Kimber Master Carry Pro

 

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The Master Carry Pro is the middle child in the Master Carry family.

The Master Carry Pro is the middle child in the Master Carry family, and is ideal for concealed carry.

Kimber’s Master Carry Pro is designed to be a practical carry pistol. It even has carry in the name. Everything about the slick single-action is designed to help with concealment and comfort while it is carried, and speed its use when it isn’t concealed. It is a .45 ACP 1911 with a 4 inch barrel that weighs in at a modest 28 oz empty. Most importantly, it also shoots well. And, as an extra bonus, it doesn’t look bad either.

Size Matters

Kimber’s Master Carry pistols come in 3 sizes. The Custom is a full size 1911 with a 5 inch barrel.   The Pro has a 4 inch barrel and the Ultra has a 3 inch and a shortened grip. When it comes to picking out a pistol for concealed carry, size really does matter. I live in a state without open carry. If you print, according to some interpretations of the law, you are no longer concealed. I’m also not a small guy, 6 foot 230 lbs., but unless its winter, and I am not taking off my coat, I have a hard time concealing a full size 1911. Conversely I am able to conceal a pistol that is a lot bigger than a little .380 pocket gun. With three options in the Master Carry line, you can pick the appropriate size for you and your circumstances. The Master Carry Pro is at the upper end of the size of pistol I personally feel comfortable concealing, and is even a bit thinner than the typical compact polymer pistol.

The Master Carry line has clean, crisp lines that are accentuated by the two-tone color scheme.

The Master Carry has clean, crisp lines that are accentuated by the two-tone color scheme.

The Carry Features

So what makes this a carry gun other than having carry in the name? Well there are a number of little things that add up to make this one of the nicer 1911 style pistols for tucking out of sight (and for getting untucked, too).

The most obvious and probably the best for making this 1911 concealable is the bob tailed grip, which Kimber refers to as a “Round Heel Frame.” I like to carry in the waistband in the small of my back, most of the time. The hard 90 degree angle on most 1911s sticks out and up pretty far, especially in a holster with any cant. The bobtail on the Kimber really cuts down on this. It also helps to keep your shirt from getting hung up when you draw. After carrying the Master Carry Pro for a while, I don’t think I will carry another 1911 without a round heel frame in the small of my back. It really does help.

This is hard to describe. It feels different, too. The first time you hold a rounded heel framed 1911, and see how your palm conforms to the shape ever-so-slightly, you’ll understand.

If you have smaller hands, the Round Heel grip should feel more comfortable. Either way, it makes the gun that much easier to conceal.

If you have smaller hands, the Round Heel grip should feel more comfortable. Either way, it makes the gun that much easier to conceal.

It feels smaller, yet you get used to the feel very quickly–so much so that if you switch between this frame’s grip and a typical 1911 grip, you’ll hardly notice. The Master Carry Pro still has a full length grip. The Kimber magazines hold 8 rounds, so it there isn’t that much missing.

The other things are a bit less obvious. The sights are low profile and their sharp edges are rounded off. They are also tritium night sights, a big plus in my book for a carry pistol. The overall finish of the gun is smooth and rounded making it less likely to get hung up when being drawn from concealment. It also does not have an ambidextrous safety. I do not like an ambidextrous safety on a carry gun. It is one more thing to get snagged on the holster or clothing when drawn, but that’s my opinion. I am also right handed. If you are a southpaw then changing out the safety is easily done.

The switch on the Kimber grip is small enough that it won't be accidentally switched on or off.

The switch on the Kimber grip is small enough that it won’t be accidentally switched on or off.

Fit, Finish and Grips

This is a Kimber and (like all of the other Kimbers I have seen) the fit and finish is top-notch. Kimbers are not cheap and they do not feel cheap either. The MSRP on the Master Carry Pro is $1,568 and it feels and functions like a pistol in this price range. The finish is flawless and so is the fit. The slide to frame fit is tight and rattle free. There are no tool marks to be seen on the outside and very little on the inside. This is a tight pistol that feels good in your hand.

