|Home - Volume 2 (2007) - Issue 4 (Fall '07) - Pistol Review: Kimber Pro Covert II|
Kimber Pro Covert II
A Gun Test by Hunter Lee Elliott (Hunter, )
I received the call from Jim owner of Jim's Guns late one Thursday afternoon that the Kimber Pro Covert II had arrived at his shop. When I got there he was pretty busy so I decided to give the Kimber a quick once over while I was waiting. I opened the black plastic box to reveal the Kimber sealed in a blue plastic bag, along with a pile of paperwork, and three magazines (the gun usually ships with one magazine, but Kimber was nice enough to send us three, for our evaluation).
When I picked up the Kimber the first thing I noticed was the digital camouflage-patterned Crimson Trace laser grips with the Kimber logo, held fast with hex head stock screws. The bi-tone finish, which is nicely done, as is the carry dehorn job.
The activation device for the laser is a small button just under the trigger guard, covered by the black strap with the Kimber logo. The button is depressed by the middle finger while grasping the grip. The front strap provided thirty lines per inch of checkering, aiding in a good purchase of the pistol. Using the laser activation button took some time to get accustomed to, but once it became a known quantity the operation was simple and reliable.
The laser is provisioned to be switched on and off by a small black switch at the bottom corner of the left stock. In the up position the laser is on and can be activated by the button under the trigger guard; with the switch in the down position the laser cannot be activated.
The receiver is machined from 7075-T7 aluminum and has the Desert Tan KimPro II finish while the slide is made from steel and finished in matte black oxide. The slide stop, grip safety, thumb safety, magazine release, trigger, mainspring housing, stock screws, and sights are finished are also finished in matte black oxide. The mainspring housing is also checkered and includes a lanyard loop, which is a nice touch. The magwell is slightly beveled.
Dovetailed to the slide top are Tactical Wedge three dot, green tritium night sights.
The grip safety was well fitted, disengaged positively, and incorporated a palm swell. Looking to the hammer it is a rowel style, serrated on the spur.
The trigger is a three-hole design with an overtravel adjuster. The trigger broke cleanly at four pounds, two ounces, with very little overtravel. Pull was measured with my Lyman mechanical trigger pull gauge.
Observing the muzzle, it is evident this pistol uses a bushingless system to index the muzzle of the match grade bull barrel to the end of the slide.
Also incorporated in the barrel is a loaded chamber indicator at the end of the barrel hood.
With the bushingless barrel and Swartz safety the Kimber Pro Covert II is somewhat different from a standard Government Model that uses a barrel bushing in the way it is detail stripped. A supplied take down tool is needed to hold the recoil spring back for removal from the slide.
Pictures of stripping the slide.
The Swartz safety is a firing pin block actuated by depressing the grip safety.
Here is the pistol fully stripped.
Initial Range Trip
I got up bright and early on a Sunday morning and headed out to run some rounds down range through the Kimber and get it warmed up.
I set up my CED chronograph to get some velocity measurements from the four inch barrel. I started with one seven-round magazine of each of my test rounds. I started with Winchester 230 grain full metal jacket and through another magazine of Armscore 230gr FMJ, Independence 230gr FMJ, Federal 230gr JHP Hydra Shocks, Hornady 200gr +P JHP, Federal 185gr Gold Match semi wad cutters, and my own home-cast 200gr LSWC reloads. With a total of forty nine rounds run over the chronograph I had the numbers. Then it was to the seventy-five foot mark to get some seven-shot groups from a supported position for accuracy. Then I went to the twenty-one foot mark to get on with the break-in. One thing I can say for sure for this pistol is it is dang accurate. At twenty-one feet it was useless to shoot a group of more than fourteen rounds as the ragged hole never changed from about an inch circle. I had got almost to the 100 round mark, shooting an even cross-section of my test rounds, when I had a failure to return to battery on one of my 200gr LSWC. I then went to shooting just ball rounds. I had made it through another five magazines when I had another failure to return to battery. I then begin to see why Kimber recommends a break-in period. By the time round count 214 had been reached I had a total of twelve failures to return to battery and half that many of the slide locking back with rounds in the magazine. The failures did not seem to follow any one magazine but the slide only locked back prematurely on ball rounds. I did not field strip and clean the pistol at round count 150 and the feed ramp and chamber was plenty dirty. I attributed much of the fouling to my 200gr LSWC reloads loaded with 5.3gr of Unique powder. After reading about the break-in from the manual it is feasible to say that the failures may be attributed to the break-in process. According to page 27 on the Kimber manual, 400 to 500 rounds of ball ammunition is required to break in the Kimber while cleaning and lubricating every 100 to 150 rounds. This break-in concept is new to me but I figured since Kimber built the pistol they knew what was up.
