Kimber’s Super Carry Pro is versatile enough to provide on/off-duty carry that is reliable, accurate and quick into action.
There was a time when uniformed officers would be seen wearing a Sam Browne belt, thumb break holster (if they were really progressive) with a “dual purpose” MagLight in a ring. That holster would be filled with one of those funny-looking handguns with a part that rotated and held six rounds or Old Slabsides. Six-shooter or a 1911 that was pretty much it, same for plainclothes and tactical teams, regardless of agency.
Don’t get me wrong. Felon after felon succumbed to fire from a revolver wielding officer or packing a 1911. Tough guys like the Texas Rangers had been making a career out of putting the habeas grabbus on some truly unpleasant folks while packing 1911s for quite a while and that is still true today.
The stainless steel slide wears black KimPro II and custom rear cocking serrations. The pistol features a high-ride grip safety, and an ambi thumb safety.
Duty holsters filled with revolvers are essentially extinct today, long ago replaced by a high-capacity polymer pistols. And yet the 1911 is still around, filling LEO, military and even civilian holsters.
For every person who straps gun and badge on daily, the handgun choice, unless departmentally mandated, is a personal thing. It is a lifeline just like Taser or flashlight — a tool in the toolbox that absolutely must work and be effective, if that lifeline is called for.
Many will be satisfied with today’s polymer pistols, loaded with an abundance of 9mm or .40 S&W cartridges, and an occasional .357 SIG thrown in for good measure. For others, frequently those who kick in doors or swim ashore in hostile lands, it has to be a metallic pistol, a 1911 preferably, packing a fist full of those stubby cartridges synonymous with the 1911—the .45 ACP.
Long before polymer pistols with interchangeable backstraps to fit them to everyone, the 1911 was going to war and places filled with unpleasant, hard men. The single-stack 1911 seems to point instinctively, like no other, with a grip angle near perfect and excellent balance. As designed by John Browning, it is also fed hardball despite neglect and abuse at the hands of generations of soldiers. As for accuracy, Browning’s creation certainly proved adequate for the military. Despite all of this, folks began to clamor for “improvements.”
Men like Armand Swenson, Jim Clark Sr., or Jim Hoag were customizing 1911s to fit everyone, and meet the needs of fans of the breed. They customized them with their own hands, using equipment ancient and outmoded by today’s standards. And yet the pistols worked, much to the sorrow of opponents in competition, on battlefields, or on the street.
Today’s 1911s, celebrating their forefather’s 100th birthday soon, are produced to such exacting standards that John Browning might shed a tear of joy. They provide all the niceties pistolsmiths from half a century ago spent countless hours working on, and some they never dreamed of.
A leader in the 1911 industry, offering a bounty of varied 1911s to civilians and law enforcement alike, Kimber seems to always have something new to offer. One common thread through every Kimber pistol is that improvements—changes or new offerings—are not just for show, but are also functional. Ask the guys of LAPD’s Special Investigation Section (SIS), who chose a Kimber model modified to the section’s preferences developed from experience from innumerable tough collars.
New for 2010, Kimber has introduced a Kimber Custom Shop pistol equally at home in uniform, plainclothes, or off-duty. The new Super Carry Pro (part of the Super Carry family along with the full-size Super Carry Custom and the smaller Super Carry Ultra) takes a page from the time proven Colt Commander, and combines a full-size, lightweight alloy frame, holding 8 rounds in the magazine with a reduced length steel slide. Of course, because the Kimber Custom Shop is involved, that’s about where the similarities end.
The Super Carry Pro’s stainless steel slide—wearing black KimPro II, Kimber’s self-lubricating finish—includes such niceties as custom rear cocking serrations (unidirectional stylized triangular impressions that look like reptile scales or an odd tread pattern), lowered and flared ejection ports, and night sights designed to offer a cocking shoulder. An iteration of the cocking triangles is reproduced on the flattop slide area for glare reduction. The slide encloses a bushingless, fitted match grade 4-inch stainless steel bull barrel, riding over a full-length stainless steel guide rod.
The triangular impressions appear on the frontstrap and “flat” backstrap. As the flat backstrap approaches the butt of the mainspring housing, where it and the frame are noticeably curved into the Kimber’s Round Heel configuration. This does a good job in eliminating a sharp point that might print when the pistol is concealed, and provides a surprisingly more comfortable feel when shooting.
