Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kimber Super Carry Pro .45 ACP

In my realm of shooting handguns and writing about shooting handguns there are seasons of the monsoon and seasons of drought.  By that I mean there are times when I have the opportunity to shoot more new handguns than I have time to write about, this would be the monsoon.  But there are also long periods of drought when there is nothing new that I can afford, nothing new in the rental case at the range, nothing new that my friends have acquired, and just simply nothing new coming into the guns shops.  During the monsoon season I try to at least photograph the handguns and targets that I don't have time to write about and save them for the drought season.  The only problem is that much of the time when the drought hits I go back and look at the cataloged photos and cannot remember what I liked and disliked about those firearms or at least I can't remember enough to write anything interesting. 

Knowing that I wanted to hold something back to write about while recovering from shoulder surgery I selected the one pistol that I knew I could never forget about, the Kimber Super Carry Pro.  Now, before I go any further I know, from reading their comments on various handgun forums, that there is a contingent of the population who strongly dislikes Kimber and their pistols.  With a broad brush they paint a picture of extreme reliability issues.  To them I would say: "Don't bother to write me because I am not going to post your comments".  Since 2003 I have owned 7 other Kimber pistols in a wide variety of lengths (2 Ultra length, 3 Pro length, and 2 full-sized pistols) and have never had a moment of problem with them.  Because of the tight tolerances on which they are built the Kimber 1911's require a lengthy break-in period.  I believe that the Kimber manual on most of mine have stated that 700 need to be fired to consider it properly broken in.  I know that's a lot, but it's the price you pay for Kimber level accuracy and the tight tolerance required break-in period is standard for just about every premium 1911 on the market.  That being said I have never had to hit the 700 round mark to gain full reliability.  I think many of the nay-sayers just haven't given their Kimber the full number of break-in rounds before throwing in the towel.  

But let's get back to this marvelous pistol.  The Kimber Super Carry is an attractive pistol with a black Kim Pro II finish on the stainless steel slide which is masterfully married to the matte silver Aluminum frame.  However, the first thing you'll likely notice is the rounded mainspring housing at the heel of the pistol grip.

This drew me to the pistol like a moth to a light bulb.  This is the perfect evolution of the Bobtail Cut that Ed Brown pioneered about a decade ago.  The angular Bobtail Cut was then licensed to other manufacturers and began to show up on NightHawk and Dan Wesson pistols.  Even Wilson licensed the design for a year or so.   The rounded grip profile on the Super Carry is less likely to print through your cover garment and  is also less likely to catch on your outer garment when drawing the pistol from concealment. It also makes the already ergonomically friendly 1911 grips feel even better in your hand and, as Mike Meyer's alter ego "Fat Bastard" says in the "Austin Powers" films, it's "dead sexy".

The grips are made of a wood and Micarta laminate and although I don't completely understand their construction, the execution is magnificent.  Frequently I will determine that I need to make an upgrade on the grips of a newly acquired 1911 but I would not touch the grips on the Super Carry.  The wood and Micarta laminate look fantastic, they feel terrific, and they helped keep the pistol anchored in hand during shooting.

Along with the contoured grip frame Kimber has also performed a "carry melt" treatment to round off any squared or sharp edges on the pistol to enhance the concealment, drawing, and handling capabilities of the pistol.
 (Note the rounded contours along where the top strap meets the side of the frame.  The rear sights also show that the sharp edges have been rounded off)

As seen in the third photo (above) the standard slide serrations have been replaced with an attractive fish scale or snake skin pattern.  This unusual pattern has also been adapted for the back strap:

The front strap

And Top Strap

Also atop the slide are a set of Meprolight night sights.  Although nicely rounded the rear sight does sport the cocking shelf (see third photo from the top) that Kimber first began putting on their now discontinued SIS model.

Checking under the hood found a match-grade 4 inch bushingless barrel hand-fitted to the slide.  The traditional "Commander length" pistol has a barrel of 4.25 inch to which I say "why"?  I have no idea of Colt's reasoning when they decided to make a smaller, easier to carry 1911, and determined the correct way to do it was to lop 3/4 of an inch off the barrel of their 5 inch barreled 1911 Government model.  I have always wondered why not just take an inch off and make it that much more easier to conceal and carry.  Regardless, Kimber has remedied my concern by putting a 4 inch barrel on their "Commander Length" Pro Series pistols. Also looking under the hood revealed my one and only complaint; the full length guide rod.  There is no evidence around that indicates that a full length guide rod provides greater reliability or accuracy.  There is however, plenty of anecdotal evidence that indicates that the full length guide rod makes it more difficult to take apart.

Time for Targets

If you like to shoot one ragged holes in your targets a quality 1911 like the Kimber Super Carry is the answer to your desires.

