The Kimber Pro Carry II (PCII) is a classic compact 1911 pistol designed for concealed carry. At first glance, this PCII has the excellent fit and finish you would expect from quality Kimber 1911 handguns. It is a beautiful pistol with the classic 1911 style. But, I was anxious to shoot it and to test and evaluate it against my criteria to see if it and its 4-inch barrel would work for concealed carry.
Initially, I want to present the specifications and features of the Kimber Pro Carry II (PCII) 4-inch 9mm. Next, I will give my ten criteria and range test results and my opinions for it to help you analyze your handguns and make the best selection for yourself. You can add or subtract from my criteria to meet your needs and preferences. Below, I’ll also suggest a quality, custom holster with premium leather and durable kydex holster that I like. And I’ll also suggest some nylon-coated, lead-free 9mm ammo that works very well in this pistol.
Know that I am not on the Kimber America payroll, have not been paid or compensated by them in any form for this review, and not given any gratuities nor influenced to say certain things about the pistol. I want to be as objective as possible, honest and straight-forward with my opinions and ideas the way I see the pistol to sincerely help folks. Also, please know that manufacturers do not buy advertising on my personal website. I have even turned down several guns to review, because of data indicating the gun may be unreliable, had several recalls, accuracy problems, safety concern, etc. My goal is for a win-win-win result for all involved, especially to help my readers and followers.
I was very anxious to shoot the Kimber Pro Carry II and to compare it factor by factor to my other quality compact 1911 9mms, to see how it compared. Based on my personal hands-on range test of the gun with my Concealed Carry Drill and my analysis, I want to give you my opinions with pros and cons and possible issues and/or concerns that would prevent me from carrying this gun or allow me to carry it. Is this a pistol I would recommend for Concealed Carry? Does it have any unique or special Features that make it stand apart from the usual 1911 compact 9mm? Are there any things I dislike about the pistol?
Kimber Pro Carry II Specifications
|Barrel||Match Grade; Stainless Steel; Bushingless; Ramped Bull|
|Sights||Fixed 3-Dot White; Low Profile; 5.7" Radius|
|Frame||Lightweight Aluminum- 7075-T7; Satin Silver Finish|
|Slide||Stainless Steel; Matte Black; Brushed-Polished|
|Trigger||Single Action; Match Grade; Solid Aluminum; Skeletonized|
|Trigger Press||4.25 pounds (as measured over 10 trials with my electronic trigger pull gauge) (little take-up-little creep)|
|Magazines||1 Mag; Stainless Steel; Single Stack; P/N:1100307A|
|Weight||28 oz; Empty Mag|
|Safeties||Manual Serrated Thumb Safety (Left-Side Only); Extended Beavertail Grip Safety; Firing Pin Safety|
|Grips||Rosewood: Checkered and Smooth Pattern|
|Warranty||Limited 1-Year Warranty from Date of Original New Purchase|
Kimber Pro Carry II Features
- Full-Length Guide Rod and 22-Pound Recoil Spring
- Back Strap/Mainspring Housing Checkering- 25 LPI
- Wide and Deep Rear-Slide Only Serrations to Enhance Grip
- Attractive Two-Tone Silver Stainless Steel and Matte Black Finish
- Tactical Skeletonized Hammer to Reduce Weight
- All Edges and Sights Smoothed and Rounded for Carry
- No Accessory Rail
- Slightly-Flared Magwell to Enhance Mag Changes
- Ejection Port is Lowered and Flared to Help With Cartridge Ejection
- Internal Extractor
- Visual Indicator Notch at Rear of Barrel for Chamber Loaded Status
- Extended and Checkered Magazine Release; Accepts Standard Mags
- Standard GI-Style Serrated Slide Stop
- Tight Slide-to-Frame fit with no Discernable Play
My Criteria and Considerations
Here are just ten of my criteria and factors I use for evaluating any handgun, so I will use them for the Kimber PCII 1911. In addition to my criteria, there are other subjective features that may be appealing for some, like smooth rounded corners, a certain style, mag release location, action, caliber, appearance, number of mags included, type of sights/modifications, bore axis, rail, grip angle, non-porting or porting, included extras like a holster and pouch, customer service, etc. So, I combined these into my last miscellaneous criterion. I must admit that all gun-choice decisions involve tradeoffs, but I really want all of my criteria to be met. I assigned a total possible point score of ten points for each of my ten criteria for a total possible score of 100 points. You can certainly add your own additional criteria, preferences or subtract any of mine. Here are mine for a sub-compact.
