ONE GOOD PISTOL: The Kimber MCSOCOM ICQB

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by E.L., Jun 26, 2006.


  1. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    http://www.military.com/soldiertech/0,14632,Soldiertech_Kimber1911,,00.html

    ONE GOOD PISTOL: The Kimber MCSOCOM ICQB
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    A few good men now carry one of the best fighting pistols of all time, and we hope that more than a few bad men will come to regret it. From World War I to modern-day Marine Corps SOCOM missions, the 1911 Model has withstood the test of time and has the well-earned respect of Leathernecks.

    The 411 on the Kimber 1911

    Name:
    Kimber MCSOCOM ICQB

    Killer Features:
    Novak LoMount Tritium Sights
    MCSOCOM Knife with G-10 scales and a Liner lock
    Ambidextrous extended thumb safety
    Trigger set at 5 +/- pounds with no creep
    Capable of firing 50,000 rounds without overhaul

    Related Links:

    9mm Beretta M9
    More Weapons
    Equipment Guide






    Text and Photos By Gary Paul Johnston
    Soldier of Fortune Magazine

    It was in 1917 that the United States Marine Corps adopted the .45 ACP Model of 1911 pistol, and the Marines used the gun continuously from World War I through the Vietnam War. However, the leathernecks turned in these magnificent pistols with the adoption of the 9mm Beretta M9 in 1985 -- or did they? Virtually unknown is the fact that the Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (MEU [SOC]) has continued to issue 1911 pistols to Marine Force Reconnaissance Companies since 1986. Not standard issue guns, these pistols have been rebuilt to include a number of features now standard on many commercial and custom 1911s.

    Some 20 years ago, special requirements for the MEU (SOC) 1911 pistols were submitted by USMC Colonel Robert Young. Now retired, Colonel Young is Vice President of Gunsite Academy, in Paulden, Arizona, but while still in the Corps he submitted a sample 1911 pistol built to his specifications to the USMC's Precision Weapons Section (PWS) at Quantico, Virginia. Included features were:


    Standard 5" barrel throated for optimum reliability.
    Standard recoil spring guide and plug.
    Standard extractor.
    Novak LoMount Tritium Sights.
    Standard Trigger of 4 to 4.5 pounds.
    Beavertail-style grip safety with pad.
    Commander (spur) style hammer.
    Extended thumb safety.
    No firing pin safety.
    Lanyard loop on butt.
    Grooved front strap.
    Exterior edges dehorned.
    Beveled magazine well.
    Matte black finish.
    Wilson 7-shot magazine.

    Col. Young recalled that the boys at Quantico must have liked the Novak LoMount Sight, as his pistol came back with a simple fixed sight in its place. The Marine Corps MEU (SOC) incorporated nearly all of Colonel Young's recommendatins and added other specifications in the years that followed. Recently MEU (SOC) began looking to commercial sources for a new, improved Model 1911- style pistol. Involved in this decision was the newly created Marine Corps Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Detachment 1 (Det 1).

    This was the first time the USMC had become part of the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), and Det-1 was assembled by Colonel Robert Coates, formerly of 1st Force. With some 87 magnificent U.S. Marine warriors hand picked from the USMC's Force Recon Companies, Marine Corps Companies, Marine Corps SOCOM (MCSOCOM, as the unit is called), is taking an active role with the SOCOM community in the Global War On Terrorism (GWOT) as you read this.

    This article is courtesy of Soldier of Fortune, a military/adventure publication. The magazine specializes in first-person reporting from armed conflicts around the globe, with emphasis on current military activities, developments, special units, weapons, tactics, politics and history. Its writers include experienced professionals, including former military and frequent Soldier of Fortune readers.

