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New guy here, with doubts/questions/little knowledge... afte

4252 Views 16 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  ACP
Gentlemen; after having been away from shooting for years and just getting back to it, I'm really glad I happened upon this forum. I apologize up front if I step on anyone just from my lack of knowledge. Frankly, I'm not sure where to begin.

I would like to purchase a 1911 (my first), and I had considered a Kimber product... until I read a great deal of the posts here. I am not a man of money; I have 7 children (yes, that firearm works just fine, thank you), and hence money disappears around here. Is there ANY production 1911, around the $700-$1,000 range that is properly manufactured, or does every one have to be rebuilt after purchase?

Mr. Burns, Mr. Vickers; I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with your names as I am new to this. Nor would you be familiar with mine. In that sense, I suppose we are equal. I gather that you are both superior gunsmiths from what I've read here, however. What would your personal recommendations be to a poor Tennessee hillbilly?

A bit of background, for anyone that cares. I'm in the music biz, have been all my life. My love of guns came from my Great Uncle Al who worked for Colt for many years. (You should have seen the matching gold western 45's they gave him for retirement... wow!) Anyway, I got back into this when I found a Colt Anaconda for sale in a pawn shop that was in perfect condition. Looked to have had one round fired, one faint black circle at the front of the cylinder. I was hopelessly rehooked. Now, I would like a 1911. Advice, please.

Sorry to have rambled.

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Hello, sir. I have an older Kimber that's run just fine from day one and several of my buddies have newer Kimbers that are giving no problems. I am not disputing Mr. Vickers nor saying this to "support" Dane, but I've just seen no problems. Of course, the number that I've seen compared to what they see is small.

If you've got to have it right now, I'd go with a Kimber. If you can wait a time and cough up about $200 more than the top price limit you mention, the Valtro seems to be the next rage. I'm interested in one of those myself.


Keep one thing in mind. If you did get a Kimber new and it had a problem, you could always send it back for correction. They do make a very good product. Just buy a base model. Some minor problems are had with all manufacturers. I just sent my Les Baer Stinger in for some corrective action. Doesn't mean it's a bad gun. Just one of those things. I've had problems with H&K's and Glocks also.

From one TN hillbilly to another.....
(Sumner County no less!)

IMHO, the Valtro is the best production 1911 pistol being built these days. VERY high quality steel and components. It has most of the "custom" touches already built into it from the factory.

You won't find one in a local gunstore yet, but you can order one and have it transferred through your local dealer.

Call John Jardine
He can fix you up.
I too would like to get a Valtro I'm just waiting for the fixsight model.
Thank you for swift replies. I am not in a hurry, as I am reevaluating my desires.

Mr. Zahn, a "base model." Does the pro carry fall into that, or do you mean just the custom? I am wanting this gun for my carry gun, and I would appreciate the 4" barrel for easier concealment, if it truly makes a difference. It would seem to me that the full 5" barrel would be harder to conceal, and a bit (trifling) slower to draw.

Mr. Cain, it's nice to meet another Sumner county cyber-billy, here of all places! Is this Valtro a USA product, or is it a "dam feriner?" :smile: [Hillbilly talk, for those that don't know.]

Thanks again; I look forward to further commentary.


See our thread on the Valtro pistol here

Go with the custom models. I have a stainless custom that I have had some extra work done to it and I love. I also some friends who have the same gun with nothing done and they shoot fine.
Maybe you should search on Kimber in this forum...There are gonna' be umpteen dozen opinions, all of which ahve been stated before!

After the search...get a base model....

Welcome! Looks like folks are responding with a great deal of advice already.

Knowing that money is an issue for you (and who doesn't have an issue with money? :smile: ), I would suggest you do lots of research. Think about the features that are important to you.

For example, do you want Novak style sights, or do you like adjustables such as Bo-Mar? Do you want a beavertail grip safety, or do you prefer the classic lines of a mil-spec gun? Do you like forward slide serrations, or plain? Do you prefer the round frontstrap of a Colt, or do you like the square feel of the Springfield? Will this be your only 1911, or will you be able to afford your "dream pistol" later?

Also ask yourself, "what do I want to do with this gun"? Self Protection? Use it as a concealed carry piece? Informal plinking at the range? IDPA or IPSC competition? Other competitions? How many rounds a year will you shoot? Thousands or hundreds?Answering these questions should also help you determine some things about what you need in a pistol.

