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Posted: 4/6/2005 5:55:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/13/2005 1:15:08 PM EDT by Irishfly]
Debo’s new Kimber Warrior range report

Well I received my new Kimber Warrior the other day and just had time to take it to the range. For those not familiar with this weapon it is Kimber’s newest offering and is the civilian version of the weapon submitted to the USMC for consideration as their new ICQB sidearm for the Ninjas attached to Special Operations. It sports the following features several of which are different than current Kimber standards:
1) It is Series I (no Firing Pin Safety)
2) Internal Extractor
3) GI length guide rod
4) G10 grips (close copy of Simonich Gunners)
5) Rail that is integrated to the frame
6) Ed Brown style grip safety
7) Metal MSH with retention lanyard loop
8) Novak (or Novak style Trijicon depending on which you end up with) Night Sites
9) No front strap checkering (as spec’ed by USMC)
10) Kimpro finish (which we will have a serious discussion about later)
11) Front and rear cocking grooves on the slide and
12) Ambi extended thumb safety. T

A short synopsis from Kimber from their press release is as follows-

The new Warrior™ .45 ACP is a civilian version of the pistol Kimber® created to outfit the elite Marine Detachment assigned to U.S. Special Operations Command. It seamlessly transitions into one of the finest, most powerful personal defense or law enforcement pistols ever offered to the public.
A full-size 1911, the Warrior has a 5-inch match grade barrel with match grade chamber, each Warrior is a blend of traditional and innovative features. 1911 traditionalists will appreciate the short guide rod, internal extractor and lanyard loop that compliment modern advances such as an ambidextrous thumb safety, Tritium night sights, tactical rail, bumped and grooved beavertail grip safety and KimPro™ self-lubricating finish.




My first impression as I handled the Kimber Warrior was that it was put together very well. The slide to frame fit was tight and secure but still had the rough scratchiness of a new auto pistol. OK, a new auto pistol that isn’t a Les Baer. With the forthcoming break-in I had no doubt that it would get a lot smoother. Tolerances were actually tighter than I expected and every part seemed to match well. The gun in this configuration was designed as a battle weapon and is loose enough to warrant no outrageous claims of accuracy despite having a match grade bbl. I have read that specifications for the project required 25 yd 7 shot groups of less than 4 inches. This is well within the realm of a defensive/offensive service pistol. Night sights were nice, big and bright and to add a little personal bias into the equation, I really like this style of sight better than the traditional Kimber Meprolights. Trigger pull was a little creepy compared to my custom Springfield but not bad at all for this pistols intended use. It broke consistently at a mean of 4lbs-8oz with 10 pulls of a digital gauge. It should clean up a bit with use. Even if it doesn’t improve I believe it is adequate and plan no changes to the trigger group. The grips, although gawdawfully ugly, fit great in my hand and really stick there. The recoil spring seems stronger than stock, although I am not sure of the exact weight.



On to the range:
I loaded up supplies and headed to the range for some testing and break-in time. I dutifully cleaned and lubed the pistol prior to shooting per the Kimber owner’s manual. I loaded up both the stock mag and three Chip McCormick power mags with Georgia Arms .230gr remanufactured .45ACP ball ammo, which has always performed very well in my pistols. This occasion was no exception. Through the first 19 magazines the Warrior performed flawlessly without a single FTF, FTE, or any other malfunction. Kimber recommends a strip down and cleaning after every 150 rounds during break in so I took a few minutes to do so and let the pistol cool off. I know, I know, I wanted to run an extended torture test too, but I have got to follow the rules at least for the break in. I fieldstripped it without the need of special tools, paperclips, wrenches, henweighs or anything else. The GI length guide rod and traditional bushing design allowed old-school disassembly without tools. Lots of soot and carbon on the muzzle and slide (reman. ammo always seems to run a little more filthy) but didn’t affect the function of the pistol. I put another 20 magazines of .45 downrange and my impressions of shooting this pistol are positive. The bore axis isn’t as low to the hand as my Springfield but it allowed very nice followup shots nonetheless.



