Review: Kimber Custom Covert II

posted on June 24, 2009

While Kimber built its reputation offering factory-standard pistols with custom features, the company also recognizes that there is a demand for pistols that exhibit greater attention to the finer details. In response, Kimber created the Custom Shop. One of the Custom Shop’s newer offerings, the Custom Covert II, is a full-size .45 ACP duty gun. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, it has some qualities and features that make it well suited for the Right-To-Carry role beyond its defensive and duty applications.

Specifically, the Custom Covert II has a frame machined from a solid block of 7075-T7 aluminum that mates to the pistol’s carbon-steel slide and non-ramped stainless-steel barrel. The result is a full-size pistol that weighs a light and easy-to-carry empty weight of 31 ounces. This combines comfortable carry with the pleasant shooting characteristics of a full-size pistol.

Visually, the two-tone Custom Covert II is quite appealing. Eschewing the conventional approach to metal finishing in which crisp edges are preferred, the Custom Covert II features a full carry melt treatment in which all hard edges are rounded off. This is done to reduce snagging on a holster or printing under clothing. It is important to note that, as with all Custom Shop offerings, the Custom Covert II is hand-fit and -finished.

The handling qualities of the Custom Covert II are also given proper attention, including a frontstrap with 30-line-per-inch checkering for increased purchase. The flat, checkered mainspring housing has a unique addition at its base—a lanyard loop. A high-sweep beavertail grip safety is employed with a raised pad on its lower portion to ensure that the grip safety is fully depressed when the pistol is gripped. A Commander-style hammer mates with the pistol’s beavertail grip safety.

The seven-shot magazines supplied with the pistol feature a generous plastic bumper base pad. This will likely be greatly appreciated by anyone slamming home a magazine into the beveled magazine well as it will prevent the lanyard loop from impacting the palm of the support hand.

The carbon-steel slide and all controls have a matte-black oxide finish, while the frame features a self-lubricating Desert Tan KimPro II-coated finish. The slide includes forward grasping grooves in addition to traditional grasping grooves at the rear, while the aluminum, match-grade trigger has a black finish.
The Custom Covert II includes a traditional recoil spring assembly instead of a full-length guide rod and an internal extractor.

The gun’s non-ambidextrous, low-profile thumb safety, in concert with the grip safety, offers no surprises to users familiar with the M1911’s operation. Internally, it employs Kimber’s Series II firing-pin block system, which is an updated Swartz-type safety actuated by depressing the grip safety.

Sighting and aiming is where the Custom Covert II really shines. Topping off the slide is a set of what Kimber terms Tactical Wedge Tritium night sights—a three-dot sighting system with a drift-adjustable rear unit. In addition, the pistol has Crimson Trace Lasergrips embossed with the Kimber logo. Complementing the tan frame of the pistol, the Lasergrips have an exclusive digital desert camouflage pattern with a smaller portion of a wraparound panel in black.

This wraparound section, located at the upper portion of the frontstrap and just below the trigger guard, features the unit’s activation switch that is engaged by simply squeezing in with the firing hand’s support fingers. A master on/off switch is on the lower rear section of the left grip panel. The actual laser unit is in a raised housing at the upper portion of the right grip panel.

For accuracy testing, we fired the pistol with three types of ammunition, ranging from basic hardball full-metal jacket loadings to high-performance jacketed hollow-point ammunition. The Custom Covert II experienced three failure-to-feed malfunctions in the first 50 rounds of more than 400 rounds fired. However, there were no malfunctions for the rest of the testing process. It would seem reasonable to attribute the initial malfunctions to the tightly fitted nature of this custom pistol and that it broke in soon thereafter.

Accuracy was quite good, no doubt due to its match-grade barrel and bushing system. The pistol showed a preference for the Remington Golden Saber 230-gr. ammunition in particular. Despite the lightweight frame, recoil was reasonably mild and manageable. The laser unit was quite helpful during some fast-fire drills, and the tritium three-dot sights were effective and easy to pick up. We also carried it in a Milt Sparks Summer Special II inside-the-waistband holster for several days. The pistol’s lightweight aluminum frame was greatly appreciated and made it quite pleasant to carry. Although by no means inexpensive, the Kimber Custom Covert II offers an outstanding pistol for those looking for a full-featured duty gun or a top-notch concealed carry pistol.


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