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Old September 11, 2012, 09:13 PM   #1
Superhouse 15
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Kimber 1911 not working out for SWAT cops

So I'm in a Hazmat class all week with people from various public safety agencies around central FL, and one of them is a SWAT cop with a county Sheriff's department (should I say who, or is that not acceptable?). Anyway, we were talking guns on a break since he was wearing a Kimber 1911 and I was surprised to see a single action in a cop's holster. He was telling me that of the 30 pistols they had bought (for a great price including tac light) that 18 of them had been returned to Kimber for peening of the firing pin hole. He said no guns had slam-fired but one did separate the firing pin, spring, and back plate when the pin locked forward amd the plate moved downwards. He also said there had been failures of the (MIM) ambi safety levers due to cracking. He wasn't sure how many of those had occured. In talking with him I get the impression he knows more than the average guy about MIM and guns in general. He also said he asked for his Glock back and was told no. FWIW, ammo is 200gr +p Gold Dot. He was carrying in a Serpa OWB.
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Old September 12, 2012, 08:31 AM   #2
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Not a good endorsement for Kimber. I had always thought they were top of the line in all things they made.
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Old September 12, 2012, 09:29 AM   #3
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Kimber was top of the line at one time. A shooting buddy has an older Kimber, beautiful, accurate, and reliable. Love to shoot it, so I was going to buy one of my own. But then research turned up a lot of recent Kimber problem threads... I changed my mind.

Now if my buddy were to ever lose his mind and offer up his for sale, I'd be on it like Rosie O'Donnell on a donut!
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Old September 12, 2012, 09:38 AM   #4
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Kimber seems to be coasting on the rep they built some years ago. They want to charge a premium price over 1911s from other quality makers like Springfield Armory, S&W, Sig Sauer, and many others but I've just not seen anything out of them lately to even justify being on price parity with those brands.
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Old September 12, 2012, 11:29 AM   #5
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That's a pretty weird failure - peening of the firing pin hole. I don't think I have ever heard of that being a chronic problem in any gun, let alone a problem common to Kimber, or common to 1911s in general (if it were a design issue, we'd certainly know about it, 100 years and 4+ million guns later).
Sounds like maybe the 30 guns in quesion should all go back for new slides. Of course, after two or three guns out of a group of thirty were discovered to have the same issue, Kimber should have asked that all be returned, and/or the department should have insisted that Kimber replace or repair them; how can you expect the twelve guys whose guns haven't gone back (yet), to have any confidence in them?
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Old September 12, 2012, 12:03 PM   #6
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how can you expect the twelve guys whose guns haven't gone back (yet), to have any confidence in them?
There's a lot of merit to this question. I know I'd be harboring some doubt about a pistol with problems as recounted by the op being carried for self-defense. Personally, I want to have the utmost confidence in any firearm I'm employing to save my bacon when the bullets start flying.
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Old September 12, 2012, 12:49 PM   #7
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Kimber seems to be coasting on the rep they built some years ago. They want to charge a premium price over 1911s from other quality makers like Springfield Armory, S&W, Sig Sauer, and many others but I've just not seen anything out of them lately to even justify being on price parity with those brands.
This sums it up very well. I bought a Kimber 3 years ago because a buddy has an old one that is great. Mine was the worst gun I've ever owned and their CS made Taurus' look great.
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Old September 12, 2012, 12:50 PM   #8
mrgoodwrench76
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Forgive my ignorance but Im not familiar with this particular failure. What exactly is 'peening'? I tried google but wasn't satisfied with the result.
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Old September 12, 2012, 01:09 PM   #9
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I've heard from someone who knows that LAPD's SIS detectives have had problems with their Kimbers too. Many of them have remained with their Glock 21's and in a couple of cases gone back to the Glock 21.

I broke the MIM thumb safety on a Kimber Stainless Target II several years ago. Snapped like the cheap pot metal it was. Nothing new there.