Kimber Pro Carry II General Impressions
The Kimber Pro Carry II is a quality 1911 gun with fine custom craftsmanship, very nice ergonomics and a reasonable price. The two-tone attractive and quality black finish on the slide blends very well with the silver frame. This Kimber Pro Carry II is coated with the durable and attractive KimPro II finish, including the slide. It has a very tight slide to frame to barrel fit. The grips are beautiful Rosewood with a checkerd and smooth pattern. The extended beavertail helps get a high grip for better control.
The standard Sights are fixed 3-Dot White. Given my color blindness and eye problems, I had to really focus and concentrate on seeing the Front sight. I wish the sights were night sights with a green tritium front.
The frame and slide have rounded and smooth edges which help with concealment, holstering, and concealed carry. The Magazine Release is extended and nicely checkered to help with mag release. The Slide Stop is also checkered. Overall, it has been designed, shaped and sized for optimal access and functions fine with attention to details. It has an Extended Beavertail Grip Safety which allows the shooter to get a high grip without interferring with slide operation.
It was easy to takedown this PCII 1911 9mm with the included “paper-clip-like” tool and there was no barrel bushing. It has a nice and thick and durable match-grade, Bull Barrel and a three-hole, curved skeletonized match-grade trigger with serrated front. The slide was easy for me to rack and the felt recoil and muzzle rise were very manageable.
This PCII 1911 shoots a soft-recoiling 9mm round which is easy to control, which makes for faster follow-up shots and more accurate strings of rapid-fire hits… which is critical in defensive shooting. With the lower-cost 9mm round that is easier and more comfortable to shoot, a major benefit (other than ballistics) is that you will train more with it.
Ammo for Testing and Evaluation
The PCII was tested firing 150 rounds of 1776 USA lead-free 90 grain ball ammo. It has 1,350 fps muzzle velocity, a muzzle energy of 364 ft lbs, a nylon-coated lead-free jacket, and brass casing. And I shot 50 rounds of SinterFire GreenLine frangible ammo (1,300 fps muzzle velocity) and 20 rounds of SinterFire Special Duty 100-grain lead-free hollow point rounds (405 fps muzzle energy & 1,250 fps muzzle velocity.) The PCII digested all ball and hollow point rounds very smoothly without any failures to feed or eject, no malfunctions or failures to fire, or any problems. I really like this ammo and the gun’s performance. Thank you to 1776 USA and SinterFire for providing me this fine Testing and Evaluation ball and hollow point ammo.
Kimber Pro Carry II Range Test and Results
I recommend shooting at least 500 rounds over a couple of days to break-in a pistol that I am considering for self defense… to be comfortable with its fit to my hands, handling, performance, reliability and accuracy. I wanted to see how the gun handled out-of-the-box without any modifications for both the hollow point and full metal jacket ball rounds. Recognize for this pistol review, I initially fired only about 220 rounds total to evaluate it. Practicing with quality ammo can involve a hefty price tag, but you need to do this regularly before you bet your life on a gun. At about 200 rounds for a lot of pistols, you might even notice a smoother and softer trigger press, like I did here. To decide if I would recommend the gun for carry or not, I must put sufficient rounds down range.
Would this compact 1911 Pro have inherent accuracy and be reliable and handle the various rounds without any malfunctions or stoppages? Is this 1911 pistol accurate out-of-the-box? I had to answer these two key questions, as well as other questions relating to my criteria. Below are my evaluations for each of my ten criteria for my concealed carry purpose. I wanted to put the gun through its paces with my concealed carry Drill with a mag change and check it thoroughly for malfunctions, stoppages, and performance with both JHP and FMJ rounds.
Although only one mag is included as standard with this gun, I was still able to use my usual timed test with a mag change for my Concealed Carry Drill testing, because I used another standard mag I had from one of my other Kimber 1911s. It worked just fine so I could do a mag change in my test. So, for your evaluation of any gun for carry purposes, I suggest that you use a timed test with a mag change to test any gun you are considering carrying for self defense. Another suggestion is to be sure and get a second magazine (at least two and three are preferable) for any personal protection handgun you use. The Kimber factory 9-round full-length 1911 Stainless Steel 9mm mag for this gun can be ordered for $55.95 and the Part Number is 1100307A.
