that are never going shoot it past Kimber’s 500-round breakin period?

    • Phil White

      Davey,

      Thank you sir! You just have to do your homework and make the best choice you can with the information you have. The best thing to do is talk to a competent gunsmith. That’s the best source IMHO.

  • SpudGun

    Thanks for another good review Phil, please keep them coming ‘warts and all’. I’m not the biggest 1911 fan, but it saddens me that after a 100 years on the market, companies are continuing to sell sub-standard versions for unbelievably high prices.

    But such is the ‘cult’ surrounding JMB’s design, that to admit you have a problem with one is almost akin to blasphemy. It’s a crying shame that this is the case and it pisses me off that some (not all) high end manufacturers are exploiting their customers in this way.

    I wish more reviewers would take a leaf out of your book and de-mystify the 1911 market, so potential purchasers can make an informed choice and buy the best model at the best price. But as it stands, almost every 1911 that comes out is given a glowing review with any detractions glossed over.

    BTW, I’m with you 100% on the snap caps, I was taught to never dry fire without a dummy round in the chamber to save stress on the firing pin mechanism – hell, I was even taught to ignore the slide release and to manually (and gently) release the slide each time so it wouldn’t stress the frame. A bit extreme I know, but it literally didn’t hurt.

    • Phil White

      SpudGun,

      Thank you sir! It gets me as well that a higher priced 1911 would have problems. I can see one slip through from time to time but I’ve heard to much over the last few years about some companies. Many people spend money they have saved over a long period of time to buy a high end 1911 they couldn’t otherwise afford. Then to have one that’s off and you have no idea how to repair it spending more money possibly to get it running right.
      I don’t usually use the slide release either. I had some instruction from an Israeli Spec Ops guy and they never use the slide release. They teach the shooter to rely on a faster slide return by rotating the gun 90deg left and pulling the slide back and release. Less chance of a jam that way. It’s pretty fast with practice.

    • Alan

      I have to say good things about Kimber.
      I have two, a Custom CDP Pro II (full size) and a Ultra CDP II (mini-.45). One was my daily duty gun, the other off-duty and plainclothes. Identical in control and ergonomics.
      I have never had the slightest problems with either Kimber, after putting many thousand rounds through them.

      Very different than when my department required .45s to be Colts (as in, it must have Colt on the frame). After many malfunctions, we found the recoil spring was too weak. Plus the slide release was bending under pressure and had to be replaced with a Brownell’s unit. And the extractor was weak and had to replaced with a Bulletproof unit. And the feed ramp needed work.
      I put in the safe and bought a Chip McCormack Colt Custom Shop Govt Model.
      Until we were able to carry Kimbers.

      Any manufacturer has a failure rate. But my experience (and the experience of most of out .45-carrying officers) with Kimbers has been good.

      • Phil White

        Alan,

        That’s been my experience as well until this one. I know I mentioned I carry the Kimber Aegis II everyday. Even before I retired from the PD I carried a 1911 on duty for those last eight years when I worked for a small department after retiring from a large department that issued Glocks. I don’t know about your experience but I’ve had more than one bad guy look at my gun and ask if that was a 45. It seemed to really intimidate them:-)
        Colts always had to have work done on them in the 1970′s. Anything but ball ammo and they jammed a lot! I had a Commander I carried that was slicked up by Bill Wilson when he still worked out of the back of his dads jewelry store before anybody outside of Arkansas even knew who he was!

    • W

      “Thanks for another good review Phil, please keep them coming ‘warts and all’. I’m not the biggest 1911 fan, but it saddens me that after a 100 years on the market, companies are continuing to sell sub-standard versions for unbelievably high prices.”

      That is, after all (*gasp), the purpose of a review, is it not? well actually no. Most “reviews” I’ve seen are extensions of the company’s PR/marketing campaign.

