January 11, 2010

Kimber Aegis II 9mm, $1195

In Greek mythology the aegis was the shield of Zeus. In Kimber’s parlance, the Aegis II is much more offense-minded.

It’s a small alloy-framed 1911 chambered for 9mm and fed from a single-column magazine. The Kimber Aegis II differs primarily from the Springfield Armory EMP by being built on a frame with grip and magazine well of standard 1911 dimensions. The 8-round MetalForm 9mm magazine shared the same outer dimensions as a typical .45 ACP magazine.

But the Aegis offered a very distinctive look and feel of its own. The frame had a frosted silvery gray appearance that Kimber refers to as Satin Silver. The backstrap consisted of a 20-lpi -checkered mainspring housing that looked abbreviated seated below a full-size grip safety with raised platform. The front of the grip frame was checkered with a fine 30-lpi grid. We prefer manufacturers’ checkering on alloy models to aftermarket work because it is common for the original surface coating to be applied with a surface tension that plays a part in the integrity of the frame. Kimber’s checkering on the Aegis II was first rate.

The magazine release button was left smooth and contoured with a forward radius. In fact, the entire gun had been "melted," meaning that all corner edges of the frame had been smoothed to make it more slippery in and out of a holster or concealment garment. The rear-only cocking serrations were mild and widely spaced. The edges at the front and rear of the dark-colored slide were also rounded. The thumb safety was left side only and the contact area was minimized. Of our four pistols we thought that the Aegis was the most snag free.

Kimber Aegis II 9mm

Courtesy, Gun Tests

Great looks, plus excellent point-and-shoot handling, are its strongest points. Slick and snag free, first-class checkering added grip where it counted most.

The wood-grip panels sported three deep grooves on each side. The aluminum trigger was not relieved, giving the Aegis a sophisticated retro-look. The slide was flat-topped dropping away from the night sights front and rear. The ejection port was cut and flared. Like our other two 1911s, the Aegis worked from a bushingless bull barrel. All three of our 1911s were fit with a reduced-mass hammer. Instead of offering a skeletonized hammer with tang, the Kimber hammer was flat. Because this hammer sat flush when lowered, it could not be thumbed. In the event of a misfire the shooter will not be able to thumb back the hammer and attempt a second strike. Instead, he’d have to rack the slide and chamber a fresh round.

The magazine well was beveled to enhance reloading. But the bases of the two supplied magazines were left without an extended pad, offering a flush fit to enhance concealment. Extended base pads can help ensure seating of the magazines. Two holes were drilled and tapped into the bottom of the magazines, so adding "slam pads" as they are sometimes called would be simple.

Kimber Aegis II 9mm

Courtesy, Gun Tests

Features like 30-lpi checkering on the front strap, slim wood grips, a low-mass flush-fit hammer, minimal thumb safety, cocking serrations on the rear sight, and a complete smoothing of all the edges including a forward radius on the magazine release makes the Kimber Aegis II one sophisticated pistol.

The Aegis offered a strong natural index. The smooth grip panels played a lesser part in adding grip than did the checkering on the narrow frame fore and aft. The thumb safety, though minimal, was easy to find. Firing the Aegis aggressively, we had no trouble completing all strings in our action test in less than 2 seconds. Our test shooters landed hits in a narrow range of 1.83 to 1.99 seconds. We pushed two of sixteen shots just left of the A-zone and landed four of eight shots just above the cranial pocket.

From the bench the Aegis favored the hotter defense loads, delivering groups that averaged about 1.75 inches with both the Hornady and Black Hills hollowpoint ammunition. What we liked best about the Kimber Aegis was that it faithfully translated the best handling characteristics of a full-size 1911 into a package that was light, smooth and concealable.

Comments (14)

I read an article in a gun mag last night about a 1911 type gun made from another manufacturer. The author stated that a lot of problems with 1911's come from the user not having a firm enough grip. Kimber may be getting a bad rap from operator error versus the quality of the gun. Just a thought, Kimbers appear to have very good quality.

Posted by: Robert J | January 20, 2010 6:52 AM    Report this comment

It never fails. ANY discussion of Kimber trails off into love 'em/hate 'em discussions. What about THIS gun? I personally don't get it. They mention it is based on a full size 1911 unlike the Springfield EMP. The EMP in .40 intrigues me. A full size in 9mm does not. I have smaller 1911's from Sringfiled and Kimber and assure you not one is in 9mm. Oh... count me as a huge Kimber fan too if someone is keeping score. My Pro CDP is one of my more accurate handguns and never hiccups.

