Well, the ammunition prices after the last big scare are just starting to settle down again, finally, though as with any of these, things are never going to return fully back to where they were. Luckily, one of the most common victims to this, the ubiquitous .22lr finally seems to be returning to regular stock levels. This means using this cheap round for practice via conversion kits is economical again, bringing me to my next review item.
Enter the Kimber Rimfire Target Conversion Kit, for the 1911 of course. Available in both full size (5″, Govt. length slide) and Compact (4″ slide). As an added bonus, the full size 5″ kit, thanks to an extended dust cover (as seen in pictures below), fits both Govt and Commander length frames.
Not only is it easily the nicest looking .22lr conversion I’ve seen available for the 1911, with it’s Satin Silver or Black cerakote finish, ridged adjustable target sights, and overall apparent fine engineering, but it’s a breeze to install, even at the range or in the field.
Simply strip the slide from your 1911 of choice, and slip on the Kimber upper, using your 1911’s slide stop, and you’re ready to go. Despite my skepticism, this kit cycled all tested .22lr ammunition flawlessly in both a cheap Citadel/Armscor 1911 Govt, and a Colt Lightweight Commander. I honestly didn’t think it would cycle properly given how light the slide was and how heavy the hammer on both of those felt, but I was proven wrong.
Field stripping this kit for cleaning is similar enough to doing so on the parent firearm, the major difference being how the recoil spring is contained and attached to the barrel lug. Easy peasy.
Additionally, it comes with one polymer 10 round magazine, though for practice sake I tended to load it to 7 or 8 to match the capacity of the magazines I use with the parent handgun.
Just for the record, this kit was tested with the following ammunition, again no failures present, period:
- CCI Minimag
- CCI Velocitor
- Eley Subsonic
- Winchester 555 box (36gr)
- Colt (relabeled Aguila 40gr)
So, despite the dropping prices of common ammunition, it’s still nice to save a few cents and make use of one of these .22lr kits just to keep sharp on the cheap, every bit of muscle memory you can give yourself helps. I found this kit also very useful for getting someone comfortable with the 1911 platform without their first interaction being the gruff handshake of a 230gr FMJ recoil shock, to which they may not be accustomed.
The downside? Price. This thing is a Kimber, afterall. It can be had for the MSRP of $339 from Kimber directly, or via Cabela’s, the later of which frequently has it on sale, more so than other vendors where I’ve seen it. Also, whatever you do, don’t try to save money and order from Botach Tactical, I wasted about 2 weeks before finding out it was on back order (despite being charged and their website not indicating such).