      But such is the ‘cult’ surrounding JMB’s design, that to admit you have a problem with one is almost akin to blasphemy. It’s a crying shame that this is the case and it pisses me off that some (not all) high end manufacturers are exploiting their customers in this way.

      Yes that is a force field that seems impossible to break through. The military is the worst about that and I see it on here all the time. Yes, the 1911 had its hayday and was a good gun for its era, though it is showing its age and there have been significant, evolutionary breakthroughs in handgun design over the past 100 years. You would think that a 1,200 dollar handgun would be dead reliable, though i believe that exploitation does indeed occur. I have a hard time justifying myself and others to spend the money on a 1911 when they can buy a comparable polymer handgun that is less expensive (even a new H&K 45 for a 1000$ is still cheaper than other 1911′s)

      “I wish more reviewers would take a leaf out of your book and de-mystify the 1911 market, so potential purchasers can make an informed choice and buy the best model at the best price. But as it stands, almost every 1911 that comes out is given a glowing review with any detractions glossed over.”

      I second that. Regardless of what people think, others aren’t trying to make personal attacks and bash a legendary design just to stand on a soapbox. There is a objective, compelling argument against the irrational emotional, nostalgia and that is what people are looking for. If they want marketing, they can go to the company website.

  • Nater

    This is a far better review than the Century AK review. The only thing I’d wished that Phil had done is contact Kimber’s customer service to see how well they handled his problems with the pistol.

    • Phil White

      Nater,

      I never did send it in or contact them. I fixed it myself. Maybe I should have but I hate spending money to send a pistol in and waiting for repair when I can take care of it and know what’s been done. I can’t do that with any gun but a 1911 I can work on.
      Thanks Nater I liked this one better as well except for the part about the gun being messed up:-)

  • Lance

    @Phil

    Whats your opinion about the USMC using Colt M-1911s that have all the recent Kimber feature some think the 1911 is crap and obsolete. Whats your opinion?

    • Phil White

      Lance,

      I would hope that Colt has done a great job on these new 1911′s the Recon guys will possibly use. They are not obsolete crap but there are other considerations we don’t face. One thing that concerns me is the ability to share ammo with other special forces troops they may be working with. The rest of the Spec Ops community have gone to the Glock 22/23 in 40 cal and ditched the 1911. The reason Delta stopped using them was expense. Each operator wanted a gun setup his way plus the intense maintenance needed for use in the environment they work in. I understand they polled the Delta guys and they grumbled a bit but said the Glock please:-) A match grade gun and sand don’t get along well.
      I’m by no means a Glock fan but the “D” boys seem to be ok with them and they are pro’s who know whichever weapon they are issued inside and out. As much as I hate to say it I think the Marines should go with the Glock. I can’t believe I’m saying this:-)

    • John Doe

      I’ve been issued the Kimber MEU(SOC) and its a solid gun, very reliable with much better stopping power than the Beretta. I’ve seen an insurgent shot 4 times with a M9 with ball rounds, and he didn’t go down. I’ve never seen the MEU(SOC) fail to take a guy out.

      With that said, the 1911 isn’t the most ergonomic gun out there, and the capacity isn’t great. I like to have 10+ rounds of rock and roll. If I could carry any handgun into combat, it would be a Glock 20 (10mm Auto) or 31 (.357 SIG).

      • Phil White

        John,

        Great choice in caliber for combat. That 10mm is a one shot stop pistol if there ever was one! With one who has the experience you have a Glock is also a very viable choice. By the way my son has done two tours over there and he had the same stories about the M9 ball failing to stop a bad guy.

      • John Doe

        Best of luck to your son! I’m due for deployment soon, and I really hope I don’t have any bad luck with the M9. The 10mm Auto is the ideal handgun round in my opinion. It’s just not that popular because of wimpy FBI agents that are too weak to fire it.

        • Phil White

          John,

          LOL–well the one they had was a light load anyway:-) I’ll sure let him know. You take care over there!!!

