Even after service in every major military conflict since World War I, the tried and true 1911 design continues to be duplicated or refined by most major pistol manufacturers and is widely used in competition, law enforcement and military applications.
Over the years I've shot a number of 1911s from Springfield mil-spec basic models to Colt Gold Cup and Delta Elite versions. Recently I had the chance to run a number of rounds through a Kimber Custom Stainless II semiauto 1911 chambered in .45 ACP, and I found it to be an exceptional firearm.
I like to test handguns shooting offhand. While I recognize the industry standard for testing accuracy is to fire several groups from a rest, it's a standard I rebel against. Semiautomatic handguns are primarily for self-defense, competition and military uses. Seldom in these situations is there time to seek a stable rest before engaging a target. I believe the measure of a semiauto handgun's performance should be judged by shooting it from the positions or stances in which one is most likely to use the firearm. More on the firing results in a moment, but first a bit about the Kimber Custom 1911.
This is a firearm loaded with features. The frame, slide barrel, bushing and chamber are all match grade. The match-grade barrel is machined from a single piece of solid steel for accuracy and longevity, and other extras standard on a Kimber Custom include an extended thumb safety, beveled magazine well, a high-ride beavertail safety grip and slightly extended magazine and slide releases. I was impressed by how the slight extension of the releases enhanced the speed and efficiency of reloading.
The appearance of the Kimber Custom is breathtaking, and the fit and finish are exceptional. Contrasting, black-checkered, synthetic grips team with contrasting, black, low-profile sights to make it one fine-looking gun. The sight radius is just shy of 7 inches, and the empty weight is about 2.7 pounds. An aluminum match-grade trigger is set at the factory to break around 4.5 pounds, and the trigger on the gun I shot had just a slight amount of creep before catching and breaking cleanly. MSRP on the gun I fired is about $875.
My ammunition for test purposes was Fiocchi 230-grain FMJ .45 ACP, and the Kimber fed every round flawlessly. There was one paper target left, as I was the last shooter of the day. Shooting offhand at 15 paces, the Kimber ripped a ragged hole across the center of the target just below the 10 ring. Five of the eight shots I fired produced holes touching each other.
Next, I set a 12-oz. soft drink can out 20 yards downrange and loaded another eight-round magazine. Eight shots were fired, each of which hit the can and sent it farther downrange, until the final shot hit it at more than 25 yards. I consider this outstanding accuracy for offhand shooting from a .45 semiauto. Wanting to be sure it wasn't just a lucky string of shots, I set up two more cans and fired three more magazines. I missed the cans only three times out of 24 shots, but by that time the cans were on their sides, riddled with holes, and were 25-30 yards away … and I didn't miss by much.
I came away feeling the Kimber Custom Stainless II is probably one of the finest .45 ACP firearms I've had the privilege to shoot. I give it a "highly recommended" rating and think you'll find my assessment is right on target.