An Important Kimber Update On The Pro Carry II

December 5, 2007

   Sometimes I feel an update merits it’s own post and this is one of those cases. I added some of this information as updates to the original Kimber Pro Carry II post however this goes a bit farther. Some guns just have more problems than others for various reasons. In this case part of the information is warranted by the declining QC of Kimber in recent years. Some has to do with the choice of materials for parts in critical areas.
   To recap after shooting a little over 500 rounds the extractor claw broke on this gun and was replaced by Kimber under warranty. After replacing the extractor the pistol again worked as it should. This lasted another 250 or so rounds at which time the slide started to fail to lock back after the last round was fired. This problem was diagnosed and had nothing to do with a bad magazine which is often the case. Rather, the culprit was the slide release. The slide release on Kimbers are a MIM part. While MIM parts are ok in some areas of a pistol this is not one of them. Excess wear was obvious on the release which was one of the causes of the malfunctions I was experiencing.  The other  thing that  contributed to this slide lock problem was the fit of the release was rather loose allowing the factory part to wobble around pretty bad. I ordered a Wilson properly treated steel slide release to replace the factory part. When I replaced the factory part with the Wilson slide release the slide lock problem was taken care of. I believe this was in part due to the sturdy nature of the Wilson part and the much tighter fit of the Wilson slide release. These problems may not seem like a big deal but in my perspective when you pay for a Kimber and it’s higher price than many 1911’s you should not experience problems of this nature especially if this is to be a daily carry gun you may  have to trust your life to. So, we have a new extractor and slide release and a Kimber that functions as it should have out of the box. This is not a Kimber hater post at all but with these problems I would be remiss if I didn’t pass this information along. I have other Kimbers I have never had problems with but they are older pistols pre-dating some of the current QC problems that seem to be plaguing Kimber if you can believe some of the articles I’ve read.


Wilson Slide Release

   Another part I wasn’t fond of is the plastic mainspring housing that is a factory part on all Kimbers. Somehow I have a preference for a good steel MSH on a gun costing this much. I replaced the plastic MSH with a Wilson steel MSH which again fits tighter and gives a better grip than the plastic part in my opinion. Sure it adds an ounce or so of extra weight but that is of no consequence to me.


Wilson Magwell

   To facilitate faster reloads I also purchased a Wilson magwell of the type that fits over the bottom grip bushing on both sides of the pistol. The fit is snug and was a breeze to install. All that was needed was a little cutting on the inside of the grips to make the grips fit flush with the frame. I also changed to a wood grip made for magwell use. These are attractive Mahogany grips from Brownells and carry a very inexpensive price of $14 plus shipping. Since I will once again carry this gun on a daily basis I don’t want to spend $50 to $100 on a set of beautiful handmade grips that can be damaged easily. Also, I purchased slam pads for the magazines from Ed Brown.
  Now I can sum this up by saying that after testing the gun I’m convinced this will be a very reliable carry gun. It’s unfortunate to have to replace parts to get it that way but so be it. It’s to nice a 1911 configuration to let it go. I hope this update will be of use to those of you who own a Kimber or are considering the purchase of one.

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24 Responses to “An Important Kimber Update On The Pro Carry II”

  1. Paul Ingraham Says:

    I’m curious what the general s/n range is of your pistol? I have a Kimber Pro Shadow LE II and will be checking it for the malfunctioning parts yours had. I carry mine daily and shoot it often and, so far, haven’t had any failures. In fact, I’m still trying to get a Colt Light Weight Commander to function as well as the Kimber with all the same ammo.

    I do think I will replace that plastic MSH asap, however. Never did like that thing.

  2. Tony Yates Says:

    Thanks for this information. I am presently evaluating moderately priced 1911s and plan to give myself one for Christmas. I certainly did not know about the MIM and plastic parts on Kimbers.

  3. Gunner Says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for your comment. Mine was made on August of 06. I checked with Kimber to get the date. Most of the Kimbers run real good but getting a good one like yours is a coin toss anymore.

