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Opinion of Kimber 1911s

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by CoThG, May 22, 2019.

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  1. CoThG

    CoThG member

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    Kimber seems to be a polarizing brand.
     
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    You think? :D

    I have had a couple and they have been great guns. Sold my 4" .45 ACP in favor of a 3", foolishly sold a 4" 9MM, and traded off a 5" someone had butchered. I had to put in a new hammer & sear.

    Some folks have had a different experience with them.

    I doubt we will get either side to change their opinions, we never seem to.
     
  3. CoThG

    CoThG member

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    Why is Kimber so polarizing?
     
  4. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    Fifteen - twenty years ago, Kimber was offering what were, for the time, pretty feature-laden 1911's for a price that was, for the time, pretty dang low. They spent a lot of money on slick ads. They got popular - 'the first mass produced custom 1911'. They really 'made' the custom 1911 a mass-produced item, in a time when Colt still didn't offer a beavertail safety or decent sights, and the Springfield/Imbel was the only other real game in town. And, as is usually the case, some folk became fanbois and some folks became haters - just because some folks like popularity and others hate it.

    And then Kimber stepped in it.

    It turns out that they met their price point by using a MIM fabrication technique on their 1911 parts, and they didn't get all of their math right. There were extractor breakages and firing pin safety issues, and all of these QA issues then fed the haters and made the fanbois all butt-defensive. And that trend has played out for the last decade or more, even well after Kimber got their collective poo in a pile and figured out how to make their 1911 bits via a MIM process and still have them work as they're supposed to. (Except for the extractors - they're supposed to be made from spring steel, forged by Thor himself, and Kimber still isn't doing that.)

    I have more than a few Kimbers, most bought in the 2003-2013 timeframe. Some of them have round counts well into the tens of thousands. I liked them then, and I still like them today. But don't tell anyone that I said that - the fanbois will point to it as proof that the Kimber is the Best Pistol EVAR, and the haters will send me flames and discontent. I don't need either - I just wanna shoot my guns. :)
     
  5. CoThG

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    I've always associated Kimber owners with new or novice shooters who really don't know much about 1911s and were taken in by Kimber's lavish advertising.
     
  6. sabbfan

    sabbfan Member

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    That's been my experience as well. I know quite a few guys who aren't really big into guns that have told me a Kimber is their "grail, someday I'm gonna have one" pistol. I ask why, they say they look so great in the ads in Field and Stream or whatnot. I have no opinion either way, Ive never owned one but certainly wouldn't turn one down if I was in the market for a 1911. You do have to admit their advertising dollars are certainly working for them, money well spent.
     
  7. CoThG

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    Hence the reason they got the nickname "MIMber".
     
  8. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    And while there is truth to that, the sad part is that they're really not bad pistols in general, and if you know what you're doing you can get a really nice gun. For example, I'd put a TLE II up against any competing offering in the price range....
     
  9. CoThG

    CoThG member

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    I read on various forums that Kimber has great customer service.
     
  10. RugerOldArmy

    RugerOldArmy Member

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  11. d'zaster

    d'zaster Member

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    I have an eclipse plus 10mm that was so tight from the factory, i could not properly break it in. Sent back to Kimber and they worked it and sent back within 2 weeks. I was completely impressed because they did more work on it than I was expecting (per the documentation send back with the gun) it's now a great shooter. Yes, given all the hype, I was expecting it to be great right out of the box, so I was disappointed but Kimber service has been an awesome experience IMHO. I would consider Kimber again.
     
  12. South Prairie Jim

    South Prairie Jim Member

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    Kimber is a good pistol, not great -Good.
    Disputes over the so called custom shop models, they are all the same inside. MIM ignition ;)
    Bling outside yes nothing special inside
    I changed mine out for Delta elite tool steel internals, hand polished and fitted
    :fire:
     
  13. anothernewb

    anothernewb Member

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    I think kimber really is no better or worse than any other maker at their respective price points. I like the fact they make a lot of 2 tone models. But like any other manufacturer that uses machine tools to do the work of fitting. when they're on, they're on. and when the tool is worn. they're not. It's a known brand with a history. some of it good, some not. again, like a lot of other established makers.

    Regardless - in this day and age. customer service is what is going to make or break you.
     
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  14. CoThG

    CoThG member

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    And yet it's still a Kimber. Why not buy a 1911 that has no MIM in the first place?
     
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  15. CoThG

    CoThG member

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    So you bought into the Kimber advertising hype? Your example shows that Kimber doesn't even care about shipping a gun that's too tight to cycle. Good thing they have great customer service seeing that lots of Kimbers get sent back for repair for something they should have never left the factory with.
     
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  16. CoThG

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    I'm a high end 1911 owner and I make a point to ask other 1911 shooters I see about their experiences with their various brands. Most Kimber owners admit their gun had problems and have had to send them back to the factory for repair.
     
