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Kimber's Failure to Fire - A Concern?

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Greetings

I have a number of Kimber's in my safe, pre series II, and no problemos with any of them firing. They are very accurate.

Then, prior to going to a 4 day defensive handgun course at "Front Sight" training facility, which is excellent BTW, I picked up a series II Kimber.

To my point; At the final qualification the guy next to me had been shooting in another relay and was shooting the same model Kimber series II that I had recently purchased. During the rapid draw and fire sequence, (2 shots, 7 yards, from conceal carry, 1.5 seconds---turning targets) he couldn't get his hand on the grip safety to get the gun to fire. Needless to say, he didn't qualify.

It was frustrating to him and concerning for me. I've heard about problems with the series II, but to see it happen, makes me doubt that I will ever carry a series II daily for protection.

Personally, I like the Springfield's grip safety better. Is this typical for Kimber series II, and can a Springfield type grip safety aleviate the problem?

Thanks for any input.
Momma "Stinky Taters" don't want nobody poking holes in her little boy, because his gun didn't go bang.
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i have had a couple of Kimbers (both series II full sized) and know others who have Kimbers around here. i have not experienced, seen or heard about this with shooters around here. i also have three Springers. both my Kimber and my Springers function 100% of the time when doing defensive exercises.

most of the problems i have heard about or seen are in relation to the Kimbers have been more related to their version of the external extractor, not the grip safety function as you described it but others may know about this if it is problem going on out there on a regular basis and it may be related to the series II safety system (?)

i did have a minor issue with the slide not going on smoothly because the grips safety was causing a piece to ride a bit high, but that was easily corrected and did not affect firing in any way whatsovever.

which model do you have and are concerned about? how does your hand fit it when you hold it and does the grip safety function OK on yours?

in the end....don't "carry" a gun you are not 100% comfortable with in relation to function and accuracy.

good luck and let us know how this turns out for you.

be safe, shoot well.:rock:
 

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It's been well documented as an occasional, but worrying, problem wherein the grip safety is pressed in far enough to allow hammer fall, but does not allow the frame mounted lever to move up enough to unblock the movement of the firing pin. Do a search on "series 2 safety" and you'll find a couple of days worth of reading
 

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from what was just shared it must be going on out there, just have not run into it here as yet.

back to your original post......was this what was going on as you mentioned. hand on safety but safety not allowing gun to fire?

be safe, shoot well.:rock:
 

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People have differant sized hands thats a given and a proper grip is needed to deactivate the safetys also a given. Now add haste to the draw and the pistol may not be presented correctly, ie. bad grip. This could be a training issue that just needs a little more practise. I have never had a problem firing even when my grip was bad but I have big hands.
See ya!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thank you all for your comments.

The Kimber the chap next to me was shooting was a TLE II in .45 ACP.

For what it's worth, both he and I seemed to be of the same build and though I don't remember anything unusual about his hands while looking at his Kimber, he seemed to have a knowledge about firearms and shooting (LEO?).

I do know that during the rapid presentation of my Springfield and Colt (I took a TRP and a Gunsite model and used both), at times, I would not have a proper grip. Still, I never had a failure to fire as a result of a poor grip (just lousy bullet placement).

For most of my professional career, I was carrying/shooting with a S&W 19 or a Beretta 92. Retired now for a number of years, I became interested in a 1911 for CCW carry, and went to "Front Sight" to learn the mechanix of this gun prior to carrying. The Kimber I plan on carrying CCW is a 5" CDP. I didn't take it to "Front Sight" because I thought with the many rounds of a 4 day course it would induce poor shooting habits and an all steel 1911 would better serve this purpose. The Kimber CDP is not a Series II.

I will do the search on the grip safety as "asiparks" suggested.

All info is appreciated.

Thank you
Stinky Taters

PS The recent purchase I have concern about was the TLE II.
 

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If I understand your post correctly, the shooter didn't get enough depression on the grip safety to get the trigger released. If this is what was happening, it's not really a series II problem, it's just that the grip safety needs tuning to his grip or he needs another style of grip safety like an Ed Brown with the memory bump. Any 1911 can have a problem where the trigger isn't released until the grip safety is pushed way in. It's surprising the number of people that will take a gun to these training classes that they aren't familiar with and screw away their training time messing with their guns.

If on the other hand, if the trigger was released and the hammer fell but didn't have the firing pin unblocked, it would be a series II failure.

All of my 1911's have the grip safeties tuned so that only light pressure is needed to release the trigger and the guns that were series II have the pin blocks removed. It's not a safety if it won't fire when you want it to.
 

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I just posted this in another forum. Might be of meaning in this thread. Since it's still in my "cut & paste" buffer:

I've got a Kimber "Compact Custom". 4" all-steel with an "Officer's" sized grip frame. Non-Series-II. My range buddy liked it enough to go out and buy nominally the same gun. His has an alloy frame in Commander size, and Series II innards, but the slide is essentially the same as mine. Shoots great, and seems to feed even his somewhat flaky (size issues) reloads well. (They give mine fits, too.)

However, his occasionally refuses to return to battery. It locks up about 0.150" from it's normal stopping point. This seems to happen when firing the gun, or when just playing with it. He wouldn't let me take it apart, but we feel that the disconnector was responsible for solid lockups. At some point that problem seems to have cleared itself up (some crud?) but it still does that, albeit less often, and instead of a solid lockup he can press the rear of the slide and it'll most often snap into battery.

Experimenting with the grip safety seems to put the blame on the Schwartz goodies, but we can hold the barrel with a plastic rod and re-create it, too.

It'll probably go back RSN....

