MIM Kimbers? Naw, you don't say. [PICS]


March 28, 2004, 08:05 PM
From the thread "A Reloader is Born," I introduced my new reloading/gun nut friend Austin.

This is his story.

Kimber Pro Eclipse. Purchased approximately a month ago. He has taken it shooting twice, both times I was with him. This gun has under 500 rounds through it. To say the least he was pretty upset.

Can you find out what's wrong with it?


Needless to say, Kimber is getting a call on Monday.


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Sean Smith
March 28, 2004, 08:12 PM
Colts come with forged slide stops. :D

Jim K
March 28, 2004, 08:22 PM
You mean you actually expect those clones to work? Hah!!

Call the cutie in customer service who will carefully explain why their slide stops are supposed to be in two pieces.


March 28, 2004, 08:25 PM
Not good .. but kimber is getting a call monday what good will that do? If they send ya the part It will be the same thing. Granted i would be super pissed myself and would call to rant. But in the end would buy a better replacment part.

March 28, 2004, 08:45 PM
Ed Brown.

March 28, 2004, 08:47 PM
I bet the safety is MIM too. Two things to get from Ed Brown. Ambi?

March 28, 2004, 08:58 PM
I'm practically speechless. I don't think I've ever seen anything like that before. Kimber will give him a new slide stop. Have him put it aside in case he ever sells the gun, then tell him to go out and get Wilson, Ed Brown, or somebody of similar stature. I don't keep alot of spare parts around for my 1911s, but as one of them is a Kimber, maybe I should.

March 28, 2004, 09:07 PM
Who worship at the altar of MIM. :scrutiny:

March 28, 2004, 09:11 PM
$1,052. $1,052. This should not be happening on a pistol that costs $1,052. This should not be happening on a pistol that costs $400.

Old Fuff
March 28, 2004, 09:24 PM
Well maybe ya should have listened to Tuner. He has several more that look like that.

The next question is, how many other parts are made the same way? I would suspect the extractor, hammer, sear, disconector, manual safety, grip safety, mainspring housing, firing pin plate, and recoil spring guide and plug for starters. Of course you know about the slide stop. Look at the metal(?) where it’s cracked and notice how course the grain structure is.

Actually I don’t mean to rant, and I do feel sorry this happened to your friend. It’s not a good way to introduce someone to firearms. The only good thing is, that it didn’t happen at a critical time. Sometimes God looks after us. Plus it reminds me again why I build my own guns using my own parts.

Trust in Ol’ Tuner ... He’ll tell you what to get. Don’t think I’d try replacing a Kimber part with another one of the same ...

March 28, 2004, 09:28 PM
"Look at the picture, even when broken, that MIM slide stop is holding the slide back like it was supposed to!" :evil:

March 28, 2004, 09:44 PM
Oh yeah, that's one of those tricked out two piece slide stops. People pay real big bucks for those things!:rolleyes:

March 28, 2004, 09:53 PM
I think i see what's wrong with it..........

it says.....

KIMBER on it

:evil: :what:

March 28, 2004, 10:04 PM
"Look at the picture, even when broken, that MIM slide stop is holding the slide back like it was supposed to!"

Gewehr98 thats To funny almost sprayed the Monitor with milk from my milk and cookies

March 28, 2004, 10:25 PM
I have over 16,000 (That isn't a typo, sixteenthousand) rounds through my Kimber Custom II and my MIM slidestop lever is still in one piece.:rolleyes:

I had a Colt some years back that managed to break its slidestop and its barrel link in less than 8,000 rounds. Poop happens.

March 29, 2004, 12:24 AM
Thats why i dont buy pistols over 500 dollars.:neener:

But seriously that sucks..dont even bother with the replacement they send..just get some ed brown parts, and never think of it again.

March 29, 2004, 12:30 AM
Just out of curiosity: is it a Pro Eclipse II or a series I?

My Kimber never did any of that, but I do like the fact that my Colt comes with better parts off the shelf.

4v50 Gary
March 29, 2004, 12:43 AM
Sintered metal splinters! Time to look at the heat treatment process or if they're too cheap to go with forged, go with investment casted.

March 29, 2004, 01:59 AM
Just out of curiosity: is it a Pro Eclipse II or a series I?
I believe it's a Series II.

It sucks pretty bad when you pay over a thousand dollars for a gun, and you get severe parts breakage like this.

Cosmetic flaws are one thing, but to have metal break in half. There's some serious cheapskates over at Kimber.


March 29, 2004, 02:04 AM
Guess he won't be defending himself with a Kimber anytime soon unless it's on a whirling, short section of rope.

March 29, 2004, 07:24 AM
You mean Colt, Kimber, and everybody else making 1911's these days are using materials shortcuts? Say it ain't so. If you get a 1911 with everything made to the original specs with the original materials, you'll pay well north of the kilobuck mark. Fact of life. The gun just wasn't designed with modern wage scales in mind when it came to production, so companies have to take shortcuts on materials.

There are plenty of places on the 1911 where castings, plastic, or MIM can take the place of machined steel parts. The slide stop, in my opinion, is not one of them. :uhoh:

March 29, 2004, 07:44 AM
I'll take my Springfield GI 1911 any day over a Kimber.

March 29, 2004, 07:48 AM
I'm in shock over this whole episode....

:D :D :D :D :D

March 29, 2004, 08:16 AM
IF they use parts like this in the safety, maybe its a good thing the gun makers indemnity law got killed when the AWB renewal got tacked on!

I had to replace the slide stop on my Colt Government Model when it was new, it didn't break, but it didn't work either -- randomly locking the slide back with ammo in the mag. Swapping it with the one in my Norinco made the problem swap guns, so I tossed it and bought a replacement.

Bad parts are bad parts, everybody makes them from time to time, forged or not. That's why we need to shoot 200-300 rounds in a new gun before counting on it. Call it "breaking in" or "screeing for infant mortality failures", but I'm happiest when a new gun has no problems out of the box! (but who isn't :-)

I see enough of these problem reports with expensive guns that it reinforces my qualms about buying guns priced much over $500.


March 29, 2004, 08:30 AM
I'm curious. Looking at the photos again, I wonder if inserting a fresh mag and pulling the slide back to reload wouldn't shoot the next mag normally. Of course the slide won't lock back any more afterwards and the "pin" may walk out with continued shooting, but looks like the weapon should still be functional for the ammo in a few spare mags if you really needed it.

