Kimber’s Super Carry Pro is a compact (but definitely not a subcompact) 1911 with a host of custom features and a middleweight price tag. It’s got drop-dead good looks, exceptional accuracy, full magazine capacity and authoritative stopping power. I’ve been able to spend some time with the Super Carry Pro to see how well it lives up to its awesome looks and $1300 tab. Did I mention it’s pretty damned reliable, too? . . .

CCW guns attempt, often unsuccessfully, to be all things to all shooters. Many of the features that make a gun easy to carry also make it difficult to shoot well, because every design choice confers an advantage to one characteristic and exacts a penalty from another. Searching for the Golden Mean of 1911 concealability and combat utility, Kimber followed conventional wisdom by choosing a shortened barrel and alloy frame. They also thought outside the box by rounding the 1911’s traditionally squared-off grip frame for greater carry comfort and concealability.

Their result brings you the firepower of the Government Model, but in a package that’s lighter than the Officer’s Model and almost as compact. Its 4-inch barrel is at the smaller end of the 1911 breed, right between the 3.5-inch Officer’s Model and the 4.5-inch Commander, but the full-length grip frame gives it the same 8+1 capacity as the mighty 5-inch Government Model.

Ergonomics and Shooting Comfort

As its name ‘Super Carry Pro’ would suggest, this gun isn’t a service pistol, a range toy or a race gun. It’s designed specifically for concealed carry, and it’s heavily customized for comfort and concealment. In fact, there’s really nothing about it that isn’t selected for its intended use.

It falls almost in the Goldilocks zone of carry guns: small enough to conceal under sensible clothing, yet big enough to pack a mean fistful of whoop-ass with 9 rounds of .45 ACP. The mid-length 4-inch barrel carries lighter and presents a little quicker than the full-size Government Model, and the rounded grip frame won’t print as clearly through your clothing or jab you in the ribs.

The whole gun has gently melted edges for carry comfort and snag-free presentation, and the front strap and the slide cocking serrations have a unidirectional fish-scale texture that grips your hands but not your clothing. All of the controls (except the sharply grooved trigger) are gently rounded at the edges to avoid scraping your skin or snagging your jacket liner. The controls snap to attention with smooth precision, requiring neither too little nor too much force to actuate.

The magazine well is gently beveled for easier magazine insertion, and even a slight beveling helps to speed up reloads. The supplied 8-round magazine drops free on command, and it has a nifty removable baseplate so you can completely disassemble it for cleaning. My old Chip McCormick ‘Shooting Star’ mags can’t do that, and they’re a bitch to clean.

I’ll talk about the trigger later; suffice for now to say that it’s got a little too much takeup and the grooves are a little too sharp for my tastes.

I did a creditable job of fanning the trigger and swapping magazines, but not of keeping my rounds on target; compact alloy-framed .45s really aren’t made to be bullet-hoses. The slightly beveled magazine well really speeds up your reloads, though.

Recoil and muzzle flip were stiffer than I expected, given that the Super Carry Pro is only minimally lighter and shorter than the soft-shooting Taurus 24/7 G2 I reviewed earlier this year. It isn’t very helpful to compare alloy-framed single-stack apples to polymer-framed double-stack oranges, however. Polymer guns always seem to shoot softer than alloy-framed guns, and the chunky Taurus’ double-stack grip does a better job of spreading the recoil forces over the shooter’s hand. And besides, nobody would seriously think of concealing a full-size 24/7, but nobody would think twice about concealing the Super Carry Pro. It’s what it was designed for.

Two Issues

The otherwise-ubercomfortable Kimber has two ergonomic problems I’d make them fix if I were king: the trigger grooves are too sharp, and the right-side safety lever plate grinds into the bones of my thumb.

When I used an Isosceles stance and a ‘thumb high’ two-handed shooting grip (as currently taught by most shooting instructors) the left-side safety lever plate ground into the first knuckle on my right thumb and eventually beat it the color of a raw New York Strip steak. Accuracy and shooting enjoyment predictably suffered.

When I fired the Kimber one-handed, or when I reverted to the old-school Modified Weaver stance and the ‘low thumb’ grip, this problem disappeared. If Kimber is listening, I’d suggest a slightly altering the safety lever plate so it’s more flush with the side of the beavertail grip safety.

The Isosceles stance and ‘thumb high’ grip didn’t exist 100 years ago, when marksmen were taught to blade their strong side toward their target and fire one-handed. John Moses Browning made very few mistakes, but no 19th-century firearms genius could anticipate that people would be using and handling his inventions so differently 100 years into the future. This is an example of how a century-old design doesn’t work well with modern training and technique, but a minor modification to a small part would eliminate this problem completely.

My second ergonomic ‘issue’ is this adjustable trigger. It’s a masterpiece of machining (even at high magnification) but it becomes a cheese grater after 100 rounds. A gunsmith could smooth this off in a heartbeat when he tunes the trigger, but a $1300 pistol really shouldn’t need a gunsmith’s attention.

Carry Comfort

I wore the Super Carry Pro in a leather IWB holster to evaluate how it carries. The first thing I noticed was that it’s not a trouser-drooping boat anchor like a steel-framed Government Model. In fact, the fully loaded Kimber is slightly lighter than an empty Government Model, and you’ll notice the difference the instant you holster it.

