Kimber's Pro Carry II
February 06, 2018
Let's cut to the chase: The biggest issue with mostfactory 1911s is that they tend to be unreliable out of the box and requirebreakin periods or massaging from a gunsmith to get them to run right. This isthe second Kimber 1911 that I've run hard in a year, and it's the second timethat I've had a pistol run exactly like it should on initial usage. The firstpistol 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 aGunsite 250 Laser Sight class. When I eventually had a malfunction with thepistol, a little lube helped it finish the day without a problem. With this ProCarry II in 9mm, I wanted a more realistic test, so I added lubrication every500 to 600 rounds. I'm over 3,000 rounds now with no malfunctions and nocleaning. I plan on cleaning it simply because it's so filthy that it's grossto touch, but it doesn't need it, per se.
I generally dislike torture or endurance tests onhandguns because they seem to exist only to amuse a few. Three thousand to4,000 rounds of ammunition represent a considerable amount of training dollarsto the average shooter, and blasting just to blast doesn't make sense with agun that's meant to be carried for personal defense. Is this the right gun forsecuring a landing zone in the middle of a sandstorm? Probably not. Is it theright gun for a citizen or LE everyday carry (EDC)? It's a great option ifyou're committed to the 1911 platform.
There's never going to be a way to win thepolymer-blaster-versus-1911 argument. I like both, I use both. They both have awell-deserved place in the holsters of prepared citizens and modern policeofficers. There are realities, though, and the first one is that the 1911 takesmore 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 departmentand have overseen hundreds of students transition to the 1911. The manualsafety and grip safety both require extra work to master.
On the flipside, because they require more work tomaster, many 1911 shooters are more dedicated to achieving a higher level ofskill. For an EDC option, the 1911 is generally slimmer than a striker gun ofthe same size, and with an alloy frame such as on the Pro Carry II, you get ametal pistol that weighs only 4 ounces more than a similar-sized Glock 19. It'salso important to realize that 4 ounces can add up over a lifetime of carrying,and the 1911 gives up six rounds to the Glock.
Then there are the intangibles. Shooting well ismore than the sum of sight alignment and a good press;sometimes the feel of thegun can make a shooter actually shoot better. There is something sublime aboutshooting a well-built 1911, the interface between man and machine, the feel ofthe grip safety depressing and the reassuring click of the thumb safetydisengaging.
Then, of course, there's the trigger. For many, the1911 is the epitome of triggers. The old timers like to describe it as"breaking like a glass rod." Since the trigger should ideally havevery little slack up front and very little overtravel behind, 1911 triggers canaid many shooters in exercising better trigger control. The fact that the 1911is the only trigger that truly moves straight to the rear with no hinging ortrigger-bar stacking also helps keep the sights aligned on the target duringthe trigger press. The trigger is also good for shooters who rely on a"surprise break" and "trigger reset" to place an accurateshot, 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, andI came away with a few observations on switching from a polymer, high-capacityEDC to an alloy-frame 1911 for EDC. The first observation is that even thoughthe Kimber weighs slightly more than the Glock, it's an easier EDC when not inuniform. Its slightly slimmer frame and slide disappear under a regularT-shirt, especially when combined with a great holster, like theappendix-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 apaddle. 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 acompromise 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-hourdays. With both holsters, drawing and firing the first shot was not hindered bythe grip safety. With some 1911s, the grip safety is difficult to depress whendrawing 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 aserrated front and generous rear notch, they worked under all conditions, evenrain and mud. When breaking in a Galco Ironsides holster, the front sight cameout with leather stuck on it for the first two days, but as the holster brokein, that ceased. It happened during a class at Gunsite Academy, and every sooften I'd have to stop and wipe it off. Gunsite's Chief Operating Officer, KenCampbell, laughed and pointed out that he didn't mind waiting for me since itwas proof that I was focusing on my front sight. The test pistol was a 2016version, and one of the upgrades that Kimber made going into 2017 was a fiberoptic front sight. I haven't shot those sights, but based on my experience, Iimagine the upgraded version is great. Another observation about the Pro CarryII sights is that they were regulated perfectly for 12 yards, which is rightabout where I want my pistol sights set up.
All of the controls on the Kimber worked well andwere fit properly. The plunger tube was staked well with no wiggle, and thedetents worked fine. As previously mentioned, the grip safety was smooth andengaged consistently, never giving a false positive or dead trigger in over3,200 rounds, even when drawing quickly. The thumb safety moved into and out ofengagement with a positive click every time and stayed consistent, even whenfilthy. The magazine release never required a Herculean effort to depress, evenwith a full magazine providing tension, and the magazines, for the most part,were great. As with many 9mm magazines, these mags were testy when trying toget in that ninth round. They worked great though, so if your thumbs aren't upto task, get one of those magazine reloading devices and push on.
I conducted all of our Guns & Ammo protocoltesting, with accuracy and chronograph results, but looking at the data doesn'treally provide a good picture of the gun's capabilities. At 25 yards, from arested position on sandbags, the pistol shoots under 3 inches all day long withquality ammunition. That's great, but it only tells part of the story. The realstory is that this pistol makes shooting "practically accurate" veryeasy. From shooting fast at the 10 all the way out to slow fire on steel at100, the pistol's combination of great trigger, great sights and greatergonomics makes shooting it even more enjoyable than carrying it.
While I don't usually get caught up in appearances,this pistol is a looker, with a matte-silver frame and slide and great-lookingRosewood stocks. The controls are also matte silver, and the grip screws aresilver with Torx head, which looks striking against the luster of the Rosewood.The pistol has been subtly dehorned but is grippy where it needs to be. If itwere mine to do as I pleased, I'd have the frontstrap checkered and call it aday. The pistol is fit together perfectly and the finish was flawless. I knowwe're supposed to be above such trivialities, but if someone is dropping agrand on a blaster, they deserve one that looks great, shoots great and runsgreat. Kimber checks those boxes with the Stainless Pro Carry II. If you'relooking to class up your pistol game, take a look in this direction and don'tturn away.