Kimber 1911 Custom II Review: .45 ACP 1911 Pistol []

Kimber Custom II Two Tone pistol pictured from a side view.
July 1, 2024  
Categories: Guns

Kimber Custom II 1911 pistols are described in some of their magazine ads as “…what all other guns should be.” That sort of statement practically begs for a Kimber Custom II review.

Most Kimber owners are perfectly satisfied with their purchases. However, I have met some who will avoid Kimbers at all costs. They say this company occasionally insults the intelligence of individuals who purchase a Kimber (instead of dropping four figures on a custom build, of course).

Kimber 1911 Custom II

By Francis Borek on

Kimber Custom II Dual Tone pistol pictured with an M1 Garand rifle.
Reviewing the Kimber 1911 Custom II: this Kimber Custom II is in dual tone and set against M1 Garand rifle. (Photo: Francis Borek)

Haters of Kimber pistols sometimes give me the feeling that they think Kimber owners should leave the firearms community altogether for bringing such shame upon themselves and their families. This intensity caused me to wonder if there was any truth to this belief: Are Kimbers really a pile of trash, or are they truly what all other handguns should be?

I walked into a local gun store fully expecting to purchase a rifle, but the brand new Kimber Custom II Two-Tone pistols on sale for $719 changed these plans. As I held the pistol, Kimber’s advertisements raced through my mind alongside all the negative comments I had heard about these handguns over the years. I am unapologetic about how the slick look of the pistol helped convince me to drop the cash on a full-size Custom II Two-Tone.

Kimber 1911 (a Custom II) pictured with the slide back.
Kimber Custom Dual Tone with slide back. (Photo: Francis Borek)

The pistol comes in a large black plastic and foam-lined case, wrapped in a sealed bag and slathered in oil. Along with the Custom II and the case, I received one seven-round magazine, a bushing wrench, a chamber flag, a manual, a small tube of oil, and a decal.

Custom II 1911 pictured with extra magazines.
Disappointed by the inclusion of only one magazine, I had to buy new ones. (Photo: Francis Borek)

I immediately took issue with Kimber’s inclusion of only a single magazine. I just dropped a lot of money on a semiautomatic handgun that proclaims itself to be what all other handguns strive to be, yet the Custom II only ships with one magazine. Many people simply toss away factory mags or use them only for practice, but it still feels cheap to me. Because of this, I purchased a few extra Chip McCormick eight-round magazines.

Buy it and back the bang

Where to a Kimber Custom II for Sale



The Custom II is Kimber’s flagship model and the company’s basic 1911. The Two-Tone variant is considered new for 2016. Its moniker is the Custom II because when Kimber introduced it, only custom-built pistols possessed many of its standard features.

Kimber Custom II 1911 pistol with stainless frame.
The polished stainless steel frame adds quite a bit of heft to the Custom II. But it is a full sized 1911 with a 5-inch barrel. (Photo: Francis Borek)

The front sight and rear sight are fixed and low profile. Rounded to make drawing slightly easier, they are surprisingly not a three-dot affair. The front strap is smooth, while the mainspring housing is flat, checkered, and polymer. The slide is polished black carbon steel, with front and rear slide serrations. Kimber states that the barrel is a stainless, match-grade barrel. Both the trigger and hammer are skeletonized.

The Custom II also features a full-length guide rod and recoil spring, which helps improve accuracy. The downside is that it makes disassembly and reassembly a pain. The frame is polished stainless and helps add quite a bit of heft to the Custom II. Rounding out the Custom II are the smooth/checkered rosewood grips. These are attractive stocks with the bonus of giving sweaty hands a secure enough grip for lengthy shooting sessions. Slide-to-frame fit is good, with a minimal wobble.

The Custom II comes with attractive grips.
The included rosewood grips are both effective and attractive. (Photo: Francis Borek)

A bone of contention with many shooters is the inclusion of metal-injection molded parts, specifically the safety and slide release. While more traditionally made parts are preferred, they are an easy replacement for the experienced shooter. For shooters entering the world of the 1911s, this shouldn’t cause problems.

On the Range

I’m certain we have all heard from gun store experts or read from internet commandos that Kimber builds its pistols to extremely tight tolerances. This means it’s mandatory to fire at least 500-1,000 rounds through them before you decide to put one in any self-defense or competition role. With that in mind, I expected the Custom II to be a jam-o-matic during the first 250 rounds. What happened left me pleasantly surprised and vindicated in my decision to purchase the Custom II.

