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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok guys before you tear me up for this , I have a couple Pro CDPs (Custom Shop) guns.
Here is my question why does it seem to me that I see more Custom Shop guns every where I go ... shops and many shows than all the other Kimber offerings combined? It seems to me that back in the day a custom shop gun from any maker was not very plentifull and usually a timely wait.
I have to ask if Kimber is in some ways abusing thie terminolgy Custom Shop, as the guns cannot possibly be coming from a Custom build when it seems everybody and anybody can get one off the shelf?
Is this a selling ploy they useing to make one think its a custom? Maybe Springfield has the correct term in a "LOADED" basicaly an off the shelf .45 because this is what your getting in a Kimber "Custom Shop" a off the shelf loaded .45.:confused:
 

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There is no static definition of Custom Shop therefore, a lot of people that do have some idea in their own mind that it does or should mean something specific, are disappointed to find out Joe Bob Kimber isn't sitting at a bench hand making those guns. :D

I don't think Kimber has ever asserted that they are custom guns, however over the years, the ones with the rollmark have had varying differences from a straight production gun.

The bottom line, Kimber is a production manufacture, not a custom gun shop and they've never tried to pass them self off as such. I'm sure marketing has a little bit to do with it as well.
 

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I'm a Kimber fan, but I will say that "custom shop" is pretty much purely a marketing move.
 

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I'm also a Kimber fan and I never gave the term "Custom Shop" a second thought.

"Custom Shop" has to be a part of their business plan and how they can create an appealing name to potential and current customers. Every company markets in a way that makes sense to them. If the "higher-ups" at Kimber thought that the name wasn't working, they would have dropped it or changed it.

The OP asked if Kimber is abusing the "Custom Shop" terminology...not in my opinion, it's what works for them.
 

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Maybe Springfield has the correct term in a "LOADED" basicaly an off the shelf .45 because this is what your getting in a Kimber "Custom Shop" a off the shelf loaded .45.:confused:
I just caught more of this, I don't know why Springfield uses the term Loaded but I'm sure it fits into their marketing. However, the "Custom Shop" guns aren't necessarily "loaded" and I don't think that's Kimber's intentions. Other models are what some would call "loaded" with options but don't bare the "Custom Shop" name.

Guns with the Custom Shop however, at one time did get more assembly attention and if I'm not mistaken, come down a different "line" where parts are pulled from different bins than some other guns. So they may get a little more attention during the production cycle.
 

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I don't see that many guns with "Custom Shop" on the slide. I do have an original run Eclipse that has "Custom Shop" on it. But most I see have "Custom" on them.
Ok, I take it back. I do see a lot of "Custom Shop" markings. I know my Eclipse is a first run and was supposed to have more fitting done to it. I will say it's been flawless. I carry it as a duty weapon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I guess basicaly where I am going with the post is, I am old school and have owned in my yrs around 10 or so 1911s. When I bought my first Kimber several yrs back it said Custom Shop and man it was like I reached the pinical if you will ! I really had a "special one" based on the fact that it said Custom Shop. I just recall when I bought my first back in the mid 70s it was cool but somebody else at the range had the CUSTOM 1911, ambi,extended saftey,fancy checkering ... ect. I guess its just smart marketing on Kimbers behalf, I mean lets face it, it definetly makes a difference when were shopping to get the best bang for the buck,I mean at least it sways are thoughts when we see Custom Shop.
 

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Every part in every pistol is produced within a range of manufacturing tolerances, and no two are ever completely identical if for no other reason than tool wear during the production run.

Each frame, slide, barrel, barrel bushing, etc, etc, etc, will vary somewhat, within the specified range of tolerance.

My understanding is that Kimber assembles the "custom shop" guns with special attention to the dimensions of all parts to assure both the best possible fit as well as operational compatability among all of the parts used in each particular pistol.

Obviously, this approach produces a product that is superior to run-of-the-mill assembly processes. Just as obviously, the labor costs involved in having pistolsmiths hand-fitting every part would result in much higher prices.

One of the contract specifications for military-production M1911A1 pistols was that every part in every pistol be interchangeable with every other pistol (Colt, Remington Rand, Ithaca, US&S, Singer). The range of manufacturing tolerances was necessarily very broad. That is why the entire industry of custom 1911 gunsmiths grew into being, as surplus pistols and parts went out to the civilian market from the 1960's to the 1990's.
 