Still agree that it shouldn't happen, but is this really a "critical failure"? OTOH one can argue any failure is critical, I wouldn't strongly disagree, but things break, 'tis a fact of life.


March 29, 2004, 08:32 AM
I'll take my Springfield GI 1911 any day over a Kimber.

I'll trade my Springfield for any Kimber, even this one!


March 29, 2004, 08:37 AM
Thats why i dont buy pistols over 500 dollars.

There is a scary bit of truth to this. Im of the mind that if a gun costs over $1000 dollars it better be DAMN near perfect in every respect. A thousand bucks is a heck of a lot of money to spend on a tool. It better perform at a level that leaves $300 guns looking like crud.

March 29, 2004, 08:58 AM
Did you try whittling one from wood? That's no big deal. Just put some epoxy on it and keep using it. ;)
Seriously, the slide stop on the 1911 takes a real beating and should be made of a material that won't break.

March 29, 2004, 09:19 AM
If you want sintered metal parts, save your bucks and buy a Century S.A.M. Commodore 1911 clone from the Phillipenes.....heck of a lot cheaper...

March 29, 2004, 09:43 AM
Oops, sorry- wrong brand alibi.

Folks, if WE keep buying crap like this because it looks cool on a magazine cover, THEY are going to keep making it and selling it for all they can get. What's really sad is that people are betting their lives on it.

March 29, 2004, 10:32 AM
Thats what happens when you buy a Kimber. Thats why I got rid of all mine. Now just own a S&W 1911, Springfield and soon a Sig 1911. And besides there cust. service stinks..

March 29, 2004, 10:42 AM
What's really sad is that people are betting their lives on it.

Which was the point of my last post, did it really put the gun out of action? If it wasn't at the range but under stress would it have been noticed until time for the third mag after you got the click instead of BOOM because the slide didn't lock back when the second mag ran dry? I never count on the slide to lock back -- too easy to have the off hand interfere, which is why I have a poor opinion of extended slide releases and safeties as they make such easier to do.

The extractor in my pre series 80 Colt broke while shooting my first CHL qualifier -- I was able to shake out the empties and single load enough rounds after it happened to still shoot a good enough score, having scored clean up to that point sure helped, but if I'd stopped shooting when it broke I'd not have passed. I chose this old Colt as it was what I shot the most and had been utterly reliable up 'til then.

I'm no Kimber apologist, my two are older, back when they still made them good, it would seem they are living off their past reputation and now putting style over substance.

The guys with the horse on the logo seem to have gone this way too awhile back, seems they've been doing right lately, let's hope Kimber quickly sees the error of their ways. I bet one less slick ad would more than cover the cost differential on a mil spec slide stop vs this crap for a years worth of sales!

People should print the photo and mail it to Kimber with a letter saying to the effect: "I saw your ad in {insert Your Favorite Gun Rag here} and was thinking about buying a Kimber {insert model here} until I saw this!"


4v50 Gary
March 29, 2004, 10:57 AM
Wally raises a good point. The gun still functions and it just won't locked back on the last shot. But remember the addage, "Reload when you want to, not when you have to."

March 29, 2004, 11:02 AM
Maybe they spent more money on designing the fashionable logo than on ensuring quality was built into the product?

Always wondered about that blunderbuss barrel myself. As JC might say,"a solution in search of a problem." :confused:

March 29, 2004, 11:23 AM
I thought I 'read' that Kimber started producing their own MIM parts.

Way back when Kimber acquired their good reputation, I suspect they were buying MIM parts from a experienced producer...knowledge and quality control are everything.

I could be wrong however. :)

Stuff happens, but I think a consumer got quite a gun in the $500 area...back in the mid 90's. Now, from what I see, they are in the $650 range with a questionable firing pin safety and extractor.
Most of the Kimbers I see on the shelf are in the $800-$1100 range. It's okay to "push" the higher price models, I'd do the same, but I don't think the value is there at those prices. You can buy production guns with better parts now in those price ranges.

I think Kimber lost it's value or "edge" on the other producers. They could become the next "Colt" if there are not careful, the old Colt anyway.

March 29, 2004, 11:35 AM
Because of all the posts like this about the negative qualities of MIM parts I replaced several of the critical parts on my series I Kimber GM: extractor (Wilson "Bulletproof"); slidestop ( old Colt); & firing pin (Wilson). The pistol has always worked fine, but now I have more confidence in its durability. BTW has anyone used CMC slidestops & how are they? :)

Sean Smith
March 29, 2004, 12:06 PM
Always wondered about that blunderbuss barrel myself. As JC might say,"a solution in search of a problem."

Actually, it is a solution to a few very specific problems:

-How to make a 1911 with a barrel <4.25" work
-How to reduce muzzle flip and felt recoil

BTW has anyone used CMC slidestops & how are they?

Well, since almost everything CMC makes is MIM... ;)

March 29, 2004, 12:16 PM
As you can see from the photos, the slide stop was in two pieces. Both pieces were loose on the side of the frame and could almost be fully rotated by just "twirling" it with your fingertips.

I locked back the slide for the purpose of the photography. I basically jammed the end of the slide stop in the notch in the slide.

As far as operation of the pistol, I'm sure if it would have continued firing, but for how long...I don't know. He stopped shooting as soon as he realized it was broken. In reality, I'm sure he popped off a few rounds before he noticed it. I was busy shooting rifles so I wasn't watching him shoot.


March 29, 2004, 12:27 PM
Sean said: Actually, it is a solution to a few very specific problems:

-How to make a 1911 with a barrel <4.25" work
-How to reduce muzzle flip and felt recoil

I respond to your points in order:

-It looked like a 5" bbl version to me.
-In 45 ACP? Surely you jest! :uhoh:

March 29, 2004, 01:23 PM
Do they use MIM on the slide safety as well? I just saw a pic of a Kimber and the slide safety broke in half. Almost new gun, too.

Sean Smith
March 29, 2004, 01:49 PM
I respond to your points in order:

-It looked like a 5" bbl version to me.
-In 45 ACP? Surely you jest!

