The classical kink-band formation models predict that the compressive strength of UD carbon fibre reinforced composite materials (UD CFRP) is governed by fibre misalignment as well as of the mechanical shear properties. A new image analysis procedure for experimental determination of the fibre misalignment, the Fourier transform misalignment analysis (FTMA), has been developed. Moreover, a modified asymmetric Iosipescu test specimen geometry has been developed and validated for accurate measurement of the composite material shear properties without parasitic effects due to axial splitting. In the test procedure the shear strain distribution is measured using Digital Image Correlation (DIC) and the results calibrated based on FEA modelling results. Using the measured properties as input, the predictions of the classic compressive strength models have been compared with measured compressive strengths. Finally, an alternative approach to the classical kink band equilibrium has been proposed and demonstrated to provide more accurate predictions than the classical models.