Kimber describes their Custom II as “one of the finest all around pistols available from Kimber”, and it is really hard to argue with this claim. No Kimber Custom II review would be complete without trying to verify that claim, but we’re pretty sure that you’ll agree with Kimber’s marketing department. It truly is one of their finest offerings, so let’s see why!
Who is it for?
Well it isn’t for somebody who wants a polymer frame knockabout handgun of no great beauty. The Kimber Custom II is for people who carry a full size 1911, and appreciate fine American craftsmanship. While there are plenty of full size 1911’s on the market, few approach the near custom quality Kimber offers. With an MSRP of around $850, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything other than a fairly stock 1911 with a shiny finish and an expensive brand name. Kimber takes it further, and offers a match quality pistol built to tight, custom production specs.
What this means is, not only is this not your grandfather’s 1911, it’s a 1911 for people who want or need a high end 1911, without paying high end prices. Law enforcement, private citizens, target shooters, and those who like the finer things in life will all naturally gravitate towards this gun.
A Kimber Custom II review reveals a lot of fantastic features. A stainless steel frame is paired with a traditional steel slide and mated with an ultra reliable full length guide rod. The match grade barrel is stainless steel, while the lightweight aluminum trigger has a crisp 4-5 pound pull. Rosewood grips complete the look on the Custom II, which is available in a 7 round .45 version or a 9 round 9mm model.
Snag free low profile three dot sights complete the basic package, all of which come together to give the shooter a top quality 1911 style handgun.
The breakdown is identical to any standard 1911. After removing the magazine and ensuring the chamber is unloaded, lock back the slide push out the slide retaining pin. For most use, no further disassembly is required. The barrel can be removed by rotating the barrel bushing, and sliding the barrel out of the slide after removing the barrel bushing. The full length guide rod and recoil spring may also be removed at this time.
Basically, if you’ve ever field stripped or taken down a 1911, you’ve got this. If not, the owner’s manual makes the process very simple.
No Kimber Custom II review would be complete without an explanation of the Kimber break in process. Because Kimber builds guns with custom match grade tolerances, a final fitting of parts must take place through initial use, as the various moving parts wear against each other for the first time. To accomplish this, shoot 400-500 rounds of standard ball ammo, stopping to lubricate every hundred rounds. During this time you may experience various malfunctions and stoppages, but this is a normal part of the break in period, and you cannot expect normal operation without first breaking in your gun.
After breaking your Custom II in, maintain it as you would any other quality handgun. Clean and lube it after every shooting session, lubricate all moving parts, and be careful not to over lubricate. Wipe off excess oil after lubrication, and you’ll be good.
Safety and Reliability
1911 style handguns are among the safest ever made, rivaling only modern revolvers for robust safety features. The Kimber Custom II can be carried “cocked and locked” with a round in the chamber, and the hammer locked back and the thumb safety engaged. Because both the thumb and grip safety must be disengaged for the gun to fire, it is extremely safe.
After the initial break in period, your Kimber should prove to be extremely reliable. However, any semi automatic pistol may be picky about the type of ammo it shoots well with, so be sure to shoot several different kinds of hollowpoint ammo to find the one that works best with your gun.
Comfort and Recoil
Full size, steel frame 1911’s are extremely comfortable to shoot. Even when shooting powerful .45 loads, the recoil is minimal. 9mm guns are even easier to shoot, and offer an extra two rounds in the magazine.
You’ll find that there is a reason the 1911 has stuck around for over a century, and that is because they are easy handling, easy shooting guns that offer top notch performance with an ergonomically superior design.
What’s in the Starter Kit?
Kimber ships two magazines, a cable lock and owner’s manual with the gun. Consider adding at least one additional magazine, a basic cleaning kit, holster, mag pouch, and maybe different grips if you don’t like the factory ones.
Accessories and Upgrades?
Kimber offers some extremely nice grip upgrades, including giraffe bone grips that cost about half as much as the Custom II itself.
But because this is a full sized 1911, you could literally strip the frame down to nothing, and build an entire new gun with off the shelf and custom parts. You might consider changing out the sights if you carry this gun regularly, or getting a set of rubberized grips. You could also add a compensated barrel for serious target shooting, or even just enjoy the gun as it sits. However, you can rest assured if you ever want to modify something on this gun, you’ll have many, many different options.
By the Numbers
After the initial break in period, a properly maintained Kimber Custom II should perform flawlessly.
Kimber ships this gun with a match grade barrel and builds the gun to precise tolerances. If you can shoot at a match level, you’ll get match accuracy from it.
Classic 1911 handling. However, single action semi autos aren’t for everyone, and it is a 100 year old design.
Traditional 1911 looks lightly modified for the needs of the modern gun owner. Add in rosewood grips and several different finish options, and you’ve got a real winner.
1911’s can be customized almost without limit.
Bang for the Buck
A match grade, custom quality 1911 for under $900? I’ll take it!
As you’d expect from a flagship model, the Kimber Custom II excels in every possible way. The only reason you’d not like this gun is if you don’t like 1911’s. And that’s just unamerican.
The Kimber Custom II is proof that the 1911 continues to be a superior pistol. In addition, the sub 10 round magazine capacity makes it ideal for states that restrict magazine capacity.
Built to be a match grade gun that is suitable for every day carry, but priced around the level of a better quality production gun, the Kimber Custom II should sell for twice what it does. But it doesn’t. What more can you ask for?