-No. Eclipse Pro = 4". 5" Eclipse models have bushing barrels.
-No. That's why bull barrels are illegal in certain shooting sports (e.g. IDPA), they provide a competitive advantage due to reduced muzzle jump, allowing faster follow-up shots than guns with conventional barrels. Conversely, that's why bull barrels are so popular in USPSA, where they are legal.

March 29, 2004, 02:06 PM
A wise man once said: MIM is not a process well suited to thin pieces which could suffer catastrophic failure if an air void or grain defect is present. Actually, I said it but it was one of the wiser things I've said.:D

March 29, 2004, 02:13 PM
A poor quality product in this country:rolleyes: , production goes up quality
goes down, got to keep those stock holders happy. Sorry for being bitter
however we as consumers need to be because we are being ripped off.:fire:

March 29, 2004, 02:27 PM
IF they use parts like this in the safety, maybe its a good thing the gun makers indemnity law got killed when the AWB renewal got tacked on!

MIM parts have been used for a while, and even if SB1805 was passed, things like this would not save Kimber from lawsuits due to poor manufacture of guns, only the misuse of guns by people not under Kimber's control.

I have a Kimber Eclipse Ultra II as well. It had 2 FTF (click, no bang) out of 49 rounds. Needless to say, its a range gun.

March 29, 2004, 02:32 PM
Sheesh, hasn't anyone ever see a broken gun before?

I'm sure I'll get flamed, but there are a lot more working Kimbers out there than there are Kimbers with broken slide stops.

Does it suck that he paid what he paid and had his gun break? Yes. . . Should a $1K plus gun break that soon? NO.

In this day of digital cameras and the internet, you'll see pics of broken guns of every make and model. No reason to go into hysterics over it. . .

Flame away. . .



March 29, 2004, 03:06 PM
Ya'll are killin me! :D

Gewehr98 said:

Boy, I'd like to hear from those here on THR... Who worship at the altar of MIM

Me too...One in particular. A few years ago, Kimbers were hot around here.
As a result, I've got a box fulla parts that look like the one here. I was
gonna offer to send him the whole box for inspection and analysis, but when I found out what it would cost to ship the sucker, I let it slide.:rolleyes:


On that broken link, that was Colt's failure to check the barrel linkdown function/timing before it left the factory. Impact surface too far rearward...link stops the barrel...stretched/broken link. Probably stressed
the slidestop pin too. ANY link would have eventually broken under those conditions.


Too bad ya didn't get on THR about that Colt slidestop. It's a
5-minute fix. I've walked more than a few through it on KIMBER slidestops that did the exact same thing. If you've still got it, I'll give ya 25 bucks for it.:p

MLC...ROFL!:D You could call it "The Kimber Club"...pun intended.

Jim Keenan! I'm surprised! The sweet voice at the service desk will NOT
say it's supposed to be that way. She'll say that it was probably because the guy didn't grip the pistol correctly.:D


The pistol would PROBABLY continue to function, and the only issue would be that it wouldn't lock the slide back...??!!?? And that means what...that
because it MIGHT work, that it's not really that big of an issue?:what:

Tell me you're kiddin, Wally...:scrutiny:


If they'd listened to me, you and Jim Keenan...but that's water under the bridge
Yeah...Steel parts break too, given enough use, but the thing I've noticed
is that a given MIM part is about 50 times more likely to break under normal use...I've got enough of the stuff in slidestops alone to make 2 or 3
complete pistols.

Flame suit on...Let'er rip!

I do not like MIM and I do not TRUST MIM, Sam I am...

Chitty-Chitty, Bang *Crunch-Snap*


March 29, 2004, 03:17 PM
There's MIM, and then there's MIM ...

Just like there's Forged, and then there's forged ...

And there's Cast, and then there's cast ...

There's quality, and then there's ...

Well, you get the idea ...

In recent months I've had a lot of opportunity to practice with, or just shoot, quite a number of different 1911's ... mine (naturally), as well as pistols owned by other people, and many agency-owned guns. These 1911's have included a SW1911, a lot of Wilsons (KZ's & CQ's), a few Colts and a couple of Kimbers (metal & plastic) ...

The metal framed Wilsons have seemed fine, as has the SW1911.

I remain unimpressed with Kimber ... and wouldn't accept a KZ45 as a gift.

I handled and shot the SW1911 before it had the firing pin safety plunger Recall modification, and afterwards ... and it functioned very well in all instances. It's a VERY accurate pistol, and I have to say the plunger modification makes a lot of sense.

I think that Wilsons are over priced.

I'd like to own a SW1911 of my own, and it's been a long time since a new 1911 has made me feel like buying one NIB. The quality of the machining, and general fit & finish of the pistol, is simply amazing for the money. It's about time ... and the Lifetime Warranty by one of the MAJOR firearms manufacturers isn't a bad thing to have, either. S&W Customer Service has a good reputation again ... I was talking about general customer service issues with a stocking L/E dealer a while back, and even though he's a L/E dealer for Glock, he said that S&W has the best customer service in the industry. He'd probably know, as he's handled firearms for most manufacturers over the years ...

I haven't handled and shot a Springfield for at least a couple of years, so I don't have any recent experience ... but I wasn't all that impressed with the last one I borrowed to shoot.

March 29, 2004, 03:22 PM
$1,052. $1,052. This should not be happening on a pistol that costs $1,052. This should not be happening on a pistol that costs $400.
Instead of saying. 'this shouldn't happen...', maybe we should say 'If you're going to pay $1,052 for a gun, maybe it should have these certain features...' including several forged parts.

Honestly... I'm a 1911 guy... I've always loved them and I still respect them as the best defensive handgun available... if they are built to spec. I've generally had very good luck with 1911s and I've never had a single part actually break but I've seen enough to know that if I were going to buy a 1911 of the shelf today and carry it as my primary carry gun, a couple hundred bucks and a brief stay with a decent gunsmith should just be part of the deal... not because of an inferior design, but because of cost cutting that goes on across the board.

March 29, 2004, 07:24 PM

I chucked the slide stop after I filed a bit off the inside face to no avail.

Comparing it to the one in the Norinco, the channel that the slide moves thru was cut too wide towards the out side and the lever was too thin towards the inside allowing the whole thing to move in too far so it'd catch the nose of a round. I tried bending the flat lever part hoping to "take up the slack" but to no avail. Comparing it to the Norinco one that worked made it clear the part was pretty hopelessly out of spec. A gun show replacement I picked out of a parts bin has been problem free ever since.