    As the vanguard for a new Close Quarter Battle (CQB) 1911 pistol, the MCSOCOM pistol is known as the Interim Close Quarter Battle (ICQB) Pistol. It will be a proving ground for the final general-issue gun to MEU (SOC), a fighting force of larger than battalion strength. In addition to the above features, the ICQB Pistol will incorporate a number of others as follows:


    Front and rear slide cocking grooves.
    Slide-dovetailed front sight.
    Frame equipped with a mount for a tactical light.
    Sighted for 25 yards with .45 ACP 230 grain GI ball.
    Capable of achieving a 7-shot 25-yard group of 4 inches or less.
    Flat mainspring housing.
    Ed Brown Memory Grip Safety.
    Ambidextrous extended thumb safety.
    Pachmayr GM-45CS checkered black rubber grips (replaced with Simonich/Strider "Gunner Grips" in coyote brown).
    Trigger set at 5 +/ - pounds with no creep.
    Capable of firing 50,000 rounds without overhaul.
    Markings to include "U.S. Property" as per MIL-STD 130.
    Serial number specificity to Det 1.
    Finished in matte black manganese phosphate.

    Look Ma, no tools! Field stripping the Kimber ICQB pistol as shown required only hands to complete and it went back together in seconds, thanks to its standard recoil spring system.


    The DET Selects Kimber

    While the above requirements may seem great compared with those on a 1911A1 military pistol, most are standard on many factory 1911 pistols today, including the Kimber.

    Well aware that a special version of the Kimber 1911 pistol had been selected by the Los Angeles Police Department's SWAT team in 2002, and of the high regard the LAPD had for the guns, the Marines assigned to Det 1 decided to take a close look at what Kimber had to offer. After careful consideration, clearance was granted to select Kimber as the sole source to produce a limited number of 1911 pistols to Det 1's ICQB specifications.

    Although Kimber was about to introduce its TLE/RLII 1911 with an integrated M1913 "Picatinny" frame rail, the Marines did not want to wait, but they also did not want the semi-dedicated tactical pistol light such as the Model 610 Classic used by the LAPD. Still, a pistol weapon-light mount was a requirement and, since MEU (SOC) had experienced excellent results with the Dawson Precision Rail that had been added to many of its 1911 pistols, this mount was selected for the new Kimber ICQB Pistol.

    Kimber's Chris Corino expedited the ICQB pistol for Det-1. As received from Kimber, the gun came with Novak LoMount Night Sights, a flat, checkered main-spring housing with lanyard ring, a standard recoil spring system, no firing pin safety, a conventional extractor, Kimber's black, checkered rubber grips and magazine. The Marine Corps then installed an Ed Brown Memory Grip Safety, replaced the magazine with a Wilson 7-shot magazine, and replaced the Kimber grips with the excellent Simonich "Gunner" Grips in coyote brown. The pistol was then shipped to Dawson Precision for installation of the Dawson Rail.

    Must-Have Gear

    SureFire IMPL

    Semi-permanently mounted to the frame's dust cover by three hardened Allen screws, the steel Dawson Rail is both narrower and thinner than M1913 frame rails, and is far less obtrusive, but requires a light with a matching bracket. Det-1 selected SureFire's Integrated Military Pistol Light (IMPL). Used on previous MEU (SOC) 1911's, this MIL-SPEC tactical light is waterproof, hard-anodized OD green, and is powered by 6 volts, giving it 40 minutes of 60-lumen blinding white light well suited for dark cave duty.

    Like the SureFire Tactical Weapon Light adopted by the U.S. Navy Seals, the IMPL uses a single button-line tape pressure switch extending back along the bottom of the trigger guard and down against the upper end of the front strap.

    Operation is thus easy and ambidextrous. A push-through ON/OFF switch is located on the side of the light. After manufacture, the IMPL is shipped to Dawson Precision where the special mounting bracket is installed. Currently the IMPL is available only to the U.S. Military.


    With its SureFire light mounted, the Kimber ICQB pistol rides securely in a unique holster designed for it by Safariland in desert camouflage.