    All the best,
    Phil

  4. MIKE BOYLE Says:

    JUST FOUND YOUR SITE. I have on hold a Kimber pro carry II on hold for 675.00 .After reading your site I wounder if I am acting to fast to buy,I thought it was a good price.I don’t want to have to put more money into it.I will be using it for practice as well as carry.500 rounds is’nt a lot for me to shoot. Should I hold out for the stainless or maybe another brand.

  5. Gunner Says:

    Mike,

    One thing I can say without hesitation is that within two weeks of holster carry you will see a lot of finish wear on the thumb safety and towards the front of the frame. I’ll take a closeup and email it to you so you can judge for yourself.
    I found something interesting yesterday. I started having failures to extract again and ordered a Wilson extractor. It turns out I didn’t need the new extractor but what I found was a lot of gunk in the extractor channel. I ran a Q-tip through it and removed a large plug of unburned powder. Since the extractor is a spring I figure the gunk kept the extractor from flexing as it should. I’ve never had this happen before so I measured the channel and found the dimensions the same as a 45. The extractor on a 45 is larger than the 9mm which I would assume is why there was room for all that gunk to get inside.
    If the one you are looking at is a 45 you shouldn’t have that problem at least. I have other Kimbers and experienced no problems with them. This one however has been somewhat of a pain to get it running correctly.
    Honestly it’s hard to say what you should do on your purchase. I believe that these days it’s a coin flip whether you will get a good Kimber or not. If you take a look at the forum at http://www.m1911.org and go to the Kimber thread you will see folks who have Kimbers that have never had problems but many who have had nothing but problems. It’s worth a look to get some idea of others problems and how Kimber handled the problems they had.
    If it was my choice to make and the one you are looking at is a 45 I would consider the Springfield Armory Champion. I’ve never had any problems with mine. If the one you are considering is the 9mm like mine then you don’t really have any other choices in 9mm. It is a good price for the Kimber. The Champion runs about $750 to $800. You can get the Champion in a LW as well as stainless.
    One thing I can say for certain and that is if you shoot say 700 and up rounds a month I would get a stainless in whichever brand you decide on. A lot of people say the alloy frame is shoot a little carry a lot. I don’t know how true this is. I’ve shot an alloy a lot and never had a problem with frame cracking etc.
    I hope I haven’t confused the situation more than helping you decide. I hate to tell someone they shouldn’t buy a particular gun but I can say this without hesitation. Knowing what I know now I would not make this purchase a second time! The only reason I have gone this far with this particular Kimber is I’m stubborn and want to know why a particular gun is malfunctioning and it’s about the only game in town for a 4 inch 9mm.

    All the best,
    Phil

  6. Rick Says:

    I purchased a ‘new in box’ Pro Carry II with aluminum frame in August of ’08. It came straight from the factory suffering from poor Quality Control. There were 47 failures during the first 250 rounds fired (4 different brands of factory ammo): 41 failures to eject; and 6 failures to feed.

    I sent it back to them. They had it for six weeks–and phoned me twice during this time: Prior to working on it, and then the gunsmith called me directly after he had finished working on it to explain the problems and what he had done to it.

    Since getting it back, I’ve put another 500+ rounds through it and have had no (zero) similar failures. During those 500+ rounds, I did experience the slide not locking back on an empty magazine–but it only happened twice.

    Other than that, the pistol has been solid and trouble free since getting it back. My confidence in it is 9.5 on a scale of 10. I’ll give it a ten if it continues to perform like this after 2,000 rounds.

    I will say I had a good experience the two times I talked to them on the phone. Their customer service was good.

  7. Gunner Says:

    Rick,

    They did have some quality control issues then. Things have gotten better which I’m glad to hear. I’m glad they took good care of you. I’ll post your comment for others to see.

