A Nurse with a Gun

Friday, January 04, 2008

Kimber Pro Carry: Range Report

Every person that owns a recently manufactured 1911 style pistol owes Kimber a debt of gratitude. That may seem a strange statement coming from a fellow who eschews Yonkers for Hartford, but it is true. Kimber almost singlehandedly revitalized old slabsides during the wondernine revolution of the 1990s. With the introduction of the Kimber Custom in 1996, 1911 aficionados could finally purchase the pistol they had previously paid their gunsmiths to build for them. Nice triggers, match grade accuracy, decent sights, and a beavertail grip safety was standard as was the extended thumb safety. Kimber quickly rose to the forefront of the 1911 scene, and they held that position firmly until they decided in 2001 to place a firing pin safety and an external extractor on their re-vamped pistols. Until that time, Colt, and other 1911 manufacturers were put on notice. If they did not supply what shooters wanted, the shooters could go elsewhere for less money and effort. As a result, Springfield, and even Colt began to listen to their customer's wishes.

When I found a Series One Kimber that was designed for carry, in a pawn shop at a good price, I found it irresistible. There were things about the pistol that I did not like, but the addition of night sights coupled with very little apparent use made it a deal to me. I purchased the pistol and took it home for a going through. Click to enlargeI was not surprised to find the pistol devoid of lubricant. Many people barely lubricate their firearms. There were metal injection molded (MIM) parts in the pistol. Some folks are concerned about MIM parts, but today, they are a fact of life in a production gun. I cleaned and lubricated the Kimber Pro Carry, and I tuned up the trigger. Even though the plastic mainspring housing is a functional non-issue, I swapped it out for an aluminum one from Smith & Wesson. I reinstalled the original slide stop, as the previous owner had stuck an extended one on the gun. I screwed on some cocobolo grips, smacked in a Wilson 47D magazine, and I was off to the range.

45 caliber slugs exit the Pro Carry's four inch bushingless barrel. A captured recoil assembly controls the forged steel slide. The Kimber Pro Carry has a steel slide and an aluminum frame. Lightweight Kimber frames are machined from solid blocks of 7075-T7 aluminum, supposedly the hardest and strongest available. Click to enlargeLightweight Kimbers have been factory tested for up to 20,000 rounds without showing any appreciable wear. After shooting and toting my scandium framed SW1911, I was ready for another lightweight carry gun.

I loaded two rounds in a magazine to start off with. Then I ran a full magazine through the pistol. I shot a magazine sideways, upside down, I let the pistol flip around. I blasted off two magazines as fast as I could. It never failed to feed and function. Recoil would best be described as snappy. The lightweight frame of the SW1911PD made it a breeze to shoot. The lightweight frame of the Commander sized Pro Carry made it a bit tougher to manage. The pistol was not uncontrollable, but you knew the pistol you were shooting was not a Government Model. The trigger was crisp with no creep, and very little take-up. Pull was about four pounds.

I put some index cards out at 10 and 15 yards, and swapped the grips back to rubber. With aimed fire, I found the Pro carry shot a little low for me, although it was consistent. It grouped well. By compensating for elevation, I could nail what I wanted.Click to enlarge I have to wonder if the Tru Glo sights atop its slide were meant for the longer Government Model.

As I continued to pound lead out of the handgun, the BreakFree and Tetra grease I had lubricated it with began to seep out of the pin holes and slide rails. That is good. I just wipe it off and keep shooting. All in all, at this range trip, I shot 270 rounds of Winchester White Box, Fiocchi, Federal HydraShoks, and a trusted friend's reloads. The pistol consumed it all with methodical glee, never failing to go bang. The trigger never changed. It stayed sweet and consistent from the first shot to the last.

It was easy for me, a Colt kind of guy, to see why so many people like Kimber firearms. The Pro Carry was accurate, and reliable. It was a fine pistol that came in the box ready to do its job as a carry gun. After another 250 trouble free rounds, it will have earned its place in my carry gun rotation.

Syd's Thoughts on the Kimber Pro Carry

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Blogger Who is..... Carteach0? said...

Nice write up. Thanks!

I'll have to look seriously at the next one I see.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Robb Allen said...

The loud, squealing sound you hear is me, seething with jealousy. My wife declared 2008 to be a "Gun Purchase Free Zone". I wish I (a) had the money to pick up such nice firearms and (b) honestly, I wish I had your knowledge of them. Not every owning a 1911 style anything, I wouldn't know what to look for like you do even if I had your notes printed out and stapled to my forehead.

I only carry my Glock 29 and I'm happy with it, but I'd still love a 1911 (especially the Kimbers. They just feel so good in my hands).

Thanks for the write up. I'm learning more and more with every post. Thanks!

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great review. Do you make your own ammo? If not, why not?

9:33 PM  
Blogger Keith Walker said...

I sure learn a lot from you, but you've got me wondering about something. Why do you have a carry rotation? Why not stick with one gun for carry?

I'd love to hear a pro/con list.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Coupla quick answers.
1. No, I don't reload. Why? Time and space.
2. I rotate carry guns according to the ease of concealment with what I chose to wear, how long I will be carrying it, and the effectiveness of the caliber. Obviously, if i am going to be carrying the gun from 5AM to 7PM, I want a light package. If I'm going to be carrying it for an hour, weight doesn't matter as much. By keeping my selection a 1911 on my hip, or a J frame in my pocket, I do not have to change my training as I change the gun.

10:06 PM  
Blogger The Sight M1911 said...

Love the Pro Carry S1. It's my "if I could only have one handgun" pistol.

10:42 PM  
Anonymous Jack said...