The Kimber’s reduced gravity suck makes it comfortable to carry right out of the gate, and the melted corners and rounded butt take its ride quality to the next level. The soft-edged safety switch and mag release won’t lacerate your kidney if you happen to carry under your shirt, and the rounded butt won’t jab you in the floating rib when you bend over or buckle your seatbelt.

Kimber’s got carry comfort nailed with the Super Carry Pro, but it’s still got a full-length grip and it will never hide like a J-frame.

It’s not a J-Frame but it does conceal quite well, and as a bonus you don’t even need to own a Shoot-Me-First vest to do it! The rounded butt will print if you lean over too far, but it’s entirely possible to conceal the Super Carry Pro under a loose shirt. This shirt was (deliberately) not quite loose enough, but it still kept the Kimber hidden all day.

Unlike a square-butt 1911, the Kimber’s rounded grip frame is much less likely to grab the fabric of your cover garment and fold it against your side. This is about the most egregious ‘printing’ you can ever experience, and it won’t happen with the Super Carry Pro unless you wear it to a Yoga class and attempt the Sideways Wilting Lotus or some shit like that.

The Super Carry Pro conceals better than other full-frame 1911s holding 8+1 rounds, but the round butt doesn’t make the extra half-inch of grip length magically disappear. If complete concealment is your primary concern you won’t be choosing the Super Carry Pro. In fact, you wouldn’t be choosing a 1911 at all.

Sights

The Super Carry Pro ships with excellent Meprolight tritium sights. I have poor low-light vision, but the Meprolight tritium inserts glow like dim green LEDs in low light.

The rear sight has a set-screw and can be drifted for windage, but I didn’t have to because our test gun shot precisely to point of aim with 230-grain bullets. The rear sight has a ledge shape that lets you catch it on your belt or pocket to cycle the action one-handed if you need to. Here’s hoping you never do.

The all-metal Meprolight sights are rugged, quickly visible under all lighting conditions, and snag-free. I’d love to retrofit my old Norinco 1911 with them, but such extravagance would almost double my old beater’s price tag. Oh, well.

Trigger

The Kimber’s sharply-grooved giggle switch breaks consistently at exactly 5.0 pounds, and it’s adjustable for overtravel. (Our test gun had precisely zero.) The pull weight was remarkably consistent: my trigger gauge didn’t register even 1 oz. of variation through ten consecutive measurements. This is really good.

But it’s not perfect. Our Super Carry Pro’s trigger fell just short of perfection: there’s a useless millimeter of very loose takeup, and then another half-millimeter of slightly creepy tension before the sear finally lets go. Tuning this trigger would be another fairly cheap and simple gunsmith job, but I don’t think a $1300 gun should need it.

Please don’t mistake my slight disappointment with the Kimber’s trigger pull for actual disapproval; the Super Carry Pro has a fine trigger and it earns at least four stars out of five. But I expected five stars from a Super Carry Pro, and in light of its otherwise flawless fit and finish and its price tag you might expect it too.

Fit And Finish

I just said it and I’ll say it again: the Super Carry Pro’s metal machining, metal finishing, woodwork, and assembly is flawless. There’s not a burr, scratch, void, flat, toolmark, wiggle, rattle or blemish anywhere. Not even deep inside where nobody would notice.

The KimPro II finish is slightly slippery (hence the fish-scale serrations) solvent-resistant and very easy to clean. It’s also quite scratch-resistant. My holster’s thumb-break has a metal snap rivet that rubs against the left rear of the slide. It can quickly etch itself into bluing or polished stainless steel, but the Kimber has proven completely impervious to my mean old holster through weeks of daily carry.

300+ rounds of testing have yet to scratch this gun, with the exception of some slight rub marks on the alloy frame where the harder steel slide wears against it.

Accuracy

This target was shot offhand at 9 yards with 230-gr hollowpoints, and it’s typical of the Kimber’s accuracy. It often printed very tight groups (sometimes just one ragged hole) which opened way up when I knew I blew a shot. I don’t call many flyers unless I find myself fighting against a trigger, and this sometimes happened with the Super Carry Pro.

This target was shot offhand at 14 yards, and shows the groups opening up to 2″ as the short sight radius and longer target distance began to tell. It also demonstrates the Kimber’s slight distaste for my 230-grain lead handloads on the left.

Note: I thought I was shooting at 10 yards and 15 yards, but the marked distances at my shooting range proved to be off by 1 yard when I lased them with the Leupold 800-yard rangefinder I’m testing. I’ll save it for it’s own review (and I really appreciate how long Leupold has let me play with it!) but for now just know that it rocks.

I’m a really finicky bastard when it comes to triggers, and despite my mild disappointment the Kimber’s 2-inch groups at 14 yards are far more accurate than any defensive pistol ever has to be. (Karl Lippard is free to disagree, as soon as he sends us his Unobtainium-framed 1911A2 for our independent testing.) The Super Carry Pro delivers superior accuracy for a gun of its size and intended role. If you miss your target (and you shouldn’t) you’ll have only yourself to blame.

Reliability

Our test gun appeared to be in new and unfired condition, except for possibly a few test shots at the factory. Kimber’s owner’s manual recommends a 400 to 500 round break-in period, with cleanings every 100-150 rounds.

Blasting through this quantity of .45 ACP presents a significant cost consideration for a (ahem) ‘non-profit’ blog like TTAG, and we eventually stopped after just over than 300 rounds.