      • W

        I believe the M9 will work perfectly on the battlefield with +p/+P+ 9x19mm ammunition, after all, it is ultimately about superior shot placement and the 45 ACP isn’t vastly superior to a 40 or 9mm in terms of stopping a human being. The Russians had a good idea using a “overpressure” 9mm cartridge as their new PDW round instead of reinventing the wheel with a competitor to the 5.7 or 4.6. I would rather have 15 rounds than 7. Of course, if i could carry a 45 in the military, it would be a Mk 23.

      • John Doe

        @W The +P rounds really mess up the M9, and doesn’t offer much better performance. On an unarmored insurgent, some shots go straight through them without doing much damage.

        • Phil White

          John,

          They sure can over time. Back before the fix we had slides flying off the gun right into the shooters face. Not all the time but once is too often! A 45 acp ball will over penetrate as well. I wonder how many troops we’ve lost because of the Geneva Convention outlawing hollowpoints and other more effective ammunition?

      • W

        I have not heard of the supposed “bad things” that +P ammunition does to M9 berettas. Testing with such ammunition in that weapon has not inadvertently affected in any way.

        a 45 ACP FMJ will also pass through targets. As long as the military “wisely” continues to deny using open tip handgun ammunition, this will continue to be a problem (but the Mk 262 rounds are in service…wtf). John, i find it utterly hilarious that you would employ a 10mm or 357 sig on the battlefield, which would have the highest tendency to over penetrate targets than the 9mm or 45. Speaking of ruining guns, the 10mm is purported to crack slides on a far wider scale than 9mm +P

        • Phil White

          W,

          The original Colt offering in 10MM was a short lived gun if shot a lot. That and they used Norma loads which were very very hot! The M9 slide cracking problem was fixed back in the late 1980′s.

    • Lance

      The problem is not really the Beretta M-9/M-92FS but he weak M-882 Ball pistol round. The use of FMJ and ballistics past SAMI standards made a lousy round The USAF went with 147gr HST for MPs and had much better success with the weapon if you can John Doe buy some Federal Hydra shock or HST and take it with you into combat.

      • John Doe

        I’ve been pretty scared of bringing my own ammo after a guy in my platoon got in some trouble for bringing some non-Geneva Convention complacent ammo. I’ve got a spotless record, intend to keep it that way.

      • Phil White

        Lance,

        That is risky if you have a commander who is a stickler for the rules. Nope you don’t need an article 15!!!!!

      • Lance

        Your right but im a defense contractor so I had more leeway in picking gun and ammo for work. id just say aim for the head for shooting bad guys with M-882 ball ammo. And Though I argue with NATER I dont hate the USP either I dont think its better than a M-9 or M-1911 and some just want to say they are. US Air Marshall Service use USP in .40 and they trust them its good nothing wrong with one either, just a 1911 is just as good if not more balanced. Any way I wish some can keep it civil on other threads like it is here where its alot more civil to disagree or agree.

        thanks Phil and John

        • Phil White

          Lance,

          My pleasure Lance:-)

    • Lance

      Don’t worry John Doe I bet you’ll find a way to get some good ammo for your M-9 and ignore Nader he seems to hate anything he doesn’t like. the 1911 has worked in every condition since WW2 and it can fire alot of ammo w/o malfunctioning.The Glock is a good weapon but parts are hard to come by a sling shot is better than a USP. LOL!

      • John Doe

        I don’t hate the USP, there’s just a lack of handguns better than the 1911. The Glock 21 is good, but it feels overpowered in its polymer frame.

        The 1911 is the only .45 that feels solid. Millions of GIs, modern-day Recon Marines, and thousands of competition shooters can’t be wrong.

        Even 6-year-olds like it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSYCQC4D7KU

        • Phil White

          John,

          Now that kiddo is good! The 1911 is super popular in the Philippines. I was told it sells more than any other pistol there.

