Is Kimber having quality issues lately?


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Duramaximum
December 7, 2008, 02:33 PM
I was recently in a local gun store talking to the owner. I was considering putting my 10mm Witness up for consignment because I wanted to consolidate some guns into a Kimber Custom II, and so I asked if he could order one in.

He told me Kimber has been having a lot of quality issues lately and their customer service department has told him to take a hike when a customer has an issue. That said, he no longer orders Kimbers.

What have you guys heard?

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Kruzr
December 7, 2008, 02:40 PM
Sounds like a dealer who isn't a Kimber Master Dealer and knows he can't compete in pricing with those who are.

Old Fuff
December 7, 2008, 02:48 PM
I would be a bit uneasy. Kimber has won several polls on this forum on who makes the most toublesome gun and/or has the worst customer service afterwards. Suposedly the customer service may (or may not) have improved, but if I were you I'd use the search feature (center/right near top of page) and the key word "Kimber" and see what you find.

I will say this: Whoever dreams up the names for their various models must have a teenage mentality and has been spending much too much time playing computer/video games... :D

jocko
December 7, 2008, 03:25 PM
Have to agree with Kruzr here. go ask a high dollar watch dealer who doesn't sell Rolex's why he doesn't and you will get answers that blow your mind...

R12GS
December 7, 2008, 03:44 PM
I've been hearing this for the past 3 years, I don't think its really of all that recent. It seems that Kimber decided to skip the QC inpection part and just release items onto the buyer.

bpl
December 7, 2008, 03:54 PM
Some say yes, they are having QC issues lately. Others say, yeh, they put out some duds, but at no higher rate than anyone else and since they sell so many more pistols than anyone else you hear about the duds more often. I had some problems with my Tactical Pro II initially and they sent me some parts which seem to have corrected the problem, although I've only put 200-250rnds through it since. I bought a Colt XSE which I like better and I have been shooting that almost exclusively now.

flyboy1788
December 7, 2008, 04:29 PM
I have read plenty of **** this past year saying kimbers recent QC has been piss poor, and I have also talked to people who have kimbers with problems, so I will have to disagree about the dealer being tool. I think there is definately some legitimacy to this issue.

The Bushmaster
December 7, 2008, 04:30 PM
Not having any problems with my 3 month old Kimber UCC II...With over a 1,000 rounds through it.

And my Kimber authorized dealer takes good care of me...

rbernie
December 7, 2008, 05:06 PM
The Kimber quality issues seemed to be a backlash of their insanely fast-growing popularity, some years back. They went from being Da Shiznit to being the paraiahs of the industry in a big way. Not all of it was undeserved; they clearly struggled to find a good MIM house with appropriate QA/QC. They were, as far as I can tell, among the earlier adopters of MIM parts for much of their pistol's insides, and that caused them much grief both in terms of silly amounts of small part breakages and in terms of market affinity/trust.

But that was a number of years back and as far as I know, their current offerings are as solid as any other 1911 clone mass producer in their price range. I also have heard of no serious issues with their Customer Service/post-sale support.

HorseSoldier
December 7, 2008, 05:50 PM
What have you guys heard?

A good deal of what you may have heard might be coming out of this thread (http://www.10-8forums.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=56857&an=0&page=0#56857) on the 10-8 forum from late in 2007 discussing the problems several well known 1911 'smiths have seen with Kimber Warriors.

Personally, I've owned two Kimbers along the way (sold one, still have the other) and not had any problems with either that were not magazine related. However, both my pistols were purchased a few years ago (both '05 production, I think) and I never ran either of them through a high round count class or otherwise really demanding training. For range sessions up to around 150-200 rounds in one go, they both run well, though.

So, I don't know if this is a problem that has cropped up since I bought mine, if it's something I might see if I ran my pistol harder, or if it's a QC issue and I got lucky while other people haven't (reading the link provided, I suspect some of all three is the case). Given that the link above involves reputable gunsmiths who are expressing opinions I would tend to put more weight in that thread than in most internet praise/criticism sort of threads.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm quite happy with the two Kimbers I've owned. I don't know if I'd purchase another one at this point, however, if I were looking for an out-of-the-box street carry gun, in light of the criticism they've drawn.

I've been hearing this for the past 3 years, I don't think its really of all that recent. It seems that Kimber decided to skip the QC inpection part and just release items onto the buyer.

I think in some people's eyes they've yet to live down their debacle with their external extractor models, as well.

Sounds like a dealer who isn't a Kimber Master Dealer and knows he can't compete in pricing with those who are.