FWIW Norman I don't think locking back with one round left is a deal breaker. If you had to reload it won't slow you down and if you don't, you're out of ammo (luck) anyway. ;>)

Posted by: Markbo | January 19, 2010 9:25 AM    Report this comment

Kimber is the most confusing brand to me out there when it comes to quality. I have either heard owners say their pistol is the greatest thing since sliced bread and other claim their pistol did not work properly and had problems. I don't know if this is due to their tight tolerances and need for break-in time to work properly? I've always wanted one, however have held off putting down the big bucks until I'm convinced its a quality product.

Posted by: Robert J | January 19, 2010 7:19 AM    Report this comment

A few years back I had bought a Kimber Stainless Target II. After 40 rounds of Winchester factory ammo, the inside of the barrel looked as it had a plating peeling off. I brought it back to the dealer and he saw the same thing along with a few other customers. We sent the barrel back to Kimber after talking with their QC department. They returned the barrel after 3 weeks with a letter saying they could not see or find anything wrong with the inside of the barrel. We talked with the QC department again on the phone and the said if I was not satisfied to return the gun to them and they would replace the barrel free of charge(which I did!). So in my opinion Kimbers customer service is great, but their quality and pricing is unjustifiable!

Posted by: 1jarhead | January 16, 2010 10:27 AM    Report this comment

I have han no problems with any feeding or ejecting. Ive used many different types of ammo with no problems. I trust this carry pistol with my life. I have no regrets Remember you get what You pay for. This pistol will be given to my son at some later date.

Posted by: Outdoorguy | January 15, 2010 8:06 AM    Report this comment

With Kimber you do indeed get what you pay for. With the others (HiPoint, please don't mention that name along side a Kimber) you can only hope.
If a low price is your thing, then by all means buy something lower priced. No one is forcing you to buy a Kimber. But if you want an out of the box, eat any ammo fed to it, kick a** pistol, then pay the price. You will not be disappointed. And after you buy one and have issues, send it back to Kimber. Talk about customer service!!!
Pricey, as compared to what? Dependable, absolutely. When it comes to saving your life, priceless!
God forbid you are ever involved in a gun fight, any gun is better than no gun. But when your life is on the line, you need the confidence in your carry gun to do its job so you can do your job.
All you nay sayers, don't be damning a Kimber until you have tried one.

Posted by: MasterGuide | January 14, 2010 8:42 PM    Report this comment

Hmmm, I wonder if it will outshoot my $185.00 made in America Hi point 9mm, with companion 9mm carbine, $185.00, interchangable mags, etc. These guns cost too much!!! More firepower? both available in >40 cal, >45 pistol, but carbine coming. ALL UNDER $200.00!!!!!

Posted by: longarm45 | January 14, 2010 6:13 PM    Report this comment

I bought my Aegis in Oct 09. It shoot like a rocket. Very accurate. No failures to feed or eject. I love the weapon.
i have large hands and it fits me perfectly. Well worth the $$

Posted by: Outdoorguy | January 14, 2010 4:51 PM    Report this comment

I bought the Aegis II Custom with the 5" barrel. During the break in period (why must a customer use 500 rds of his own ammo to break in an already expensive pistol?) I had problems with the slide locking back with one round left in the magazine. Called Kimber and they said "don't use Winchester White box ammo" or "keep it wet like a salad". Well after at least 1000 rds and keeping the gun cleaned and lubed, I still get the same glitch. I can't trust my life to this gun and will never buy another Kimber.

Posted by: NORMAN N | January 14, 2010 3:10 PM    Report this comment

I remember when Kimber first started the Kimber Classic .45acp. It was a pistol you could get with all the stuff you'd pay 1100+ dollars if it was a Colt or Springfield 45 at less than 600.00. I agree with some others here I believe that most Firearms have gotten far too expensive because of all the laywer's and litigation all companies must go through it has made it tuff to get a decent priced pistol. I love my Kimber Classic would not trade or sell for any amount of money.

Posted by: pitdogg | January 14, 2010 11:22 AM    Report this comment

How does it compare performance wise with the also pricy Kimber CDP II, 9mm?

Posted by: Jerry P | January 14, 2010 10:25 AM    Report this comment

is it that much better than a P6?

Posted by: TOM GARRETT | January 14, 2010 9:59 AM    Report this comment

I agree, it is a little pricey.

Posted by: besdw | January 14, 2010 9:26 AM    Report this comment

Kimber makes a great gun but $1195?????
Goodness gracious. Sophistication at it's peak.

Posted by: Sharps | January 11, 2010 11:28 PM    Report this comment

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