10 Lessons From The Worst Gun She Ever Owned

LuckyGunner Lounge has a new writer: Melody Lauer, who comes with an full set of credentials as an NRA handgun instructor and rangemaster. Her first article is well worth reading, documenting her abortive first handgun purchase – a Kimber Ultra Carry:

The day I turned 21 was one of the most memorable days of my life. Not only for the legal drinks at the local Applebee’s, but for the hour-long trek to a not-so-local gun store to make the most exciting, and ultimately worst, purchase of my life—a Kimber Stainless Ultra Carry chambered in .40S&W.

I took a lot of pride in choosing my first handgun. I believed I’d done my research.

Being new to firearms, I made a list of requirements and handed them to my husband. He came up with several guns that would meet these requirements and off we went, stumbling through a, sadly, anticlimactic purchase.

Kimber Ultra Carry

All that’s left of my Kimber Stainless Ultra Carry is this photo and a few bitter memories


I had never been so excited as when I walked into that gun store, or so worried as when the owner implied that I was making a straw purchase for my husband. I was never so insulted as when he tried to talk me out of my beautiful Kimber and into a snub-nose revolver, or so stoic as when I demanded my 1911, or so annoyed at his lack of enthusiasm that this was my first handgun purchase.  I was never so confused as to why I couldn’t hit the target, or so infuriated that the gun wouldn’t fire three rounds without it jamming, or so exasperated as seeing the amount of money I spent on gunsmiths trying to get it to run. Finally; I was never so relieved as when a coworker bought it off of me for a fraction of what I dumped into it.

I shed actual tears over that gun, but learned some valuable lessons along the way.

Many years of concealed carry, a few dozen training classes, eight years as a firearms instructor, and two jobs behind gun counters have come and gone since that Kimber. I worked my way through a myriad of autos and revolvers, in all manner of calibers, carried in a number of different holsters.  Along the way, I’ve learned a few things about buying a gun.

I substantially agree with the ten lessons she relays, which are as follows:











She closes the article with a question for her readers, which could make for engaging conversation:

Have you ever bought a gun and wish you hadn’t? What other lessons have you learned that hard way that other shooters might be able to learn from? Let us know in the comments below.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


  • JumpIf NotZero

    I was lucky growing up that my dad who was a firearms instructor was a big proponent of 9mm and Glocks. Saw first hand early on what works and what was now what I consider old fudd stuff. Years of waffling around to other guns and I currently find myself with a custom g17. People put way too much emphasis on the tool and not the skills behind it I’m finding.

    Got to skip a lot those errors above. Pretty much just recommend lesson 8 now, get what fits. Although I just flat out won’t recommend anything other than Glock, M&P, Sig P320, HKVP9/Walther PPQ in very specific instances. It’s a small market when you get down to it.

    Worst handgun ever purchased: Walther P5, had this great reputation of being some high quality gun, a classy piece, it was larger and heavier than a glock19 and held like 8 rounds, wasn’t anything special at all. Beware what “collectors” tell you, they are collectors and not shooters.

    Also the P22, that gun is just garbage. Stupid trigger still works on safe, terrible! Bought a S&W 2213 like I had when I was young, love that gun, suppresses very well.

    • Green Hell

      For once, nice to see a good comment from you not written to start a flame war or insult someone’s opinion.)

      • Eff disqus

        Plus one.

    • Nicks87

      “People put way too much emphasis on the tool and not the skills behind it”
      I cant think of a more true statement concerning firearms.

      • A.D. Hopkins

        Pretty hard to overemphasize reliability, though. The Irish patriot Kevin Barry was caught and eventually executed because his Luger jammed three times in one gunfight with the British Army.

    • Jack Morris

      Yup, the P22 is definitely garbage. When my slide cracked and I began the process of working with the Walther customer service:
      (Me): Is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening in the future? Should I put a stronger recoil spring in?
      (Walther CS Rep): Not really. It’s not an expensive gun. It’s going to wear out.

      5 months later, I received a replacement slide. 5 MONTHS. Screw you too, Walther.

      • M

        The slides are made from pot metal. Would stay way away

      • Anon. E Maus

        The thing you need to know about .22 caliber guns from Germany is that a LOT of them are made by companies like Umarex, a company that specializes in airguns and pelletguns. Walther doesn’t actually make the P22, they outsource it, most manufacturers who make a .22 in Germany outsource it to companies like Umarex.

        How to say, what you’re basically buying is an Umarex pelletgun redesigned to a .22 rimfire. Not exactly how it happens but it’s more or less what you’re paying for. These guns don’t stand up to the pressures of .22 Long Rifle for very long because the manufacturer doesn’t make products that do.

        An actual Walther P99 or PPQ will actually be built to stand up to 9mm/.40 pressures, with good polymer and good steel, because it’s made by a company that makes real guns.

  • Shawn

    Married at 21?

    • Paul White

      what’s wrong with that?

      • Shawn

        Nothing wrong with it per se. I’d recommend that most people complete their education, start a career and see a bit of the world before getting married. But to each his (or her) own.

      • Guest

        Sometimes can results in buyers remorse, like the aforementioned Kimber.

        • Paul White

          Is there actually data on divorce rates vs age that the person got married at?

          I know a lot of people (us included) that got married that age that are still together 10+ years later and god I’m old. I’ve also known enough folks that got hitched in their 30s and divorced….although some of those were on their 3rd or 4th which makes me think they should just stay single!

          • Bill

            Marriage is the leading cause of divorce.

          • bucherm

            “Is there actually data on divorce rates vs age that the person got married at?”

            Yup, the Bible Belt tends to have the highest percentage of marriages before 20, while having the higher rates of divorce than the national average. Obviously, this doesn’t mean below 20 marriage=divorce, but it does imply that the environment that creates this phenomenon correlates rather strongly with divorce.

    • Not really sure I understand the relevance of this comment.

      • Bill

        Because someone else made me put on my psychologist hat, technically it could be relevant because current neuroscience is trending towards the concept that neural anatomy doesn’t complete development until the late 20’s. That has a lot of implications, not only in cognition and emotive development, but also psychomotor skills. I’m just guessing, but I bet it’s why you see a lot of younger athletes in sports that don’t require a lot of finesse, and pool sharks and brain surgeons tend to be older.

        But that’s just me.

      • charlesrhamilton

        You must be new to the internet…:’)

      • John

        A smart, capable gun girl generates a lot of interest on the internet. And a lot of jealousy of, and directed at, their inevitable spouse.

    • Joe

      That was my first thought as well….

  • Pete

    Never sorry I bought a particular gun, learned something every time, but big lesson for me is to never have a carry gun with a safety catch. It is not just that you have to fumble to get it off in an emergency, it is that it can jostle off while carrying, or you (yes, even you) can neglect to put it on in the first place. Years ago at the end of my shift I found the Colt Mustang that I carried cocked and locked in an ankle holster was still cocked, but no longer locked. I am certain I put the safety on, so it jostled off…or else I am wrong and I neglected to put it on in the first place. Not good either way. So I went back to my PPK. And you guessed it, one day I took it from my ankle holster and the safety catch was on. I had forgotten to take it off after putting it on to drop the hammer, so it would not have fired if I pulled it in an emergency. Safety catches are relics of the last century when auto pistols were all single action only.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      I have a Shield with a safety. I never engage, but always have to disengage.

      • Pete

        Sell it and buy the new one without the safety.

      • Nicks87

        Yep and if you don’t train yourself to disengage that safety every time you draw you are setting yourself up for failure or worse. That is the main reason I carry Glocks. An external safety is just one more thing that could go wrong in a self defense situation.

        • Sulaco

          And lets not even get into the seeming problem with those who want to carry and make us like to carry condition 3.

    • KLP

      I’d add a caveat to that in that a full size gun meant to be carried in the open would do well to have an external safety – not necessarily for the safety aspect, but as most 1911 shooters know, a wide thumb safety makes an awesome thumb shelf.

      Other than that, a safety on a concealed gun will probably be too narrow to be useful or too wide to not dig into your flesh.

    • mosinman

      i just use the grip safety on my 1911

      • Panzercat

        Grip safties rip the arms off their users when trying to fire in a reverse grip with just your index finger and a thumb. A glock owner told me so.

    • Paul White

      I bought a lorinco once. I’m kinda sorry I bought it. Only thing I learned was that Lorinco was crap

    • Sulaco

      Not to mention most if not all older (not SW made say) PPK’s were not drop safe and quite a few AD’s with injuries have resulted in not carrying with the safety on those guns…

  • Swarf

    The only gun I regret getting was also my first. I was new to firearms in general (having not grown up around them), and dipped my toes in the pool a little too cautiously, with too little research in to what I actually should have started with.

    I decided I wanted a .22 with the look and feel of a full size without investing too much money in something I might not ultimately be interested in (a dozen guns later, it turns out I was interested).

    None of those are unreasonable considerations, but what I ended up with was a Chiappa (aka Puma) 1911-22.

    Absolute piece of crap. Wouldn’t run a whole mag without a failure of some kind.

    Hours of polishing later and it’s fixed! It will now run one full mag without a failure. The next one, however…

    • Swarf

      I should say “won’t run” as I still have it.

      See, unlike Chiappa, I won’t sell someone a gun that doesn’t work.

  • anon

    Subcompact 1911
    bull barell
    .40 short and weak

    Yeah, i could have told you that was going to be a bad decision.

  • Seburo

    But the 1911 is the bestest gun in the world ,punctures body armor and kills terrorists in one shot. The fanboys told me so!

    • Dan

      You’d best quit sniffing them polymer fumes boy, done made you retarded

      • Seburo

        I since 1911 fanboy butthurt. At least polymer strikers work. There was a reason it replaced or do I need to copy and paste why the 1911 was crappy combat pistol for both combat and carry again?

        “One of SOCOM’s premiereunits carried 1911’s from day 1 until the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan kicked off. They too found that the environment’s the 1911’s were exposed to during their more lengthy deployments were not conducive to a properly working pistol.
        If they were running short direct action missions the pistols would be fine, but if they had to deploy outside with wire for days or weeks on end the reliability of their secondary weapons slowly deteriorated. This unit had asked
        the Army’s Marksmanship Training Unit (AMU) for assistance in improving the reliability and capacity of their 1911’s. After many different configurations,many changes and hundreds of tests they scrapped the program and purchased modern polymer pistols in a non-standard caliber.”

        • Dan

          You did not seriously devote all that time to my comment. You have exceeded the recommended level of butthurt. Good to know that if i am every playing super secret SOCOM tier 0 operator not to use a 1911 because it will definitely fail, I’ll be sure to pack my Glock. Disclaimer: I was and still am trolling you.

          • Seburo

            It was a cut and paste. Because 1911 fanboys still believe their riced up guns are any good.

          • Dan

            And some of them are good, you are showing your polymer fanboy status by denouncing every 1911 as a failure.

          • Seburo

            Because It is a failure? Never used a 1911 that didn’t fail or break for little reason.
            The original service pistol was just a big, heavy, single-action POS that was no more accurate than any other pistol of the time, and was only notable for being the first pistol chambered in the godly .45 Automatic Colt Pistol round (ACP). But when you spend $2,000 on aftermarket parts, you can do anything.

          • Dan

            Fanboy status elevated to super fanboy. I’m guessing your polymer weapons don’t break? You know what I’m done, your comments tell me you are not a rational person and I have devoted way too much time on what was just a casual troll, because honestly I don’t care if you like the 1911 or not.

          • Seburo

            Only due to wearing down due to use and aged parts. The problem isn’t a pistol breaking, it’s working at all. Pistols shouldn’t be as fragile as a katana.

            It’s that the weapon itself is flawed and many of them are the reason Browning made the Hi-Power.

            It’s you’re own fault for being bad at trolling.

          • Dan

            Bad at trolling? If anything it’s my fault for not realizing just how bad your love for everything polymer is. Fragile as a katana? If you wanna lend me a polymer gun we can certainly see which on breaks first. My feelings don’t get hurt when someone bashes a particular gun but you rise to the level of the people that still use the events of vietnam to bash the AR. I’d better sell off my 1911 the way it sounds is that it could self destruct at any time.

          • Seburo

            What ever you do with you’re overpriced race gun I don’t care. The 1911 mall ninja fanboys bully people in buying crappy guns due to nostalgia.
            Most people I know that have 1911s have them at the smith multiple times before they get them tuned they way they like.

            The 1911 fanatics hate polymer weapons and call them ‘combat tupperware’; despite the fact that anyone with a brain and basic knowledge of material science can tell you that polymers are stronger, lighter and withstand more temp. Resistant than any metal that exists; in fact
            most of the strength of steel comes from the carbon in it.

