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Does Kimber really have a bad reputation for off the shelf reliability?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Bigmike79, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Bigmike79

    Bigmike79 Member

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    I've never owned anything by Kimber, so my only experience with Kimber is putting a mag or two through a few that I'v shot over the years. I've never had one malfunction on me, but like I said, my experience is limited.

    Anyways I was looking at a micro kimber today. Everyone says if you're going to get a micro 1911 to go with a Sig, but I got to be honest, I prefer to look and feel of the micro Kimber.

    While I have never had a problem with kimber in my limited experience, I can't tell you how many people I know that say they have had a bad experience with this company in regards to reliability out of the box, and that is with full size 1911s.

    Does anybody own one of these micro kimber 380s. what has been your experience with it?
     
  2. larryh1108

    larryh1108 Member

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  3. Peakbagger46

    Peakbagger46 Member

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    I can’t speak for the .380, but I did once own a 3” Kimber .45 that I bought brand new for close to a grand. It was not at all reliable with factory round nose and even worse with defensive ammo. A trip back to the factory did not make it better.
     
  4. George P

    George P Member

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    A friend of mine was a FDNY EMT that lived a few blocks from Kimber and had friends who worked there. He would nor buy one based on what they told him about the quality issues. That said, I have a 4" compact that has never given me issues with factory ammo. I do not shoot it that often (more into my 9s and 38s), but if my eyes were better, the hits would group even better than they do. It outshoots my Glocks in 9mm.
     
  5. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    I have sold a hundred or so and had a few that needed tweaked. I am personally familiar with three, a high dollar Eclipse Target II, a Pro Carry and a Micro. Nary a problem with any either with factory, or handloads which included rn, hp, and swc bullets, from mild to fairly warm. That said, I prefer a series 70 Springfield, Colt, or custom for personal reasons.
     
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    There are some Kimber haters out there, and i don't think they are the best bang for the buck these days, but I have a 3" CDP that has been flawless.

    I replaced the thumb safety and the slide stop.

    Kimber CDP II Ultra - Pic 4.JPG
     
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  7. Bigmike79

    Bigmike79 Member

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    Yikes...... there's definitely a lot more bad than good being spit at the micro 380s on that forum.

    I think I'll be going with the Sig or maybe the Colt Mustang.
     
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  8. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    As far as Kimber 1911 pistols go, when I worked at a gun shop, they seemed to have an unacceptable ratio of guns that had to be sent back for repairs, tweaking, or whatever you want to call it. Given the price, and the fact that the customers often had to wait a bit before these objects of desire were delivered, I found the return rate unacceptable. Add to that, the fact that we were a "master dealer", and had a banner saying such on our wall. Then, the victim/customer is understandably upset when his long-awaited overpriced pistol doesn't work, and he brings it back to the "master dealer", who could only tell him that we would send it back, and had no control of the turn-around time. Anyhow, I ended up removing the "master dealer" banner.
     
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  9. 250-3000

    250-3000 Member

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    Have a 20 yr old Custom II that has been a dependable gun so bought a Kimber Solo after the initial recall, never bonded with it even after I got the mags working right. Replaced with a Sig P938 because I had a P238 that ran flawless, as does the P938, pretty sold on the small Sigs.
     
  10. Wisco

    Wisco Member

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    I can only speak for full size 1911s and Solo.

    I had a Desert Warrior that was great. Top notch gun in fit, finish and accuracy.

    I also had a TLE II that was an abomination. Just wouldn’t run. My mil spec Springfield was twice the gun that TLE was.

    I also didn’t have good luck with the Kimber Solo.

    2 guns out of 3 that didn’t work for me means I wouldn’t ever buy another Kimber. They’re good when they’re good, but even then they’re not the most bang for your buck.
     
  11. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    I've owned two Kimber 1911s, a 3" and a 5". Both ran to spec; the only issues I ever had were caused by me, not the guns.
     