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I just think that more people are willing to pay the extra bucks for one of their "custom shop" guns vs. their standard guns. I love the meltdown treatment that they do on their "shop" guns. I don't think they mean their "custom shop" guns to be "limited run" guns. Although some are. I know my Pro Elite is a limited run firearm. Only so many were made and only in 1999. But I really don't think it's any different than the Pro CDP that came out in 2000 or 2001. They just swapped colors between the slides and frames and named that whole group "CDP". Which of course still is going strong today.

I'm rambling.

Anyway, I looked at my two tone Pro Elite sitting next to a base model with a matte black finish and black rubber/plastic grips. There was $200.00 difference in price. It was a no brainer for me. It's only money. :D
 

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Every part in every pistol is produced within a range of manufacturing tolerances, and no two are ever completely identical if for no other reason than tool wear during the production run.

Each frame, slide, barrel, barrel bushing, etc, etc, etc, will vary somewhat, within the specified range of tolerance.

My understanding is that Kimber assembles the "custom shop" guns with special attention to the dimensions of all parts to assure both the best possible fit as well as operational compatability among all of the parts used in each particular pistol.

Obviously, this approach produces a product that is superior to run-of-the-mill assembly processes. Just as obviously, the labor costs involved in having pistolsmiths hand-fitting every part would result in much higher prices.

One of the contract specifications for military-production M1911A1 pistols was that every part in every pistol be interchangeable with every other pistol (Colt, Remington Rand, Ithaca, US&S, Singer). The range of manufacturing tolerances was necessarily very broad. That is why the entire industry of custom 1911 gunsmiths grew into being, as surplus pistols and parts went out to the civilian market from the 1960's to the 1990's.
That explained it perfectly. Yes, they have a little more attention to detail, but they aren't hand fitted by a gunsmith.
 

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I have two of them babies, the Ultra CDP II and the Custom, which is the 5" 1911. They are really not custom by the true definition of the word but they are very nice shootin' irons. Nicely balanced, nice treatments, and a lot of fun to shoot, not that any other 1911 isn't. They are what they are and for my money, I think they are worth it, especially since I bought both of them at way less than MSRP.
 

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Every part in every pistol is produced within a range of manufacturing tolerances, and no two are ever completely identical if for no other reason than tool wear during the production run.

Each frame, slide, barrel, barrel bushing, etc, etc, etc, will vary somewhat, within the specified range of tolerance.

My understanding is that Kimber assembles the "custom shop" guns with special attention to the dimensions of all parts to assure both the best possible fit as well as operational compatability among all of the parts used in each particular pistol.

Obviously, this approach produces a product that is superior to run-of-the-mill assembly processes. Just as obviously, the labor costs involved in having pistolsmiths hand-fitting every part would result in much higher prices.

One of the contract specifications for military-production M1911A1 pistols was that every part in every pistol be interchangeable with every other pistol (Colt, Remington Rand, Ithaca, US&S, Singer). The range of manufacturing tolerances was necessarily very broad. That is why the entire industry of custom 1911 gunsmiths grew into being, as surplus pistols and parts went out to the civilian market from the 1960's to the 1990's.
LoboGunLeather,
I agree with NKing. This is an excellent explanation of "custom guns" by Kimber. I remember buying a Colt Combat Commander back in the early '80s. I was told "Now you need to send it to a gunsmith and get it accurized." By that, I was supposed to get new springs, new sights, new trigger, etc. What made Kimber so unique and allowed them to gain a huge market share of the 1911 business is that they manufactured all these "custom" features into their pistols from the start. An ad war was started between Kimber and Wilson back in the late nineties because of Kimber's claims of producing a custom gun for half the price of the Wilsons.

Thanks.
 

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Say what you will but I don't see how it could get much better than my Custom Shop Eclipse. It's been perfect since I've had it.
 

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the "Custom Shop" guns were originally short run productions, 1000-2500 units.
Those such as the Eclipse and CDP were, I guess, popular enough to become regular catalogued items, but retain the markings.

Now it's the "pretty" guns that bear the inscription...

The limited run pistols were maybe a little better fitted...As i recall from a conversation with Dennis, many years ago, a sampling of main parts, slide, frame, barrel and bushing were taken and test fit together ...those that fit the best were electropencilled with the frames serial # and then they stayed together through the assembly and finishing process.

I had an original CDP and I still have a Pro Elite...very nice guns. But not custom.

 
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