Kimber Ultra Crimson Carry II .45 ACP


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

July 10th, 2009




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For many years now, Kimber has been producing high quality, American made 1911 style pistols. They currently offer a wide variety of standard models, in addition to their custom shop upgrades. Kimber has a good reputation for the reliability of their .45 ACP pistols. Some of the most popular are their compact carry guns. Some manufacturers have a hard time making a short-barreled 1911 run properly, but the Kimber compact weapons seem to be very reliable, and in a defensive weapon, reliability is paramount. The Ultra Crimson Carry II model reviewed here is a top-of-the heap carry gun. Chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge, it is lightweight, compact, reliable, and powerful. Called the Crimson Carry because it comes from the factory wearing the excellent Crimson Trace Lasergrips, it is ready to go right out of the box, for most shooters. The only thing that I find lacking, being a left-handed shooter, is an ambidextrous safety, and that is easy enough to add. For the eighty-five percent of shooters whom are right-handed, the Ultra Crimson Carry II is pretty much ready to slide into a good holster and start earning its keep.

I once was of the opinion that lasers on handguns were frivolous, and just a gimmick to relieve rubes of their cash. Early handgun lasers were bulky, and unreliable. Crimson Trace Corporation changed all that for me. They build laser sights that are integrated into the grip of the handgun. No more bulky lasers that interfere with the holster. No more wires taped to the side of the pistol. No more reliability problems. The Crimson Trace Lasergrips give me, and everyone else, the ability to place my shots accurately, even in the dark. Nighttime is when most thugs come out to play, and the chances are, if you ever need your handgun to defend your life, it will not be at high-noon. In a gunfight, the one who places the first shot in a vital area is usually the winner. As the legendary Bill Jordan used to state, “There ain’t no second place winner”, and Mr. Jordan had seen his share of gunfights. In the dark, or even in poor lighting such as a parking garage, even if you can clearly see your attacker, seeing the sights can be difficult. I like tritium night sights also, but in some situations, there is no room to elevate the handgun to properly align the sights with your eyes. With a Lasergrip, from any angle or position, placing the laser on the target and pulling the trigger results in a hit. The Ultra Crimson Carry II comes from the factory with the best laser on the market already installed on the weapon. It came from the factory already adjusted for windage, and can be corrected for elevation by the user, depending upon the chosen carry ammo. With lighter, faster bullets, it will shoot lower, and with heavier bullets higher, but the unit is easy to adjust, and comes supplied with a small Allen wrench to do so. For me, a Crimson Trace Lasergrip rides on every one of my carry guns. The one on my .38 Special S&W Centennial has been on there for over five years, and still has the same batteries installed. I test the laser twice everyday; once before I place it in my pocket in the morning, and once when I put it away every night. It has always worked, every time, and I would not choose to carry a fighting handgun that did not have a CT Lasergrip.

The Ultra Crimson Carry II has a three inch barrel, and also wears an excellent set of open sights atop the slide. They are relatively low profile, and very smooth in design. You will not cut your hand on this rear sight. The rear surfaces of both the front and rear sights are serrated to reduce glare, and are drift-adjustable for windage correction. The thumb safety is of the extended type, as is the magazine release. The Kimber comes from the factory supplied with three seven-shot magazines, two of which have extended base pads to facilitate a positive reload. The magazine well is beveled also to assist in a quick reload under stress. The frame is lightweight aluminum, clear anodized, which contrasts nicely with the blued steel slide. The grip frame is slightly shortened compared to a full-size 1911, but fits my large hand very well, offering a secure, positive grip. The Kimber has a full length guide rod, and a bushingless slide design. Weighing in at just a shade over 25 ounces empty, the Ultra Crimson Carry II is compact, lightweight, and very handy to carry concealed.

My favorite carry holster for a lightweight 1911 is the Mernickle PS2 inside the pants holster. This holster is offered with either a spring steel belt clip, or with leather belt loops, and with or without a thumb break retaining strap. The best thing about this holster is that it has a spring steel insert at the mouth, inside the leather. This keeps the holster open so that the weapon can be inserted one-handed, without the need to loosen the belt. Perfect.

I fired the Kimber using every type of .45 ACP ammo available to me, from target handloads to Plus P combat loads. The trigger pull measured a very clean, crisp five pounds. Just about right for a fighting pistol.

Velocities were checked using a Chrony Master Beta chronograph set at a distance of twelve feet from the muzzle. Velocities from the Kimber’s three inch barrel are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Air temperature was just over the ninety degree Fahrenheit mark during velocity testing. JHP is jacketed hollowpoint ammunition. EPR and AF are specialty bullets as loaded by Extreme Shock Ammunition. DPX is a homogenous copper hollowpoint Barnes XPB bullet as loaded by Cor-Bon. PB is PowRBall, a specialty hollowpoint bullet with a nylon ball in the hollow nose. LWSC is a lead semi-wadcutter bullet of the Hensley & Gibbs Number 68 style.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Cor-Bon JHP 165 1203
Cor-Bon JHP 185 1001
Cor-Bon JHP 200 922
Cor-Bon DPX 185 933.4
Cor-Bon PB 165 1163
Buffalo Bore JHP 185 1097
Buffalo Bore JHP 200 998.8
WCC Ball 230 724.5
Extreme Shock 185 185 1029
Extreme Shock AF 125 1341
Handload LSWC 200 737.2

Accuracy was very good. It was easy to keep every shot in the kill zone of a standard silhouette target at 25 yards, shooting rapid fire offhand. From a rested position, ammo grouped from as large as three inches to as tight as one and one-half inches at the same distance. This Kimber Ultra Crimson Carry II pistol is an excellent choice for concealed carry. It is lightweight, powerful, reliable, and easy to control, even using Plus P ammunition.

Check out the extensive line of Kimber products online at

Jeff Quinn








The Kimber carries comfortably and discreetly in Mernickle PS-2 holster.



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Click pictures for a larger version.


Kimber Ultra Crimson Carry II .45 ACP pistol.





The Ultra Crimson Carry II comes with hard case, three magazines, cable lock & instructions.


One magazine has a plain base, two have extended base pads.



On/Off switch for laser.



Lightened trigger and extended mag release.



Snag-free sights are drift-adjustable for windage.





High-ride beavertail grip safety.



Warning stickers for laser.



Activation switch for laser rides under the middle finger, automatically activating the laser when a normal grip is taken.



Extended thumb safety.