Kimber 1911 pictured with extra ammunition and another rifle.
Kimber Custom II Review: The Custom II performed flawlessly on two trips to the range and over 500 rounds. (Photo: Francis Borek)

Advertising for the Custom II shows it having a trigger pull of four to five pounds, and the trigger does feel to me to be in the five-pound range. The trigger has a small amount of take-up with a minuscule amount of creep. Certainly not match quality, but better than many pistol triggers I have encountered over the years on both hammer and striker-fired pistols.


Without a doubt, this pistol shoots better than I do. With Federal White Box 230gr FMJ ammo, my best five-round group of the day came in at around one inch while standing at 10 yards. With Hornady Critical Duty, a five-round group came in at just over 1.5 inches. Certainly not “match grade,” but then again, I’m not a match shooter who spends every minute at the range with the same gun. The accuracy I experienced was perfectly fine for home defense and a lot of fun on the range.

But what I really enjoyed during that range session was the total lack of failures. The Kimber had no failure-to-feeds and no failure-to-ejects. A week later, I was back at the range, with another 250 rounds to finish a break-in procedure that I now felt was unnecessary. I expected the same results with the same type of ammunition, and that is what happened: excellent accuracy and no failures.


Two-toned Kimber 1911 pictured with a side view.
Kimber Custom II Review: With an MSRP of $837.00, I feel this Kimber is priced appropriately for its quality. (Photo: Francis Borek)

While my experiences may infuriate the people I spoke of at the start of this article, they are the truth. I’m still not completely convinced that the Custom II is what every other pistol should be, but I feel they are very competitive offerings in a crowded market. With an MSRP of $837.00, it is priced similarly to models produced by Colt, Springfield, Smith & Wesson, and SIG-Sauer.

Yes, it is a 1911, a hammer-fired dinosaur from the turn of the century. However, with its controls placed exactly where God and John Browning intended, this dinosaur can still hang with the best of them. It also retains a distinct grip frame and angle, which many still praise to this day.

Haters will hate, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Custom II Two-Tone is a classy, high-quality, and downright attractive offering from Kimber that works as well as it looks.

Kimber 1911 Custom II 2-Tone


                         .45 ACP



  • Height (inches) 90° to barrel: 5.25
  • Weight (ounces) with empty magazine: 38
  • Length (inches): 8.7
  • Magazine capacity: 7
  • Magazine well
  • Recoil spring (pounds): 16.0
  • Full-length guide rod


  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Finish: Brush polish
  • Width (inches): 1.28


  • Material: Steel
  • Finish: Brush polished, black
  • Front serrations


  • Length (inches): 5
  • Material: Stainless steel, match grade
  • Stainless steel match grade bushing
  • Twist rate (left hand): 16


  • Fixed low profile
  • Radius (inches): 6.8


  • Smooth/checkered Rosewood


  • Aluminum, three hole standard
  • Factory setting (approximate pounds): 4.0 – 5.0

We work pretty hard on this stuff. Do us a solid if you’re getting anything out of our writing!

Get banged on the regular, sign up for the newsletter!

News Desk

News Desk

About the Author

Reported on today by the News Desk. Our goal is to inform, educate, edify, and enlighten. Warrior-scholar or everyman, we believe everyone should think and be dangerous.


  1. Dan Gibbons

    I too had my concerns regarding the Kimber 1911 45’s. Pleasantly surprised with the Custom II. I like the smooth front strap, I have large hands and this model just feels very comfortable. Accuracy is as good or better than my Colt Gold Cup. It is now my EDC. For whatever reason, the NORMA MHP 175GR 45 ACP ammo that has been plagued with “bullet flip around” Did NOT flip around in this gun in Ballistic Gel. Good enough for me.

  2. Mike Reynolds

    Yep, custom 2 45 was my second handgun. Now it’s my favorite. Shoots like it means business, has just the right “beast factor” without excess recoil. Got lucky on this one.

Submit a Comment

Buy Me a Coffee at

Popular Articles

PSA Uppers, Lowers, Optics and More! 4th of July.
Celebrate July. Buy more, save more. Up to 30% off. Forloh.
Lone Wolf DAWN. Parts for Sig Sauer P365 30% off. back Breach-Bang-Clear

Find what’s in stock, and where, and compare prices. 

⚠️ Some hyperlinks in this article may contain affiliate links. If you use them to make a purchase, we will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. It’s just one way to Back the Bang. #backthebang 

Get Patched In

Wretched Minion Patch