We've not had any failures to fire, and since it stopped locking up solidly, it's pretty easy to tap the slide, but obviously this isn't a good carry yet. Unless the Schwartz safety is the problem (I'm not sure, but I don't trust it), I think it's a barrel lockup problem (my old Combat Commander does that when a little dry due to a new barrel) and it'll shoot in. I really would like to pull the gun apart and look.... The folks at Gun Tests magazine had a similar problem with a tested Series II gun this month - they think it's the Schwartz safety.

(I don't consider myself a gunsmith. Semi-retired rent-a-cop and Computer Consultant. Armed programmer.... :biglaugh: )

Regards,
 

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Maybe I read this too fast, but I'm unsure if the hammer fell and the pistol didn't discharge, or if the grip saftey would not release the trigger. Let us know.

I've found it easier to get a good grip on my pistols in their holsters if the pistols to NOT have agressive checkering on the front strap. Kimber 20 lpi (?) checkering on my CDP Compact was especially annoying. Checkering the front strap may be great at Camp Perry. Hence my carry pistols have no checkering in this region. Agressively checkered mainspring housing doesn't help me in presentation either.

The Kimber firing pin interlock can be bypassed as easily as dropping in a standard (series 70 or 80) firing pin. And can be restored as easily.

Super high thumb grip seems to contribute to weak depression of the grip safety. Gunsite Low Thumb Safety will allow a more natural grip.

-- Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Chuck S said:
Super high thumb grip seems to contribute to weak depression of the grip safety. Gunsite Low Thumb Safety will allow a more natural grip.

-- Chuck



Chuck S

Can you explain the Gunsite Low Thumb Safety? Front Sight teaches both thumps high. It works, but it does seem to make for an unnatural grip (at least for my hand).

I'm not new to shooting---just the 1911.

Thanks
 

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Chuck:

If you post that picture....

:) :) :) :)

Taters:

Chuck's using a safety where the thumb part is very low on the triangular "plate" that makes up the main part of the safety lever component.

(The "picture" thing is because he keeps posting the same picture(s) of a gun I think I'd trade my wife for :) and I keep threatening to head for Cleveland to sic my dog on him.)

The actual "lever" is quite low - it almost looks "wrong", but if you're used to shooting with your thumb on the safety, it's a better placement.

Regards,
 

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Picture is worth 1000 words. Here's 3000!

Condition 1 (cocked and locked) Kimber Ultra Carry II (INternal extractor) and some other modifications. I find a standard trigger easier to manipulate. And we wear gloves here at times!



One hand firing grip. Safety is off, thumb is on top of safety. Note natural hand position. No pressure need be placed on the thumb, the pistol is griped with the fingers and meat of hand.





Both thumbs up is merely a technique to ensure you're depressing the thumb safety all the time.

Sorry I had the camera in the other hand! :biglaugh:

-- Chuck


Stu --

Please post photos of your wife, we may be able to work this out! ;)

-- Chuck
 

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Chuck:

I still think the top picture's one I've seen :) .

Here's the wife, my daughter, and great-niece, taken a couple days ago - Thanksgiving - at the little one's grandmother's house:



We ate turkey and chased the kid around for three days, but at least I got to see my daughter's house. Fortunately, Sherri didn't know that those big aluminum things in the back yard were beer kegs. College students....

Regards,
 

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well...fess up time.

after saying we had not seen much of the "safety" issue here i may have gotten bit by the darn thing myself.

but.....only when field stripping the gun. she funtioned 100% when assembled and firing.

the piece coming up through the frame connected to the grip safety actually started hanging up my slide when i went to strip her. took some force to get the slide off and back on. again, no malfuntions or FTFire, just a battle when cleaning. i quick couple minute adjustment at the smiths and she was fine. he looked her over and indicated it would not have affected firing in my case, only the slide going on and off the frame....which was what i was experiencing.

oh well.:scratch:

be safe, shoot well.:rock:
 

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I've found it easier to get a good grip on my pistols in their holsters if the pistols to NOT have agressive checkering on the front strap. Kimber 20 lpi (?) checkering on my CDP Compact was especially annoying.
Kimber checkering is 30 lpi, kinda like medium grit sandpaper and very comfortable to most people. (Chuck, lay off the Joy dishwashing detergent.)

Presentations take lots of repetitive practice so you grab the gun the same way every time.

If you want to feel aggressive checkering, pick up a Springfield Pro.
 

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or a Springer TRP for another one in the aggressive checkering category. it was a real trip the 1st time out, but used to it now. maybe S A has the market cornered on aggressive checkering???

be safe, shoot well.:rock:
 

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mitrod3 said:
the piece coming up through the frame connected to the grip safety actually started hanging up my slide when i went to strip her. took some force to get the slide off and back on. again, no malfuntions or FTFire, just a battle when cleaning. i quick couple minute adjustment at the smiths and she was fine. he looked her over and indicated it would not have affected firing in my case, only the slide going on and off the frame....which was what i was experiencing.
Odd to start doing that on it's own....

There's nothing holding that pin in the gun.... It just hangs around on the sear pin. Some crud on the pin holding it, or little slot it rides in beside the sear pin? (I'm not sure there's place for that.) Or some crud on the tip of the grip safety....

Or, you could have bashed it with the rear of the slide and deformed the top a little instead of beheading it.... (If you do the latter, the gun won't fire.)

It's supposed to ride flush with the top of the frame and sort of stay out of the way unless the grip safety is depressed, at which point it rises enough to depress the plunger in the slide. Taking a bit off the top of the pin wouldn't be a problem as long as it wasn't just a temporary issue.

('Cause if something "odd" was holding it up too far and then fell off, the pin may not move the plunger enough to slide the block out of the way....)

That checkering doesn't bother me. It does bother my buddy Joe - the one with the Kimber Series II that's acting up (and is on it's way back) - but only slightly.

Regards,
 
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