by B. Gil Horman - Monday, November 4, 2013
Kimber recognizes that not all 1911 pistols are used in the same way. Gun collectors look for unique or historically accurate models, while casual target shooters are looking for solid, basic guns at an affordable price. However, for those who step into a law enforcement or military uniform every day, their 1911 sidearms become a vital piece of equipment. To meet the needs of professional operators, Kimber has produced a variety of purpose-built pistols. One of them is the Tactical Entry II full-size 1911 pistol chambered in .45 ACP.
This 1911 pistol successfully blends the custom features many 1911 owners are looking for with the functionality and reliability professionals require to succeed. The matte-black steel slide features front and rear cocking serrations and is topped with a set of low-profile fixed Meprolight Tritium three-dot night sights. The match-grade stainless-steel barrel is 5-inches long, cut with traditional six land-and-groove rifling and is supported in the slide by a stainless-steel match-grade barrel bushing. The recoil assembly consists of a full-length stainless-steel guide rod and a 16-pound round-wire recoil spring.
The stainless-steel frame is treated with the tough KimPro II finish in matte gray and milled with a full-size military-style 1913 Picatinny rail that will accept a variety of light and laser accessories. The mainspring housing and frontstrap of the grip frame are checkered, as is the underside of the traditional round trigger guard. The pistol arrives with a low-profile steel magazine well installed and a blued-steel eight-round magazine fitted with a polymer bumper base pad. The grips are constructed of a gray and brown wood with a double-diamond checkering pattern and the Kimber logo.
The slide release and the round-button magazine release, on the left side of the frame, are both checkered for improved operation. The hammer, a skeletonized combat type, is paired with an extended beavertail grip safety. The ambidextrous thumb safety features short, slim combat-style paddles that ride close to the grip panels. The match-grade aluminum trigger is advertised as leaving the factory with a 4- to 5-pound trigger pull. The digital trigger gauge confirmed the claim, demonstrating a trigger pull of 4 pounds, 12 ounces for this particular pistol.
When packing the Tactical Entry II, I was interested in testing out a carry system that matched the gun's law enforcement and military purpose. One company that understands the need of its professional customers is US Peacekeepers. Its Rapid Deployment Pack (RDP) was designed with fast access in mind. The dedicated pistol pocket contains a universal loop-and-hook holster that fits most service-size autos. The exterior pouches are designed to house spare pistol or AR-15 magazines, and the roomy main pocket can be pre-filled at the factory with a tactical first-aid kit. Because the RDP is designed to accommodate a variety of support gear, it could be used as a first-responder kit, a bug-out bag or a concealment system for civilians. These handy bags are available in black, tan or OD green.
Taking the Kimber Tactical Entry II to the shooting range proved to be a real treat. The finish of the pistol was flawless and all of the components showed an excellent level of fit and craftsmanship. All of the controls were snug but smooth in their operation. The tight-fitting slide was smooth to cycle. The white highlights of the three-dot sights were slightly larger than in other systems, which made them easier to see. For those who have smaller hands, like I do, the fine-line checkering of the grip makes all the difference in making a full-size 1911 feel comfortable to shoot.
The trigger was very smooth, with a short, crisp break that's difficult to find in any pistol except for a well built 1911. However, it should be noted that super light triggers like this one require plenty of practice on the range for shooters who are new to the platform before being carried in the field. Heavy triggers require practice in order to keep the pistol on target as the trigger is cycled, but light triggers need to be well-understood so as to avoid touching off a round too soon or unintentionally.
The blued-steel magazine provided with the pistol performed flawlessly, as did a pair of the new Wilson Combat #500C-HD ETM HD/+P eight-round magazines. The heat-treated MAX flat-wire springs have a maximum strength up to 25 percent stronger than standard springs and are guaranteed to never require replacement, even after high round counts or daily extreme-duty use. With their low-profile steel base pads, these magazines were just the right length to work with the magazine well of the Tactical Entry II.
Taking advantage of the Picatinny accessory rail, the pistol was tested with the new Streamlight TLR-2G green laser and light module. The highly visible 522 to 542 nanometer laser emitter has been cleverly placed inside of the LED light housing. This has the dual benefit of setting the laser closer to the bore axis of the pistol while providing the same level of shock, dirt and moisture protection as that of the LED. A single 3V CR123A battery provides 1.5 hours of run time for the 200-Lumen light only, 1.25 hours for the light and laser together or 9 hours for the laser only. This module was easy to install and remained sighted in through the entire testing process.
Formal and informal ammunition testing demonstrated a level of function and accuracy right where they should be for what is advertised as a match-grade service pistol. There were no failures to feed, jams or malfunctions of any other kind while using ammunition ranging from affordable bulk FMJ loads all the way up to premium jacketed hollow points. Accuracy was evaluated using five, five-shot groups fired from a bench rest at 25 yards. The best single group of the formal testing, 2.49 inches, was produced using ASYM Precision Tactical 230-grain jacketed hollow points. The ASYM load also produced the best average of 2.71 inches, followed by HPR HyperClean 185-grain jacketed hollow points with a 2.89-inch average and Barnes Bullets new TAC-XPD all-copper 185-grain +P hollow points at 3.09 inches.
For those who love the 1911 platform, the Kimber Tactical Entry II represents an excellent find for the cost. Currently, this pistol has a suggested price of $1,490, with real world prices that are about $200 less. I've seen folks invest upwards of $3,000 in a custom-built 1911 and not get the level of accuracy this pistol produces right out of the box. It's a handsome gun loaded with features that arrives from the factory ready to go to work. Whether you are looking for a full-size pistol for work or personal protection, this one is a keeper.
Manufacturer: Kimber; Kimberamerica.com
Model: Tactical Entry II 1911 Pistol
Action: Single Action
Caliber: .45 ACP
Slide: Matte Black Steel
Frame: Matte Gray Stainless Steel
Grips: Laminated Double Diamond Wood
Sights: Fixed 3-Dot Meprolight Tritium Night Sight
Barrel Length: 5”
Overall Length: 8.7”
Weight: 40 ozs.
Capacity: 8+1 Rounds
Twist: 1:16” RH
Rifle Grooves: 6
Accessories: Hard Case, Lock, Owner's Manual, Bushing Wrench
Suggested Retail Price: $1,490
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