Looks like its not just my imagination. Law Enforcement Agency dumps Kimber as handgun of choice.
Perhaps if you’ve been following the Haus of Guns craze these past several months you’ve noticed we’ve been a bit tough on Kimber. The title of this posts even suggests pot-stirring especially to those who are defensive of their beloved “custom” 1911s.
Last winter the Kimber Solo was announced and I was beside myself giddy. To that point the only Kimber handgun I’d owned was the one we’re editing the handgun review video on today, the Ultra CDP II in .45 ACP (I’ve since owned a Custom II full sized and Custom Compact Stainless 1911) and it made me an instant fanboy. Stack on the thought of a 9mm pocket gun modeled after a 1911 in form and function and my excitement was almost too much to bear. This was when the wait started. I couldn’t get one and then when one came available I had funds tied up in other guns for review (See CZ 2075 RAMI).
But after the gun had settled on the market a few months I started to hear many stories of disgruntled shooters. Their Kimber Solo failed, the finish is coming off, I had to send it back to Kimber immediately after shooting it, etc. Not the type of press you want if you’re a “premium” firearm maker and your new playboy 9mm that runs upwards of $700 isn’t living up to it’s premium and mega-hyped status.
Then we got our hands on the Kimber Super Carry Custom. A SWEET looking rig that feels incredible in the hand. The Super Carry we’ve had a lot of contact with has had and continues to have horrible difficulty with the “Kimpro II” finish wearing off. We realize it’s a carry gun and that’s what happens, but it becomes more difficult to justify dropping $1500 on a carry gun over guns that are more reliable and even hold their finish better at 1/3 the cost. To top it off, it only takes a few hundred consecutive rounds at the range to get the Super Carry Custom malfunctioning every few rounds, even with swapping out mags such as Chip McCormick, Wilson Combat, ProMag and Kimber factory mags. A polished feed ramp (which shouldn’t be a necessary addition on a gun that costs what it does) only seems to keep it reliable for the first couple hundred rounds.
It was almost as if the Kimber Solo CDP (basically a $900 version of the trouble laden Solo) couldn’t come out soon enough on the wake of the rabidly popular Kimber Solo (which guys seem to be leaving for the more reliable albeit uglier Sig Sauer P290 in the same price bracket). It did, and people are raving, but it only seems to be those who were hyper-committed to Kimber from the beginning? How will these rumors of failures and finish issues drawn in new customers/shooters who are even more guarded with how they assess value and the way their money is spent? I’m obviously speculating a bit based on my own experience, the experience of trusted friends and expressed feedback of many around me and on forums who have had similar frustrations. Will we ever see Kimber at the top again?
Feel free to disagree, hate me, dismember me and trash my reputation if you disagree. I doubt you can do any more damage than Kimber has done to themselves over the past 18 months. In my defense, I LOVE and have loved the Kimber Ultra CDP II as much or more than any other handgun I’ve owned, and the Kimber 1911 .22 Conversion we reviewed was spectacular, albeit a little testy on certain cheap ammo.