In Greek mythology the word “Aegis” described the powerful weapon used by Zeus and Athena to terrify and disperse the enemy or to protect friends. “Aegis” has entered our modern lexicon to mean a shield or protection based on its use as a protective shield of Zeus. Because of its powerful resonant symbolism, it is also a particularly appropriate name for Kimber’s newest addition, the Ultra Aegis II.
Built on an alloy frame for weight savings, the Ultra Aegis II possesses a number of other features that make it a perfect self-defense pistol, including night sights, corrosion-resistant KimPro II finish, service meltdown, checkering and trimmed and bobbed protuberances. All of these features combine to provide its user with a gun that’s comfortable to carry yet devastatingly effective. But its most notable feature is that the gun is chambered for the light recoiling 9mm.
According to a Kimber spokesman, the Aegis was born and bred in their Kimber Custom shop where inspirations for new offerings usually develop as a result of customer requests and ideas from some very talented craftsmen and machinists.
The original gun was introduced as a limited edition in 2006 and became so popular that Kimber wasted no time adding it to their main line. The first gun was built as a 3-inch Ultra but now the Aegis style gun is available in all barrel lengths of 3, 4 and 5 inches.
The gun is a blend of some of the most requested Custom Shop modifications and a handful of Custom Shop enhancements. One of the most commonly asked for Custom Shop modifications is to flattop the slide. The Aegis possesses a half-inch wide flat machined down the top of the slide. This feature aids in pointing and getting a flash sight picture and I also like the way it looks. Nearly every custom 1911 I’ve had built sports this feature.
Kimber outfits the Aegis with its new Tactical Wedge night sights that are dovetailed into the slide. They’re low profile, rugged and provide an excellent sight picture in any light. Its slide also possesses wide cocking serrations, a lowered ejection port for unencumbered ejection and a black KimPro II finish that contrasts nicely with the silver color of the frame.
Kimber uses a lightweight frame machined from 7075-T7 aircraft grade aluminum forging. Like the slide, the frame is coated with the new KimPro II finish. I had to really examine the frame to see if it had been finished or was left in the raw.
An interesting modification that the Custom Shop performed is re-contouring of the magazine release. Its checkering has been removed and its front, toward the trigger, has been decreased in height. This modification makes a lot of sense on a dedicated carry gun yet is easy enough to find to dump the magazine in a hurry.
To allow the shooter to obtain a high hold on the pistol Kimber machined the frame differently where the triggerguard meets the front strap. This helps the shooter to get the middle knuckle of the third finger as high as possible for maximum control. The machine work is top-notch and the cosmetics flawless. Personally, I’d like to see Kimber use this frame contour on all of their guns.
To provide the shooter with a secure firing grip Kimber machine checkers the frontstrap at 30-lines-per-inch (lpi). The texture it supplies allows the shooter to have a non-slip grip without causing irritation like coarser, 20-lpi checkering causes. It’s also much less likely to cause clothing to hang up on it.
Because of its intended role as a concealed carry pistol, Kimber smiths have trimmed the thumb safety down to a nub. While it is a mere fraction of what normal Kimber safeties are, it is still big enough to swipe down in a hurry and also large enough for guys like me who like to shoot with their thumbs on top of the safety. I found that the safety disengages crisply with just the right amount of pressure.
One of the most readily recognizable features of the Aegis is its spurless hammer. It requires that the user cycle the slide to cock the hammer and the only safe way to lower the hammer is to drop the magazine out, remove the round from the chamber, point the gun in a safe direction and pull the trigger. Follow those simple rules and don’t try to thumb cock or de-cock the gun with a round in the chamber and you’ll be safe. For those responsible enough to get the training required for proficient 1911 use and practice to maintain their skill level, this modification will not be a problem. Because of its small size and light weight, the spurless hammer also makes the gun a potential candidate for ankle holster carry.
Also making the gun comfortable to carry in the concealment mode are the thin rosewood grips. They’re about half as thick as normal grips and really do make the gun feel much more comfortable in the hand. They feature three ball mill flutes cut the length of the grip. If anyone had told me that these flutes were anything more than cosmetic I wouldn’t have believed them, at least until I shot the gun. They’re wide and deep enough that the shooter’s hand actually lock into the channels. It’s a wonderful idea, works well and looks great on the top of that!
I found that the Kimber Ultra Aegis II possesses an uncanny degree of accuracy. The Custom Shop hand fits each of the match grade ramped barrels. Its crisp trigger also made it a pleasure to shoot. My test sample’s trigger broke so crisply that it only felt like half of its measured 4-pounds.
I tested the Aegis accuracy on a warm January day at the Pima Pistol Club located just outside of Tucson. My old friend and IPSC partner, Bob Molnar, was there, and we took turns shooting the Aegis on a stage that he had set up on one of the empty pistol bays. We were both impressed with the gun’s handling characteristics, light recoil, nice clear sight picture and awesome trigger. I set up some targets at 20 yards and fired groups, using a Millett BenchMaster for support.