I started the break-in period with some filthy cheap handloads. Their grimy lead roundnose slugs are powered by 5.7 grains of sooty Unique pistol powder, and they dutifully delivered an FTE at round 70 and another one at round 140 while sliming the barrel with lead. Cleaning sucked, and testing continued with a box of 230-grain plated HP handloads, a box of PMC hardball, a box of factory-reload 230-grain plated roundnoses, and a box of  Hornady +P 200-grain XTPs.

Total malfunctions: those 2 early FTEs. Other than that? Perfect. The Kimber consistently failed to slide-lock with one of my 15-year old Chip McCormick ‘Shooting Star’ magazines, but it worked fine with the Kim-Pro magazine and with my other McCormick. That’s a magazine issue, not a gun issue.

Disassembly And Cleaning

Filthy handloads require frequent cleaning. I’ve disassembled many 1911s, but the Super Carry Pro’s bushingless barrel and one-piece guide rod don’t field-strip in the usual manner. I scratched my high speed, low drag (okay, bald) cranium for a few minutes until I realized I needed to RTFM. This was the right call, since it showed exactly how to use the included ‘disassembly tool’, which wasn’t actually included.

The last thing any $1300 fighting handgun needs is a small, proprietary maintenance tool that’s going to lose itself before you even pick up the gun from your FFL. Is this a potential problem?

No, because the ‘disassembly tool’ bears a striking resemblance to a paper clip, and the manual tells you how to make one yourself in less than fifteen seconds. Problem solved avoided.

To field strip the Super Carry Pro, simply clear the weapon and drop the magazine, lock back the slide, insert the paper clip as shown here, and then slowly let the slide forward until the recoil spring tightens against the paper clip.

Now slowly let the slide forward until you can line up the notches and push the low-profile slide release/takedown pin out from right to left.

Pull the slide forward with the barrel, spring and guide rod inside it, and continue with a typical 1911 disassembly. Be careful not to snag the paper clip as you pull the compressed spring/guide rod rearward from the slide; it could injure you if it flew apart, and you might never find all the parts again.

You’ll find yourself handling it very delicately when you clean it, but (whew) it doesn’t get very dirty.

CONCLUSIONS

It seems that every 1911 review we’ve ever run has triggered a new round of skirmishes in the never-ending 1911 flame wars. I’m not going to touch the .45 vs. 9mm debate, or the 1911 vs. Glock/Sig/Whatever flame war, even though I know some of our Armed Intelligentsia will take up the fight anyway. I consider myself a reasonably neutral non-combatant in those hostilities, since I’ve carried both 1911s and polymer-framed wondernines.

By any standards, the Kimber Super Carry Pro delivers superior accuracy and very good reliability in an elegant and reasonably compact package that’s extremely comfortable to carry all day. It also puts 9 rounds of .45 ACP at your disposal, which is only a few rounds shy of what some double-stack .45s give you.

But the Super Carry Pro isn’t quite perfect: it delivers stout recoil just like other compact alloy .45s, and the design of its trigger and manual safety made it uncomfortable for my hands during extended shooting. It has a consistent, acceptable trigger pull, but it’s not quite as crisp as it should be. The trigger is close enough to perfection that you really notice the useless millimeter of loose takeup, and the slightly creepy break.

All factors considered, I think it’s an excellent defensive handgun, and a good choice for anyone who wants a 1911 for daily carry.

Specifications:

  • Type: .45 ACP 1911-style semi-automatic
  • Frame: alloy w/satin silver ‘KimPro II’ finish
  • Slide: stainless steel slide w/matte black ‘KimPro II’ finish
  • Height (inches): 5.25
  • Length (inches): 7.7
  • Weight: 28 oz empty w/magazine, 37 oz. loaded
  • Capacity: 8+1
  • Grip safety, ambidextrous thumb safety
  • Sights: fixed tritium 3-dot
  • Barrel: 4″ stainless steel with lapped bushingless slide lockup
  • Trigger pull: 5 lbs
  • Street price: $1300-1400

RATINGS (out of five stars):

Accuracy * * * *
Much better than you would ever expect or require from a CCW gun. Two-inch groups at 14 yards are just the beginning of what this gun would do with a slightly better trigger, however.

Ergonomics (Firing) * * * 1/2
Flawless fit and finish and excellent controls reach for perfection, but a slightly creepy (and rather sharp) trigger and painful manual safety bring it up short. Recoil is brisk, as with any compact alloy-framed 1911.

Ergonomics (Carry) * * * * *
Lightweight, compact, and oh-so smooth. Big-bore carry doesn’t get much better than this.

Reliability * * * *
Only two malfunctions, both ammo-related and early in the break-in cycle. If I had the time and ammo to keep testing, I think it would earn another half-star.

Fit And Finish * * * * *
Flawless.

Styling/Aesthetics * * * * *
In your reviewer’s humble opinion, this is among the most elegant 1911s ever made.

Customize This * *
Holster and magazine options are myriad, but there’s no rail and you can’t even add Crimson Trace Laser Grips. You won’t want to add anything else.

Overall Rating * * * *
An excellent mid-priced 1911: very, very close to mind-blowingly awesome.

 

66 Responses to Gun Review: Kimber Super Carry Pro

  1. Right off the bat I will admit that my problem with Kimber is kind of petty: They are located in Yonkers, NY which is probably the second or third most anti-rights city in the entire state and I just can’t in good conscience support a company who supports such anti-gun ass-hattery.

    • I’ve said many times they’d be welcome in our neck of the woods, Bruce. Heck, they could put up a shop just up the road from me, right next to DPMS.