    Safariland ICQB Holster

    Because of its small size, the Dawson Rail is compatible with most standard holsters with the light removed, but this doesn't apply to normal use by Det 1, as the gun is carried with the IMPL mounted. To accommodate this combination, Safariland built a new version of its 6004 Tactical Holster. Rendered in the current U.S. Military Desert Camouflage pattern, this synthetic rig uses Safariland's patented security system, and can carry a spare magazine pouch on its leg backing. The holster issued to right-handed operators is cataloged as the 6004-538-521 and to left-handed shooters as 522.

    With the holster, Gemtech's Tactical Retention Lanyard (TRL) was also adopted by Det-1 in Coyote Brown. Attached to the gun's lanyard ring, the GTRL has a coiled line leading to a quick release attached to a nylon belt-loop. Carrying NATO Stock Number 8465-99-856-8406, the GTRL is standard issue to a dozen other U.S. Military entities as well as local and federal law enforcement agencies. It fits all pistols that have lanyard mounts and has a breaking strength of 100 pounds.

    Also adopted by Det-1 was a special MCSOCOM Knife designed by Strider Knives, of San Marcos, California. Made of the finest steel, the MCSOCOM Knife uses G-10 scales and a Liner lock. It is also camouflaged and comes in a special zippered case. Each MCSOCOM knife is numbered to match each pistol and is only available to the Det-1. A special civilian version is also available from Strider in a limited edition.

    Being fortunate to receive one of only 200 Kimber MCSOCOM ICQB Pistols made, I shipped it to Novak Design for installation of Novak LoMount Night Sights, and then to Dawson Precision for a rail. SureFire's Travis Mitchell shipped an IMPL to Dawson for installation of its mount, Safariland's Scott Carnahan sent me an MCSOCOM ICQB camouflage holster and belt, and Gemtech's Kel Whelan shipped me a GTRL in coyote brown.

    More Contacts


    Gunsite Academy, Dept. SOF
    2900 W. Gunsite Rd.
    Paulden,AZ 86334
    928-636-4565 o gunsite.com

    Ed Brown Products, Inc., Dept. SOF
    P.O. Box 492
    Perry, MO 63462
    573-656-3261o edbrown.com

    Novak Design, Dept. SOF
    P.O. Box 4045
    Parkersburg,WV 26104
    304-485-9295 o novaksights.com

    Dawson Precision, Inc., Dept. SOF
    3585 C.R. 272, Ste. 300
    Leander,TX 78641
    competitionshooters.com

    SureFire, LLC, Dept. SOF
    18300 Mt. Baldy Cir.
    Fountain Valley, CA 92708
    800-828-8809 o surefire.com

    Safariland, Dept. SOF
    3120 E. Mission Blvd.
    Ontario, CA 91761
    909-923-7300 o safariland.com

    Strider Knives, Inc., Dept. SOF
    120 North Pacific St., #L7
    San Marcos, CA 92069
    760-471-8275 o striderknives.com

    Gemtech, Dept. SOF
    P.O. Box 140618
    Boise, ID 83714
    208-939-7222 o gem-tech.com

    Simonich Knives LLC, Dept. SOF
    P.O. Box 278
    Clancy, MT 59634
    406-933-9151 o simonichknives.com

    Wilson Combat, Dept. SOF
    2234 CR 719
    Berryville,AR 72616
    800-955-4856 o wilsoncombat.com






    "Gunner" Grips

    Having most all the ICQB accessories in hand, I was still missing was a set of coyote brown "Gunner Grips." Made of nearly indestructible G-10 synthetic, "Gunner Grips" are both visually striking and totally utilitarian. Intended for serious use by professional operators, these grips were designed and manufactured by Rob Simonich, of Simonich Knives, LLC, of Clancy, Montana. Coyote brown is a brownish pastel that seems to change color in different light, and is difficult to see in the outdoors. When I contacted Rob Simonich, he informed me that his "Gunner Grips" would be marketed by Strider Knives, but at the time, he had been unable to obtain G-10 in coyote brown, so had painted the grips that were purchased by Det 1. The grips on the test gun were also painted.