As to asking if the gun still was functioning, no I'm not kidding, makes a world of difference if the gun is kaput until its fixed or if it can continue shooting until its more "convenient" to repair. In terms of a range gun, its a minor annoyance in the grand scheme of things and a cheap and easy to replace part. But for SD gun, out of operation vs. minor bobble on the *second* reload could make a world of difference.

I'm not trying to justify the use of a substandard part, just curious as to if its really a critical failure, I mean if the first 7 or 8 shots didn't solve the problem, and the first reload is unaffected, will not having the slide locked back for the second and any subsequent reloads realistically be a senerio to be worrying about? It pretty rare I conceal gun and a spare mag, let alone two or more extras. Generally I opt for a slightly larger gun and forget about the spare mag.


March 29, 2004, 07:52 PM
Do they use MIM on the slide safety as well? I just saw a pic of a Kimber and the slide safety broke in half. Almost new gun, too.

About a couple months ago there was some pics of a Kimber grip safety broken in half on 1911 forum.

I'm not sure, but I think that Kimbers are made out of the finest quality spray painted Georgia pine.

Or maybe forged from salt licks.

March 29, 2004, 08:00 PM
I think it's always a good thing to let the Mfg. know when the public is finding out about mechanical failures in their products. I have passed this thread URL along to Kimbers man in charge of Kimbers Custom Shop "This is where repairs are done"

March 29, 2004, 08:05 PM
Uhoh. I'm a marked man. :uhoh:

I better check under the hood tomorrow morning before I start the car. :D

March 29, 2004, 08:09 PM
I better check under the hood tomorrow morning before I start the car

LOL dont worry they will probably put MIM parts there anyway and they will break... :neener:

March 29, 2004, 08:13 PM
hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool:

March 29, 2004, 08:16 PM
This should not be happening on a pistol that costs $1,052. This should not be happening on a pistol that costs $400.

$1,052....Dear God, I can almost replace my truck engine for that kind of money.
Meanwhile, my Chuckey just keeps on runnin!

March 29, 2004, 08:20 PM
About a couple months ago there was some pics of a Kimber grip safety broken in half on 1911 forum.

Ooooo, not good. This one I saw happened within the last day.

PS(edit): Nor is it the one that was posted on the 1911 forum last week.

March 29, 2004, 08:31 PM
I swear I'm about convinced that when the Norincos hit the U.S. market, the big 3 bought a few examples, tore'em down for a look-see and
checked a few specs and said: "Uh-ohhhhh...Boys, we gotta put a stop to this! Get on the horn to our congressmen and tell'em that the Commie Chinese are floodin' the market with cheap assault pistols, or we'll all be flippin' burgers at Mickey Dee's."

I'm pokin' around to see if we can at least get Norinco parts with which to
upgrade our MIM filled shake'n'bakes. So far, Marstar keeps tryin' to
steer me to "Top-grade European Parts"...but I'm standin' by my guns
'til I get to SOMEbody who can and will import Norinco repair parts. To hell with politics. I want real steel!

Wally...I'm doin' my best to get a visual on that slidestop...From the sound of it, the slidestop wasn't the only thing outta spec. I'll try again tomorrow when I'm fresh.

Roger on the part about not tryin' to justify substandard parts...I was
like...:what: :D We cool...We cool...

On the busted grip safety...That's not the first one I've seen, but I've gotten into some pretty heated debates over the virtues of the stuff,
and have pretty much stayed out of the whole thing. If they like MIM, and they trust MIM in a defensive pistol, good luck to'em. I don't have a
real problem with the stuff in a range queen or a toy, but when it's
gonna go with me into harm's way, I want the real McCoy.

Yeeehaaaaaa (That there's a REBEL yell...ya'll):p

March 29, 2004, 09:02 PM
FWIW, and I'm certainly no MIM fan, both of my $2000+ Springfield Professionals have MIM parts in them. Slidestop, safety and disconnector for a start, and maybe more that I'm forgetting. That's no apology for the Kimbers, but just goes to show what the manufacturers are putting even on top of the line guns.

Old Fuff
March 29, 2004, 09:04 PM

At the SHOT Show I learned that the old Detonics Co. is coming back under new ownership. Turned out one of their engineers/designers was staying in the same hotel I was, and on two occasions we had breakfast together.

Anyway, he had nothing but utter contempt for MIM parts, and said that ALL of their principal lockwork parts, including but not limited too: extractors, sears, hammers, disconectors, magazine releases, manual safeties, links, firing pin plates and slide stops WILL BE MACHINED FROM TOOL STEEL BAR STOCK!! There may be light at the end of the tunnel.

March 29, 2004, 09:27 PM

Don't rack your brain over my old slide stop. It was a good while back, I mostly shot 200gr lead SWC which would not ever hit it because of the abnormally narrow nose, so I shot the gun quite a lot before I noticed the problem, which also got me started on the wrong track. Took quite some time to figure it out, swapping slide stops and having the problem swap guns convinced me it was the part.

Nothing else was wrong with the gun, at first I thought is was the mag. What was maddening until I relalized it was if it was at it's left most position gun functioned 100% but when it was in its right most position (connecting lever touching the frame) it'd lock the slide open after nearly every shot. Since it could wander between the two extremes it was maddeningly intermittent. I think as things wore a bit more it biased to the right most position and then it happened with a frequency such that I figured out what was going on and swapping slide stops with my Norinco was the proof when the problem switched guns too!

My attempts to slavage it wasted more time that it was worth to replace it, but I'm a sucker about trying to fix things well past the point of diminishing returns -- some folks get sucked into doing cross-word puzzles, I get sucked into trying to figure out why something is broke and how to fix it. Generally pays off for my car or motorcycle, usually for guns, but wasting an entire Saturday driving all over town to find a $2 thermostat to fix a $20 hairdryer when a new replacement was at every cornor drugstore made me consider the need for a 12-step program. :-)


March 29, 2004, 09:36 PM
I better check under the hood tomorrow morning before I start the car.

