Review: Kimber Ultra+ CDP II

The Kimber Ultra+ CDP (Custom Defensive Pistol) II from the Kimber Custom Shop is for those who find they are better suited having a 1911 with a short slide assembly while retaining the full-sized grip. The Ultra+ CDP II provides this, along with numerous practical and attractive features found on, well, a custom 1911.

The Ultra+ CDP II has a stainless steel slide that has the Kimber Carry-Melt treatment, which does just that: "melts" and blends sharp edges.

Steel night sights are mounted in dovetail cuts and can be drifted for windage. The sights have white dots in their faces, which change to a strong green color in dim light or darkness. The front sight is slightly ramped, and the rear sight slopes upward front to rear and on both sides of its square-cut sight notch. The rear sight, additionally secured with an Allen screw, retains the firing pin block and its spring.

The ejection port is ample, and the slide is scalloped at the right rear of the port to further aid in the ejection process. An internal extractor is used.

Eight diagonal grasping grooves give a good gripping surface for manual movement of the slide. There is no barrel bushing since the barrel has an annular ring at its muzzle. The ring wedges in the slide opening, thus serving to stabilize the barrel.

The forward portion of the 18-pound, dual, non-captive recoil spring system fits into a retaining bushing in the lower opening of the slide face. To remove the assembly, Kimber furnishes a .04-inch diameter, 2.75-inch long takedown tool. The short leg of the L-shaped tool is placed in a hole in the guide-rod body, which is only accessible when the assembly is almost fully compressed (a small paper clip also worked for me). The assembly is removed rearward. When this is accomplished, the slide can be removed.

The fully ramped and throated barrel has two locking lugs and can be removed when the barrel link is fully forward. The barrel chamber is notched at its top rear, serving as a visual loaded-chamber indicator. With a match chamber, the chamber is cut to minimum dimensions. By doing so, accuracy is increased but at a cost; carelessly reloaded and "bargain" ammo won't cut it due to variation in case dimensions.

The 7075-T7, 27-ounce aluminum frame wears the premium KimPro II finish. The frame is full length, and the flat frontstrap is relieved beneath the trigger guard, which allows for a better full-finger grip.

"Gripability" is further enhanced by the 30 lpi checkering on the frontstrap and under the trigger guard, along with 25 lpi checkering on the flat mainspring housing.

The insertion of the supplied, blued Kimber seven-round magazine is aided by slight beveling of the magazine-well opening. The magazine has five inspection holes on either side, and the solid base plate is drilled for base pads. The grooved magazine catch behind the trigger guard required firm but not heavy pressure to release the magazine.

The Ultra+ CDP II has an ambidextrous thumb safety with grooved and extended finger pads. The safety moved positively when operated from either side. A long, grooved and skeletonized match trigger with overtravel screw gave a clean-breaking 4.5-pound pull weight.

The well-fitted beavertail grip safety protects the web of your shooting hand from any hammer bite from the grooved and rounded hammer. Nicely checkered double-diamond rosewood grips attached with four stainless steel Allen screws complete the good-feeling and effective grip area.

I was not satisfied with my first efforts at accuracy testing but lucked out on my second range visit when I met with A.J. Stuart and Ted Murphy, both of whom are rated Master in the IDPA Custom Defensive Pistol division, which is home to .45s and 1911s.

After remembering that a short-barrel 1911 requires a hard, two-handed grip for best accuracy, at 15 yards A.J. and Ted tied, with their best five-shot groups being 2.25 inches using Cor-Bon Performance Match 230-grain jacketed roundnose and Black Hills 230-grain jacketed roundnose. I almost topped this, except my fifth round of Hornady SXT-XTP 230-grain hollowpoint was a flyer. The first four were in 1.75 inches.

In review, the Ultra+ CDP II is assembled with the relative care of crafting a finely made Swiss watch. While the gun is durable and reliable, it will not tolerate a poor grip or questionable ammo. Also, for long-term use, spring strength cannot be allowed to deteriorate. In fact, the Kimber instruction book recommends that the recoil springs be changed every 1,800 rounds.

If you give it the proper attention, the Ultra+ CDP II will be a handgun for a fight, not a handgun to fight.


  • TYPE: 1911 semiauto
  • CALIBER: .45 ACP
  • CAPACITY: 7+1
  • BARREL LENGTH: 3.0 in.
  • OVERALL LENGTH: 8.7 in.
  • WIDTH: frame, 1.25 in.; slide .875 in.
  • WEIGHT: 31 oz.
  • TRIGGER: aluminum match-grade, 4-5 lb. pull
  • SIGHTS: steel, dovetailed front and rear trititum 3-dot
  • PRICE: $1,331

Accuracy Results

  • Smallest Avg. Group: 230-gr. Cor-Bon JRN - 3.25 in.
  • Largest Avg. Group: 230-gr. Hornady XTP HP - 3.50 in.
  • Avg. of all ammo tested (three types) - 3.37
  • Accuracy results are the averages of four five-shot groups at 15 yards from a seated rest.

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