Kimbers have been overated and overhyped for almost a decade now. You couldn't give me one. YMMV. Regards 18DAI
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Old September 12, 2012, 01:53 PM   #10
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1911a1 models in central Florida...

To my limited knowledge, most of the metro PDs & county sheriff units in central Florida use either SIG Sauer classic models(P226R/P229R) or the Glock(21/30/22-23/17-19). SIG-Sauer has a training center that's run with the Orlando PD. The Florida Highway Patrol & state wildlife officers(FWC) now carry the Glock .45GAP.
I've never seen any SWAT or tactical units(drugs, auto theft, etc) that had any 1911a1 .45acp pistols in the metro Orlando or Daytona Beach FL area.

Kimber did have a lot of support for the spec ops 1911 line. The LAPD SWAT issued Kimbers. I think the FBI & elite HRT(hostage rescue) used S-A but may have changed vendors.
I'm not a big fan of 1911a1 models in general for LE/duty use but many armed professionals like em. 100 years is a long time, .

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Old September 12, 2012, 02:19 PM   #11
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I think the FBI & elite HRT(hostage rescue) used S-A but may have changed vendors.
They use the SA Professional still.
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Old September 12, 2012, 02:20 PM   #12
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What exactly is 'peening'?

Peening is metal deformation caused by metal on metal contact.
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Old September 12, 2012, 03:24 PM   #13
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I am guessing kimber or many others perhaps will close to give the product to any team simply to get the PR factor going. Sadly problems like this Contribute to the feeling that 1911's are not duty reliable when in fact it's a manufacturing defect. Not surprised frankly, kimber as others have mentioned helped fuel the resurgence of the 1911 with a decent 1911 with many options at a decent price. Now the price is up and quality is down.

Best guess would be either improper heat treating on the slide / breach face or wrong profile on the inside of the firing pin channel. Ad's would be unlikely as the cartridge probably will not feed up.
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Old September 12, 2012, 03:53 PM   #14
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This reminds me of a recent incident with Kimber 1911's poor quality in NC.

" Little more than a year after buying 150 collector-grade handguns, officials at the N.C. Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement say the $1,055 pistols were so unreliable they had to get rid of them.

ALE Director John Ledford said the Kimber pistols repeatedly suffered such problems as rounds jamming during training exercises, broken sights and the weapon's safety button sometimes falling off. He made a deal with a local firearms dealer to swap the pricey pistols for less expensive handguns without spending any additional money.

"Failure of a weapon during training is problematic enough, but if any of these types of failures occurred during a life-and-death situation the result could be loss of life to a sworn member of the division or an innocent civilian," Ledford wrote in a November memo to justify the new weapons. "During violent encounters with armed suspects, reliability and speed are paramount."


Link: http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/02/...nreliable.html
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Old September 12, 2012, 09:29 PM   #15
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Our local SWAT uses Kimbers and loves them. You can't get any to go back to their Glocks. Most all our detectives use Kimber 1911's now as well.
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Old September 12, 2012, 10:13 PM   #16
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We went from Kimber to Sig before Operator pref. permits were applied in 2008. It was more of a financial issue IMO. The only issues I have had with Kimber while OD was a very sticky slide, which was rectified. I smithed out the problem myself, and was reassured by armoury staff if was a one off deal....however 3 others ops had the same issue in that year.

Needless to say, Sig never had an issue.
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Old September 13, 2012, 04:19 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rifleman1776
Not a good endorsement for Kimber. I had always thought they were top of the line in all things they made.
Kimber's reputation is based primarily on spending gazillions of dollars on full-page ads in all the gun magazines. In reality, their reliability record has always been worse than most other 1911 makers.

They also use more MIM parts than probably any other maker, which has caused them to be nicknamed "Mimber." Ever hear of any other brand of 1911 have the hammer fracture? I haven't.
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Old September 13, 2012, 04:53 PM   #18
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That's a pretty weird failure - peening of the firing pin hole. I don't think I have ever heard of that being a chronic problem in any gun,
It was a common problem in early the 1911s with soft slides. In 1936, Colt started installing a hardened insert in the breechface. The insert was used through the end of the contracts in 1945, and is often mistaken for a toolmark.
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Old September 13, 2012, 05:03 PM   #19
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Kimber's reputation is based primarily on spending gazillions of dollars on full-page ads in all the gun magazines.



