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Old March 17, 2013, 06:14 PM   #1
AK71
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Is a Kimber worth it?

My brother-in-law has two Kimbers that look really nice and I particularly liked the feel of his 3" carry. However, is it worth it to jump to that price range or can you get the same performance/features/quality in other cheaper guns? What is the reason for the price point of the Kimber?
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Old March 17, 2013, 08:21 PM   #2
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some people really dont like kimber,, personally i think their worth it and have had good experiences myself overall with kimber...as far as their price, i think their worth it... some other less expensive makers to check out that IMHO make just as quality of a firearm but maybe with not as great of a finish would be ruger, remington, sig, colt, springfield
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Old March 17, 2013, 08:59 PM   #3
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There are a few kinds of threads that, if left open long enough, are almost guaranteed to devolve into some kind of spitting contest that involves Nazi references. Those threads include:
1) threads about Kimber;
2) threads about Taurus;
3) Glock vs. 1911 threads; and
4) 9mm vs. .45 acp threads.

With all of that said, I have zero personal experience with Kimbers. They're good-looking guns. They feel nice in the hand, but I've never fired one. I've read reviews that say they're the best thing since sliced bread, and others that swear that Kimber is owned by Satan himself.
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Old March 17, 2013, 09:38 PM   #4
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I own two Kimbers and a Springfield Armory and a S&W PC1911 and I have a hard time recommending Kimbers simply because of the stupid short 1 year warranty and sometimes iffy, sometimes surly customer service. If they don't have enough faith in their product to warranty it for more than a year then I'll trust their opinion that it might not be fully trustworthy. They also have a tendency to make them a too tight for a production line product (uber tight pistols often need hand work or a stupidly long break-in to become 100% reliable) and they expect their customers to spend $250-300 on 500 break-in rounds before they'll fix their products - I've never had S&W or SA ask me to do that. Other than those major faults they make pretty nice and very attractive handguns. In a full size I personally prefer a Springfield Armory "Loaded" or S&W SW1911 both of which are backed by lifetime warranties and world class customer service.

For a carry my advice is no matter what brand you pick settle on a CCO (aka "compact") format pistol rather than a 3" "ultra". That's a 4 - 4.25" barrel on an Officers frame. The extra 1" isn't going to make it any less concealable but it will make it inherently more reliable and the ballistics are much better. Some options include:
I have a Kimber Compact CDP and it needed a bit of work out of the box but it's settling in now. Frankly I'd much rather have the Dan Wesson CCO but we can't get them here. The challenge with Compacts and Ultras is finding magazines that feed reliably (strong springs) and yet do not mar the aluminum feed ramp (anti-tilt followers) but there are a couple on the market.

If you want to save some money on a non-1911 with the same feel try a S&W M&P45 or their compact M&P45c. The feel in the hand is almost identical and they are ultra reliable but nothing has a trigger like a 1911.

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Last edited by sholling; March 18, 2013 at 01:14 AM.
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Old March 17, 2013, 09:38 PM   #5
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I just got my first Kimber, a Super Pro Cutom HD. Only have a few hundred rounds through it and it's been flawless. It stacks up quite well against my Dan Wesson CBOB in terms of quality thus far. Not inexpensive but nice in my opinion.

Last edited by JWT; March 17, 2013 at 09:44 PM.
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Old March 17, 2013, 10:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
and others that swear that Kimber is owned by Satan himself.
Put me down in that category except with Satan himself working in the CS dept. I've owned A LOT of guns in my relatively short life and by far my Kimber Ultra Carry II was the worst in both performance and support from the manufacturer.

I'd count on a Hi Point to save my life before a Kimber. No, I'm not joking
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Old March 17, 2013, 11:46 PM   #7
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If you go based off the internet everything from Kimber to Colt has reported problems.

I have a Kimber Ultra Carry II, and I love it; carries nice, balanced, and never had an issue with it. Decently accurate for a 3" barrel. The 3"ers especially seem to have reported problems, and you need to make sure that you change the recoil spring out on a reliable basis. Kimbers also have a 500 round break-in period for almost all their guns, regardless of model or BBL. And a lot of 1911s have that, it's not just limited to Kimbers.

