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When did Kimber become a bad word?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Elkins45, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Well-Known Member

    I have read a lot of stuff recently on this forum and others that makes me think Kimber guns are held in less than the highest regard. When did that happen? I thought Kimber was one of the top tier "elite" 1911 makers, or at least that's what the gun rags seemed to imply.

    Did something happen when I wasn't paying attention?
  2. scaatylobo

    scaatylobo Well-Known Member

    Some people believe that if a company makes ONE faulted gun - they are all bad.

    I own 2 Kimbers and they run just fine and I will [ and do ] stake my life on either one.

    To each his/her own.

    I am SURE at least one hater will sound off for you.
  3. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    Kimbers are and always have been one of the top production guns. Internet chatter is a poor indicator of what to expect.
  4. wally

    wally Well-Known Member

    They lost a lot of reputation with their ill fated external extractors. They seem to have returned production to the way JMB intended.

    If buying used and its got an external extractor, I'd insist on shooting it first! I've external extractor Kimbers than work fine, but a lot of folks weren't so lucky.
  5. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Well-Known Member

    The Kimber 1911s of the MK II generation, with the grip safety that acted on a firing pin block, had lots of problems. THAT is when, for a while, Kimber's reputation was hurt.

    Took some times to get the bugs out of the system and some of the Kimbers did not work so well.

  6. Cocked & Locked

    Cocked & Locked Well-Known Member

    I always thought "Kimber" was a great name for a 16 year old cheerleader. :scrutiny:

    I did have an early production Kimber 1911 once upon a time and it was a good pistol. I just didn't like the name...except for a cheerleader.
  7. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    Kimber isn't a bad word in my dictionary. In addition to the two Kimbers I have (Tactical Entry II and Stainless Pro Raptor II) I also have three Ed Browns and two Dan Wessons .... but the Kimbers aren't for sale!!
  8. rswartsell

    rswartsell Well-Known Member

    I have no complaints at all about my Kimber. I do believe they had some problems, luckily though mine has been exceptional. Plain black Custom Target II purchased three or four years ago with less than a box through it. It hiccuped a couple of times in the first hundred rounds, I believed the break in period advice Kimber gives and didn't go nuts trying to fix it. I am on somewhere near 3000 flawless rounds since and have grown to trust it with all kinds of ammo from ball to semi wadcutter to defense loaded +P HP.

    The internet has flamed the brand out of all proportion to the problems but that is hard to see if you are the lucky winner that got a lemon. I do wonder sometimes if limp wrist or other operator controlled malfunctions don't get blamed on Kimber because of "negative momentum".
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012
  9. Drail

    Drail Well-Known Member

    If you carefully examined a 1911 made the first year Kimber introduced it you would clearly see how much better they were compared to the last 15 years or so production quality. Every new Kimber is not defective or bad but the percentage of guns that get shipped out without being closely inspected and tested is much higher now. Kimber's philosophy now seems to be "we make 47 different models - there's one for everybody" and "keep buying them - we'll make more". I still remember the first time someone handed me a new Kimber back in the 90s. My first thought was "Bill Wilson is not going to be happy when he sees these guns". They were that good. Slide to frame - no slop. Barrel fit - no slop. Decent triggers. Very accurate shooters. I wish I would have bought 2 or 3 back then.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012
  10. rswartsell

    rswartsell Well-Known Member

    Hmmm, if you read the brief history of the company it is understandable that there have been some problems,


    I do believe there are many fine Kimbers out there still and the history of Colt, S & W and I'm sure others are just as dramatic.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012
  11. knockonit

    knockonit Well-Known Member

    I have to say, have owned three kimbers, two new ones and one used one, while when they shot they were accurate, but had problems with either fte, or ftf, on all three, I gave it the old three strikes and you're out, maybe sometime in the future I'll give'm a try, but with their values rising so high, it would have to be something really special. Bummer as they have very attractive units.
  12. Feanor

    Feanor member

    Kimber 1911's are not a choice of serious shooters, to many problems with the MIM parts failing, thats not to say that all MIM parts are bad, more accurately, most MIM parts aren't nearly as poorly produced as those that go into Kimber pistols. Kimber's niche was cemented when Colt's went into hiding for a decade or so, where Kimber would for the price of a Gold Cup, deliver a lot of features for the bucks spent.

    Kimbers are most popular with recreational shooters, shooters who run low volumes of ammo through them. Where the problems really began was when serious shooters began to work with them, and at 1,000 - 2,000 rounds these pistols began to fail significantly, many failed long before that, with a sizable percentage spending a lot more money on them to to get em to work at all. The belief is that Kimber cuts corners, these short-cuts are likely to go by unnoticed by the recreational shooter, but not the serious 1911 guys.