Other custom touches on the satin silver KimPro II coated frame include ambidextrous trim thumb safeties, recessed slide stop pin with surrounding bevel, checkered Micarta/laminated wood grips, a nice bevel on the magazine well, and a high-ride beavertail grip safety. The recessed slide stop pin eliminates that small chance of bumping the pin at just the right time and backing it out, allowing one to use Crimson Trace’s Lasergrip more effectively. The recess around the pin allows you to disassemble the pistol when you want to.
A black burr hammer combines with a solid, silver match trigger and tuned sear to provide a crisp 4.5-pound trigger pull. Everything receives a healthy dose of Kimber’s successful Carry Melt treatment. This all means the LEO who carries the Super Carry Pro on-duty (uniformed or plain clothes) can confidently carry it off-duty, where a little deeper concealment might be required. This is great because firearms trainers agree that using the same handgun (or similar model) for duty and concealed carry is the best way to insure maximum familiarity. It also saves the officer a few bucks to be spent on ammunition for practice.
Shooting the Super Carry Pro was an experience in boredom—the boredom that results from nothing unexpected occurring. With a typical Kimber crisp single-action trigger, and the care with which the Custom Shop assembles their offerings, the Pro routinely poked holes where you pointed it. Groups were excellent at 25 yards, hovering in the 2-inch range, impressive considering that all of the tested rounds were designed to be potent self-defense rounds (except for the Federal Match).
While I worked on some steel target runs, shooting on the move and stationary, it became apparent that Kimber’s scales/serrations were very effective. The hand’s flesh seems to sink into the scale impressions to provide an exceptional grasp that, combined with the Kimber’s high grip that puts it closer to the bore line, allows good recoil control and fast follow-up shots. And yet, I found transitioning from hand to hand, or just shifting the hand on the Super Carry was easily done.
On a subsequent range visit, I invited several others to give the Super Carry Pro a go. It was a hit. Everyone who handled the Super Carry Pro was quite taken with it. To a person, each shooter seemed as impressed by the Super Carry Pro’s features as they were in the performance. Of course, no matter how good the Super Carry Pro looked, had it not been a shooter, interest would have waned quickly.
The rear sight design, as was intended, proved quite functional in cycling the slide one-handed. Just hook the sight on belt, holster, or any item on the duty belt and give the frame a push. Given that hands are commonly injured during an exchange of rounds, this is good to know.
All of the Custom Shop’s efforts to make the Super Carry Pro versatile enough for on or off-duty carry paid off in full. Following the range trips, I tucked the Super Pro in a Milt Sparks Versa Max II and a spare magazine into a Sparks pouch I had on hand. The pistol rode everywhere with me for over a week with no pinches or scrapes. This cowhide IWB holster is versatile, as well as comfortable and quick. The widely spaced belt loops can be interchanged with Kydex clips to allow the Versa Max II to be worn as a tuckable holster for those times when a loose shirttail would be too crass. An excellent holster, the Versa Max II would be just the ticket for off-duty carry or plainclothes work.
As duty handguns, 1911s make perfect sense, as more and more agencies are finding out — relearning what many agencies knew several decades ago — quick into action, and excellent first shot trigger pull, with the same for trigger pull for subsequent shots. Should a gun grab be successful, the thumb safety can provide additional protection to buy a few precious moments to respond.
Why pick a compact rather than a full-size 1911 for duty carry? First are the benefits of carrying the same pistol on and off-duty. Pistols with shorter slides balance differently for a better feel. Duty holster, plainclothes belt rig, or even the IWB all share the same trait for many women, smaller men, or anyone with a short torso—the handgun’s butt will dig painfully into the ribs. A shorter barrel can help immensely.
Kimber’s standard 1911s are 1911s on which to bet your life, and the Super Carry Pro with its Custom Shop enhancements is even more so. Was there nothing on the Super Carry Pro that I would change? Honestly, other than swapping the grips for a thinner pair to better fit my hands, not one thing.
If you are looking for a pistol versatile enough to provide on and off-duty carry that is reliable and accurate, quick into action, chambered for the venerable .45 ACP, and comfortable enough for all day, everyday carry, the Kimber Super Carry Pro should be on your short list!