You're in no danger. Not as long as the intake manifold on my 2001 Chevy truck is still plastic. (And I would never have thought in a million years...) :eek:

March 29, 2004, 09:46 PM

Now just own a S&W 1911

Why? You like their MIM parts better than Kimber's MIM parts? (...and since Kimber buys their frame & slide blanks from S&W, do S&W buy their MIM parts from Kimber? :uhoh: )


I swear I'm about convinced that when the Norincos hit the U.S. market, the big 3 bought a few examples, tore'em down for a look-see and
checked a few specs and said: "Uh-ohhhhh...Boys, we gotta put a stop to this! Get on the horn to our congressmen and tell'em that the Commie Chinese are floodin' the market with cheap assault pistols, or we'll all be flippin' burgers at Mickey Dee's."

Or maybe what they said is "We've got to figure out how we can get political prisoners to mill these parts out of unhardened steel for only $0.05/day!" ;) :p

March 29, 2004, 09:52 PM
Not as long as the intake manifold on my 2001 Chevy truck is still plastic.

My radiator on my old '85 Honda Civic was plastic too... don't know how it worked.

So have you contacted Kimber about this yet? Monday is done and over with now...

I really am not surprised by a broken part... I have come to expect it in just about everything I use. My digital Canon camera, has been replaced twice due to malfunctions with the lens, mechanical things just break or have errors in mass production, there is no getting around it.

March 29, 2004, 10:10 PM
Okay, I'm afraid to ask...

Just what on my new SW1911 is MIM?

Supposedly a good portion of the parts are from name 1911 parts makers.

Oh, well.

March 29, 2004, 10:21 PM

bountyhunter pretty much nailed it.
While you can certainly find (and cite) MIM performing admirably in high-stress apps in impact drills, grinders, etc-- those MIM parts are VERY beefy compared to any older, forged counterparts.

MIM has no place in a thin section part under considerable tensile and shear stress.

If a firearms manufacturer is even going to consider going with MIM, they'd better play honest and beef up the sections, unless they're afraid of how fugly it would look and how much heavier it would make the firearm

March 29, 2004, 10:34 PM
Should Colt beef up their MIM sears?

(For that matter, should S&W beef up the plastic disconnectors on their 3rd Generation Autos?)

Let him without sin, and all... ;)

March 29, 2004, 10:46 PM
I know the slide stop and ejector on S&W are MIM, we did the tools for them where I work.

We quoted Kimber for a full set of MIM tooling back around 2000 (I asked our sales manager) Kimber thought they were too expensive and took their business elsewhere. He went on to say that the quality of their other tooling isn't up to par, and they only get 2 good parts on average out of a 4 cavity tool.

MIM is fine if it's done right. If corners are cut, well....

I have a Kimber Pro Carry HD II, no problems yet.

March 29, 2004, 10:47 PM
I know it's not likely, but maybe Colt will drop the rest of their MIM parts as well eventually. They could even get by with charging a little bit more for new guns if they did that.

Besides the MIM parts, S&W has that terrible firing pin safety setup that Kimbers do now.

March 29, 2004, 10:50 PM

I wasn't casting stones, Tamara, nor pitching for one brand over another.

I'm just suggesting that if something so critical as a self-defense implement has parts that are prone to breakage, the parts need to be made stronger, either by increasing the part section or switching to a better manufacturing process, regardless of which manufacturer is concerned.

If there is no history or trend towards breakage, then they must be doing it right already (by WHATEVER process), so why bother?

For brands WITH a history of breakage...
If there is severe pressure to retain the profile and appearance of an original 1911 or 1911a1, then I think said brands seeking alternatives to forged are SOL --because perhaps something as thin as the slide catch NEEDS to be forged. Heck, they could investment-cast it then stamp it into hardness. It might come out cheaper than a thicker-section MIM (which, again, may not be permissible due to market sentiment).

Or...egads.. maybe they could simply make 'em like they used to, and cut back on bureacratic fat and advertising expenses to keep costs down.

March 29, 2004, 11:26 PM
Just did a bit of browsing on Brownells.com.

Searched for Wilson Combat slide catches.

Came up with several, but two seem to tell the story:




Completely Re-Designed For Improved Function & Durability

Fully-machined from bar stock, then heat treated and hardened for fail-proof durability. Radiused corners won't catch on holsters or clothing. Thumb pad extends slightly at a 90° angle for increased leverage and faster, more positive engagement. Maximum-diameter pin increases barrel lockup.

SPECS: Steel, blue, matte finish. Fits .45 ACP only.

SS Slide Stop $51.95"


OK, this seems to be the top of the line part from Wilson & mentions "Fully-machined from bar stock, then heat treated and hardened"




Standard Length Preferred By Combat Shooters

Exact reproduction of the standard-length, factory slide stop; the style and length most preferred by combat shooters. Made from long-wearing, hardened, heat treated steel. Precision machined pin and lip engagement surface ensures positive, last- round, slide lock open and tighter lockup with custom barrels.

SPECS: Steel, blued carbon or stainless (SS), matte finish. Fits 1911 Auto. No fitting required.

Catalog page 85

.45 ACP Slide Stop, SS $31.50"


The lack of any mention of "Fully-machined from bar stock, then heat treated and hardened" is kinda d@mning here. I would put $$$ on this part being MIM.


So, if even "top" or "name" 1911 makers are using MIM, what does that say/mean?

1. Woohoo! I just bought a SW1911 with similar parts for less money than all those nincompoops who bought Wilson Combat 1911s. (Hooray for me!)
2. Criminee!!! Just about nobody, including the top 1911 makers produces a decent 1911 anymore. For me to get a proper (MIM-free) 1911, I'll have to pay $2000+ to a custom maker and sell my first born child into bondage. [Sorry, son, but I just gotta have a "Fully-machined from bar stock, then heat treated and hardened" 1911. Good luck in the salt mines & don't forget to write. (Woe is me!)]
3. Something else?

In the immortal words of Vinnie Barbarino, "I'm so confused!"

March 30, 2004, 01:44 AM
I thought I'd already posted this link around here somewhere ... but even if so, perhaps some of the folks here might enjoy reading some material regarding MIM, written by Mr. Herb Belin of S&W ... courtesy of a linked thread from the S&W Forums, where Moderator VictorLouis inserted the information ...

