Kimber Super Carry vs. S&W 1911 e-series


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ATLDave
January 21, 2013, 05:25 PM
I've been looking at various commander-sized 1911's for a few weeks, and have almost got it narrowed down to the Kimber Super Carry family or the S&W 1911 e-series scandium-framed gun. Both have the rounded bobtail grip that I think will work well for me, both seem to be "nice production" quality guns. Both have a bit of a "melt" treatment that appeals to me for carry purposes. I am aware that both will have some MIM parts, but I don't have any religious objection to that - I only care to the extent it effects function and reliability. There's a little price difference (about $150 in the stores where I can find them), but that's not really material to me.

So, I'm throwing it open for folks to weigh in on these two guns. Who's got one or both? Who's had a problem? Any known bugs or quirks? Thanks in advance for any information.

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Skylerbone
January 22, 2013, 12:34 PM
Those two should be called the MIMsey twins! I have the standard E-Series, never had any failures with it but...I had signs of premature wear very early on and some less than stellar execution of MIM. These included MIM dots on critical contact areas, flat areas on the TS, a bent TS lever that contacted the plunger tube, a creepy trigger and a the barrel link was sawing the slide stop in half due to the lower lugs being overcut.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=162483&d=1334017624


I know, lifetime service policy. Since calling time out for a broken pistol in real life doesn't work for me I upgraded things and it's happy days again. Now for Kimber...

Kimber has a nasty habit of under sizing the chamber and not throating barrels the way they should. If you can get past that with a local smith you'll still have a MIM filled production 1911 that's rather spendy with a short term warranty.

My suggestion for a short 1911 would first be go longer. If not, consider a Dan Wesson or STI. Either one offers far more value IMO than the S&W or Kimber. If you're considering 9mm or 40 S&W then I'd consider the SA EMP.

Hit_Factor
January 22, 2013, 12:39 PM
Don't forget the plastic main spring housing used by Kimber. Drop the pistol and it will break sending parts all over. It'll cost $150 to have a local snith fix and use quality parts.

Kimbers sure are pretty, though.

ATLDave
January 22, 2013, 03:39 PM
It's my understanding that the mainspring housing is metal, at least on the model I'm looking at.

ATLDave
January 22, 2013, 03:50 PM
My suggestion for a short 1911 would first be go longer. If not, consider a Dan Wesson or STI. Either one offers far more value IMO than the S&W or Kimber. If you're considering 9mm or 40 S&W then I'd consider the SA EMP.

I've got a number of full-sized pistols. I'm specifically looking for something a bit smaller and thinner.

I've never seen a bobtail STI; do they make them? At least where I am, Dan Wessons are significantly more expensive than the Kimbers or Smiths. I'm sure they're great guns, but that's getting close to the point where you're more than halfway to a Wilson or Nighthawk or Ed Brown or whatever.

Thanks for the info, though, especially on your experience. Did you use EGW parts?

Skylerbone
January 22, 2013, 05:01 PM
Harrison Custom plunger tube
Harrison Custom slide stop
Kart bushing
Storm Lake Match barrel
Cylinder & Slide ignition
Ed Brown single sided thumb safety
WC GI spring guide
WC Bulletproof firing pin stop
WC Bulletproof firing pin (steel)
Colt sear spring
Wolff recoil springs

Not pictured:
10-8 Performance rear sight, installed
EGW extended Higher magazine catch
WC checkered MSH SS (on order)
EGW BTGS (on order)
EGW long nose spring plug (on order)

I can tell you this one will cost me as much as a Baer when done but is already trustworthy enough to carry. STI doesn't make a bobtail but they do make a number of Officer size 1911s.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=162486&d=1334018136

MaterDei
January 22, 2013, 05:07 PM
Don't forget the plastic main spring housing used by Kimber. Drop the pistol and it will break sending parts all over.
Right. Glocks are plastic too and everybody knows that if you drop one the parts go flying. Sheesh.

It'll cost $150 to have a local snith fix and use quality parts.

