My S&W Performance Center 1911 is an amazing pistol, hand assembled by experienced gunsmiths and capable of being compared with the “big boys” in the semi-custom industry. My Sig Nitron Rail 1911 is a very utilitarian weapons with features I would want on a handgun meant for something other than a range environment (all the while being able to run with the S&W in terms of accuracy). My STI Spartan, while more Spartan (obligatory pun intended) in design, nicely fills the niche of a 9mm range gun. But what about my Kimber?
My Kimber was my first 1911. It was manufactured in 1998 and, is thus, a “Series 1” Kimber… meaning it does not have the often criticized Swartz firing pin safety. I purchased this pistol used in 2007 from a local shop, convinced it was all I could ever want in a 1911. With adjustable sights, crisp trigger, and black rubber grips, what else could I need? Well, I quickly determined that I prefer wood grips and short triggers, so modifications were made. Seven years later (and 16 years after it came off the assembly line), the Kimber Classic Custom Target is still a great handgun but it has been eclipsed by other members of my stable. It does not shoot quite as well as my S&W or Sig, and lacks the front strap checkering that I’ve determined is my preference. Also, its replacement trigger has a smooth face and I’ve now discovered that I prefer grooved triggers on a 1911. Alas, what was once the pride of my collection has been reduced to “reserve” status in my list of 1911s. I even contemplated the unthinkable today: selling it to fund another purchase.
At this point, I can go one of two routes with the ol’ Kimber:
- Accept it for what it is: a classically styled “enhanced” 1911 that, while lacking many of the custom touches and more modern refinements of my other pistols, remains a smooth shooter.
- Turn this into a project gun with updates that, while making it very different than its factory form, could give it the “mojo” to become a favorite once again.
If I go the update route, it will likely include some or all of the following:
- Revision to a Greider short grooved trigger (easy… I can do this myself in less than an hour).
- Machine cut front strap checkering (25 LPI; no WAY I try this on my own).
- Undercut trigger guard (see above… best left to professionals).
- Hand fit oversized bushing (something from EGW perhaps, but not by these hands).
- Hand fit premium barrel (maybe a Kart; what’s Alchemy Custom’s phone number??).
- Carry cuts in the front to give it a “Hi Power” profile (I lack the skills and machinery for this).
- Refinish in satin or brushed hard chrome (yeah, this is more involved than a can of Krylon and thus ain’t happening at my house).
I’m not sure what I’m going to do at this point; the Kimber is a great pistol in its own right and I’d need to wait some time anyway before having the funds to move forward on a project such as this. For now, my Kimber will stay “as is” and may get some more range time just so it doesn’t get lonely. But, in the back of my mind I’ll be thinking about what some “upgrades” could help it become… and what it might lose in the process.