I used my standard “Col. Ben’s Concealed Carry Drill” to test and evaluate the PCII, after I initially thoroughly cleaned it. You can use my Concealed Carry Drill to test and evaluate your handguns. I like the realistic 5-yard and 7-yard distances best to match common distances for personal defense.
Download, Print, and Share My Concealed Carry Drill and Target
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You can Download and Print “Col. Ben’s Concealed Carry Drill” and targets by clicking on the Link at my website’s Articles Page at www.FloridaHandgunsTraining.com
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Range Results with “Col. Ben’s Concealed Carry Drill” and Various Ammo
I used my above standard Concealed Carry Drill and easily and quickly landed all 15 rounds, with a mag change, in the five various-sized circles at 7 yards, and then at 10 yards, within the required 20 seconds time limit for each distance. I bypassed the 3-yard and 5-yard trials for more of a challenge and shot 220 total rounds. No problems with any of these rounds. See above drill hits photo at 7 yards.
Use my drill at various appropriate distances for yourself, e.g. 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 yards to challenge yourself and assess skill-level improvements, as you progress. At first, do not time yourself but safely practice, until you feel comfortable and safe with the drill. And be certain to include a timed mag change in your protocol, to better estimate your reaction time and accuracy level under pressure. Hope my drill helps you.
Assessing “Accuracy” and “Precision”
Accuracy and precision of any gun are especially important and it is demanding and time consuming to objectively test and measure them. Both are important and yes you can test and assess both accuracy and precision of a handgun. Several factors, both objective and subjective ones, are involved.
Basically for me, if there is a wide spread or high degree of dispersion of hits all over the target, then accuracy is not there. (Note: precision may also not be there.) Well, what is the difference between “accuracy” and “precision?” Accuracy involves consistently hitting the target with the groups centered in or very near the bullseye or desired Point of Impact. Conversely, precision is the tightness or size of the groups, no matter where they are located on the target. There is intrinsic accuracy of the gun itself which is strongly influenced by the gun’s design, materials used, manufacturing processes, quality control procedures, and internal tolerances specified. Proper barrel fitting and very good slide-to-barrel fit, machining/forging of parts with tight tolerances and fittings, the use of proper steel and materials, and craftsmanship reputation are significantly related to this inherent intrinsic accuracy. Kimber 1911s have this intrinsic accuracy.
Also, there is subjective accuracy demonstrated by the individual shooter and the fundamental skills applied to get the hits on target. The skills of the shooter in using the gun are critical and significantly influence individual accuracy.
For me, my handgun is “accurate” and acceptable if it gets the job done for the role I am using it for and does so consistently with more than one load. So, getting the hits consistently within the five circles, with a mag change, and within the par time with various loads on my Concealed Carry Drill help determine my subjective contribution to Accuracy.
Intrinsic Accuracy Influenced by Forging, Casting, and CNC Machining of Parts
The gun’s internal, inherent factors that affect Intrinsic accuracy do vary from manufacturer to manufacturer… and you do usually get what you pay for. With that in mind, I sought some more specific information about gun manufacturing processes. Here’s what I learned.
The key differences between forging and casting of metal parts. Forging is the manufacturing process of heating metals and using high-pressure compressing and hammering of parts into a desired shape while in a solid state. From my layman’s understanding, a big advantage to forging is that the process significantly compacts the metal, making it stronger. Other general advantages include better fatigue resistance, higher tensile strength, greater ductility, and reduced chance of failures. Casting is where the metal is heated above its melting point and poured as a liquid into a mold where it solidifies. It seems the big advantages of casting are for the high production rate of large and complex parts, lower costs, and the flexibility it offers. Again from this layman, I understand that when the steel hardens after casting, because of the grain structure, the metal is generally weaker, more brittle, and may not be as durable over time. But, each process has its pros and cons, can be combined and work together for producing a gun, and vary by gun part and its purpose.