Right. Let's assume, just for fun that somehow you dropped your Kimber and the MSH broke. It is literally a slide in replacement of a $40 part (steel). Where does the smith come into the equation and where does the $150 come from?

Skylerbone
January 22, 2013, 07:17 PM
The composite material manufacturers are using for MSHs is not the same polymer used in a Glock. There are plenty of threads about them failing with spring pressure alone. As the MSH determines positioning of the grip safety it will most certainly need to be fitted properly. There is no guarantee that any particular aftermarket part will simply slide into place. I believe the $150 estimate was for MIM replacement in general but I know my smith charges $75 for a MSH replacement with the standard house brand, Ed Brown I believe.

The point is relavent as Dave was looking for pros and cons on the two. For the Kimber, I'd say chamber reamed and barrel/ramp job, MSH if not metal of some sort and a whole lot more if it's for carry. For the S&W, probably much more.

People love to spend money on ARs and BBQ guns and target bench rifles with $2,000 optics but the one of vital importance is skimped on because it may get scratched or suffer holster wear. I say buy a tank and sculpt from there.

ATLDave
January 22, 2013, 07:56 PM
According to several sites, the Super Carry Pro HD (now) has a metal mainspring housing. See, e.g., http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2011/08/jeffrey-lynch/gun-review-super-carry-pro-hd/

Skylerbone
January 22, 2013, 08:21 PM
One more thing on the bobtail. They aren't my preference as far as feel in hand but I can appreciate why people choose that particular modification. One thing a smith, or even a careful home hobbyist can do is a round butt treatment that preserves the original MSH pin hole but grinds off the often sharp point from the trailing edge. Very comfortable, less prone to snag or print than a traditional grip.

More current pics while we discuss the merits and 'cause I like pics:

http://forums.1911forum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=90753&d=1355712551

http://forums.1911forum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=90755&d=1355712569

http://forums.1911forum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=90754&d=1355712560

ATLDave
January 23, 2013, 11:08 AM
One more thing on the bobtail. They aren't my preference as far as feel in hand but I can appreciate why people choose that particular modification.

You know, the funny thing is that all of my favorite guns to grip have a bit of a roll-down at the back of the grip. It's not always as pronounced as a bobtail, but nothing I really like comes straight down like a FMSH 1911. For whatever reason, my hand affirmatively likes some curve at the bottom of the grip.

Hit_Factor
January 23, 2013, 11:22 AM
Right. Glocks are plastic too and everybody knows that if you drop one the parts go flying. Sheesh.



Right. Let's assume, just for fun that somehow you dropped your Kimber and the MSH broke. It is literally a slide in replacement of a $40 part (steel). Where does the smith come into the equation and where does the $150 come from?

Mainspring housing $30 to $150
Mainspring cap $2.02 to $17.33
Cap pin $1.29 to $4.16
Retaining pin $1.29 to $4.16
Mainspring $1.85 to $7.16
Shipping $13.00
Gunsmith $25 to $55

Total $74.45 to $250.81 depending on which parts are chosen and services rendered. Prices from Brownells.

I've seen this happen with Kimber plastic msh several times.

I've seen Glocks dropped and thrown without any damage at all, many times.

Skylerbone
January 23, 2013, 12:32 PM
Here's a few shots of an excellent example from Chuck Rogers (Pistolwrench):
http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=396242

He's a member here as well but after being called a hack and worse by a number of mall ninjas he probably spends most of his valuable time elsewhere. The above example includes a magwell but shows the curvature well into the MSH.

ATLDave
January 23, 2013, 01:20 PM
Nice, Skyler'!

HarcyPervin
January 23, 2013, 04:12 PM
He's a member here as well but after being called a hack and worse by a number of mall ninjas he probably spends most of his valuable time elsewhere

So unfortunate...loved his pictures and insight...

