I have been carrying a Kimber M1911 concealed for about 25 years. While some people may have opinions on why the M1911 isn’t an ideal carry choice, I’m going to explain why this is the best option for me.
Why I carry a Kimber Ultra CDP II
When I started carrying concealed, I did a fair amount of research. Since I bought my first Kimber, which was a Kimber Ultra Eclipse, I have never owned a Kimber that was not able to give me great groups right out of the box.
Now I carry the Kimber Ultra CDP II, which is an excellent handgun for the price. The Kimber Ultra CDP II has all the benefits of being a single-action semi-automatic pistol. It comes with an extremely crisp trigger pull which is also a short trigger pull. To add to this the trigger reset is incredibly short as well, especially when compared with other striker-fired pistols.
The Ultra CDP II is run through the custom shop to get more custom finishing than a standard model. Some of the custom finishing is what Kimber calls the, “carry melt treatment,” which rounds the edges of all the exposed sides of the slide. This aids in drawing from concealment by way of not having any sharp corners that could snag on clothing.
Another custom feature is the ambidextrous thumb safety that comes standard on the Ultra CDP II. The safety is a very generous size making manipulation easy. There is custom checkering on the front strap and under the trigger guard, that makes the grip weld very secure. When talking aesthetics, the satin silver slide, and the charcoal gray aluminum frame, paired with the rosewood grips, give you a pistol that is pleasing to the eye in addition to being an excellent shooter.
One feature I find particularly beneficial is the ramped bull barrel eliminating the need for a bushing. This aids in takedown and cleaning.
I have put thousands of rounds through my Ultra CDP II and have never had a problem. Of course, malfunctions have occurred but always due to cleaning or lubrication issues.
Overcoming the Capacity Issues of an M1911
There will always be naysayers who have a list of negatives pertaining to the M1911. One popular negative is magazine capacity. With a compact M1911, this issue is somewhat magnified with a mag capacity of eight rounds. Compared to many popular polymer pistols the M1911 mag capacity is short, especially when comparing to popular double-stack guns like the G19. However, I believe that the capacity is enough for me based on the research I’ve done.
FBI statistics bear out that the majority of gunfights last seven to ten seconds, or less. With a draw of at least two seconds that leaves approximately five-plus seconds to get shots on target until the threat is neutralized. In addition to drawing and shooting, I am anticipating most people in this situation would be moving, ideally to cover. Assuming you carry spare magazines, capacity is, in my opinion, a moot point in a real gunfight. I usually carry two spare mags.
Overcoming Safety Concerns of the M1911
Another common complaint is that the M1911 is less safe than a striker-fired pistol. This opinion comes from two sides, one being the overly sensitive trigger of the single-action pistol. M1911 triggers, and the trigger of the Ultra CDP II, specifically, with its 4- to the 5-pound trigger pull, bears this out when compared to the standard Glock trigger that has a pull weight of approximately 6-to 7-pounds. A 2-pound difference in trigger pull is fairly insignificant in a gunfight and the shorter trigger with a lighter pull weight is actually a benefit for the M1911 since it means a quicker first shot on target.
The decision to discharge your handgun is made BEFORE you draw it and the finger is placed on the trigger. When I train the point is to draw and put shots on target as rapidly as possible. I never practice drawing and then stopping the shot.
Some are also concerned about the condition of carry which is “cocked and locked.” This concerns many who are not comfortable with the manual safeties on an M1911. Some say the M1911 is not as safe as most striker-fired handguns. The mechanical safeties on the M1911 are, first being the thumb safety, the second being the grip safety and the final safety being the half cock hammer safety, which I have never used, but is available. This, when compared to the Glock trigger safety, makes the M1911 a much safer gun. However, manipulation of the safeties requires practice until the action becomes a part of muscle memory.
The MSRP on an Ultra CDP II, chambered in .45 ACP or 9mm is $1,194. There is also an upgraded version with Crimson Trace laser grips, which adds a nice option to an already great handgun. For the price, quality, out of the box accuracy and aesthetics the Kimber Ultra CDP II is a great concealed carry option.