    • American made product by American workers. The politics of a geographic area has nothing to do with a company producing a great firearm. So would you buy a Springfield Armory produced in South America – what’s their political stance on rights? Would that impact your purchase decision?

  2. A review of a $1300 dollar gun is pretty meaningless to me. When are you going to review a $399 RIA 1911?

    At that price, someone ought to do a review of both their commander- and officer-size models.

  3. I have a Kimber Pro Carry II. I like it and it usually my CCW gun. And yes, the little pin to lock the recoil spring in to disassemble system needs to go.

  4. Yep, 2 points. You’ve heard that the economy is in a ditch? Let’s see some reviews of pistols priced to reflect the economy. And my second point is, we’re past the time in history when you should need a tool, factory provided or improvised, to do a basic field strip and cleaning on a pistol.

    Hell, my cheap ass sigma can be stripped in less than 30 seconds with just my fingers.

  5. I have one of these. Like Chris, I wasn’t too fond of the trigger’s edges being so sharp. But for a carry piece I can understand its selection for being used; giving greater tactile feedback and ensuring traction on the trigger.

    The biggest complaint and thing to remedy is the softness of the recoil spring plug. I found that after a few disassemblies and reassemblies that the plug would start to pit around the inside edge, from the force against the paper clip. This eventually leads to scratches/gouges in the guide rod, and a beaten up look on the plug.

    Had my gunsmith machine a new plug and harden it, problem solved.

  6. $1300 is too much for a Kimber. They are excellent guns at < $1,000. I'm sure its accurate and reliable, but their are better options in this price range.

  7. I threw down the cash for a Kimber Crimson Carry Pro last Christmas and couldn’t get through one magazine without a FTF. I tried swapping out the recoil spring, Wilson Combat magazines, etc. I ended up having to send back to Kimber who then took 2 months to get it back to me only after calling them over and over and over again to try to get some info on how the repair was going. When I got it back, they had lost one of my magazines and replaced the recoil spring I had already replaced and didn’t bother to send it back to me. Needless to say, despite the gun running fine since, I will never buy another Kimber. A $1000+ gun better damn be perfect out of the box IMO.

  8. An enjoyable review as always. However, I also agree with some of the comments above. I’ve been considering getting the RIA compact in 9mm. I’ve looked at stuff like the super carry pro, but here’s the rub:

    I sorta feel like a $1300 handgun could be more of a liability than a cheap-but-tough RIA if I ever had to use it. (Of course, since I can’t find much info on the RIA, for all I know it’s heavy, sloppy, and not worth a bobtail.)

    Why a liability? Maybe I’m subconsciously worried about scratching the finish, maybe I’m too reluctant to draw in case it gets confiscated and lost in the labyrinths of bureaucracy for no particular reason. Totally subjective beefs, true. But then I’m a slightly underemployed post-college guy who still thinks $1300 is a lot of money. Of course, I also haven’t got a wife to scold me for spending it before she can…

  9. Out of curiosity, did you or ttag buy this gun at a dealer, or did Kimber knowingly provide this particular gun as a review unit?

    • This test gun was provided to us by Kimber, and I’m waiting for the shipping label so I can send it back to them this week. Thanks for asking; I should have specified that in the review.

      There are pitfalls wherever we source our test guns. If they’re sent to us for testing from the factory, there’s a chance they’ll be tested and cherry-picked to look and function perfectly. I’ve tested enough less-than-perfect guns to believe that this isn’t usually the case, and most guns come to us in obviously unfired condition so they couldn’t have been carefully tested prior to shipping anyway.

      TTAG doesn’t buy COTS guns for us writers to test, at least not very often. If one of us buys a gun off at retail and reviews it ourselves, there’s a built-in owner’s bias which tends to minimize or ignore all but the most serious problems. It’s very hard to admit to thousands of readers that you’ve just bought an inaccurate/unreliable/overpriced piece of junk, and just as hard to admit to yourself that you’ve just wasted many hundreds of dollars.

      The ideal would be for TTAG to pay for the guns at retail (no cherry-picking) and for us writers to test them (no owner’s bias) and then for TTAG to recoup some of the money by selling them off when we’re finished. When more advertisers start signing on (and filling up all that boring white empty banner space) this is probably a sourcing model we’ll move toward.

  10. .02 cent paper clip used on a $1,300 gun kindve makes me want to keep my money in my pocket… dont like having to use tool to field strip… maybe im just not a 1911 guy (yet)?

  11. I’m starting to hear a consensus that we ought to review more Guns For Cheap Bastards, and I’m just the fellow for the job. I’ve got a Ruger P95 that’s ripe for a warts-and-all review. Mushy trigger pull, chunky grips, bulky slide, ugly sights? Got ’em. Decent accuracy and ‘will this thing EVER jam?’ reliability? Got those, too. And all for $300.

    You’ll have to take my owner review with a grain of salt (as I hope you take every review with a grain of salt) but I promise you I won’t try to polish any gun’s halo (or polish poop) just because I own it.

    RF, send me 500 rounds of 9mm, stat!

