I Carry: Kimber Aegis Elite Pro OI 1911 Pistol in a Galco Holster

posted on March 19, 2021

Firearm: Kimber Aegis Elite Pro OI (MSRP: $1,516)

We’ve run a number of red-dot equipped pistols here on “I Carry,” and if there’s one common trend, it’s that the vast majority of handguns upon which one might find a red dot are of the striker-fired variety. If you’re a fan of the 1911 platform, but were curious about red-dot-equipped pistols, you can be forgiven for thinking your options are limited—there are a lot fewer 1911-style pistols out there with options for mounting a red dot than polymer-frame guns. Sure, there are some amazing 1911s out there with milled slides for Trijicon RMRs and such, but what about more affordable options?

Well, as it turns out, Kimber offers its Aegis Elite line of 1911s with red-dot sights already installed. Available in 9 mm and .45 ACP and in 4- and 5-inch barrel versions, the Optics Installed (OI) variants come from Kimber with a milled slot for a Vortex Venom red-dot sight. With a steel frame and slide, the Aegis is a solid pistol, weighing in at a hefty 40 ounces with empty magazine and red-dot sight attached. In the 9 mm version especially, this translates into an extremely pleasant-to-shoot handgun, meaning you’ll be more likely to put in range time (when you can find ammo, that is…)

Numerous thoughtful features go into the Aegis Elite. For starters, G10 grips and 24 lpi frontstrap checkering keep the Aegis anchored in the hand even under rapid-fire shooting. Sights are suppressor-height to co-witness with the red-dot optic, with a traditional three-white-dot arrangement. The heel of the grip is rounded to help reduce printing, while the beavertail helps keep hands free of hammer bite. Artful slide serrations assist in charging the Aegis, which uses a full-length guide rod.

Simply because you prefer the 1911-style of handguns doesn’t mean you’re out of luck when it comes to a red-dot sight. Kimber’s Aegis Elite Pro OI includes a red-dot sight, thoughtful upgrades specific for concealed carry and a price tag surprisingly affordable considering it includes the slide cut and red-dot sight. It’s one of the least expensive ways to get into the red-dot game for fans of the 1911. 

Optic: Vortex Venom (MSRP: $349.99)

While the Vortex Venom is included in the Kimber Aegis Elite Pro OI, it’s also available as a standalone optic. Offering either a 3- or 6-MOA dot (the version we have is the 6-MOA dot), the Venom uses the Docter/Burris Fastfire footprint to mount to a pistol. Controls are simple: Windage and elevation changes are made using the right-side and top-mounted dials and use 1-MOA clicks; brightness is controlled via two buttons next to each other on the left side of the optic.

The CR1632 battery installs via a top-mount system, meaning you don’t have to remove the optic to change batteries. This is handy, as you don’t have to worry about re-zeroing the sight just because it needed a battery change. Vortex claims 150 hours of battery life on the highest setting and as long as 30,000 hours on the lowest, and has the ability to toggle between manual mode and automatic brightness detection. 

Holster: Galco Avenger Belt holster (MSRP: $136)

Remember a little while ago, when I said that 1911s with mounted red-dot sights weren’t very common? This is supremely important to remember when selecting a holster, as even open-topped holsters may not allow a red-dot equipped 1911 to fully seat. This is a case where the gear search needs to be really specific, and led me to the Galco Avenger belt holster for the Kimber Aegis Elite Pro OI.

Constructed of premium steerhide and featuring adjustable tension fit, the Avenger’s design keeps it close to the body. A neutral cant keeps the pistols in an upright position, while the loops can accommodate belts up to 1 ¾-inch wide. Avenger holsters are available for a wide number of pistols, can be ordered for right- or left-handed shooters and come in either black or tan.


Sheriff Jim Wilson
Sheriff Jim Wilson

A Piece Of History

Sheriff Jim encounters a legendary firearm from the Old West.

Review: Century Arms WASR-10 Rifle

A popular, classically styled AKM variant. 

First Look: SOG Bulwark Knife

An everyday carry blade created in conjunction with master knife designer Mikkel Willumsen.

What Are Witness Marks?

I just became the proud owner of a single-shot pistol I found at the local gun shop. I intend to use it for target practice and maybe even hunting once I get good enough.

First Look: Next Level Armament 6mm ARC AR-15

Available with a Helix 6 carbon fiber barrel in three different lengths.

Shot Control

Stability translates into better shot placement and faster follow up shots.


Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.