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Ed Brown EVO-KC9 Review

The Ed Brown EVO-KC9 is thinner, lighter, and more compact, plus it costs less.

Ed Brown EVO-KC9 Review
Photo by Michael Anschuetz

Regular readers of Shooting Times know that I love to shoot Model 1911s. The latest Model 1911 I’ve been shooting is the brand-new EVO-KC9 9mm from Ed Brown Products. It has a lot of new features—I’ll get to them shortly—and it’s a lot of fun to shoot. In fact, it’s so much fun that I shot up just about every type of 9mm factory ammo I had in inventory, which amounted to 33 different loads, some of which are no longer produced. The pistol functioned perfectly throughout the entire shooting session, and I freely admit that the more I shot the KC9, the more I liked it.

By the way, EVO stands for Evolution, which is the name of a new series of Ed Brown pistols. The KC9 is, according to the company, an homage to Brown’s trendsetting Kobra Carry 1911 that was introduced in 2002, so I assume the “KC” in KC9 reflects its lineage from the Kobra Carry. Now let’s take a close look at the KC9.

Photo by Michael Anschuetz. The EVO-KC9’s stainless-steel grip frame is Ed Brown’s trendsetting rounded Bobtail type, and it has the company’s Snakeskin pattern machined into the frontstrap and the backstrap. The grips have the distinctive and functional Labyrinth texture pattern.

Lots of Style & Grace

The KC9’s features include a stainless-steel frame, and the frontstrap and mainspring housing are adorned with Ed Brown’s Snakeskin pattern. This innovative treatment has scale-like shapes machined into the steel, and they provide a non-slip grip without digging into the shooter’s hands.

The grip frame has Brown’s proprietary, trendsetting Bobtail that made its first appearance when the Kobra Carry was introduced. It has inspired numerous other companies to round off the butts of their Model 1911s, but Brown’s is the original. Obviously, it cuts down on printing when the gun is carried concealed.

Photo by Michael Anschuetz. The 4.0-inch barrel is coned, so there is no barrel bushing. It’s also fluted, and the fluting allows the pistol to be fired for a longer period of time before the powder residue that inevitably accumulates causes the slide’s cycling to slow down.

The KC9’s corinto grips have a distinctive pattern that Brown refers to as “Labyrinth” and reminds me of a spiderweb. I like the pattern. Corinto, according to John May of Ed Brown Products, is an exotic wood that’s a cousin to ebony.

The grips are black. You can have the KC9’s stainless-steel frame and slide blackened with Brown’s Gen 4 finish, and in that configuration, the grips are cocobolo with the Labyrinth pattern. No matter which way you go, the grip panels are held in place by two Torx-head screws on each side.

Photo by Michael Anschuetz. The pistol's muzzle has a deep reverse crown.

The KC9 also features an Ed Brown beavertail grip safety with striated memory bump and a Commander-style hammer. The thumb safety is extended but not ambidextrous. The magazine release is slightly extended and checkered. And the slide stop pin is squared off and countersunk on the offside.

The KC9’s slide is unique. The slide is just 0.86 inch thick, and it has five rear cocking grooves on each side, with each one measuring 0.09 inch wide and 0.5 inch long. There are six front cocking grooves on each side, and they are also 0.09 inch wide, but they are only 0.25 inch long. The top of the slide is beveled. Actually, there are seven bevels, with the top being flat. And the bottom edge of the slide is given a heavy chamfer to remove a potential sharp edge that might cause wear on your hands, clothing, or holster. The rear of the slide is smooth.

Another slide element shooters will immediately notice is the KC9 utilizes an external extractor. It’s CNC milled from 17-4 stainless-steel bar stock.

The pistol comes with Brown’s Tactical Edge rear sight that was designed to allow one-hand racking of the slide by pushing the sight against something sturdy, such as a door frame or a belt.

Photo by Michael Anschuetz. The top of the pistol’s slide is beveled with seven cuts, and the special front cocking grooves are 0.09 inch wide and 0.25 inch long.

The rear sight is all black, and it has a U-shaped notch that is 0.14 inch wide at the top. The face of the rear sight has fine horizontal striations. The rear sight is both dovetailed into and screwed onto the slide.

The 0.14-inch-thick Trijicon front sight has an orange ring around a tritium dot, and it matches up perfectly with the U-shaped rear sight blade. The front sight is not dovetailed into the slide, but it’s designed to be easy to change if the shooter so desires. Sight radius is 5.6 inches.


