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Kimber America: From Rifles To 1911s & More

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Kimber America is renowned for fine firearms with performance to match. Its meticulous 1911s are among the best available today, but the firm didn’t begin with pistols.

The company started in 1979 with rimfire rifles crafted by owner Jack Warne and his son, Greg. Kimber of Oregon, as it was called at the time, was based in Clackamas, Ore. The .22 LR rifles they created quickly gained the attention of enthusiasts and orders piled up. It wasn’t long until the company added a second manufacturing plant to meet that demand.

Then the Warnes decided to enter the centerfire rifle business, which required a significant investment in additional machinery and tooling. The money they raised fell short of the goal and ultimately the attempted introduction of a big-game bolt-action rifle led to financial trouble. The company sold to a new owner in 1989, who also found it impossible to solve the budget issues. The firm later closed, and its assets were sold.

Afterward, Jack Warne established Warne Manufacturing, of scope-mount fame, but he never gave up on firearm design. He found a financial backer and established Kimber of America a few years later.

Based in Oregon, handguns were the primary focus, 1911s in particular. The company wound up moving to New York, and despite Warne leaving the firm, business continued to flourish. By 2020, orders were once again outpacing plant capacity, and the firm announced a move to a new, state-of-the art facility in Troy, Ala. Today, that 225,000-square-foot factory manufacturers much more than pistols.

Kimber America produces rifles and pistols used by the USA Shooting Team, LAPD SWAT and even select members of the United States Marine Corps assigned to Central Command. It’s never abandoned those 1911 roots, introducing new models with enviable regularity. This year, for example, the Kimber Rapide Dawn 1911 hit the market.

The company also isn’t shy about exploring new territory. Last year, it introduced its first polymer-framed pistol, the R7 Mako. Kimber America’s 2016 entry into the revolver market with the K6s has been a huge success, and a number of variants are already available, including the K6s DASA 4” Combat reviewed by American Rifleman.

Article by GUY J. SAGI

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