            How many aftermarket parts does a Glock/XD/SiG/Kahr/Beretta need to be “right”? How much gunsmithing do those guns need to be made reliable?

            The Army props up Colt instead of letting it die so the they and their rifle deserve it.

          • Dan

            Well i don’t own a race gun, but I have seen many a smithed up polymer race gun as well, guess how many times I’ve had my 1911 tuned? 0. Yep never been to a gunsmith never broke, never jammed never failed to work. Sorry you have been “bullied” and your ego hasn’t recovered from feeling like you’re inferior for buying a plastic gun. Apparently your feelings have not allowed you to see I own a 1911 and numerous polymer guns. Settle down bro, you’ll be ok even if your plastic guns will break before the metal ones

  • Joe

    I’ve worked at a shooting range for almost 4 years now, and Kimbers have always irritated me. I should say it’s not the gun its but the people who love them. As rental guns they work well enough for what they are (1911), but they’ve had 10,000+ rounds through them. They are well broken in, they run smooth and have very few jams. The problems start when you pull them out of the box. New Kimbers are very temperamental and if you ask Kimber what you can do to fix the gun, they tell you to shoot 500+ rounds and if the problems persist the send it to them. If you’re new to shooting that can be very discouraging. I know I’ll get a lot of flak for this, but when it comes to new shooters I always start them off on a polymer 9mm. Glock, Springfield, Ruger, and Smith & Wesson. They have a obscene amount of ammo through them and they only get cleaned once a month, and yet they still run flawlessly. Kimbers are beautiful guns and they run ok when they are broken in, but i would never carry one for protection.

    • 3XLwolfshirt

      I’d recommend a break-in on any gun just to be safe, but Kimbers do seem to actually need one more than most. I’ve owned STI and Colt products that all ran flawlessly even during the break-in period.

      • My STI was great when it was brand new, it sure doesn’t like to be dirty though.

    • Marcus D.

      My Kimber was closer to 1500 rounds, which suffered multiple failure to return to battery after about 70 rounds. It is a 4″ Pro Carry II. I’d sent it back, I’d polished the feed ramp, and I finally, finally, replaced the recoil spring with a replacement direct from Wolff. It’s run like a champ ever since. And I’d bought it because I’d shot a 5″ range gun that was the sweetest thing I’d ever shot. I was my second pistol. My third, a Kahr, has been nearly flawless, as was my first, a Springfield XD.

      I have heard a lot of bad things about the 3″ 1911s–essentially a timing problem, so I’ve heard, plus the fact that with such a short barrel, they have a great deal of muzzle flip. Not recommended for a novice shooter. Then again, I’ve read of people who really like their Springfield EMPs. I have no idea how the Colts run.

      • Tim X

        Interesting, I’ve heard only good things about the Kahrs, one of the least expensive pistols in the line up.

    • Yes, Kimbers need a break in period. I had to shoot 600 rounds to get out the FTF’s and FTE’s, which I did have in the beginning. As far as Glock’s, S&W’s, Springfield’s, and Ruger? No flak. They are great guns.

  • So, I know I have written this before, but it seems that this should be often repeated since it’s less common in the gun world than it should be:

    1. The 1911, as originally designed, works fine. What do I mean by that? I mean that the gun is built the same way a Glock or an HK is built: It’s loose, it rattles, and isn’t set up with limited tolerances trying to squeeze every possible tenth of an inch of accuracy out of it. And, looking at Glocks, as the aftermarket grows, and it becomes popular to modify and upgrade the glock, it’s beginning to suffer the same problems the 1911 does, vis a vis changing the design to a degree not originally intended by the manufacturer and inducing points of failure.

    2. The 1911 was not designed to run well with a short barrel (although other colt pocket pistols and self defense guns of the period were), and given the increase in slide velocity necessitated by reducing the mass of the slide and change in the angles of operation of barrel, etc., they are more prone to failure. They can be made to be reliable, but they generally are going to have far more problems than a full-size.

    3. If you buy a modern 1911 from any major vendor that does not hand-build their guns (or build them to sufficiently stock specs), you’re likely to get a gun which was tightened, modified, and then build on a mass production scale. Yes, CNC machining and other new processes can make building a tighter-fitting 1911 “easier” with less chance to fail. However, any time you take a machine and reduce the fit and tolerances to a point where even a variance of .002-.005″ can stack up to cause a gun that’s not reliable because things aren’t moving the right way.

    It amuses me that people make arguments about how the 1911 sucks, without taking into account the market-induced faults or examining the reasons behind it. However, in a world flooded with 1911 models from every maker known to man, it’s difficult to educate new buyers on these points. It’s even more difficult to educate new buyers on these points when the 1911 shooters of today were brought up to think that any 1911 that rattles or has a heavier-than-3-pound trigger is a faulty gun and they’ll accept no less, leading to a demand for a mass-produced car that runs like a custom hot-rod.

    On a challenge, I’ve done some mud tests similar to what they do with the Glock and other service pistols to gauge reliability. The guns that worked through everything were the high-end customs specifically built for reliability, and the guns that were “low end” that were built with looser tolerances and rattled with heavy triggers. The guns that failed were the high-end production and semi-custom guns that “worked”, but didn’t have enough wiggle room to tolerate fouling and dirt and such.

    When a Rock Island 1911 shoots every time while a Kimber, Sig, and Springfield choke, it says something about how you’re building the gun.

    • Nicks87

      The problem is, those loose tolerance 1911s aren’t much in the accuracy dept. Whereas a more modern design, like a Glock, HK, Sig, M&P have the reliability plus the accuracy. That’s what sets modern striker fired pistols apart from any 1911.

      • Grindstone50k

        I’m as accurate with a loose 1911 as I am with an M&P. In a defensive situation, I don’t care if I can’t clip the wings off a fly. I want the reliability to ventilate the aggressor. If I want accuracy, I’ll get a rifle.

      • Bill

        The “rattle” tends to be between the frame and the slide. the barrel/bushing fit probably shouldn’t rattle, but you should be able to disassemble the gun without having to really crank on a bushing wrench. As long as the chamber locks closed, the lug fit is fine .

        Anywho, these are fighting guns, not National Match pistols shooting bullseyes. Accuracy is relative, all that’s needed is minute-of-moron

        • Nicks87

          Right, who needs accuracy anyway. The cognitive dissonance in some people just amazes me.

          • Bill

            Is there a point lurking in their somewhere? I said accuracy is relative, Should we be carrying ISU Slow Fire target pistols for fighting purposes? If barrel to bushing fit is just tight enough, and barrel lug and lockup to the slide is just tight enough, the rest is up to the shooter. I can’t count the number of “inaccurate” 1911s I’ve come across that miraculously become “accurate” when in a rest of the hands of someone who knows how to manage a trigger.

            Speaking of accuracy, you may want to check the accuracy of your usage of the term “cognitive dissonance.” When someone contends that an issue is relative, It is pretty clear that they do not have any dissonant issues regarding that same issue.

          • M

            He’s saying it has combat accuracy, not: “accuracy isn’t important”

          • Nicks87

            “combat accuracy”?? It’s 2015 there is no need for such a term anymore. I’m sorry but there are so many better options out there than the 1911. Seriously guys, it’s time to move on.

          • The Brigadier

            You must be the Glock or Beretta guy.

          • Paul White

            how accurate does it need to be though? Does it have to shoot cloverleaves at 20 yards or is a palm sized group at 20 yards good enough?

          • A.D. Hopkins

            I think a palm-sized group at 25 yards, with a 2-handed hold, is good enough. Anything that shoots bigger groups than that is a compromise, though it’s one I think most make if they carry concealed.

          • Paul White

            oh yeah, I’m not close to that at 25 yards with my LC9s. I can do pretty well to about 10-12 yards with it, but the short sight radius and sharper recoil kinda mess with my groups at any real range.

          • A.D. Hopkins

            I think the LC9 might actually do that, though, if the shooter can. I have never met anybody who could do it with a Mustang or claimed the pistol itself could do it. I have shot only one Ruger LCP in my life, just recently, and was surprised to find out it was much more accurate at 25 yards than my much-more-expensive Mustang and a little more accurate than the Kahr PM9 I shoot pretty often. Impressive, especially considering the Ruger LCP is such a small pistol and double-action only. If the LCP will do so well, the Ruger LC9 also might be capable of it. I think any pistol this size is going to be difficult to shoot as well as the pistol itself will shoot, but it ought to at least be capable of that degree of accuracy. A snub-nosed J-frame Smith & Wesson will do that if the shooter can; I have been told, and believe, it’s technically possible to shoot a “possible” at 25 yards — 10 out of 10 in the 10 ring — with a 2-inch J-frame. I’m not the guy who can do it, but I have, on occasion with a J-frame, come close to the best score I have ever shot with any pistol. My best with a target pistol is a 97 and I have managed low 90s with a J-frame. But a J-frame is too conspicuously bulky to carry in the pants pocket, and the climate where I live dictates that anything one carries in the summer is probably going to be carried there.

          • Hank Seiter

            The fact is, 99% of all reasonably quality pistols/revolvers can “outshoot” the shooter. That is, people tell themselves they need a “tight” pistol to shoot those one-inch 25 meter cloverleafs when indeed in the real world you rarely shoot anyone consistently shooting offhand groups (even with a two handed “combat grip”) less than three or four inches. I’m talking about real world here and not the one group of five shots out of a hundred targets that just happened to be two inches. Add to this a good fight-or-flight adrenaline buzz and I can guarantee you that the most important thing is that your pistol/revolver reliably goes bang each time you pull the trigger and not that one-hole accuracy everyone dreams about.
            And I bet I can outshoot 95% of most sidewalk commandos running their “tight” CCW race gun against my “rattling” Norinco 1911 or even my M&P Shield if we were running a course of steel plates on a timer.

          • Bill

            With the exception of one gun that we probably shouldn’t have shot because of just-visible bend in the barrel, I have NEVER been able to shoot a gun to it’s full mechanical potential, and in some cases was able to take guns that were “junk” or “the sights were off” and maybe get some accuracy out of them.

            Even the one with the bend in the barrel, due to an unfortunate incident, was “accurate;” just off the target by a couple feet. Once we held over there, it hit the other over there.

          • The Brigadier

            A man sized target at five yards is a big target. Most lethal shootings in America occur at this distance or closer. If you can’t hit someone at this distance you should take up rock throwing. While I take satisfaction in being a good shot, not being rattled when pulling the trigger is more important. Its amazing in how many battles I’ve been in over relatively close distances when hundreds of rounds are fired and very few people are hit. Survivors who are in more than five battles usually improve their kill rate substantially.

            That coupled with the fact that only fifteen percent of any unit is actually shooting to hit someone while they rest are missing intentionally is universal in every society. The societal stricture against killing someone is very strong in all of them, and those fifteen who do inflict over 90% of all casualties are in fact natural born killers. I have reconciled myself to this fact about myself and hope that God forgives me for this failing in that all the killing I have done has been in battle against what I consider to be evil forces. It does make it much easier to shoot accurately under stressful conditions.

      • Except that I have a rock island armory that has had nothing added to it but a tighter bushing that shoots, from a rest, 1.5-2″ groups at 15 yards. It has a fair amount of slop otherwise, equal to my HK, Sig, and Glocks.

        All three of the others will do the same grouping at 15 yards, and still match the Rock Island at 25 yards as well.

        in contrast, all of my custom-built 1911s maintain 1.5″ at 25 yards, are built tight as a bank vault, have everything hand-fitted.

        And, I’ll tell you what, I get double-Alphas in IDPA and USPSA with all of the above guns, putting all of the shots where they need to go.

        So, exactly how accurate do you need the gun to be? According to most, 2″ at 25 yards is the standard accuracy a handgun must maintain for selection by various teams and units over the course of 20,000 rounds. *shrugs*

        • n0truscotsman

          “So, exactly how accurate do you need the gun to be?”

          Awesome point.

          Many people have their priorities mixed up when it comes to carry guns, and many manufacturers seem to be ignorant of the fact that concealed-carry centric guns dont need to be that accurate, but they need to work and be reliable.

          The fascination with uber-accurate, target 1911s that work when they want has always disturbed me a bit. Especially marketing them as “self defense” or “concealed carry” guns. D’oh!

          • The Brigadier

            That’s why a carry a Judge with a 3″ cylinder filled with 410 gauge buckshot shells. Up close any hit is a good hit and I don’t have to be Deadshot to remove the dust from a mosquitoes eyelashes at 400 yds like I can do with my new semi-match grade M1A.

