Kudos to Kimber

July 21st, 2017 17 Comments

Let’s give credit where credit is due.

I have a Kimber CDP in .45 caliber. (The 1911 on the gun rug in the lower left of the photo above.) It has a full-length guide rod and no barrel bushing, which means when you disassemble it, you have to use a little tool (basically a paperclip bent into an L-shape) to hold the recoil spring back.

With me so far?

Other than the pain-in-the-neck factor of having to use a little tool (Murphy’s Law #3: if you need a tool to do anything, you won’t have when you need it) everything is fine so far. The problem comes when you have to disassemble the guide-rod-recoil-spring-recoil-spring-cap unit into its three component pieces. Kimber recommends only doing this about every 800-rounds, but if you’re a clean freak, as I am, you tend to get a little anal-compulsive about doing things thoroughly.

Soooooo, when I came back from the range, I decided to clean this particular firearm thoroughly. Unfortunately, I have arthritis in my hands, and between the shooting at the range and the weather and possibly the alignment of the stars, my hands were hurting that day. It takes a certain amount of physical strength to hold the spring back as you release the little tool without letting anything slip, because if you let anything slip, the odds of your ever finding the recoil spring, the recoil spring cap, or the guide rod are slim to none and Slim left town.

I had a stroke of genius. I put gun rags on either side of my machinist’s vice to protect the metal, clamped the unit into the vice, and promptly turned it one turn too many, torqueing the whole damned thing.

I took the whole (disassembled) gun to my local gun store where I was told I would have to replace the three pieces of the unit, and since everything about Kimber firearms is proprietary, that meant calling Kimber.

Now, let’s review the bidding: Shooter decides to disassemble and clean a part that doesn’t need cleaning; Shooter gets frustrated and irritable because his hands are hurting; Shooter gets bright idea that wasn’t very bright after all and destroys an integral unit of the gun that didn’t need disassembly and cleaning in the first place; Shooter calls Kimber and when the young man answers the phone in the parts department, Shooter tells the young man honestly and forthrightly that he (the Shooter) is a moron who did and astoundingly moronic thing that didn’t need doing and shouldn’t have been done anyway.

And this is where the story gets interesting, because the young man on the phone in Kimber’s parts department restrained his impulse to laugh, said he would put the parts in the mail that afternoon, and then announced there would be no charge. No parts fee. No shipping fee. No stupidity fee. Absolutely free and gratis.

Kudos and a grateful tip of the hat to Kimber Manufacturing. (https://www.kimberamerica.com)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Too funny…good to know there are still good companies out there…love the way you tell your stories JP…

    Nancy Gallinger

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thus far in the few cases I have dealt with a firearm companies customer service the experiences have been positive like that.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m glad you were able to get your gun fixed. It was nice of the company to

    do that for you for free. Sounds like something I’d do. Thank you for

    sharing this with us. It brought a smile to my face! I love your style of

    writing. I really like your book An Accidental Cowboy! I’m halfway through

    It and I”ve ordered two more of your books already! Love to you and

    Darleen!!

    Bonnie Whitlatch

  4. Anonymous says:

    Great story! You have a very good prose for story telling. This episode made my day!
    Cheers!
    MH

  5. Anonymous says:

    When things like this happen I think it merits buying a lotto ticket or two. 😉

    Carla In California

  6. Anonymous says:

    Lol! Love your honesty and humor. I have a friend who gets on my case for my honesty (I would have fessed up to my stupidity, like you did), but I feel that honesty is the way to go. It gives the other person, or company in this case, something to smile about as well as a good story to tell when he/she gets home.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Great to hear JP.

    So I see no mention of whether you got it back together yet, did it yourself, or took it to a gunsmith. So did you get it back together and take it out and shoot it yet if you did get it back together?

    • Anonymous says:

      Or maybe your just requested the parts and haven’t received them yet. If that’s the case let us know how it turns out.

  8. Anonymous says:

    So, customer service and mechanical design issues aside, how does the Kimber compare with the Colt?