Then there is Computer Numeric Contol, CNC Machining. This allows both forged and cast small and complicated parts to be precisely cut and measured in the thousandths of an inch with a computer-controlled machine. But, this use of a computer and its controls are expensive. CNC is a good compliment to forging and casting for some parts and some prefer forging over machining for certain parts. Kimber 1911 pistols and their frames, slides, and barrels are precisely machined from solid steel or aluminum forgings on CNC machines to tolerances that ensure accuracy and dependability. They are tightly fit, e.g. note the fit of a Kimber barrel to its bushing or that of the tight slide to frame fit.
Opinions and Evaluations for Each Criterion
Accuracy and Reliability: 10
The Pro Carry II’s accuracy was excellent and effortless for me at distances of 7, 10, and 15 yards, typical self-defense distances. Despite my less than average eyesight, colorblindness, and average marksmanship, this senior guy was able to shoot decent groups with the gun right out of the box. No problem out to 15 yards, with the gun’s Intinsic factors making me look good. All of my groups for my drills of 15 shots each at the various distances were about 2.5 to 3 inches or so, drawing from the fine Urban Carry Leather-Kydex holster and with a mag change. I used my Modified-Isosceles Stance, a two-handed grip, and shot various grain ball and JHP ammo. I had no malfunctions or stoppages whatsoever. And I had no feeding, ejection, or extraction problems with any of the excellent rounds. The press was short, soft, and crisp, and the recoil was very minimal for me. I was impressed with the Kimber Pro Carry II’s inherent reliability. This 1911 9mm was digested every round. Accuracy and reliability were both excellent with the ammo used.
Out-of-the-box the trigger press averaged 4.25 pounds without modification for the PCII compact 9mm, with 10 readings from my electronic trigger pull gauge. This exceeded my goal and my desired maximum press range of five pounds for this single-action 1911 pistol which is not even “broken in” yet. After more rounds downrange, I think it will smooth out more and the press should lighten some.
The match-grade trigger was crisp, smooth and excellent, with minimal takeup, and had a short reset, for quick follow-up shots. It was easy to feel the definite reset and it was solid and very identifiable. This excellent single-action trigger had a consistent and very similar press each time. I really enjoyed shooting this single-action short and soft trigger.
The PCII’s bull barrel was match grade, ramped, and hand fitted to the slide with very tight tolerances. You could feel and see how this helped with stability, accuracy, reliability, and minimal recoil. The felt recoil was very manageable for both my wife and I. The barrel and slide are made from stainless steel, which helps with their rust resistance. I had no problems shooting nor disassembling and reassembling this Series 80 1911 with its bushingless barrel and its firing pin safety plunger system.
While the 3-Dot white sights worked fine on this Pro Carry pistol, I strongly prefer the fiber-optic tritium night sights for concealed carry. If I buy this gun, I will change the front sight to a green fiber optic and get night sights. The medium-sized dots of the pistol I reviewed were of sufficient size for me to pick them up quickly, but I would like the front green fiber optic sight to be even easier for my old eyes. For me, night sights are very important for concealed carry.
The lightweight aluminum-framed PCII weighed 28 ounces empty and that is an acceptable weight for concealed carry, but I prefer less for every day carry. Loaded this gun weighs close to 31 ounces or so. So, this does not meet my stated criteria, but comes very close. But, there are tradeoffs, e.g. the trigger and frame are aluminum and the barrel and slide are heavier stainless steel. These contributed to less felt recoil and stability for me for this solidly-made compact.
The Kimber PCII in 9mm caliber was easy and fun to shoot and I managed the recoil well. Of course, shooting 9mm ammo is much less expensive than most others and modern ammo with improved ballistics like the kind I used here get the job done. I prefer the lessened recoil and reduced movement for improved accuracy with the 9mm caliber.
I liked the 9-round capacity of the PCII compact 9mm mag. But, there is only one steel mag included as standard. Given the high probability of needing to have more ammo to deal with multiple bad guys/gals and the trend toward magazine capacity restrictions, shooters need more than one mag. Anyone concerned with their personal protection and their life needs two magazines. Repeat, you need two magazines for self defense and carry. I prefer at least two and like three mags to be included as standard, but this adds cost for everyone to the package. The mag has helpful round indicator holes.