If I had one piece of criticism it would be the lack of checkering or texture to the front of the grip frame. Front strap checkering is common on much less expensive pistols. That is the only thing that I find obviously missing from the Master Carry. And it may be becasue of the logistical challenges posed by the button for the laser. And the texture on the G10 grips still allow for a rock solid hold.

The Master Carry pistols come with Crimson Trace laser grips. These are the front activation type. They also have a very nice grip texture. The texture is deep and provides a positive grip that is not too aggressive. They are thin enough that the grip doesn’t feel overly big. The laser is mounted on the top of the grip on the right side. I did find that my finger would obscure the laser when I had my finger off the trigger and next to the slide, but that is a stance I take frequently when I’m on the range being photographed, and not one I tend to use when drawing a pistol in self defense, so I’m not terribly worried about blocking the laser with good trigger form.

Up close and personal with the steel guide rod and the XXXXXx.

Up close and personal with the steel guide rod and the heavy barrel which is fitted to the frame itself.

To Bushing or Not to Bushing

The Master Carry Pro does not have a barrel bushing. It has a heavy match grade barrel with the full length guide rod. I honestly cannot tell much of a difference when shooting 1911s that have a bushing from those that do not. In theory the match barrel should add some weight to the front of the pistol and this little bit of extra weight should help with muzzle flip. However, I can’t discern the difference from another 4 inched barrel 1911 that has the bushing.   I will say that disassembly of one without the barrel bushing takes a bit longer and can be a pain in the ass.

Shooting

The Kimber Master Carry Pro ate everything we fed it. The cheapest FMJ we could kind to hot hollow point all functioned flawlessly. The Kimber made a number of trips to the range and had a box or two ran through it each time. I also didn’t clean it between trips. This is not something I would do with a piece that I was using as a daily carry of course, but I wanted to see how the Kimber handled a bit of abuse. It passed with flying colors.

The Master Carry Pro is light. Very light for a 1911. Empty it comes in at 28 ounces. This is mostly due to the aluminum frame. When you drop the hammer, you can tell this is a light gun. The recoil is modestly snappier than recoil from a full-sized, steel framed 1911. Muzzle flip is also a bit more pronounced, but not horribly so, and still manageable.

The Master Carry is a solid firearm set up for rapid target acquisition.

The Master Carry is a solid firearm set up for rapid target acquisition.

I did find that after shooting 50 rounds of the hotter hollow points, I had some hand fatigue. This is the cost of having a lighter pistol for carry. That is what this gun is designed for and I am happy to trade the weight for more felt recoil in a carry piece like this Kimber.

Kimber Master Carry 35

Not bad for a 4 inch 1911. The Gun shoots to point of aim, and groups well.

Accuracy

The Kimber shot respectable groups from 7, 15 and 25 yards. This is not a full length target pistol and it doesn’t group like one either. But it will shoot a 1 inch group at 15 yards and a 3 inch one at 25. That is with me behind the trigger. I am sure it is capable of tighter groups than I can wring out of it, but that misses the point.

I have shot a lot of 1911s. Most of my trigger time on the platform is with full size, 5 inch barreled guns. I shoot them better than I do the shorter ones. Of course that is how it is supposed to be. A longer barrel and sight radius is supposed to be more accurate. But for me, that is the least of the problem. I tend to shoot low with the shorter 1911 and I always shot low when firing fast or when point shooting. I attribute this to muscle memory from shooting the full-sized 1911s. Now I am not shooting all that low, just an inch or two. But this is where training comes in. I revert to my muscle memory when I am shooting a 1911 fast. If I spent more time behind the trigger of the shorter pistol, I am sure I would work that out. Remember friends, always train with your carry piece!

.45 ACP is forgiving, at least for those that are behind the trigger. If you find that you get some hand fatigue, as I did, from the hot rounds, look for something lighter. Find the slowest, lightest ball ammo you can get and slow down your shooting. Work from the holster. Practice magazine changes. Do tactical reloads, and force jams and failures so you can practice clearing stoppages. Then, at the end of the session, run a couple of magazines of hotter ammo, and leave with that impression on the brain.

