Kimber Firearms Introduction
A few firearms manufacturers are in a league of their own in terms of craftsmanship, quality, and overall fit and finish. The name Kimber represents a company that is most certainly in a league of their own.
The History of Kimber Manufacturing
While it is primarily known as a manufacturer of excellent 1911 clones, Kimber Manufacturing did not begin making that particular firearm. The modern Kimber Manufacturing began as Kimber of Oregon, a small firearms manufacturer in rural Clackamas, Oregon.
Oddly enough, Kimber of Oregon was founded by a pair of Australian ex-pats, father and son Jack and Greg Warne. Actually, it's not that odd considering how miserable Australia has been on firearms rights in the past few decades; perhaps the Warne's saw the writing on the wall. Anyway, Jack Warne had moved to Oregon after Omark Industries of Portland purchased his company.
Kimber of Oregon developed clout as a manufacturer of highly accurate .22lr rifles, not the famous 1911. The remainder of the details of the company's origin and the path to where it is now is an arduous one which we will not try to follow; the importance is the modern legacy with which they produce great pistols, predominantly.
Okay, with one small caveat. Like many of the highly successful and prominent American gun manufacturers, Kimber ended up on the upper East Coast with manufacturing in New York and New Jersey, two states that are among the very most malicious toward firearm use and firearm manufacturers. Due to the rabid opposition from those areas, Kimber moved manufacturing to Troy, Alabama, first, and has recently announced that the corporate headquarters will follow.
The Kimber 1911
While Kimber does make a few other products outside of the 1911 line, it is hardly noteworthy when you compare those to the sheer volume of products they make in the 1911 line.
The decision to focus on 1911s was not one of passion; it was a mostly business-oriented measure. Kimber had developed a good reputation in building excellent rifles, and as such, they had developed an extensive network of retailers and dealers. At the time, which would have been the late 1990s, 1911s made a lot of sense. For one thing, firearms manufacturers were still held hostage under the 1994 Brady Bill, which limited magazine capacities to 10. In this decade, big bore calibers, namely the venerable .45ACP, came back to life as the Wonder Nine lost its luster via reduced capacity. Why not go big bore if your magazine capacity is limited?
At this time, there were only a handful of manufacturers of 1911s, even though the patent was long since expired. Colt was still easily the leading manufacturer, and their offerings, while excellent, were not particularly budget-minded.
Kimber shook up the 1911 industry and, truthfully, paved the way for many, many others to follow along and challenge the sitting king.
Kimber made their mark all over the pistol shooting industry with their 1911s, too; they were not a one-trick pony. Their pistols have made their way onto the USA Shooting Team, were used by the LAPD SWAT team, and, most notably, were the standard sidearm issued to Marines in MARSOC.
Kimber Manufacturing is the consummate American success story: it started with an immigrant with a dream who started his own business and has grown to be an industry leader in fine pistols and rifles. They have a proven track record of being hardy, reliable, and brutally accurate, and make something in all sizes from micro to full-size and everything in between.