Beauty may only be skin deep, but when it’s a Kimber that’s good enough—because everything underneath is already perfect. A terrific example is the new Classic Carry Pro, a Commander-sized .45 ACP that builds on the already established Kimber reputation for manufacturing some of the finest Model 1911 pistols in the 100-plus-year history of the design. The new Classic Carry Pro is handcrafted in the Kimber Custom Shop, so every feature is honed to perfection. These include the 4-inch bushingless match-grade bull barrel, deep serrated flattop slide, lowered and flared ejection port, lightweight custom trigger, ambidextrous thumb safeties, oversized beavertail, plus skeletonized and serrated hammer. But that’s just the operative end. The finish is what adds “Classic” to this gun’s name. Charcoal blued by the craftsmen at Turnbull Restoration, the Classic Carry Pro shines like a show gun. The finish is combined with a contoured round heel frame, hand gripping 24 line-per-inch checkering on the frontstrap, and serrated lower gripstrap—all dramatically set off by a pair of polished, hand-fitted bone grips locked down with blued hex-head screws. Any better looking and you’d be afraid to shoot it. But that is what the Classic Carry Pro is meant to do.
Behind The Looks
Behind all the good looks is a solid Kimber with a solid aluminum match-grade trigger, factory rated at 4 to 5 pounds. The test gun dropped the hammer at a consistent 4.3-pound trigger pull. The low-profile dovetailed three-dot rear and front tritium night sights—the rear with a “cocking shoulder” suitable for cycling the slide against a hard surface—align the 4-inch barrel on target under any lighting condition. Getting a solid sight picture is no problem with this 1911, day or night. The round heel frame, another popular custom feature on many 1911s, makes the Classic Carry Pro that much easier to conceal, and the oversized beavertail and easily activated ambidextrous thumb safeties enhance its handling characteristics. The Classic Carry Pro is as smooth to operate as a full competition pistol, only this one is meant for duty use where the competition tends to shoot back.
The Kimber is no lightweight and tips the scales at a robust 35 ounces. And, being a Commander-sized 1911, it has substantial muzzle rise even with Kimber’s full-length guide rod and hefty 22-pound recoil spring. Being a 1911 at heart, the Custom Carry Pro has all of the Colt’s inherent operational vices, but Kimber has managed to temper them all through hand-fitting each gun; the frame and slide are matched up early in production, with the slide having “Frenched” or beveled shoulders where it overlaps the frame to produce a smoother contour; from this point the frame and slide remain together throughout the entire custom shop process so that all parts are integrated and fitted specifically to that gun. Kimber never assembles or produces guns with parts that come out of a parts bin; everything is hand-fitted.
The Custom Carry Pro uses a skeletonized and serrated hammer based on the famous Kimber SIS models built for the L.A.P.D. Special Investigation Section’s elite tactical detective squad. This is a differently shaped hammer that does not extend quite as far but is designed for ease of cocking, even when wearing tactical gloves. Same for the micrometer-perfect 24-line-per-inch checkering on the frontstrap that grips firmly against skin or tactical gloves, and the Kimber’s center of balance puts the weight firmly in the middle of the shooting hand. For accuracy with a fixed sight 1911 you can’t ask for more. It all comes down to shooter skills because this handcrafted gun is up to the task. And for slightly over $2,000, it should be.
Tests were done from a measured distance of 25 yards, fired from a rested position using a two-handed hold. To give the Kimber an adequate workout three different types of high-performance defensive ammunition were evaluated with the gun. The first was hard-hitting Winchester PDX-1 Defender 230-grain JHP, which traveled downrange at an average of 870 feet per second (fps) clocked by a ProChrono chronograph 15 feet from the muzzle. Second was, what is in my opinion, one of the best self-defense rounds available, the Hornady Critical Defense 185-grain FTX. It left the Kimber’s match-grade bull barrel at 965 fps. Third was CorBon 185-grain DPX +P, which went smoking downrange at just under 1,000 fps with an average speed of 970 fps.
The most manageable and accurate load was the Hornady FTX, which after getting the gun’s point-of-aim nailed down, delivered a best five rounds measuring 1.25 inches with two overlapping at 25 yards. All hits were in the 10- and X-ring at 12 o’clock. CorBon returned a slightly wider group measuring 1.50 inches with two overlapping in the 10- and X-ring at 4 o’clock. Results with the new 230-grain Winchester PDX-1 bonded jacketed hollow point ammunition, a bullet design based on stopping power and programmed expansion upon impact, delivered both a resounding kick and reasonably tight groupings placing five rounds at 1.75 inches in the 9-ring at 1 o’clock. Considering the distance, fixed sights and 4-inch barrel length, these are very good results. At closer combat and self-defense ranges of 50 feet or less, the Kimber should easily produce 1-inch groups.
The Classic Carry Pro is made in the Kimber Custom Shop (which is marked on the left side of the slide) and will remain a staple of the Kimber line for the foreseeable future, rather than being a limited-edition model. The origin of the Classic Carry Pro is the Kimber Royal II, a Government Model with the all upgrades and Turnbull deluxe finish. With the popularity of that model, it became logical to make a shorter Commander-sized version and as the round heel feature came into the Kimber line, it made sense to add that feature as well—so the gun has the benefit of every advance Kimber has made in 1911 design engineering. The Custom Carry Pro is not only one of the finest .45 ACP pistols you will find but an elegant, perfectly balanced pistol embodying all of the best characteristics and features of the Model 1911 rolled into a new carry/fighting pistol. For more information call 888-243-4522 or visit kimberamerica.com.