I'm not sure what 'price point' you're asking about for Kimbers; if you mean they're really high, or low. Because there are ones that are way higher; Les Baer, Nighthawk, Dan Wesson, etc. My UC II was ~$850. I think the Kimbers are nice, middle-of-the-road 1911s, that come out of the box with a lot of 'custom' features. Not only that, but LAPD's SWAT used the Custom Tac II's for years; I think they still do(?) And the Desert Warrior was built in mind for certain detachments of the Marines in Afghanistan. So, take that as you will.
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Old March 18, 2013, 01:23 AM   #8
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I own a small Kimber and its nice, but Ill stick with my Colt 1911 XSE, just because I like the size.
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Old March 18, 2013, 06:27 AM   #9
kimbers rule
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I've had great luck with my kimber stainless gold match. Very accurate and dependable. My father in law, three of my buddies, and a few cousins have also been happy with their kimbers. Hm, maby its not luck.
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Old March 18, 2013, 06:29 AM   #10
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they look good, but they're one of the worst 1911's you can buy.
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Old March 18, 2013, 06:58 AM   #11
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I have 3 Kimbers, 2 5" & 1 3", all have been flawless out of the box!
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Old March 18, 2013, 07:20 AM   #12
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For the price of a Kimber, you can buy a Colt, which is a far better gun.
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Old March 18, 2013, 07:39 AM   #13
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Thanks for all the excellent responses!

Since posting this, I've been looking around some and noticed my "price point" comment was misguided since many 1911s are priced as high (or higher) than Kimber. I'm slowly understanding some factors that affect pricing but have a long way to go. I guess part of my question was based around not seeing Kimbers mentioned that often in threads with "the best" or "recommendations". My brother-in-law typically does his due diligence when making major purchases, so I assume he knew what he was getting into. My only point of reference was many "favorite" guns priced under $800 - which makes sense I suppose since more people can afford to own more of them.

What I would love to see (and probably has appeared on this board in many iterations) is a list of best guns for the value at different price points - $500, $1000, $1500, etc. Or possibly a favorites thread where the current market price of the gun is included (I realize I can look-up list prices but often people have modifications from the base gun that I don't understand).

I appreciate your patience and lessons...
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Old March 18, 2013, 07:44 AM   #14
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I have owned two Kimbers. One was a team match 2 awesome gun no problems at all. The other is a super carry Pro and it was very expensive and did not function properly. I replaced the extractor with a Wilson extractor and replaced all the springs with Wolf springs now it works fine but I think the fact that I had to fix a brand new gun that cost 1500 dollars is ridicules. So it’s a crap shoot with them. After having had two I would vote no they are not worth it.
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Old March 18, 2013, 08:27 AM   #15
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Quote:
What I would love to see (and probably has appeared on this board in many iterations) is a list of best guns for the value at different price points - $500, $1000, $1500, etc. Or possibly a favorites thread where the current market price of the gun is included (I realize I can look-up list prices but often people have modifications from the base gun that I don't understand).
$500 - RIA
$650 - STI Spartan
$1000 - Colt
$1500 - Dan Wesson
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Old March 18, 2013, 08:53 AM   #16
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I've only owned one, my Pro CDP II and I love it. No complaints with 800+ rounds through it, all reloads. Compared to my Colt Commander and Ruger SR1911 it is my favorite.
Yes, it was worth the money.
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Old March 18, 2013, 09:25 AM   #17
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Less than 1000 rounds thru any 1911 isn't an indication of reliability.

My beef with Kimber is that tthey've somehow established themselves as the premium 1911 manufacturer for anyone who doesn't know that for the price of a Kimber there are half a dozen guns from Sig, to Dan Wesson, STI, Colt, and SA that are better. For the price point there's also Remington and Ruger to name a few more.