As for the lasers

Crimson Trace makes nice laser grips. I find that shooters either love them or not. I ran into a man at Fed-Ex today when I was sending back a review gun, and he went on and on about the laser on his wife’s gun. You would have thought it was an actual laser-gun. I appreciate what a laser can do in low light situations, especially as a deterrent. A laser on a pistol is like a pump on a shotgun–there’s just no mistaking the message it sends. They can help you get on target fast, and I’d rather have one than not, even though I still find myself relying on point shooting and iron sights.

With the laser aimed here, shots hit high right, but close enough to be deadly.

With the laser aimed here, shots hit high right, but close enough to be deadly.

This target shows the shots made with the laser, and then one made from the same location with the irons. All were aimed at the center.

This target shows the shots made with the laser, and then one made from the same location with the irons. All were aimed at the center, so I pulled them slightly right.

Yet it is an aiming device. I shot a couple of groups using the Crimson Trace laser. The rounds were all about 2 to 3 inches high, and slightly right from 15 yards. You can look at the photo here and see what the laser is capable of. I shot 5 rounds with the laser aimed right on the bull’s-eye, then shot one single round with the irons, which was much closer to point of aim. That said, I can’t come up with a good reason not to include a laser on a gun like this. There’s nothing that will force you to use rely on it, and it certainly isn’t in the way, and it isn’t even noticeable on the grips. Maybe every gun should be so well equipped.

Final Thoughts

The Kimber Master Carry Pro is a solid contender for a daily 1911 carry pistol. All of its features add up to make a very good shooting and concealable hand gun. You get 8+1 .45 ACP in a light weight package that has most of the features you look for in an everyday carry gun. That is assuming you are comfortable carrying a single action only pistol cocked, locked and ready to rock.

Two magazines from two shooters at 25 yards. The wider yellow spots show that there's not much backing behind the target.

Two 5 round groups from two shooters at 25 yards. The wider yellow spots show that there’s not much backing behind the target.

The gun is noticably smaller than a full-sized 1911, but it doesn't have the chopped feeling of a 3 inch gun.

The gun is noticeably smaller than a full-sized 1911, but it doesn’t have the chopped feeling of a 3 inch gun.

Ejection from the Kimber is consistent and clean. In all of our varied testing, we had no issues with feeding or extraction.

Ejection from the Kimber is consistent and clean. In all of our varied testing, we had no issues with feeding or extraction. The muzzle flips, but you can see here how fast the gun returns to the target.

If you have smaller hands, the bobbed grip should feel more comfortable. Either way, it makes the gun that much easier to conceal.

If you have smaller hands, the Round Heel Frame should feel more comfortable. Either way, it makes the gun that much easier to conceal.

The laser activation rides just below the trigger guard.

The trigger on this pistol breaks at 4.2 pounds. And velocity? Expect to drop 50 FPS from the typical 5″ barrel to the 4″ Pro.

The Kimber flourish on the slide is modest as far as branding goes, but with a reputation like Kimber's, they can afford to be subtle.

The Kimber flourish on the slide is modest as far as branding goes, but with a reputation like Kimber’s, they can afford to be subtle.

The skeletonized hammer produced solid primer strikes.

The skeletonized hammer produced solid primer strikes, and is easy to cock.

The Master Carry has serrations at the rear of the slide, but not the front.

The Master Carry has serrations at the rear of the slide, but not the front, and there’s just enough slide to keep your hand away from the muzzle.

The sights offer three-dot speed that is tapered and rounded off for a snag-free draw.

The sights offer three-dot speed that is tapered and rounded off for a snag-free draw.

Beneath the dots is a flat black panel that some shooters find easier to use for slower precision shots.

Beneath the dots is a flat black panel that some shooters find easier to use when lining up precision shots.

The laser is built into the grip and does a solid job, even in daylight.

The Crimson Trace laser is built into the grip and does a solid job, even in daylight.

The dot is just to the right of the center of the right target. And it is hard to hold it this still.

The dot is just to the right of the center of the right target. And it is hard to hold it this still, but this is an unfiltered image taken in full on sun.

The laser grip switches on (from the other side), is actuated by the shooter's middle finger, and illuminates the target from the top of the grip.

The laser grip switches on (from the other side), is actuated by the shooter’s middle finger, and illuminates the target from the top of the grip.

Without the lug, the barrel can have more mass at its end.

