Colt VS. Kimber


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ohio58
August 28, 2010, 06:08 PM
I have been thinking about a new 1911. I have been to the gun store 3 times now. I cant make up my mind on either a Colt Government series 80 or a Kimber Custom 2, both are brand new pistols. Your opinions on these 2 guns would be very helpful. Also, how does Colt & Kimber's service department compair? Thanks

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PT1911
August 28, 2010, 06:23 PM
I have the Kimber and I would definitely recommend it... give it time and you will have someone pop up and talk about how Kimbers have a reputation for jamming and their customer service sucks... well, I do not disagree about their customer service, but i have never had to deal with them... BUT, they are made with tight tolerances and specify a break in period so dont give up on it if it jams a bit out of the box, it just has to break in...


As to Colts, If you can find a used one... GO FOR IT.. but I would stay away from their new production anything as every example of their new guns(that i have seen) has been horrible in every way.

gwnorth
August 28, 2010, 06:24 PM
I picked up a new Colt stainless Combat Commander (1991a1) last year and have been extremely happy with it. Can't speak to Colt's service since I've had no need to use it for anything.

No breakin needed - it shot 100% reliably right out if the box.

G27RR
August 28, 2010, 06:39 PM
In my experience, the two recent Colts I bought have been 100pct right out of the box. The Kimber Super Carry Pro still has issues chambering even after a 700 round break-in period. So, I would go with Colt. They both cost less than my Kimber, run much better and the Colt Combat Elite is quite nicely finished, too. My other Colt is the Defender.

If you're not tied down to those two, I also highly recommend STI. I have a pair of Ranger IIs and my CCW is a Shadow.

9mmepiphany
August 28, 2010, 07:38 PM
I've had Kimbers that had fit problems and others where the parts were out of spec, but it looked very cool and had a lot of features. Their Warrior series seemed to have the least issues.

I've had Colts and found that it was common for them to be more loosely fitted and to have non-uniform contours (the gunsmith who was building on it re-lined it for me). Mine also had a slide that had been bored, for the barrel/bushing, off center.

If you are looking for a gun to retain it's value, I'd go with the Colt. For a gun with lots of features, I'd look at a Kimber.

Neither would be high on my recommendation list

ABTOMAT
August 28, 2010, 07:43 PM
What's a used modern Colt go for, anyway? LGS has a stainless Mark IV Series 80 tagged at $800. Very clean and pretty but with an idiot scratch. Keep in mind this is in Mass so it's from before 1998 and not normally available in this state.

ohio58
August 28, 2010, 08:26 PM
I read somewhere that LAPD S.W.A.T changed over to Kimber Custom 2 in 2002. Im wondering if they are still using it..today ?

HisSoldier
August 28, 2010, 08:47 PM
I believe the Colt has fewer MIM parts, so that would narrow that right down for me.

Strahley
August 28, 2010, 08:52 PM
Colt, not even a contest for me

ttheel
August 28, 2010, 09:17 PM
If you are looking for a gun to retain it's value, I'd go with the Colt. For a gun with lots of features, I'd look at a Kimber.

Neither would be high on my recommendation list

9mmepiphany....just curious, what 1911 manufacturer would you recommend for a standard production gun(not custom)?

cbmax
August 28, 2010, 09:59 PM
I have three .45's in the 1911 variety. My first was custom built using a Caspian frame and slide. I had it built specifically for bullseye competition. It is a complete work of art. It is more accurate and tighter fit than most anything you could ever buy commercially. It is not a defensive pistol, but is still my own benchmark by which I judge other 1911's.

Eventually, I wanted another 1911 that I could use for shooting full power loads and home defense. I bought a pretty plain jane Kimber Royal II. After getting it home, I found I became dissatified with the frame to slide fit. I sent it back to Kimber and they did tighten the fit. The pistol performed flawlessly. Like alot of 1911's I decided to do some work on it. I switched out the full length guide rod for the traditional GI set, I added a wider safety, installed VZ slim grips, Heine slant pro straight eight night sights and a trigger job. The pistol continues to function flawlessly, is relatively accurate and pretty to look at. However, the workmanship is not in the same league as my Caspian. I don't expect it to be, but both pistols do perform their respective roles well.

Next I wanted a commander sized 1911. I also wanted the "original" 1911. You know, the one with horsey on the side. I bought the Colt Combat Commander in stainless steel. I have not had any malfunctions with this pistol either. It too is reasonably accurate. Again, I customized this one with a trigger job, Heine night sights, Chip McCormick rosewood thin grips and a Greider extended mag release.