    BTW, Guns ‘N’ Bullits says roughly the same things about it that I probably will. I hate to give them the traffic, but here it is:
    http://www.gunsandammo.com/2012/09/17/8-quality-carry-guns-for-under-400/

    • I don’t consider myself cheap, but $1300 for a 1911 pistol is very expensive to me. I consider myself middle class, I don’t use credit cards, just bought a new house, and I love to shoot. $1300 buys a lot of ammo, training, holsters, shotguns, rifles, mags, accessories, or whatever else is on my gun list before it would buy me a 1911. Just sayin…

    • Yep, cheap bastard here. My house id paid for, I have no debt and I retired early. Proud to be a cheap bastard. I won’t spend 1300 on a gimicky gun that needs a paper clip to strip when I can get a fully functional, pick a brand here, for less than half that.

      Kimber can attract those that are at their limit on their credit cards and think living the high life means showing the bling.

  12. I too have a Pro Carry II, and yes I had multiple FTFs when new. Yes it went back to the factory, but that was a few years ago, and it was back in two weeks. One of the issues was that the ramp was all gunked up with Kimpro finish–some wet/dry fine grit paper took care of that issue, and it has worked reliably since. I did switch to a McCormick mag (8 rounds) as the Kimber 7 round mag sucked. It also has a distinct preference for brass over aluminum cases. And I would like the Ultra carry frame because I have been poked in the ribs more often than I care to think. No, Kimber did not invent it, but it is a great idea.
    My trigger is the same, including the useless 1 mm takeup (which I actually like) and the finger bite with recoil (that can be avoided with a very high grip). Maybe someday I’ll try a smooth trigger with rounded edges. But with all that, it is far better than any of the DAO pocket pistols I’ve handled from Ruger, KelTech, Kahr or Smith & Wesson. With the Kimber, you don’t have to squeeze and squeeze and wonder when it will finally let off; it’s right there.
    Oh and by the way, I thought my disassembly tool was MIA also–I found it underneath the foam in the box. (I’ve since lost it.)

  13. Had to comment. I owned the same gun. FTE all the time. After the expensive break in period I still could not shoot two mags without a FTE. Eventually sold it back to the dealer and got a Sig 1911 scorpion. My neighbor purchased the same fun but the HD version. He had the same issues. He also sold his. Too bad. I love the way they look. But will never buy another Kimber.

    • I own, carry daily and shoot the Super Carry Pro. I love it. No problems with FTF or FTE after about the first 100 rounds or so. I’m using mostly Wilson Combat mags with a few Chip McCormick in the mix. This gun runs for me day in and day out even with my handloads and my own cast lead alloy. It doesn’t like to be filthy dirty but that’s not something you would get to in an emergency. The trigger is very good and the serrations don’t seem to bother me even the slightest ( I shoot nearer the tip of my finger than the joint). My grip is high also, but don’t seem to suffer the same skin grating problem as the author. The only dislike is the ejected cases are flung around a bit. Don’t know what that’s about yet. Maybe the reloaded (many times) brass. This gun carries great all day, every day.

  14. Nice review. I’m a Kimber fan, and I’ve enjoyed hundreds of rounds from my buddies .45 Desert Warrior and several different range guns with high round counts. I appreciate the review on the gun, even though I can’t currently afford it. Oh, well…

  15. I knew the comment section was going to be filled with stories of failures when I saw the title.

    What’s less reliable, a pretty gun or a pretty woman?

  16. I agree. I added a WC flat trigger. Too bad their company lawyer is also their trigger smith. I would have liked a ramped barrel for the price point.

  17. Thirteen hundred dollars for a gun that still needs tinkering? For a gun that requires a paperclip to disassemble? Have fun with that, Kimber.

    I agree with others here. We need a mix of guns reviewed. Give us more variety. Look at used guns. That’ll show how long a particular model works. Look at cheapies. Do they work reliably? Will they do the job? Don’t cut the high-priced guns, but note that if I spend a bunch of money for something, I expect it to work for the rest of my days without a lot of modifying and no missing parts.

  18. I own several Kimbers and a few of them came with that silly tool. After I lost the foolish thing I used a regular old paper clip. Now I just break it down without any tools after watching this youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSo1Y9QVJ8E I’m not sure if it will work on your pro carry, but it works on two of my Ultras that came with that dumb clip. I still love all my Kimbers but I’ve stopped carrying them after I finally switched over to the DARKSIDE (GLOCK).

  19. Chris Dumm,

    I’m sorry I gave you a hard time back on the other thread, because it seemed like we had waited a long time since you had promised us this review. Then when you did publish this review, you described what it was like to actually carry it around for a couple weeks. Excellent, real-world information there. It was worth the wait.

    I really appreciate all the TTAG reviews. Seems the reviews by the “print magazines” are nothing but a list of the features of the item; similar to a multi-page advertisement with no negative feedback at all. TTAG describes the good and the bad with no concern about losing ad contracts. For example, every other reviewer has only good things to say about the Kimber trigger mechanism. You described the pros and cons of the trigger, and concluded that it is very good, but not as great as it should be. Excellent!

    I’m still going to buy one, because I still think it is the best 1911 for daily carry in its price range.

    • I would love to see a comparison (side-by-side) review of the Kimber Super Carry Pro and the Smith & Wesson SW1911SC E. These two guns are similar in so many ways. It would be very interesting to see how they actually compare with the same reviewer judging both guns. (Or with two reviewers, but the same person doing the same section(s) of the review for both guns.)

      Is that possible? Comparison Reviews – the next step for TTAG, that pushes them to the next level of customer appreciation.

      • We love to do comparison reviews, even though at least one of the manufacturers ends up hating it because they came in last.

