After years of use and thousands of rounds of ammunition the Kimber .45 is none the worse for wear.
After years of use and thousands of rounds of ammunition the Kimber .45 is none the worse for wear.

A Modern 1911

Getting back to the Kimber Gold Combat; the controls are properly fitted. The safety locks crisply into the slide with a good indent. The trigger is smooth and breaks at an ideal 5 pounds with no creep or over travel. The grip safety releases the trigger about halfway to full compression. The slide runs smoothly across the frame. The Kimber achieves good fit through tight tolerances. It is not so tight as to present a difficulty in break-in or to produce malfunctions but such tight fit reduces eccentric wear. There is no perceptible play in the slide. Don’t believe that overly tight fitting is required for first-class practical accuracy. The Kimber is tight but not so tight that lint, dirt or other material may cause it to tie up.

Among the first modifications to the 1911 was to modify and lengthen the dust cover in the 1911A1 in order to protect the mechanism from foreign matter. The balance between reliability and accuracy must favor reliability. The pistol is a Gold Combat, remember? For makers who understand the balance compromise is not necessary. If you understand the three-point pedestal method of barrel fit then you know what I mean. It is necessary to pay for care in fit and the Gold Combat costs a bit more than other pistols.

Consistency of construction pays off big dividends in longevity. The barrel returns to the same place after each shot. This limits slop and eccentric wear. The extractor picks up the extractor groove exactly the same for every cartridge. The ejector doesn’t deviate. When you wonder what you are paying for when the price edging close to $1,500 you have to understand some things. When you begin with a false premise you cannot reach an accurate conclusion. Sloppy is sloppy. Precision properly executed means long life for the handgun. In short, you get what you pay for and in this case you are paying for precision and performance.

The Gold Match has all of the features we could ask for but the fit is most important. The pistol features forward cocking serrations. Take them or leave them they are a feature of tactical-grade 1911 handguns. The pistol also features excellent high-visibility sights with Meprolight self-luminous Tritium inserts. These bold clear sights are ideal for all-around use. The pistol features an ambidextrous safety design dissimilar to any other Kimber in my collection. The beavertail safety subtly lowers the bore axis as well as making the pistol more comfortable in firing +P loads. The grips are high quality checkered rosewood. They are reminiscent of the classic double diamond checkered pattern.

There is also a very well done checkered front strap. Formerly found only on top of the line custom handguns, the Kimber custom shop has done a fine job with these serrations. Some feel that a checkered front strap is uncomfortable during a long firing session or a 1,000 round training course. My reply is, “Wear gloves.” The Kimber also features a magazine guide. While we are not likely to be caught in a running gun battle, the magazine guide is a plus during administrative handling and in range practice. The pistol also features a full-length guide rod. While controversial, the FLGR is an aid in certain situations. Just one of these situations is in firing off a barricade. If you bump the slide the FLGR will prevent the pistol from being knocked out of battery.

The proof of a good gun is in the firing. This report comes after many months and thousands of rounds of ammunition. For the majority of range outings and during training I have used the Oregon Trail 230-grain Laser Cast bullet over enough Titegroup powder for 830 fps. In using this load for economy and others for testing, the pistol has never failed to feed, chamber, fire or eject. Practical accuracy off hand has been excellent. The Kimber is a fast pistol on target and it tracks well when engaging multiple targets. There is nothing like a Government Model for this type of work.


  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.