I am very happy with all of my 1911's. They all serve different roles. They all make me happy.

As long as you buy a pistol made with a decent frame and slide, just about anything else can be fixed if necessary. I know alot of people will say that you shouldn't have to work on a pistol to get it to perform reliably. Truth is, you will want to add custom features to your pistol (unless of course you start out buying a custum or semi-custom gun). If you gun needs "tuning" which some do, it can be done at this time. I didn't have any functional issues with my Kimber or my Colt. Maybe I was lucky. Granted I wasn't pleased with the Kimber slide to frame fit, but this was remedied by Kimber.

So after my long winded response, buy the 1911 which suits your needs, your wallet and your eye. As long as the frame and slide are well made (most are from reputable manufacturers), most anything can be fixed and turned into whatever you want it to be, within reason of course!

CB

buck460XVR
August 28, 2010, 10:08 PM
What's a used modern Colt go for, anyway? LGS has a stainless Mark IV Series 80 tagged at $800. Very clean and pretty but with an idiot scratch. Keep in mind this is in Mass so it's from before 1998 and not normally available in this state.


Around here you can buy a new stainless 1991 government for $800. I bought one used LNIB a year ago for 5 bills. Got about two thousand rounds thru it without a hiccup. Colt has just updated their machinery and their quality is rumored to be as good as ever. Their customer service is still second to none. They've been around for a few years also.

9mmepiphany
August 28, 2010, 10:45 PM
9mmepiphany....just curious, what 1911 manufacturer would you recommend for a standard production gun(not custom)?
I consider the Springfield Armory line an excellent value from a barebones GI to my minimum recommendation of a Mil-Spec. The TRP is good mid-level gun if you can't justify the handwork of the Professional (high end production/semi-custom)

If you start at the mid-level and want a pretty much finished product, I'd highly recommend a Dan Wesson CBOB. With a little trigger work, the change of the slide stop to a tool steel one and some checkering, I think it stands up well to an Ed Brown Kobra Carry for fit and function.

If you understand the FPS used in the S&W and know how to check it for fit, I have very few reservations in recommending them...and no reservation in recommending one from the Performance Center (but then you're into high end production/ semi-custom level we're trying to avoid)

Zerodefect
August 28, 2010, 11:44 PM
I prefere Kimber over Colt.

Kimber gets their bad rep from MIM, perfectly defective mags, bad springs, and a rough finish on the outside of the barrel and recoil rod. They won't get reliable until you switch to Wilson or Tripp mags, Wolff Recoil spring (18Lb fo 5"), and the right ammo.

Most give up on Kimbers before that rough finish is even smoothed out on the barrel. Aka: Break-in. My Kimber preferes Federal ammo. Not so much WWB, and hates Rem UMC. It feeds Winchester hollow points well.

As for the MIM stuff. I cut my safety levers downto fit my hand. It was a pain cutting Kimbers safety with a dremel and a fibre cut off wheel. MIM isn't near as soft as I expected it to be.



Colt seems even more hit and miss than Kimber. Crooked barrel bushings. A finish as good as a Kimber's, If that Kimber was thrown down the drive way a dozen times. Lame mags.



I'll recommend you look towardss Dan Wesson, Fusion, or Wilson for 1911's. Wilson or Tripp for 1911 mags.

duns
August 29, 2010, 12:10 AM
I would say Colt. But not the model 80 but the model 70 reissue. The model 80 has more complexity to make it "drop safe". The model 70 is probably drop safe too in most scenarios but they can't claim it to be so because there are some bizarre and rare scenarios where it could fire when dropped.

NMPOPS
August 29, 2010, 01:48 AM
Neither, go with Springfield. It doesn't have all the series 80 crap.

FastMover
August 29, 2010, 05:32 AM
I have had two Kimbers. A plain jane Custom II and a Custom Classic I. The
1st series Custom Classic has been my go-to gun for all around fun. It eats FMJ,SWC,JHP, and lead without a single hitch. My Custom II would not though. After multiple sessions of trying to get it to realiably feed a JHP, I gave up and sold it.
My opinion?? I would see if I could find an early Kimber. I paid around 600 for mine. It was gently used and I've done nothing but beat the snot out of it. It can stand a refinish job and a set of night sights but she sure keeps on ticking.


FYI. I still have a hard on for a Colt XSE. I would snatch one up in a heart beat.