This is the first 5 rounds fired through the Super Carry. The load is MagTech 230 grain ball ammo fired at 21 feet:

Next I loaded up two magazines and let 16 rounds fly at the same distance:

I only had one brand of defensive ammo with me that day and it was a good one: Hornady TAP 230 grain +P JHP ammo and it was so much fun I parted with a full box of 25 rounds

Not having an extended time to spend with the Super Carry I wanted to move straight out to 25 yards and see how I fared with it.  I am not a good shot beyond 45 feet so 75 is always a stretch.

So here's 25 rounds of MagTech ammo at 75 feet:

And another 75 foot target shot at with 33 rounds:

The pistol is competition capable, the shooter (me) is not.  However man sized targets would be in danger.

Every shooter ought to have a really nice 1911 in their battery.  The Kimber Super Carry (which will set you back anywhere from $1,200 to $1,500 bucks) is about as nice as you can get without going to the boutique production houses and paying a minimum of $2,200 to $3,000 for a similar pistol.  I wish that you all would find a really nice 1911 in your Christmas stocking this year.


Farman said...

Great article and advice. I am going to go to my local buscuit store and pick up the Super Carry Pro I have on lay away for my lady's Christmas present. She is a Texan and really wanted her Kimber! My Uncle has the same Kimber and loves it! Some of the reviews I have read were like you said (negative) but after reading this I feel confident in getting this Kimber! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The rounded mainspring is a cool idea. 700 recommended breakin seems a little bizarre as a recommendation even if its not needed. Kahrs are tight and they only recommend 4 boxes. Kimber ought to back off their tolerances a ten thousandths of an inch which might also lower the price a couple hunderd plus reduce the recommended breakin to 7 boxes. Still a really nice looking 1911 with a lot of custom features for half or less the custom price. I'll put one on my list but for now my next .45 acp is most likely a Sig P220 Equinox.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more...I have an Ultra Carry II with about 200 rounds through it and have Never had the slightest problem. I waited 4 months for the gun and am very glad I had the patience to not buy something else.

Anonymous said...

Mine shoots great and feels good to carry. My only complaint is the paper clip take down tool. If Kimber would get rid of this it would be so much easier to take apart. Have seen and shot some bad Kimbers, but this is not one of them. Very comfortable to shot and carry.

Anonymous said...

Lengthy break in periods are not the answer. From my experience shooting till I have some confidence in the gun then practice immediate action drills frequently. In aviation one learns quickly that preflighting multiple times prior to a mission does not guarantee anything. I have a couple hundred rounds through my new Super Carry Pro. It is replacing a Nighthawk Custom Talon II. My other current Kimber is a Ultra CDP II CT. I love both weapons. I have been spoiled by carrying their alloy frames. I have faith in them and my training. I will never trust any gun without me spending some time training with it. Everyone on the internet has their oppinion. Unfortunately Kimber does not get to do a competency check prior to someone purchasing their pistols. Last I checked Wilson Combat and Nighthawk Customs still have their customer support personnel. They expect issues and will work to resolve them. Kimber does the same for less than half the price.

Unknown said...

I am far from a pistol expert, but love the well built Kimber and don't mind spending a several trips to the range breaking in a well built new pistol.

I am the odd man out because I even like the paperclip spring lock. Inlaws have cheaper 1911s and I like the reliability of the lock. If needed, I admit you would have a tough time in the field without a tool to lock the spring!!

Anonymous said...

I personally own the Kimber Ultra Carry II and absolutely love it. I have put 3000+ rounds through the weapon since Jan 1. with no misfires. Also, the paper clip tool is not needed to break done the gun. For some reason there was not one in my box when I bought it. I have taken the gun apart after every trip to the range and have had no problems at all. However, tool would probably make the process a little smoother.

Anonymous said...

Got my super carry pro on cabelas gun site used slightly and came with CC LAZER GRIPS and four extra wilson mags for a super price and really like the gun and its looks.Replaced the springs in the gun for my own bench mark and fired about 300 rounds with no problems.Got a crossbreed holster for carry and works better then great.Got a .22 slide kit for it and fired 500 rounds through it with maybe 2 non fires.Save alot of money shooting the .22s and working on the prsentation.Glad to have a Kimber.

Unknown said...

I just picked up the Master Cary Pro and so far the biggest problem I've had so far is carrying it concealed. Yup thats right , its a bit*h to carry concealed ... Why ? 'cause every time you see somebody you know you wanna pull it out & show off. It comes with the crimson trace laser grips, and as I found out (to late) you can also get the green trace. These are zeroed in @ 50 ft but you can make adjustments as you wish. I tried to make a swap in grips with CT but they won't hear of it (pistols less than a month old) Oh well for me . This pistol is --> SMOOTH. I can't think of a better pistol to buy without spending THOUSANDS of dollars more

Joe T's Blog said...

What a great article! Very well written! I have four Kimbers and a total of 5 1911's so far. The Super Carry Pro is by far my favorite. I feel the same about tje grips. I bought some black VZ's for it before it came in and cannot take the original grips off it. I have not started my Custom collection as of yet but when I do my Super Carry will not have to hide. It is a beauty.