Kimber Pro Carry II 9mm final review

Time for the final review of the Kimber Pro Carry II in 9mm. I actually ended up liking this gun quite a bit, and as a carry gun it has a lot going for it. Final score: 90/100

One of the things I failed to mention in the video, and something that will actually need to be addressed on the gun itself is that the factory sights are off – at 25 yards I need to hold the left edge of the C-zone on a standard USPSA target to get hits in the center of the A-zone. This is the kind of thing that rather bugs me on a factory gun, especially a carry gun. I want it to at least shoot to the sights in terms of windage. Elevation is another story because some guns are set up for six o’clock and some aren’t, but having the windage off out of the box is annoying.

However, I don’t want that to take away from the gun itself, and the fact that after a rocky start it ended up with a decent score of 90 points out of 100. One thing I do want to explain is why passing the re-test of the 10-8 Performance Test after the break-in period only restored 5 points instead of the full 10.

The 10-8 Performance Test is designed to test a 1911’s general function and more importantly it’s extraction/ejection function. Failing the test means the gun’s not set up correctly. My theory is that the Kimber is over-sprung and needed some time for the recoil spring to wear in a bit before it worked correctly. But failing the test is still an automatic -10, and even though it passed after the break in period, it still needs to lose points for not being 100% ready to party out of the box. Because that’s my expectation – if I was a consumer and paid over $1,000 for a gun that didn’t work immediately out of the box, I’d be cross.

Now before you think this is a bashing session (and before Kimber gets mad at me) I ended up really liking the gun. Of the 1911s I’ve had complete the test protocol, it’s absolutely my favorite one to actually carry. The Rock Island is my favorite to shoot, but this one by far is the best carry gun. It’s light, it conceals easily, and seeing as it’s been over 90 degrees the last week, it’s was nice not strapping on a huge, all steel pants-anchor.

Bottom line: would I carry the Kimber? Yes, I absolutely would. With a score of 90/100 I’d even say that if you want a 9mm 1911 for carry, I’d be relatively comfortable recommending this gun. I’d caveat that you need to be patient and work out any bugs that may be in the gun before you use it as a go-to for EDC however.

Final Score: 90/100


  1. I generally think like you, that for semi-automatics in defensive calibers or for carry, ideally they should run right out of the box, but have settled on 200 rounds, after locking the slide back for a week and leaving magazines filled for a week. That is after an initial 50 round test. This period should also include a lot of dry fire practice. With modern pistols, 500 rounds for break in strikes me as a bit excessive, especially for a custom or semi-custom pistol.

  2. Yay, comments!

    First off, it certainly seems as though you’re having fun, and I think that communicates in positive ways to the viewership. Seeing these tests and drills such as the 10-8 test, Dot Torture, Bill Drills, etc. happen has been awesome.

    I think that 90/100 is a great score for the Kimber, a fair score for the performance delivered, and that it appears to be a gun worth carrying. The lighweight, 4-inch slide in 9mm is intriguing as a type for a carry gun, and hearing you describe how pleasant the gun is to carry is appreciated. I see your point about the sights, but at least the sights aren’t 3-white-dot, or plastic bucket-and-ball.

    I’m not a fan of “break-in periods”. I’ve only owned a few guns (only 2 handguns that were factory-new), and I am suspicious of the concept. OTOH, though, I am a very big believer in owner’s manuals and factory recommendations, and Kimber says “500 round break-in”, and that break-in transformed this gun from something concerning into an awesome carry piece.

    I think I’ll conclude that if the manual says “break-in period” and the the gun does really run like this Kimber did after the break-in period, no harm, no worries, no foul, happy times. Would still prefer if it didn’t need it, though.

    But if there’s no manufacturer-recommended break-in and the gun doesn’t work well with quality ammo and mags from the beginning, I won’t be so thrilled. I think I’d still put ~500 through it to see, but again, that wouldn’t be a happy experience.

    I think that the concern is throwing good time and money after bad when it’s a problem that could be addressed, that shooting it won’t address. I have a .22 1911 that had the 4-piece sear spring interfere with the disconnector, and that wouldn’t “break-in”. I have a 5″ 10mm with insanely high extractor tension that “break-in” would also do nothing for. But 500 rounds made the Kimber sing, just like the factory said it would.

    Finally, given your concerns about the recoil spring weight, I’d be very curious to see how a lighter ISMI/Wolff spring would be for the gun. It would take discipline on my part to not go that route during the first 500 if I had the experiences that you did, but again, you showed the value in following manufacturer’s recommendations.

    I wonder how many of these 9mm 1911s Gun Nuts is hanging on to? I’d be curious to know what would happen if you took some fixed dollar amount $300-$500 and applied it to each of the guns to address the things about them that you found most noticeable, and see what that does to the gun. What would the Kimber be like with high-vis sights and grip texture? What would the Taurus be like with a fitted WC Bulletproof extractor and ejector?

    This review is the best look at a sub-caliber, sub 5″ Kimber that I could imagine. Without it, I would not be confident in such a pistol. With it, I feel much better informed. I’m pleased to see you pleased with the gun.

    1. . . . But 500 rounds made the Kimber sing, just like the factory said it would.

      Right there is part of my objection to a factory recommended break-in period for a carry gun. Depending on the caliber, this could work out to a de facto surcharge of $100 or more for the buyer to make the gun run as it should right out of the box. Especially for a custom or semi-custom pistol. What if Kimber had recommended 1,000 or more rounds? C. J. Daniel’s article decried the practice of some buyers not shooting, checking/breaking in a carry gun and buyers would be foolish not to test. Where is the line drawn between a reasonable testing period and excessive? Is it variable, depending on a gun’s purchase price or intended use?

    1. FWIW, the Wilson has gone through 400 rounds now since taking it out of the box without any malfunctions of any type.

      1. Which if you ask me is how it should be. Also mirrors the performance of Tim’s Wilson, and the Dan Wesson I’ve got.

  3. Wilson recommends a 300-500 round break-in, and also fires the gun approximately 100 times before shipping.

    In the case of Wilson, the claim is that the gun is fitted tightly enough that it takes that many rounds for the gun to achieve its final fir, which then lasts for most of the lifespan of the gun. I’ve heard and read that this is common in “hard-fit” 1911s, or other pistols with large steel bearing/locking surfaces. I haven’t owned such a gun, so no personal experience like that, but I note that the Gun Nuts Wilson 9mm didn’t have malfunctions in its first 300-500 rounds,

    The Kimber seems like its break-in was a matter of spring tension and possibly also included lock-up. I wonder what the length and spring constant of that recoil spring was when new, after 500 rounds, and after 2,000 rounds. Did the spring’s tension decrease linearly into a good operational envelope and keep going down or stay flat there? Was it something non-linear? What would happen with a factory new spring after it shot 2,000 rounds? It works now, and the factory’s guidelines yielded a reliable instrument. Internal engineering is typically closely held, so I would be surprised to see further detail from Kimber on exactly why the break-in period exists.

    I think that the reasonable/excessive line depends on intended use more than purchase price, and I think that will vary from person to person. If you’re planning to shoot the gun frequently, the “break-in” period would go quickly, and any malfunctions occurring after that time would be cause for corrective action. OTOH, there’s folks who buy guns and don’t shoot 500 rounds out of them in years (not that I find that a good idea for a defensive firearm…) Those folks would be ill served by a gun that needed a break-in.

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