      • W

        sorry to say, but the 1911 is obsolete. Yes it has served every conflict from WWII to its subsequent replacement by the M9, though there was a compelling reason for its replacement. As any armorer and gunsmith of a 1911 can tell you, they require constant tuning and attention, and round counts ive seen put through a USP or Glock would require complete overhaul with a 1911. The USP is one of the finest handguns ever conceived, hence its popularity with SOCOM and other foreign equivalent units. Its new 45 variant is even more outstanding, since it fits the hands better than the USP.

        I don’t hate 1911′s; I own three of them. I believe, wholeheartedly, that my HK 45 and Glock 19 are far more reliable and easier to replace broken parts however. I don’t know where you heard about Glock’s spare parts, but they are inexpensive and can be found anywhere, even locally sometimes. more than 65% of american law enforcement agencies use glocks and about a score of national militaries have adopted it. The pros of using polymer/modern handguns far outweighs being nostalgically dependent on 100+ year old designs. When the rubber meets the road, looking cool is not nearly as important as having a weapon that you can use effectively and trust with your life.

        By the logic of things working for a long time, muskets have also served honorably in the American revolution and Civil War, though they are obsolete. The decision of a few (yes a few) military and law enforcement organizations using the 1911 is based on the fact that they have superior armorer support and a good gunsmith on hand. Modern handguns can be repaired by almost anybody and that is what truly matters in a military and police setting. Nater is right: modern handguns have to be “plug and play” and the 1911, which requires hand fitting in most cases, is not feasible in the 21st century. I think many need to study more on the reliability of Glocks and USPs compared to the 1911.

      • John Doe

        @W People bring up nostalgia as the reason why the 1911 is around. Thing is, John Brownibg was a genius. The design worked everywhere, from the beaches of Normandy, to the jungles of Vietnam, and now, the sands of Iraq. Other .45 pistols have marginally better capacity, and are a bit lighter, but are they as reliable?

        Why don’t we discontinue the M2? That’s a century-old Brownibg design. That man’s work is timeless.

        • Phil White

          John,

          Good point–the Ma Deuce is heck of a persuader. I love shooting those! It’s scheduled to be in use until 2040. Seriously I wish the bureaucrats at the Pentagon would make up their minds on which gun or guns the troops will use. We’ve gone back and forth on probably 8 or 10 designs in the last few years alone. It really shouldn’t be that difficult to pick a handgun and rifle combo!

      • W

        Unfortunately, the M2 will be replaced shortly if the budget cuts don’t interfere. The XM806 http://www.armytimes.com/news/2009/04/army_light_50cal_042709w/

        I believe that since we have the technology to produce a “light/heavy” machine gun, like the Russian Kord 12.7mm, that should certainly replace the M2. But there I go being objective minded again. I certainly hate it because my other half loves the M2.

      • John Doe

        @W That WON’T replace the M2.
        “While it would not replace the M2 .50-caliber machine gun, also known as Ma Deuce”

        It will most likely supplement it, since a lighter machine gun with a lesser rate of fire has more of a precision role.

      • W

        the M16 wasn’t supposed to replace the M14 either. I can certainly see the advantages of that newer 50 caliber machine gun design, especially from a light infantry perspective. The M2 is a pretty awesome weapon though.

        • Phil White

          W,

          Every weapon the military uses has a good time and place of use:-)

  • Lance

    I have no problems with the Glock when you got experienced shooters who know what they do. I carried the M-9 and know that inexperienced handgun shooters can get into trouble not just with DA/SA pistol but heard and know of Cops who shot themselves in the let because they didn’t know of the Glocks easy trigger pull. For Military Ops both pistols do fine I do think that Delta has a few 1911s left in its arsenal but many have bought Glocks for there own preference and I do admire the Glock as a good Cop gun. I’m not a gen 4 fan but do like older Gen 3s. the 1911 still can hold its own in combat just like any gun it may be more to personal preference.

