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Kimber Aegis Elite Custom OI: The Ultimate 1911 Gun?

Kimber Aegis Elite Review
Image: Creative Commons.

When gun owners think of nice-looking 1911s, they think of Kimber. The Kimber Aegis Elite Custom Optic Installed (OI) doesn’t disappoint. This gun bears a stylish, two-tone construction – a satin silver frame and a protective coating in matte blackand a distinct, chain-link design. Kimber guns are always ready to fire straight out of the box, so you don’t need to buy anything extra to make it work. With these features, it’s up there with the Walther PK380 as one of the best guns for beginners.


When it comes to accuracy, the Kimber Aegis shines brightest. The secret to its success is the 6.8-inch venom optic red dot sights that come with the gun pre-mounted and ready for use. A pair of Torx screws fasten the sights on top of the slide. The sights can last for 150 hours on the highest of the ten brightness settings, and the shooter can replace the battery without removing them. That said, you can remove and replace the sights with a different red dot sight.

The gun also comes with iron sights in the front that line up with the prepackaged venom sights. That said, the front sights are pretty tall, making it difficult to fit the gun into a generic 1911 holster. To solve this, use a file to widen the sight channel. That said, this is a solid choice for those who like the idea of a pre-fitted, compact, durable optic.

Another factor that improves the Aegis’ accuracy is the lock-up on the barrel. This gun’s barrel is coned, meaning that the barrel increases in diameter the closer it is to the muzzle. This eliminates the need for barrel bushing.


The Kimber Aegis can reliably perform many different tasks. No matter what you need it for, this gun has your back. Put it through every drill, use any of the three ammo brands, and it’ll work. There will be no malfunctions or stoppages.

Compared to a traditional 1911, the Aegis has a feed ramp that is smoother and more durable. Most 1911 barrels have two small lugs that sit on either side of a link underneath it. When the pistol fires, the barrel unlocks, causing the chamber end of the barrel to smack the slide-stop pin. The pin then passes through the link, and the small lugs rest on the pin. If the lugs don’t have the same amount of contact with the slide-stop pin, then the lug with the most contract will break.

By switching to an integrally ramped barrel, the Aegis swaps out the two small lugs for a big lug that doubles as a feed ramp. The big lug has greater mass and strength, so unlike the small lugs, it can take a pounding. In effect, you can shoot the Aegis all you want without destroying the lug. This makes the Aegis a trusty defensive weapon.


The Aegis has G10 grips and a 24-lpi front strap checkering that allows for a secure grip for long periods. The unique design of this gun’s handle gives the gun user a good grip on the gun, allowing for a secure grip. At the same time, all the smooth, comfortable edges and the rounded butt help reduce printing from the grip when carried. These features make the gun easier to use.


Typical of 1911s, the Aegis comes with a crisp, single-action trigger. The trigger is an aluminum match-style with a grooved, curved front surface. It breaks at an average of 4.5 to 5 pounds, with a small amount of take-up and over travel. This soft trigger makes the gun easy and fun to shoot. It’s user-adjustable.

Magazine and Reloading

Its magazine size is eight rounds with the .45 version while the 9mm magazine offers an extra round. The Wilson Combat five hundred rounds also work very well with this gun. But pretty much anything works well with it. The Aegis does come with one eight-round magazine, a Kimpro Tac-Mac.

Length and Weight

The length of Aegis is 8.7 inches, and it weighs 41 ounces with an empty magazine. This is one of the largest pistols you can comfortably use as a concealed carry, especially compared to other 1911s. Still, while it’s no pocket pistol, its weight, take-up, and smooth frame make it a great carry gun.

Recoil Management

Like all 1911s, the recoil of the Aegis is not a problem, especially if you’re using 9-millimeter rounds. Assisting with recoil management is a stainless steel guide rod right underneath the barrel of the gun and the steel frame. These rods lessen the recoil from shooting.


The MSRP for the Kimber Aegis Elite Custom OI is anywhere from $1,395 to $1,415. This is an affordable price considering how nice it looks and the fact that it comes with its red dot sight.

My Verdict?

The Kimber Aegis Elite Custom OI is worthy of its name. Like all guns in the 1911 series, it is a worthy defense (or “aegis”) made for the modern era.  It possesses an ease of firing standard to all 1911s along with a stylish appearance, outstanding sights, and a smooth, secure grip. This gun will charm everyone from greenhorns to jaded gun owners. Give it a try sometime and see for yourself.

Richard Douglas is a long time shooter, outdoor enthusiast and technologist. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at the National Interest, Cheaper Than Dirt, Daily Caller and other publications.

Note: The image is of Kimber Aegis Elite without optics. 

Written By

Richard Douglas is a long-time shooter, outdoor enthusiast, and technologist. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, Cheaper Than Dirt, Daily Caller, and other publications.