Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sunday Morning 1911 Musings: Kimber vs. Springfield Armory?

I was looking for data this morning on 1911 market share in the United States, and I couldn't find any hard stuff, but from what I've heard it's largely divvied up among three manufacturers: Springfield Armory, Kimber and Smith & Wesson.
Many would probably say that among the three, Kimber is the best, the cream of the crop. I know people who would say that; when I was in the market for a 10mm 1911, the folks at the gun store (Shooters Supply, Beaumont, TX) mentioned the Dan Wesson Razorback and had nothing but good things to say about them, even though they recommended the Kimbers. I mentioned this to a friend as I was showing off the Kimber I eventually picked up, and he said something to the effect of, "don't buy a damn knockoff! Kimber's the best there is!"
He'd been touting the virtues of the Kimbers for a while, and there's no doubt in my mind they're both very good guns. Hell, I have two of them. And I plan to get more -- when, though, I don't know. (Next up, incidentally, for BAG Day, is the aforementioned Dan Wesson Razorback.) But I had been lusting after one of the Springfield full-size Loaded 1911s for a while, I guess ever since I got a look at it on their website. Skeletonized hammer & trigger, match-grade everything, ambi safety & three-dot fixed tritium night sights, all wrapped up in a beautifully low-key, understated Parkerized package. It was quite pricey, though, as any quality 1911 would be. Shooters quoted me $750 before tax. I ended up getting it from my normal FFL for $763 and change out the door; it would have been about $30 or so less than that, were it not for the higher-than-normal shipping charges.
And here's where Kimber comes in. The Springfield did indeed come Loaded, with just about everything one could want on a 1911, most notably the ambidextrous safety (good for lefties) and fixed night sights. This is just another wild-arsed guess, but a Kimber -- say, the Custom II -- with those same features (the ambi safety would probably have to be added at the Custom Shop) would probably run close to $900-950. And as I say, Kimber (in my experience) makes a fine pistol. I don't know why the Springfield isn't just as good of a pistol as the Kimber for ~$150 less, though no doubt there are some out there who would still try to say that if you don't get a Kimber you're settling for less. And if anyone tried to tell me that, I'd just ask them if they wanted to pony up the dough for my next Kimber.
Incidentally, when I got the new Springfield, I told my FFL, "I bet you, when I show this to (mutual friend who made the "knockoff" comment about the Dan Wesson), he'll say, 'you shoulda bought a Kimber!'" I really thought for a while that the friend had, well, drunk the Kimber Kool-Aid. I showed it to him, though, and he said I made an excellent choice...