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Kimber has a large line of 1911’s that expands by several new products each year. When you go through the catalog it seems there is a model or caliber for just about every shooter in the market for a new 1911. Kimber is certainly challenged to keep up with the demand.
When we go to the beginning of Kimber’s relationship with the 1911 we start in the early 90’s with the Jericho company a manufacturer of various hand tools as well as projects for the defense industry.
The second company to become involved was owned by Larry Edelmen of Nationwide Sports. Edelmen was also a minority shareholder in Kimber at the time. The idea was to connect the manufacturing ability of Jericho with the established dealer network of Kimber.
The last ingredient needed in this combination was someone who knew the 1911 very well. That person was Chip McCormick. With this last choice made the prototypes of Kimber 1911’s were revealed at the 1995 Shot Show.
There was some controversy with these prototypes when it was found Caspian made them. The serial number and manufactures name were hidden under the grip panels.
In 1996 Edelmen purchased Jericho, closed down the Kimber plant in Oregon and moved it to Yonkers, NY. The name was also changed to Kimber Manufacturing. The business is still located there. By the end of 1997 production started at the Yonkers facility that also included Kimbers established rifle line.
An interesting sideline is prior to the changeover Jericho made slides for Wilson Combat. When the change was completed Kimber continued to make slides for Wilson for approximately six to seven years. Surely an interesting fact many people aren’t aware of.
One question that always comes up in almost any gun review concerns MIM parts. Well yes Kimber does use MIM parts in non-critical areas. This is just a fact that no longer indicates bad quality since MIM parts have progressed greatly in quality and durability the last few years. There are very few companies in the firearms industry who don’t use MIM parts. As far as non custom made guns the only company I’m aware of not using MIM parts is Sig. That information came directly from the company. The MIM debate will go on for some time I’m sure. This is a matter of choice and opinion on the part of the buyer.
My review pistol is the fairly new Kimber Super Carry Ultra+ chambered in .45 ACP. As with almost all Kimber pistols it is indeed a beauty. Fit and finish is very good. This is pretty obvious from the pictures below.
The Ultra has a full size grip with a round butt. This modification makes it an easier gun to conceal as well as more comfortable to shoot since it lacks the sharp rear corner of the grip frame. Also, you just have more to hang onto☺ This model comes with Meprolight night sights which seem to me to be brighter than most other brands. The recoil system certainly is effective. It uses a dual captured spring setup with full-length guiderod. The full guiderod is needed to hold the dual springs in place. Both springs are rather strong at 18 pounds total. The barrel is 3 inches long in the bull barrel (bushingless) configuration. An ambidextrous safety is also standard. The two included magazines are the higher quality Kim-Pro brand, which have very strong springs. Stronger springs on a pistol with a short barrel tend to contribute to reliability. Witness holes are also present on each magazine marked one through eight.
The slide of the Ultra as well as the frame has a Snakeskin type treatment. The top of the slide as well as the front and rear of the grip have this design. The side of the slide also has this treatment making it very easy to grip the slide. The slide is stainless steel with an alloy frame.
• Caliber: .45 ACP
• Height (inches) 90° to barrel: 5.25
• Weight (ounces) with empty magazine: 27
• Length (inches): 6.8
• Magazine capacity: 8 rounds
• Recoil spring (pounds): 18
• Full-length guide rod
• Material: Aluminum
• Finish: KimPro II
• Width (inches): 1.28
• Material: Stainless steel
• Finish: KimPro II
• Flat top Super Carry pattern serrations
• Length (inches): 3
• Material: Steel
• Match grade bushingless, bull
• Twist rate (left hand): 16
• Night sights with cocking shoulder
• Radius (inches): 4.8
• Micarta/laminated wood
• Checkered with border
• Aluminum, match grade
• Factory setting (approximate pounds): 4-5
• MSRP $1530.00
This turned out to be a great day for the range with mild temps and very little wind. As usual my shooting was done primarily from ten yards. The ammunition used was Federal 230 grain ball, Remington 230 grain ball, Tul Ammo 230 grain ball. The hollowpoints used were Hornady Custom 200 grain +P and Hornady TAP CQ 230 grain +P.
I fired a total of 200 rounds of ball and 60 rounds of hollowpoints. My first rounds were loaded in Wilson 47D magazines. The Ultra did not like these mags. Granted the Wilson mags are a bit old and I probably should replace the springs. The first mag used had three malfunctions with the rounds nosediving. When I yanked the slide back and released it the increased velocity of the slide chambered these rounds and firing continued. I switched to the second Wilson mag and experienced three of the same malfunctions. These malfunctions were with the TulAmmo, which of course is not the best ammunition around.
After experiencing these malfunctions I switched over to the included KimPro mags for the rest of the session. I also buffed the feedramp to a mirror shine. Buffing the feedramp and switching to the Kimber mags was the right thing to do since I had no further malfunctions. The extractor was well tuned with most brass ejected in a circle of about three feet in circumference slightly right rear. That sure makes picking up your expended brass easier☺
Something that really did surprise me was how little recoil I felt. I can only attribute this to the recoil spring setup and the full size grip. The shape of the grip I’m sure helped as well. I fully expected the recoil from a three-inch barrel using 230 grain +P to be pretty unpleasant. As it turns out it wasn’t bad at all and that helped me get back on target quickly in rapid fire. Accuracy was also much better than I was used to firing a pistol with such a short barrel.
I fired both aimed slow fire and rapid fire from the ten-yard line. With the three-inch barrel I felt no need to shoot from a greater distance. The target below is an indicator of an average group size. The group sizes varied very little between the assorted brands and types of rounds.
Overall I enjoyed this little pistol. The accuracy was better than expected as I stated earlier. Recoil did not interfere with my followup shots nor leave me with a sore hand even after firing 260 rounds through the Ultra in one session. I’ve certainly experienced that before after firing small pistols with a large caliber round. Trigger pull was slightly over four pounds with a crisp break. The trigger is adjustable for takeup. This example needed no adjustment.
Since this first range session I’ve taken the Ultra out a couple of times firing an additional 100 rounds of Federal ball and 20 rounds of the Hornady Custom XTP this time in 185 grain. It’s remains trouble free
Something I’ve talked about before is the lack of need, in most cases, for a very short barrel for concealment purposes. The grip has more to do with the ability to conceal any pistol than barrel length. The Ultra is just the opposite. The round butt on the Ultra makes it about as easy to conceal as an officers model frame however. I still prefer a four-inch barrel even for concealment purposes. With the right holster even a five inch 1911 isn’t that hard to conceal.
Each potential buyer has his or her own preconceived ideas of which gun will be best for his or her intended need. Whether it’s a 1911 full size or a small pistol like the Ultra the best gun is the one the owner has confidence in and trains regularly with.