    Thanks,
    Phil

  8. Michael Says:

    I wish I would have read this before I purchased my Pro Carry II, just about 2 weeks ago. However, with that being said…So far, so good. I am only about 350 rounds into the “break-in” period…and if ammo wasn’t so difficult to obtain/expensive I would be further into it. Right off the bat, I went with a Wilson Combat 47CB and my FTF issues have been minimal. Only 2 so far. I’m pretty pleased with the gun, especially as a carry gun. The aluminum frame and shorter barrel make it a pleasure to carry. As far as accuracy, I’m undecided. My favorite gun is my Sig GSR Revolution and with it I can shoot a very nice tight pattern. With this Pro Carry II I have not been able to replicate such nice patterns…especially at greater distances. As a fairly fresh shooter, I still struggle with recoil anticipation and finger placement at times, which I think has something to do with it. The other is the god awful black sights that come stock on this gun. I’m hoping by adding some dot sights and with more practice, I will be able to clean up the pattern a bit. Overall, I’m pretty pleased with it. Have you had any problems with yours since you resolved them initially?

  9. Gunner Says:

    EMail sent

  10. Dave Says:

    I bought a Pro Carry (Crimson Trace) recently and have had trouble with the slide locking back before the magazine was empty. I also had failure to feed problems and failure to seat problems. I have shot ~300 rounds through it so far.

    I was told I needed to shoot ~500 rounds in it by the dealer where I purchased it. But they told a friend of mine that he should shoot ~200 rounds through it to break it in, as he just recently purchased one as well. I’m not so sure they really know when it is considered “broken in” or if all of these problems are common to new guns… or just flaws in my gun.

    I bought a Kimber Classic Custom that is now about ten years old and have only had one problem with it. The slide locked back with a mag that still had ammo in it, one time. One time in ten years! That is why I purchased the Pro Carry. I wanted a smaller, lighter Kimber and trusted that I was getting a great product. I am very disappointed, so far, but will still shoot a couple of hundred more rounds before deciding whether to send it back or not.

    I have just recently heard of another problem with them. I heard that you need to keep good track of the rounds fired through it and replace the buffer spring after 750-800 rounds. After checking the internet to see if anyone else had these complaints, I heard about the buffer spring. Unfortunately, in the case of the fellow I heard it from didn’t know this until he looked down and saw that there was a crack in his frame after about 1,000 rounds were fired through it.

    He sent it back and Kimber repaired it. But I was unaware of the problems that these “Concealed Carry” guns have. I bought it for concealed carry and now am very leary of carrying it. I am also upset that the dealer never told me before I bought the gun that I needed to shoot ~500 rounds through it to break it in. (another 250-300 rounds after breaking it in, I will need to replace the spring….pitiful) I feel if I spend $1,100.00 (out the door) on a gun, I should not have to spend an additional $400.00 in ammo to get it to function properly. Don’t get me wrong. I love to shoot. But the more I shoot an expensive gun like this that is not functioning properly, the madder I get…..and the less confidence I have in it.

    I loved Kimber. But I will never buy another one. Not a new one anyway. And I might not have this one for much longer.

  11. Gunner Says:

    Dave,

    I know how you feel. That’s the same thing that happened with my pro and I was not happy even less happy to spend more money to get it working right. That is garbage about breaking it at 500 rounds. A good 1911 should be good right out of the box. There is to much of that breaking it in crap going around to make excuses for a dud that got through QC.
    You should never have to change a recoil spring prior to about 3000 rounds minimum. 1000 rounds is crazy. Changing a spring at 1000 to keep the frame from cracking is nuts. My idea would be to up the spring from the factory power to add about 2 extra pounds. That makes for less wear on the frame provided it functions ok with that spring.
    I hope it gets better for you. With Kimber you get a good one or a dud and you never know which. I thought they had cured the QC issues apparently not.

    Best of luck,
    Phil

  12. rod Says:

    Stumbled across this site while looking for a holster for my new Kimber Pro-Carry II Raptor (.45ACP)– which I am taking back to my dealer this weekend.– had it 2 weeks now.

    Went back and forth between a revolver and the Kimber before buying— concerns being failure to function.

    Out of the box, using Winchester ball, the pistol is EXTREMELY accurate and consistent — off of a rest or off-hand. Also easy to control.

    However– I can not put more than 5 rounds in the clip or it will fail to feed.

    Almost every clip will have at least 1 fail to feed.

    On jams that fail to feed, there is an area on the case lip that gets flattened.

