To buy or not to buy...(Kimber questions)


February 11, 2006, 02:17 AM
I never thought the day would come when I would be considering a 1911, but I find myself tonight in that exact position. Problem is, I need a little help here.

I am NOT a semi- person; I favor wheelguns and long-guns. I am NOT well-versed in the ways of the 1911. But when you find a Kimber with a 4" barrel (the only length I really like the feel of) on consignment for $640, its time to ask what other things you might could do without.

That being said, I could really use some advice. I know the price is good; I've looked at prices for previous Kimbers sold here. I know they're good guns, according to what has been said here and other places. What I do not know, and have had trouble finding out, is what to look for in them. I cannot find a page describing the "series 70" vs. "series 80" safety issue, I believe it was called. I cannot find a page about the MIM, I think, parts issue (Everyone on this one seems to be either attacking or defending a particular manufacturer...). I cannot find a page describing this "internal vs. external extractor", and the implications thereof.

What I could use are links to some info if anyone has them. I don't really want someone to sit here and write out what someone else has already sat and written out and I'm just too dumb to find.

Thanks for the help; sorry to be long winded. I just don't want to get slapped around for my ignorance on the issue.


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February 11, 2006, 02:21 AM
I have three Kimbers and love them...

What model were you looking at?

Doctor Suarez
February 11, 2006, 02:51 AM
A lot of the Kimber defect stuff is net hype.

That being said, they've had some trouble with their external extractors. Near as I can figure, the first run of EEs were indeed problematic. Apparently, they redesigned the hook, tweaked the system, and got them to function quite well. Mine is a later EE, and it chucks brass with annoying consistency. Cleaning up afterwards is easy. They're all in one place!

They're fine guns, if a bit tight at first. My advice would be that, if you do purcase it, treat it with care (aside from setting off metal tubes full of fast-burning propellant and launching lead balls out of it) and keep it clean and lubed.

As for the length, I know that the 3-inchers are where the real problems start. I know one guy who had a commander-length model, and he got rid of it due to a problematic extractor. (He may have had the original EE design.)

You should check to see when it was made, and if it's that extractor. If it is, then you may wish to pass. Otherwise, they're good guns.

Zach S
February 11, 2006, 07:55 AM
Its real simple for me. If there's a "II" stamped in the right side of the slide, I'd hand it back. If there's not, I'd buy it.

February 11, 2006, 09:02 AM
We have a Kimber Ultra II and the wife and I love. For a 3" .45 the felt kick was small (for a .45) and the groupings were tight at 10 yards out. It has an Internal Extractor which works great, no stove pipes. Trueth tell, I perfer External Extractors because they can give you an indication that there is a round in the chamber. However, the Ultra has a small notch in the barrel that provides that purpose. Anyway, in short, it has been a nice reliable weapon for us.:D

Dale Taylor
February 11, 2006, 09:31 AM
I have 4" Kimber Series I SS Compact purchased used. So reliable that it's boring. Doesn't like extra round magazines. Sights are good for my aging eyes. Have fired Series 2 borrowed at range. Again no problems.

February 11, 2006, 10:41 AM
If the gun feels tight, I would not hesitate to buy any type of Kimber.

I also think the Series II issue is way overblown. I have one and it is flawless.

February 11, 2006, 10:54 AM
I also think the Series II issue is way overblown. I have one and it is flawless.I've had four, and (except for a break-in period with one of 'em) all have been equal or better in reliability as my Springers and Colts.

February 11, 2006, 10:55 AM
I've had 3 Kimbers (two 4 inchers and one 5 inch)- all Series I. They have all been reliable pistols. However, I wouldn't want a Series II or any 1911 with an external extractor. With an internal extractor it's easy to "tweak" or even replace the extractor to solve problems- not so with an external. In today's market I favor Dan Wesson, Colt and SA 1911's unless you want to "up the ante" and go with a semi-custom pistol from Baer, Brwon or Wilson. Good luck making the choice. :)

Zach S
February 11, 2006, 12:17 PM
I also think the Series II issue is way overblown. I have one and it is flawless.
When there were reports of the series II safety not working properly, followed by reports of small parts breaking, followed by reports of the external extractor not working properly, and having witnessed all of this on Kimbers sold through the small store I frequent, it would seem to me that they started slipping on quality right about the time they introduced the series II safety. So I reccomend the series Is instead. As a matter of fact, they're at the top of my list. Otherwise, I reccomend Springfield or Colt.

February 11, 2006, 12:24 PM
I just got my first 1911, A Kimber Combat Gold and I am in love with it. I have a large and diverse bunch of toys and find me asking myself - Why didn't I get a 1911 sooner?

If you get it, you will enjoy it!

February 11, 2006, 02:07 PM
i had problems with my series 2 safety after about 80 thousand rounds .so when i finally had it rebuilt i had it removed. thats the only problem i had with my tle since i bought it brand new . the safety would stick . and it only happened two times before i had my smith check it out.

February 11, 2006, 02:43 PM
but I'm looking at a Gold Combat. Would you mind letting me know what you paid?


February 11, 2006, 10:40 PM
And very nearly paid for it. The more I look, the more I'm trying to come up with the cash. I'm still arguing with myself about whether to get this, or keep wating for that .357 smith...

A few more details. This is a series I Kimber. I believe it was called a Compact or Ultra Compact, but I'm not 100% sure on that. It feels good and tight,and the trigger feels VERY good to me, when compared to the other 1911s I have looked at here. (A Springfield, a colt, and a few others).

It is an internal extractor, I believe. Price = $670 all said and done, me walking out the door with it. Anyway, thanks for the info guys. I'm deciding monday about whether to buy it or not.

Again, thanks.


Zach S
February 12, 2006, 07:32 AM
Thats about what I paid for my Compact Stainless, and it has served me well.

Dale Taylor
February 12, 2006, 08:02 AM
I paid same for my Compact SS Series 1. Absolutly no buyers remorse. Prices arehigher in this area.

February 12, 2006, 08:15 AM
Series I Kimber. Compact or Ultra Compact.
$670 all said and done, me walking out the door with it.

Buy. And I'm not even a Kimber fan! I don't think you will find a better 1911 to introduce yourself to the platform with. Ask if you can test shoot it first.

Ala Dan
February 12, 2006, 09:51 AM

I just wanted to chime in and say that I have a 3" Kimber Stainless
Ultra Carry II that I now use as my daily CCW piece. It has been and
continues too be 100% reliable, with NO problems from the external
extractor. And, up until last Friday (02-10-06), I owned a Kimber
Raptor II with an external extractor. Again, I had 0 problems with
this firearm; I simply needed to trade it on a NIB Les Baer Thunder
Ranch Special~!:D :uhoh:

February 12, 2006, 10:48 AM
I have a Kimber Stainless Target IIe. It has 20,000rds. through it and is almost, but not quite 100% reliable, accurate and finished beautifully both inside and out. The gun is not ammo sensitive and, as Pat Sweeney has shown in one of the 1911 magazines, it will run when filthy. That being said, I believe the external extractor, is a solution in search of a problem. The JMB internal extractor on my Springfield runs fine and is a heck of a lot easier to maintain than the EE.
BTW, I cannot get my Kimber to 100%. Every so often, perhaps 1 in every 1,000-1,500rds, the gun will fail to extract. After I clear it, it runs fine again until the next FTE. I've never gotten 2 FTE's in the same range session or even a malf in 2 sessions in a row, but no matter how religiously I maintain the gun, I get those occasional FTE's. Because of the infrequency of the malf's they may be ammo related even though I only use factory ammo from Zero, Federal, CCI, Speer or Winchester. On the other hand I may be hard to please.

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