Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Kimber Sapphire Ultra Carry 9mm


Oh, how I love the Kimber brand of 1911s.  I hear a lot of flack directed their way via the inter web and mostly voiced by people who have never shot one and a few who put a couple of rounds through a friend's pistol.  I have never had a problem with Kimber 1911s and have owned more than I can remember.

Kimber's lower priced models begin around $800 and those prices escalate to around $2,000 for their pistols with greater handcrafted customization.  The Sapphire is about $1600.00 therefore it is a very Un-Average Joe type pistol, but everyone deserves a BBQ, Sunday go-to-meeting pistol.



I apologize for not having photos that are up to my expectation but the finish on this pistol is so reflective that every photo I took had a reflection of me, my camera, or the lights in my light box lights in them.  The ones chosen have the least amount reflected items in them.

So let's delve into the specifications of the Sapphire pistol.  The Sapphire is basically a special edition of the Kimber Aegis pistol.  It's 6.8 inches in length with a 3 inch barrel.  It's 4.75 inches in height with a width of 1.15 inches and a weight of 25 ounces.  There's checkering on the front strap of the aluminum frame, tactical wedge night sights on top and blue/black G-10 thin grips.  
The butt of the grip has been slightly rounded to reduce the chance of the pistol printing through or hanging up on your cover garment.



The stainless steel slide, safety levers, hammer, and beavertail grip safety all sport a high polish blue Physical Vapor Deposition  (PVD) coating with scroll engraved boarders.  Wikipedia tells us that "Physical Vapor Deposition describes a variety of vacuum deposition methods used to deposit thin fils by the condensation of a vaporized form of the desired film material on various workpiece surfaces.  The coating method involves purely physical processes such has high-temperature vacuum evaporate with subsequent condensation, or plasma sputter bombardment rather than involving a chemical reaction at the surface to be coated as in chemical vapor deposition.  PVD coatings are sometimes harder and more corrosion resistant than coatings applied by the electroplating process. Most coatings have high temperature and good impact strength, excellent abrasion resistance and are so durable that protective topcoats are almost never necessary."

The PVD process is used on semiconductors, precision cutting tools, precision watches, automobile bumpers, surgical equipment and firearms.


The other thing the coating does is round off edges.  This is no problem on the magazine release button but your thumb can slip off the the slide release, safety and the slide serrations.  But let's face it, this pistol is a safe queen, not an everyday carry piece.

However, it does shoot.  Here are two targets at 21 feet from two different shooting sessions"
The ammunition used in all of the shooting was MagTech 115 grain full-metal jacket.

Here's 10 rounds fired from 30 feet.

24 rounds fired at 35 feet.

And 50 rounds fired at 50 feet.

This is a good pistol but has limited appeal.  Some will not like the finish and it is difficult to keep it fingerprint free.  Some don't like 3 inch 1911's which is a category I usually fall into.  Some will feel that a 1911 chambered in anything other than .45 ACP is sacrilege which is a category I don't fall into.  And for most the price tag is out of budgetary range.  But there will be some, like me, who see this pistol as a work of art.

8 comments:

Julie Ann said...

It's my new dream pistol! I am selling everything that's not bolted down to get it......anyone interested in a Sole F80 Treadmill?

Anonymous said...

I bought one. The 3 inch is a pain to break down and clean. Much harder than the 4.

Pah Tryk said...

just wondering how the finish on the sapphire held up after a while.
I would assume that it scratches easy especially going in an out of a holster.

Anonymous said...

Seems you did not read the whole article. I think that was covered here: "The stainless steel slide, safety levers, hammer, and beavertail grip safety all sport a high polish blue Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) coating with scroll engraved boarders. Wikipedia tells us that "Physical Vapor Deposition describes a variety of vacuum deposition methods used to deposit thin fils by the condensation of a vaporized form of the desired film material on various workpiece surfaces. The coating method involves purely physical processes such has high-temperature vacuum evaporate with subsequent condensation, or plasma sputter bombardment rather than involving a chemical reaction at the surface to be coated as in chemical vapor deposition. PVD coatings are sometimes harder and more corrosion resistant than coatings applied by the electroplating process. Most coatings have high temperature and good impact strength, excellent abrasion resistance and are so durable that protective topcoats are almost never necessary."

The PVD process is used on semiconductors, precision cutting tools, precision watches, automobile bumpers, surgical equipment and firearms.

The other thing the coating does is round off edges. This is no problem on the magazine release button but your thumb can slip off the the slide release, safety and the slide serrations. But let's face it, this pistol is a safe queen, not an everyday carry piece."

Jerome Johnson said...

Forget the Ultra. Go with superior Pro II. It has a a 4" bbl full size grip frame. Very comfortable to shoot. Easy to control even with +P loads. My wife loves hers. Of course she likes my full size .45acp (Eclipse Target II) with 230gr +Ps. The Sapphire Pro II is built like a Sherman tank only easier to carry.

Anonymous said...

Nice post, thanks Joe!
I am desperately waiting for my Sapphire Pro II to come in... Will post some review too as soon as I have got a few rounds through it, and I have shot a couple of nice pics ;-)
Cheers,
Damo

analyze_this said...

Great review, small correction about PVD.

PVD does not add any appreciable thickness. Typical PVD material thickness is 1 to 5 microns, which is less than the deformation of the substrate material when squeezing with a dial caliper to measure the thickness.

Likely what you have experienced in slipping off the safety is simply that the lever was polished prior to the PVD process. PVD does not change the surface finish either, you can see that on the brushed sides of the slide versus the polish of the beavertail safety grip and thumb safety.

MikeM said...

Is there any word on the time limit or number of production? and will they be appreciable as collectors? I'm wondering because a friend just bought one but she is looking at it more as an un-shot collectible. I told her it's collectible worth would be dependent on the numbers produced. Any collectors out there that can affirm or correct me on this?