    I did not expect this from a relatively high end firearm. No way I would/ could rely on this as a carry weapon right now !

    I am not interested in hearing about the need to break in. I have NEVER had a revolver fail. And while I realize it is a different animal, my 25 year old Ruger .22 auto pistol has never failed either.

    Will advise as to dealer and Kimber response.

    Rod

  13. Gunner Says:

    Rod,

    I’d like to hear what they do. I’m sure they’ll want it sent in at your expense unfortunately and it may take awhile to get it back. The only thing I can think of off hand is changing mags to see if they all do that. Also you can try a full size mag and see what that does.
    The mechanism that’s causing that is a slide coming forward prior to the bullet moving all the way up in the feed position which causes it to slam the bullet forward and hanging on the lip of the case. I always hear about breakin time but why do I want a pistol I have to fire 500 rounds through before I can rely on it. In this case it may be true. Sometimes a weaker recoil spring will solve the problem by slowing the slide down allowing the bullet to get into position.

    Best of luck!
    Phil

  14. Robert Says:

    I purchased a Kimber pro carry in October and had miss feeds from the first round. 15 in the first 100 rounds. The shop said the spring was too tight and made an adjustment. I put another 500 rounds through it with only a few miss feeds. I just returned from a 4 day handgun course where the Kimber failed at day two with massive miss feeds and then the fatal flaw of failure to reset the hammer when the slide cycled. The instructor said he sees problems with Kimber’s often. I will work on replacing the gun. I must be able to trust the Kimber.

  15. amouppota Says:

    Many of people write about this matter but you wrote down some true words!!

  16. Gunner Says:

    Thank you sir:-)

    Phil

  17. Danni D. Says:

    Thank you very much for your post. I just bought a Pro Carry II a week ago. I am brand new to shooting. I have put 200 rounds through it so far, and I have had a number of problems. My most recent time at the range was frustrating because I could feel myself tensing up each time before I pulled the trigger, wondering what would possibly be the problem *this* time.

    We are calling customer service today. Mostly the problem has been failure to load, but at least once it jammed completely.

    I don’t want to be afraid of this thing. I just want it to work. And at the price we paid, it should!

    I appreciate your post and will share it with my husband. Perhaps we will look into replacing some of the parts you mentioned.

    All my best,
    Danni

  18. Gunner Says:

    Danni,

    I sure hope the article helps you out. There is nothing so aggravating than spending so much money on a pistol and it doesn’t work. Customer service is the way to go even though they can be slow.
    Best of luck,
    Phil

  19. Soldier53 Says:

    I’m retired out of the US ARMY and I started shooting 1911’s over 42 years, so I think I know a little about a 1911. But I was not ready for this one!? I love the way the Kimber PRO TLE/RL 11 FEELS in my hand,but this is where things stop! I had FTF,FTE, and the slid not locking back on the last round. After sending it back to kimber and 6 weeks I had my gun back. But the some of the same things I sent it to Kimber to have fix well they where still messed up!? there was scratches on the slid? I called kimber and they told me it had to happen in shipping? I told them may be they should have packaged it better!? they asked me if I had insured it? I told them no I have sent guns back to there manufacturer before and never had trouble. but this was marks that would not have been made in shipping! then I told them about the FTF, and FTE? they told me I need to clean my gun every 100 rounds and this would make my gun run right? I ask them R U nuts? I’m not a fan at this point, I feel Kimber got to big to fast and do not have good QC, and in some case used inferior part just to get there guns out! this is sad they took a good gun and cut corners just to sell there guns! I will not buy a kimber again!

  20. Gunner Says:

    I know I’ve heard this same story so many times. Trouble with the gun, problems with QC and Kimber people themselves.
    Honestly. it’s about 50/50 if you get a good one. If you do they work great if not just trade it because they will never get it right!
    One I just got for review was good but I got lucky!

