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Thread: What's Wrong With Kimbers?

  1. #1
    Junior Member Dignan's Avatar
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    What's Wrong With Kimbers?

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    Hi,

    I'm new to 1911's having just bought a Ruger SR1911 CMD. I have the itch for a good quality full sized but all I can find locally are Kimbers. More than one person I know has said to stay away from Kimbers…with no details. This was before I considered buying one more seriously.

    I read they can be problematic until broken in, and see those "complaints" a lot. I intend to buy brand new

    Do they have any other proclivities I should know about be aware of?

    Any models to be sought after or avoided? I'm thinking ~$1400 max to spend.

    I did shoot one older model I liked alot but don't recall what it was. Army MP's sidearm so perhaps it fits some specs requirements for that. He paid $700 for it brand new and has had it for a quite a few years….

    Thanks,

    Dignan

  2. #2
    rex
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    In general their quality control is hit and miss. They have gotten better in the last few years but it's still an issue. I also believe they are overpriced to help pay for the multitude of ads they run in every gun magazine.

    If they work they are a good gun, if they don't it may be simple or a major screwup. I personally dislike their firing pin safety, Colt tried it and abandoned it 80 years ago. It works off the grip safety so 2 things can happen, one is if you have a problem fully depressing the safety you can either ding up the blocking plunger or get no primer hit. The other is if you have a problem in the lockwork like a catastrophic sear failure or a Bubba trigger job that causes the hammer to drop (as opposed to catching the 1/2 cock safety notch), you will get an unintentional discharge if you're holding the gun.

    They do make some without the FP safety but I don't know which models. Personally for $1400 I'd look to a Colt or Springfield, with Colt being built to original specs moreso than most guns out there. VA Marine has a post somewhere in here about Kimbers and I agree with what he says.

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    I have three, Super Carry Pro, RCP II and a Solo and have had no issues with any of them. The Super Carry Pro does not have the firing pin safety, while the RCP II does, hence the II designation, I believe that all Kimber models that have a "II" has the firing pin safety. While re-assembling the slide to the frame you have to be careful not to engage the grip safety or you could damage or shear off the top of the pin that protrudes through the top of the frame that operates the firing pin safety plunger, and the gun will not fire. I'm not sure but I think that Kimber's system is simpler than the Colt's firing pin safety system on Colt's series 80 pistols which works off of a series of levers, while Kimber's work off of the grip safety. On Kimbers, while the grip safety is depressed it pushes up on a pin which then pushes up through the top of the frame, depressing the firing pin safety plunger in the slide. Whereas Colt's series 80 pistols works from a series of levers that contact the trigger bar, and is disengaged when the trigger is pulled, some have said that this results in a heavier trigger pull since it works off the trigger bar? I also have an early "1927" vintage Colt 1911 .45, whether it's a better pistol is certainly debatable, as for me I can't say which one is better, they all go "bang" when I pull the trigger, and I've haven't noticed any difference in accuracy. In my opinion there is no perfect pistol, what works for one may not work for the another. Some people like Ford, some like Chevy or Dodge, you be the judge. The debate goes on.

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    There's always these: Springfield Armory

  5. #5
    Senior Member paratrooper's Avatar
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    Look into a SIG 1911. All the quality you could want, and NO issues what-so-ever.

    Kimber recommends shooting a certain number of rounds before their gun(s) gets broken in. You should never have to break-in a gun. It should fire perfectly from the very first round fired.

  6. #6
    Junior Member Dignan's Avatar
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    Thanks,

    So it appears the main issue in the FPS, a break-in period and possibly customer service.

    I visited several local gun shops today and found a number of 1911's; Sigs, Colt, SA, MAC and couple others I did not handle.

    The Kimber had far and away the tightest slide and finest fit and finish. Not that the others were particularly lacking but Kimber has better detailing.

    Each store had some model 70 and 80 and said no reported issues with either but personally owned the 80 for safety.

    One had an indoor range with a Kimber in the rental mix and has been flawless.

    I found a brand new TLE for $1099 and owner said he'd lower that…..