Just scroll down to the 4th posting in the thread ...

Sometimes "changes" aren't necessarily a bad thing, especially if done properly ...

I've seen some broken parts in various S&W guns, but they haven't been MIM parts ... not yet, anyway. Does that mean the forged steel parts that have broken are inadequate for the chosen applications?

As far as the plastic guide rods and disconnectors? Well, our first reaaction to a plastic guide rod in an eary 908, several years ago, was "predictable" in nature ... PLASTIC?!?!?! :what: ... and then the same for the first plastic disconnector. :scrutiny:

Of course, when I actually ASKED someone at S&W why they'd gone to using "cheap plastic" for those parts ... the person I spoke to chuckled a bit, and then good-naturedly admitted that while most everyone has had a similar initial reaction, that extensive "torture" testing at the factory had shown that those plastic parts had actually endured sustained use better, in some ways, than the corresponding metal parts had ...

Apparently, S&W doesn't expect to be replacing an unreasonable number of these parts, and paying shipping both ways, under their Lifetime Warranty.

Of course, nobody's expecting anyone to use plastic for a slide stop or an extractor anytime soon, either ... ;)

Maybe when they finally release the super secret porcelain G7 Bruce was talking about in that movie ... :rolleyes:

Hey Tuner ... which shop still produces spring steel 1911 extractors, anyway? Do they offer a similar slide stop?

And the beat goes on ... drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain ... :cool:

March 30, 2004, 02:21 AM
Thoughts on bar stock, machine billet, and all that ...

Cryo'd vs not Cryo'd.

For instance IIRC the "bulletproof" is cryo'd the standard is not. Benefits or not?

Not had a problem with the bar stock and such not cryo'd...then again never had any bulletproof or cryo'd parts in any of my personal guns.

Just curious.

March 30, 2004, 02:40 AM

Same exact thing happened to my Inox Beretta 96, only the slide stop sheared clean off at the pin.

Same cheap, crap MIM pot metal too. :mad:

Its for the better I guess...I already have a blued 96, so I traded the stainless 96 on a new DE!!! :D :D :D

Anyone know if the Blued 96s have MIM??? God I hope not... :( :mad:

March 30, 2004, 02:54 AM
My Kimber Experience or How I got a lemon

Purchased a NIB TLE II. May '03.

Took it to the range with JLB, formerly of Glocktalk. Some of you may know him. Ran fine for 49/50 rounds. One casing FAILED TO EJECT. Caught in the extractor and jammed against the breechface.

Took to match, 3 malfs. 2 failures to fire - no primer strike. I suspect series II safety following murphys law. Did the casing thing again. Paid $40 to ship back to Kimber for tuning. Could not hit broad side of a barn. Loose nut behind the trigger. May '03.

Tuned, got gun back dirty. They threw in 2 mags for my inconvenience. Got 2 mags with the gun: Total Kimber mag count: 4. June '03.

About 2 months into ownership, rust started coming out. I kept the finish with a light film of CLP to no avail. Bare metal was becoming exposed on all machined edges of the frame. Beavertail, slide release and mag release were losing bluing. Elements of rust were becoming prevalent on the slide although being kept with light CLP. Kimber paid for shipping back to them for refinishing. August/September '03.

Got the gun back around September and it looked great, refinished at no charge, all small parts with bluing problems replaced. Declared an end to the 1911 experience and proceeded to sell the Kimber at near break even.

Nobodys perfect, but they tried their best to take care of me and my gun I couldnt shoot. Thats pretty admirable in my book.

March 30, 2004, 06:04 AM
Fuff! If what the Detonics guy said is a fact, let us hope that Detonics will
also enter the market as a supplier for 1911-spec parts.

Tamara quipped (Ya gotta love'er:cool: )

Or maybe what they said is "We've got to figure out how we can get political prisoners to mill these parts out of unhardened steel for only $0.05/day!"

You can NOT be speakin' of Norincos! I picked up a used one...
approximately 5,000 rounds..and can detect zero wear on any
small part or any portion therein. I ran a spot test here and there
with a scale, and the Rc hardness checked out at the high end of
specs on every part that I tested. I took a trip down to see a local
custom smith...small time...and he was in the middle of dovetailing a
Norinco slide for a front sight...cussin' as he went. His advice was
that if you're gonna mill a Norinco slide, it's best to start with a new end mill or dovetail cutter. The things are as tough as pig iron.

FWIW, I tried a couple of McCormick's MIM slidestops in two of my hard-use
beaters...and I take "Hard-Use" to an extreme. No breakage or failure
to lock the slides that were attributed to the part. The failures were 2-3
magazine follower related issues, and a little tweak cured the problem.

The low-end Wilson slidestops are investment cast. As Ruger has shown,
a really good investment casting can be strong and tough, and fully up to
the task at hand.

As for MIM being suited to thicker, heavier applications...looks like all the
busted grip safeties shot that theory down in a handy fashion.


March 30, 2004, 08:40 AM
Now that I've gotten caught up...a misconception needs to be cleared up.

The slidestop pin doesn't take a "beating" as long as the gun is feeding
ammunition. The impact stress on the average slidestop pin and lower
lug feet is something on the order of 2 or 3 foot pounds...or about the
same force as you get playing "Thump the Knuckles" with a 12 year-old
boy. If the slide goes to battery at full speed without ammo present, all bets are off, but the damage will be most apparent in the lug feet rather
than the pin. The pin is almost fully supported along its length by the
frame and the lug feet. and...to a lesser extent...by the link itself, so that any bending force will be stopped within a short distance from the axis. There's very little opportunity for it to flex with a shearing stress applied to it. The impact stresses are transferred to the holes in the frame, and the lug feet.

A few years ago, I ran an experiment on the return to battery impact
against that pin. I substituted a length of plain 1018 cold-rolled steel,
lathe-turned to .199 inch, and fired the gun from a borrowed Ransom Rest.
After 500 rounds, the pin showed a tiny bit of wear in the center, but no sign of damage otherwise. The pin was examined every 50 rounds
throughout the test.

I stepped up the pressure by drilling .0625 inch hole through the center of
a new pin...Another 200 rounds showed the same results. A new pin with
a .125 inch hole began to show some signs of deformation after 200 rounds, but no indication of breakage. Both pins were examined every 25 rounds for this phase.

