Tacoma Police Instructor Thinks Kimber Pro Carry II Good Choice for Women
By Dave Workman
Carol Krancich and many of her colleagues on the Tacoma Police Department are under a microscope, and not because they are in any kind of trouble.
Krancich, a detective with the agency and one of the department's firearms instructors, is one of about 130 officers, 13 of whom are females, who have selected as their new duty sidearm the Kimber Pro Carry II under a transition program that is being watched by other law enforcement agencies, the shooting public and, naturally, the folks at Kimber.
Tacoma last year announced that following rigorous testing and a remarkable selection process that involved every officer in the department, it was adopting two new platforms for its duty guns. Officers now have the choice of either carrying one of three Glock semi-automatic pistols, or one of two Kimbers, the Pro Carry II or Pro Carry II HD.
It was the first time in a half-century that a major metropolitan police agency had adopted the single-action Model 1911-type pistol. For the past 50 years, other agencies have approved the use of a 1911-type pistol by individual officers-Denver, CO, for example, and the Pierce County, WA, Sheriff's Department-but those cops had to supply their own guns. Tacoma bought the pistols outright, and spent much of April transitioning officers to the new gun from their former sidearms, the Beretta 92D, a double-action-only pistol.
Over a year ago, when Women & Guns interviewed Krancich and three other Northwest female officers for advice to women on firearms and training, she advised us that the Kimber was her pick. It took many months for the transition to take place, and now that it has occurred, we went back to see how her choice was faring.
Krancich is impressed with the Kimber, and she would recommend it to any other female police officer who was offered the choice. That could also translate to the Kimber being a sensible selection for any woman who was considering a handgun purchase.
"I find it physically more comfortable to shoot," Krancich said. "I like the caliber."
She dismissed the
belief that women can't handle the recoil of a .45 ACP. Kimber's
Pro Carry II platform, with its slimmer grip frame than the Glock,
might actually be an easier fit for the smaller female hand,
she suggested. To prove the point, she wrapped her hand around
one of the Kimbers to demonstrate that her trigger finger stretched
comfortably to the trigger, not an easy thing for many females
when they are grasping a double-action pistol with a long trigger
The downside, she acknowledged, is the reduced magazine capacity of the Kimber. When the Tacoma Police Department set up the specs for their Kimbers, they requested ambidextrous thumb safeties and tritium "night sights" from the factory, then purchased five magazines for each gun from Wilson Combat. Those magazines were the No. 47 seven-rounders. Fully loaded, an officer carries his or her Kimber with a cartridge in the chamber and a full seven-round magazine in the gun, plus four spare seven-round mags, giving them 36 total shots.
Kimber supplies only one magazine with its commercial pistols, figuring that shooters will go out and purchase their own spare magazines, and there are many on the market from Wilson, Chip McCormick, Mec-Gar and Metalform.
Yet another problem Krancich sees in her specific case is that the concealed carry holsters purchased by the agency are not the most comfortable for the typical hourglass female body shape. Uniform and concealment holsters are all Safariland models, and Krancich likes the Safariland SSIII duty holster just fine.
The pistols are pretty much stock guns with the exception of Tacoma's requested add-ons. Neither the ambidextrous thumb safety nor the night sights affect the internal mechanism one bit. For comparison sake, we fired a stock test gun supplied by Kimber, one of the department's stainless guns and one with an alloy frame, all using Tacoma's selected duty round, a 230-grain Remington Golden Saber with a bonded bullet. All pistols performed pretty much the same, with no noticeable increase in recoil felt when firing the alloy-frame gun.
Krancich noted that adopting the Kimber may have more of a social barrier to overcome than anything having to do with an officer's ability to handle the gun, and especially a female officer.
"I think there is still this notion that there is something inherently mean and dangerous and spooky about carrying a cocked and locked .45," Krancich observed. "I don't see thatThe cocked and locked .45 is no more unsafe to carry, and probably safer to carry, than a lot of weapons."
That's right, Tacoma officers are packing their Kimbers cocked and locked. No hammer down on a loaded or empty chamber. These pistols, from the draw, will be ready to rock if the necessity arises.
To teach the Kimber, Krancich joined her fellow instructors first to learn the Kimber. Transitioning from a double-action platform to the single-action M1911 frame may seem like culture shock to some people, but in actual practice, Krancich and colleagues handled it smoothly. Women & Guns sat in on one of the training sessions, and even joined Krancich on the range for an informal shooting session, learning just why many of Tacoma's finest affectionately nicknamed her "Crack Shot" some years ago.
She used to shoot with COPS (Combat Oriented Police Shooters), and it soon became apparent to her colleagues that Krancich has developed very good shooting skills.
When Krancich first joined the department in the early 1990s, the issue pistol was a Glock 9mm and she did fairly well with it. Then came the transition to the DAO Beretta 92D, and her shooting scores actually improved a bit.
This new Kimber may take just a bit of getting used to, but Krancich seems to have been a pretty quick study. She served as an instructor during the training for fellow officers, and is also one of the department's Kimber-certified armorers.
She is also matter-of-fact about the narrower grip frame of the 1911. She believes the Kimber is very adaptable to the average woman's hand, because of the single-stack magazine. And there should be little concern about loss of firepower as a tradeoff, because a person who becomes reasonably competent with the Kimber can hit what they shoot at.
Krancich proved that on the range repeatedly, knocking over steel plates, punching holes in paper and even bonking a suspended bowling pin. And just to prove that it was not just a particular pistol with which she had achieved proficiency, she borrowed the author's full-sized Model 1911 custom pistol, built by Olympic Arms, and acquitted herself quite well against the same targets.
During the transition training, Krancich and her fellow instructors trained officers to clear malfunctions, strip down and clean their new Kimbers, shoot with the weak hand and fire from cover during a variety of drills that spanned three days of training. The Kimber course, she explained, was a "back to the basics" endeavor, and even though every cop in class has gone through these drills in the past, they began basically from the fundamentals and worked up through the department's challenging qualification course, just to get a good feel for this new pistol.
Krancich assured W&G that "there is no problem with females transitioning to a .45 auto." She will be watching the progress of officers who have selected the Kimber, following their progress and looking at qualification test scores and other factors.
However, she remains convinced the agency, in adopting a gun design that has been around for almost 100 years, has gone "back to the future." There is no argument in Tacoma that Kimber produces a quality firearm, capable of terrific accuracy and performance.
Something any woman looking at purchasing a new handgun might consider is that this one was adopted by a law enforcement agency, which is always concerned about liability issues, along with the wise expenditure of public money.
The Kimber seems to have passed those hurdles, too.
As for the 1911 design in general, and the Kimber in particular, she gives very high marks.
"It is an accurate pistol," Krancich said. "I would definitely recommend them."