People go through several stages of evolution as shooters. The first step is to simply conquer the anxiety and trepidation that go with shooting a handgun. It’s just not a natural act to operate a device that creates a small explosion less than 2 feet from your face. Once you embrace this, you will then begin to advance to smooth operation and developing an ability to easily run the gun. The fear is gone, and now you are focusing on other aspects of shooting. Once that part is mastered, you will enter a stage that will last a lifetime.
This is the accuracy stage, and it is never ending. Like an attempt to reach the speed of light, you will feel at times like you are not making any gains when in fact you have come a very long way. While your shooting skills have the most effect on accuracy, you’ll soon begin to appreciate accurate guns. You will outgrow the plain-Jane blaster that helped you enter the handgun world and begin looking at guns built for precision. One of the best on the market right now is the Kimber Team Match II.
The Team Match II is the apex of production pistols offered by Kimber. The pistol is the choice of shooters who won’t settle for anything less than the best. So, you’re probably asking yourself, “What makes it so special?” Well, I am glad you asked. The pistol was designed specifically for the USA Shooting Rapid Fire Pistol Team to use in national and international competitions to train for the Olympics.
This 1911 starts with a 5-inch, match-grade barrel. But Kimber’s barrel-fitting process speaks volumes about the company’s commitment to accuracy. The stainless steel barrel is specifically oversized so Kimber Custom Shop gunsmiths must fit it by hand for optimal accuracy. The barrel is paired with a stainless, match-grade bushing and a 12-pound recoil spring with a full-length guide rod.
The surrounding stainless steel slide has a matte black KimPro II finish and all-black steel sights. The front sight is mounted in a dovetail cut, and the rear sight is adjustable. With a 6.8-inch sight radius, the gun is very well balanced and has a natural point of aim. The slide also has front and rear serrations as well as a 24-karat gold USA Shooting logo.
The stainless steel frame has an attractive satin silver finish and partially textured rosewood grip panels. You’ll also find 30-lines-per-inch checkering on the frontstrap and mainspring housing. For even more style, the pistol’s controls (minus the trigger) are black, including the extended, ambidextrous thumb safety, slide stop, magazine release and skeletonized hammer. This is a striking-looking gun. You get plenty of bling here.
The skeletonized aluminum trigger is everything you would expect from a Kimber match pistol. It comes from the factory tuned for a crisp, clean, 4.5-pound pull with no wiggle or play. The reset is short as well, making sequential shots even better.
As a tip of the hat to the competitive nature of this gun, Kimber has included an extended and beveled mag well—something that has become a standard in shooting sports today. When you’re trying to feed your gun as quickly as possible, this mag well design is extremely helpful.
How It Shoots
I hear what you’re saying. That all sounds nice, but let’s get to the meat of the matter: Does it shoot? Yes. Yes, it does.
I received my sample Team Match II in the middle of the summer here in Arizona. That means I had to test the gun indoors and thus was limited to 25 yards. I mention this because I fully believe the gun can perform well at greater distances, but I’d have to explore that another day. The model I received was chambered in 9mm, but Kimber also offers the gun in .45 ACP. The 9mm uses nine-round magazines.
The first order of business was to shoot the gun for groups. While I would normally do this off-hand at pace, I felt this gun deserved a more focused test. I shot five-round groups using a support bag, and I was thankful I used it. The best group came in at an inch with two other brands of ammo producing groups less than 2 inches wide.
I chose a spectrum of ammo because I wanted to see if the Team Match II had any dietary issues that some high-end guns exhibit. But that wasn’t the case here. I ran hollow points and ball ammo through the gun without a single malfunction. That said, I would discourage the use of bargain-basement ammo with this gun. In fact, I discourage its use with any gun simply because it puts unnecessary wear and tear to your pistol. Skip a couple expensive coffees and buy good ammo.
I have been a fan of the 1911’s trigger since I first cut my teeth on one way back when. The 1911 simply has a nice trigger that is predisposed to accurate shooting. The premium match-grade trigger in this pistol only enhanced that love affair. Every shot broke cleanly, and the trigger reset was smooth and short. Since my range wasn’t set up for rapid-fire-style competition, I had to wing it a bit and shoot my next series of shots strong-side only. Once again, the gun’s balance and excellent trigger gave me good groups.
The truth we must all acknowledge, however, is that a person with the ability to have a pistol dedicated exclusively to hyper-accurate target shooting is a rarity. Most of our guns are going to do double duty. They will be recreational shooters as well as possible carry guns. With that in mind, I ran a set of defensive handgun drills from 3 to 10 yards. I ran the drills from my strong and support sides, and the Team Match II was exceptional. The ambidextrous thumb safety shined here and made support-side shooting a little easier for me. Reloading was also a breeze thanks to the magazine well.
By the time I was done, all the of targets had a good fist-sized hole in the center-mass area. The one main challenge of this gun as a defensive pistol is its lack of night sights. Of course, this is an odd argument considering the gun is not designed for defensive carry. It is the equivalent of complaining because your Ferrari does not come standard with a cup holder. But, in the end, the gun is absolutely capable of fighting should the need arise.
Supporting Our Own
The Team Match II is a solid gun that is certainly worthy of the logo emblazoned on its slide. Kimber is dedicated to supporting our athletes, and this gun is a good example of that. In fact, the company generously donates $100 of every Team Match II pistol sale to the USA Shooting program. To date, Kimber donated over $1.3 million. That overwhelming number also demonstrates just how many Team Match IIs have been sold.
This gun is a solid choice for anyone who is interested in seeing just how accurate they can be. Using my standard ragged-hole drill, I was able to put five rounds into almost the exact same hole. While not scientific by any means, it is a good example of what this pistol can do. If you really want to see what you’ve got, the Team Match II is the gun for you.
Kimber Team Match II Specs
|Barrel: 5 inches|
|OA Length: 8.7 inches|
|Weight: 39 ounces (empty)|
|Finish: Matte black, satin silver|
Kimber Team Match II Performance
|Aguila 115 FMJ||1,120||1.75 (average), 1.65 (best)|
|Federal 115 FMJ||1,180||1.50 (average), 1.25 (best)|
|Hornady 115 XTP||1,155||1.25 (average), 1.00 (best)|
*Bullet weight measured in grains and accuracy in inches for three 5-shot groups at 25 yards.
For more information, visit kimberamerica.com.
This article was originally published in the May/June 2018 issue of “Combat Handguns.” To order a copy and subscribe, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.