      • Paul White

        I can keep an 8+1 in a group the size of my palm at 7 yards going fairly fast in my Rock Island. As accurate as I need. That said it’s still not my carry gun or my go to house gun; an LC9s in fits in my pocket and is much easier to carry with the same capacity (just, in 9mm) and a CZ 75 has 16 rounds. But it’s plenty reliable and accurate enough

      • gunsandrockets

        Plenty of “modern designs” fail when made by lower quality manufacturers, or even high quality manufacturers when they release new models which are beta level buggy.

    • CommonSense23

      You are confusing the terms tolerances with clearances. Tolerances deal with the manufacturing, which you want to be extremely high on a mass produced weapon, while clearances deal with the weapons operation. 1911s manufactured to the Technical data package were built with incredibly high tolerances, and relatively generous clearances which gave great reliability and the ability for all the multiple manufactures to have weapons that worked with any others manufacturers parts.

      • Actually, I’m not confusing the terms. In any manufactured process, each individual part has a specific tolerance, typically ±.005″. Now, if I have an overall dimension of, say, 1″, and I build two parts that are, say, +.002 over a nominal dimension of .5″, then an actual dimension of .502+.502 trying to fit into a center to center space measuring 1.001″, it’s not going to fit.

        CLEARANCES are produced when you dimension the TOLERANCES of your part to individually and in combination to top out at no more than the nominal spacial dimension, meaning that at most it will fit within the space you’re machining for.

        Yes, Clearances are important to the production of a gun, because those dictate the space available for foreign material to linger without hindering the moving parts.

        However, TOLERANCES are also important because the parts must be made to fit together with fairly generous available space without the need for precision fitting or the potential to bind if foreign material gets into the mechanicals.

    • Bill

      Fighting/working guns should rattle.

      Except for revolvers.

      • Rooftop Voter

        I bought a used 1911 years ago; it is old and rattles but it works. Everything is loose but it cycles every time. Twitchy autos that are dependent on ambient air temp and baro pressure are not in my stash.

      • MrDakka

        I have an WASR-10 that I fix with hammers. The only problem is I don’t know which hammer…

        • Ergo

          sledge hammer

      • Clay

        I have a Kimber Raptor II, and would never carry it as a self defense weapon. Now if it was a target competition hell yeah. Sad that a gun that expensive is so touchy.

        • I have a kimber eclipse for carry, (3″) barrel, it is very reliable, shoots every time. I love this gun.

          • Erik Rapoport

            You’re one of the lucky ones then. It’s been my experience that 3-3.5″ 1911s are finicky. I’ve had great luck and reliability out of my Springfield, it’s a LW Champion Operator btw, but i have also done done tuning to it. I milled notches in the frame rails to allow debris to fall freely if it enters, I’ve cleaned it and lubed it after every outing, and i don’t shoot +P out of it.

            My bad experience was with an FNH FNP-40. The gun was fine, but the recoil was high, it was inaccurate from a ransom rest, magazines were über spendy, night sights weren’t available at the time, and frankly i didn’t like it one bit.

            Glocks are fine, but they don’t really do it for me. I prefer a solid revolver or SIG over a Glock. But that’s me

          • gillsgun guy

            My glock 30 carries more .45 rounds than a 1911 and it will shoot anything from cheap wolf ammo to expensive +P gold dot ammo. I have a 1911 made by Sig and one by Kimber; they won’t shoot half as well as the Glock. 2500 rounds and not a second single malfunction. To protect. My family I have a glock 17 in 9mm in the night stand.

          • I have 3 Kimbers, two of which are the Eclipse .45 in both the 4″ and 3″ barrel, and a 9mm 1911 style with a 3″ barrel. These guns have never malfunctioned on me with many types of ammo and are VERY accurate. And yes, I use them for concealed carry. I’ve seen a lot of complaints about Kimber, but never experienced any of these problems with any of mine.

            If I only had one Kimber and no problems, then perhaps it could be luck, but I have 3 and they all run like Ferraris. I couldn’t be happier with these purchases. I also have a standard Colt government model 1911, which also runs fine, but nowhere near as accurate as my Kimbers.

          • I have 3 also, 1 – 3″, & 4″ eclipse, and 1 – 4″ HD, all shoot very well with no malfunctions, and I have shot a lot through all. Very nice guns that I would protect my life with. Kimber makes quality 45’s. I have read some articles with people having issues with theirs, but all 3 of mine are great shooting pistols!

          • The Brigadier

            I have a Kimber 9mm also and it has never jammed on me yet. I don’t really know why the writer singled these weapons out. Of course I don’t go out and dip my pistols in mud like he does so maybe that his criteria for owning a pistol. If the ship ever hits the fan and society breaks down, his gun view might become very relevant.

    • I don’t think she was saying that she hated the 1911 or thought it was bad; she just had a bad experience with one and was using that experience to relate some better advice to new purchasers.

      • buzzman1

        Nat, Everyones got a personal opinion and likes/dislikes when it comes to pistols, women, whiskey etc so if she says she had a bad experience with a 1911 then she needs to identify the company and size so we can either avoid it or be aware of the problem.

        • The Brigadier

          She identified it in her article as a Kimber Ultra Carry.

    • Roderick Lalley

      NEVER had a problem with a SIG !!! You are full of snot !!! Not a fan of kimber seen lots of problems there !!!

      • The sigs run fine for the most part. note that I said “torture test”. in this test, the guns were submerged in mud, dirt, and sand then had the bores scrubbed once with a bore snake and loaded/fired. The Sig 1911 suffered failure due to dirt and debris preventing the disengagement of the firing pin block which prevented the gun from firing. Also, the external extractor stuck and would not lock onto shells and extract them from the chamber.

        CLP was sprayed into the components in an attempt to clear them, along with physical displacement (a couple of good whacks on a 2×4), which failed to restore function.

        the firearm was returned to normal function after disassembly and cleaning/scrubbing.

        note that a similar test with the p226 yielded no failures.

        Fully of crap? I doubt it, merely providing the results of testing I conducted on random samples of those manufacturers. Note that reliability in this case was judged against the harshest possible circumstances, not against your average holster queen, and speaks only to these particular circumstances.

        • phax

          also remember one experiment (torture test) doesnt give you conclusive data.

          • Nor is it meant to suggest comprehensive testing. A quick scan of Youtube yields videos of others’ testing similar guns with similar results.

            The point was not to suggest the inherent reliability or lack thereof of Sigs, but rather to point out the specific point: Guns built with tighter tolerances tend to have less resilience against extreme cases of fouling as compared to guns that are built looser.

            As such, because it’s a fairly general point that can be made and agreed upon by just about anyone with a basic understanding of engineering or machines themselves, one is best served by buying a gun that is *tight enough* to be accurate (if the slide clocks a good 20 degrees, probably not the best gun…), while also buying one that has some play allowing for a fairly wide range of operating conditions without extra attention being required.

        • Tim X

          Whew, now I know I can throw my custom P226 in the mud, scratch it all up, and continue shooting. Guess I’ll pass on a 1911 to protect my post-apocalypse cave, cuz it’ll probably be dirty, and maybe even muddy in there. And note- Once the pre-apocalypse mayhem starts you won’t need a shortened version except to decrease draw time. Still, the 1911 design is just cool. 🙂

          • Hey, I fell off a horse and my gun landed in a pile of mud and horse manure, and I had nothing to clean it with right then and there. It may seem silly, but there are occasions when you MAY have to deal with foreign debris when uysing your gun.

    • Longrange Bob

      Cant I drop so many in your plate? Because you just preached some serious truth and knowledge.

    • J-

      Pffftttt… A gun doesn’t have to rattle to be reliable. Modern machining and finishing techniques are highly effective in making guns that are accurate, reliable, and with tight tolerances.

      I’ll agree that the 1911 doesn’t take well to being shortened, and that the smallest you can get a 1911 and keep it running reliably is commander size. But that is a different issue than wide tolerances and slop fitment.

      “Fighting guns rattle” is as out of date as “diesels burn oil.” Maybe once upon a time they did. Today, there is no reason to.


      J- PhD Materials and Manufacturing Engineering.

      • That’s true, however that also brings into play the discussion of the manufacturing process itself.

        For example, I can build a CNC-based process that produces a gun on par with a Wilson Combat or similar that runs like a top. However, to achieve this, it means I also have to closely watch tool wear and monitor for issues that happen over the production run. That means more frequent tool changes and setup, plus more skill in the setup to begin with.

        Companies will obviously balance cost in tooling against the product, and this is where we go back to the discussion of guns which come out tight, but only reliable in specific circumstances until it “Breaks in”.

        So now we’re back at the original discussion, and the point that just because it can be done, does not equate to “companies do it”, nor does it suggest that a vault-tight 1911 from a mass production line is going to be made to the same standards (leading to the same reliability) as those who do it right.

        And because of the necessary QC and setup time involved in doing things properly to maintain reliability through accurate precision machining, few companies are willing to spend the money and hire the personnel to do the frequent spot checks, tool changes, and setups necessary.

        As a PhD in Materials and Manufacturing Engineering, you should know that while the skills and the capabilities are there, the ultimate decision maker is the accountant. 🙂

        So, given that the accountant is going to scream if you tell him you just added half a mil to the production costs to build that tight-fitted gun, you’re better off just building in extra clearance and more generous tolerances to offset the tool wear longer production runs between tool changes are going to incur.

        • J-

          The 1911 has always seemed to me to be a manufacturing outlier. I can buy a motorcycle engine for the price of a 1911 that runs at 10,000 rpm, contains far more moving parts, and has much higher tolerances and better fitment.

          My steel frame S&W pistols (esp my Model 52) are extremely tight. My S&W 39 and FN Hi-Power were mass manufactured for the military and are extremely accurate and reliable. My Beretta 92 is silent when I shake it. There are many guns that cost well under $1000 that are very well fit with high reliability and accuracy.

          Why all of a sudden that falls apart when it comes to the 1911 never made sense to me. That is the reason I love my Ruger SR1911 so much. It is every bit as tight fitting as any Kimber I’ve ever seen. It is extremely accurate. And it has yet to malf on me (granted I’m at about 5000 rounds). I managed to get mine from Cables at about $750. I think Ruger bucked the trend.

          I honestly believe that good functioning 1911s were more than a grand because people would pay it. It the same reason why AL frame light weight 1911s are more expensive, when ever other AL frame gun on the planet is cheaper than an all steel gun since AL is easier (and cheaper) to machine.

          • So, a couple of things.

            Firstly, the 1911 doesn’t “Fall apart” when built tight, and that’s not the intent of my post. A 1911 that’s built *properly* will have some movement and clearance in the major functioning areas. It may even have a little bit of rattle, like the old colts. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and since accuracy comes primarily from the barrel’s fitting and alignment with the slide, and the bushing holding the barrel in place (or, if you were to take a more modern view, the barrel would be held in place by the bore in the slide, but I digress), accuracy is not necessarily a function of tight frame to slide fit. All the frame provides is a source of ammo and a platform on which the slide moves (The degree of accuracy of this statement is true up to the limit of accuracy demanded in slow-fire bullseye shooting, which is another matter entirely).

            Where the 1911 “Falls apart” is the same place where engines fall apart when being built: When things are assembled, everything is tight — free enough that the gun/mechanical pieces can work, but when a buildup of residue and other material enters into the trackway for moving parts (mostly the slide rails), the gun has insufficient clearance to continue to function properly leading to jams or failures. Further, the 1911 “falls apart” when part dimensions are just enough on the wrong end of tolerances that their function fails to happen in the proper sequence, leading to further malfunction (Kimber’s notorious issues with their grip safety Schwartz firing pin safety system causing light strikes or failures to fire during certain operations being an obvious example).

            Further, the 1911, unlike many other pistols, contains one major design flaw which has yet to be remedied entirely: Feed Geometry.

            Most modern pistol designs have a feedway which sees the barrel dropping down almost in line with the ammunition in the magazine, the magazine holds the ammunition higher in the gun, so that when the gun feeds, the round is forced forward into the chamber and then swung up into the extractor as the barrel comes up and into battery.

            The 1911, by contrast, sees the ammunition not aligned with the chamber, and when the gun cycles, the round is stripped off of the magazine, pushed forward and tipped up by the feed ramp at a fairly high angle, where it strikes and due to momentum, pivots on the arc formed by the feed ramp and throat to bring the rear of the cartridge up along the breech face, at once inserting the round into the extractor and coming to rest in alignment with the breech face and bore to be fired.

