Clark or Kimber?
Hello everyone, registered specifically to ask for help in deciding what my first 1911 will be. I practically know squat about the model, I'll probably be doing most of my study here in this forum so kindly bear with me. I have narrowed my options to 2 choices:Truth be told, I didn't know whether a troll was on board or not. The answer seemed all too obvious. A no brainer. Luckily the responses were 100% in favor of the Clark gun. Even the lone Kimber advocate eventually gave a qualified reversal of opinion. I finally responded myself. My response:
1. A brand new Kimber Gold Match II.
2. A 15 year old Colt Government Clark Custom Hardball (Keithville) being offered by a friend.
The Colt is in pretty good shape and is being sold to me at half the price of the brand new Kimber. I really don't know much about either of the two models, but these choices came about because the Gold Match is claimed to be Kimber's finest production pistol, while the Colt came along my way by chance. You are giving advice to a 1911 dummy so please be frank and direct so I won't be lost in 1911 jargon, I don't mind a baptism of fire.
This morning, joaquin posted photos. Good buy joaquin!
On one hand we have an expensive production pistol that came off the assembly line in Yonkers. The price of said gun is X
On the other hand we have a Colt that took a trip to Princeton or Keithville Louisiana and was worked over by a Bullseye gunsmith firm that has been modifying 1911s for Bullseye competition shooting for the past 58 years, and which produces the best Bullseye 1911s in the world. Said pistol costs X/2.
The Colt is not just a Colt. It is a Clark gun. The Clark gun is a competition gun. The Kimber is a production gun. That is a huge difference.
Clark Custom was founded by Jim Clark Sr. in 1950. Their work is exacting, innovative, and deceptively simple in appearance. They remain the only shop to give an accuracy guarantee of 2.5 inches with a 10 shot group at 50 yards, including flyers and the first shot. They will build your Bullseye 1911 to any specification you desire. If you desire something that will not allow you to compete, they will advise you of the issue. At Clark Custom, they know the regulations, because they compete themselves. A Clark Bullseye gun based on a Colt 1911 will start at about $1600. They hold their value well. They disappear from the used market quickly at $1200 years later. Clark offers three different Bullseye packages, plus bespoke work, so it is difficult to say just which package you are considering. I can say that in my area the going rate for a lightly used Clark Bullseye pistol built on a Colt ranges from $1200 to $1500.
The standard Clark Hardball package includes:
Trigger Job with match aluminum trigger (4 pound pull
Bo-Mar Adjustable rear sight / Clark Hardball front sight
Stippled front strap.
Function and machine rest test with target supplied.
Accuracy guarantee 2.5" - 10 shot group at 50 yards
I will say this.....If you buy the Clark gun, and if you can shoot well enough it will take you to the top of the Bullseye ranks. It will still be shooting accurately, punching out single holes at 25 yards when the Kimber is choked up with powder. I would expect the Kimber to be ammunition sensitive, shooting best with a particular load, and sometimes refusing to feed others. The Clark gun can be expected to feed and shoot anything you shove in the magazine, as long as it says .45ACP on the bottom. If you, as a shooter, can outshoot the Kimber's capabilities, the Clark gun will allow you to do it.......With the Kimber's favorite ammunition, in the Kimber's backyard, while wearing a Kimber T-shirt.
If you have a problem with the Clark gun, you can send it to Jim Clark in Princeton Louisiana, and he will make it right. Period. He doesn't care if you are the third owner of one of his Daddy's guns. If the pistol has his name on it, he will make it right. He does not want any pistol with his name on it representing his company poorly. When you call up Clark Custom, there is about a 50% chance that Jim Clark himself will answer the phone. You will not be talking to some sales rep or complaint representative. You will be talking to the man who will make things happen for you, or one of his best friends if Jim happens to be out of town.
To me, this question is a no brainer.........Buy the Clark gun. When someone asks which 1911 to buy, I usually inquire as to what they intend to use the gun for. In this instance I do not need to. You have presented two choices only. One is cubic zirconia, the other is a diamond. Buy the Clark gun.
Treat me with benign neglect." Ashton R. O'Dwyer, Jr. NOLA 2005
Labels: Clark Guns