50 Famous Firearms You've Got to Own: Rick Hacker's Bucket List of Guns (2015)
SUPER MATCH II
Although designed for match-grade accuracy, the author feels a high-end gun such as the Super Match more than qualifies it for home-defense and personal protection.
Just as John Browning’s original “perfected” design of the 1911 (which is on our bucket list), subsequently evolved into the even more refined 1911A1, that improved 1911 platform has since been enhanced even further by numerous skilled gunsmiths such as Ed Brown, Bill Wilson, and Les Baer, to name but a few. These and others have put their individual, indelible marks on what was once a workhorse pistol and turned it into a sophisticated shooting machine. Of course, very often these upgrades come with equally lofty price tags and lengthy delivery schedules—and, occasionally, they are not improvements at all, such as checkering so sharp it painfully grates the hand under recoil, or guns tuned so tightly they do not always function reliably. Add to this the fact that, by the very nature of some of the best custom guns, they are often not readily available.
And then there’s Kimber, which, beginning in 1996, emerged upon the handgun scene by filling in the gap between mass-produced and customized 1911s with an ever-expanding line of semi-custom and highly tuned custom 1911-style pistols, all of which feature match grade barrels, beavertail grip safeties, loaded shell indicators, and polished feed ramps as standard equipment and regularly cataloged. Indeed, while Ruger and Colt’s may have been one of the first to incorporate aluminum frames on their early .22 single-actions, it was Kimber that was pretty much single handedly responsible for changing shooter’s views on the practicality of cast aluminum frames for the harder-hitting .45 ACPs. In addition, Kimber keep costs competitive and tolerances tight on its highly accurate handguns by using metal injection molding (MIM) for many of its small parts, as well as computer-aided design (CAD) coupled with computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) technologies. It should also be noted that Kimber makes every major component of its guns in America.
Virtually every Kimber I have tested over the years has shot “photographable groups,” right out of the box. So it’s hardly surprising that, in the relatively short time that its handgun division has existed, Kimber has become the world’s largest manufacturer of 1911-styled pistols. Kimber catalogs more than 25 variations of the 1911 at last count, including models with both fixed and adjustable sights and barrel lengths ranging from three to five inches. But the one that goes into my bucket is the top-of-the-line Super Match II. Here’s why.
First, it’s a handsome, two-toned, all-stainless steel pistol, with diamond checkered rosewood grips, a non-glare satin silver-finished frame, and black KimPro II protective finish on the slide, which features both front and rear cocking serrations. Frontstrap and under-the-trigger-guard checkering (one of the few production guns to offer this feature) is a comfortable and anchoring 30 lines per inch. Mag well, ambi safety, and beavertail grip safety are standard, of course, as would be expected on a handgun of this stature. A micro-adjustable rear sight and eight-round magazine capacity enhances shooting performance, as does the match grade barrel teamed with a match grade bushing and a four-pound trigger pull. Consequently, the Super Match II is guaranteed to shoot a five-shot, 25-yard group that will measure one inch or less.
All of this doesn’t come cheaply, as the Super Match II lists for a little bit north of $2,000. It is worth it? Beautifully printed catalogs and advertising claims aside, I had to find out for myself, and there is no better proving ground for a handgun or its owner than the 250 Defensive Pistol Class at Gunsite Academy (www.gunsite.com), located in Paulden, Arizona, just a short drive from Prescott. This five-day event, which is held on a regularly scheduled basis, is essentially a boot camp that teaches defensive shooting. The 250 is an intensive class, in which each student burns 800 to 1,000 rounds of ammunition within a week’s time and fires double tap, failure drills, night fire, and “playhouse” hostage/bad guy scenarios at ranges from three to 25 yards. It was the perfect scenario to see how the Super Match II would hold up under a variety of situations.
The Kimber wasn’t the only gun I used (I always bring spares to grueling events like these), but without going into details (that’s a story for another book), I can tell you that I put more than 500 rounds through the Super Match II without cleaning it once; I merely wiped it down at the end of each day. By the end of the week, the gun had not suffered a single malfunction. Ammo used consisted of both 230-grain ball and hollowpoints from Hornady, Winchester, and Federal. I should also mention that the only magazines I used were Kimber’s eight-round stainless steel TacMags that came with the gun, plus two additional TacMags that I purchased to get me through the 250 course. Cheat on the quality of the magazines you use and you cheat on yourself.
Extended beavertail grip safety, skeletonized hammer, ambidextrous safety, and a serrated anti-glare rear sight are just some of the upscale features of the Super Match.
For his Kimber Super Match shootout at Gunsite Academy, the author used a Bianchi El Paso No. 1911 speed rig and, of course, Kimber stainless steel TacMags.
The end result? The Super Match II works. And it looks elegant. It is reliable enough for self-defense, accurate enough for match shooting, and sophisticated enough to put in the desk drawer of a multi-million dollar condominium penthouse along Billionaire’s Row on Wilshire Boulevard in West Los Angeles. And that definitely qualifies it for my bucket list.