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Old 03-08-2016, 07:31 AM   #1
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Evaluating Kimber Quality

I almost didn't post this "question", but decided the experts here are the best place to ask it. I am fairly new to Kimber, but have owned many revolvers and pistols over the decades and a few were 1911's. I even remember the USAF issued Colt 1911 I had the pleasure of holstering on occasion (it rattled like crazy and shot straight). I also know that Kimber has had its ups-and-downs over its history, but currently is known for producing some good 1911's at the higher end of the price range as compared to the competition.

OK...I am thinking about my next pistol purchase and wanted to explore the question of Kimber quality as it relates to price ranges for their pistols. For example, the base models in their line-up seem to have more problems (if one believes what we read on the forums and some mag's) than their higher line pistols, but that could just be my perception. Given the overall pricing of Kimbers, there certainly aren't any "cheap" pistols being offered in any model. Another example, my LGS who is a Master Kimber dealer rarely carries Kimber base models and frankly doesn't seem to recommend them. This happened to me when I purchased my Micro Carry 380 Raptor (I'm happy with that pistol BTW). Now to my friends here...in YOUR EXPERIENCE is there a Kimber 1911 model and model level (i.e. Ultra, Custom, Pro, Raptor) that seems to perform best out of the box? I know I'm asking a lot and it might be easier to assess which sibling you like best, but I trust you to give me your best recommendation...and apologies to your brothers and sisters.
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Old 03-08-2016, 08:24 AM   #2
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When it comes to 1911's I have Ultra's, Pro's and Custom size Kimbers from 1998 - 2015 models and have only had to return one gun to Kimber for an adjustment. The different models are basically the same gun it's the options that Kimber puts on the model and the design cuts that make them different.
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Old 03-08-2016, 09:14 AM   #3
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I am no expert, But I have purchased 13 Kimbers, I gave two to friends and traded the other two. I still own 9 of them and they will be handed down to my son and grandsons. I had a small amount of feed issues with one of my Ultras but after Couple hundred rounds I love it and it is flawless. Was the problem the Gun? Ammo? or Myself? No idea. Had a Solo Didnt like it. Had a Safety issue with one of my high end Kimbers, that was fixed.
With that said I think The Base model Stainless 1911 is just as good in my opinion as my Tricked out Classic Carry Pro.
The man buying the New GMC work truck will get to the job the same as his boss in his 70,000 GMC Denali.
If you want the Fancy stuff its going to cost more. I cant tell that much difference In shooting any of them. Pretty guns cost more, Pretty girls cost more. Is it better? I guess its who you ask. I think the Quality is there in all the Kimber Models, Base or custom shop.



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Old 03-08-2016, 09:43 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Zoomybaby View Post
I am no expert, But I have purchased 13 Kimbers, I gave two to friends and traded the other two. I still own 9 of them and they will be handed down to my son and grandsons. I had a small amount of feed issues with one of my Ultras but after Couple hundred rounds I love it and it is flawless. Was the problem the Gun? Ammo? or Myself? No idea. Had a Solo Didnt like it. Had a Safety issue with one of my high end Kimbers, that was fixed.
With that said I think The Base model Stainless 1911 is just as good in my opinion as my Tricked out Classic Carry Pro.
The man buying the New GMC work truck will get to the job the same as his boss in his 70,000 GMC Denali.
If you want the Fancy stuff its going to cost more. I cant tell that much difference In shooting any of them. Pretty guns cost more, Pretty girls cost more. Is it better? I guess its who you ask. I think the Quality is there in all the Kimber Models, Base or custom shop.
^^^^^^^^^^What he said^^^^^^^^^^*

*except I only own 5.
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Old 03-08-2016, 09:54 AM   #5
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This just my guess I think some LGS carry the higher end models because there may be more of a profit margin to be had with a few bells and whistles on certain models than just selling the plain jane so to speak!
Like Chuck said they are the same guns some are just dolled up a bit.
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Old 03-08-2016, 10:33 AM   #6
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I agree with Zoomy. Define "perform best out of the box?" Do you mean the most accurate or malfunction free or both? I will assume both. No expert but will share my synopsis of my Kimber's.

My Kimber ownership count is sitting at 9. Ranging from what I consider top of the line (Gold Combat LE) to Custom Shop (Master Carry Pro, CDP & Raptor, Sapphires) to one base model Stainless Ultra Carry 9mm. Some were new in box some were used. Lucky I guess but all of them have been 100% reliable with only a handful of failures to feed that I traced back to bad old magazines. I have not needed to send any back to the Mothership.