Full Metal Jacket
August 29, 2010, 05:43 AM
Neither, go with Springfield.

this.




I still have a hard on for a Colt XSE

:eek:

BlayGlock
August 29, 2010, 06:08 AM
I would take an STI Spartan or Trojan over either in this price range.

mljdeckard
August 29, 2010, 06:11 AM
My custom II is the best handgun I have ever owned, and that includes a Colt 1991. It's is just the most shootable, reliable, and best functioning I have had.

Welding Rod
August 29, 2010, 08:39 PM
I use 1911s exclusively for range guns. That being the case I prefer Kimbers. The have good features, are nicely fit, and tend to have good triggers. And they tend to be available so that I can inspect the gun before being obligated to buy.

If I had to carry a 1911 for personal defense, I would prefer a more loosely built Colt.

ABTOMAT
August 29, 2010, 08:44 PM
Around here you can buy a new stainless 1991 government for $800. I bought one used LNIB a year ago for 5 bills. Got about two thousand rounds thru it without a hiccup. Colt has just updated their machinery and their quality is rumored to be as good as ever. Their customer service is still second to none. They've been around for a few years also.

Isn't the 1991 a budget version of the Mark IV?

Ankeny
August 29, 2010, 11:19 PM
I had an early Kimber Gold Match that puked at every turn. I sent it back twice and it still wouldn't run. Turned out the chamber was not concentric with the bore so I had the late Brian Bilby fix the gun. I also had a Pro Carry II that ran flawlessly. I sold it when I went to plastic and safe action systems.

A week ago I picked up a new Pro Ageis. The early 9mm Kimbers had issues, but it seems Kimber has those problems resolved. Before I even shot the gun I removed the firing pin safety system, did a trigger job, and desensitized the grip safety. The pistol has digested about 400 rounds of mixed ammo without a hiccup. Some of the stuff that it has fed is pretty low quality reloads. The gun is also very accurate, as is the Kimber .22 conversion that I purchased.

I see a lot of Kimbers in my travels to IDPA and USPSA matches. Like any brand, some run like the Energizer bunny, some barf on a regular basis.

I can't speak to the newer Colts, but I had a 1970's era Gold Cup that wouldn't feed anything but ball ammo. I also had a lightweight Commander that ran flawlessly.

MICHAEL T
August 29, 2010, 11:34 PM
I say Colt They use much better parts than the MIM Kimber uses. . I owned a Kimber and traded it . Their fireing pin safety is a night mare. A good friend has broken twice Was 6 mo turn around on it last time. My pistol can pre rusted from factory I removed grips and rust city.
Colt doesn't run they need 500 rounds to break in line either.

Make mine Colt or Dan Wesson

HappyHunting
August 29, 2010, 11:46 PM
My colt XSE commander has been flawless with all the crappy ammo I can feed it. The one thing I would do to it is get somebody who knows their way around a dremel to knock the sharpness off the front cocking serrations and the slide. The first time I took it apart I cut the fire out of myself and then got Hoppe's in the wound. Colt draws first blood.

Full Metal Jacket
August 30, 2010, 12:46 AM
the bottom edges of the slides on the XSE are sharp enough to shave with....

Oceans
August 30, 2010, 07:33 AM
+1 Colt, mine feeds empty cases from the mag. Price will be about the same in comparative models.

Full Metal Jacket
August 30, 2010, 08:06 AM
everything feeds empty cases from the mag lol. i don't know how the rumor started that if your gun does this, it's amazingly built :confused:

CDR_Glock
August 30, 2010, 08:46 AM
It is hard to judge based upon different people's experiences and different levels of skill. Only you can decide which is right for you. For competitive and very expereinced shooters, they will prefer Wilson, Caspian, STI, Les Baer, etc. For the average Joe, like me, the Springfield, Colts and Kimbers (Even the Rock Island), are fine. It sounds lame to need a gun to break in. I prefer guns that shoot well right out of the box (Striker Fire like Glock, S&W and M&P). I am not one who likes to change guns often and I am not one who will fiddle with every little thing. Just like my choice of computers (Apple), I run it like it was designed out of the box (except for the night sights); I don't go for magazine extensions, either.

I have two Kimbers (just grabbed a second one yesterday). The Pro shoots fine enough for me - no failures. My buddy has a Colt Defender and he changed the Recoil Spring and mags to Wilson Combat so his is fine, now. Through our limited pool of 2, either will work.