Everyone makes a 1911 these days, Kimber seems obsessed with spending good money on ads to convince everyone they're the best, or a custom shop.
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Old March 18, 2013, 09:36 AM   #18
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Quote:
$500 - RIA
$650 - STI Spartan
$1000 - Colt
$1500 - Dan Wesson
I'd say that's pretty accurate. There are others out there, especially in the 3" 1911 category;

$500-RIA
$650-800-STI Spartan, 'starter' end Kimbers, ParaOrdnance (Warthog)
$1000-1200-SW1911 3" model, mid-high grade Kimbers, Colt Defender, STI Shadow/Escort 3.0, Remington R1, Springfield Operator
$1500-Dan Wesson
$2000-3000-Les Baer
$3000-4000-Nighthawk Custom, Wilson Combat

Prices without any mods, strictly off of manufacturer's MSRP. There are a lot of good 1911's to be had in the $1K range, including higher-end Kimbers, like the Tactical, CDP, Raptor, and Super Carry, which all have 3" offerings. The Operator comes in a 4" model. The SW1911 can be had in a 3" BBL. The Colt Defender and Shadow/Escort from STI are also 3" offerings.

Most of the more expensive ones I listed (Les Baer, Nighthawk, etc.) don't offer 3" models, since a lot of 1911 'purists' don't believe they should be made under a Commander, or 4", version.
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Old March 18, 2013, 09:46 AM   #19
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I like the look of Kimber's, but they have a pretty spotty reputation and an even worse customer service/warranty reputation.

It seems like if you get a Kimber that works well - it works very well and is accurate and reliable... but if you get one that doesn't work so well, it's probably going to be a pain in the butt to get it fixed or to unload it.

With that said, I consider there to be better options in the price point. I'm a big fan of the Springfield Armory 1911s such as the TRP and Loaded models. Smith & Wesson makes a nice 1911 too, if you're not a "purist" and can accept the external extractor.

Personally, I avoid Kimber, but know some people that have them and like them. To each their own, I suppose.
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Old March 18, 2013, 10:03 AM   #20
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Re: Is a Kimber worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by loose_holster_dan View Post
$500 - RIA
$650 - STI Spartan
$1000 - Colt
$1500 - Dan Wesson
Agreed. I would add a couple different Springfields to that list.
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Old March 18, 2013, 10:11 AM   #21
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Kimber isn't a bad gun, they just seem to think their guns are worth a slight premium over S&W, Sig, Springfield, and Colt (among some others). IMO, while it's hard to go wrong with most of those I'm not convinced that any is head and shoulders over another in quality.

When in the $900-1200 range, I'd probably buy based more on features for a given price than anything else. It seems to me that Sig Sauer delivers more than the others at a slightly lower price point but I have had good experiences with Springfield Armory and S&W as well. Any of them is likely to be a quite good gun.
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Old March 18, 2013, 11:20 AM   #22
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they look good, but they're one of the worst 1911's you can buy.
Well.... there can be only one worst, and Kimber doesn't come close. Such statements as the one above, IMO, are based solely on limited experience with 1911s or an axe to grind. Currently, I have Colt, Dan Wesson, Kimber, Remington, Sig, and Springfield 1911s. Frankly, they all perform remarkably well, with no major differences in function, fit, or finish. Well, the DWs do seem to stand a bit above the others in overall quality. But, they're all very, very reliable and purdy.

Regarding the earlier comments about Satan... I believe he runs a shop over in Austria. Just joshing, I love that there seems to be something for everyone these days in the handgun arena!!
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Old March 18, 2013, 11:21 AM   #23
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Good stuff!

Just to clarify, since I started the discussion about Kimber, is everyone comparing to only 1911 makers? My original thought was not to limit the price/value comparison to 1911s, but it seems that was the assumption and totally my mistake for not specifying.
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Old March 18, 2013, 11:33 AM   #24
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1911s are going to be some of the most expensive guns out there. You can only compare between them.
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Old March 18, 2013, 11:35 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedudeabides
Everyone makes a 1911 these days, Kimber seems obsessed with spending good money on ads to convince everyone they're the best, or a custom shop.
Agreed, Kimber is a marketing driven company obsessed with styling and looks while giving engineering, out of the box quality, and customer service short shrift. It should also be noted that Kimber's "Custom" guns aren't - they're just fancier production line products.

OP, these would be my choices.

$500: RIA Tactical
$900-1000: Springfield Armory "Loaded" and S&W's SW1911
$1300: Springfield Armory Target
$1500: Springfield Armory TRP, Dan Wesson
$1500-2000: S&W's Performance Center and Les Baer
Over $2000: Baer, S&W Performance Center, Wilson, Nighthawk, Brown and others
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Last edited by sholling; March 18, 2013 at 11:40 AM.
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