    IF I had no prior influences about Kimber I easily would have bought it as it stood out from the crowd, of available 1911's locally, in fit and finish and overall feel.

    Hmmmm….I know the internet can be the worst place for reviews as if you look for bad you'll find it and if you look for good you'll find those as well. No perfect 1911's in my price range…

    Thanks,

    Dignan

  7. #7
    Member MoMan's Avatar
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    I have a Kimber, SS, Custom Target II that I've had for a couple of years and it has been flawless!
    Funny but I bought a Ruger SR1911CMD a few months back and love that pistol also!
    I have all kinds of firearms and do not seem to have problems with any of them! I wonder if it's because I give them the attention the need!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Cait43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dignan View Post
    What's wrong with Kimber's?
    Simple answer, nothing....... Basically when it come down to well known firearm manufacturers weapons its the same as Coke or Pepsi, Ford or Chevy...... Which firearm to purchase is a personal matter based on caliber, "feel" of the weapon, how it shoots and other factors... There is, and never will be, no weapon(handgun) that is best for all......

    Best advise...... Fire as many weapons as you can and then purchase the one suited for you and no else........

  9. #9
    Senior Member paratrooper's Avatar
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    What I've found to be very helpful, is to listen to others and what they have to say about something. I've heard good things and bad things about Kimbers. But, it tends to be about 50/50.

    For me, that's not good enough. When you keep hearing the same problems or issues over and over, it tends to give credence.

    I'm not going to shell out the kind of money that Kimber wants, only to hope that I got a good one. And, I'm not going to fire 900 rds. or so, hoping that it will get better in the process. That's total BS.

    There's a bunch of good firearms out there to choose from. More now then ever before.

  10. #10
    Member shaolin's Avatar
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    I have a Kimber Pro CDP 2 and have not had any problems with it at all.

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    paratrooper:
    "Kimber recommends shooting a certain number of rounds before their gun(s) gets broken in. You should never have to break-in a gun. It should fire perfectly from the very first round fired."
    They certainly do! But as of yet, I've had no issues with the ones I have straight from the box although the CDP II, I bought used. I forgot to mention in my previous post that my favorite 1911 is the Detonics "Combat Master" all stainless steel and no "MIM" parts. I have a Sig P229 Equinox and a P238 HDW both are excellent weapons and I have no doubt that their 1911's are the same. I think when you get into custom 1911's, Ed Brown, Les Bear, Wilson etc. they already "break their guns in" by putting 1000 rounds or so through their guns before they go out the door, which I'm sure are added to the cost of the gun. I saw a show on TV where they make those guns and how they fitted the slide to the frame by pounding it on with a mallet and hand filed both the slide and frame to the proper specs. The problem with that is if you ever wanted to change the slide your "SOL", as opposed to mass produced "CNC" machined 1911's, such as the Kimber. It's my opinion that the Kimber is the closest thing to a "custom" 1911 without shelling out $3000 and the parts are readily interchangeable. Kimber also offers a wide variety of 1911's to suit just every need.

    "There's a bunch of good firearms out there to choose from. More now then ever before."
    Ain't that the truth! Thank God for competition.

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    MoMan:
    "I have all kinds of firearms and do not seem to have problems with any of them! I wonder if it's because I give them the attention the need!"
    Same here!

  13. #13
    Junior Member Dignan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paratrooper View Post
    What I've found to be very helpful, is to listen to others and what they have to say about something. I've heard good things and bad things about Kimbers. But, it tends to be about 50/50.
    .
    Well 50/50 might be good!

    I checked my Amazon reviews and found my complaints about 8/10! I noticed I had a lot of great products I had neglected to rate at all! I have ~50 reviews.

    Known fact most people gripe before the praise. 50/50 means a median of probably happy people so figure that in.

    This would have made an interesting project for my stats class….

    Thanks,

    Dignan

  14. #14
    Junior Member Dignan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by desertman View Post
    paratrooper:I think when you get into custom 1911's, Ed Brown, Les Bear, Wilson etc. they already "break their guns in" by putting 1000 rounds or so through their guns before they go out the door, which I'm sure are added to the cost of the gun.
    You'd think,

    But Baer and Wilson also have prescribed break-in periods.