            Because of this, the 1911 is sensitive to things other guns are not:

            1. Throat gap and angle — If the throat/barrel feed ramp is too close to the frame feed ramp, the bullet can catch on it, or can fail to pivot leading to a three-point jam.
            2. Feed ramp angle — Too steep, the round goes vertical and stovepipes. Too shallow, you have no room for the barrel chamber gap and the round is not able to clear the throat feed ramp and can cause a jam by wedging against it.
            3. Extractor tension — Unlike most modern guns, the 1911 continues to use a tensioned steel bar rather than a cut piece with a spring to provide tension on the round. Too tight, the round fails to feed into the extractor and the gun jams. Too loose and the round may fail to extract.
            4. Magazine feed lip shape and round angle — Because of the variability of the geometry of the feeding system, a magazine with feed lips that hold the round in the magazine and prevent its first angle change can cause a failure to feed, wedging the round nose against the feed ramp. Magazines with feed lips that don’t hold long enough won’t control the feeding sufficiently to ensure that the round properly engages with the extractor. Magazines that do not hold the round at a sufficient beginning angle compared to the feed ramp can fail to feed as the round cannot make the first shift in sufficient time to prevent a failure.
            5. Magazine tension — Magazines modified to extend capacity or that have springs providing too much tension on the first round in the magazine will cause a failure to feed due to robbing the slide of momentum needed to complete the feeding cycle. magazines with too little spring tension may prevent the round from being positioned for feeding in time.

            Some of these issues can happen in other guns, but because of the complex path of the round during loading as compared to other handguns, the prevalence of failure is higher.

            Further it should be noted that “the 1911″ is a misnomer when discussing reliability, as no company utilizes common standards or designs. Every 1911 on the market has been tweaked or engineered into a manufacturing process by the individual company that is producing them, which means that the reliability and fleet reliability of their products are demonstrable only as compared to others by that brand, and not against a design in general, much like the AR-15 market. As there are no current standard pattern dimensions (a byproduct of the expiry of the Colt patent and industry demand for ‘tightened’, ‘accurized’ pistols that required changes in manufacturing from the original Colt design), each 1911 manufacturer’s 5” “Government Model” is, for the purposes of comparison, the equivalent of a 4-door sedan, and each brand being equivalent to the various makes of 4-door sedans.

            The main reason that the 1911 has garnered it’s (perhaps unwarranted) reputation, is precisely because of what i’ve mentioned above:

            1. Design dilution due to cloning and engineering changes by brands
            2. A lack of standard core dimensions
            3. Design flaws that are yet to be remedied or addressed
            4. Manufacturing practices which can lead to out of spec parts that fail over a longer course of fire.

            All of the issues above can be overcome, and anyone sufficiently willing to test-fire and seek remedy for any faults will find that the gun runs reliably in all conditions.

            However, that’s also not to say that the 1911 as a platform is a gun friendly to “pick-it-up-and-go” out of the box experiences or a pistol one can shoot without a basic understanding of its function and how to remedy the problems.

          • J-

            I don’t mean the gun literally falls apart.

            The 1911 has some design issues that inherently decrease reliability (which you mentioned). But to suggest that the only way to have a 1911 operate reliably without rattling around like some old farm truck or Taliban AK is to spend $1,500+ hand fitting all the parts together, I don’t think reflects the capacity of modern machining. Not when low cost high precision is what made modern computer/electronic technology what it is.

            When 1911 owners try to cobble together a gun from a the Brownells catalog, sure that needs fitting. But so does a big bore kid for your Harley. When one company makes a gun, from billet to finish, that is a different story.

            We can debate the details but Para made very good guns that, at least for a while, were relatively cheap for their level of performance. Kimbers are more expensive than they need be. Ruger’s 1911 is a darling, but Ruger is a casting and Machining company that makes guns (which is a different attitude to have than other firearms manufacturers).

            I’ll never own a Kimber. I’m saving my Cabela;s points for a SR1911CMD light weight.

            And as for fit and debris. The tight fit for the Hi-Power (P35) contributed to its reliability as there were almost no ingress points for junk to get into the gun to stick it up. It was a marvel.

            Now, if you want a down-n-dirty trick for improving tight slide/frame fit on an all steel 1911, here is one. Strip the gun, clean it with acetone, get it bone dry. Buy an oil based lapping compound (very fine, like a 6 or 9 micron diamond paste). Lube up the slide, frame, barrel and pivot with the lapping compound. Load and fire a few hundred rounds through the gun. Every few mags, adding a little more lapping compound. One 1 ox syringe should be enough for 2 or 3 guns. Strip, re-clean and oil. that will take out much of the machining marks that tend to trap material.

          • Yep, I build custom 1911s, I know the lapping tricks.

            My point was specifically that some companies that build 1911s do the up-front work to produce a tight 1911, but then fail to do the QC and proper back-end work during production to prevent tool wear and such from causing parts to be just out of spec enough to start causing reliability problems.

            Kimber, among others, is well known to build guns this way, and rather than doing the proper QC and factory work to ensure reliability, they simply suggest their guns need significant break-ins before they run right.

            I think we can debate the finer points of manufacturing the 1911 all day long, but I think we also agree on the points (I just tend to be far more cynical of companies when it comes to doing adequate maintenance and quality control during the manufacturing process because they can ‘get away with’ less diligence).

            Plus, we also have a whole generation of shooters who were brought up on the merits of certain design choices that didn’t always support mass production, and now a generation of shooters brought up on an idea of reliability that is different than what one used to expect (I.e., the whole attitude of ‘treat your gun like you treat a lawnmower’ and taking pride in never cleaning and servicing your weapon)

          • M40

            You are ABSOLUTELY CORRECT, and that’s probably the best summation of the 1911’s issues I’ve seen… but you’re wading into a swamp.

            Pointing out the obvious (that the 1911 design is a century old and has associated drawbacks), is like poking a huge hornets nest with a stick. The angry buggers who inhabit that insulated little world don’t like to be disturbed. They will react with blind hatred and mindless vigor. Gun forums are FILLED with the angry reactions of 1911 guys. They live under the pretense that it’s the greatest invention since toilet paper.

            It’s like the guy with an old muscle car in the garage. He’ll lecture endlessly on why it’s the best car ever designed. He’s put countless work hours and piles of money into it, and it runs like a top (when it runs). He doesn’t drive it every day, nor would he EVER take it out in foul weather, yet he swears that its an all-around performer.

            You can try to point out the myriad ways in which modern car designs have vastly improved safety, reliability, functionality, comfort and versatility. But it really doesn’t matter how much logic or hard data you bring to the table. He’s invested far too much blood, sweat, tears and money… and you’re NOT going to talk him out of his ‘baby’.

            In reality, you could pick pretty much ANY hobby on earth and you’ll find the same crowd who swear by ‘vintage’ designs. They’ll make fools of themselves trying to explain why newer and better designs are ‘junk’, and why their old stuff is the best ever made.

          • Well, I would point out that there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the 1911, other than the same problem you have with any machine: the more engineers in the kitchen redesigning things, the more things break.

            There are many great examples of the 1911 that work fine. There are examples that do not.

            However, there are always going to be cases where the 1911 just takes some understanding in what to look for when you handle an example.

          • The Brigadier

            How about a list of your great, and a list of your don’t waste your money on? Its your opinion and you can’t be sued for that. I am in the market for a new .45 and I’m gravitating toward the Taurus Longslide. Good or bad choice. Really you make numerous very valid points and I would appreciate your opinion.

          • The only manufacturer I absolutely hate and stay away from is Kimber. Otherwise, just know about the above, and inspect the gun accordingly. You’re buying something mass produced, so look for something that cycles smoothly by hand, has a noticeable gap between barrel feed ramp and frame feed ramp (a .030″ ‘shelf’ is spec), has little movement in the barrel in the bushing at the muzzle, has some movement in the slide (maybe a couple of thousandths), and then shoot the snot out of it at the range.

            Anything you find that doesn’t feel smooth, doesn’t cycle smoothly, and won’t feed a snap cap when hand cycling is out of spec and should be immediately rejected.

          • The Brigadier

            David, you are obviously a gun maker and know your stuff. Can you tell me what you would design differently to improve the feed on a .45 keeping the current ergonomics as close to the original as possible? Or is that simply impossible to do without a complete redesign. Its a very satisfying design to shoot and simply look at.

          • The biggest change I would make to the gun is to recut the bridge (the frame space where the barrel rests when out of battery) to allow the barrel to drop a bit lower, and bring the chamber closer to the angle of the bullet as it feeds from the magazine, similar to how glock and sig align their barrels for feeding.

            Tripp Research has already engineered magazines that put the bullet higher up, and this eliminates feed problems in most cases.

            I personally would probably also redesign the feed ramp/barrel such that either an integral feed ramp could be used without the noted feeding problems they tend to suffer, or so that geometry was easier to cut without the variability, which is another thing that’s easy to check. Get yourself a carpenter’s compass, and measure the angle of the feed ramp against the horizontal plane of the frame, then check it against the spec’d angle. Too steep, feeding problems. Too gradual, you can’t properly cut the barrel feed ramp to have the appropriate gap without leaving the bullet unsupported and risking a blowout with hot loads, a la the glock 21 unsupported chamber issues. While a steep ramp could be machined to a proper angle, if the ramp’s too shallow (that is, it angles too much), the only fix is to machine it out, then weld/silver-solder in a dutchman and machine a proper angle.

          • supergun

            My Desert Eagle 1911 is one of the tightest sweetest shooting pistols I have. BUL out of Israel makes them for Magnum Research. They also made the original Kimbers, you know, the Kimbers that were good ones.

      • Hank Seiter

        Depends on your definition of “tight tolerances”. Maybe it’s semantics, but I would rather have a CCW with REASONABLE TOLERANCES that will yield 99.99% reliability when the chips are truly down. The “toleranes” in question should be for getting you as close to 100% reliability as possible, not accuracy. How much “tight tolerances” do you really need to hit center-of-mass closer than 20 feet? Moral of the story, don’t buy a pistol/revolver that is going to double for your CCW and your weekend bullseye gun.

        • J-

          I can take a SIG P229 and shoot a 2 inch group at 50 feet with it. Stock out of the box. My Beretta 92 will do about the same. My favorite CCW gun, my Ruger SR9C will do less than three inches at fifty feet. The attached pic is my SR9c with a Noval front night sight, at 50 feet with 32 rounds (2 mags) of Winchester 115 gr white box. A $800 could be able to to at least that. I can’t stand when gun mags say “the gun is combat accurate” meaning 6 inches at 15 yds. Maybe if I were buying a Bera Thunder for $300, sure. But once I plunk down more than $600 for a gun, I want the gun to be able to keep them all in the x ring.

        • buzzman1

          I’ve shot reliable WW2 1911’s and could hit a man sized target at 50 FT with them. And the problem wasnt me. Reliability means nothing if you can’t hit the target at a range and especially in a SHTF moment when the bad guy isnt standing still and cooperating with you like a target does.

      • john Everett Walker

        It might need to rattle if you are knee deep in mud with no cleaning supplies on hand. Current 1911s are very closely fitted, reliable an accurate. One of the things she probably learned is that successfully advertising a gun is not the same as building it to work. Some companies are very good at the first and seemingly indifferent to the second and some are famous for it -their founding genius earning the cognomen, ” The Bernie Madoff of the Gun Industry.

      • Nathan

        The only 1911 I own is a Stainless Colt Officer’s Model. (3.5 inch) Had some full frame ones over the years, and although I loved them and wish I still had at last one, they have ended up sold or traded. I kept the Officers though. Bought it when they first came out. It has not once failed to fire. Not that I shoot it a lot, but I have enough rounds of all configurations through it, in the 3 mags I have for it. I would not hesitate to carry it for SD. As it is, it is a home defense gun, as I generally carry pocket guns now. I am not a cop on duty or anything, and I live in the Rural New England where the worst you might come across is an angry beaver. So, a 38 Snubbie does me fine and is easy to carry in front pocket of my jeans.

      • The Brigadier

        I would appreciate it if you dipped yours in mud and sand to see how they shoot. He did state that qualifier and for a combat arm he has a valid point. In the bush, ARs jam and AKs thrive on the grunge. On nice clean ranges both operate flawlessly.

        • J-

          I’m not going to torture test my $900 Ruger, It’s not going in mud, or chocolate sauce, or bouillabaisse, or baked into a pie. That is utterly ridiculous. I’m also not taking my Ruger to Afghanistan any time soon. There are many high tolerance, well manufactured firearms that have good combat reliability without being as poorly fit together and rattley as an old AK. It is an insult to modern machining and design that people like you have made a 68 year old Soviet POS rifle the be-all-and-end-all of combat firearms.

          • My guns work for a living. I carry them on the ranch, for self defense, at the range, in training classes, etc. They’ve been dropped in horseshiat, mud, and sand. They’ve been drug around as i’m crawling under a fence or broken down truck. They’ve been scraped, stepped on (by horses), fallen on, etc. It’s safe to say I’ve abused the snot out of them.