  17. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    In the $800-$1200 (retail) range, you really won't find many 1911s that either don't have MIM somewhere in them. If there's a full featured 1911 that doesn't have MIM in it and sells for, say, $1000 - I'd like to know what it is. (And don't say RIA or Metro - I've been inside the guns, and while they may work well enough and not have MIM - they aren't exactly poster children for QA...)

    Some folk are willing and able to pay $1800-$3000 for a 1911, but most folk want a functional pistol for far less. Kimber, and other manufacturers like Kimber, exist to serve that lower-priced market. if it's not your chosen market - that's great. Just be willing to accept that there is a market for people OTHER than you.

    See, now, you had me kinda thinking that you were trying to be helpful right up until this comment. I'm a Kimber owner, with more Kimbers and more rounds than most who post on the topic, and you didn't hear me say that. My LGS sells a metric boatload of Kimber 1911s, and over the last ten years I can count on both hands the number of customers that have mentioned having an issue with their pistol, much less sent it back in for repair.

    Like all things mechanical - some percentage of them will be teh suk, and the vast majority of them will work exactly as expected. Given my experiences at the LGS (selling Kimber, Springfield, Colt, Sig, Dan Wesson, and Rock Island 1911's), the percentage of Kimbers that generate negative feedback from their buyer is not greater than any other brand - including DW.

    But you'd never know that from the Internet.

    ETA - you wanna know the largest statistical contributor to reliability (or lack thereof) is with a 1911? It's barrel length - not brand, or any particular option/farkle. The gun was designed to run a 5" barrel, and shorter barrels mess up the extract/eject/feed timing.

    Anyone that thinks that Kimber is unique in having issues with getting every 3" gun that they produce to run reliably isn't paying attention. Every brand struggles with getting their flavor of shortened 1911-pattern gun to run in every instance, because the 1911 wasn't designed for the timing of a 3" gun - it was designed for the timing of a 5" gun. You can fix some guns with magazines that alter the timing of the round release, and you can fix other guns by changing springs and other things that have impact upon the timing of the extract/eject/feed cycle. But, as a family - when you start making the barrel shorter, you should expect the gun to be more fiddly and to require more work to run correctly. This is why, over the last decade, you see a number of 1911 manufacturers bring out 'baby 1911' platforms, intended to mimic the 1911 manual-of arms while downsizing and re-timing things to make it run more reliably.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  18. CoThG

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    Most Kimber owners that send them back don't report it directly to YOU. Go on any gun forum and Kimber leads the pack in problems by a wide margin.
     
  19. CoThG

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    You are right on one thing. I'm not in the Kimber target customer market. I'm a knowledgable and experienced 1911 shooter who only owns high end 1911s and most of those have been customized by the highest caliber gunsmiths in the country.

    Kimbers are marketed to gullible new, inexperienced shooters who are easily influenced by their lavish advertising and the "pretty" cosmetic finishes. Oh, and the "custom shop" rollmark really sets the hook in them. They stupidly think they have a "custom" gun.
     
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  20. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    And people upload videos of themselves sucking on Tide Pods, just to get views and attention. That doesn't mean that the majority of people that buy Tide Pods are sucking on 'em.
     
  21. Old Dog

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    Maybe for a while Kimber was the most-bashed gun maker on the internet.

    I'm a long-time member of the 1911Forum; have you checked that site out?

    I've been shooting 1911s for only fifty years. What do I know?

    I do know that the TLE II that I own has been superb since I picked it up in 2004 or so … my Pro CDP II is an excellent little carry pistol … the Pro Tactical is reliable, accurate and kinda cool. I did trade off a full-size Eclipse, only because it was too pretty to shoot much, so off it went to someone who would just admire it from time to time.

    Ask on any firearms forum these days about almost any brand and you'll get haters. Heck, Colt takes hits every day … SIG, HK … oh, and then there's Taurus. Talk about bringing out the haters.

    Take the MIM factor out of the equation (and only a handful of makers don't use MIM these days with corresponding prices) and then get back to me. How many stories do you see these days (even anecdotal ones from anonymous guys on the internet) about MIM parts breaking. Talk to metallurgists and engineers about MIM. Oh, by the way: think your car or truck doesn't have MIM in it? The airliner you fly on? The space shuttle?
    Kimber.jpg
     
  22. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    On further review, the OP seems to simply be introducing a troll post solely for the purpose of generating controversy.
     
  23. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    So lemme get this straight - you posted :
    Just so that you can post:
    Really? How is this not the very definition of trolling? You don't want discussion, and you don't want ideas to be shared - you wanted the opportunity to sneer at a whole class of shooter that you see as beneath you. Well, OK. You've accomplished your mission, I guess.

    ETA - - looks like Old Dog and I reached the same conclusion at the same time.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  24. CoThG

    CoThG member

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    That forum is overrun by Kimber and Wilson nut-huggers.

    If you own a Kimber, not much about 1911s.
     
  25. CoThG

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    There's MIM and then there's Kimber MIM. Big difference.
     
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