Kimber Pro CDP II .45 Auto
by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

September 22nd, 2003




Kimber Manufacturing, Inc. has for several years now produced some of the best 1911 style pistols available. Kimber offers a seemingly endless variety of 1911 pistols from lightweight pocket forty-fives to Olympic match full-size target guns, and just about anything in between. One of their most popular pistols is the subject of this article: the Pro CDP II.

CDP is short for "Custom Defense Package", and as the name implies, this gun is built with the features demanded by those who carry a .45 for the purpose of defending oneself in the gravest of circumstances. In other words, it is a packing gun.

The Pro CDP II has all of the features that I like in a 1911 for everyday carry. The frame is alloy, resulting in an overall weight of just twenty-nine ounces. The front of the grip frame, the underside of the trigger guard, and the flat mainspring housing are finely checkered for a secure and positive grip in any weather condition. The magazine well is slightly beveled to facilitate a quick magazine change. The thumb safety is extended, and it is also ambidextrous for those of us who hold a pistol in the left hand. The beautiful rosewood grips are flawlessly checkered in the classic double-diamond pattern, again to achieve a secure grip on the pistol. The grip safety is of a high-ride beavertail type that is relieved for the lightened Rowell type hammer. To aid in target acquisition, the sights are big and black, with tritium inserts for low light conditions.  The Pro CDP II has a full-size grip frame. The heavy four-inch barrel is fitted to the slide without the use of a bushing, and there is a full-length stainless steel guide rod for the recoil spring. The slide-to-frame and barrel-to-slide fit is excellent, without any discernable play between the parts. The feed ramp and barrel throat are polished to assure smooth feeding of the ammunition from the seven-round magazine,  three of which are supplied with the gun. All screws are hex-head type, and are made of stainless steel. The trigger pull on the CDP II measures three pounds and ten ounces, every time, and releases crisply. These features are important to assure the most reliable and user-friendly package possible in a 1911 style auto.

Now for the cosmetic features of the Pro CDP II. The gun is executed in a nice matte two-tone finish. All metal components except the frame, sights, hammer, springs, and magazines are of a matte stainless finish. The mainspring housing is synthetic, and finished to match the stainless components. The frame is a matte black aluminum alloy, and the magazines are a matte blued steel. Complimented by the checkered rosewood grips, the result is one of the best-looking forty-fives available, in my opinion. The overall look is serious and business like, but is very aesthetically pleasing.

The main feature that sets this gun apart from, and way above, most other 1911 style guns on the market is the total absence of any sharp edges on the exterior of this weapon. The best word to describe the feel of this pistol is "smooth".  If you run you hand across most 1911 pistols, you can feel several sharp edges that can cut your hand or quickly wear out holsters and clothing. Those edges are smoothly rounded on the CDP. It is much like the feel of a used bar of soap. All external edges of the frame and slide are rounded. Raking your hand across the top of the slide, it will glide smoothly across the sights and ejection port. This can be very important if you ever have to eject a bad round during a stressful situation.

The Kimber Pro CDP II was tested using a variety of ammunition, both hand loaded and factory new. As expected, the Kimber fed, fired, and ejected every round without failure. I have been criticized in the past for feeding empty cases through a new pistol during testing. My critics have stated correctly that a gun was never meant to feed empty cases, only live ammunition. However, I have found that if a pistol will feed an empty case from the magazine smoothly into the chamber, it will feed any type of ammunition. The Kimber feeds empties smoothly, every time.

The accuracy of the CDP II was very good with all ammo tested, as is typified in the accompanying picture. Most ammo tested grouped under two inches at twenty-five yards, fired two-handed from a rested position. Rapid fire groups on silhouette targets were well centered, and could be covered with a fist, from a standing Weaver position. I particularly liked the Cor-Bon 165 grain Plus P hollow point ammo. It grouped very well, with less felt recoil than the heavier bullet weight loads. My favorite .45 ACP ammo, the Cor-Bon PowRBall, grouped almost as well, with the same recoil characteristics, and would be my load of choice in this pistol.

The Kimber Pro CDP II pistol comes with a hard plastic storage case, three seven-round magazines, an instruction manual, and a cable lock. It is powerful, relatively lightweight, controllable, and reliable. The suggested list price on the CDP is $1141, which ainít cheap, but is much less than having a standard 1911 customized to the same level as this factory gun. With the Pro CDP II, you are getting a custom grade pistol, right out of the box.

Check out the full line of Kimber firearms online at:

Here at Gunblast, I get to shoot many different firearms. It is a rough job, but someone has to do it. Normally, I test the guns and report the facts. Very seldom, I will recommend a firearm, as I usually let the reader decide that which is best for his situation. I get many emails wanting my opinion on the "best" gun for a given purpose. I can only tell you what would choose:  Among the vast array of 1911 style .45 automatics on the market, this Kimber is the one that I would want to be on my side when things get mean and serious, and I do recommend the Pro CDP II for those who choose to go armed for defense against those social predators who would do them harm.

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.


The Kimber Custom Shop's Pro CDP II is one of the finest defensive handguns available anywhere at any price.



Front and rear sights are smoothly-contoured blued steel units with Tritium inserts, and are adjustable for windage.



While the price tag may seem a bit steep at first, the Kimber Pro CDP II is meticulously crafted with many custom features found on expensive custom carry pistols, making it a real-world bargain.



The magazine well is tastefully treated with just the right amount of bevel for a carry pistol.



The Pro CDP II features a polished feed ramp and throated barrel for flawless feeding of any type of ammunition, every time.



The Pro CDP II performed perfectly, never failing to feed or eject the wide variety of ammunition tested. Nothing less than 100% reliability is acceptable in a carry pistol, and it's nice to see that the folks at Kimber understand this concept as much as Jeff does!



While tack-driving accuracy is not as important as 100% reliability in a carry pistol, Jeff was pleased to find that the Pro CDP II is capable of fine accuracy. Most ammunition grouped under 2" at 25 yards, with the Cor-Bon 165-grain JHP and the Cor-Bon PowRBall among the top performers.