An aluminum pin with a .0625 hole cracked at the 500-round mark, with
visible wear apparent...but it just started to crack, and would have gone another 200 rounds before failure. The aluminum pin was examined at
25-round intervals.

All ammunition was handloaded to hardball equivalent, and at no time was
the pistol allowed to run dry. magazine changes were performed with a
round in the chamber to prevent a false result due to the slide going to
battery without ammunition.

Conclusions? Comments?


March 30, 2004, 08:51 AM
I have seen two Kimbers with very low round counts choke badly, not including this one. A guy showed up in my Handgun One class at TR with a newish Pro Eclipse. No way he had more than 200 rounds through it. The sear went out and the hammer began to follow the slide on the first morning. During Team Tactics the next trip down a guy had a Pro Carry and the plunger tube pulled free.

Sean Smith
March 30, 2004, 10:22 AM
Same cheap, crap MIM pot metal too.

Don't insult my pots! :evil:

March 30, 2004, 10:26 AM
Sean said:

Don't insult my pots!

heh heh hee...chuckle, chuckle...ha ha ha HA HA..HAR HAR! ROFL.:D

That was classic...May I quote you?

Old Fuff
March 30, 2004, 10:37 AM

When I talked to the people at Detonics USA back in February they were showing prototypes at the SHOT Show and in the process of tooling up to produce guns. Apparently the new guns will not be made with the original tooling, but rather new stuff all the way. The company's President is Jerry Ahern, who is a well-known writer and a throughly good "gun-man" rather then a number cruncher. His team are determined to produce a quality product, and they're aware that many if not most of their customers will literally stake their lives on the product - something that too many of today's makers take little or no notice of.

Their first concern is to get quality parts for their own guns. If there is a market for aftermarket sales they'll look into it, because the more that are made the lower the net cost for whatever. Most of the parts in question should work in any true-to-the-Browning 1911 pistol.

So long as their perspective is on quality rather then cost savings I think they'll be O.K., although the finished product obviously will have to be on the expensive side. Unfortunately too many people can't or won't understand that the 1911 design doesn't lend itself to "cost-saving" manufacturing very well.

More information is available at: www.detonicsusa.com

March 30, 2004, 10:38 AM

I've broken 2 slide stops and a link on one gun and none on another 1911, with about the same amount of rounds. Both slide stops "snapped" at the shaft. Perhaps, improperly fit bbls? I do notice the 1911 that has not broken anything, has two "marks" on the pin showing full contact(kinda of) of the bbl lugs while the other, has just two very small marks...if that makes sense. It appears the bbl is resting(hitting) on a much smaller surface area. maybe the link is doing too much work since that snapped also. That was fun getting the gun apart after that one...HA!

I've always thought the slide stop pin took a lot of abuse. I've "read" the slide stops is one of the more common parts to break. But, I'll go with your version.

One slide stop was original Colt and the other was a Wilson, cheaper version.

Any thoughts?

March 30, 2004, 11:13 AM
FUFF! It is furiously to hope that the plan comes to fruition! Thanks
for the heads up. I'll be watchin' like a hawk.

45Auto...the barrel link and slidestop pin breaking are indication of a
poorly fitted barrel...or rather a hap-hazardly select-fit, drop-in barrel.
The mechanics of the event are thus:

When the barrel link unlocks the barrel from the slide, the back of the
lower lug strikes the impact surface in the frame, stopping the barrel's rearward motion, and allows the barrel to fall downward into complete
unlock. If the impact surface in the frame is machined too far to the rear,
the barrel's rearward motion is stopped by the link, and the link wasn't
designed to do that. The result is that the link stretches and eventually breaks. There is also undue stress applied to the slidestop pin during this

Meanwhile, the ever-elongating link is delaying the timing of the barrel linkdown, which can cause the locking lugs to be impacted by the slide as it moves past them. As the slide whacks the front of the locking lugs, it
forces the now too-long link downward into a binding condition, which accelerates the damage, but in the opposite direction of the stretching
motion. Stretch...compress...stretch...compress...eventually, somethin' is
gonna give. The pin is being stressed in two directions, and the repeated
stretching and compression of the link usually results in a failure of the link

Your stops both snapping off at the shaft would also suggest that
the holes in the frame weren't drilled/reamed straight, causing an
uneven load to be put on the pin...or in other words, one end of the pin was taking all the impact and/or shearing force that the incorrect barrel
timing was dishin' out.

Correctly fitted and everything in-spec, the link stops the downward movement of the barrel in compression...and the barrel's weight doesn't
compress/stress it very much. If the bottoms of the lower lug feet are also correctly dimensioned, even that is limited.

So many things probably came into play in your case, that it's not possible to point your finger at any one thing without having an armorer to check the specs on the whole gun. So much of the function of the pistol depends on everything being in-spec with all holes correctly located and being drilled

One way to check for the impact surface to barrel fit is to install the pin,
and leave the arm hanging vertically. Remove the recoil spring plug, push the slide rearward all the way...push the barrel down and back and hold it
firmly. If the slidestop will swing freely of its own weight, the link isn't stopping the barrel. If the stop is in more than just a TINY bit of bind...look out.



March 30, 2004, 12:35 PM
Thanks for the info. I've retired that 1911 from active duty. :) . I use my other one which has been flawless with the same number of rounds.

March 30, 2004, 12:43 PM
About a couple months ago there was some pics of a Kimber grip safety broken in half on 1911 forum.

I'm not sure, but I think that Kimbers are made out of the finest quality spray painted Georgia pine.

Or maybe forged from salt licks.. I heard it was hardened and tempered sea gull droppings.

March 30, 2004, 12:46 PM
Same cheap, crap MIM pot metal too.

Don't insult my pots! Actually, it got that name not because it is used to make pots, but rather because in the olden days there would be a "pot" of hot molten metal where you through leftover scraps and garbage metal to melt down. What was poured out of that pot would be given the insulting term of "pot metal".

March 30, 2004, 03:41 PM

I've read a number of instances on the Beretta mailing list and on the Beretta forum that the 96 Inox models have had problems with breaking the extractors, too. It seems the fix is to replace it with a blued extractor.


March 30, 2004, 10:23 PM
Thanks, Steve.