            My guns are not safe queens. They are not “get it out, take it to the range, shoot it, come home, clean it lovingly, put it away.” They are worn and used and shot and cleaned lovingly occasionally, oiled, and then reholstered.

            Guns I build are likewise built to be USED and as work tools, just like SNAPON or Armstrong or anything else that gets USED around here.

            If the gun can’t run reliably despite the environment, it ain’t built right. If the gun has to be babied to run right, it ain’t built right.

            The Sigs, HKs, Glocks, and some 1911s all run fine even in the worst environments. Any engineer worth his salt knows how to make the design work even during mass production. This is why I tend to stick with brands of guns that have a fairly long reputation for building guns, and also tend to let the engineers’ words have more weight than the marketing folks.

            I also hold companies accountable for failing to do the proper maintenance and production work to ensure that what’s on the blueprint is what’s going out the door, and to actually do QC on their products.

          • The Brigadier

            Sorry you have that prejudice. The AK is the most heavily used battle long gun in the world, because its relatively inexpensive, and because it works. I think the rifle is crude in many respects, but again, it works. As to the AR, Stoner was an engineer and the idea of a loose action was foreign to him. He made it precise and tight and that adds to its legendary accuracy, but also makes it one of the poorest rifles to protect your life in dirty battlefields. Most battlefields are and that’s why the firearm performs so poorly.

            As to Ruger, the automatics also jam under adverse conditions for the same reason the ARs do. Most Rugers are carried as range weapons or for concealed carry and they do fine in those roles. It is not a combat firearm and it apples vs oranges when complaining about jamming. 1911s are battlefield weapons, Rugers are not so your comparison is a false one. You prove my point admirably.

          • J-

            The very point of engineering is to make things better. There is a reason why we build steel cable stay bridges instead of stone causeways or why we fly around the world on turbofan powered aircraft instead of carbureted clunkers. The firearms industry hires engineers to do what engineers do … make things better. It is a learning process.

            Just because the AK 47 works when used by illiterate conscripts and child soldiers does not make it the right gun for a modern, technologically advanced, military.

            The AK 47 is emblematic of the way the Russians did everything… sloppy as hell. Do you know why they always landed their spacecraft on land, instead of in the water, since a land landing is harder on the crew? Because they couldn’t land their spacecraft to within 1000 miles of where they wanted. If they aimed for the center of the Pacific ocean, their capsule would sink and their crew would drown before the Russian navy could get to it. We could drop a capsule from orbit and hit within 100 yards of the deck of the aircraft carrier we were aiming at.

            Speaking of aircraft carriers, where are all the Russian ones? Oh, right, they couldn’t ever get one to work, or figure out how to get a plane to land on one without coming apart. That is the same navy that occasionally loses a submarine when they decide to randomly fill up with water, or leak radiation into the ship.

            The US military on the other hand has a stick up its butt for preventative maintenance. We actually issue cleaning kits. We train and drill and clean and maintain. That is part of a “weapons system.”

            But all of that doesn’t matter. Not one iota. Since some Taliban can never clean his AK, every once in a while lubing it up with camel j!zz, will never have his weapon jam on him, that is until we blow him to hell with a Laser guided JDAM dropped through cloud cover, in the dead of night, from 50,000 feet. But yep, that 68 year old sheet metal POS is TEH BEST EVAR gun that every soldier should be issued until ray guns and phasers become standard issue.

            Oh, BTW, how does your 1947 Studebaker Commander like this newfangled unleaded gasoline. Since of course lose tolerances like those on lead gas burning valves and pistons are just the peak of unfailing reliability.

    • petru sova

      I do not agree that short 1911’s are prone to malfunction more than full size guns. The original Detonics company proved way back in the late 1970’s that they could build a short 1911 that worked. I have one of the rare nickel plated guns and it has never ever jammed since 1978. Detonics of course had a change of ownership several times after the original company went belly up and the quality control really suffered. Detonics as far as I know is back in business once more and on a TV program they seemed to be dedicated to quality as they made a statement that surprised me. They said they absolutely refused to use MIM cast parts in their guns. It got me interested in the company once again after many years.

    • Dan Atwater

      How many samples from each manufacturer did you use for your mud test?

      • I had three examples of each manufacturer that I tested. It was meant to be a demonstration test of what to look for, not a treatise on each manufacturer’s quality.

        • Dan Atwater

          Gotcha. Do you have a link to a write-up on the test? I’d be interested in checking out the results

          • I probably have some somewhere from the class I was giving at the time, I’ll look around.

    • supergun

      I have a Desert Eagle 1911 made by BUL in Israel. The same people that made the Original Kimbers, not the junk Kimbers today. It is tight and shoots BULLEYES BULLETS into BULLET HOLES.

      • The Brigadier

        Do they still make that model??

  • Turner

    I purchased my first gun when I was 21 at a gunshow. I bought a police trade in Gen 2 Glock 23 that somebody had installed aftermarket sights on and a box of 50 hollow points for $400. To that point I had fired plenty of shotguns and rifles, but the only handgun I had every fired is a family heirloom WWI 1911 my great grandfather had carried.

    I didn’t have anybody with me to help guide my purchase, and I had no real idea what I was doing when I was inspecting the gun. In hindsight, it was a pretty rough glock, with a lot of holster wear and maybe 70% finish. The worst were those sights. The damn thing shot 6 in. low at just 10 yards. I also found out that I wasn’t a huge fan of .40.

    Ended up trading it years late towards another police trade in, this time a 4 in. S&W 681. That’s the gun that got me hooked on revolvers, so all’s well that ends well I guess.

    • SCW

      Holster wear doesn’t mean squat. Most police trade ins are rarely used. I’ve heard the “shoots low” thing before. Usually it’s the shooter anticipating the shot which causes the muzzle to dip. I have a Glock 23 and if I don’t shoot it often I do the same thing. I bet if you were to bench rest it, it would shoot to point of aim.

  • mosinman

    I personally try to stick close to the “original” military design (fullsize, .45, single stack, tolerances on the looser side) in hopes of better function. the military ones were rather reliable

    • Tim Pearce

      IME, that’s because the military ordered them with levels of tightness that would be unacceptably loose in the commercial market.

      • mosinman

        yes, that’s what made them work well, and that’s also why the really tight range 1911 aren’t as reliable

    • CommonSense23

      Tolerances on the 1911s manufactured for the military were extremely high. Its how you were able to have multiple manufacturers making 1911s that all the parts were interchangeable. You are confusing the term with that of clearances.

      • mosinman

        yeah you’re right.

    • n0truscotsman

      You cant go wrong with that. Ironically, good argentine or norincos are about the cloest thing you can get to the original without just buying a vintage gun. I’ve heard the same about Philippine 1911s but dont have any experience with those; I hear two entirely different stories.

      • Paul White

        get one or two. I’ve had good luck with them personally and so hav emost folks I know

        • n0truscotsman

          I’ve seen some junk argentines, but found a very nice one and bought it. That and my norinco are some of the funnest shooting handguns I know.

      • mosinman

        what about the ones made by Auto Ordinance?

        • n0truscotsman

          No idea honestly. Haven’t messed with them.

  • Tim Pearce

    * Heritage Mfg Rough Rider in .32 H&R – finish was amateurish, manual did not mention there was a wrong way to put it together that was actually the more logical way of doing it.
    * Hi-Point 4095 (was my first gun, and was the beginning of a “I can afford more guns if they’re cheaper” trend I got myself out of, eventually) – cheap guns are cheap for a reason, and it’s not often going to be one you’ll like. I wore it out in ~5000 rounds; guns shouldn’t do that.
    * FIE Titan – Very easy disassembly! It came apart occasionally when I shot it.

  • kim

    I bought a 38 special as my first handgun. I shot it for the first at the range yesterday and was disapointed that my small hands are too small for the handle to reach the trigger. I can shoot a couple of rounds but my fingers are too weak to shoot the five rounds. So off to the gunsmith I will go to see if this little matter can be fixed for my strenght. I have a feeling I will have to shop around for a different kind of gun, which I’m not too happy about. Does anybody know of a good, small to carry in the purse, gun that a woman can handle with ease.

    • Jack Morris

      I’d recommend a Kahr P380. It is perfect for people with small hands. Very small grip and a very light trigger pull (albeit a very long trigger pull). I have very small hands and found the Kahr CM9 to be my perfect fit. I recommend the 380 because the 9mm has a really stiff recoil spring and racking the slide can be difficult.

    • Bill

      If its your fingers, strengthen them, don’t take it out of the handgun. Odds are if you can’t do 5 trigger presses on a revolver you don’t have the grip strength to safely and efficiently manipulate an autoloader. A gunsmith can only do so much before reliability and safety are compromised.
      People underestimate the need for grip and pinch strength, along with dexterity, because ultimately without those you can’t be consistent, fast, or accurate, because you’ll never have control of the trigger.

    • nadnerbus

      Is said .38 a concealed carry type handgun? Because many of them have a heavy trigger pull to increase safety margins. It might not be a good idea to lighten the trigger if you plan on carrying it in a purse.

      Also, I don’t conceal carry, so take it for what it is worth, but be careful carrying in your purse. You may want to get a proper holster for it, even if it is in your purse. Something that affixes securely to your purse.

    • Marcus D.

      Those snubbies are famous for heavy, double action triggers that take about 12 lbs of pull to fire. There are any number of small .380 and 9 mm subcompacts that have either single action or much lighter double action triggers, about 8 lbs. Try a Sig P238 (.380) or P938 (9mm), a Ruger LC9, or a Kahr. The Kahrs feel heavy at first, but as long as you pull them straight through, they are not too difficult–my daughter has no problems with it., and the grips are small. And the CM or CW series run around $400 or less, as does the Ruger. And all of these semi-autos are probably more accurate for a novice than a .38 snubbie. I suggest that if you live near a range,go shoot some of them until you find one that suits you. The most important question for a defensive weapon is, “Can I shoot it well?” And the second is, “Is it reliable?

  • Raoul O’Shaugnessy

    Sounds like someone who eventually migrated to a Glock/XD/MP and never looked back.

  • GlockYoda

    I sense the Glock force is strong with this one. A powerful concealed carry jedi become, she will!

  • lurpy

    Well written, but…Applebee’s? Come on, Melody, you can do better than that for a 21st birthday.

    • kipy

      Yeah come on, at least go to Outback Steakhouse like I did

    • Tim X

      Yea, and after the drinks she went to a gun store (though she did have to drive or walk there for an hour). Great ammo for anti-gunners. Shhhh, dont tell anyone.

  • john

    My friend and I both both bought .38 snubbies from Taurus when they FIRST took over the SW plant in Brazil. They were much cheaper than SW. Mine jammed shut after 200 rounds and his went out of timing and fired a round into the forcing cone destroying the gun and nearly taking his fingers off. I have never owned another Taurus and probably never will. Since then, I would rather save for a few more months than buy a cheaper gun sooner.

    • SCW

      But, but, derfelcadarn above you says that revolvers are the epitome of reliability and that you only need “5 or 6” rounds in a fire fight.

  • DrewN

    Stupidest gun I ever bought was a very nice ASI Mini 30 converted to 6.5 Grendel. ASI tried to talk me out of it as well, but I figured the upside was worth the risk. Nope. It was just a total conceptual failure on my part.

  • JH

    I had the displeasure of owning an Ultra Carry for a few years. Well the displeasure ended after I rectified the problem. My copy had a tendency to fail to return to battery. I had read many accounts of people returning their type IIs to Kimber for the same problem only for Kimber to report their were no problems. That is when I decided to fix the problem on my own. I diagnosed the problem as the type II safety that Kimber added to their pistols. The plunger in the slide was too squared off and that interference caused the slide to slow down too much and fail to return to battery. I removed, re-contoured, and polished the plunger and the activating pin in the frame. After that fix, it ran like a champ. I

  • Psylant

    The only regret I ever have had after buying a gun was the S&W SIGMA .380. The trigger started bad, then broke all together. After we got the trigger repaired, the frame cracked and broke after less than 50 rounds had gone through the gun. NEVER AGAIN.

  • n0truscotsman

    Hey dont feel bad. I’ve been burned by kimber too. Over a Warrior which is supposedly one of the better offerings.

    I’ve never been sold on sub-compact 1911s, but have seen them for their “value”, or lack thereof. With guns like the Shield on the market, it makes no sense to even contemplate buying a sub-compact 1911, not to mention one in any other caliber besides 45.

    You live and learn.

    Lesson: dont blaspheme and commit heresy by changing JMBs original design 😉 Its fine the way it is.

    • Paul White

      I’ve seen more than one woman get a full sized 1911 in 9mm because the slimmer grip vs most double stacks fits their hand better and the 9mm kicks less than the 45.

