Gun Review – Kimber Super Carry Custom 1911 Review

Long title for a gun worth of a lot of words. Hopefully the video will speak for itself, but let’s look at a few things that stood out about this “carry” 1911.

Kimber is well known for some of the finest production 1911s on the market today. Along with the quality of their handiwork comes a hefty price tag. Bottom line, if you want a Kimber, you’ll have to shell out the cash for it. This piece is no different though I’ll say early on that the durability and finish of this pistol is not what we hoped it would be. I borrowed it from a good friend who has carried this daily since last summer. He was kind enough to let us shoot and review it and give us some background information on what his impression has been thus far, but more on that down the line.

The style and appearance of this gun just exudes a practical beauty that says, "Come hold me!!!"

Aesthetically it’s a beautiful gun. Like most all Kimbers, it’s trim and feels INCREDIBLE in the hand, and shooting it is a pleasure even though just being an aluminum framed pistol (weighing in at 31 ounces) it can be pretty snappy with Self Defense loads. Accuracy is to be expected with the full length match grade barrel and tritium night sights. The grip texture is one I would call a type of snake scale or rattlesnake pattern but Kimber is satisfied to refer to it as “Super Carry Serrations” which appear on the front strap, the mainspring housing backstrap, front and rear on the slide and even on the top of the slide. They aren’t abrasive at all but feel fantastic when drawing or gripping the pistol for firing. I would be completely off track if I spoke on how comfortable this gun is and what a pleasure it is to shoot without even mentioning the solid aluminum match grade trigger which comes preset in the 4-5 pound range. It’s quick, snappy with minimal takeup and allows the shooter to stay on target for fast follow shots. Definite +1 on the trigger.

This is a fit you have to feel to believe. Perfect fit in the palm of your hand and no discomfort while carrying.

Probably the most noticeable and notable change to this particular Kimber lineup is the “Rounded Mainspring Housing and Frame” as Kimber refers to it. They can’t get off using the trademarked term “Bobtail” as Ed Brown has already laid claim to this one and Dan Wesson was early on it too, but compared to these other two Kimber has done an outstanding job of making it a very, very, VERY comfortable gun in the hand. The rounded frame still allows for a full 8 round standard 1911 magazine and there are absolutely ZERO snag points on this 1911 with it’s standard “Carry Melt” from the Custom Shop. This essentially means that all possible snag points, corners, jagged edges, etc have been “melted” down to make a smooth drawing and comfortable carry piece. Trust me, it works.

Here you can see where the KimPro finish has failed on the muzzle and slide area.

Now for the down side. After carrying this gun for just a couple of months the owner noticed that the KimPro II finish on the slide was beginning to wear heavily around the muzzle and on the sides. He’s a very reasonable guy, understanding that a carry gun is often a workhorse and gets abused, but in turn he’s also smart enough to know that a $1400 Carry 1911 shouldn’t look like it’s been drug around behind a truck for the better part of a year. His initial experience with Kimber was smooth. They offered to re-finish it at no cost to him as the Customer Service agent saw it as a warranty item just as he did. However upon calling back to set up shipping and repair appointment, the previous representative was unreachable and all others he accounted were far less understanding and accepting of his plight. In the end and after several weeks of haggling back and forth, they agreed to re-apply the KimPro II finish to the slide but only after my friend was able to show documented email proof of his initial conversation with the first rep he had spoken with. A plus for Kimber, he did receive the gun back in a semi timely manner refinished as promised. Unfortunately, the second finish lasted barely longer than the first and the slide has begun to show obvious signs of wear once again which can be seen in my photos.

The trigger, action, ambidextrous safety, and mag release all functioned flawlessly at the range.

At Haus of Guns we’re not in the habit of trouncing on anyone’s good name or doing reviews with overly pessimistic or negative undertones. We’re fortunate enough to live in a “golden age of guns” and most firearms produced these days meet quality controls standards that would make our forefathers VERY proud. BUT, in the ever so often case of “you get what you pay for” we expect after dropping a cool $1500 on a carry piece such as this that the finish should either be much more durable or the fine folks at Kimber could easily do with a different finish altogether. Stainless anyone? We try our best to deliver the truth in an accurate way and if there are downsides to convey them with a graceful and “benefit of the doubt” type attitude. With that said, I want to clarify that this account has been relayed to me by a trusted friend, not some yayhoo spreading gossip and touting his experience and how awesome he is in a gun shop or at a gun counter. It’s all come first hand, and not through the rumor mill.