The KC9’s match-grade, stainless-steel, 4.0-inch barrel has friction-reducing flutes on the tube’s exterior. Using a fluted barrel on a high-end Model 1911 has become a trend because a heavily used pistol can collect so much powder residue on the barrel that the slide can be noticeably slow in function. The fluting increases the time frame and the volume of ammo needed to build up that much crud and gives it a place to go so as not to bind up the cycling.

The KC9’s barrel has a coned front end, so there’s no barrel bushing, and the muzzle is trimmed flush with the end of the slide. It has a deep and angled reverse crown to provide maximum protection to the ends of the lands and grooves. The barrel locks into battery via a single lug forward of the chamber. The chamber is throated, and the recoil spring rides on a full-length guide rod. The recoil spring is made of flat wire.

Photo by Michael Anschuetz. The EVO-KC9 comes with the Tactical Edge U-notch rear sight, which features horizontal striations and is both dovetailed and screwed onto the slide.

The gun comes with two steel magazines that are stamped “EB.” Each magazine holds nine rounds of 9mm ammo, and each has a flat follower. The baseplates are drilled and tapped for installing bumper pads, and each comes with a set of two polymer bumper pads that are 0.59 inch and 0.27 inch thick.

My gun also came with an Ed Brown bushing wrench (even though this model doesn’t require one), two Allen wrenches, a bottle of “ED” lubricant, a padlock-type gun lock, and a black Bulldog soft zippered gun case with the “EB” logo embroidered on the large outside pocket. The gun case also has two inside pockets and several internal slots for extra magazines. It’s a very nice accessory.

One of the best things about the new EVO-KC9 is the price. It is substantially less than the price of the Kobra Carry. The handbuilt KC9 lists for $1,895, and that’s a little more than half the price of a Kobra Carry. Brown is able to offer the KC9 for less money due to improved manufacturing efficiencies and also because custom changes to the configuration are not allowed. The company says it “will be varying the configurations from batch to batch, which will lead to a proliferation of different versions.” At the time of this writing, three EVO-KC9 pistols are available: EVO-KC9-LW, EVO-KC9 Stainless, and EVO-KC9-G4. Note that the LW version is $400 higher in price and lists at $2,295.

Photo by Michael Anschuetz. The Trijicon front sight is 0.14 inch thick and has an orange ring around a tritium dot. The sight radius is 5.6 inches.

Accuracy in Spades

When I examine a Model 1911, I always check trigger pull and how tightly the slide and barrel lock up. As we’ve come to expect from Ed Brown, in these respects the KC9 was exceptional. Trigger pull was extremely crisp and clean and consistently broke at exactly 5 pounds. There was hardly any variance (only 2 ounces, total) over the five times I measured it with my RCBS gauge. The pistol’s slide didn’t move at all from side to side when in battery, and the barrel didn’t budge even a tiny bit when I pushed down on its hood.

As for its accuracy, the KC9 averaged 2.63 inches for five-shot groups at 25 yards with 33 different factory loads. That’s for five, five-shot groups with each load. The most accurate ammo was the SIG SAUER 115-grain JHP, and it averaged 1.66 inches for its five-shot groups. The SIG SAUER 115-grain JHP, the Nosler 124-grain JHP, and the HPR Emcon 147-grain TMJ loads all produced at least one five-shot group that measured exactly 1.00 inch.

After completing the accuracy shooting, I did a lot of offhand shooting, using Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C and Dirty Bird targets as well as synthetic bouncing ball and bouncing jack targets and swinging steel plates. The pistol didn’t miss a beat. In addition to shooting it in the customary position, I fired it right-side up, left-side up, and upside down, and it functioned perfectly.

Ed Brown Products has another winner in the new EVO-KC9.

Photo by Michael Anschuetz. The pistol comes with two magazines that hold nine rounds of 9mm Luger ammo. They have flat followers, and the bases are drilled and tapped for bumper pads.

Ed Brown EVO KC9 Model 1911 Specs

Manufacturer: Ed Brown Products;
Type: Recoil-operated autoloader
Caliber: 9mm Luger
Magazine Capacity: 9 rounds
Barrel: 4.0 in.
Overall Length: 7.5 in.
Width: 1.3 in.
Height: 5.35 in.
Weight, Empty: 34 oz.
Grips: Black corinto, Labyrinth pattern
Finish: Satin stainless steel
Sights: Tactical Edge U-notch rear; orange HD XR front
Trigger: 5.0-lb. pull (as tested)
Safety: Extended manual thumb safety; beavertail grip safety
MSRP: $1,895

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