  12. marksman13

    marksman13 Member

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    My Warrior SOC was the most unreliable pistol I have ever owned. My secondTLE RL II was crap. My Pro Covert II was decent, but was not the most reliable pistol ever. And my Super Carry (at least that's what I think Kimber called it) was very accurate, but in the end I decided it was worth more to someone else than it was to me. I don't believe I'll ever buy another Kimber.

    Edited to add: forgot that I also had a Raptor that was hot garbage.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  13. kcofohio
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    kcofohio Member

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    We have 2 Pro Carrys, 1 in 45 and 1 in 9mm. They have fired on all pistons from the get go. The 9 had a shorter than normal (within SAAMI specs) throat.
    My SIL has a Micro 380. I have been meaning to ask her how it has done for her.
     
  14. Theohazard

    Theohazard Member

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    I worked at two high-volume gun shops that also had busy indoor ranges attached to them. At both places we got tired of selling customers expensive Kimbers that had issues. We also saw a lot of Kimbers at the range that had reliability issues, especially the smaller ones like the Ultra series or the Solo.

    The second gun shop/range was even a Kimber Master Dealer but we stopped stocking any of them after a while. We also got rid of all the rental Kimbers from our range because they didn’t hold up as well as the other rental 1911s we had like Colt and Springfield.

    Here’s the thing: If all Kimber 1911s cost around $600 - $700, that would be about right. They look nice and they’re decent as far as lower-priced 1911s go. But they sure as heck aren’t worth the prices that many of them cost, because Kimber uses cheaper parts and has spotty quality control, even on their pricy guns.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
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  15. joed

    joed Member

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    Bought my first Kimber in 2003, a Pro Carry II. In the first 500 rounds I had one failure to feed. Never another hiccup since I've owned it. Very accurate and well balanced it has always been my favorite auto.
     
  16. Hasaf

    Hasaf Member

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    I have a Micro 380 and it didn't work right out of the box. The slide was constantly locking open after the first shot. Some friends and I tried it, it wasn't just one shooter. We also watched each other closely to see if we were accidentally hitting the slide stop.

    After several of us agreed that it wasn't the shooter, I files on the slide stop where it contacts the magazine, a little bit at a time. It is now shooting well and is one of my more accurate .380 pistols. However, it was not ready to carry, right out of the box.

    IMG_20171224_055339460.jpg
    The pouch, it is leaning on, is one of my preferred carry methods.
     
  17. red rick

    red rick Member

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    My first 1911 was a Stainless Compact II 4" officers grip with the external extractor that really gave them a bad reputation . The only problem I had with mine was when I first got it and before I ever shot it , when I disassembled it for cleaning there was a burr on the guide rod at the little hole they drill where that little needle sized tool goes through the guide rod and holds the recoil spring back for reassembly . The burr was enough to keep the pistol from going back into battery . I could take the tool out and the recoil spring would not move any , it was like the tool was still in the hole . I sanded it down and never had a problem with it after and it shot pretty accurately . I eventually sold it for a TRP and liked the Kimber better , sold it also and bought a 70 series Colt and really like it .
     
  18. TomJ
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    TomJ Member

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    There are two issues that have kept me away from Kimbers. The first is that their quality seems to be hit or miss. I understand that they have many happy customers, but I've read an unacceptable number of complaints as well. The second is their 1 year warranty. I won't buy a gun that may or may not be reliable from a manufacturer who only warranties it for a year when many of their competitors offer lifetime warranties. Any gun can malfunction. If it happens 366 days after I bought it, I expect the manufacturer to still stand behind their product.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
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  19. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    It seems from the variety of reactions, there is an agreement to the "hit and miss" quality of these things. A product with such a hefty price tag shouldn't be "hit and miss" when it comes to the thing functioning reliably. I have a very early one from when they made them in Oregon- back when there was only 2 or 3 models of kimber 1911, and they cost like $550. It has been a great pistol.
     
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  20. Hasaf

    Hasaf Member

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    I can definitely understand this. I recently sent a PK380 back to Walther. The slide is marked Smith & Wesson; so we know it is more than year old. In my initial contact I made it clear that I purchased it used and have no idea about its history, only that I was told it was working and, it arrived non-functional when I received it.