      Plus, hey, 38 super! I mean if you want a nostalgia gun

  • Squirreltakular

    My least favorite purchase was an Arsenal SLR-106CR. I loved the weapon, but sunk way too much time and money in modifications into it before realizing that I really just wanted my primary to be an AR. The fact that magazines were expensive, rare, and not metal-reinforced made the choice to sell it to my friend pretty easy.

    • iksnilol

      Why not convert it to use AR magazines? That way you at least avoid the magazine issues.

      • Squirreltakular

        I didn’t like the idea of doing the mod myself, plus wasn’t aware at the time of how reliable or not they were. The solid left-folding stock also bugged me a lot, and I couldn’t convert it to a Russian folding AR-style tube because of the difference in pin size. (4.5mm vs. 5.5mm)

        I think I might give it another go one of these days with a Definitive Arms custom gun. Thanks for the idea!

  • Southpaw89

    My first centerfire handgun was a Star Modelo Super B, When I bought it for $200 at a local gun store I thought I had found a good deal, however shortly after I found that it would not extract reliably, and had the front sight fly off while shooting it one day. It was only after that that I discovered how hard it was to find parts for it. A front sight installed by a local gunsmith did not last long, and a new extractor could not be located. Long story short I made an extractor out of some scrap metal and found a new slide with a front sight on it that I got to fit with some lapping compound, and ended up with a handgun that runs well, but due to past experience I am afraid to trust with anything other than perforating pop cans. The lesson that I carried away from this was that if you are going to buy a firearm with personal defense in mind, it’s best to go with something modern or at least one that has good parts availability.

  • derfelcadarn

    In a defense situation the gun has to go off, hence revolver. The fewer things to go wrong the better. As for capacity if you cannot resolve the situation in five or six rounds you need to work on your shooting. This is personal defense not war.

    • Dan

      “This is personal defense not war” you’re right if it were war I’d have a rifle. I also would not subscribe to the theory 5 or 6 shots should suffice, you don’t get to pick the when, why or how many of a defensive situation

    • SCW

      Oh no…you’re one of “those” people. Plenty can go wrong with revolvers, hence why they aren’t used as much anymore. Ever open the side plate and see all the little springs, pins, levers, and other bullshit in there? You’re depending on every part. You do realize that if the little arm that rotates the cylinder breaks then the gun is basically useless. Ever heard of “jumping the crimp”?

      How do you know how many rounds it will take in a fire fight? I bet you also say ” shoot em in the hand wit a fohty fife an dey hole arm will blow clean off!”

      • Tim X

        Firstly, an auto IS much more complicated than a revolver. Look at all the steps it has to go through to eject, reload, and fire the next round. Most of the problems with autos is FEEDING, exactly what people here have been talking about. There is NONE of that in a revolver.
        Secondly, more rounds available before reloading MAY be an advantage because you can “throw rounds” away as wild shots, suppressive cover, etc. Obviously you can also shoot more rounds / second with an auto. But a “firefight” is different than simple personal protection. In a firefight, which presumably you’re ready for, you’d want multiple weapons like police and military have.
        In simple SD situations, just pointing a gun at an assailant is going to have a repelling effect. If you could choose, would you rather have a G17 9mm pointed at you or an steel medium frame Combat 357 Mag like a S&W with the hammer cocked? You are in LALA land if you choose the 357. Think about the trigger pull on a cocked revolver vs. a Glock. Oh, and that pistol firefight thing…Penetration may be critical. Have you compared shooting a 9mm or 45 through a barrier to a 357? LOL, NO comparison. But a 357 SIG or 7.62×25 solves that, right?
        Obviously, this debate means you need to have one of each. 😉

    • Zebra Dun

      Yup, Revolver.
      Pick up, aim, pull trigger.
      Me likey Revolvers too!

  • Chris Chalupa

    Worst gun for me was an M&P 45c. I love S&W 3rd gen autos as they are some of the most reliable overbuilt beasts. I was taken by the ergonomics of the M&P but it was not for me in that caliber at least. I would try 9mm but I’m taking my chances this time with the H&K vp9. BTW- sorry but Kimber is overrated and if you have to deal with their cs may the Schwartz be with you. Get ready to defend yourself against the cs thought process that it’s all your fault!

  • jezzone

    Our local club has an event twice a year called Try It B4 U Buy It. Members of the club bring in their handguns and we allow the public (21 and older) to shoot ten rounds from three firearms. In the past we charged $20 but one of our members applied for a grant from the state natural resources which covered the ammo cost and afforded us to provide lunch for those that participated. Each 1 hour session has 8 shooters with 8 safety people to help them out (our range only has 8 lanes). Once a participant finds something they like, they can go to their local gun shop and buy it and hopefully join our club!

  • l3ullDoZeR

    My Kimber rocks..and it works everytime I touch the bang switch. But I was smart enough to buy it in .45, ya know the one it was made for! Sorry you had such a bad time..enjoy your new piece of plastic!

  • Oldtrader3

    I have owned (2) Kimbers. I gave the first to my middle son and I kept the second, a 2001 Kimber Ultra Carry. It also was the worst and most expensive 1911 I have ever owned. Mine was a Custom Shop Special and worked well for the first 500 rounds of break in with Winchester White Box FMJ ammo. It never did function well with JHP ammo and after a trip to Kimber where they went through it with a file, it still did not fire an entire magazine of JHP ammo without at least one jam or stove pipe.
    I sold that gun, traded it for a USFA, .45 Colt SAA and have had no complaints since?

  • Core

    The article has good advice but it perpetuates the myth of the unreliable 1911 by consequence. An old friend of mine who is a 1911 enthusiast told me to go buy a 1911 and put 1200 rounds through it before I should carry it as a defensive handgun. I have since learned a great deal about several models of firearms by working with them hands on. Theres allot of bad info and data out there. Firearms technology and the manufacturing practices vary extensively between companies, some manufacturers have many years of solid research behind their components, other companies are really producing consumer custom firearms. We live in an age where we want everything customized just the way we want it. There are negative consequences to this phenomena and benefits over time. When I hear stories of unreliable 1911s it’s typically an issue with the user not wanting to invest time and practice into the handgun. You can loosen a tight 1911 and modify it to be as reliable as any other handgun, wheher or not the manufacturer did it right to begin with. I’m sure there are isolated cases where manufacturers completely engineer an unreliable firearm but it’s not common. I hate “modern” striker fire pistols because they are blocky, the stock triggers suck, they often utilize modern conceptual manufacturing techniques, etc. I would need to spend as much on a Glock to get a reliable pistol that I was satisfied with as a 1911, and Id still be unhappy with a blocky polymer pistol. And anyone who thinks a polymer pistol is more accurate and reliable than a properly fitted 1911 is a fanboy. I’m not a 1911 fanboy but I have not found a pistol that beats the complete 1911 package. I really like Colt, Springfield Armory, SIG, and Beretta, and Armalite’s line of pistols etc etc. But with anything these days you have to be careful what you buy, do research. You’ll probably have to get your hands dirty to find the right pistol, but getting your hands dirty is the best part because you will learn and walk away enlightened.

    • JSmath

      You must have read a different article, because I did not get any impression there was a universal problem with 1911’s, and more that the specific one she chose was a bad decision.



  • Joe

    I spoke with my wife about this topic last night, relaying that husbands usually provide poor advice for a handgun purchase to their wives.
    To which she replied “But it’s you. (Gunsmith, 20 yrs in the field) You know these things and how to avoid pitfalls.”
    I told her typically females are steered toward small/light auto pistols in the .22-.380 range; difficult to control, poor sights, and if blowback potentially heinous recoil.
    Also typical is a snub revolver, while small grips can improve fit, nothing’s going to change the DA trigger weight and leverage (Ruger LCR aside), recoil can be harsh, capacity is low, sight plain is very short.
    So my list is this:
    Caliber: 9mm, works for me for the same reasons: higher cap, lower recoil.
    Brands: Glock, Springfield, S&W, HK, Sig, Ruger, FN… pretty much anything with a trigger face safety and a good track record.
    I’d include TDA/SA, DAO or SAO, but I think a long trigger stroke, heavy pull weight, or frame/slide safeties compromise simplicity and usability for many new shooters.
    I’d start with double-stack Compacts, big enough to control, small enough to carry.
    Next would be SubCompacts, followed by single stacked carry pieces.
    A larger/heavier firearm that is conducive to developing confidence and skill of the shooter vs. a pocket .25 with pink grips… no choice at all, really.
    Just my opinion.

    • john huscio

      A Sig with an SRT will shoot as easy and probably faster than most striker pistols.

    • Sulaco

      Plus 1 on that, in my shop we get a lot of husbands/boy friends bringing in the GF and they always think they know everything about handguns and try to dictate what the GF will buy for their reasons not the GF’s. Mostly how it feels in the hand nothing else. I do my best to steer the GF to our NRA woman’s intro gun class where they can learn on their own with out BF around.

  • Tony Miller

    Why am I reading an article written by a woman berating a firearm designed for men?

    • Pete

      Actually, the .40 S&W cartridge was designed for women. The FBI found that their agents with smaller hands (politically correct terminology for female agents) could not handle the 10mm, so S&W shortened and weakened it. The .40 S&W is literally the woman’s 10mm.

      • Tony Miller

        Right. How old are you?

      • Bill

        That’s hilarious, but I think firearms is such a niche area that it’ll be hard to make a living doing stand-up comedy on it. The FBI figured out that NOBODY, no matter how much they paid Brooks Brothers, could conceal, let alone shoot, a S&W 1076, and it was all downhill from there. This was also when a lot of agents were transitioning to from revolvers. I can’t think of a worse gun to go from a revolver to than the 1076. Well, disregarding Nambus and AMT On-Duties.

    • iksnilol

      I thought firearms were the great equalizer? They can’t be that if they are only for men or women.

      • Tony Miller

        You’re a democrat, right?

        • iksnilol

          Not quite… Actually far from it.

          To answer your question: I believe you were reading the post because you clicked on it then didn’t stop reading it.

          • Tony Miller

            I wasn’t being fair to you. I apologize. Sincerely. I just went off on the idea of a 21 year old girl publicly berating the 1911, much less one as modified as her selection, not to mention one in a caliber with internal ballistics not even close to those for which the action was designed. So again, I apologize for attacking you.

          • iksnilol

            No problem, we all have our days. Water under the bridge and all.

        • Dan

          So all Democrats hate guns and don’t support the 2A? Weird better go tell every Democrat I know to give me their guns. Tell me you don’t really believe that?

          • Tony Miller

            You are either with us or against us. No middle ground.

          • Dan

            You made it sound as if all democrats believe that. And believe it or not there is a middle ground, but this is not the place to discuss such things.

    • Tony Miller

      Do you guys even know that the 1911 was designed to fit a man’s hand? Designed to cycle properly, held as stationary as the average man’s arm would hold it? Do you know anything about guns other than what you read or a counter clerk tells you?

  • clay modeling

    Anecdotally, I’ve seen problems with .40s. For instance, the usually reliable Beretta 92 works fine with 9mm, but my friend’s Beretta 96 (.40 S&W), jams a lot! I was stunned by how badly it worked. Not sure why, something about the .40’s dimensions and power, maybe.

    • Sulaco

      I seem to remember the reported problems that the Glock had with .40 at first, same problems in timing?

    • GaryOlson

      Check the ammo. Many suppliers of cheaper .40 ammo are providing FPRN (Flat Point Round Nose) bullets. Those flat points have a larger flat and a sharper corner. This is not the the same as FMJ. One of my ammo supplier changed to the FP bullets, the Beretta .40s started jamming, switched back to FMJ, no problems. No problems with any JHP .40 in a Beretta either.

  • clay modeling

    In addition, my Kimber .45 Ultra CDP works great, shoots semi-wad cutters, hollow points, just about everything, target loads to full power. However, mine is an alloy slide, maybe the mass between that and stainless makes a difference, but I can’t help thinking there is something about .40 S&W that needs a certain tuning.

  • Zebra Dun

    Yup, swapped a single action Ruger revolver that shot better than I did for a customized Colt M-1917 in .45 acp it had a barrel job to 3 inches and the sights moved. It shot like crap at anything over 20 feet meant to be used basically as a short range belly gun.
    The dumbest swap of firearms I ever made.

  • MountainKelly



    Worst handgun? how about fit ? S & W 645…that grip frame is huge….I think someone scaled up the M39 9mm and that is where the size came to be a problem…knew 4 people who own the 645…everyone is a safe / save queen leave it in the safe…save it for collector value…..wonder when S & W will correct the grip size of their N-frame revolvers ? I am 6″ 3″ not a little guy with small hands

  • Kivaari

    When I did some IDPA matches, the most common pistol I saw fail were Kimber’s. Full-sized M1911s were not always reliable. Expensive ones seemed to fail frequently. Compact versions were less reliable than the full-sized pistols. I have had ~15 1911-types, a few of them were very good pistols. But a few of them just would not work well. Magazines failed, either not feeding or cracking along the rear corners at the feed lips. I still recommend first time defensive gun users to get a DA revolver. Don’t buy cheap.