    Thanks Phil

    • Phil White

      Lance,

      I haven’t had any hands on with the gen 4 guns yet. I was issued a Glock 17 for duty carry and that was the only choice we had. We had our share of AD’s. One in the building before roll call and two on the range. Others were I believe one while a suspect was being held at gun point with another inside the car while re-holstering. That was over a period of two years. We adopted some very intense changes in training. We also had a holster recall because the retention device caught on the Glock trigger making it fire. One officer in Ga. was wounded this way. Bottom line is it’s not a beginners gun. I’ve heard way to many people say get a Glock to a new shooter and I cringe! Gotta spend the money for training or practice a lot with somebody who is an instructor.
      I had my own bad experience with a gen 1 Glock on the range. It went full auto on me! That was in 1989 when they did a recall on many of them in a given serial number range. It’s the same with any gun—you have to practice on a regular basis after getting some training. I firmly believe it’s a matter of personal choice as you said. I just like to see people make informed choices:-)

      Take care Lance!

      • Zermoid

        I have heard that Glock will fit a manual thumb safety to their guns for police and military that request them.
        Why they do not offer this option to civilians I do not know.
        Personally I do not like the fact that the only “Safety” on the gun only requires something press on the trigger to deactivate it.

        • Phil White

          Zermoid,

          I like a manual safety on a Glock as well. I’ve never been comfortable with the trigger safety as the only REAL safety. This company makes and installs manual safeties for them. Manual Safety

          Safety Photo

          I’ve never used one but I have been told they work well.

    • W

      handguns in general require more practice and training to employ effectively than rifles or shotguns. Their small size makes it easy for inexperienced shooters to muzzle flag somebody or something and i have personally seen issues with both striker fired and DA/SA handguns. The M9 is a fine handgun and i like its safety features, though prefer a glock with its trigger safety, due to the reason that i can just pull the trigger and shoot (instead of taking the time, however slight it may be, to deactivate a safety mechanism). I think holster selection is very important for a glock, as long as glock users stay away from serpa holsters in my opinion. It is my personal opinion that handguns are not beginners firearms anyway…

      • Phil White

        W,

        I agree very strongly on holster selection for the Glock or really any gun. One holster I’ve seen that is particularly troublesome is a flat belt slide with no molding etc. They tend to crumple in the middle after some use and that part of the holster catches the trigger causing an AD. I have pictures of a person who did just that. Blew into his leg out above the knee and through the car seat. All he did was sit down in the car not even touching the gun. Never ever carry a Glock just tucked into your pants!!! I know people who have and that’s just crazy!
        Your point on handguns not being for beginners is why I believe so strongly in training before carry with regular follow on practice. I mean a reputable instructor not some guy who puts up a sign by the interstate saying “Gun Instruction for CCW”. One such sign is about 10 miles from my house!

  • Lance

    Thanks Phil

    • Phil White

      Lance,

      Your’e very welcome Lance!

  • Totenglocke

    Well this is slightly disconcerting to me. I’m looking to buy a 1911 soon and the two brands I’ve been considering are Sig Sauer and Kimber.

    If I recall, you did a review several months back on the Sig Sauer 1911 Nitron Carry – how would you compare the two guns?

    • Phil White

      Totenglocke,

      Have you seen the new Sig Traditional series? They look like any other 1911. Sig This may be one you would want to consider as well. As far as which one I would buy between the two. I like the Sig’s no doubt about it, they are reliable, accurate and very well made. I’ve never had glitch one from a Sig. This Traditional appeals to me. In fact I have one requested for review.
      Keep in mind that this is the first of well over half a dozen Kimbers I’ve owned and several I’ve tested and this is the first one with a problem. I’d never write off a Kimber over one bad apple. With that being said if I had to choose from your position I’d buy the Sig Traditional. I hope this is more helpful than confusing!