        It all depends on whether we’ve got two comparable test guns on hand at the same time, and whether one of us has the time to do two complete reviews AND a comparison/shootoff in the next four to six weeks.

        The stars only line up like that a few times a year.

  20. Both of my Sig P220s and my two Colt 1911s were reliable right out of the box…after a lube and cleaning of course, as was my Browning HiPower.

    A $1300 gun that requires 400+ “break in” rounds and a paper clip to field strip will get a pass from me.

  21. Kimbers are built with very tight tolerances between the slide and frame, and between the barrel and slide. This feature is the main contributor to their excellent accuracy. The by-product of these tight tolerances is that the surfaces need to be worked against each other for awhile to ‘break-in’ a good working interface between the parts.

    That is a trade-off I am willing to accept. I know there are some who will disagree.(flame-proof suit going on now)

  22. I hate when I’m the pedant, but Commanders have 4 1/4″ barrels.
    My first gun was a Commander, and so will the last one be.
    That rounded butt does seem useful, though.

  23. I hated every 1911 made. Hated every magazine cover having a 1911 on it. Then I go to sell an XDm 9mm, guy shows up with this exact pistol on his side. He hands it to me to ogle, and I’m hooked. Now I can’t afford $1300, so I made do with a SA Range Officer. Definitely not the Kimber, but has alot of the same feeling. Now I read articles on 1911s. Thanks Kimber.

  24. I own a Kimber Ultra Crimson Carry. Shorter barrel 3″ but extremely accurate, and of course it has the laser grips which I really like. The gun is spot on with the “little red dot”.

  25. Thank you Bob for talking some sense!
    Some very pointed thoughts:
    1. If you don’t want to spend $1300 on a pistol, don’t. Don’t think that people that can afford it or are willing to spend for a Kimber are showing off bling or are flashy. I wear a $13 Casio watch. I have never told anyone with an expensive Citizen watch that I had a pistol in my belt that could have bought two of his watches that has had enough rounds through it to pay for a 3rd and 4th.
    2. The paperclip thing is not a huge deal. It’s a concealed carry pistol, not a 1000 round per minute machine gun in constant use in enemy territory that needs to be FIELD stripped to clear a jam. It’s tucked into your pants every morning and taken out at night. Maybe, Lord forbid, you are forced to use it on a bad guy. What next? Field strip? No. You disassemble at home where I’m sure your mom could find you a paper clip.
    3. If there is a possible hesitation to draw a weapon in a life threatening situation, for any reason, don’t carry. If you are not mentally prepared to give up your freedom (you will probably go to jail, at least for a short time), your stuff (lawyers are expensive), and your life you have no reason to and no business in carrying a firearm. What’s the point? In case there it’s a risk free chance to become a hero a getting the girl by killing the villain just before the credits roll? If you say you don’t want a $1300 premium defensive pistol because you would be afraid to use it and lose it to an evidence, it’s more likely you are dumb, you work at Taco Bell, and a Kimber would cost more than your last two cars combined.
    My Kimber Pro Carry II has worked flawlessly from day one, instilling permanent confidence in the gun and the brand.

  26. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the great-tell it like it is- review. Clearly there is a lot of passionate folks having an interest. I’ve been drooling over the Kimbers as well but like most, am turned off by the many reports of FTE’s, additional gunsmithing on expensive pieces and yes tools for dis-assembly. So, what else is out there in the ~$1,000 neighborhood that is reliable, great trigger, similar size/weight that would be an alternative?

    Thanks,
    Steve

  27. I’ve really only have one question. How did you get the fancy trigger? Mine came with a plain piece of aluminum folded over. Did the dealer steal my trigger? If so I”m on my way to kick his butt. Other than that you are right on with your review.

  28. Wow. There are either alot of cheap people on here or alot of people that do not value their lives or the lives of their loved ones. Would I use a kimber firearm that had fte’s all the time? No! Would I use any firearm that had fte’s all the time? No! You better bet any gun I carry will work flawlessly. If that means I buy a $300.00 gun and run 1500 rounds through it and send to a gunsmith and run 1500 more rounds through it to make sure then that happens. Now that being said. It seems there are alot of people on here that know nothing about how accuracy is achieved in a 1911. Newsflash people any and I mean any accurate 1911 needs a break-in period. Someone said to step up to a Wilson, that you can do but Wilson will also tell you there maybe fte’s and failure to feed until the pistol is broken in. For my life my carry pistol will be flawless functioning no matter what I have to spend on it to protect my life and my family. I will also practice enough I am sure I can effectively hit my target no matter what. Thanks for the venting area guys.

  29. I’d replace that thumb safety anyway. I have a Kimber CDP that came with the Ambi safety, and a Les Baer 1911 also. Both tended to disengage in the holster while driving. Both now wear a Wilson right handed thumb safety. I’d also probably replace and tune the trigger, just because I always do that eventually with my 1911s, no matter the price. Even my high end 1911s wear a flat trigger, just my preference. My point is that the old axiom, that any 1911 owner needs to have more files than guns is true. They all need something, regardless of price.

  30. I like the look of this Kimber model but I prefer to carry a full size TLE; I have one in .45acp & 10mm and they work quite well in all departments for me. I’ve found that w/ the proper belt/holster a full size/weight 1911 is no problem to carry comfortably and I like the control/accuracy of the 5″ which is much better than smaller/lighter models; if I have to draw my weapon it means my life is threatened and I want every edge to win the fight.