Kimbers tend to have a lot of extras which I like rather than bring my gun to a gunsmith - which can take a few weeks to get everything I want added. They tend to cost more upfront. Colts are the classic pistols with a strong following. Their design is reliable and proven for a production gun. The XSE and Custom Shop stuff is supposed to be really good from what people have told me but I never had the honor of shooting one. For the most part I don't hear much in terms of negativity from a Colt Owner.

With that being said, only you can decide what will fit you best. If you get either, you should try the Wilson mags instead of factory. Don't modify anything until you at least have 200-300 rounds to see what works for you. Look at the 1911 Colt forum and I have seen only positive posts from a vast majority.

Oceans
August 30, 2010, 02:29 PM
Original quote from Full Metal Jacket everything feeds empty cases from the mag lol. i don't know how the rumor started that if your gun does this, it's amazingly built They do? now THAT IS A MYTH lol. You must not have had too many 1911s? Again, I would much prefer a Colt over a Mimber, er I mean Kimber.

SlamFire1
August 30, 2010, 03:19 PM
If I were to buy a new Colt, I would get one with a series 70 action.

I had the firing pin safety drop down while shooting this Series 80 Colt. It prevented the slide from closing.

That sort of put me off series 80 actions. I don't need a safety device that jams the pistol.

Kimbers now have a different sort of firing pin block, my Clackamus Kimber is a series 70 action, so I don't know how the new ones act.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Ed%20Brown%20Bushing/SSM1911fulllength.jpg

Full Metal Jacket
August 30, 2010, 04:07 PM
They do? now THAT IS A MYTH lol. You must not have had too many 1911s? Again, I would much prefer a Colt over a Mimber, er I mean Kimber.

:eek:

i should have specified that i was referring to quality 1911's lol :)

gutterman
August 30, 2010, 05:18 PM
I have a Kimber Pro Carry 2- have not fired it a thousand times , but it has been a great gun so far, and dead on-right out of the box!

Justified1911
September 7, 2010, 06:36 PM
OHIO-

I recently made this decision when poised with the EXACT SAME QUESTION. The difference was I already had a M1991A1 in Stainless (perfectly reliable, very nice example bought used for $700 and four extra mags), and was deciding between the Kimber CUS II and the COLT Combat Elite XSE. The XSE stole my heart when I held them both in the shop, but the Kimber impressed me with its tightness and simplicity (all black, black sights, etc, etc) for the price. The Kimber was $750 new, and the XSE Combat Elite a whopping $975! A lot of dough for a blue-collar guy in a rough economy.

After looking around, posting messages on various 1911 forums, the resounding answer was to go with the COLT! I even attempted other shops for price comparisons, but hardly anybody can get COLTS new, and the Combat Elite is hard to come by around here. Kimbers are more frequent. I also have shot both a Kimber TLE II and another model out of their custom shop with target sights, etc, that a buddy has. The tightness in these guns does mean you have to fire nearly 500 rounds in them before they become "carry-reliable". In this period they are sometimes finicky. The COLT's are always a bit looser, but never sloppy. They were designed like this 100 years ago for a reason: reliability.

When you do the math on 500 rounds, which for me the cheapest I can get is 100 for $35, thats $175 bucks or so I could just put towards the COLT. COLT's will always be COLT's, and there will always be a following. They hold their value well. Needless to say I went back and snatched up the Combat Elite (the last one!), and haven't looked back!

Here's what I would tell you, having shot all these guns, and now owning two: If you want a true value, buy that COLT M1991A1 Series 80 (if its not parkerized) which will not only hold value, but will be very reliable and adequate for all duties. I love the simplicity of mine. The drawback is it doesn't have as much flash and "coolness" factor as the Kimber, so if you think you'll have buyer's remorse down the line (because you have the plain-Jane "GI" model, and your buddies have the hot-rodded models), go with the Kimber. If it were me, I would save a little more dough and go with a COLT XSE, which retains both the COLT name and coolness factor I mentioned. To me, these are cooler than Kimbers, and will likely hold value better.

swinokur
September 7, 2010, 07:18 PM
My custom II is the best handgun I have ever owned, and that includes a Colt 1991. It's is just the most shootable, reliable, and best functioning I have had.

This. TLE II RL 1000k rounds not a burp

SSN Vet
September 7, 2010, 07:22 PM
a woman at a matress store once told me in a very cynical voice...

Honey, you can get fluff or stuff......I'll borrow her analogy.