Without the lug, the barrel can have more mass at its end. While it isn’t pretty, lock-up is tight, and there is no loss of accuracy.

The rear sight is a traditional pyramid shape, which means it won't snag, but it would be hard to use for one handed charging.

The rear sight is a traditional pyramid shape, which means it won’t snag, but it would be hard to use for one handed charging.

The slide drop is stiff, almost too stiff to drop without shifting your grip. But there's always the slide, which is easier to use anyhow.

The slide drop is stiff, almost too stiff to drop without shifting your grip. But there’s always the slide, which is easier to use anyhow.

The pad requires a good grip before it shines. Typical holstering of the gun won't turn it on.

The laser’s trigger pad requires a good grip before it shines. Typical holstering of the gun won’t turn it on.

The seven round magazine fits flush and drops free.

The 8 round magazine fits flush and drops free.

 

{ 26 comments… add one }
  • How to rape children October 15, 2016, 1:28 pm

    Short Term Loans

  • Mac February 2, 2016, 10:04 pm

    Just started to break in my first Kimber. It’s an Ultra and I’m quite impressed with it in all ways. So far it has handled every thing that I have fed to it with no problems. Time will tell but so far so good.

  • rmhmdpa January 7, 2016, 7:05 pm

    i have 2 kimbers 4glocks 2 rugers all 1911’s and have shot many other brands. my kimbers are the best I’ve shot and are very reliable and the most accurate of my handguns. jams have not been an issue no matter what the ammo. mine are both .45s.

  • Greg Becker November 14, 2015, 11:29 am

    The slides release on EVERY Kimber I have handled has been very hard to activate. I am a big guy, with big thumbs and I was shocked how difficult it was to get the slide release to activate. I was not impressed with any of those guns. I know many like them. but I would never recommend this gun for any kind of defense despicably a law enforcement or security detail. Break in is no excuse for the functionality of any service weapon.

  • russel brueggeman March 21, 2015, 12:43 am

    My first 45 was a kimber master carry custom. Read more bad reviews than good, but good reviews were really good.after owning multiple 9mms from ruger, Springfield, Berretta, my kimber still in the break in stage has been flawless and accurate right out of box. I’m either lucky 1% or now nothing about firearms over last 22 yrs.

  • Raleigh Thomas December 29, 2014, 7:42 pm

    Ditto’s with 1st Cav., I saved my change for quite a while to buy my Custom Shop Raptor II ( full size 5″ blued), and I love it. Is it perfect? No, but it didn’t cost $3000 or so like an Ed Brown or Nighthawk that I WOULD expect absolute perfection from. In the first 300 rounds/break-in, I had a dozen or two ‘chokes’, FTF, stovepipes, etc. which were damn embarrassing on a $1200 pistol, until I was advised to not be so sparing on the lube. A couple of drops in numerous spots and POOF, no more problems! It now eats anything put in the magazine, including steel-cased cheap ball, thru the hottest hollowpoint Barnes copper stuff, and literally eats the X-ring out at 25 yds.! I found the one spot needing attention that Kimber missed the hard way. At the top of the ejection port is a razor-sharp corner that after machining did not get rounded slightly… Sweeping intentionally placed stovepipes in an advanced tactical class I sliced my palm badly; causing the Instructor to freak momentarily by the ‘Safety cease fire’! I called with blood running down my arm, but a large bandaid and a few strokes with a sear polishing stone and the world was good to go again. My 2 cents…
    P.S., My Super Carry Pro gets delivered tomorrow!

  • Raleigh Thomas December 29, 2014, 7:39 pm

    Ditto’s with 1st Cav., I saved my change for quite a while to buy my Custom Shop Raptor II ( full size 5″ blued), and I love it. Is it perfect? No, but it didn’t cost $3000 or so like an Ed Brown or Nighthawk that I WOULD expect absolute perfection from. In the first 300 rounds/break-in, I had a dozen or two ‘chokes’, FTF, stovepipes, etc. which were damn embarrassing on a $1200 pistol, until I was advised to not be so sparing on the lube. A couple of drops in numerous spots and POOF, no more problems! It now eats anything put in the magazine, including steel-cased cheap ball, thru the hottest hollowpoint Barnes copper stuff, and literally eats the X-ring out at 25 yds.! I found the one spot needing attention that Kimber missed the hard way. At the top of the ejection port is a razor-sharp corner that after machining did not get rounded slightly… Sweeping intentionally placed stovepipes in an advanced tactical class I sliced my palm badly; causing the Instructor to freak momentarily by the ‘Safety cease fire’! I called with blood running down my arm, but a large bandaid and a few strokes with a sear polishing stone and the world was good to go again. My 2 cents…