    Of course the Kimber fanclub will tell you otherwise, nonetheless you would best be advised to drop in on "M4carbine.net" and use the search feature, a far higher percentage of their membership is comprised of professional gunslingers and they have not been shy with sharing their experiences, and opinions about Kimber 1911's.
  13. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    Kimber hasn't been a top tier production gun since they put Colt to shame by showing that all 1911s didn't have to go to a custom smith to get the most desirable options. Kinber's two claims to fame are turning the 1911 market on it's ear with optioned out production 1911s, for the same price Colt was charging for a plain gun and their sponsorship of the USA Olympic Shooting teams (nod to Michael Bane)

    Kimber's niche in the 1911 field has always been the mid-priced segment...now their bolt action rimfire rifles have always been highly rated. Kimber is the General Motors of 1911s, lots of options to dress up a basic form.

    The top tier of production 1911s are the basic offerings from Brown, Wilson, Baer, and Nighthawk...along with the upper offerings from Dan Wesson, Springfield Armory and STI
  14. shootniron

    shootniron Well-Known Member

    What a JOKE, for advice.:rolleyes:
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
  15. mingansr

    mingansr Well-Known Member

    a couple of weeks ago there was a thread somewhere out here that said "what is the worst gun you ever owned/shot?"

    i only went thru 1000 posts and there were many more, but Kimber was the highest co. cited by respondents. much had to do with customer service, but there were other posts similar to that of some of our colleagues here. i had heard that the kimber ultra carry II required a change of spring after 1000 rounds. what the heck's that about?
  16. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    Elaborating on post 13,

    I think there are a lot of brand snobs who felt really foolish when Kimber started selling guns with features that theretofore were only available in very expensive custom guns. There was a section of the market that chose to mock this line because they had spend (and continue to spend) a lot more on guns, and if they spent more, there must be some reason the new guns were inferior, or there was no reason for them to have spent so much on a more expensive gun.

    I have shot the expensive Nighthawk's, Baer's, etc, and for the life of me, I have absolutely no idea what it is they are supposed to do for more than THREE TIMES the price of my Kimber Custom II. ($625, NIB.)
  17. ford8nr

    ford8nr Well-Known Member

    I own a Custom II Target and have NEVER had a feed problem in several thousand rounds. 1911's can be quirky guns especially during break in. Kimber recommends 300-500 rounds for break in if I remember right. They may have gone through a bad spell, I'd buy another today if I was looking for another. I did read the early SOLO COMP 9mm's had jam problems which have been fixed. Every brand has haters, just look up Ruger, you'd think you couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with one of their rifles. I have 3 and they all shot MOA or better, but that's a whole nother thread
  18. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Well-Known Member

    Kimber could be alot better if they wanted to. But they sell more guns than Harley Davidson sells motorcycles, so why change, right?

    Things I didn't like about my Kimber CDP:
    -Swartz safety failed
    -grip safety not sensitive enough (all 1911's have this problem lately, so no big deal)
    -obsolete 3 dot sights
    -frame finish a bit weak
    -junk magazines
    -MIM fire control parts
    -many FTRTB failures
    -ejects case 30 feet+ to the right
    -rusty barrel
    -magazine follower dug into my frame, almost destroyed my ramp
    -plastic MSH. Who is the idiot that came up with that? I wouldn't have ordered a Kimber if I knew they came with plastic!

    What I did like:
    -carry melt

    How I fixed my Kimber (let's try to be constructive withour K bashing):
    -Wilson sear, hammer, disco
    -Kimber bump grip safety, sensitized via stone & file
    -Dawson front FO sight .090 wide
    -Heinie ledge rear sight .140 wide
    -Tripp and Wilson mags
    -polished throat of barrel
    -properly polished ramp (required research, be careful)
    -Ed Brown MSH
    -filed frame bottom to match the EB MSH
    -Wolf 18 pound recoil spring

    Now all I need is a beadblast and refinish in black. Since it was my first 1911 hack job, it's too ugly to take a pic of. Hopefully I'll finish it up this year.

    A $600-700 Kimber Custom or TLE is a good pistol. But a $1100+ Kimber is NOT worth the money. Better off jumping to DW, LB, EB when your willing to pay extra for something special.

    So as my skills and tastes evolved, I realized I'd be better off with a more expensive brand than Kimber. Which is why I recommend DW's instead lately.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
  19. Kiln

    Kiln Well-Known Member

    "When did Kimber become a bad word?"

    When they started charging $1200 for a gun that needs a fluff n buff out of the box.
  20. ford8nr

    ford8nr Well-Known Member

    I will say that several customizing rifle companies will not take Kimber rifles due to inconsistent results with accuracy. Now we're talking about reaching sub-moa.

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