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Kimber: The Best Gun Maker in the US? That Depends

Kimber
Kimber 1911 Gun. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Just How Good are Kimber’s Guns? While it was Colt Firearms that produced the first of the John Moses Browning-designed M1911 .45 pistols, today the market leader in the category is Kimber. And it isn’t hard to see why, as the company has become known for building fine sporting firearms that are better than even the classics from the golden age of American firearms.

Its firearms have been used by the USA Shooting Team, the LAPD SWAT and the United States Marines assigned to Central Command. This has allowed Kimber to become the world’s largest producer of 1911 pistols, while hunters have used the company’s rifles around the globe.

Rough Ride 

While Kimber today dominates the 1911 market like no other, the company wasn’t an immediate success after its founding in 1979 by Australian Jack Warne after he moved to Clackamas, Oregon. Warne had previously owned and operated the Australian firearms manufacturing company Sporting Arms of Adelaide, South Australia. After selling that firm and moving to America he opened Kimber of Oregon, where the company produced .22 long rifle caliber rifles.

An attempt to attract investors in a private stock offering fell short, Kimber of Oregon was sold, and by the 1990s its assets were sold off. Jack Warne founded a new company that produced rifle scope mounts, while son Greg Warne worked with Les Edelman and founded the new Kimber of America, which soon grew in size while offering quality products such as its line of 1911 pistols. Greg Warne left the company within a decade and passed away in 2006, but today the privately-owned firm has now been relocated to Troy, Alabama.

Despite being based in a state that isn’t exactly known for its support of the Second Amendment, the company has been a long time friend of the industry as well as pro-gun politicians. A 2012 story from CBSNews.com reported that Kimber of America was the first firearms manufacturer to donate to a political super PAC when it donated $100,000 to the “Red White and Blue Fund” in support of then presidential-candidate Rick Santorum.

2020 Products From Kimber of America 

Focusing in for a moment on some of the more recent Kimber models last year, For 2020 Kimber introduced its 1911 RAPIDE Black Ice, which featured a stepped cocking serrations, slide lightening cuts that increase lock time, a match-grade trigger and Tru-Glo TFX Pro Day/Night Sights.

The company added two new models to its Micro 9 lineup including the Amethyst, which features a Purple PVD slide with laser engraved border, KimPro II Silver Frame, purple and black G-10 grips with three vertical serrations and standard night sights; and the Micro 9 Triari, which offers a deep relief laser engraved, stacked cube, front and rear cocking patterns on the slide and grips with stacked cube pattern for positive grip.

In its K6s Revolver line, Kimber added three new models for 2020 including the DASA 4-inch Combat and Target, and the K6s DASA Texas Edition. The Target model featured extended three-finger grips for added comfort as well as target adjustable rear sights to improve accuracy; while the four-inch Combat model featured an extended combat grip with finger grooves for better control along with white dot sights. The K6s Texas was released as the collector edition piece with a two-inch barrel, G10 ivory grips and the Texas state motto and flag engraved on the frame.

Also new for 2020 were four new Pro Carbon Rifles that joined the company’s Open Range lineup. These included the Open Range Pro Carbon (Open Country) and Open Range Pro Carbon (Granite), and like all of Kimber’s rifles, there were patterned after the storied, Mauser-style, controlled feed actions with three-position wing safeties and locking bolts.

The rifles offered high-level performance features including the all-weather KimPro finish, extremely strong, light, and well-balanced AG Composites carbon fiber stocks, and were offered in either soft-touch GORE Optifade Open Country or textured granite. The rifles featured a market-leading, 24-inch PROOF Research, carbon fiber, barrels in either 6.5 Creedmoor or .308 Winchester, and weighed less than six and a half pounds with muzzle brakes.

“We are very excited to add these rifles to the Kimber lineup for 2020,” said Chris Faust, product manager for Kimber. “We were looking for cutting edge performance to enhance our popular line of lightweight, accurate mountain rifles. Partnering with PROOF Research is a great fit as they are the market leader in high tech, carbon fiber, barrels.”

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites.

Editor’s Note: This piece has been updated since publication. 

Written By

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com. Suciu is also a contributing writer for Forbes Magazine.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Dean Sarti

    December 6, 2021 at 10:21 pm

    I’ve read a few articles about Kimber’s from supposedly reputable shooters and they talked about them jamming and stove piping. My wife and I have put a few thousand rounds of first factory then my reloads through without any problems. Because I totally disassembled and cleaned plus oiled the micro before ever going to the range. Any dummy that doesn’t do that with a new gun deserves jams. I would recommend a Kimber to anyone!

  2. John Gaddis

    December 6, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    Numbers are ammo picky and look pretty in a wall display case.

    I’ve owned 5 and fixed them to be useful then sold or traded them.

    Dan Wesson, Ed Brown and a few others out perform Custom Numbers out of the box, hell CZ, Sig, and a few others blow Kimbers away. I sold two Pro Carry II Kimbers them bought an Metro Amigo smoothed it a bit and it shot consistent 2 inch groups at 25 yards and rang 6 inch gongs at 75 yards all day long.

  3. Bill Burkey

    December 7, 2021 at 6:22 am

    I bought a Kimber black ice rapid in 10 mm after looking for close to a year the gun was horribly inaccurate shot at least a foot or more to the left at 15 yd and scattered them in about a foot and a half circle using various ammunition that I could acquire nothing seemed to change it send it back to the factory got it back fairly quick absolutely had improved a little bit but nowhere acceptable I got a very rude prick dealing with at the factory this is a piece of s*** company would never ever ever buy anything from this f****** company ever again nothing but a group of arrogant assholes who can’t give a s*** less about what they’re producing or who they have to downtrodden to make sure they don’t get a bad report on putting out a faulty weapon disgusted completely

  4. Vin

    December 7, 2021 at 8:32 am

    This article was ruined by the shocking amount of constant pop up ads.

  5. Tracy William Dowdy

    December 7, 2021 at 10:55 am

    I have a Blackie it will not feed a complete mag without a malfunction usually failure to feed. I own a pro carry and a tl2 both a little older but work fine.

  6. D Y

    December 7, 2021 at 12:51 pm

    Kimber has made a name for itself. For those that don’t know any better, they must be good because you hear so much about them. Everyone that knows anything knows they generally are problematic. And as stated, guns like those from Dan Wesson are good out of the box.

  7. Jeff Adamson

    December 7, 2021 at 2:28 pm

    I just bought a springfield emissary ..about 1400. My buddy just bought a Kimber at a similar price. We went to the range today..12/7. Both gun were first disassembled, cleaned and oiled. All ammo was 230gr ball…winchester and federal.
    My gun ran great. 250 rounds no issues.
    My buddy’s kimber..jammed on both mags for both of us with both kinds of ammo.
    Your mileage may vary…but Im glad i made the choice I made

  8. joe

    December 8, 2021 at 9:51 am

    I dont know about all this. Im gonna say Id take my Springfield TRP OPERATOR Over any Kimber made By Far. Kimbers are pretty Bit for the Ugly World out there my TRP is alwaya by my side.

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