Like most full-size 1911’s it is a meaty gun and fills up the hand. It does so especially well with the G10 grips. As I said earlier these grips, GRIP! They fleshed out the gun nicely and provided a secure connection with the weapon. For some reason, Kimber made these grips unbeveled. I can only assume that they did it to fit a Smith Alexander type MSH magwell. Problem is that they already have a MSH with the lanyard loop on it. So you either lose one of the designed specifications on the gun or live with the flat-bottomed grips. I can’t speak for everyone but whenever I shoot a 1911 with the flat-bottomed grips and no aftermarket magwell the grip bites into the heel of my hand. This is not a big deal at first but after a few hundred rounds you KNOW something isn’t right. I don’t know why Kimber let this little detail slip by and it may only bother me but it does bother me. Options are to 1) machine the G10 to make it like normal beveled grips 2) live with it and quit complaining or 3) buy some Simonich G10 Gunner grips as a replacement and smile. As I don’t want to ruin the original grips I am ordering some Gunners to swap out the factory grips. I like the material but not the shape of the Warriors stock grips. As can be seen in some of the pictures, because they are light in color the grips seem to soil easily and need a toothpick to dig out the dirt. This doesn’t bother me too much but in the interest of providing all the information I should throw in that observation.



Most of the shooting for this range day included close quarters (inside of seven yards) Mozambique failure drills, tap and rack drills, multiple target engagement and the like. The gun performed very well although I need to adjust the sights a little to the right as you can see from the target. I really like the sights on this weapon as they allow both good nighttime and daytime performance in defensive type scenarios. Some nightsights I have seen didn’t seem to perform very well in the daylight. The ambi thumb safety worked well on weak hand only drills and I was impressed with the Brown style grip safety. It provided positive engagement and comfortable, repeatable grip on the weapon. I finished out a full 62 magazines (500 rounds) without a gun-related failure. To be complete, I should report that I had two magazine-related issues during the session. Both were with the same Chip McCormick Powermag (it has happened with the same mag in my SA 1911 as well) and it will soon be going back to Chip to get it sorted out. The malfunction was at round 198 when the magazine pushed my slide stop up and caused the slide stop to engage with one round left halfway in the magazine. After this, the magazine failed to “drop free” on several attempts so there must be a bend or deformity somewhere. I have had numerous problems at the range with this magazine previously and after taking it out of the rotation there were zero failures. The factory magazine worked beautifully as did the other CM powermags throughout the rest of the session.




Now I told you that I would be getting back to a discussion about the finish on this pistol. I am not exactly sure what “Kimpro” finish is except that it is supposed to be self-lubricating and yada yada. I will tell you this- it won’t have time to be self-lubricating because it will be all worn off soon. I have “slight holster wear” where you would expect that I would have it after a few months/ years of carrying this pistol daily. Problem is, I have not bought a holster for it yet, it has never been in a holster and I don’t carry it! The finish is wearing from simply putting it in the foam padded box, setting it on the table while field stripping it, and *gasp* from actuating the thumb safety. Now I am not one to abuse firearms, nor am I one to baby them. I “use” them as a tool both for enjoyment and personal protection. I have never seen a finish disappear from a gun as fast at this is. My thumb is actually taking the finish off of the thumb safety while shooting. I know my hands are a little dirty in the picture and I might be waaaaaay off on this but I would have hoped that it would hold up a little better. Maybe I expected too much. Is this normal? Let me know if I have gotten a lemon. Kimber touts this as its top of the line finish and actually charges almost $200 to put it on if you send them your gun. I will wear mine down and when it becomes necessary will probably get a different type of finish applied or maybe wrestle with Kimber for some warranty compensation (don’t have my hopes up for that though). Who knows, they may surprise me. Hopefully will get some pics up of the wear soon.




So to recap I found that the fit and finish was errr…at least the fit on the gun was excellent. After firing over 500 rounds without a failure the slide to frame fit had smoothed up tremendously and was getting better by the box. It was still tight but now had the more glassy feel that I had expected. Trigger actuation still has a little creep but has become much smoother and the standard deviation in the weight of the trigger became more uniform and closer to the 4.5lb average. This is very acceptable for this type of weapon as I don’t think I will be doing any bullseye or IPSC shooting with it. The sights, grip safety, thumb safety and assorted parts all performed very well and made for a functional utilitarian feel on the gun. All business, no flash is how I would describe this latest offering from Kimber. The G10 grips were serious and functioned very well except for being non-beveled and the issue that it caused. I even wet my hands and still had a firm comfortable grip on the pistol while shooting. I really like the GI length guide rod as it makes for easy dis/reassembly without tools. The internal extractor gives the gun a streamlined look and keeps it relatively removed from external debris. We could debate the merits of internal vs. external extractor for hours but the fact is I like it this way. I found accuracy to be well within the needs of a defensive/offensive pistol without sacrificing reliability. I am very much satisfied with the purchase of my Kimber Warrior and hope that Kimber gets the hint and offers similar products in the future.

