Kimber Gold Combat II Details
With the continuing popularity of 1911 pistols, there are more manufacturers than ever, but Kimber is one of the major manufacturers and produces a dazzling variety of 1911-type pistols from standard grade to full custom at surprisingly reasonable prices. The pistol that’s the subject of this evaluation, the Kimber Gold Combat II, is one of the latter, which are all very high-quality pistols.
Kimber Custom Shop 1911s for the most part share common characteristics. Non-stainless pistols are finished in KimPro II, a tough thermally cured finish that is resistant to salt, sweat, ultraviolet radiation, and solvents. Because of its content, it is also self-lubricating to an extent. We were especially impressed with the quality of fit and finish of this pistol, which was as good as we’ve ever seen, and we’ve seen quite a few 1911s from various manufacturers.
Components are hand fitted with 30 lines per inch (lpi) checkering on the front and back straps and under the triggerguard. The slide has wide non-slip grooves at both front and rear to facilitate reloads and press checks. The stainless barrel is machined to match grade specification, as is the barrel bushing. The grips are rosewood in the classic “double diamond” pattern. The wide beavertail grip safety has a “memory bump” to ensure proper grip and positive engagement of the grip safety. The extended and flared magazine well facilitates reloading by providing a huge opening that guides the magazine up into the magazine well. Magazines themselves have bumper pads so they can effectively be tapped up into battery. The aluminum match trigger is factory-tuned to 3.5 to 4 pounds. The Gold Combat II is also fitted with a fully ambidextrous safety. The snag-proof Meprolight combat sights are furnished with tritium inserts and are nicely blended into the slide. In short, Kimber’s Gold Combat II has all the bells and whistles considered necessary in a combat handgun.
Our first examination of the Gold Combat II gave us a very positive impression. As mentioned, the KimPro II finish appears to be a deep rust blue. The fit of slide to frame is impeccable. There is absolutely zero slop between slide and frame, and operation is so smooth that it could well be running on ball bearings. The trigger broke like the proverbial “glass rod” at exactly 4 pounds with no creep or backlash. The fit of barrel to slide was perfect, as was lockup and timing, everything we expected in a custom handgun. We have never been a great fan of lasers, but we obtained a LaserMax for our Gold Combat II and believe that the LaserMax is probably the best of the breed. This isn’t a gratuitous statement, but based on how the LaserMax functions in the pistol.
First, in the 1911, the LaserMax simply replaces the guide rod and recoil spring. Because of this, it’s aligned very closely with the barrel although the laser is user-adjustable for windage and elevation. Second, the controls are a positive ambidextrous switch mounted on a replacement slide stop. This is about the only downside to the LaserMax unit in our estimation. The right side switch must be removed to disassemble the pistol, although it could probably be left off if the shooter was right-handed. Third, the Laser Max pulses a 5-milliwatt red-orange beam that is the brightest available. The pulsing beam is far more visible than those lasers that just “sit there.”
Kimber’s Gold Combat II was a real treat to shoot. Its accuracy was on par with 1911 pistols we have tested that cost far more. Reliability was 100 percent with all types of ammunition tested. What more can we say? The Kimber Gold Combat II is one of the finest such pistols we’ve ever evaluated. For more information, visit kimberamerica.com.