      Pro’s on the Sig are superior accuracy to the Kimber but not by much
      Reliability
      Customer service is very good as well

    • W

      You cannot go wrong with a SIG 1911, though if i was going to buy a new one, i would get a Remington. My friend’s SIG 1911 is a rather neat gun to shot and hold, though every time he brings it on the range, he has no issues with reliability at all…

      • Phil White

        W,

        No you really can’t go wrong with them no matter which model it is. They are 100% reliable period. I honestly can;t remember ever having a malfunction with the 226,228,229 and the two 1911′s i’ve owned over the years. You have to know how much I like them my Golden Retriever is named “Sig”:-)

  • Zermoid

    Hey, on the subject of snap caps, anybody make their own?
    All you need is an empty, unprimed case, An X-acto or similar knife, and the eraser pulled out of a regular pencil. Shave the eraser down to snugly fit into the primer socket, Lg primers take a little shaving and small primers obviously take more, press it in as far as it will go and cut it off flush with the case and you have a snap cap.

    You could glue it in if you want, but if sized properly it won’t fall out and can be removed/replaced if it ever wears out. One eraser can be used to make 2 snap caps.

    Cheap, easy and it works. You could seat a bullet into the case if you want them to be able to feed thru an auto, for revolvers they work fine as is.

    • Phil White

      Zermoid,

      Darn good idea! Thanks for passing that along. As you said it will fed like a regular round when hand cycling. I’m going to try that:-)

  • Lance

    @W

    We can get into HK vs 1911 which can be more expensive and the Mk-23 is way too BIG. But we can agree the Glock21 can be a great middle ground we can agree on that’s a .45 plastic you like, and smaller in frame that I like.

    • W

      hmmmm. a kimber 1911′s typical price range is 1000-1200 dollars. A wilson custom can be up to 3,000.

      H&K’s newest 45 is 1,000
      A USP can be anywhere from 600-800
      A Mk 23 is typically 2,100-2,200 (which are difficult to find on the civilian market).

      so much for the H&K vs 1911 argument when it comes to cost. Yes, I love the Glock 21, though people with smaller hands don’t care for it.

      • Phil White

        W,

        Hey don’t forget the Rock Island at $400-$500 and the new Ruger at $650. The American Classic is $450– $465 at GFS

      • W

        I am simply comparing a optimal 1911 with a optimal polymer framed handgun. Needless to say, I do like the Remington R1 and Ruger 1911′s. I even like the Desert Eagle 1911′s. I’m just a polymer handgun guy, though some prefer steel and wood.

        • Phil White

          W,

          I’m one of those steel and wood guys but I would have no problem with carrying an XDm.

      • Nicks87

        Phil, I just lost a lot of respect for you.

        I can understand you being a 1911 guy but with your back-ground you should be ashamed of yourself for recommending an xDm.

        How much is Springfield Armory paying you?

        Or maybe it’s just that wonderful grip safety and that made in croatia stamp?

        • Phil White

          Nicks87,

          That’s fine I have no hard feelings toward you over the lack of respect comment or the accusation that Springfield is paying me. That’s just the nature of the internet at times. I stick with what I said in this review. I do have a question—what’s wrong with an XDm? As I said I have a 4.5 even though I am a 1911 guy. It has never failed me. I prefer the less severe grip angle compared to a Glock. Ergonomics are very good etc.
          US gun makers aren’t the only ones who make good guns. Nope not ashamed of advising someone to buy an XDm. Regardless, I will not argue or get upset over a post such as this. Your entitled to your opinion as am I. I respect other peoples opinions even if they differ from mine. My only request is a civil conversation we can all benefit from.

      • W

        Nicks, what exactly is wrong with the XDM?

        It is one of the finest handguns ever sold in the US.

        Indicating by Phil’s review, he has demonstrated that he provided a objective review of the good, bad, and ugly.

      • Nicks87

        I bought an xDm in 9mm for my wife and it was aweful. It liked to double feed and the accuracy was poor (I think due to the barrel not locking tight when in battery). Luckily the gun shop I bought it from is owned by a friend and he refunded my money and sent it back to the factory. I had no desire to play the “fix it” game with customer service. I ended up buying her a Kahr PM9 and she loves it and we’ve had zero problems with it.