    Rob Simonich was tragically killed in a traffic accident on 28 November 2003. However, "Gunner Grips" will continue to be made by Rob's wife and business partner, Christine Simonich, as well as by Strider Knives under special license, and are now available in Coyote Brown from either source.

    The First Time Ever

    Having the prefix, DET-1, my sample ICQB pistol bears serial number 113, and the forward right side of the frame is stamped "US MILITARY PROPERTY USMC." Although NAVY marked 1911 pistols have been issued to the United States Marine Corps over the years, the Kimber ICQB Pistol is the first 1911 service pistol to ever carry the USMC designation. On the left side of the slide is the standard Kimber logo and on the chamber is stamped cal. 45 NDT, and below that a letter "P" proof mark. The letters, NDT, indicate that the pistol has undergone additional non-destructive testing, a military requirement consisting of Xraying and other metallurgical tests.


    Using a unique SureFire Military Tactical Weapon Light, the ICQB pistol is also equipped with superb “Gunner” grips designed by the late Rob Simonich. The Kimber logo appears on the left side of the slide.


    Left in natural stainless steel, the barrel is not fitted to tight match specifications, but its diameter is increased by about 0.4000"at the muzzle. The chamber is throated and polished with a match grade bore and, while it was not specified, the ejection port of the ICQB is both lowered and flared. Only a tiny amount of play could be detected in barrel/slide/frame play in battery, and appeared that the pistol was designed as specified to function reliably and still produce accuracy that was better than average.

    Except for the barrel, the ICQB Pistol is Parkerized with all edges "melted," and the fit of all components is excellent, but operators won't need any tools to field strip this Kimber. I was able to remove and disassemble the slide group in seconds using only my fingers, and the pistol was reassembled exactly like any other GI 1911. Disassembling the pistol's frame group is another matter, due to the unique method by which the ambidextrous thumb safety is held in place. This can also be accomplished fairly easily, but will require some instruction.

    Shots Fired

    With a crisp let off slightly less than 5 pounds, my sample ICQB pistol begged to be fired, but first I replaced the Kimber magazine with one Wilson 7-round magazines as the Marines had. I then headed to the range with not only Winchester .45 ACP 230 grain GI ball, but also a few other brands and bullet styles that were fired for function. Accuracy from ICQB Pistol #113 was well within specification firing the required 7-shot groups, and I experienced no malfunctions. Although a light coating of lubricant was left on the moving parts as received, no additional lube was provided and the pistol was never cleaned during the test.

    Accuracy of the 230-grain ball loads tested is listed in the accompanying performance chart.

    Calling All Tech-Heads!

    We want your ideas and stories. Are you an expert on a exciting, cool piece of equipment? Want to suggest an article for SoldierTech, or write for us? Contact us at SoldierTech@military-inc.com.

    Det-1 has gotten its hands on a high quality new 1911 pistol. Word is that the ICQB Pistols have fired well over 15,000 rounds and are doing just fine, but it's not over.

    In the near future will begin a series of bids for the new MEU (SOC) 1911 CQB pistol. These acquisitions will amount to some 2,800 pistols and spare parts, and while Kimber may appear to have an inside track, you'll see many other companies enter this fierce competition. There is also word that Quantico has expressed interest in building the MEU (SOC) CQB pistol in-house. Whatever happens, there's no doubt that a "few good men" will once again carry the finest combat pistol in the world and we can only pray that a lot of bad men will regret it.

    A Civilian Version

    What about a Marine Corps style Kimber for the rest of us? Cataloged as the MCP-1 by Kimber, none of the 200 ICQB Pistols will be offered for sale to the public, but just in from Kimber is that the company plans to offer a civilian counterpart. Fittingly called the "Warrior," the new Kimber will have a number of as yet unspecified features found on the ICQB Pistol, and while it's only a guess, I would expect to see it built on Kimber's new rail gun. In the meantime, for information on all its fine firearms, contact: Kimber Mfg., Dept. SOF 1 Lawton St. Yonkers, NY 10705 Phone; 888-243-4522 www.kimberamerica.com