    I have several other nice 5″ 1911’s from other manufacturers, including a Springfield Armory Range Officer .45 which is very nice to carry and I [also] like to carry “target models” for their accuracy [and] all I do is “round off” the sharp edges on the target sights to alleviate the “carry snag problem”, and drill tap them [and paint] for a nice no snag, white 3 dot sight set up.

    The only “smaller” 1911 I ever carry is a stainless 3″ Colt LW Defender which I use while running and I highly recommend this model for those who want to carry a compact model.

  31. I’ve owned 3 Kimbers, a Pro Raptor, SIS Ultra and Super Carry Pro HD; only the SIS Ultra gave me reason for concern, with FTE. It is now almost 5 years old and it is my honest opinion that the issue is ammo and possibly limp wresting on occasion as well. Recently ran through 50 rounds of Geco 45 FMJ and it ran flawlessly. Changed to a different brand and it failed to eject after the 2nd round. This happened every time through 3 mags of ammo and two different magazines. Went back to Geco and Zero issues. Switched to Hornady FTX and had Zero issues. In the past I’ve had some issues with Winchester SXZ ammo this time it was HSM brand. I heard way back that short barrel 3″ 45’s are trouble prone due to feed ramp angle. That may be a contributory factor, but ammo brand seems to be more the problem. I traded the Pro Raptor (which was trouble Free) for the SCPROHD and it too has been trouble Free after the 2nd outing. Then I had a couple issues, but I attribute them to loose grip screws. Tightened up the screws and 600 rounds later, not one problem, nor have the screws loosened. I use Kimber 7 & 8 round Tac Mags and have had no issues, even using them in other 45’s. If I were in the market for a new 45, I would certainly consider a Kimber if there were a new model that peaked my interest.

  32. Just picked up a master carry pro shot 100 rounds 2 fte it’s the mags the gun feels right and is a piece of art also if you can’t afford it don’t buy it

  33. We recently purchased a Kimber Super Carry Pro adding it to our 1911/gun collection. The break in period went well with no failures or issues of any kind using both aluminum and brass cased ammo, ball and JHP…185 to 230 grain. So far we are very pleased with it. The Ambi safety nor the serrated trigger bother me in the least. I am a little amused concerning the comments about the takedown tool. It’s also not an issue to me. I have one other 1911 that came with a so called tool to aide in compressing their guide rod. It’s actually a small nail that we have found we don’t have to use.

    When it’s the Kimbers time at the range it has always shot flawless and the target typically has one big hole in the bullseye area. It is my only Kimber and we really enjoy it. Is it my favorite 1911, no but we sure like it.

  34. I’ve owned several Kimbers, since the 90’s, I’ve never had any major ftf or fte problems. I did have a ftf with hornaday zombie HPs, Other than that I will always buy Kimber, the fit finish are exceptional and the accuracy is spot on. I just purchased a Sphinx sdp Krypton wanting a good 9mm and have read all the reviews ( all outstanding) and it shoots low and to the left consistently, I had other shooters get the same result with it. It is tight as a drum and a well made piece but all this to say you will get a lemon out of the box, of any manufacturer you just have to deal with it and figure out what you are comfortable doing to get the desired result. My pro carry is the best carry weapon I have and will put my life on it, I already do. Kimber haters are just that. It was the best option for a near custom gun that was affordable when they started. My next will be a Dan Wesson Valor in the next few weeks, I’ll post then. It’s good to be thrifty but not when me and my loved ones lives are on the line.

