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Kimber Jumps Into Factory MRDS Market

The slide-mounted ruggedized miniaturized red dot sight, which we will henceforth refer to as “MRDS” like everyone else, has gone from oddity to commonplace in a bare handful of years.

Once the province of adventurous souls willing to huck their pistol slides up in a mill vise and carve out a pocket for the optic, these pioneers soon found themselves joined by a trickle of forward-thinking manufacturers who began shipping guns pre-machined to accept a sight.

That trickle has grown to a flood, and now red-dot-ready factory guns are available across the entire price spectrum, from Canik to the gigantic FNX-45.

An outgrowth of this is manufacturers selling gun and MRDS as a factory package, exemplified by Sig Sauer’s RX-model pistols with their in-house Romeo optic attached.

If there’s anything that says the factory MRDS-ready pistol has gone mainstream, though, it has to be the new offerings in Kimber’s catalog, on display in their booth at SHOT Show.

When a company whose modern incarnation is based almost entirely around sales of a proudly retro pistol design like the 1911 embraces slide-mounted red dots, they have officially been normalized. This is the equivalent of Harley Davidson embracing fuel injection.

First up is the “OR,” for “Optic Ready,” KHX model, available in both Custom and Pro sizes. (Custom and Pro are Kimber-speak for 5-inch Government Model and 4-inch Commander-ish sizes, respectively. Ultra being the 3-inch Officer-esque size.)

Optic mount cover plate is held down with four screws, features integral rear sight.

Optic mount cover plate is held down with four screws, features integral rear sight.

The KHX has Hogue G10 magwell-style laser grips, magwell-styled on the Custom and bobtailed on the Pro. Night sights are standard, and the slide is finished in dark gray KimPro, and has fore and aft hex-pattern cocking serrations. The rear sight comes off with the cover plate for the optic mount and adapter plates are included for Trijicon, Leupold, and Vortex MRDS optics. MSRP for the full-size gun in .45ACP is a hair under $1100.

Also on display was the Aegis Elite “OI” model, seen in the header photo above. As might be surmised, this one is “Optics Installed” and includes a 6MOA Vortex Venom installed at the factory. The gun is CCW-oriented and even the full-size 5-inch version has a printing-minimizing bobtailed grip.

Funky hexes are different heights for grip.

Funky hexes are different heights for grip.

The Aegis Elite has a stainless frame and a dark gray slide and features funky cross-hatch patterned front and rear cocking serrations as well as factory suppressor-height night sights. Fully loaded with red dot and all, the MSRP for the Aegis Elite Custom is $1395 for .45ACP and twenty bucks more for the 9x19mm version.

It will be interesting to see if more MRDS models join these in the Kimber lineup. These specialized models are a toe in the water for Kimber; if the fad trickles down to manifest as “OI” TLEs and “OR” Classics, then we’ll know that the MRDS is the New Normal.


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