For the amount of money you want to spend, there is some good variety. It is my suggestion that you think carefully about what you like and what you don't, just to make sure you get your money's worth.

Many of the mainstream 1911s today are very well made and reliable pistols, and like others have stated, if you get one that isn't 100% reliable, most manufacturers will make it right for you.

Good luck to you in whatever you decide.
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I have a Kimber "base model" Classic that I bought a few years back. It was fantastic right out of the box.

While it's true that something smaller will be easier to conceal, or at least give you more options on where to conceal it, many folks (including myself) have no problems concealing a full size 1911. The most important factor there is a good holster and belt...makes all the difference in the world.
Here's a lone dissenting voice. I have a Kimber (Classic Custom Target), a Springfield 1911A1 (with Novak sights, btw), a Colt Series 70 AND a Colt series 80. For a reliable, solid, functional basic gun, IMO I would recommend them in the following order:
Colt Series 80
Colt Series 70
Haven't handled the Valtro. Wasn't excited about the Colt 1991 stuff. Have heard great things about the Colt XS and XSE, but I live in California, and they aren't part of the Colt approved list out here, yet.
My take on Kimber is not on the same level of enthusiasm as some others. As looks go, the roll markings on the gun logo are so badly done that I immediately questioned the quality of either a. the materials used, or, b. the production capabilities of the company. In order to make it accurate I had to install an aftermarket barrel (EBrown). It's fairly accurate now - 1.5" @ 25yds from sandbags - but it was 3.5" to 4" with the factory barrel. Also had to have the trigger worked on. Since the model is a Classic Custom Target, I expected much more from it.
My take on Colt is, for my hands, they need a high rise grip safety and corresponding hammer to keep from biting the web on my hand. (XS and XSE's come that way, so they may be the ultimate gun of choice. But, out here, those modifications require extra money and gunsmith services. If they don't bite your hands, then the Colts would move up to first place on my list.
As it is, the Springfield is the only one that came "out of the box" to fit my needs and would fit you budget. Try it, I think you'll like it. Enjoy whatever you get.
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Another tack to try...The SA pistols come in various cofigurations as do the others...From a mil-spec base gun all the way to the SA Custom Shop, you can get anything you can dream up. If you are thinking of a build-up in the futurem your best deal, will be the base models...This way you are not paying for anything that will be removed for custom parts later. Many find the basic mil-spec models do everything they need in a pistol. You are truly flooded with choices...The best advice I've seen is to try to envision the "uses" this pistol will be put to...After that, many of these "choices" will disappear...

...just a thought;)
I just wanted to drop a note in here. You gentlemen are incredible. I am most pleased to have found this forum, and to find it so full of friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and expeditious people is terrific. I will certainly enjoy being a regular reader, and occasional poster here. I thank you.

Now... guess I'm going to have to consider continuing to squirrel away money here and there for a while. You folks have certainly managed to give the Valtro top consideration here. And, since I'm of *** descent (I know, that's not politically correct), it being a pizza product doesn't bother me a bit.


If it were a $20,000 Italian (Parazzi) shotgun we wouldn't think it an inferior pizza gun. :wink:

In cullo alla balena,

My first Kimber is Custom Classic that has had over 14½+ rounds though it. I carry it daily and shoot it at least once a month. This pistol is nearly 4 years old and I really have not had many problems. Early on I had trouble with lead SWC (Single Wad Cutters), but after testing the seating depth and adjusting it, I do not have problems with these type of rouds now (so long as the seating depth is proper).

I added Kimber Night Sights to it and a S&A (Smith & Alexander) Mag Well. I have NOT replaced anything internal except for the recoil springs.

My factory trigger was @ 4½lbs and has decreased with usage. More than likely I will be replacing these parts soon enough.

If you do not want to spend the money on the higher end Kimbers, then start with a Cusotm Classic. The other Kimbers I own are all CC's and I am quite pleased with them.

If your looking for a Commander sized model (4¼" barrel), the look for a used 70 or earlier series Colt Combat Commander that is in good shape.

These are my preferences and many other, more learned folks, may suggest otherwise.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Denny Church on 2001-04-26 18:21 ]</font>
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Full size (5" goverment model) Kimber Custom Classic. Simply the best out of the box "base" pistol I've ever owned. It's my eighth 1911 in 26 years of shooting them, I was a dedicated wheelgun guy. Soon will pick up a Compact or CDP model for concealed carry. Springfield is a close second. Still way to much dependence on South American parts their to make me want one however. Good luck and have fun with your choice.
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