  • petru sova

    As far as the caliber having to start with a no. 4 in caliber. Balderdash. You would think that word would have gotten out since the year 1900 when various people tested the smaller diameter pistol and rifle rounds on live game and in war that this myth would have been solved way back then but stories die hard. There are still people who believe that the .45acp will knock a man down or spin him around like a top or make him disappear in a red puff of mist. In more recent times Pistolero Magazine Writers went to Mexico and tested on pigs the .38 special, 357 mag , 9mm and .45acp and found no difference in killing power what-so-ever.

  • Bal256

    I can’t ever remember hearing anything good about Kimber.

  • I love my Kimber Eclipse II. It’s got a 4.25″ barrel. .45 ACP, which is what the 1911 was designed around. Never had a single issue with it unless I limp-wrist it or shoot it with cruddy hand loads.

    • Tony Miller

      Nick, amazing how few people understand the significance of the force with which the weapon is held stationary. Amazing that all anyone seems to know about is the AR15 action….

      • Ask anyone who started shooting semi-autos in the early days and they will tell you that semi-autos need to be held a certain way to function properly. Revolvers don’t care how you hold them. For harder kicking rounds like .40, .45 especially in lighter pistols with shorter barrels, you need to hang on to it.

  • Marcus D.

    The one purchase (so far) that i’ve regretted the most was a Sig Mosquito. The gun is overly complicated with every safety known to man (decocker, manual safety, DA/SA trigger and a mag disconnect), it requires premium .22 ammo (CCI Minimags are the recommended load and it really won’t run with anything less hot). The DA trigger pull is literally impossible; I have no idea how stiff, but stiffer than I can pull, and therefore lowsy for teaching young ‘uns. And worst of all, it is plain inaccurate.

  • John Swinkels

    My 2 bobs worth i know heaps of people who love their 1911 after spending thousands of dollars.I truly hate them the grip angle does not suit me for some reason.apart from my s&w model 52 in .38 W.C. WOW most accurate hang gun i have ever fired but it was a target gun. My favourite semi of all time was a s&w aluminium 9mm 14 round pacmyer grip .i could shoot 10 ring all day at 25 yards the reason was the grip angle the wrap around grip for large hands it felt so good.and it was not heavy.I have come to the conclusion guns are like a pair of shoes,1911 grips dont fit large hands.

  • Hank Seiter

    If I may assume a few things without becoming a horse’s backside in the process. I love the 1911 platform. I love the fact I can reliably plink bowling pins at 100 meters with my Kimber Custom II or my Colt Gold Cup trophy, but as others have noted, I believe any 1911 shorter (smaller) than a Colt (Combat) Commander is unnecessarily putting their lives on the line if one is carrying what is commonly known as a 1911 Officer (Compact) model.

    Bad, bad choice given the 1911 Compact’s proclivity to be very selective about what ammunition it can reliably shoot (it’s worse than trying to get some .22 rimfire pistol to shoot reliably in my view) whether it’s issues about the manufacturer of said ammo or whether it’s a 185 grain +P personal defense load or your run-of-the-mill 230 grain FMJ ball loading. Well, you can figure out where this is headed so I won’t beat a dead horse.

    An all-steel 1911 Compact may look sexy, but they are still heavy to carry and even stainless versions get pretty beat up in rather short order on the belt or inside the pants. And those with alloy frames can be brutal when shooting hot self-defense loads. But why even put your life at risk with a failure to feed or failure to eject (the dreaded “stove-pipe”) when you find yourself between a rock and a hardspot? And forgot those stupid Glock “compacts”, not only are most people unable to properly grip the truncated grips on a compact but they’re waaaay too bulky and I’ve seen my share at the range suffer the same reliability issues though not as bad the compact 1911s.

    That’s why I carry an M&P Shield in 9mm (forget the .40). It’s reliable, shoots the newer defense/carry +P load with omnivorous aplomb, I can actually practice and plink with the thing out to 20+ meters, has a great set of sights, it’s polymer frame and steel slide with a low maintenance finish will give years of service unless you sweat like a pig in a sauna, it’s reasonable lightweight, and it’s RELATIVELY INEXPENSIVE compared to any 1911 Officer/Compact some people think is worth having.

    BTW, I find it rather dangerously amusing that some supposedly “experienced shooters” believe that one malfunction out every 50 or 100 rounds is an acceptable failure rate in a conceal carry pistol. I would recommend putting a 1000 rounds through any pistol with a failure rate of three or less before making it your frontline go-to CCW. And my hat’s off to anyone able to comfortably carry over two pounds of steel 12/7/365 inside the pants or on a civvy belt.

    If the SHTF, my first option would be to carry some serious .45 Auto steel in a drop-leg holster or in a good leather holster on my commercial grade shooter’s belt as an open-carry rig, but for discrete, comfortable conceal carry I’ll take a Shield or even my XD-M 9mm any and every day. And no, an APEX trigger, if kept above 4.5 pounds pull, won’t undermine your claim you were defending yourself from an imminent life-or-death threat … unless you’re on public record as saying you can’t wait to pop a perp like so many pepper poppers.

  • sometrend

    not a fan of the 1911.I have had a number of different slabsides over the years,keep em for a few months..then trade em off. the absolute worst one I had was an AMT hardballer,the best was a minty colt series 70. my daily carry for the past 10yrs has been a german 228.It is lazer accurate,in probably 8000rnds it has never failed to feed or fire,and it fits my hand like a glove

  • Olddog

    I have a kimber solo that can’t fire twice with jamming, so I have a semi auto single shot $700.00 concealed carry pistol that looks good, carries well and accurate. There has been 200+- rounds run thru it. I guess I should have heeded the reviews instead of thinking that kimber wouldn’t sell defective designs.

  • Jerry McBurney

    I got s s&d 22s for fun
    Worst gun ever
    It does not even work at this point
    Ftf fte
    Won’t load
    You can pull the trigger 2 or 3 times before it goes boom

  • Archie Montgomery

    Right. I read all the time on the internet about how the Mossad uses .22 long rifle pistols for assassination. Therefore, it’s fine for defense.

    I presume this means ‘high’ capacity. High capacity is cooler if one misses a good deal.

    True. Safeties are also irrelevant is one cannot – or will not – use the safety properly. No device can replace competence.

    No. But it has to be made correctly. The ‘non-metal’ has to be suitable for the task.

    Yes. Glory is fleeting. This applies to people as well as manufacturers.

    Good luck with that. I suggest President Reagan’s dictum of “Trust, but verify”.

    More or less. Good customer service makes loyal customers for the company involved, not so much for the manufacturer. I don’t care how much the store people are understanding and willing to make things right; if the arm won’t function I’ll find another brand. Or at least another model/design.

    Very true. Look back at Lesson 2. High capacity magazines typically result in wide, clunky, uncomfortable grips. Very frustrating to me.

    Fair enough. I have had – still have – some pretty ugly firearms that work quite well. On the other hand, they all look like firearms. I do prefer blued steel and walnut to stainless steel and rubber, or plastic and plastic.

    Well, yes. But it usually requires operator cooperation, which includes proper choice of ammunition. A proper gunsmith is every bit as important as a proper doctor, lawyer or tailor.

  • LouGots

    Your carry gun has to go off when it is supposed to, and not go off when it is not supposed to. For the beginner, this means a hammerless revolver, preferably one which has the words “Smith” and “Wesson” in its name, although Ruger LCR’s are not bad. Any gun you have with you in infinitely preferable to the one you left home because it was too heavy or bulky. It’s the K.I.S.S. rule: “Keep it simple, stupid.” If it can go wrong, it will go wrong should be the maxim we follow for personal defense..There are many things which can be done wrong with a autoloader, and almost nothing can go wrong with a hammerless wheelgun.

    Apropos the author’s tale of the Kimber which didn’t work. If she says so, it must be so. All mine work. All the time. Big guns have big recoil energy available to operate the action. All semi-autos have ammunition preferences, not as a matter of magic or witchcraft, but of bullet nose design and recoil energy. Even improper gun handling technique can compromise reliability.

  • Speedi656

    I HAD a Kimber Solo.. the paint was peeling and when I called the Rep told me he never heard that before and I most have done something wrong. There were post all over about similar problems. They also had no idea the slide springs were difficult to re-attach. Horrible customer service policy..
    I should have known better because a couple if years prior that purchase I wanted a 1911 and went to Gander to see the Kimber line. The barrels on mist were rusting and the Salesperson told me that all the Kimbers did that and Kimber offered no explanation. So I called to ask if was just a bad batch or if I should be looking for a certain model or serial numbers and was told “I have never heard this before and Gander most have done something wrong”
    Don’t by Kimberly unless you like dealing with ignorance

  • jimmyrk3

    Ms. Lauer, I was wondering if you have tried “a Kimber Stainless Ultra Carry chambered in .40S&W” since your first bad experiences? My son and I both bought Kimber Ultra Carrys in .45 caliber and he had experiences that sound a lot like yours. When I would shoot his I never had the problems he would describe.

  • allan card

    Taurus .45 I bought brand new about 12 years ago. Looks can be deceiving.
    That was the biggest hunk of junk I ever own and will never buy another Taurus, I changed to h+k usp and will never look back. It only liked a certain type of ammo jammed ever third round. H+k has cycled everything I have put in it and I haven’t had one hiccup.

  • BambiB

    All those “credentials” and she still doesn’t know that limp-wristing a .45ACP can cause it to jam?

    • Anon. E Maus

      Limp-wristing just about any automatic can give you jams.
      If you go and read her article on Lucky Gunner, she mentions having good experience with .40, .44, .45 and even .454

      For what it’s worth, I’ve heard numerous stories about people not being happy with their Kimber pistols, “You’re limp-wristing” is a favorite reply by Kimber’s customer support.

  • jeffrey melton

    A gun that rattles is ok but one that clunks isn’t. My best, most reliable, always goes boom pistol? Ruger p90 45 acp, it’ll shoot anything with never a missfire since 1996.

  • John H

    While I enjoyed the article Mrs Lauer didn’t specify when she brought her Kimber or why she didn’t return it to Kimber if it wasn’t running right. Could it be that she brought the Kimber when they were experminting with their failed “external extractor?”
    Not every gun, toaster, or car that leaves any factory will be in perfect working order. Mass production of anything dictates there will be errors.
    I’ve sent back Sig’s, Kimbers, and S&W’s
    And they have had their errors corrected and I wasn’t out any money because all three companies have solid guarentees.
    So I have little sympathy for anyone who wastes money on a local gunsmith when the firearm should have went back to the manufacturer. In essence don’t sing the blues if you don’t give the manufacturer the chance to make it right.

  • A.D. Hopkins

    Gun I wish I hadn’t bought was one of the original Colt Mustangs. Very reliable in going “bang” every time I pull trigger, light and easy to carry, but will not shoot accurately even at 15 yards off sandbags. Sent it back to Colt and they said it was “within specifications.” I would carry it as a backup to 1911, but not for any other purpose. There’s better stuff out there, much cheaper.

  • Just my .02

    Had an identical experience with the same gun in .45 ACP. Thing would never shoot reliably, despite smithing attempts to convince there was nothing wrong with it. Major relief to finally get rid of it.

  • A.D. Hopkins

    A Colt Mustang Pocketlite I bought new some 20 years ago had the virtues of going “bang” every time I pulled the trigger and being easy to carry (with hammer down on a loaded chamber because the floating firing pin makes it dropsafe.) But the pistol will not keep all its shots anywhere near the A-zone of a silhouette target at 15 yards, even off sandbags and even after a trip back to factory. I finally gave up; there are now pistols that small and light that are much more accurate. I would carry the pistol as a backup to a 1911, because the controls work in the same way as the 1911, but not for any other reason. If somebody made a single-action semi-auto of this configuration that was accurate out to 25 yards, I would buy it, but I haven’t heard of one. Most reviews of pistols this size don’t even test for accuracy at that distance, but 25 yards seems the standard to me. That’s the distance from the front door of a minimum-setback suburban house to the far sidewalk on a suburban street, and I know of incidents that have occurred at that range.

