Gun Review: Kimber Gold Combat 1911

The D & L Sports heavy duty magazine worked well with the Kimber magazine guide.
The D & L Sports heavy duty magazine worked well with the Kimber magazine guide.

For those who do not embrace the 1911 let me task them to simply share the passion with a 1911 man. Go to the range, try a quality 1911, let a few rounds fly. Chances are you will agree that the 1911 is a great design. The first time I held a .45 something in the walnut grip said “friend.” Nothing has diminished that feeling in the intervening 35 years.

The Commander .45 rode with me through several difficulties. The concept is pretty simple when it comes to a good pistol. I do not pick the best until I test them all. I recognize performance. There is no better “go-anywhere, do-anything, anytime-anywhere” handgun than a good 1911.

Will Smith is getting the measure  of the .45 in a fast pass at steel plates.
Will Smith is getting the measure of the .45 in a fast pass at steel plates.

Today I often carry and shoot a thoroughly modern pistol that is among the best 1911 pistols I have ever handled. The Kimber Gold Combat is Kimber’s idea of a first-class combat pistol. The pistol is a consensus of the opinion and demand of a number of shooters- Kimber simply made it happen. I have been around the block with the 1911, built 1911 handguns, disassembled the pistols in detail, and fitted barrels, safety levers and triggers. I don’t mind admitting that I made a few mistakes and learned along the way, but it has been a long time since I made a mistake. I know how a 1911 is supposed to be fitted.

Appearance is one thing. Some feel the 1911 is ugly. But the ones who call her “old ugly” or “old slabslides” often do so with real affection. Someone out of the fold had best keep their derogatory comments to themselves.

The 1911 does best what a fighting pistol does and that is deliver a heavy blow accurately and quickly. The pistol’s balance is ideal. After trying the modern polymer pistols I find them slide heavy. I tend to pull the muzzle low and hit low. The 1911 is well balanced. The pistol is both reliable in action and robust in service. It takes a great amount of abuse to knock a 1911 out of the game. The trigger offers straight-to-the-rear single action compression. The 1911 is often clean and crisp from the factory but with a minimum of effort the trigger may be polished to a high degree of smoothness. My recommendation is to fire the piece until it smoothes up.

Let’s touch a little on longevity. I have seen so many 1911 handguns at the 20,000 round count I have lost count. I own a number myself. I have sources in the military that tell me that they are using World War II era frames and slides with well over 100,000 rounds on them.

These figures are reasonable to low when you consider the training that goes into producing a special team operator. As a young peace officer beginning in 1978 I often fired 500 rounds a month and when I had time to load ammunition, it was not usual to fire 500 rounds in a week. I believed in quantity and I learned to shoot the hard way with little formal instruction. I can not help but wonder if I had used but a single pistol could a 1911 have taken the several hundred thousand rounds I have spread about a battery of pistols? The answer is probably yes.


  1. The review was an excellent defense of the M1911A1 and the improvements that gun makers such as Kimber have made to the venerable pistol. Kimber, Caspian and others have engineered sturdier pistols without doing anything, at least in my opinion, that would cause JMB to roll over in his grave.

    The first time I got my hands on a 1911, after people told me I could never handle it, I fell in love. I now have three, a government model and an officers’ model and soon will have a custom built CCO.

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