Sorry, but that's just a real goofy thing to say. It doesn't even make sense.
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Old September 13, 2012, 05:03 PM   #20
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I have a Kimber Gold Match I, yes not the Mk II, and it's a jewel.

Shoots like a rifle. The MK II, with the firing pint lock working off the grip safety has had lots of problems.

Glad I snatched that gun many years ago! Got it brand new.

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Old September 13, 2012, 05:23 PM   #21
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@ DEAF

Do you have a picture of your Match I around?

I'd love to see it.
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Old September 13, 2012, 05:30 PM   #22
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As to peening of the firing pin hole, as the firing pin passes through the opening, it "puckers" the steel around the opening, leaving sort of a little crater on the face of the slide. This can, as the slide slams shut, indent the cartridge primer just as if it were struck by the firing pin, firing the pistol.

I had an early (1975 vintage) Uberti Cattleman .44 Magnum in which firing pin peening occurred. No slam fire, of course, but the primer formed around the crater and made cylinder rotation difficult to near impossible. I have not seen this on current Uberti guns.

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Old September 13, 2012, 05:51 PM   #23
RickB
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That's a pretty weird failure - peening of the firing pin hole. I don't think I have ever heard of that being a chronic problem in any gun,

It was a common problem in early the 1911s with soft slides. In 1936, Colt started installing a hardened insert in the breechface. The insert was used through the end of the contracts in 1945, and is often mistaken for a toolmark.
Good point, but I wasn't around prior to 1936 to hear about it!
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Old September 13, 2012, 06:01 PM   #24
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Let's not confuse Kimbers - not even out of their custom shop...with semi-custom made guns like Wilson Combat, Ed Brown, etc..../ Kimbers are certainly not Top of the Line guns...( in my opinion )....

Kimbers for the most part ....are mass assembled / not by gunsmiths - but by semi-knowledgeable employees / not even out of their custom shop - where they make models like the Gold Combat and the Super Match.

However, while they use some MIM parts...if properly made MIM parts are not inherently bad. I would prefer not to have any MIM parts...but to do that you are going to have to go to a high end mfg - like Wilson Combat as an example.

I have a couple of Kimbers...a Tactical Pro II model and a Gold Combat Stainless II model ...and both are very good guns ( although about 10 yrs old now )....but I never expected them to be a Wilson either.

I think with most any mfg of relatively mass produced guns ...these kinds of issues come and go .../ it seems like every mfg out there these days is making 1911's...and its too bad the LE dept had some issues...but in my area, I do see some LE Officers carrying 1911's ...some Kimber, one dept with some Nighthawks, and one officer I know carries a Wilson. As far as I know - they're all holding up fine.
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Old September 13, 2012, 06:26 PM   #25
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I held off as long as I could... but, it always seems that the longer a Kimber thread goes, the more outlandish the remarks. The only way to make it through such posts is to remember that these are opinions. And, many of those are based on no firsthand knowledge of the firearm manufacturer in question.

To suggest that Kimber does not make a quality 1911 is silly. Of course they do. And this "old Kimbers" versus "new Kimbers" slant is, for the most part, overstated. Are they the best "production" 1911 out there? Well, that's where opinions differ. My opinion, based on my experience is that they are just as good (or better) in fit, finish, accuracy, and/or reliability as Colt, Springfield, Para, and Sig. Only my Dan Wessons seem better overall. I have never had a 1911 made by Taurus, Remington, Ruger, or S&W, so I can't comment on them. Although I could do what many do and trash Taurus based on no experience, I won't do that.

Of those 1911s I have had, I rate overall quality (starting with best) as: Dan Wesson, Kimber, Sig, Colt, Springfield and Para tied. I feel better now, having expressed my opinion.
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