    • I can’t really make that comparison because my Colt, bought just before the California DOJ declared that particular model illegal (a perfectly standard Combat Commander: go figure) in the People’s Socialist Paradise of Falicornia, has had some custom work done to it. With that in mind, I should point out that all Kimbers are, basically, semi-custom 1911s, so when you buy one you are getting a lot of bang for your buck. The downside is that, as far as I know, Kimber does not make a Commander size with a barrel bushing and short guide rod, which is what I wanted when I bought the Colt. Beyond that, I would add that because the Colt is all steel, and the Kimber has an alloy frame, the Kimber is a lot more comfortable to carry, if you happen to live someplace where carry–concealed or open–is an option. But either way, you can’t really go wrong.
      JP

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks for the insights. Mine is a Colt 1918 US Army issue, not an easy pistol to carry or shoot, trigger pull like each step of a hi-lift jack. Won’t change a thing on the old war horse but I’m looking for something more serviceable.

        Snowgoose

        • If yours is really an original 1918 Army issue, I wouldn’t change anything on it. Instead, take a look at some of the new 1911s being offered at (relatively) reasonable prices (Ruger, Rock Island, Taurus) or take a step up, though not out into the stratosphere, with Sig Sauer, Kimber, Colt, etc. If price is no object, there are companies out there that will sell you a handgun for the kind of money that used to get you a good pickup, but unless you’re an operative in some garden spot like Afghanistan, you probably don’t need all those bells and whistles.
          JP

  9. Anonymous says:

    Almost bought a Kimber a few years ago, but made the plunge into buying a polymer pistol, a Springfield XDm. Poly is okay… but I really like the 1911 platform, always have and always will.

    But with that said my former EDC was a full size Springfield Loaded 1911-A1. Nice gun. Shoots like a champ, nice and smooth.

    A few years ago I bought a cheap Officer Model Rock Island Armory 3.5″… no barrel bushing, same paperclip style disassembly method as your Kimber to make it ‘easier’. It’s not a light alloy, so still pretty chunky to carry, but smaller of course. I like it a lot. I struggled a little the first time I did a complete breakdown… they can really numb the thumb and other fingers trying to get that recoil spring in place.

    I like the RIA because I don’t feel like I have to baby it. My stainless fullsize Loaded Springer is a partial safe queen, even when I carried it I worried about it getting dinged and getting the idiot scratch. With the RIA I could give a damn. I take care of it, don’t get me wrong, I clean it when I shoot it every couple weeks, but I don’t worry about holster wear, or tossing it under the truck seat, or setting it down on a rough surface, or the idiot scratch. It’s a total utility gun for me – and the little bugger shoots wonderfully, I have to admit.

    I had some issues with it failing to feed on the last round over a year or more ago. Thought it was my magazines at first (which where stock), but then ruled that out. I changed up the recoil spring (which I normally do every 500-800 rounds) but that didn’t fix it… I am not a 1911 armorer but knew of a few other things to check, but since RIA has a rock solid warranty on their pistols I just sent it in to their US HQ in Nevada. Got it back a month later and they tuned it for me at no charge.

    That little hunk of metal shoots like a dream, eats HPs without any hiccups. Runs a little hard compared to a full size 1911, but I like that. It’s a great little gun for EDC; reliable, accurate, compact, and not something I worry about dinging up. And it was cheap for a 1911 Officer Model.

    1911… no school like the old school.

    TD Bauer
    Wisconsin

  10. Anonymous says:

    Murphy’s Law
    Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
    Because losing the spring its bound to happen. I have arthritis and trying to put things together only lets to more pain, cursing and losing various pieces of whatever it was I was trying to put together. “Where the bleep is the screw to this thing!”

  11. Anonymous says:

    Re-reading this thread makes me want to go out and buy another 1911.

    TD Bauer

    • Well, hell, TD, a man can never have too many 1911s…
      JP

      • Anonymous says:

        I need to save my pennies for a secluded BWCA/Quitico base-camp trip next year with a buddy – and if he cancels I’m going solo (he reads your blog)… But a new 1911 is tempting.

        TD

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