Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday Morning 1911 Musings: Kimbers, External Extractors and Short Barrels

From Loving, Texas, this referral, handguns better than Kimber?
There are those who say the Kimbers are the best production 1911s out there, but I am not sure I agree with that. They are great guns indeed, but I'm not so sure that they're really worth the higher prices than, say, a comparably equipped Springfield Armory or Dan Wesson. (More on that in a moment, stay tuned!) I've heard good things about the Smith & Wesson 1911s but as of yet I don't have one. Although I've heard lots of hell-raising about the external extractors featured on the S&W pistols, from some of what I've read, Kimber was the company that soured the American gun buyer on that deviation from the original design. They had it on their 1911s for a while but eventually went back to the internal extractor. I will say that the only trouble I've had with either of my Kimbers was a weak magazine spring on the Tactical Ultra II -- and that gun is not only one of the external extractor models, but it is also one of those infamous 3-inch-barreled pistols. And if you visit the gun boards for any length of time you'll find people raising ten kinds of hell about the micro 1911s. They're either very good or very bad -- if you get one that runs you're golden, but if you get one that doesn't run, it'll NEVER be 100%. Fortunately mine works, but again, I've heard a lot of people say that the shortest 1911 you'll be able to deal with is one of the Commander-size pistols with the 4.25" barrel. I'd say that for the .45 or the 10mm that's a pretty good compromise -- anything shorter and I'd be more worried about the corresponding velocity loss, more so with the .45 since it's big and sloooow to begin with. But then many of the worries about said velocity loss, from what I understand, come from the fact that many if not most people use hollow-points in their personal defensive weapon. I've never driven anything across the chrony with my micro 1911, and no matter what, at closer ranges with ball ammo it's still going to beat the hell out of a sharp stick.
Back to the Kimbers in general, though (back to you, Bob!)...I've heard people say that when you buy a Colt, you pay a premium for the name. To what extent that's true of the Colts I do not know, but I tend to think you definitely pay for the perceived prestige of the name Kimber when you plunk down the cash for one. I still would like to have an Eclipse Custom II in 10mm one day, though.