    Phil

  21. John Says:

    Hey, Phil, great web site. Very Helpful info on the Kimber Pro Carry II. I too bought one in 9mm, just like yours about 6 years ago. I put it away in the safe after shooting some 50 rnds through it with no problems. Recently, with the price of ammo going through the roof, I’ve been buying 9mm’s. Then I remembered the Kimber. I pulled it out and shot another 50 rnds with no probs, then the FTE’s started, almost every other one for the next 150 rounds. After reading your web page, I pulled out the extractor and it was ramrod straight. I tried the test of sliding a round on it and wiggling. A round wouldn’t even stay on it!. I pulled the extrator out again and the channel was clean. I bent the extractor rod enough to get it back it snuggly and have had no probs since.

    Probabaly around the same time, six or seven years ago, I bought a custom II in 38 super. I couldn’t get better than 6″ groups with their “match” barrel at 25 yds. I sent it back to Kimber who replaced the barrel and then I got 4″ groups! Frustrated I replaced the barrel with a 9mm Fusion, match barrel and now get 1.5″ groups at 25 yds with ammo it likes, 2″ with most other ammo.

    I have to repeat another person’s comments on here. Why are we spending around a $1000 for a pistol that is just plain junk. I have had a Dan Wesson Pointman and a S&W 1911 that are perfect from the box.

    BTW thanks for the info on the shooters choice lube. I guess you never know about products and what they can screw up.

  22. Gunner Says:

    John,

    Thanks very much and I’m very glad to hear your enjoying the blog. It was real shame on the Kimber I had. I just had a similar problem with a straight extractor. After a bit of experimenting I got the right amount of tension and like yours it works great now.
    It sounds like you got a bad barrel. An expensive fix but it sounds like it was worth it when you really like a particular gun.
    Those Dam Wesson 1911’s are very very good guns! It took me a long time to realize just how much some lubes can foul things up. I spent a bunch of time and money to test those who wouldn’t send samples for testing.
    I finally settled on using Slip 2000 EWL liquid along with Mill-Comm light version of the grease they make. The grease stays put wherever it’s applied and has a wide variation of temperature tolerance. Even after a few hundred rounds it’s still there. The name is TW25B.

    Take care,
    Phil

  23. james Says:

    Then why didn’t you just buy a wilson?? And leave the kimbers to people that trust their lives with them!! I have shot over 2000 rounds with no issues what so ever. I am so sick of you people trying to degrade the best 1911 I have ever shot.. how about you jump on the glock train and leave the 1911s to people who actually enjoy them that don’t have or ever had not one issue with kimber at all pal!!!!!

  24. Gunner Says:

    James,

    You might want to back up and take a breath. There is no need in being angry or insulting. We can have a reasonable conversation without that.

    I can’t afford a Wilson first off and see no reason to buy one since there are many 1911’s of high quality, including Kimber, for much less money.

    If you read a little more you would know I do like Kimbers. If you’ve been in this business as long as I have you would know that eventually you will get a gun that made it by QC and shouldn’t have. It’s not exclusive to Kimber. I wouldn’t be honest with the readers if I didn’t pass along this isolated incident. Still I won’t hide anything because of brand loyalty etc.

    To set the record straight my daily carry guns are a Kimber Aegis (9mm) full size from the custom shop as well as Tactical II Pro in 45 acp.I trust these Kimbers with my life so what better testiment. I’m also very much anti-Glock. They aren’t safe for a new shooter and only a professional should carry one. They are standard issue with our Spec Ops units(models 22 and 23) with the exception of the Marine Corps who just adopted a Colt railed 1911 made to Marine Corps specs.

    My nightstand gun is a S&W M&P compact in 40 cal with a Viridian C5L light/laser combo.It has a thumb safety like the 1911 by the way.

    Just to prove my point I write full time for http://www.thefirearmblog.com. If you check this website and search using the term Kimber 1911 you’ll see several very positive reviews I’ve written. Just use this link which will take you to my articles where you’ll see a good number of Kimber reviews.

    http://www.google.com/cse?cx=012667264327362265987%3Azxpt3gqjvp8&sa=Search&q=Kimber+1911+Phil+White&submit=Go#gsc.tab=0&gsc.q=Kimber%201911%20Phil%20White&gsc.page=1

    If you choose to write me back via a comment I’ll be glad to have a reasonable conversation with you.


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