With so many states now allowing concealed carry, there seems to be an increasing number of folks opting into the fraternity of the Second Amendment. There is one near constant making itself evident with relation to these folks—new concealed carriers normally choose a large handgun. As the real world necessity of carrying and concealing a large, heavy, bulky object sets in, only the most dedicated will press on. Most new concealed carriers will then go with a smaller handgun. At least it means they are still armed, but it can potentially bring with it a set of problems.
In some instances, smaller will mean less effective because of caliber and/or increased difficulty to shoot. The truly dedicated carriers choose the most effective handgun they can carry/conceal and practice to master it. The deeper concealment one desires, the more critical the design of the handgun. Sharp edges or snag points need not apply. Thankfully, there are companies that understand these nuances and know how to design firearms that negate or minimize these issues.
Note the that the 3˝ barrel of the pistol is bushingless, and a full-length guide rod system helps prevent binding of the recoil spring.
For 2010, Kimber has added a few new touches to their enduring Ultra RCP II (Refined Carry Pistol), a pistol designed for 1911 fans who need to downsize as much as possible while retaining the .45 ACP cartridge. The RCP II, like all Kimber Ultras, has a bobbed steel slide, compact frame machined from a solid brick of 7075-T7 aluminum with a high cut under the triggerguard, lowered and flared ejection port, burr hammer, 3-inch match grade bull barrel over a full-length guide rod, nicely beveled magazine well, and incorporates the Schwartz safety system. And like all Kimber Ultras, in a nod to how finicky some small 1911s can be, the barrel is ramped and the spring is a stout 18 pounder. The first virtually eliminates failures to feed, while the second increases the slide cycle time to allow time for cartridges to rise in the magazine for feeding.
However, that’s where the “like all Kimber Ultras” comparisons end. The RCP is a product of the Custom Shop, where all of its building occurs. Lifting it from the polymer Kimber box, one is immediately struck by all the concealed carry-oriented touches that have been added to the RCP.
Perhaps the first to be noticed is the absence of traditional sights. In their place is a long “sighting trough” that is somewhat reminiscent of the sight used on the ASP pistol originally produced five decades ago. Unlike the ASP, whose Guttersnipe sight used a square trough in a rear sight block extending less than half the length of the slide, the RCP uses a U-shaped trough covering the slide’s full length. At the trough’s rear, just above the firing pin stop, is a small block of metal with the trough continuing through it. It allows the “II” safety system to be used on the RCP.
The next thing noticed would probably be how smooth the RCP’s exterior feels to the hand. Edges are gently broken almost everywhere, in Kimber’s Carry Melt form. The only sharp spot left is the right, top edge of the ejection port. I don’t know if this was intentional, but in the absence of any sights, this point can, with practice, be used to rack the slide with one hand.
The aforementioned burr hammer is smaller, not the typical elongated hammer I have seen on Kimbers in the past. Cocked, the hammer nestles nicely in the abbreviated and rounded high ride beavertail grip safety. The thumb safety is bobbed and rounded, giving it a GI (circa WWII) profile. The magazine release is smooth and beveled at the front. These ministrations are to keep the RCP svelte.
A black, solid aluminum trigger with overtravel adjustment drops the hammer when 4.5 pounds of pressure is applied. The flat mainspring housing is smooth, unadorned in any way, and rounded slightly to mate with Kimber’s Round Heel frame. The RCP’s Round Heel effect is less pronounced than that found on larger models. Vertical ball-milled serrations about 1/8 of an inch wide are found on the frontstrap and the thin rosewood grips, which are also new for this year. These vertical serrations certainly look good and should preclude any pesky clothing snagging from checkering. Finally, black KimPro II premium finish is applied to the RCP’s slide and charcoal gray KimPro II to the frame. The result is a good-looking combination with self-lubricating properties that protects as well.
The RCP has more than enough accuracy to handle the typical defensive encounter—if there is such a thing. I took a few warm-up shots just to get the feel of the sights before I began serious testing. From a bench rest, using five different loads, I was able to put 5 rounds into a 2.11-inch group or less, at 15 yards. Not too shabby. I experienced nary a bobble or choke using the magazine that accompanied the RCP, nor any of the other brands of short magazines I had on hand.
Aiding in this bench accuracy was the size of the target dot I used, which fortuitously fit the trough exactly. I pushed the target back to 25 yards and the resulting groups hopped into the 6-inch range, partially due to the smaller appearance of the dot. At 15 yards the groups were about 2 inches low, increasing to about 4 inches at 25 yards.
Of course, the RCP is designed to carry concealed and be produced when a threat presents itself. I decided to push the RCP through a few exercises and see just how far I could take this trough-sighted pistol.
In a true “don’t judge a book by its cover” ending, I quickly discovered the RCP came on target snappily, with little sight adjustment required to drop the bullets where they would do the most good. I worked on shots to center of mass and head, with double and triple taps. I even included shooting on the move, and found the RCP more than capable of handling it all. Recoil was as I expected, but I found the vertical serrations surprisingly effective in recoil control.
During another range trip, I turned the RCP over to friend William Obryant for his examination. A long-time Kimber fan, he had been salivating since I first mentioned the Kimber Ultra RCP II was on its way. William put the diminutive RCP through its paces, with and without a Crimson Trace Lasergrip I added. When the smoke cleared, he too pronounced the RCP a winner.
All the features of the Kimber Ultra RCP II make it quite easy to carry. No doubt it can be easily adapted to your choice of covert carrying methods. Pocket, belt, shoulder, or ankle, there is a bounty of holsters out there offered for a 3-inch 1911 and each should work well for the RCP. I asked the nice folks at Galco Gunleather to send me a couple of samples sized for the RCP. They sent their N3 and Ultimate Second Amendment (U.S.A.) holsters, and a Horizontal Magazine Carrier (HMC).
Constructed of premium saddle leather with Galco’s gorgeous black finish on it, the N3 utilizes an offset belt loop for comfort, a reinforced mouth for ease of reholstering, and detailed molding and precise fit to secure the RCP. It includes a sweat shield to protect the wearer and pistol. The N3 wore well and presented the RCP smoothly.
To take advantage of the RCP’s even deeper concealment potential, the horsehide U.S.A. is an excellent option. The rough-out IWB holster uses Galco’s tuckable J-Hook, which secures the holster with only a small piece of the hook showing on the belt. An outer shirt can be tucked between the hook and the belt concealing the RCP completely. This design is comfortable, thanks to the RCP’s size and weight, and fast to present the pistol. As for the HMC, I found it an effective way to conceal a magazine. It also was quick to use.
While it might not win a precision slow-fire match, the RCP has enough accuracy to handle those problems life may toss your way and it packs my favorite caliber, the .45 ACP.
If your lifestyle precludes a full-size pistol and you are looking for an ultra compact 1911 that can be carried just about anywhere, the Kimber Ultra RCP II might be in your future. With its size and all its refinements, the RCP is perfect for those who use traditional or deeper concealed carry methods, something larger pistols cannot boast. The RCP has all the reliability one would expect from Kimber’s Custom Shop. Easy on the hands, eyes, and clothing, the RCP lives up to its name as the Refined Carry Pistol.