If I remember right, my former local gun store owner was looking at losing his Master Dealer status because Kimber changed their rules on requirements. He sold a good number of their pistols, but their rifles did not move well at all in his store, and their revised requirements from a couple years back was that you had to order a bunch of their rifles to keep your status.

earlthegoat2
December 7, 2008, 06:12 PM
There are a great many firms that have decided they are not going to worry about QC because of cost and just fix the lemons that make it through because in the end it will cost less.

Kind of reminds me of Ford Pintos.

Its happeining today with Remingtons. It was happening with Smith and Wesson for awhile but they are back on track now.

mcwjr13
December 7, 2008, 06:15 PM
I sold one of my kimber's because of "quality control".

Thaddeus Jones
December 7, 2008, 06:55 PM
My Kimber stainless is the most accurate single shot, rusting POS I own. :cuss:

varoadking
December 8, 2008, 03:15 AM
Its happeining today with Remingtons. It was happening with Smith and Wesson for awhile but they are back on track now.

Please elaborate on the current Remington QC issues, and those Smith has experienced.

outerlimit
December 8, 2008, 05:34 AM
Lately? Kimber has for many years now.

If you bought a NIB pre-series II and replaced most of the small parts you will have a pretty solid gun. Of course that would probably run you about the cost of a nice Wilson Combat, and you could have a Colt series 80 for less, so why bother?

StorkPatrol
December 8, 2008, 06:26 PM
My Kimber jams. I can't speak for every Kimber sold in the last 3 years, but I can speak for one.
--Stork

StorkPatrol
December 8, 2008, 06:28 PM
sorry, double post.

JoeSlomo
December 8, 2008, 06:55 PM
Imo, yes, they ARE having QC problems.

Kimber extractors are the biggest cause for concern from most accounts I have read. The external extractors caused so many problems that the company will generally just replace the slide with an internal extractor, rather than "fix" the external.

The internal extractors come out of the factory not QC'd for proper tension and are tooooo tight, causing feed and return to battery issues.

My mag release was not properly QC'd out of the factory causing the mags to hang from time to time and required some final tuning with a file.

Most of what I have read, and what I personally experienced, are a result of these minor issues that SHOULD be caught in a decent QC process. They seem to do O.K. with the large components, frame, barrel, slide, but the final fitting QC seems to be an issue.

swwyo
December 8, 2008, 07:50 PM
Not saying anything good or bad, but when you talk about making a 1911, its a handgun that needs skilled hands to fit it. I can only wonder when Kimber's popularity went through the roof, and they increased production to keep up with demand, if maybe they had a labor shortage on skilled hands.

Ken Rainey
December 8, 2008, 08:38 PM
I think the main reason they got so much negative press was due to the series II pistols that came out with the external extractors. Since they went back to internal extractors there seems to be less complaints. There's an occassional complaint about the series II firing pin safety system and MIM parts, but even those complaints seem to be less than they were.

Yep, I think that if they would have stuck with the pre series II configuration and quality that they would have saved themselves a lot of grief.

I have three pre series II full size pistols that run fine, the first one of them I bought was back in '97 and it has ran like a top, but after owning it for several years and never having to fix anything, I got to thinking I needed to learn how to replace parts if I ever needed to, so, I used it to learn how to fit replacement parts and even got cousin 'Tuner to put the finishing touches on it = all parts don't drop in and work, some fitting is required! :uhoh: The other two are pure stock...well, one has been converted to .22 by way of Kimber's conversion kit for the ultimate in low cost practice, training, and varmit control. In Kimber's defense, when I found out that they had changed the barrel bushings from MIM to forged, a simple email to Dennis got me new ones for each of my pistols at no charge...:)

I did acquire a series II Ultra Eclipse model a couple of years ago from a friend who bought it and less than a box of cartridges later decided he wanted to get into the .38 super caliber and sold it to me for a good price. It was a disappointment to see a pistol that came from the "Custom Shop" with so many ill fitted parts...I had to tune the extractor, smooth the frame's feed ramp, adjust the slide stop, fit a wider firing pin stop and smooth an edge on the side of the barrel's throat to get it to run..:cuss:

I did email Dennis and let him know what had to be done and the serial number so that he could track down the one(s) who assembled it and hopefully improve the QC...:scrutiny:

If I had not known what to look for as it presented it's malfunctions and was having to send it back to the factory to be fixed, I would have been even more disappointed...even the barrel had what appeared to be some type of corrosion on it in places, it mostly polished out but still, for a not so inexpensive pistol from a "Custom Shop" it was surprising to see...If I'd have been the one buying it for the first time and racked the slide back and saw that, I would have pointed it out to the dealer and moved on to the next one. I do believe that Dennis would have made it right if I had sent it to him to be fixed...I'm just glad that I've learned enough to have been able to do it myself...Yet, even after having to do the final fitting and smoothing of the parts just to get it to run...I guess, that like my full sized " 'Tunerized" pistol, I've sort of bonded with the little short stroker...dang thang is an amazingly accurate little fella...:D

TIMC
December 8, 2008, 09:37 PM
I hope to have better results than some here have. I just picked up a Warrior in a trade deal. The gun appears to be in very good condition but I can see it has had a few rounds down the pipe. The overall fit and finish on the gun is very acceptable and I love the looks. I'll try to get out tomorrow and put a few rounds through it to see how she performs.

Lone_Gunman
December 8, 2008, 09:52 PM
Is Kimber having quality issues lately?

Only for the last 10 years or so. I am a slow learner, I suppose. I think I owned 4 Kimbers before I finally wised up and moved on. The only thing worse than the Kimber 1911's is the unbelievely shatty customer service they have. I mean this is the worst customer service for any product I have ever owned. If I won a Kimber in a free raffle, I would sell it just as soon as I could find someone who would buy it. I would rather defend myself with a board with a nail in the end of it than a Kimber.

JohnBT
December 8, 2008, 11:14 PM
I was going to say we were having this conversation 9 or 10 years ago about the time I bought a Stainless Gold Match in '99. Great gun.

As far as Kimber customer service, I called them once about 3 years after buying the gun. The nut on the windage screw flew off one day and disappeared, so I called to see about buying a new one. The guy said no charge and when the package arrived I had me a brand new complete rear sight. :confused:

John

jfrey
December 8, 2008, 11:39 PM
Kimber QC problems are nothing new. I got my one and only Kimber back in the late 90's. In the 5 months I owned it, the Kimber repair shop had it more than I did. Finally got my money back from the dealer and bought a Springfield. I still have it. Now I shoot Brileys. I have a friend who shoots a Kimber in competition. After 20,000 rounds his gun is totally worn out. When he shoots my Briley I have to wipe off the drool when he is through.

mothergoose
December 9, 2008, 12:47 AM
One of mine works great, one didn't. The one that didn't took a trip back to Kimber and they fixed it. It was quick and easy so no complaints about the CS.

My dad owns two and both are flawless. Maybe we got lucky, but I love mine.

FlyinBryan
December 9, 2008, 01:00 AM
the only kimber ive owned is a procarry2.

it was tight and a little troublesome at first but i sent it back and got it back pretty quick with no probs.

it was never really right till i got the wolff extra power spring kit for it.

ever since then its been great.

very reliable and extremely accurate.

i would rather have not had ANY problems out of it since it cost me 650 bux, but i like it so much i stuck with it till i got it running the way i like.

by the way, its a 2003 model with the external extractor.

it runs 100% now and is my carry gun.

M203Sniper
December 9, 2008, 01:39 AM
...now and always, why not buy a Colt instead. :evil:

JohnBT
December 9, 2008, 09:55 AM
"After 20,000 rounds his gun is totally worn out."

Now that's really strange, even if it was an aluminum-framed Kimber. My Stainless Gold Match has about 20k and looks about like it did at 4k or 5k.

John

wtfd661
December 9, 2008, 10:36 AM
My Kimber has been a great gun, not a single problem in 3 yrs now of regularly shooting and carrying it. I couldn't give it a higher recommendation for a CCW. I believe that I'm not the only satisfied Kimber owner out of the 100's of 1,000's of owners out there. I also believe that since Kimber way and above out sells most other 1911 manufactures (combined) just the sure percentage of guns manufactured vs others will lead to a perceived "higher failure / return rate".

The fact that they have been one of the top (if not the top) selling 1911 manufacture for a lot of years now, would seem to me to say that they have been producing and selling a quality product. The argument of, they slick up their 1911's to sell to the uninformed/new shooters and other arguments doesn't really hold water for me.

Bottom line, in a free market system over time you either produce and sell a quality product or you go out of business.

One last thing, if you look at some of the PD's/Units/US Olympic shooting team that have switched to a Kimber after, in some cases thousands of man hours of test & evaluating, and are still with Kimbers, I think that also has a lot to say.

By the way I can post this opinion without trashing any other 1911 manufacture, because I also believe that you can't go wrong with a Colt, Springfield, Smith, etc. cause the above also factors would apply to them equally (except the "most selling":D).