2zulu1
January 24, 2013, 02:54 AM
The deal breaker for me with Kimber and S&W, other than the MIM issues, is their safety systems.

http://www.10-8performance.com/pages/Choosing-a-1911-for-Duty-Use.html

While the article was written for an LE audience, there's a lot of information that can be gleaned by the CCW reader to assist in their 1911 choices.

Current production Colts are very well made and are top tier production 1911s, plus they have a stellar reputation for shooting out of the box, no 500 round break in requirement.

ugaarguy
January 24, 2013, 03:44 AM
2Z1, the S&W E-Series 1911s don't have a firing pin safety, and Hilton Yam has written quite positively about them. The Kimber Super Carry series, along with the Warrior and Desert Warrior lack the II suffix, indicting that they don't have firing pin safeties either.

Skylerbone
January 24, 2013, 11:22 AM
But nearly every new production Colt includes one. The firing pin safety doesn't bother me with one exception and that is the plunger's intrusion into the disconnector slot.

ATLDave
January 24, 2013, 12:41 PM
Current production Colts are very well made and are top tier production 1911s, plus they have a stellar reputation for shooting out of the box, no 500 round break in requirement.

Does Colt make a commander-sized bobtail with nice sights?

WhippingBoy
January 24, 2013, 04:11 PM
the S&W E-Series 1911s don't have a firing pin safety

Yes they absolutely do! The block is deactivated by the grip safety vs the trigger like in series 80.

Skylerbone
January 24, 2013, 06:20 PM
No, they do not, unless the web site is lying and they sent me one without the safety. The legacy SW1911 included one but never the E-Series.

WhippingBoy
January 24, 2013, 07:32 PM
I'm surprised to find that you are indeed correct. They removed that safety!
Photo #10 in this guns and ammo article shows a photo of where the safety used to be: why-they-changed-the-1911-smith-wesson-1911-e-series-review/ (http://www.gunsandammo.com/reviews/why-they-changed-the-1911-smith-wesson-1911-e-series-review/)

I have a SW1911ES, which is a couple of years old and in the same family as the SW1911SC. Well, it used to be. Now, I see just how far their reinvention has gone and frankly, I'm a bit shocked at that decision.

Skylerbone
January 24, 2013, 09:19 PM
Market pressures and general bad mouthing of a harmless but potentially useful safety. Seems everyone these days must have Glock simplicity or parish, as if we all spend our days fieldstripping pistols in the darkened hollows of a trench.

S&W retained enough of the old SKUs to keep a California market presence but most shooters welcomed the KISS principle. All good.

ugaarguy
January 25, 2013, 04:31 AM
Market pressures and general bad mouthing of a harmless but potentially useful safety.
Harmless until you have the plunger that blocks the firing pin break and render the pistol inoperable. I may be one of the few who's had it happen to them, but it's an experience I'd not like to repeat.

I guess the firing pin safety is useful if you frequently work from elevated conditions over hard floors / ground and carry your pistol in a holster with poor retention qualities. Even then the pistol needs to land on the muzzle to potentially cause a discharge, and if it does happen it's discharging into the deck. Not to mention that the extra power FP spring and Ti FP combo reduces those chances even further; so much so that there are even a handful of California drop test approved 1911s without FP safeties.

Skylerbone
January 25, 2013, 09:40 AM
That's why you ensure via inspection that it is timed correctly before trouble starts. I can appreciate your unique qualifier for the sentiment but please realize most people love to hate it, well...just because. Glock, M&P, XD/XDm, SR, Kahr, all of these modern combat pistols employ striker blocks without contention by their owners but put one in a 1911 and plenty think the sky is falling.

I was one who used to believe in the zero necessity statement until I read an detailed account of testing done by some everyday enthusiasts. They rigged a rope to a non-Series 80 and let it free fall from measured distances on to various surfaces and began experiencing discharges at around 4' with concrete. Imagine slipping on ice and sitting down hard on an IWB rig from waist height. I'm also not a fan of Ti firing pins that may contribute to unreliable ignition. With the Series 80 system a proper steel pin may be used without concern.

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