A Trip to Tom Beliveau
I took the Kimber to my gunsmith to get his ideas on what could have been possible causes of the troubles. The Kimber did measure a tight chamber as well as a tight extractor that would have caused failures to return to battery as the chamber became fouled. The barrel throat was a little different than I am used to looking at. I am sure Tom could have fixed the Kimber while I waited and offered to do so but I thought it best to see what Aaron Cummins at Kimber thought.
A call to Kimber
I called Aaron Cummins and talked to him about the failures I had experienced with the first outing. I explained to him about not following the break in process, the tight extractor, and the tight chamber. He said to box up the Kimber uncleaned and he would send me a UPS call tag for return to see if there were any other problems. He called me back in a matter of days and told me that in the interest of time for my review he had sent out another Kimber Pro Covert II. Sure enough, Jim called me that evening and there was a brand new Kimber waiting for me. One thing for sure: even though I don't think it would have taken long for Kimber to fix the pistol, they were quick to send out another on my word to keep things going. Thanks, Aaron.
Initial Range Trip with the new Kimber Pro Covert II
Upon arriving at the range I sprayed the new Kimber with CLP and opened a new box of Winchester 230gr FMJ. I decided to go with the manual's suggestion of using just factory 230gr ball ammunition initially. I ran through 100 rounds with no failures from the new pistol. The Kimber would be cleaned before the next 100 rounds.
Second Range Trip
I cleaned the new Kimber and ran another 100 rounds of Winchester 230gr full metal jacket with no failures. Accuracy of the Kimber was impressive.
My shooting buddy, Clint, accompanied me to the range and ran a few magazines of his own Winchester 230 gr. through the Pro Covert II. He commented on the visibility of the sights and accuracy as well. So far so good at 221 rounds.
Third Range Trip
I brought 75 230gr FMJs loaded with 5.3gr of Unique as well as 25 200gr LSWC with that same powder charge. I wanted to at least try some LSWCs at the end of the test to see how they would function. I ran the 75 rounds of ball without incident and then loaded up the LSWC. I will say that twenty five rounds is not really a complete test of reliability for a bullet profile but I had to see. I am please to report the LSWCs also ran without a problem. That brought the total round count for the second pistol to 321 with no failures.
OK let's get the whole "I had to send the first pistol back" out of the way. Yes, the first pistol did not prove to be reliable at the initial range trip. I also now understand Kimber recommends a break-in period, something, with which I was not familiar. With that said, I do not believe the use of other than ball ammunition caused all the failures, but it could very well have contributed to them. For whatever reason, a quick call to Aaron Cummins at Kimber and the problem was on its way to be taken care of. I can say the first pistol (as well as the second) did prove to be accurate.
I have said it many times that anything made by man can be flawed. When that happens and the company stands behind its product there really is no room to complain. Aaron got me a new pistol out right away so the testing would continue on while the first pistol was being checked out.
On to the second pistol ... well it worked, and I was glad of it.
The Kimber Pro Covert II is an interesting pistol, with many bells and whistles. Those amenities can aid in its use but will not come close to compensating for lack of practice or training. Don't believe a laser sight can take the place of range time. As far as the differences between the first pistol and second pistol for accuracy and specifications, there were none so the data is correct for both pistols.
Something about laser sights
I can see why they would be useful as a sighting tool, but I also think there are some inherent drawbacks as well. The first thought is they are battery powered and obviously that can fail. The laser is mounted on the right side of the stock and not inline with the line of sight from the muzzle. This means that there is a point downrange where the point of aim intersects with the laser depending on where the beam is adjusted. Much closer and the laser will be to the right of the point of aim and much further it will be to the left. Also, in daylight the laser is barely visible. With that, red dot sight acquisition is very quick (but keep in mind that laser works both ways). I can see where there is a place for a laser sighting system on a defensive pistol but my concern is that with the ease of use practicing with the sights on the slide may not get the attention needed to develop proficiency with the pistol. If one relied only on the laser sight they would be doing themselves a grave injustice on learning how to properly use a pistol, and may be placed in a bind if the laser failed.
The laser was somewhat blocked by the slide stop pin
That did not seem to affect the laser as I tried it without the slide stop installed, though the laser did seem a little spread out.
The warning labels.
Model: Pro Covert II
I want to thank:
Aaron Cummins at Kimber
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