    They ended up replacing the slide (interestingly, to me, is that the replacement is also stamped with Smith & Wesson; they must have a room full of those slides). There was no charge. It definitely left me feeling good about Walther. I can understand the concern that Kimber seems to not provide the same level of service; or, even if they do, they don't make it clear.

    All that said, I do like my Kimber; however, it looks like a person should not expect Kimbers to be "right," right out of the box.That combined with the short warranty would leave me unwilling to pay the price premium that they ask, I got mine on a steep discount.
     
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  21. 340PD

    340PD Member

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    The minute some people have any trouble with a firearm they immediately get on the internet and bash the manufacturer. That brings out everyone else that had a miss-feed or FTE and pretty soon you have a reputation. Kahr, Kimber, Sig, Ruger, recently S&W have all had models they have has issues with and they are widely reported and mostly exaggerated on the internet. Issues don't bother me, it is the customer service fixing my issue that makes it or breaks it for me. In my long life I have only sent two guns back for work. Both were promptly returned and function perfectly.

    Back on topic, as a RSO I have seen a few issues with some model Kimbers and the Solo being the most predominate. Their owners got their guns back and they now function as advertised. My 3" Kimber Ultra carry CDPII has never given me any issues and I handload everything from 185gr. - 230gr with a variety of shapes and powders. I will comment that short barreled 1911's will start to malfunction if the owner does not pay attention the the recoil springs usually between 1000-1500 rounds.
     
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  22. George P

    George P Member

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    Putting them out the door with poor QC, only to have to fix them to get them right - which should have been done originally - is bad business, not just from an internet rep view, but from a cost of business view. It costs less to do it right the first time, but Kimber seems to more about the sizzle than the steak - which is exactly what my friend mentioned above was told by guys who work(ed) there. The instructions were to make them pretty and get them out the door. Maybe their price point is such to include the costs to repair after the fact. Mine work fine and is only a range toy. If I was looking for a 1911 for serious HD/SD or competition, I would look elsewhere...... YMMV
     
  23. ih772

    ih772 Member

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    I've seen too many people have problems with them. You couldn't pay me to own one.
     
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  24. TomJ
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    TomJ Member

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    I understand the internet fodder, and tend to take that with a grain of salt unless it's from a reliable source. What is not subjective is their 1 year warranty. The higher ups at Kimber thought through the warranty they'd offer and decided on 1 year. I'm curious as to what the thought process was. Other manufacturers such as Sig, Smith and Wesson and Springfield offer a stated lifetime warranty. Ruger doesn't offer a specified warranty but has earned a reputation of standing behind their product. Rock Island, who's guns are considerably less expensive than Kimber backs their guns for life. If I have X number of dollars to spend on a gun and my choices are a lifetime warranty versus 1 year, all other things being equal the scale tilts towards the manufacturers who stand behind their product for as long as I'll own it. Understand that I'm not bashing Kimber but am explaining my reasons for staying away from them. If someone buys one, I hope it works well for them.
     
  25. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    I have a 4.25" kimber. I did have quite a bit of trouble with it at the beginning, with lots of 3-point jams (round in contact with top of chamber, breechface, and throat corner, with round failing to slide up breechface under the extractor). A bunch of stuff was involved:

    1) It came over-sprung for anything other than very strongly recoiling ammo.
    2) The Kimber mags sucked.
    3) The extractor sucked (over-tensioned).
    4) The throat, ramp, and breechface were all less slick than ideal.

    Kimber's recommended 500-round break-in period squares up pretty nicely with this set of issues except the mags. As the spring has softened, it will run with a wider variety of ammo. A little q-tip-applied Flitz on the throat and breechface helped greatly with 3-point jams, as did changing out the mags.

    I like the gun quite a lot. I trust it now. I use it as a carry gun now. But it did have some OOB issues.

    OTOH, it was always very accurate, very well finished, well de-horned, and came with an extremely crisp trigger with ZERO break. Best semi-auto OOB trigger I've ever gotten, by far.
     
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