        Also, I dont feel the need for a pistol with a grip safety, a thumb safety AND a trigger safety. Whats next? a barrel safety? a magazine safety?
        Gimme a break. We have enough safe queens in the world to contend with if you cant properly handle a firearm then you shouldnt own one.

        And sorry for the attitude but IMHO this constant love affair with 1911s is really getting old and its the only real downside to an otherwise outstanding blog.

        • Phil White

          Nicks87,

          It’s a tool not a love affair for me. It’s a very popular pistol and people want to hear about them. I don’t know what else to tell you outside of the previous reply I made. Oh one other thing the grip safety was something Browning did not like. The Army insisted so a grip safety we have. It served our troops well through two world wars, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom. It was also an issued and later authorized carry for the Border Patrol and FBI.
          I have a friend who makes my experience look like a walk in the park when he worked in Special Ops (Delta). He and most of the troopers hated to see the 1911 go but expense in tailoring each gun to the operators taste was getting to expensive and yes when you shoot up to 1000 rounds per week when not deployed they need parts replaced. So, two years ago they adopted the Glocks in various sizes and calibers, mostly, 40′s. The 1911 is not a perfect gun but no tool is.

      • W

        nicks, my XDM 9mm has never had any issues. The XD platform is known to be reliable and comfortable to fire, so judging the whole bushel because of one bad apple is disingenuous to say the least. Just because i have heard of similar issues with customers being burned by Kahr 9mm’s doesn’t mean i think the whole kahr line is junk.

  • Lance

    The M-2 will NOT be replaced by the M-806. the 806 is for SOCOM use and only used for L.A.Vs and possibly light infantry only the M-2 will be in use with armored and mounted infantry units for many years to come.

    1911s can be alot cheaper than a $3000 Wilson. Colts are only $800 RIA $400 and like Phil said Remington $600. A beat up USP is around $800 used.

  • Nicks87

    “After I resumed firing I still averaged one malfunction out of every three mags or twenty seven rounds fired”

    Dont lie to yourselves ^^^these results are typical for most 1911s, even some of the $2000+ versions.

    Please, please, please folks DO NOT put yourself in a life and death situation with these antique firearms.

    It’s 2011 time to move on.

    • Phil White

      Nicks87,

      With all due respect it’s not been typical in my experience. This particular 1911 is the first I’ve had problems with. I also documented all of the problems I had and what was done to rectify the problem. Which, by the way, nobody should have to do with a new pistol of any brand or model.

    • Nicks87

      Almost every person I’ve talked to who owns/owned a 1911 has had to take it to a gunsmith or send it back to the factory for repairs or modifications.

      It is a 100 year old design that has not nor will ever be perfected. It cannot reliably cycle hollow point ammo, it cannot safely fire +P ammo, it is single action, it has a low ammo capacity. It is hard to carry concealed because of its size and shape. it is difficult to disassemble, the metal slide and frame are prone to cracking and corrosion and it has unnecessary safties such as that horrid and pointless grip safety.

      And with all that said there are still many thick-headed people who believe it is the greatest handgun ever made, which is just plain garbage.

      If it gets you out of your mid-life crisis then more power to you but if you want a serious weapon for self defense or competition then look elsewhere.

  • Joe Jones

    I purchased a Pro Carry II(9mm) for concealed carry. The first fifty rounds i put through each and every one had a stovepipe. I returned home and cleaned it, then cycled the slide about 500 times. The next morning I returned to the range and my Kimber ran perfect. It has been 2 yrs and approx. 1500 rounds and still have not had another malfunction. I would peronally recommend this pistol to anyone. Even though it’s Kimber’s basic 1911 it runs like a Cadillac, accurate enough to shoot the tacks off the paper!!!

  • Taylori64

    Use the recommended grain ammo. You won’t have any issues.