On the other side of that argument, if you’re not in the least worried about what your hard earned carry 1911 looks like at the end of everyday use, then by all means, this could very well be the one for you. If you feel the 5″ barrel is a bit too stout for your taste, you could go with the Super Carry Pro (4″) or even the Super Carry Ultra (3.25″) and the Super Carry Ultra+ with the full length grip and rounded frame and mainspring housing.

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13 Responses to Kimber Super Carry Custom 1911 Review

  1. Nice review there Ebbs. I didn’t get a chance to watch the video yet but I think the written portion tells enough. I know that Kimbers shoot great, feel great, and normally look great. I normally say that I buy my tools (including firearms) to use and don’t worry about appearance after being used everyday but in this case I would be a little more than unhappy with the finish. If their standard finish can’t even hold up to a couple of months of a holster wear then what is that firearm going to look like in 5-10 years. At some point that finish wearing off is going to be more than just a cosmetic issue and now start to allow corrosion to start. Kimber has a long history of being a great manufacturer but like any other they all have an issue here or there. Customer service is what really makes a company shine if you ask me. Maybe a Gun Kote tyoe finish would be better.

    • Ebbs says:

      I’m with you entirely on your feelings about the finish. I would look seriously into a cerakote type finish or a duracoat or something that’s going to really take some abuse. Then again, I know some guys like it when their guns are evidently well used and tell the tale.

  2. Chris Miller says:

    I still like this gun. I am less than impressed with Kimber’s customer service though, and my next 1911 will likely NOT be one of thiers. That’s a sad situation too because I have owned my share of kimber’s and I really do like the guns. I learned a lot about their customer service when the finish started to wear off of the Super Carry Custom though, and I think it’s time to move on.

    Too harsh? I hope not. I think when you’ve bought thousands of dollars worth of product from a company, you have the right to complain when their customer service turns out to be a joke. No?

    Great review though… thanks for posting.

  3. Kansascowpie says:

    Cmon ppl if ya cant stand the holster wear on a nice gun ya have 3 choices…
    1. Buy a stainless gun
    2. live with it and get a better fitting holster
    3. Quit yer biotchin as its like stickin your finger in a light socket and whining about the jolt.
    The Kimbers are still a very awsome 1911 format!!

    • Ebbs says:

      Haha thanks for your reply.

      1. Yes, holster wear is a fact of life. No problem understanding or agreeing with that 100%
      2. If I want holster wear I’ll carry a stainless gun (not available in the Super Carry which was the subject of this review) or something 1/4 the $$$ with a REAL finish, not the KimFAIL II.
      3. It is a VERY awesome 1911. The accuracy, weight, AND especially feel in the hand of this gun far surpass any trouble with the finish. If I wasn’t clear enough about that in the review then my apologies. I could sleep with it in my hand it felt so good. Oh wait. :)

      Glad you cared enough to give your opinion. Most folks just overlook something when they have a beef instead of weighing in. Your opinion is valuable AND appreciated!


  4. Chris Miller says:

    Hey Kansascowpie,

    As the owner of this gun, i’ll share a little something with you. After the original finish literally fell off the gun – even in areas that were NOT touched by the holster, I sent it to Kimber to be refinished. I already posted about their customer service so we don’t need to go there again. Let’s just say I was NOT impressed… especially after spending nearly $8,000 on Kimber firearms.

    Here’s the kicker…. the gun came back refinished and i’ve carried it ever since. Much to my surprise, the finish is now wearing ONLY where the holster touches it which I fully expect! No complaints at all now… she looks like the regularly used tool that she is. All is well.

    So maybe the original finish was just not baked on correctly or something. I do not know, I am not an expert on finishes. I can only close in saying that the original finish was a complete fail, and that Kimber customer service SUCKED when asked to make things right.

    I still love Kimber firearms, but I am also still astounded that any company could have such poor customer service. When you pay a premium for a product, most of us just automatically assume that customer service and quality is part of the price you’re paying. Shame on me for assuming…..

