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Difference between Custom Classic and Custom II

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by fmcdave, May 20, 2011.

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  1. fmcdave

    fmcdave Member

    Jun 25, 2010
    I bought a Kimber Custom Classic at a gun show a couple of years back and really like it. It has been super reliable and very accurate. One of my friends wants to buy a Kimber but I see that the Custom II is what is available new.

    I would like to better understand the differences between the two models. What has changed?

  2. The Wiry Irishman

    The Wiry Irishman Member

    May 22, 2006
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    The Custom II has a Swartz firing pin block (the block is deactivated with the grip safety) and the other has no firing pin block. Early Custom IIs had an external extractor that they went away from after a lot of problems. They currently use a traditional internal extractor. A lot of people also claim that the Series I Kimbers were the only good guns the company ever made. I've had a lot of experience with a lot of different Kimbers (including a fairly new Custom II) and the only horrible problems I've seen with them have been on the internet.
  3. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

    Nov 9, 2009
    The only people I know with multiple flawless series IIs are on the internet. I'm batting .333.
  4. joelh

    joelh Member

    Mar 10, 2010
    No experience with a Custom, but my Custom II is a superb gun.. Super accurate and no FTF through 600 rounds
  5. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 19, 2006
    Does your friend want a range toy, or a carry gun? If he wants a range toy, then any 1911 out there will do. If he wants a carry gun, he needs to do some research.

    I've personally had the displeasure of a firing pin block plunger (the part that locks / unlocks the FP) breaking. This was on an early Colt XSE (series 80). Whether it's a series 80, or a Swarz type safety the plunger does the same thing. A firing pin safety is a lawyer / government mandated after thought, and fundamentally changes the internal mechanics of a 1911. More recent pistols were designed from the ground up with FP safeties. If the FP safety on a 1911 breaks the pistol is now a very expensive hammer. Hilton Yam & other reputable 1911 smiths have commented on the additional issues of the rather sensitive timing of Swarz type FP safeties. Mr. Yam recommends the Colt series 80 type FP safety if is one forced to use a 1911 with a FP safety. The mix of my personal experience, along with comments I've read from Mr. Yam, and others, have me staying away from FP safeties in 1911s.

    Kimber still offers some 1911s without FP safety (only a few higher end models), S&W recently ditched the Swarz type safety on their new E-Series (again, select higher end series), Springfield Armory & Dan Wesson don't use an FP safety at all. The common solution used across the board is a lighter firing pin (usually titanium) coupled with a heavier FP spring, which negates the need for a FP block safety.

    I still have a Kimber Classic Custom I picked up used a few years ago, and it's a spectacular pistol. If you can find a used one that checks out the classic Kimbers are great 1911s (they usually check out just fine - finding them is the hard part).

    If you're looking for a currently made alternative to the Classic Custom I'd recommend a base model Springfield Loaded. The features (minus the FP block) are similar to the current Kimber Custom II, and the guns are priced similarly. I've owned a base Loaded that I wish circumstances didn't force me to get rid of. I finally replaced it today with a Lightweight Operator. An added observation is that the rail on the LW Operator feels (based on accessory attachment / detachment) better machined & in spec than the rails on the two Kimber Warriors I've had experience with. The LW operator rail feels like the known in-spec picatinny rails I've used the same SureFire weapon light on.

    I have personal experience with the Dan Wesson 1911s as well, but they've begun to leave the mid tier production market, and most of their stuff now is really semi-custom production guns. They're worth the money IMO, but not in the same price range as the guns you mention.

    I miss the old Classic Kimbers, but I do really like the current Springfield offerings.
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