Historically, Kimber 1911s have been somewhat of a hit or a miss at times. Kimber’s QC wasn’t the best out there for a stretch, but it does seem as if the overall quality of Kimber guns has been steadily improving since some of the earlier series II small parts gave the brand a bad reputation for a stint. HP guest contributor C.Helm seems to have found a real keeper, and we’re always excited to hear when a company is putting out good stuff.
This gun is a Pro Aegis II 9mm. Any 1911 fans out there almost certainly know 9mm’s reputation for having a prickly demeanor in the 1911 platform, which was designed to run best with cartridges that have longer overall length (OAL). And yet here we sit, slightly surprised and slightly impressed with this little alloy 9mm. The thin rosewood grips and the carry melt make it a viable option for carry once you’re confident in its reliability, and it’s always tough to beat a 1911 trigger regardless of how “good” or “bad” it is by 1911 standards. This trigger wasn’t “semi-custom” good, but it broke cleanly at around 5 lbs, which is all that can be asked of a production 1911.
The 4″ bull barrel, in conjunction with the high-cut, checkered frontstrap and full-sized frame, should make recoil very tame by anyone’s standard (even with factory ammo), and the Pro Aegis II provides more than minute-of-bad-guy accuracy at probable self-defense distances (and beyond). The different-style slide serrations provide for a good grip on the slide and a modern look, which the smooth magazine release goes along with as well. The Aegis II also comes standard with fixed tritium sights and the gun weighs in at around 28 ounces with an empty magazine. The thumb safety is going to be a personal preference thing, but for concealed carry it makes sense, and it’s similar in shape to the safety on Colt’s Talo Wiley Clapp series. This gun seems to be a good sample all around; the slide and frame are flush at the back of the gun and the grip safety lines up with the frame tangs pretty well.
Using Wilson Combat’s 10-round ETM 9mm magazines, this gun gobbled up its first 250 rounds of assorted 115-grain FMJ ammunition, as well as 100 rounds of reloads (115-grain Moly-coated lead bullets), with no issues whatsoever. This Pro Aegis II liked Golden Saber JHP’s, but some other JHP loads were inconsistent during break-in. It is worth noting, though, that when the problematic JHP rounds were loaded into a 38 Super magazine, they fed flawlessly, which might indicate stiff/new magazine springs, a slightly light recoil spring weight, or an OAL that this gun just ran better out of a magazine that didn’t have a spacer in it. Time will certainly tell, but on the whole the Pro Aegis II was very reliable so far.
For fans of the two-tone look, which certainly keeps it classy, the Pro Aegis II might be something worth looking at. As with all Kimber 1911s, stainless or not, this gun uses a carbon steel barrel, so PLEASE remember to keep a coat of oil on the barrel to prevent rust spots from forming— we’ve seen rusty thumb prints on peoples’ guns who forgot to do this. 9mm 1911s are never a guarantee (regardless of manufacture), but if you acknowledge up front that you might have to tweak it a little to make it run right, it’s always going to be a pleasant surprise when your gun runs like a champ. And in case you wanted to know what it actually means, the aegis was traditionally the shield/armor of Zeus in classic mythology. This one is more of a sword. HP
–Contributors: C.Helm, Colt Driver, Photos by C.Helm; Kimber Pro Carry Aegis II, MSRP $1331 (street price is lower); Wilson Combat ETM 9mm Magazines, MSRP $39.95