  • Nicholas Cousins September 11, 2014, 9:42 pm

    I have been shooting a sig sauer p245 for 15 or more years. I have had VERY few malfunctions and find the gun to be accurate as hell using any 45acp ammo. I think the old sig p245 compact would hands down beat the kimber for shooting , quality, and reliability. Unfortunately that model not made anymore but save your money and find a used sig p245 compact.i use a sig p232 as a quality never let me down backup. I do however carry a glock 36 concealed in the summer months. With the sig p232 or walther ppk as my backup. I live in the unconstitutional state of Connecticut and can have no more than 10 rounds in gun. I have found carrying an extra mag for the 45’s a feel good option. Ps ptay for us oor bastards living in a liberal state run by uneducated gun haters. Looks like Malloy may be out and the conservative foley is leading.

  • Nicholas Cousins September 11, 2014, 9:29 pm

    I have been shooting a sig sauer p245 for 15 or more years. I have had VERY few malfunctions and find the gun to be accurate as hell using any 45acp ammo. I think the old sig p245 compact would hands down beat the kimber for shooting , quality, and reliability. Unfortunately that model not made anymore but save your money and find a used sig p245 compact.

  • deebar September 10, 2014, 2:22 am

    Kimber has showed many the way in building quality guns . Was going to buy one but it was too hard to get so bought a Tanfoglio and now wouldn’t trade it for a Kimber . Finish is as good as a Kimber but not as pretty. I’ve owned 1911 .45’s and had them in the service and have never felt right with them .
    When you pick up that shotgun and swing it for the first time it just feels right , some do some don’t . It’s the same with your pistol , it feels good or it doesn’t .
    Anyone that has shot the CZ’s probably know what I’m talking about and the Tanfoglios do that for me and very few others . When you bring it up it must be on target without using the sights .
    The .45 is not a caliber I like , give me a .40 or a 10mm .

  • Grey Beard September 8, 2014, 6:48 pm

    I have the HD in the 4″ and love it! It was brand new, unfired, when I took it to a class that required shooting 100 rounds to complete the class, some of it requiring multiple shots ON Target. My Brother had the alloy framed model and later we compared notes. My heavier gun left me ready to continue while he was done for the day. I also note that my rear sight has a flat in the front that allows for cocking with a belt, shoe heel, or other hard object. I like that feature as well.

  • ron September 8, 2014, 5:01 pm

    You can adjust the laser – at least, you can on the ones I’ve added to my guns.

  • Ralph September 8, 2014, 4:58 pm

    Does Kimber have plans to submit this pistol for Ca. Approval?

  • Ken Zerba September 8, 2014, 4:23 pm

    I’m breaking in my Super Carry Pro. I’m definitely digging it.

  • Sylvan September 8, 2014, 4:17 pm

    I own a Sig 226 9 MM for well over 20 years and never had a problem . Fired the cheapiest ammo money can buy and shot some really hot rounds. It is a great feeling knowing the Sig will not fail when needed

    Kimber is about 5 miles down the road from me . Maybe I should drop in and chat with them .

  • Kenneth September 8, 2014, 2:41 pm

    I Am employed @ a gun shop & I tell you the Kimber gets a lot of looks, but in the past year or so our customers have not been happy with there Kimbers, the Solo 9 has feeding problems & stove pipes & the finishes & metal Compositions are deteriorating fast (1year) barrels are rusting! They are pretty when new, but a gun is an item you keep for years (I own guns 100 years old that look better than a 1yr old Kimber) Don’t know where there quality went, they rusting in our showcases.