I am not an expert and don’t pretend to be. Nor do I have a Navy SEAL or Tactical Uber Ninja Cop background. I have tried to give my honest OPINION of the weapon as it functions for me and provide a good range report for you guys waiting for or thinking about getting a Kimber Warrior. Now you have my OPINION and are free to develop your own. Your mileage may vary so feel free to flame away at my weak points or misstatements. Also feel free to shoot (sic) any questions or tests and I will check/try/find it out if I can.
Debo



Link Posted: 4/6/2005 7:11:59 PM EDT
WO...Thanks for the detail...I appreciate that...h.gif
Link Posted: 4/6/2005 7:23:31 PM EDT
Excellent write up. Now I want one even more. I have to save quite a few more pennies first.
Link Posted: 4/6/2005 8:26:58 PM EDT
Nice write up.

I am waiting for mine to come in.
Link Posted: 4/6/2005 8:43:16 PM EDT
I am a little confused about the night sights on my own Warrior. I am new to the handgun world, so my knowledge of these things is pretty thin. Anyways, on the side of the rear sight, it says Trijicon and a model number for the sight. On the top, it is very faint, but it does say Novak.

Now, is it my understanding that the inserts are in fact, Novak but the rest of the sight is made by Trijicon? Or does Trijicon just slap their name on the side of the entire assembly made by Novak?
Link Posted: 4/7/2005 12:27:30 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/7/2005 2:10:06 PM EDT by SGB]
Link Posted: 4/7/2005 4:51:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SGB:
Excellant review. Thanks



+1

I couldn't agree more with your observations and conclusions. The Kimpro finish is the only negative to this otherwise solid handgun. I was expecting (hoping for) a tough abrasion resistant finish and was disappointed. I live about five miles from a nationally recognized gun refinisher, Ford's. My Warrior is now in the process of being completely refinished. The slide and frame (rounds and flats) will be brush hard chromed and all the exterior small parts are being black chromed. I'll post a picture when I get it back, hopefully within a week. For those of you interested in an true refinishing craftsman, check out Ford's.

Ford's Custom Gun Refinishing

Turn around time is 4-6 weeks. If you want it done quicker they can usually do 2-3 weeks for an additional $25.
Link Posted: 4/7/2005 5:04:37 AM EDT

Originally Posted By RuneSpyder:
I am a little confused about the night sights on my own Warrior. I am new to the handgun world, so my knowledge of these things is pretty thin. Anyways, on the side of the rear sight, it says Trijicon and a model number for the sight. On the top, it is very faint, but it does say Novak.

Now, is it my understanding that the inserts are in fact, Novak but the rest of the sight is made by Trijicon? Or does Trijicon just slap their name on the side of the entire assembly made by Novak?


I believe it is a Novak sight, with a Trijicon insert!

Sean
Link Posted: 4/8/2005 9:03:09 PM EDT
Awesome!!!
Link Posted: 4/9/2005 5:44:00 AM EDT
Outstanding review and write up!

Good shoot'n too
Link Posted: 4/9/2005 6:06:08 AM EDT
Thanks guys for the kind words. I have a picture or two of the wear on the Kimpro finish and I am working on getting them posted. I think that I am going to call Kimber this week and chat with them about it. If I get nowhere with them then I will wear it down till it's shiny and then get some other kind of finish.

I have done some other research and found out that the first 500 came with Novak's sights. After that Kimber made sights that are exactly the same shape, size and with the same trijicon inserts in them. Basically identical except no Novak stamped on the top. Hope to have pictures comparing them as well.

Debo
Link Posted: 4/13/2005 4:43:23 PM EDT
I recently bought a Warrior. I, too, was quite pleased with it. I thought you presented the weapon well. I have Special Forces, Delta background and see nothing to flame away at. Enjoy your Warrior!
Link Posted: 4/14/2005 11:00:30 AM EDT
Thanks Shotgroup. Finally have some time this afternoon to write them about the finish too. Will see what happens with that.

Debo
Link Posted: 4/15/2005 11:28:52 PM EDT
Sweet!!!
Link Posted: 4/16/2005 10:49:30 AM EDT
you got me freaking out abou the finish....did you call kimber let us know what they say
Link Posted: 4/17/2005 5:20:32 PM EDT
I think you need more range time, that group's not tight enough.
j/k
Yes I'm saying that out of jealousy. Nice pistol!
Just bought a Pro TLE yesterday (used) and it shot very well.
Thanks for the detailed report, and congrats again on the new toy.