I guess that means that the blued Berettas are indeed made of higher quality parts?

I wonder why Beretta would skimp on anything, especially by making parts out of MIM. This is particularly questionable since they do it on a more expensive firearm. (Inox Berettas are at least $100 more than their identical but blued counterparts.)


Sean: Please apologise to your pots for me.


March 31, 2004, 12:07 AM
I wonder why Beretta would skimp on anything, especially by making parts out of MIM.

Is MIM more expensive than stamped sheetmetal or plastic, 'cause both of those are to be found on the bucks-up Vertecs on the shelf at work... :uhoh:

March 31, 2004, 12:13 AM
I'm still alive. I didn't check under the hood though this morning, they must've used the MIM'd parts. They'll never learn....

Same exact thing happened to my Inox Beretta 96, only the slide stop sheared clean off at the pin.

Same cheap, crap MIM pot metal too.

It would be news to me that Beretta was using MIM in any of their guns including their latest Made in Maryland blundernines. Seems that the issue with the slide stops was about the softness of the stainless steel over the harder carbon steel in the .40 caliber model 96.

However I believe the issue has been reported in Inox 92FS's of recent manufacture as well. I did have a 2002 Inox 92FS that I put about 1,000 round of 127gr. +P+ Rangers through (including lots of other +P+ ammo)with no problems other than the fact that it shot about a foot left at 15 yards (seriously) and had an obviously crooked lockup....

One of my early gunbroker transactions.....I did get it for $450 though and it was unfired...

Sold the two ten rounders that came with it to some poor soul in Kalifornistan for $45.

March 31, 2004, 12:46 AM
Is MIM more expensive than stamped sheetmetal

To what Vertec parts are you referring Tamara? I actually like the feel of that gun. The design and look isn't as nice as a real 92, but the grip is a bit slimmer and at an angle more to my liking.

I feel so evil knowing I have a 59' Sistema and a recent purchase NIB Norinco 1911 that both put $1,052 Kimbers to shame and they cost $250 less combined.... :what:

I know it's always a tough decision for me looking at a $600 BHP sitting next to a $1,052 Kimber.....:barf:

March 31, 2004, 12:51 AM
Seems that the issue with the slide stops was about the softness of the stainless steel over the harder carbon steel in the .40 caliber model 96.

Stainless tends to be more brittle (ie "harder") than carbon steel. This is why stainless does not make good material for sword blades, as it tends to not have enough "flex."

March 31, 2004, 01:17 AM
Stainless tends to be more brittle (ie "harder") than carbon steel.

I've always heard the opposite...that stainless is not as hard as carbon steel, but less brittle...:uhoh:

Learn something new everyday I guess...

March 31, 2004, 03:45 AM
Well , depends what kind of carbon steel we're talking about. Low carbon steels can't be heat treated for hardness, but they take case hardening readily. Mid to high carbon steels (starting at about .40% carbon, the 40 in 4140 chrome-molybdenum steel) can be heat treated for hardness. More carbon makes for a higher hardness potential.

As a general rule 400 series stainless steels can be hardened, and 300 series not as much. Hardening stainless steels gets rather confusing in a hurry between all the different material conditions (austentitic, martensitic etc.)

So stainless can be harder or softer than a non stainless steel part, depending how hard it was treated and annealed. Our 420 SS at work gets sent out and hardened to 52-54 Rc, and our D-2 gets 60-62 Rc. 4140 will only get to about 35 Rc at the most IIRC.

Generally, harder = more brittle, softer = tougher
Case hardening and nitriding give a hard outer coating .005-.010" deep for wear and leaves the middle soft for toughness.


March 31, 2004, 04:10 AM
UPDATE: My friend spoke with Kimber and a new slide stop is on the way. I haven't seen him in the last couple days, so we haven't really had a chance to chat much.

Hopefully, this new part will last.


March 31, 2004, 09:34 PM
Besides the MIM parts, S&W has that terrible firing pin safety setup that Kimbers do nowActually, they use different designs.

I've got 3 Kimbers (all series 1). I've put thousands of rounds through two of them. I haven't had a parts failure. YMMV.

March 31, 2004, 09:48 PM
I said "that Kimbers do now"

I wasn't referring to Series I.

March 31, 2004, 10:56 PM
I can't imagine that the CZ's would ever have any MIM. Can someone say yeah or neah on the old european tradition changing to MIM?

April 1, 2004, 02:14 AM

Lots of mimbers here... say is that Kool-Aid?


April 1, 2004, 03:51 AM
Luckily we're allowed to "rock the boat" a little bit on this site, try it somewhere else and LOOK OUT

Lots of MIMber Kool-aid drinkers on Glocktalk and 1911forum. (a couple sites worthy of honorable mention)

April 1, 2004, 05:35 AM
Indeed, the difference is striking... y'all like Grape, and they like Cherry! :evil:

April 1, 2004, 07:44 AM

April 1, 2004, 08:09 AM
denfoote said:

I know how to fix it.

Ummm...Might wanna break that puppy down and have a close look, mah fren.:scrutiny:

Anyways...Whilst surfin' around for a little comic relief early this mornin',
I found a little more feedback on the KIM-Ber MIM-ber issue. Go see.


Do I detect a trend here?:rolleyes:



April 1, 2004, 08:28 AM
How come we never hear about the busted MIM parts on MIMolts, MIMfields, or MIM & Wessons? Only on MIMbers... Hmm... :scrutiny:

April 1, 2004, 08:36 AM

Dunno...Other than extractors, I haven't seen an MIM part on a
Colt break yet...Maybe a better vendor...Maybe a bad run of Kimber parts?
My Colts get the MIM parts replaced soon after I get'em unless the
gun is intended to be a range toy. Then I just shoot'em 'til they break
and replace'em piecemeal. So far, with the NRM Colt, about 12,000
rounds on the MIM sear and disconnect and no problems. The extractor went south in a thousand rounds. Replaced with one of my last
Gi spring extractors. Those are gettin' scarce...:(

I do not TRUST MIM, Sam I am...:p


April 1, 2004, 03:18 PM
That is the reason I walked away from 1911's. Over-priced and too many QC short-cuts. I had six 1911's and everyone had one problem or another. My SIG, Beretta, and S&W revolvers are superior handguns at a fraction of the cost!!


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