  • Kenneth September 8, 2014, 2:39 pm

    I Am employed @ a gun shop & I tell you the Kimber gets a lot of looks, but in the past year or so our customers have not been happy with there Kimbers, the Solo 9 has feeding problems & stove pipes & the finishes & metal Compositions are deteriorating fast (1year) barrels are rusting! They are pretty when new, but a gun is an item you keep for years (I own guns 100 years old that look better than a 1yr old Kimber) Don’t know where there quality went.

  • Capt. Phil J. Thomas September 8, 2014, 11:50 am

    Crimson Trace can be easily adjusted to the same point of impact as your iron sights. My S&W Model 36 3″ sights and carry load are set for 15 yards, Sig 226 40S&W and Sig 1911 compact 45ACP are both locked in at 25 yards. A lot of people buy a 1911 and don’t realize that it will not run if you have a limp wrist or light grip. They are like any other tool, fed and serviced properly they will outlast the owner.
    NRA Life Member 1965

  • Vito Labella September 8, 2014, 10:14 am

    You must have got the one that works,,, have to as far as I am concerned they are unreliable, jam-o-matics!!

    • FirstCavApache64 September 8, 2014, 3:00 pm

      I guess I got the other two that work then because I scrimped and saved up for two years to buy two of them and neither of mine have ever had any problems. Any gun company can have issues, I also own several Glocks and have never had any problems with them bat a buddy of mine bought one and had a lemon that he sent back to glock and they replaced it due to a mechanical issue. I suggest maybe you should have done the same, after all any mechanical device can have issues, although I have not heard of any before with Kimber. All of the guys I know with them have had good results. Sometimes they might require a little breaking in due to the very tight tolerances they are fitted to, but a lot of custom and high end 1911’s require a break in period due to the tighter tolerances they machine their parts to. I know I sound like a Kimber stockholder but I hate to hear any gun company slammed just because one person had a bad experience with a gun.

      • Alec September 13, 2014, 12:49 pm

        Regarding “FirstCav’s” comment, I must agree. It is a wise gun buyer that conducts a review of materierls available at the time he is looking to consider a purchase. A decade ago there was not alot of credible information circulating in the firearms market. That is no longer the case. Now we are overwhelmed by reviews, etc. Overtime it has become apparent, which sources provide factual, verifiable, and objective information and reviews. We all know that monthly subscription mags and publications are influenced by their advertising revenue. Let me offer an example of how advertisers are treated. Let’s say that gun maker “ABC” in any given month may ‘buy’ all of the back cover, or 100% of the inside of the front cover. Additionally, “ABC” might commit to two (2) half pages and a (1) quarter page. Now in comes “XYZ” company.
        “XYZ” has an advertising budget that is only a fraction of “ABC”‘s Ad budget.

        Is it possible that “ABC”, running a quarter page Ad, might get better Ad placement than “XYZ”‘s quater page Ad received?
        Suppose both firms are introducing a new AR-15 platform that month. The publisher plans to review each company’s offering in consecutive months. Is it possible that there is some bias built into the reviews?

        Experienced buyers come to know who provides the best all-around information. Bottom line, do your homework, because buyer’s remorse really sucks.

    • William Buchanan September 9, 2014, 4:25 pm

      I see the usual “jam-o-matic” comment come up on almost every article or thread on Kimbers. It’s like 99% or more of owners have no problems, but the vocal 1% always show up with comments. The rest of us really don’t usually comment, because there is nothing to comment about.
      I own two Kimbers, an Ultra and a Pro. Break in 500-600 rounds always produce 2 or 3 malfunctions. Then I shoot for thousands of rounds without a single problem.
      With thousands of guns produced, there is no such thing as 100% perfect manufacturing. There will be problems. If you get one of those problems, send it back and ask for a new one.
      They make fine, good quality pistols.

    • Mike Morgan September 9, 2014, 6:06 pm

      I also own two a Pro Eclipse 11 and Ultra CDP. never had a problem with them.. Don’t use cheap Russian ammo, or reloads in the first 200 break in rounds..

  • Charles Ricky Freeman September 8, 2014, 9:42 am

    A very factual review with a boatload of information. I love and own several Kimber’s and love all of them. It seems as if Kimber just keeps getting better and better. I do not own one with the laser so I may have to buy just one more, lol. Thanks for the great review.

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