  • brian

    i’ve worked with alot of beat up 1911’s while in the navy but they all fired flawlessly, they had been used as hammers, kicked, dropped down to lower levels ,even over the side into the salt water but i could rely on them to work . I think its alot of power for a compact thats why compacts need work done to them to adjust for the barrel pressures that is pushed through them

  • petru sova

    Famous last words. Anyone can make a mistake and some guns are much more safe to handle than other makes. Even a Moron can see the difference in the take down of Glock compared to a Beretta which also has a manual safety which the Glock does not have. Telling people that ” the best safety is between your ears” is the same as saying you do not need anti-lock brakes or a safety that shuts off the riding lawn mower if you fall off of it while it is moving. Safety systems work that’s why they were invented and pistols that do not have them are less safe period.

  • Tucson_Jim

    There is “Accurate” ability to center the group around the target, and a function of sight set up… and there is “Precision” the ability to continuously/consistency produce a small (relative) grouping.

    From a gun design point of view, “Precision” requires close tolerances in the chamber fit, battery/lock-up, and between the barrel and sights (if the two move relative to each other.

    “Reliability” requires a firearm to accommodate a wide range of ammo and environment, and REQUIRES loose tolerances.

    These two sets of characteristics are antithetical to each other !

    A 1911 has a long sight base because of its 5″ barrel… it also has a muzzle bushing, which introduces an additional set of tolerances for the approx. .002″ slip fit between the barrel and bushing, and the bushing and the slide, which contribute to the variability between the barrel and the sights. But, it also has a light, crisp trigger, contributing to its accuracy.

    Both the SIG P226 and the Baretta 92 surpassed the 1911 for reliability during the 1980’s pistol trials, and both lack the muzzle bushing with its inherent additional slip-fit tolerances… so, they were competitive for accuracy, in spite of having shorter sight bases.

    The 1911 is a 104 year old design, you can dress it up, you can put a bunch of money into making it more accurate, or, you can buy an $800 dollar pistol that is smaller, more reliable, carries more rounds that are just as effective, costs less to practice with, is easier to clean, is lighter and more accurate… and use the difference to reward your wife for being so understanding with dinner.

    The 1911 played an important role in history, it served with honor in the US Armed Forces for many decades, it was a game-changing side-arm, and, it’s importance is being restored by again serving with the US Marine Corps… this is all happening whether YOU own and carry one, or not.

  • Tim X

    Wow, its hard to imagine that manufacturers can sell such unreliable and dangerous guns as you’ve described. I’ve witnessed a lot of crappy guns at the range, especially in smaller pistols, and especially autos. Autos in general seem to be more problematic than revolvers. That’s just my observation over the last 50 years of shooting. The general move to autos did not necessarily make the public safer compared to the earlier prevalence of revolvers.

  • BilltheCat

    I own a 1911, Para Warthog, and a Springfield XD, all in 45 acp. I also own an Interarms 45 acp carbine. Of them all the Interarms has the most problems, I recently had to change out the extractor on the 1911, but then it is 50 years old. My 1911 is a USMC, Viet Nam war area, issue weapon. The Para, Springfield, and Interarms were all purchased in the last 5 years. So far have fired about 4000 rounds through each of the pistols, and the only stoppage was due to ammo malfunction. In my opinion the Interarms was poorly designed. It is probably the one weapon, that I wished that I had not bought.

  • Art Hock

    I have 10 Kimbers and love them all. Three inch, four inch, and five inch in 9, 40, and especially 45. Some people shoot limp-wristed and that definitely will not work on short barreled guns no matter the manufacture. The only problem I ever had with a Kimber was way back when and the gun had a 2 piece guide rod made of tungsten which was great for the extra weight but was brittle. I talked to the custom shop boss at the NRA show in St. Louis and she had it replaced with a 1 piece guide rod and that was the end of the problems. They are not expensive when compared with the custom guns and they are accurate and have a good trigger right out of the box.

  • Jamie Clemons

    If you had listened to your husband and went with the revolver as he suggested you wouldn’t have had any of these problems and never have to worry about a jam ever instead of getting the shiny tactical automatic.

  • THATguy

    Pws 7.62×39 AR15….magazines,magazines,magazines

    NOTE TO ANYONE NOT IN THE KNOW!! You can’t run M4 feed ramps on a firearm that is running a bigger caliber cartridge. Thems just the facts

  • Jerry Goldstein

    My $361 Rock Island M1911 digests any ammo and NEVER malfunctions. It is not particularly loose, and doesn’t rattle. OORAH for the Phillipines!

  • Anthony Rosetta

    I have an Kimber Ultra CDPII in .40 caliber. I can’t carry it for protection, because it’s not reliable. The original magazine works fine, but the two spares I purchased from Kimber are not worth a crap. I called Kimber and they said they sent me a different brand of magazine, because they had problems with the originals. The spares both won’t feed the first round when I reload. They offered to send me two more mags, but I finally got rid of it, because I don’t want an unreliable weapon, especially if my life is going to be on the line. Kimbers are beautiful pistols, but they definitely are not reliable, plus they’re way overpriced. I have a Wilson Combat .45 cal. with a 4 inch barrel and have shot a few thousand rounds through it, and it’s never failed to feed with any kind of ammo, including semi wad cutters and various hollow points. Now, that’s something you can’t argue with.

  • WFDT

    The worst gun I ever owned was an AMT Hardballer 1911A1. Many jams and inaccurate and all the measurements were a RCH off so no aftermarket parts fit correctly.
    The best gun I own is a Colt 1911 that was made in 1918. Nearly 100 years old and it eats and spits out every bullet run through it and lands them all right on the money. Never jammed once.
    Go cheap, get cheap.

  • supergun

    A Gun to a Woman is like a BRA. No man can tell a Woman what kind of gun she needs.

  • Bill Barrister

    Bought a SCCY Gen 2. 12 lb. trigger pull! Had blisters when I came hm. from the range. Had trouble getting consistent small groupings. Bot. Laser for it. Still hard to shoot. Bought primarily because price was right & local manufacturer Now own a Springfield XDs & love it. Wasted my $ the first time. Now use it as backup gun.

  • Nicholas B

    I will be purchasing my first sidearm around the end of the month. As this will also be my first firearm I have been doing a lot of research on them to figure out what will fit me and my needs. I like articles like this because of the content as well as the comments. I would like to ask this question though. Through my research I have come across nothing that talks about max pressure say for instance on a Springfield xdm or glock that the chamber can withstand before it blows. Thanks for the info in advance.

    • Wyatt

      The short answer is: The glock, xdm, and many many other modern firearms can handle the pressure of any standard or even higher pressure (refered to as +P) factory loaded ammunition. If you are reloading ammunition at home or using ammunition reloaded by someone else, then dangerous over pressure situations can arise if you don’t know what you are doing.

      Hope this helps, and be safe

  • Johnathan

    I posted the following (twice!) to Cabela’s, but they censor reviews, so it never appeared:



    Piss-poor design, crap performance — JUNK!

    Was in the market for a .22 semi for my wife, so she would have something both fun to shoot and used inexpensive ammo, so she could play with it often. Had her handle it (and several other models) at the store, to see if she liked the “feel.” After reading the reviews at the time, it looked OK, so we got it.


    When we got it home, we cleaned, oiled & made ready; even got her a holster and extra clip. I was a little worried about the facts that it came with an extra spring for different ammo, plus the paperwork in which Sig “suggests” only using CCI ammo, as I have never seen a .22 that picky, whether revolver or semi, pistol or rifle. Have NEVER changed a spring to accomodate ammo…

    Took it to the range with a friend who builds some of his own firearms. We tried regular ammo (Winchester), we tried CCI ammo. We switched the springs. We cleaned it again on a table at the range, we tried extra oil, we tried wiping as much oil as possible off, we wiped the ammo down (though it was all new in the box), we sprayed oil on the ammo and wiped it.

    Absolutely nothing worked — NOTHING! This thing just likes to jam.

    I’ve since seen YouTube vids with people playing gunsmith, trying to mod/fix the problem. Not something I want to get into.

    A new gun shop opened in town not long ago; owner is a veteran, so I called up to ask his opinion. As soon as I mentioned “Sig Mosquito” he said, “Stop, I know what you’re going to say — it jams. It’s bad design, though all other Sigs are OK.”

    Traded it in on something else, losing nearly half the value on something which had less than 100 rounds through it.

    If you’re thinking about getting this, I suggest you change the $100 bill into singles, and make use of them the next time you go potty. That will at least serve a purpose, whereas this piece of crap does not.

    Cannot believe Cabela’s actually sells this garbage; they should have known about it before taking my cash, as anyone who has experience with it seems to know all about the defective design. Will never own another Sig product, either; wouldn’t trust it to perform when needed.

  • Meaux Bull

    I carry a SS Taurus M85. It works. I have other weaponry but I absolutely trust the M85 to fire. Great article, keep posting and I’ll keep reading.

  • TXgnnr

    I have owned two firearms that I had bad experiences with. I will admit up front that one of them is a bargain basement firearm, but the other was a well known, highly recommended revolver. The bargain basement gun was a Taurus Millennium in 9mm. Not the “Pro” model, the plain ol’ Millennium. I could not get that gun to cycle a full magazine to save my life. Needless to say, since I planned on using it an my carry gun, I traded it in for my first Springfield XD in 9mm. I LOVE the XD line from Springfield.

    The second was a Smith & Wesson hammer-less snub nose in .357. There was nothing functionally with the weapon but the recoil was palm busting. I am 6′ 3″, 275 and have large hands, so I’m no wimp. But, when the recoil of that small firearm hit my palm, I just wasn’t expecting it. After 5 rounds I said screw that. The next weekend I took it back to Cabela’s and traded it in, at a fraction of what I’d paid for it a month earlier, on my second XD, this one is .40 S&W.

    It is unfortunate that there are so few gun ranges that rent various firearms because if there ware more of them I believe perspective buyers could save themselves a lot of time, money and grief by being able to test shoot the weapons they are interested in purchasing. That’s just my thoughts, I could be wrong.

  • advocatus diaboli

    My Sigs don’t rattle because they are incredibly well-made and they are very reliable. Sloppiness is not a feature, it’s a lack of manufacturing tolerance and quality control to cut costs. Wilson Combat and Les Baer 1911s don’t rattle for instance. The 1911 is a fine pistol for those who like big bullets and small capacity, not so much for those who don’t because they prefer capacity and better performing modern rounds. It’s a free country shoot what you like.

  • The Brigadier

    Yeah, a few years ago I purchased a Sig 229 in “357 auto” after an article appeared in the National Rifleman about it. First of all Sig lied about the caliber. Its actually a .355 that makes it a 9mm magnum. This falsehood to sell it to gullible Americans aside, the pistol was made strong, functioned flawlessly and I really liked the decocking lever, but like other European firearms the “rake” simply didn’t fit my hand. I have the same gripe about Glocks. Browning came up with the proper angle of handle to receiver and Luger and Walther and other’s didn’t. I suppose I’ve been spoiled by thousands of rounds fired through .45’s, .38 Supers and various magnum revolvers. I sold the Sig for what I paid for it and the new owner is thrilled. His previous handgun experience was .22 revolvers.

  • Ryan

    My XD-9 was lost in a creek from when I lost it hunting, 7 months later it was returned to me. I took nothing but a wire brush to it, and cycled 20 rounds at 15 meters getting 17 hits on a 24 oz bottle. For years I wanted a 92FS, bought myself one and under 15 meters my Springfield (with pits in the barrel) with out shoot the gun I wanted for ten years. If you’ve never shoot a make of pistol Don’t buy it!

    • Ryan

      Forgot to say my Springfield has 3″ barrel and the as you know the 92 has a 5″ barrel.

  • Steve Jacobs

    My biggest disappointment was when I bought a brand-new Kimber Custom Target II.

    Right out of the box, the gun had a creepy, gritty feeling trigger and it took hundreds of rounds before it improved the slightest amount. On the positive side, the slide to frame fit is extremely good.

    What makes this so disappointing is that Kimber was supposed to be a high-end pistol and finding out it was so poorly finished internally really changed my opinion of their products.

    After suffering with it for months, I finally ended up opening it up, removed all of the series 80 firing pin safety drek from within, and replaced the poorly finished sear, disconnector and hammer with Wilson parts. That improved the trigger pull to what it should have been to begin with. The next to go will be the plastic (yes, PLASTIC) mainspring housing and install a slightly lighter mainspring to get it where I like it.

    Eventually, I’ll also replace the “target” sights too. Adjusting windage is a fairly straightforward process, but elevation is another story. You first have to loosen a set screw with a tiny bit, then press down very firmly on the top of the rear sight before you can budge the elevation screw the tiniest amount. Every other adjustable sight I’ve ever used is much easier.

    If Kimber would put as much effort in making firearms that live up to their marketing hype, they’d be the best firearms available. As they are now, they don’t live up to expectations.