  35. I have a number of conceal carry handguns but have narrowed those I use to protect myself when I am away from home down to 2. A Kimber 45 acp Super Carry Ultra+ with a 3″ barrel and a Ruger LCP 380. The reason I use 2 different guns is due to basic conceal reasons. I use the Kimber when I can wear a Jacket, sweater or shirt outside of my pants so I can hide it. When I can’t wear a jacket and have to tuck my shirt in I use the LCP because it is small enough it comfortably can be put in my pocket either with or without a pocket holster. The problem I have found with FTE’s on most guns is usually cheap ammo and sharp edges on the cases. If I keep to using better ammo such as Hornady Hollow points my FTE problem, after break in period, goes away. I mean lets face it people, do you really want to use cheap ammo and take a chance with a FTE or dud when you, or your loved ones, life is in danger? I don’t think so! Use cheap ammo to target practice but expect FTE’s. Then use the good ammo for self defense. Now to the review. I totally trust my Kimber just as it is to be there for me when and if I ever need it to defend myself. The fit and finish on it is phenomenal. The best out of the box I have experienced with any gun I have ever bought. The Kimpro finish on it is the best on any gun I have seen. I have dropped it a few times and can’t seem to scratch or chip it, although I really don’t want to keep testing it. With the rounded grip at the butt it feels much more comfortable in my hand than a standard straight grip. It will feel much better in your hand especially if you have large hands. If you have the opportunity grip both a standard straight 1911 grip and then a Kimber Super Carry Ultra+ rounded grip you will immediately see what I mean. It feels as if it is made to the shape of your hand. Plus it is more comfortable when holstered. It doesn’t jab into your side or back and doesn’t show through my clothes like my full size 1911 does. The way all the edges have been smoothed it will not snag on your clothes when you draw it which, in itself, if you had to draw it to defend yourself that alone could save your life over one that could catch on your clothes or holster and get you shot before you could get it loose. The recoil feels comfortable and controlled with good reacquisition of the target. The night sites are standard and great in low lite or a dark room as they give you quick target centering. Everything has been well placed for very ergonomic location. The safety can be reached by either right or left thumb quickly with easy selection. Actually this is one of very few issues I have had with the weapon. Sometimes when holstered and I am sitting down in my car, the seat belt can turn off the safety. This could happen to any gun though and the only solution I can think of is to get a holster with a strap that buttons down or shields the safety mechanism. This is not necessarily a problem with the gun but, I have read where other people have mentioned this so I thought it should be addressed. The trigger feels good and very consistent at a 5# pull but I agree with some of the other comments about the sharp edges if you were shooting allot at the range. This although would not be an issue if you just needed it to defend yourself. I would consider replacing the trigger with one with a better feel or file it smooth and have a gunsmith adjust it, but it really isn’t necessary. It really just comes down to personal preference. Yeah, the breakdown tool I think is the only poor engineering issue with the gun but it can be substituted easily with a paper clip. Actually I think it is easier to hold and manipulate with a paper clip as you can make a handle with it. The serrations on the frame and G2 grips make it feel solid with a confident feel in your hand. You can, unlike mentioned earlier by someone else, buy a Crimson laser grip for it either from Crimson or Kimber online. Combined with an 8+1 magazine that slides in effortlessly I feel makes this gun one of the best concealed carry guns offered on the market at any price.
    I carry the Ruger LCP 380 because of its size and for the reasons stated above. It is much smaller than a revolver with greater bullet capacity. 7+1 with an extended clip in the LCP as compared to 5 in a revolver with quicker reload on the LCP. I can put it in my pocket and you can’t even tell it’s there. It’s a nice little no frills gun that I have found to be very reliable. No safety with basic formed into the slide non-changable sites and no nite sites. It breaks down to clean super easily. It doesn’t have the punch of the Kimber but Ruger makes a magazine that adds length to the grip which makes it more comfortable in your hand and gives you a 7+1 capacity over the standard 6+1 clip. Because of the size and sites on the gun you would want to keep your target range within 25 – 30 feet but in a close in scuffle the Ruger LCP 380 can save your life. I hope this review helps everyone.

  36. I have carried a Kimber Super Carry Pro for almost four years. I bought it at a gun show NIB, and started the break-in process within a week. I fired over 750 rounds before cleaning it, as the manual indicated 500 factory rounds before cleaning, to allow the “slurry” to work itself into the pistols internals. I had one failure to go into battery between round 525-535, but other than that, the pistol has performed flawlessly. My break in rounds consisted mostly of my LRN reloads (I can’t remember the specific load), with a couple hundred rounds of factory 230gr hardball, and about 80 rounds of Winchester T-Series 230gr JHP. The accuracy has been nothing short of amazing, and I find the recoil quite manageable. Yes, it had a hefty $1300 price tag, but I found that it has been well worth it. I carry this pistol for around 12 hours a day, every day, and it has never been a burden to carry. If you can find one (and you have the scratch), I highly recommend it.

    Great review, by the way!

  37. I am still not seeing the logic in trying to make a gun jam during break-in by using really cheap, dirty ammo, or reloads. If you want a loose, sloppy gun that will eat anything, go buy it and don’t bitch about accuracy, you already know where the trade-off is .And for the guys that are proud to be cheap, do you brag to your wife about how “smart” you are for spending the least amount of money possible to defend HER?? Do you buy a gas-engined truck then bitch that it doesn’t get the mileage a diesel would (that would cost much more on purchase)?

  38. Bitching about the take-down tool has an easy fix – just replace the stock full length guide rod with a colt military length rod and use the stock Kimber spring.

  39. When I first purchased my Kimber Super Carry and took it to the range, I repeatedly experienced feed jamming. After shooting several hundred rounds to break in my Kimber, the feed jamming continued. I had a gun smith take a look at my Kimber to see what might be the problem. He discovered that the feed spring was too stiff and replaced it with a softer feed spring. My Kimber now works great! The feed jamming problem seems to have disappeared (Are you listening Kimber?) Otherwise, I love my Kimber. Its accurate and the weight is just right for a .45 ACP. I love the solid feel! I usually Conceal Carry it IWB and belt holster. I love the built-in safety features (safety switch, grip safety, and hammer half-cock).

  40. I own a Kimber Super Carry Pro HD. Although the reviewer does have some legitimate points, I have to report that these issues negligible. The groves in the trigger help prevent your trigger finger from slipping off the trigger in real life situations. Trigger pull is right on the money for me. I’d have to agree with the issue about the safety being slightly in the wrong place. During live fire, I’ve had the safety go from grinding into my thump to accidentally flipping itself on because of the contact with my thumb. Although it is fairly easy to conceal carry, it can print under certain body positions. The biggest issue I had right out of the manufacturers box was the feed jamming. I finally took it to a local (old school) gunsmith. He discovered that the feed spring was way too stiff (are you listening Kimber?). He simply replaced the stiff feed spring with a softer feed spring and that solved all my problems. Nevertheless, all-in-all I love my Kimber! I love the safety features. The weight is just right preventing too much recoil transfer. The rounded features make it easier to conceal carry. I usually “rathole” my rounds at 30′. This is all I really legally need for self-defense. A former Law Enforcement Officer from the country, I prefer the .45 caliber. With a smaller caliber, one may need to fire several rounds to put down man or beast. If possible, I like to make my point with one round! Most all, my Kimber feels right to me! And after all, isn’t that what really counts?

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