The Ergonomics of the PCII 9 mm are excellent and I was easily and comfortably able to reach all controls like the thumb safety, slide lever, and magazine release. I could tell this is a custom, hand-fitted, high-quality pistol with fine craftsmanship, like the checkering on the slide stop, mag release, and thumb safety. This was an almost custom-fitted gun for me and my medium-sized hands… and for my wife and her small hands. The slide, frame, match-grade barrel, and smaller parts are all nicely fit to enhance accuracy and reliability. There was no rattle at all. I had no slide nor hammer bites and it felt very good to hold this thin profile pistol. The grip safety with its extended beavertail and memory bump were natural, comfortable, and I had no problems engaging the gun to fire it. The slide-to-frame fit was very solid and it was easy for me to rack the slide.
I easily disassembled and re-assembled the PCII before I shot it, using the included L-shaped disassembly tool. Just put the supplied paper-clip-like tool into the hole in the recoil spring guide rod and you are set for easy field stripping. The nice hard plastic case included 1 mag, a lock, bore flag, and Instruction Manual. The PCII looks beautiful and it is a high-quality accurate and reliable handgun. The attractive two-tone silver and black pistol is eye-catching with its nice contrast. The 25 LPI checkering on the back strap really helps acquire a firm grip and looks nice. Just wish the front strap had some checkering. I like the quality and attention to manufacturing details. Customer service is another factor to consider. I probably will add this fine PCII pistol to my carry rotation.
TOTAL POINTS = 94 out of 100
Holster: Urban Carry Lockleather Hybrid Kydex and Leather OWB Pancake Holster
I really like this comfortable and durable premium leather and solid retention and secure fit kydex holster by Urban Carry. This is a unique, hybrid Outside-the-Waistband leather and kydex holster that provides the safety, comfort, and tactical advantage of kydex with the comfort, durability, and concealment of premium leather. It fits the Kimber PCII 9mm pistol perfectly. A minimal click-retention device is integrated into the leather holster to easily lock your gun into place simply when you insert it into the holster. No additional moves, no clasps to attach, and no buttons to press. Just slide in to lock and pull to release. A standard Phillips screwdriver adjusts the tension. This premium, form-fitted leather holster can be used for concealed or open carry. It has a slim profile for concealed carry. This fine holster has a reinforced opening to help with easy drawing and gun reinsertion. And it has an extended sweat shield, pressure-absorbing back, accommodates up to 1.75 inch belts, is 100% American made with premium leather, has a 10-year warranty, and is made for over 1,000 gun models. It comes in black and classic brown colors and is less than $70 for this high-quality custom holster.
I certainly RECOMMEND this high-quality Kimber Pro Carry II compact 1911 9mm pistol, for CC, home defense, and fun plinking at the range. The attention to details, fine craftsmanship, and its precise, tightly-fit assembly are the marks of an excellent 1911. I was very impressed with its accuracy, reliability, and its very controllable recoil for a compact 9 mm. The match-grade trigger, match-grade barrel, and durable and sturdy bull barrel significantly contributed to this. While the fixed 3-dot white sights worked fine, I prefer a green fiber optic front sight and night sights. And I needed a second magazine, not only for my Concealed Carry Drill and protocol, but also for concealed carry self defense. Thankfully I had a mag from my other 1911 for my Drill’s mag change. This second mag is mandatory! Its many great, high-quality features as presented above are there, especially the Accuracy and Reliability. After a total of 500 rounds down range demonstrating these same results and characteristics, I would bet my life on this excellent pistol.
As always, these are just my opinions and you should try it for yourself. Be sure to checkout the excellent Urban Carry leather-kydex holsters and the reliable and lead-free safe 1776 USA/SinterFire nylon-coated ammo. I RECOMMEND this quality holster and quality ammo for this quality 1911 pistol. I hope this review of the Kimber PCII compact 9 mm has helped you gain some information for your decision. Consider that this is just my point of view with limited live-range fire and using about 220 rounds of high-quality ball and JHP ammo. I recommend that you shoot any handgun yourself before you carry it to defend your life and the lives of loved ones. And shoot at least 500 rounds break-in range time through it for yourself.
Decide on your criteria, how you will primarily use the gun, and what’s important to you ahead of your range live-fire time. Then critically evaluate the gun yourself per your criteria and purpose, with various ammo types and brands, and over an extended break-in period.
Yonkers, NY 10710
Urban Carry Holsters
Sanford, FL 32771
Photos by Author and Kimber America.
* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.
© 2023 Col. Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col. Ben Findley at ColBFF@gmail.com.
Pro Carry II
Accuracy and Reliability