Kimber’s Pro Carry II
March 21st 2018
Let’s cut to the chase
The biggest issue with most factory 1911s is that they tend to be unreliable out of the box and require breakin periods or
massaging from a gunsmith to get them to run right. This is the second Kimber 1911 that I’ve run hard in a year, and it’s
the second time that I’ve had a pistol run exactly like it should on initial usage. The first pistol was a Master Carry
Pro in .45 ACP that I shot over 1,100 rounds with, without adding any lubrication, right out of the box. That includes
taking a Gunsite 250 Laser Sight class. When I eventually had a malfunction with the pistol, a little lube helped it finish
the day without a problem. With this Pro Carry II in 9mm, I wanted a more realistic test, so I added lubrication every 500 to
600 rounds. I’m over 3,000 rounds now with no malfunctions and no cleaning. I plan on cleaning it simply because it’s so filthy
that it’s gross to touch, but it does
I generally dislike torture or endurance tests on handguns because they seem to exist only to amuse a few. Three thousand to 4,000
rounds of ammunition represent a considerable amount of training dollars to the average shooter, and blasting just to blast doesn’t
make sense with a gun that’s meant to be carried for personal defense. Is this the right gun for securing a landing zone in the
middle of a sandstorm? Probably not. Is it the right gun for a citizen or LE everyday carry (EDC)? It’s a great option if
you’re committed to the 1911 platform.
Practice & Persistence
There's never going to be a way to win the polymer-blaster-versus-1911 argument. I like both, I use both. They both have a
well-deserved place in the holsters of prepared citizens and modern police officers. There are realities,
though, and the first one is that the 1911 takes more practice to operate effectively under stress. Don't
shoot the messenger, that's just a fact. I helped develop the Patrol 1911 program for my department and have
overseen hundreds of students transition to the 1911. The manual safety and grip safety both require extra
work to master.
On the flipside, because they require more work to master, many 1911 shooters are more dedicated to achieving a higher
level of skill. For an EDC option, the 1911 is generally slimmer than a striker gun of the same size, and with an alloy
frame such as on the Pro Carry II, you get a metal pistol that weighs only 4 ounces more than a similar-sized Glock 19.
It’s also important to realize that 4 ounces can add up over a lifetime of carrying, and the 1911 gives up six rounds to the Glock.
It’s also important to realize that 4 ounces can add up over a lifetime of carrying ...
Then, of course, there’s the trigger. For many, the 1911 is the epitome of triggers. The old timers like to describe
it as “breaking like a glass rod.” Since the trigger should ideally have very little slack up front and very little
overtravel behind, 1911 triggers can aid many shooters in exercising better trigger control. The fact that the 1911
is the only trigger that truly moves straight to the rear with no hinging or trigger-bar stacking also helps keep
the sights aligned on the target during the trigger press. The trigger is also good for shooters who rely on a
“surprise break” and “trigger reset” to place an accurate shot, as there is very little creep or overtravel.
I carried the little Kimber almost daily for a year, as its thin profile and 9mm chambering lends itself to office work
and EDC, and I came away with a few observations on switching from a polymer, high-capacity EDC to an alloy-frame 1911
for EDC. The first observation is that even though the Kimber weighs slightly more than the Glock, it’s an easier EDC
when not in uniform. Its slightly slimmer frame and slide disappear under a regular T-shirt, especially when combined
with a great holster, like the appendix-inside-the-waistband (AIWB) holster that I used from RDR Custom Kydex. When
in the office, I used a Safariland model 568 open top holster with a paddle. I’m not usually a fan of paddle holsters
because of security concerns, but I have to change in and out of a Sam Browne equipment belt often, so it’s a compromise
I’m willing to make. Both holsters worked well for their intended roles, and the Kimber carried well, feeling light on
the belt for my 10- to 12-hour days. With both holsters, drawing and firing the first shot was not hindered by the grip
safety. With some 1911s, the grip safety is difficult to depress when drawing quickly; that was not the case with the
Kimber Stainless Pro Carry II. It activated every time.
The stock sights are adequate. Solid steel with a serrated front and generous rear notch, they worked under all conditions,
even rain and mud. When breaking in a Galco Ironsides holster, the front sight came out with leather stuck on it for the
first two days, but as the holster broke in, that ceased. It happened during a class at Gunsite Academy, and every so
often I’d have to stop and wipe it off. Gunsite’s Chief Operating Officer, Ken Campbell, laughed and pointed out that
he didn’t mind waiting for me since it was proof that I was focusing on my front sight. The test pistol was a 2016
version, and one of the upgrades that Kimber made going into 2017 was a fiber optic front sight. I haven’t shot those
sights, but based on my experience, I imagine the upgraded version is great. Another observation about the Pro Carry II
sights is that they were regulated perfectly for 12 yards, which is right about where I want my pistol sights set up.