    KIMBER MCSOCOM ICQB - SPECIFICATIONS
    Caliber .45 ACP
    Muzzle velocity 850 fps.
    Operation Browning short recoil
    Type of fire Single action, semi-automatic
    Barrel length 5 inches
    Overall length 8.75 inches
    Weight (pistol) 40 oz
    (tactical light) 8.5 oz.
    Safety Positive ambidextrous thumb safety and grip safety
    Feed Device 7-round box magazine (Wilson Combat specified)
    Sights Novak LoMount Night Sights
    Grips Simonich G-10 "Gunner" grips
    Finish Matte black MIL-STD Parkerized
    Markings US MILITARY PROPERTY USMC, with DET 1 serial number prefix
    SoldierTech_Kimber1911-1 (Medium). SoldierTech_Kimber1911-2 (Medium). SoldierTech_Kimber1911-3 (Medium). SoldierTech_Kimber1911-4 (Medium). SoldierTech_Kimber1911_char (Medium).
     
  2. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    I own a couple of Kimbers including the TLE Pro, they are worth the investment.
     
  3. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    They may be worth he investment, but unless Kimber can figure a way of making them much cheaper, they won't ever be released in large quantities.
     
  4. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Nice Stryder
     
  5. TailorMadeHell

    TailorMadeHell Lurking Shadow Creature

    I may show my ignorance though what are the holes in the trigger for? Do they do anything like allow it to be more aero-dynamic when you unholster it or is it just for 'cool' look?
     
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Old, mean, and nasty Administrator Founding Member

    I think the idea is to shave just a tad more weight off the package. But cool, it is.:)
     
  7. ratsno1

    ratsno1 Monkey+

    Hey Mr. E.L., What would you place as the value on one of these, or what would a civilian expect to pay for one? Thanks
     
  8. Nomad 2nd

    Nomad 2nd Monkey+++

    Kimber Warrior is the civilain equivalent...


    Very close.
     
  9. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I see one on Gunbroker for $1239 Kimber Warrior .45 ACP Brand New 45ACP 45 : Semi-auto at GunBroker.com
    of course it doesn't come with the light. I have seen them at my local Gandermountain for a bit more.
     
  10. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    Very good looking pistols. I like the spec that calls for 50,000 rds before overhaul.

    My biggest beef with 1911s (I used to be a hooked on 1911s) is the constant feed issues I would have. As the round counts go up, the problems become worse. I was constantly dropping one off and picking one up. I mostly dealt with Colts and Springfields though. Shot a few Kimbers and they were all good shooting pistols (as long as the shooter did his job). I can't speak on the longevity of the Kimbers.

    I would like to see more ramped barrels like Para uses. That would solve any feeding issues.

    My 1911s:
    Colt Combat Elite 80s Series
    Colt Commander 80s Series
    Colt Commander 80s Series
    Springfield Mil-Spec
    Springfield Mil-Spec (the compact one)
    Springfield Loaded Model

    My favorite was by far the Standard Size Mil-Spec. I think if you want a high quality pistol to start improving, the Mil-Spec is a good start. ETA: My least favorite was the Loaded model. I don't think all the extra extended/ ambi stuff is needed. And yes, I can use the regular Mil-Spec left handed.

    Interesting enough.... I had to replace the recoil spring of all my Springfields in the first 500 rds. I always replaced with a Wolf full power spring (I wish I remebered the #) and never had any issues after that. I did wear out the recoil spring on one of the Colt Commanders (primary carry gun for years). The Compact Mil-Spec was a piece of crap. Never did get it to function 100%.

    Mags are another sore spot. I found that the best mags were Wilson. Of course they cost nearly as much as hi-caps then. I started out using Chip McCormick mags but found that once feeding started to go to crap, I could switch to Wilson mags and get a quite a bit more time before another trip to the gunsmith. Eventually, I phased out all the Chip mags and had all Wilson mags.

    I miss 1911s.... I might have to get a para when I get back. Until then..... Sig P220 it is.
     
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