Whoo-hoo! Congrats on the find. The 1st 1911 I shot was a Kimber Custom II. What a blast! Do you think you'll customize your Pro Carry any further?

11:36 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Probably not Jack. When I considered it as a very real potential carry gun, i put the rubber grips (without the finger groove thing) back on. They survive the beating a carry gun gets much better than wood.

I may swap out the sights to a set that will give me the longest sight radius possible. Maybe a ramp front sight.

Frankly the pistol needs nothing but ammunition.

5:35 AM  
Anonymous Will said...

If it is hitting low, it most likely has sights intended for a shorter slide, like an Officers(3+5/8"), or the 3" models. That's been my experience, shorter barrel needs taller front sight.


6:13 AM  
Blogger Weetabix said...

You mentioned that most people under lube their guns. How do you lube?

12:32 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Here ya go weetabix.

I use Tetra grease or Slide Glide on the rails, and other places where parts slide across each other. where parts pivot, I use BreakFree. If anything, I run my guns a bit wet.

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...


You may hate me for this, but I feel I need to speak up. You write very, very well and I enjoy your articles thoroughly for their clarity and how informative they are. I have, however, noticed a consistent typo in your writing.

Please consider the sencences

"I have to wonder if the Tru Glo sights atop it's slide were meant for the longer Government Model."
"It was a fine pistol that came in the box ready to do it's job as a carry gun." and "After another 250 trouble free rounds, it will have earned it's place in my carry gun rotation."

In all three sentences, the word "it's" (which is short for "it is" or "it has") should in fact read "its" (the posessive form of "it"). You can either trust me on this (my mother used to teach English) or you can verify this on dictionary.com

I hope you will take this comment in the good spirit it was offered and make your writing even better. Please feel free to delete it instead of publishing it.

Kindest regards and thank you for blogging,

6:01 PM  
Blogger shooter said...

X, a good write up as always. Makes me wish I had another Kimber to play around with. Oh, wait, I do...my wife's TLE/RL. Nope, forget it, until the baby shows up, no one gets to shoot it. Darn. Gonna have to get me one that "magically" appears in the gun safe.

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Will said...

There are two other possibilities for the low hits. Over long link might have an effect. Or, the barrel port in the front of the slide may be lower than correct. Of course, it could be a combination of out of spec dimensions. I have no personal experience with Kimbers, just noting the possible 1911 causes. If made in Hartford?, my experience would be ANYTHING would be possible!

There are some other, very unlikely, dimensional screwups that could be involved. But, Sights, rear of barrel, and front of barrel, are most likely to be the cause(s). And, since it seems to function 100%, whatever the actual cause, swapping sights would be the "best" fix.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Thanks Alex,
That's a weakness of mine.

11:41 PM  
Blogger Weetabix said...

Xavier - Thanks for the lube link. I hadn't read that far back in your archives before. I discovered you relatively recently, and you're on my daily read list. I think I may run my guns a bit dry. I'd recently moved to grease on the sliding parts because it seemed to make more sense.

What do you think of the wonder powders that form a "permanent" dry lubrication? Action Magic from Brownell's for instance. I've wondered if that might not be a good base treatment to lube on top of even though they seem to imply it's not necessary.

Any other gun juices worth considering?

Alex - I have trouble with that one, too. When I read something I've written with "it's" in it, I read it back as "it is" to make sure that's what I meant.

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Gunner said...

That's great! They are nice carry guns. I did get a dud in 9mm. I wouldn't mind having another in 45 since they seem to run just fine like yours. Enjoy it!


11:55 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Action magic is a great lube, but I haven't seen it do anything other lubes could not do.

Ballistol is some of the slickeriest stuff I've ever come across.

4:04 PM  
Anonymous SantaFe66 said...

Xavier: Your lube comments are right on. I've been using something I got with my shotshell reloader called STOS. It's very good and doesn't ooze out. The abbreviations stand for "Slicker Than Owl S**T", and it is.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Firehand said...

Mine is from back when it was the Kimber Compact. I got the aluminum-frame version, and I love it.

I've never had a failure of any kind that could be blamed on the gun. Had some handloads that were a bit light, it turned out, so I just considered them good FTF practice.

It shot low, too. After several range sessions to make sure it wasn't me, I filed a bit off the top of the front sight, then hit it with cold blue. At least it was cold blue until I refinished it with Moly-Resin a while back due to considerable holster wear.

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I seldom respond to blogs, but this one....
I own a Kimber CDP Compact 1st model. Same principle for barrel-slide locking as your Pro Carry. Keep shooting it. Lots. More ammo the better and the gun will start to shoot to point of aim. It needs to be broken in. Mine started to straighten out it's act at around 500 rounds. It was a heck of a job, but I struggled through it.

The advice on lubing the Kimber aluminum frames is spot on. Unless you run a lot of junk ammo, they will run on and on without malfunction when lubed as you stated.

As for reliability, if the headstamp says 45 Auto or 45 ACP, my CDP feeds it and sends the bullets to the same location out to 50 yd. Boring, if you ask me.

All told it's my favorite carry 45.

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Xavier,

Any thoughts on the SIS family, and specifically the Ultra SIS? I've been a Sig guy for sometime and love them. I recently discovered Kimber and really like the way they feel and fire. Any coments on the contrast/comparision between Sig and Kimber?



11:13 PM  
Anonymous Bob E said...

I have recently purchased a crimson pro carry 11 kimber .45. I have shot about 550 rounds of 230 grain ball ammo through it and have never had a misfire or misfeed. I love the gun however I am trying to get down the accuracy abit....A question for anyone out there----- how far can a 4 inch .45 shoot? is 25 yards possible? I am pretty consistant at 10 yards at a paper plate.

3:25 PM  

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