All of them are pretty dang accurate. To me the most accurate I own is the Gold Combat LE, which was also the most expensive and purchased new. It is followed close by Master Carry Pro (used), Stainless Raptor Ultra (used), SIS Ultra (NIB).

The only base model I own is the Stainless Ultra Carry 9mm. It's story is this. I saw this pistol on Gunbroker and I watched it for several weeks it started out listed for opening bid of almost $1,000. Every couple weeks the price would come down. It had a different front sight, different grips, a claimed accuracy package performed by a gunsmith I had never heard of. Seller had none of the original parts. The price got right and I paid $619.00 plus shipping for the 9mm. Best $619.00 I have ever spent, it is very accurate and has been 100% reliable. It is not as pretty but shoots as good or better than the two top of the line Sapphires I own.

Other than looks I don't see a difference in function, some may be a little more accurate.
I hope this helps and answers your question.
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Old 03-08-2016, 10:53 AM   #7
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Everyone has their own experiences. We have purchased four Kimber 1911s and still have three.

The two 'higher end' models have been fabulous. They are the Super Carry Ultra HD and the Stainless Raptor Pro II. They have not had any stoppage issues and the both are coming close to 2,000 rounds each.

The lower end model, Custom Crimson Carry II, seems to be more finicky. The occasional failure to return to battery or poor ejection is not unheard of on this one (also close to 2,000 rounds.) Not enough to upset me, but it is what it is. It very well could be the shooter, as I do not prefer the aluminum frame models. I like the feel of steel, so perhaps I handle the other two differently. I'm not sure.

For fit and finish, I like all three and feel they are worth the money. If I were new to the 1911 world and just testing the waters, I might choose to cut my teeth on a Springfield. Not nearly as nice a pistol, but it's steel and, by all accounts, they shoot well. Usually your first car isn't a Cadillac, so why would it be different with guns?
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Old 03-08-2016, 12:37 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Insta-Gator View Post
Everyone has their own experiences. We have purchased four Kimber 1911s and still have three.

The two 'higher end' models have been fabulous. They are the Super Carry Ultra HD and the Stainless Raptor Pro II. They have not had any stoppage issues and the both are coming close to 2,000 rounds each.

The lower end model, Custom Crimson Carry II, seems to be more finicky. The occasional failure to return to battery or poor ejection is not unheard of on this one (also close to 2,000 rounds.) Not enough to upset me, but it is what it is. It very well could be the shooter, as I do not prefer the aluminum frame models. I like the feel of steel, so perhaps I handle the other two differently. I'm not sure.

For fit and finish, I like all three and feel they are worth the money. If I were new to the 1911 world and just testing the waters, I might choose to cut my teeth on a Springfield. Not nearly as nice a pistol, but it's steel and, by all accounts, they shoot well. Usually your first car isn't a Cadillac, so why would it be different with guns?
Cybercycle avoid the Yugo....if your pricing a entry level cars.
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Old 03-08-2016, 12:46 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Tinman View Post
Cybercycle avoid the Yugo....if your pricing a entry level cars.
I don't know...I hear those Yugo's are collectable now!
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Old 03-08-2016, 01:35 PM   #10
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That's interesting that your shop thinks the lower cost pistols have more problems. I've not heard that before and have not noticed it either.
When it comes to 1911s no matter who is making them, there are some basic truths. One of them is, the more you very from the standard 5" barrel and full size frame the more likely you are to incounter problems. I have owned three different 3" 1911s only one was reliable enough to carry. It's a Kimber CDP Ultra, the other two were not Kimbers. I have two "4 Kimbers, one a CDP has been a gem from day one, the other a SC Pro HD, needed a little extractor tension adjustment. But has been great since. The three full size Kimbers I have owned, two Warriors and a tactical were all good running guns. But all had tight chambers, needing a little finish reaming to run 100% with all ammo. Kimber likes tight chambers, if you only use factory ammo you are usually ok. But if you roll your own or use other remanufactured ammo you may have failure to feed issues. My Kimber chambers consistently run tighter then any of my other 1911 chambers.
Quality wise I beleive Kimber is as good and in some ways better then others in the same price range, option wise and selection is what makes Kimber the number 1 seller of 1911s. For me if they would just loosen up their chambers a bit and tighten up their quality control on extractor adjustment, they would be darn near perfect for a entry to mid level 1911.
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