    The worst FTF and break in issues I found in a short search were with a new Baer….rounds double feeding and jamming cock-eyed…

    Just sayin'

    Dignan

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    Dignan:
    "The worst FTF and break in issues I found in a short search were with a new Baer….rounds double feeding and jamming cock-eyed…"
    That's due to their tight tolerances, I guess if you are shooting them from a bench rest they would be more accurate than other less expensive alternatives, but for the average person would it make that much of a difference at close range in a self defense situation or punching holes at 25 yards? Maybe to a competition shooter. The other issue is what happens when those guns get dirty because of those tolerances? I find that no matter what type or make of gun that I'm shooting I pretty much get the same groups, regardless. You can also "break in" a gun by polishing the slide rails, frame rails, breach face and other bearing surfaces without the expenditure of 1000 rounds which in a way is accomplishing the same thing, and it's a lot cheaper, and less frustrating than having to deal with the "FTF's" and "FTE's" of some new semi auto's. I have never owned a "custom" 1911, I could never justify the cost. I'd rather have two or three other really nice guns than just one "custom" 1911. I've found that Kimber makes a really nice 1911, and I don't regret buying them, nothing against Springfield or Sig, I wouldn't mind one of those either. But I have four 1911's already, don't know if I need another, on second thought that Springfield "Micro" 1911 looks enticing or maybe the Sig, S&W, or Ruger 1911?

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    Ed Brown, Les Bear, Wilson etc. they already "break their guns in" by putting 1000 rounds or so through their guns before they go out the door, which I'm sure are added to the cost of the gun.
    No they don't. Wilson shoots the most as they use three different types of bullets (weights and profiles) to ensure the gun will run with a variety of ammunition. They shoot approximately 75-100 rounds through each gun. Baer shoots about two magazines. Ed Brown - have no idea.


    But Baer and Wilson also have prescribed break-in periods.
    Not exactly accurate. The only thing Baer and Wilson recommend is not cleaning the pistol for a certain number of rounds. Neither manufacturer says anything about "break-in" in the literature that comes with the pistol.

    The other issue is what happens when those guns get dirty because of those tolerances?
    Nothing. The "loose guns run more reliably" is a meme that gets repeated ad nauseam on the Internet. In use, a tightly fitted 1911 doesn't allow the dirt into the rails, and if lubricated properly, just pushes anything that gets on the rails out of the way. I have two Wilsons, a Les Baer, and a custom built by Bob Marvel. I also have two Dan Wessons - I don't think there's a bit of difference in the tightness between any of the guns. I keep them lubricated, and only clean them about every 750 - 1,000 rounds and they all run reliably. I've shot 1,800 rounds without cleaning through the Dan Wesson Valor and it was still functioning reliably. It was just so cruddy that a friend couldn't stand it anymore and cleaned it for me.

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    I have two each of the following. Les baer, sig and kimber and all of them reliable out of the box and I have ordered another les baer monolith 10-14 month delivery date. I would have to say I prefer the les baers.

  18. #18
    Senior Member paratrooper's Avatar
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    I considered a Kimber years ago. I came very close to buying one. But.....in the back of my mind, I kept going over and over what I had heard from others who owned them and had shot them.

    Of course the sales guy was 100% Kimber, and told me that what I had been hearing, was just hogwash.....his words.....not mine. That was just enough for me to back off the purchase.

    Anyways, that was long ago and to this day, I don't regret not having bought it or not owning a Kimber. I'm more than happy with what I have.

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    I will say, I have no experience with the new kimbers. I DO have a old kimber custom that has been reliable from day one, its been shot alot, several thousand rounds. I remember 3 malfunctions, 2 from my early handload experiments, and the third was in the first 50 rounds I fired through it. I paid 600 bucks for it nib

  20. #20
    Member BigCityChief's Avatar
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    I have 2 Kimbers - no problems with either one.

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