The early 1950’s saw gunsmiths pairing up Colt Commander alloy frames with standard Government Model slides and barrels into a custom full-size lightweight. However, Kimber went the extra mile and began manufacturing custom Kimber .45 1911 semi-automatics. Kimber started out making high quality rimfire rifles, then centerfire versions, and then came the 1911 pistols. With over 50 competitors Kimber built excellent 1911’s at reasonable prices and in a few short decades Kimber rose to the top of the list of 1911 manufacturers, capturing over 40 percent of the market.
The Custom II is a full-sized Kimber .45 pistol with a five inch barrel utilizing a single full-length guide rod, superseding the Custom after including an internal firing pin safety designed to provide additional assurance that the gun will not fire if dropped as the firing pin is blocked from striking the chambered cartridge unless the grip safety is depressed. It takes the best of the 1911 and the Commander combining them into one with several added features (depending on the model) – lowered ejection port, skeletonised serrated trigger, beveled magazine well, extended ambidextrous thumb safety, beavertail grip safety, slide stop ,etc – all designed for open or concealed carry. Barrel, chamber and trigger are all match grade with a out-of-battery slide showing the gun’s caliber, stamped on top of the barrel.
Kimber .45 1911’s come in a variety of styles, materials, finishes and features:
The Custom TLE II is identical to model that was designed for the LAPD SWAT team with tritium bar-dot night sights and 30 lines per inch front-strap checkering. The Warrior and Desert Warrior, based on the Custom built for the United States Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC), does not have an internal firing pin safety hence lack the marking “II”. These have an ambidextrous thumb safety, lanyard loop, internal extractor, and unlike other Custom models, a standard length recoil spring guide rod to allow easier field stripping without tools. The Stainless II has frame and slide made of stainless steel, and is therefore silver in color instead of matte black; Custom Target II, has adjustable target sights; Stainless Target II, comes with both. The Royal II has polished blue finish and rosewood grips; Eclipse Custom II has bi-tone stainless and black finish with night sights; Tactical Custom II, has gray aluminum frame, black steel slide, night sights, ambidextrous thumb safety, and extended magazine well; Custom CDP II, has black aluminum frame, stainless steel slide, adjustable tritium night sights, ambidextrous thumb safety, and “carry melt” rounded edges so that there is nothing to catch on clothing, holster, or hands. The Ultra CDP II has a 3-inch barrel with a short or standard full-length grip as well as a Lasergrip version; Compact CDP II has a 4-inch barrel with either a short or full-length grip.
Higher-end full-sized Kimber .45 1911 pistols, the Eclipse II, Tactical II, Covert II, SIS, Crimson Carry II, Super Carry, are excluded from the Custom line because of additional features.