  5. EL Chuy says:

    Whiney bitches…..A fine weapon priced fairly during what you call the “golden age of guns”, it gets carried and used, and all you can focus on is normal finish wear? If you wanted to keep it as a museum piece, don’t shoot it, don’t fire it, just put it in a glass case and look at it. And thanks to jerks like you, the rest of us pay higher prices for goods and services because of your constant demands of mfrs. to make new what you’ve made used & abused. You claim that “At Haus of Guns we’re not in the habit of trouncing on anyone’s good name or doing reviews with overly pessimistic or negative undertones”, and then you proceed that very thing. Thank God your generation didn’t fight in WWII; we all be speaking German and Japanese. Grow up, the world doesn’t revolve around you. When something breaks or gets worn out as you use it, it’s your responsibility to get it fixed and pay for those repairs; not mine and everyone else’s.

    • Ebbs says:

      Wow, I’m sorry you feel that way.

      If your primary problem is the fact that I single out the KimPro II finish as the main shortfall with this gun then you’re missing the mark. I loved this pistol, but our experience on multiple occasions with Kimber’s customer service over a feature they tout about the product was less than satisfactory. It may be my responsibility to fix something I break or damage under my watch, I don’t deny that. But what happened to standing behind an American made product? Something I think the generation that kept us from speaking German and Japanese also stood for.

      If Kimber is going to charge $1600 for a “carry” pistol then it needs to be able to handle the wear and tear. If the KimPro finish is the only thing separating the elements (sweat, dust, lint, moisture) from the metal, and it is worn deeply after a few short months of carry when a lifetime of use is anticipated, then it’s not meeting expectations.

      When the Glock I carry cost me $500 out the door, and will withstand anything I throw at it including wear and abuse from everyday carry, the justification for a $1600 “museum piece” as my carry gun becomes ridiculous. Your assumption that my unreasonable demands for a gun to meet expectations is driving up costs for others is false. A Kimber Super Carry Custom costs that much because people will pay it. Not because someone has a problem with the finish.

  6. Zeke Clayton says:

    Since this is one of the handful of reviews floating around the internet on the firearm which I chose as my EDC, I feel a need to add my two cents on one issue. That would be the claim that the KimPro II finish is somehow substandard. I have carried this firearm in a black leather Galco IWB Holster for the better part of one year. In that time this user has yet to experience anything near the level of wear on the slide as is depicted in the pictures furnished by our beloved Ebbs. I live in North Florida where you can drink the humidity through a straw in the summertime. No rust or pitting has, as of yet, formed on the gun. The only wear after one year of being carried and close to nine-hundred rounds fired from this gun are the customary nicks from rounds being ejected at the ejection port. Also, as any well informed consumer would, I recommend you do some research. One visit to the Kimber website and you would see that Kimber DOES NOT warrant the finish on any of their firearms. So if you like to hold the manufacturer liable for every aspect of their product, shop elsewhere. And remember Ladies and Gents, LEATHER is the real holster material. Get rid of your Kydex garbage. Thanks to Ebbs at Haus of Guns for this review, helping to find the perfect sidearm for me.

    • Ebbs says:

      Thanks for the comment, Zeke. Can I ask when you purchased your Super Carry? This review is approaching the 3 year old mark and word on the streets is that Kimber quality control and craftsmanship is once again improving. I do not believe the quality of application for their finishes to be exempt from this improvement either. This gun was also carried daily in a hybrid style holster seeing a mix of contact with both leather and kydex. not to mention much of the wear coming from contact with the owner’s blue jeans as a result of the front 2″ or more of the muzzle’s exposure below the kydex sleeve.

      • Zeke Clayton says:

        Sure man. I have a date of manufacture from Kimber as being May 31, 2012. I purchased it from a local gun shop in April of 2013. The guy that sold me the gun alerted me to the same issue with the finish that your friend had; hence my being adamant that leather is the best option for this firearm (and any that have a baked on finish). We all stray from time to time. But if we’re lucky, we get a chance to right that which we have done wrong. Seems to me like Kimber is beginning to do just that.

        • Ebbs says:

          I personally didn’t care about the finish except how wildly strong Kimber had touted it as being. The real issue was some recurring feed ramp problems every 100 rounds or so. Regardless I agree. Gun companies should not be written off forever for having a period of difficulty with manufacture or QC. We all have our highs and lows, and manufacturers in this industry are typically no different.

  7. Frank says:

    My question is what type of holster was your friend carrying the weapon in? In my collection I have four Kimbers and a S&W 1911 SC and I will only carry my 1911’s in custom leather holsters. I have been carrying the Super Carry Pro HD daily for six months and put about 400 rounds a month through it at the range and my frame and slide finish (KimPro II) looks as good as the day I bought it. I figure $85 for a good holster is a cheap investment on $1500+ firearms.

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