Colt = stuff (solid mechanics that work)

Kimber = fluff (lot's of features)

I like Colt and imo. they really know how to make a reliable 1911.

Perhaps Colt runs truer to JMB design and doesn't needlessly change things.

People get all hung up on having a tight fitting frame to slide fit, and then have to pump hundreds of rounds of expensive ammo. through them to get them to run reliably.

Colt went through a major re-tooling program a year or so ago and has hopefully weeded out the source of some of their cosmetic issues.

For what Kimbers go for, I'd go semi-custom.

Having said all of that, my brother has a Kimber that he absolutely loves and raves about its accuracy

Zerodefect
September 7, 2010, 07:37 PM
IME, the regular, nothing fancy Kimber 5" TLE's are probally my favorite Kimbers. The fancier models don't really have a performance advantage. So right now I would avoid the more expensive Kimbers. I actually prefere not having night sights.

The Stainless TLE with rails are sharp as well.

If you want custom and really fancy your better off starting with a Baer, Brown, or DW.

SSN Vet
September 7, 2010, 07:46 PM
double tap....

sorry

ttheel
September 7, 2010, 07:51 PM
I have been considering this very question for some time myself. I have been looking at the Kimber Pro Carry and the Colt Commander models though. Heck I may just end up going with a Dan Wesson VBOB. Just not 100% sure if I want to put that much $ into it right now though.

ugaarguy
September 7, 2010, 07:55 PM
Having had an experience like SlamFire's, and since you're looking at a Colt Government Model anyway, I'd recommend the Colt 70 series over either a Kimber II Series or a Colt 80 Series. Kimber does offer a few current production non-series II pistols as well. I currently own a pair or pre-series II Kimbers. If was looking for another 1911 immediately I'd buy either a Colt 70 series, or a Springfield GI or Mil-Spec for a base gun. If I wanted bells & whistles I'd be shopping the new Colt 21st Century Commander (wish they'd do it in a 5" length) or one of the non-series II Kimbers.

Justified1911
September 7, 2010, 08:10 PM
If you go with the XSE Combat Elite, you get a Novak rear sight, and a Smith and Alexander beavertail, if it matters to you. This did to me when considering ther price difference as Novak sights are expensive, as are quality beavertail's. I know the sight plane on Kimber's is a little different, so if it were me I would put a single dot or bead out front and rock the black blades in the back. I'm also not a fan of night sights, nor three white-dot. One out front is my own preference, so I usually don't get wrapped up in sights, as I like to change them. Novak's mattered to me in this case though as I was familar with their quality (having a set on a Smith autoloader). I don't really think you'll find too many people who call the XSE styling ugly, either. They might not like the COLT part, but the gun is handsome. Becareful on the Series 80's though. The Old-Roll-Marks (ORM - the picture of my M1991A1 is an example) are not super-attractive and hurt the value slightly. The New-Roll-Marks (current production) do look better.

S&Wfan
September 7, 2010, 11:39 PM
It seems that everyone "feels" better about their 1911 when it has the "Rampant Horse" on the slide of the slide. Pride of ownership goes to the Colts.

Kimber has made a lot of nice guns.

Both companies have made some lemons through the years.

I'd have no reservations about either brand, after inspecting the specimens for quality of course. And . . . I've owned and/or own both brands. Most of 'em are very, very fine firearms! My next full size 1911 will be another Colt . . . to replace my first generation, tricked out Combat Elite that I shot loose in practices for competitions back "in the day." The sucker had a lot of bullets run through its tube!!!

Psyco Tyco
September 7, 2010, 11:52 PM
when it comes down to authenticity with the colt, vs aftermarket addons with the kimber its best decided by how much and what kind of shooting you do

i have a colt government that i put rounds through for the sake of function, i have a kimber eclipse 2 and a kimber custom 2 that i put rounds more rounds through because they have better sights, better triggers, and are more likely to be carried with me on a hunt or used in a competition

blackops
September 8, 2010, 12:40 AM
they are made with tight tolerances and specify a break in period so dont give up on it if it jams a bit out of the box, it just has to break in...

Yeah, "give our guns a break in period because they will most likely jam during this period." lol funny The only thing I will give Kimber is features, that's about it.

I personally wouldn't deal with either, but if I had to choose one of the two it would be Colt.

Go for a Springfield and be done with it.

If you want custom and really fancy your better off starting with a Baer, Brown, or DW.

Oh yeah, you can't go wrong with this suggestion either.

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