I had fired four rounds of Hornady’s 147-grain TAP FPD and could only see one hole. Bob was leaning over looking through his spotting scope at the target, saying nothing. I couldn’t stand it anymore and asked, “Are all of those shots going into the same hole?” Darn it, I knew as soon as I asked that I had jinxed myself. Bob said, “Well, I wasn’t going to say anything until you finished.” My next shot landed about a half an inch away from the ragged hole. Undaunted, I fired another 5-shot group that was even smaller. Yes, the Aegis possesses far more accuracy than any expert would argue that a serious defense gun must have. But I don’t believe that I’ve ever heard of any expert complaining about a defense gun having too much accuracy.
CorBon’s DPX 115-grain hollowpoint was unexpectedly soft shooting. In fact, they didn’t feel much hotter than the Winchester 115-grain FMJ rounds. That’s one of the great advantages of chambering this little gun in 9mm as recoil is negligible. Kimber uses the same dual recoil spring system that they use on their .45 Ultras and it tames even the hottest 9mm loads. During rapid fire it was extremely easy to get the sights back on target almost instantaneously. Double taps hit the target very close together and my splits, or time between shots, were probably 15 to 20% faster than when I shoot a Kimber Ultra chambered for .45ACP.
During my evaluation of the Aegis I used the new Fobus Evolution Paddle Holster. My test sample is designed to accommodate a 1911 with rails but also works well for guns without a rail attached to the dust cover. This latest generation of holster from Fobus incorporates a tension screw so that the user can customize the amount of pressure it takes to present the gun. The Evolution is more rigid than older Fobus holsters and possesses a one-piece holster body. It also has a protective sight channel and a paddle with a rubberized insert for stability and all-day comfort. I’ve always appreciated the simplicity of paddle holsters and enjoyed their easy-on/off convenience. Fobus’ new Evolution Paddle Holster is lightweight, comfortable and secure. In short, it does everything that I require from a concealed carry holster but does it without breaking the bank. To carry a couple extra magazines I used a Fobus dual magazine carrier, which also uses the paddle with rubberized insert for comfort’s sake. The Evolution lightweight paddle holster and the lightweight Aegis combine to make an easily concealable defense package that is so light and comfortable that I often forgot that I was wearing it.
This is one of those guns that the more I shoot it and look at it, the more I appreciate it. Built from the ground up in Kimber’s Custom Shop, the little Aegis is packed with features that make it an ideal concealed carry gun. It’s lightweight, tremendously accurate and unfailingly reliable! But it also possesses flawless cosmetics, a tough corrosion resistant finish and colorful rosewood grips. In short, it is a gun that shoots as good as it looks.
Kimber’s Custom Shop not only helps design new additions to the company’s product line but they also customize customers’ guns. According to the Kimber Custom Shop Manager, Dennis Madonia, his shops work is almost split evenly between the two endeavors.
“Being a factory means that we can do a lot as long as we don’t deviate too much from the norm. But as long as we don’t have to reprogram the machinery we can modify guns pretty quick,” said Madonia.
Checkering, refinishing and night sight installations are the Custom Shop’s frequently asked for modifications. Madonia observes that more than a few IDPA and IPSC shooters are sending their guns in for work to make them more competitive.
“Years ago, open guns used to rule, now we barely see them at IPSC matches. Most people are either shooting Limited, Limited 10 or that new 1911 division. So any kind of bells and whistles popular with the IPSC crowd is what we’re doing here in the Custom Shop.
“We don’t do compensators anymore and we don’t mount scopes. But anything imaginable to a 5-inch gun, from flat topping a slide to raising the triggerguard to checkering, are common modifications for us. Our checkering machines run 24 hours a day,” said Madonia, referring to the CNC machinery set up especially for checkering front straps.
Guns that need refinishing are also a staple of the Custom Shop. For refinishing Madonia says that the KimPro II finish is the most popular; black, silver and desert tan, which is especially popular right now. Madonia notes that he still does Black Oxide refinishing and some people prefer this to the KimPro II finish. “Our bluing tanks run constantly,” said Madonia.
There are a lot of people that buy Kimber pistols because of the value per dollar spent that they represent. Kimber’s Custom Shop also represents a great value for consumers.
Madonia says, “I just saw a full-house gun offered by a big name smith for $3,800. It was a nice gun but I challenge you to take one of our guns and have it outfitted the same way and it will still come in under $2.000, and you won’t have to wait three years for it.”
If you own a Kimber pistol and would like to have some work done on it, contact the Kimber Custom Shop for a price and delivery time. Madonia says, “We tell people 3-5 weeks for delivery just to be on the safe side, but it’s usually much quicker.”
Get in touch with the Custom Shop at: www.kimberamerica.com/customshopmodacc.php