45auto
December 9, 2008, 01:42 PM
I don't know if Kimber is, certainly sounds like it, but they clearly are the leading seller, so they will have more "complaints" than anyone, based on an equal percentage.

Add the failed external extractor, poorly designed series II FP safety, "apparent" large sales of sub 5" 1911's and no doubt a lot of complaints IMO.

The 5" ones I've shot have been great.

Every gunshop I go into is KIMBER front and center and then the "rest". So, complaints may be falling on deaf ears. Or, the vast majority work fine. ;)

PcolaDawg
December 9, 2008, 01:48 PM
I love my Kimber Ultra Crimson Carry II, but it is back at Kimber's custom shop right now.

But only because I'm having them install some Tactical Wedge nightsights to the gun. :p

So far, the gun has been awesome and ... I miss it. :uhoh:

mljdeckard
December 9, 2008, 02:32 PM
My Custom II is by far the best gun I have ever owned or carried. If I were allowed, I would carry it to war tomorrow.

I am not in a position to seriously comment about Kimber's overall quality, other than to say that everyone I know who owns one is thrilled to death with it. Kimber turned the semi-custom market on its ear, and I have always thought there is lingering resentment from people who were spending four figures on 1911s. All of a sudden you could get a good mass-produced, $600 1911 with a hand-fitted frame-slide fit, which had been unheard of before.

I very much agree with the above posters who suggested that the high numbers of Kimbers in circulation inevitably produce a higher number of problems, but not necessarily a higher RATE. ALL GUNS BREAK EVENTUALLY. If more people have them, more people will shoot them, which means more of them will fail.

Hawk
December 9, 2008, 02:39 PM
With the operative concept being "recently", I don't know.

I had an Ultra CDP-II that suffered from, as Douglas Adams would have put it, "nonlinear, catastrophic structural exasperation," or to put it another way, its MIM firing pin block frame plunger and ambi safety just got "fundamentally fed up with being where they were." This was exacerbated by Kimber's designated representative explaining to me that my eyes were deceiving me as such things didn't happen. Since they didn't happen, they saw no reason to address the issue - it not being there and all.

In the years since, I've read what seems to be fewer and fewer complaints of that nature and even read several reports of prompt and courteous customer service.

At some point, reports of old problems should probably be declared irrelevant and no longer reported. My FPB, safety and CS issues are probably "there".

cat9x
December 9, 2008, 02:52 PM
** WARNING FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE **

Seeing that forums are inherently troubled by hearsay i'll give my experience.

My father purchased a Kimber Desert Warrior as a Christmas present for me last year. Gorgeous gun btw. Sadly enough it took me nearly 2 months before I had a chance to get out and shoot it. When I did, using the factory magazine and 3 different brands of 230gr. FMJ I had continual FTF's and the slide would not lock back on the last round...ever. I tried 3 other magazines from 3 other manufacturers with the same results. Also, every 50-75 rounds the grips screws would back out.

I picked up the phone and called Kimber. I shipped them my pistol and recieved it back within 2 weeks. They polished the feed ramp, replaced the factory magazine, adjusted the extractor, and installed grip screw bushings and test fired 75 rounds (according to the pistol worksheet). The pistol functions flawlessly now and Iam happy with my Kimber.

JohnBT
December 9, 2008, 04:26 PM
"The fact that they have been one of the top (if not the top) selling 1911 manufacture"


www.atf.treas.gov/firearms/stats/afmer/afmer2006.pdf

Kimber - 60618

Baer - 1665

Brown - 845

Glock, Georgia - 26,542 - (Look for yourself)

Boba Fett
December 9, 2008, 05:09 PM
I was recently in a local gun store talking to the owner. I was considering putting my 10mm Witness up for consignment because I wanted to consolidate some guns into a Kimber Custom II, and so I asked if he could order one in.


I was at my local gun store the other day speaking with one of the sales guys. They have most popular handguns and rifles on the market and a lot of them. I told him I was looking at getting a Kimber 1911 Ultra II Carry. And I asked his opinion. He and most of his family and friends are military or law enforcement.

He said that he wouldn't go with a Kimber, not because they were poor quality, but because there was an issue with sand or dirt getting into certain mechanisms of the gun and causing it to lock up and not fire.

I asked what he would go with instead and he pointed me to SigSauer and H&K. Apparently he and a friend did a torture test on one of each that included mud, sand, sea water + sand/silt, and chucking them great distances. After each test they fired each time.

