Introduction to the Shooting Sports

Original Mentor Page

In the effort to promote responsible gun ownership and rights awareness, I make the following open offer to any resident or visitor in the Evansville, IN area:

If you have never shot a gun and would like to try, I am willing to take you shooting free of charge. I will provide the firearms, ammunition, eye/ear protection and I will cover your range fees. I guarantee if you are on the fence about gun ownership and usage, you will not be at the end of the session. You will have fun and learn a little in the process.

Please feel free to contact me if you'd like to meet at one or the other!

If you live in a different area, please check this map for mentors that may be in your area.

Friday, February 27, 2009

XD45 vs. 3" 1911

So a week or so ago, Jay over at MArooned asked if anyone had any first hand experience with a Kimber Ultra Crimson Carry (a 3” Kimber 1911 with CT Lasergrips) and an XDm. A recently returning shooter that Jay had gotten back into the sport was asking for advice about the two.

I don’t have either of those exact models in my collection at home, but I have things that are relatively close, and I told him that I’d do an in-depth review and comparison of the two firearms, and post it on my blog, so here we are.

The actual guns that I have in my safe at home are a Kimber Eclipse Ultra and a Springfield XD45. There are a couple of differences in the guns that I have vs. the guns that Jay is asking about. My Eclipse Ultra has a stainless steel frame, vs. the aluminum frame found on the Ultra Crimson Carry. My XD differs from an XDm in that it has a slightly different shape, a different texture on the grip, and does not have a “match” grade barrel installed.

I purchased the Kimber Eclipse Ultra in January of 2008, and it came from the shop with a set of CT lasergrips already installed on it. The gun was “used” at the shop, but was less than six months old. The dealer (who I am now friends with) had sold the gun to its original owner. The pistol didn’t appear to have any wear on it what so ever and the price was most excellent. I ended up taking the pistol home that night, even though it was absolutely my first 1911.

** As a quick side note, the customer service guys at Crimson Trace deserve a huge thumbs up. I started having problems with the grips almost immediately after I took the gun home. The grips were extremely dim when they would light up at all. I sent CT an email, and they told me to ship the grips back to them and they would repair them at no cost to me. I made sure to tell the rep. That the gun was bought used, with the grips on it already. The rep told me it didn’t matter. True to their word, I received the repaired grips in about a week, no bill! That’s customer service! **

The gun is fairly heavy, even for it’s small size, which helps with the recoil just a little bit. Recoil is still stout, but by no means is it unmanageable, and I actually prefer it to some of my .40 handguns. The gun is a dream to carry, with the possible exception of the weight. The night sites included on the gun are bright, and extremely fast in either full daylight, or low light conditions. The only real complaint I have about the gun is that my fingers are not quite long enough to naturally come to rest on the activation buttons for the CT grip (because the buttons are on the side of the grip, as opposed to the front).

About 3 months after I bought the Kimber Ultra, I purchased a Springfield XD45 for BAG Day 2008. I LOVE my XD45, and it is my primary carry piece. I carry mine in a Brommeland Max Con V IWB holster, and it is very nearly as comfortable as carrying OWB. The magazine capacity is very nice at 13 rounds, although in MA, that is limited to 10 rounds due to laws (boo hiss). I haven’t made any changes in my XD45 yet, although I am planning on purchasing a set of night sites for it, and I might but a set of Crimson Trace Lasergrips on it at some point in the future.

I find myself carrying my XD far more often then I find myself carrying the Kimber Ultra. I think there are really two reasons for that to be the case. I tend to think of the XD as much more of a working gun, I don’t mind if it gets scratched, or worn, and I think that marks on the finish of the gun add to it’s appearance (it couldn’t get much uglier then when it left the factory!). I think the Kimber is much more of a pretty gun, or more of a BBQ gun, something to carry openly when I’m in the right setting. The other reason I’m more likely to be found with the XD on my hip is holsters. I have a very nice IWB holster that is custom made to hold an XD45, and the retention on it is excellent. I have a factory leather holster for carrying the Kimber Ultra, and the fit and finish are not as nice as my XD leather.

A better holster would probably lead me to carrying the Kimber slightly more often, but all things considered, I’d probably still revert back to the XD. I just don’t enjoy shooting the Kimber as much as I enjoy shooting the XD (probably due to muzzle flip).

Kimber Pros:

  • Smaller Pistol
  • Nicer Trigger
  • Night Site
  • Crimson Trace Laser Grips

Kimber Cons:

  • Increased Muzzle Flip
  • Smaller Mag. Capacity
  • Short Site Radius
  • Condition 1 Carry (Not a con, but can be perceived by the untrained as unsafe)

XD Pros:

  • Longer Site Radius
  • Larger Mag Capacity
  • Reduced Muzzle Flip
  • Simpler Operation (no manual safeties)

XD Cons:

  • No Night Sites
  • Larger Pistol
  • Longer & Heavier Trigger
  • Bladed Trigger

If anyone has any additional specific questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments.


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A well regulated militia being necessary to the Security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.