Red Dot Ready Always: Kimber’s Aegis Elite 1911 – SHOT Show 2018

The new Optics Included Kimbers are available in 9mm and .45 ACP.

Kimber America is embracing the tactical lifestyle with their updated-for-2018 Aegis Elite carry pistols. Not only are the slides cut for mini red dot sights, these guns come with Vortex optics installed from the factory.

Both the compact Aegis Elite Pro and full-size Aegis Elite Custom have Vortex Venom 6 MOA red dot optics standard, along with raised suppressor sights for backup. And both guns are offered chambered for either 9mm Luger or .45 ACP.

(Kimber isn’t leaving traditionalists out in the cold here. They are also offering the updated Elite models with standard slides and sights.)


Kimber’s Aegis Elite series of 1911s is designed for people who want a cutting-edge everyday carry pistol and a classic handgun at the same. Aegis handguns are beautiful and functional, built for hard duty.

The Vortex Venom Red Dot has an MSRP of $329 standalone.

These guns have a smooth, matte finish on the slide and frame. The frames are matte silver while the slides have a deep matte black finish for that two-tone look. The machined G10 grips blend the two together with black and silver highlights.

In addition to the G10 grips the frontstraps and backstraps are finely checkered and serrated for a positive grip. The frames are bobcut for added comfort for all-day carry. The compact has diamond-pattern rear slide serrations while the full-size has serrations front and rear.

The guns blend the modern and the traditional well. They have standard right-hand controls and short beavertails that don’t protrude matched with lightened and skeletonized hammers and triggers popular with the bulk of 1911s in production today.


  • 8+1 in .45 ACP
  • 9+1 in 9mm Luger
  • Stainless steel construction
  • 4-inch (Aegis Elite Pro) or 5-inch (Aegis Elite Custom) barrel
  • 7.7 inches long
  • 5.25 inches tall
  • 1.28 inches wide
  • 37 ounces (Aegis Elite Pro) or 39 ounces (Aegis Elite Custom) unloaded


The idea behind the updated Aegis series was for Kimber to have an out-of-the-box, ready-to-go modern defensive 1911.

For target shooting, people often choose smaller reticles for their red dot sights. But a 6 MOA dot is better for self-defense. It’s easier for new shooters to take up and the larger dot is faster to acquire and get on target.

Kudos to Kimber for thinking about real-world problems, not Bullseye targets. The new Aegis line is a blast to shoot, and the guns look great to boot.


Since these are semi-custom Kimber 1911s it isn’t too surprising to see that they carry a $1,395 MSRP. That’s not too bad considering they have the included and factory-installed Vortex Venom. The Venom alone is worth over $300.

Besides, Kimber isn’t making these for people looking for a bare-bones carry gun. The new Aegis Elites are for shooters that want a little impractical in their tactical.

For more information about these and other Kimber products visit

***Shop GunsAmerica for Your New Kimber Today***

About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website,

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Sajid Bashir February 13, 2020, 3:28 am

    Well Clay martin, you could be right about kimber’s and i completely agree with you. But i think it might be an old article as the price for vortex venom is under 250 dollars for now. Which makes it the cheapest and highly efficient mini red dot sight.

  • Donald J Frederickgreat looking carry pistol but are holsters available for it with the red dot sight? July 1, 2018, 10:16 pm

    Are owb holsters available for this with the optical sight?

  • praharin January 24, 2018, 10:20 am

    Why wouldn’t they make this a railed frame? I’d wager that most people who want a red dot on their carry gun also want a light. I know I do

    • Guns2317 January 24, 2018, 12:19 pm

      AMEN to that. First thought I had was….where’s the rail?

  • Tom January 24, 2018, 10:05 am

    Good review, Clay. Except…

    I must say that your comment, “The new Aegis Elites are for shooters that want a little impractical in their tactical.” is SO motivating for me to want to go out and drop $1,400 of my hard earned money on something “impractical.” :)))

    I’ll bet that Kimber is “overjoyed” at having their products deemed to be impractical.

    • Max Slowik January 25, 2018, 3:15 am

      As the editor of this article I will take full credit for that close, it had nothing to do with Mr. Martin. I put that in there–and I stand by it as a matter of fact.

      And I bet Kimber would, too. Their products stand out with features and appointments that other companies wouldn’t bother with. These add to the cost in a way that bare-bones makers won’t bother with.

      That right there is the core of practicality. When you buy a gun that gets the job done, you have to ask, what job needs doing?

      Some people want a gun that slings low on the hip, glints in the light, and has a deep polish in every surface.

      If that was truly practical, cops on every street corner would be a lot prettier.

      These guns aren’t 100 percent practical, and that’s not up for debate. They’re Kimbers, and they want more than that.

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