Now, not simply taking his word that Kimber had that problem, I started researching Kimber and found that, as so many people have pointed out in this thread, their quality and service records have been an issue for enough people for a long enough time to give me pause (haven't seen anything yet to substantiate the dealers mechanism jamming claim).

So I'd go with the Sig or H&K. Pretty much comparable prices.

That being said, I've shot the Kimber and a Springfield 1911s. I like them both. And if you are simply getting the gun as a fun range gun, I wouldn't worry about Kimber's quality and service issues as much.

Hawk
December 9, 2008, 05:22 PM
AFMER2006 only lists domestic production.

Hence, I've sometimes wondered about those Glock numbers - perhaps only the ones that Glock Smyrna "massages" due to import restrictions (?)

Similarly, the Springfield numbers only include those qualifying as "domestic" which I believe excludes everything up through the "loaded".

Imports are only listed by country which, for 2006 includes:
Austria: 328,000
Brazil: 253,000
Croatia: 142,000

The Austrian numbers should make the Glock figures make a little more sense. I have no clue what portion of "Brazil" constitutes SA 1911s but I'm betting it's not chump change. It would also include most all of Taurus but I don't recall offhand if the PT1911 was in the catalog then and it's percentage of sales is unknown, at least by me.

1911s are also stirred into semi-auto numbers found in AFMER2006 for...

S&W: 223,000 (I'm assuming S&W's 38,000 in Maine aren't 1911s).

SIGARMS: 75,000 (I wouldn't be surprised to learn that a fair chunk of this is GSR type stuff.)

There were 1,128,000 handguns imported in 2006 and around 1,230,000 produced domestically including allowing for exports. I don't know how many of those over 2 million were 1911s but I'd bet Springfield, SIG and S&W account for more than a few.

And, with that, I'm not seeing 60,000 out of Yonkers as being such a huge number that a larger than average intertubz back chatter can be written off as due strictly to the large number. In the amount of time Kimber shipped 60,000, S&W shipped over 480,000 handguns. I would expect S&W complaints to be running eight times Kimber's and that doesn't seem to be the case, even with every lock failure cross-posted dozens of times.

Even Colt managed to ship 15K 1911s in '06. STI is down for 5K.

Kimber might be the largest domestic producer of 1911s only but I'd be uncomfortable even making that assertion without knowing SIG's and S&W's contributions.

JohnBT
December 9, 2008, 05:43 PM
Sure, and those big glossy Kimber ads must suck in the newbies, too. :)

I don't know a thing about Glock production, except what I read about their upgrades/recalls/improving perfection. ;)

John

45auto
December 9, 2008, 05:48 PM
I would expect S&W complaints to be running eight

If S&W actually made that many 1911's, I think you'd see 8 times the amount of complaints. But, they make other designs that don't have the initial issues, consumers wouldn't "put up" with the 1911 "stuff" with other modern designs IMO. And, all I shoot are 1911's, but even I have to "smile" a bit!

I'd bet Sig doesn't even outsell STI. Smith...I'd be amazed at 10,000...but don't know.

You can walk into most gun shops and get a decent idea of what sells, if you go to enough of them and some large ones. I have yet to see any place where Kimber doesn't have (5-10) to 1 ratio of any single brand. But, that's my area anyway.

I've "read" Springfield at one time was "close" to Kimber sales, back when they flooded the market with $399 GI's. I doubt they are close to Kimber now.

Lone_Gunman
December 9, 2008, 05:48 PM
I have no clue what portion of "Brazil" constitutes SA 1911s but I'm betting it's not chump change.

I would think Taurus would be a big chung of Brazil.

Hawk
December 9, 2008, 05:59 PM
I mentioned Taurus - and that I wasn't sure when or how many might be PT-1911s.

If S&W actually made that many 1911's, I think you'd see 8 times the amount of complaints. But, they make other designs that don't have the initial issues, consumers wouldn't "put up" with the 1911 "stuff" with other modern designs IMO.
I can only speak for myself but I don't tolerate "stuff" with any new handgun including 1911s. I expect any 1911 I buy to run with the same expectation anyone would have for, say, an M&P polymer handgun.

Allowing for more complaints because it's endemic to the 1911 design might be valid but it's not something I'm comfortable with.

45auto
December 9, 2008, 06:15 PM
Allowing for more complaints because it's endemic to the 1911 design might be valid but it's not something I'm comfortable with.

I'm "with you" on that. ;)

And, I don't believe it's nearly as bad as I "read" on the "net", based on my experience. But...it's hard not to believe there's more "issues".

I'd love to take some of these guns I read about, and put my mags and reloads through them just to see, discounting Kimber's external extractor and FP safety problems.

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