Link Posted: 4/23/2005 8:15:37 PM EDT
Very nice review, thank you for the effort.


I *almost* walked out of the gunshop friday with one of those - saw it in the case and it called to me. But, alas - it was custom order, already sold.


So, I asked the dealer to see if he could get me one. (Kimber #5 on the way, I hope)
Link Posted: 4/23/2005 8:16:12 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/28/2005 4:33:05 PM EDT
tag
Link Posted: 5/7/2005 6:14:46 PM EDT
Irishfly,

Thanks for the great range report . . . The bottom line is, is it worth the $1000.00 plus price tag that it comes with? I'm seriously considering the Warrior vs the TLE/RL II.

Thanks again
RC
Link Posted: 5/8/2005 8:17:18 AM EDT
Depends on three things I guess. They are basically the same gun except for 1) GI vs. FLGR, 2) Series I vs. Series II, and 3) internal vs. external extractor. It was worth it for me.

Debo
Link Posted: 5/8/2005 11:22:39 AM EDT
If you don't need a railed 1911, check Gunbroker and AuctionArms for the Kimber 25th Anniversary Custom.
Link Posted: 5/10/2005 6:38:33 PM EDT
Good report Irishfly and good photo's too.

Sorry you're disapointed in the finish but at least the performance seems to be there.

I picked up a Warrior yesterday, broke it down today for cleaning and inspection. After reading your report I wanted to check things out very thoroughly on my pistol. Was not able to detect any visible problems, fit and finish is awesome. I was really amazed at the tight tolerances in the fit especially the barrel and barrel bushing.

This gun as the manual says does need a good breakin period, with the right ammo too. Looking forward to punching some holes in paper tomorrow at the range. Will probably run 150-200 rds of 230gr FMJ through it this time out. I figure that two or three trips should get it broken in ( hopefully no FTF's or FTE's), only have two magazines right now the one that came with it and I picked up an extra Kimber 8 round mag at the shop. Range report to follow (Just don't expect one as good as written above).

RC
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 12:50:51 PM EDT
Thanks for the write up! I picked my Warrior yesterday and I plan on hitting the range this weekend.
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 1:03:45 PM EDT

and was the weapon submitted to the USMC for consideration as their new ICQB sidearm for the Ninjas attached to Special Operations.



sigh......

The Warrior is the CIVILIAN VERSION of the ICQB pistol. It was never offered to the USMC for consideration as the ICQB pistol.

"Ninjas"......yech.
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 1:13:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/13/2005 1:27:26 PM EDT by Irishfly]

sigh......

The Warrior is the CIVILIAN VERSION of the ICQB pistol. It was never offered to the USMC for consideration as the ICQB pistol.

"Ninjas"......yech.





The new Warrior™ .45 ACP is a civilian version of the pistol Kimber® created to outfit the elite Marine Detachment assigned to U.S. Special Operations Command.


I guess you should have read a little further....like 3 more lines. But thanks for the input you added to this post. I changed the symantics for you so hope it makes you more happy.


BTW- I bought some Simonich Gunner Grips today from GT Distributers here in Austin. You have to love a store that has these out on pegs as well as Gemtech M4-96D in the counter glass . Anyway these grips are pretty dang cool. I am actually going to have to take some sandpaper and knock it down a bit if I want to shoot without gloves. They are very very rough. They have directions on the package that say I should use 220 grit sandpaper and then hit with some WD40 to bring the color back. My new grips are Black/Green, Tapered, Ambi Safety model. I asked them if they could get me some Tan and they said no. They had talked to C. Simonich and she informed them that all of the tan ones are going to the USMC and she wouldn't have any for months. So if you guys find some grab them. These look pretty sharp but I might get some tan ones later down the road. Hope to post some new pics soon.

Debo
Link Posted: 5/13/2005 7:53:48 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/13/2005 7:54:36 PM EDT by CAR-15]
Insert mandatory Gunners picture (On my TLE/RL, not to hijack this thread)

Link Posted: 5/13/2005 11:20:06 PM EDT
So nice! Just........so very nice.
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 9:09:03 AM EDT
Thanks much Irish!

I've been hemming and hawing over the TLE vs Warrior, and though I'm no closer to my decision (or close to having the $$$$ yet), at least I feel like I'm better informed.

Awesome review!

I felt like I was reading a professional review in one of the combat handguns magazines.

You should consider submitting!
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 4:44:29 PM EDT
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