Kimber Rimfire Target Conversion Kit Review


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.

Kimber on Rock Island

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.

DSCN1731 DSCN1730 DSCN1729

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).

5 thoughts on “Kimber Rimfire Target Conversion Kit Review”

  1. Before I relate my recent experience, here are a couple gems from a well-known pistol smith:
    A customer brought in a custom shop Super Match II with the complaint that he had tried several factory loads and none of them would chamber. Upon inspection the smith found that the chamber had only been rough reamed. It’s no wonder a round wouldn’t chamber. How does a piece leave their custom shop then get through final inspection. Clearly the piece was never test fired.
    A Pro CDP was brought in by a customer who is a very proficient handgun shooter indicating that he couldn’t get the piece to shoot reasonable groups and wanted it re-barreled. The smith inspected the piece and found that the barrel crown looked as if it had been cut with a dull or broken cutter then someone tried to use a hand file to straighten out the crown. Again, how does a piece like that pass final inspection and test firing?

    Now, my Kimber fiasco – I purchased a Kimber 1911 .22 conversion kit. As with all firearms, that I buy, I always completely clean, lube and bore scope the chamber and barrel before range testing. The Kimber conversion kits are advertised as having a “match grade barrel and bushing.” When the barrel was bore scoped, I found that it was littered with pits like you would see in a very old barrel that had rust pits. I contacted Kimber who requested that the kit be sent in. Along with the kit I included bore scope photos and a note that read: “Since the pits are just too deep to be polished or lapped out without changing the bore diameter, I am requesting that you please replace the barrel at your earliest possible convenience.” I received the kit back with the following repair slip notations: “Adjusted extractor, refinished barrel, reamed and polished chamber.” Perfect! The extractor did not need adjustment. The chamber did not need reaming or polishing when previously viewed with my bore scope and I specifically stated that the barrel pits could not be corrected with lapping or polishing. So, I again bore scope the barrel and low and behold it is still littered with pits. Kimber is again contacted and sent bore scope photos and again the kit is shipped back to them. Now I am told that they do not have any kits in stock and do not have any parts for them. Two months go by and not a word from Kimber so I send them notice that per the Magnuson Moss act that governs warranties I would like a refund. Crickets! A week later, after another note to Kimber, I receive a call from them indicating that they now have some barrels. It must have been a miracle! Again, the kit is shipped to them. I receive the kit back with the following repair slip notes: “Polished firing pin housing, replaced and polished barrel, test fired, inspected, cleaned and oiled.” Got out the bore scope again and wow! The new barrel has broach cutter chatter marks and gouges the likes that I have never seen before. Chatter marks on the lands and grooves, especially if they are perpendicular to the bore, unquestionably result in immediate bore fouling and loss of accuracy. I contact Kimber yet again, send bore scope photos yet again. Kimber asks if I test fired the piece. At this point, based on the condition of the barrel, test firing would be pointless but I agreed to take it to the range. 40 rounds fired and at 25 rounds groups were 7 ½” at 10 yards. I re-bore scope the barrel and found it heavily lead fouled, gee what a surprise! After sending bore scope photos again to Kimber I have another conversation with them that ends with: “We don’t believe we can meet your expectations.” In other words, we advertise the kit as having a match grade barrel but we just don’t have the capability to make one!! How can a barrel that is advertised as being match grade but actually looks like a corrugated sewer pipe be inspected and sent out to a customer? A few days later I receive a call from a customer service manager who says: “We’ll refund your purchase price but you have to sign our release and return the kit to us first. It will take over two weeks, after we receive the kit, to issue you a check. If you don’t agree then we understand and wish you well.” Included in the release was a clause that stated that I had to remove any unfavorable internet posts that I created within 48 hours. Being that I have absolutely no trust in their ability to handle anything or honor what they promise I suggested that the check be issued first -or- that the two weeks to issue a check be reduced to the legal standard of 5 days. Kimber would not agree to either of the modified terms. Since I found Kimber to be untrustworthy and their agreement terms to be unreasonable and unacceptable coupled with their refusal to negotiate in good faith I refuse to be subjected to their treatment.

    Shooting sports are supposed to be fun. A customer should not have to put up with substandard manufacturing, failed repairs and inept customer service.

    I wouldn’t own another Kimber if someone gave me one for free. At Kimber quality control is completely nonexistent and they absolutely don’t have the desire or ability to meet reasonable customer requests and expectations. Hell, they can’t even manufacturer products that meets their own advertised standards. Kimber needs to change their company logo to: “We manufacture garbage and hope to sell it to misinformed idiots.”

    1. Yep – Cohen ruined that company, their QC is, as you say, non-existent. I had no problems with this kit as tested, but I also wasn’t looking for anything “match grade” from it – I’ve got better options if I need a match .22lr pistol – just wanted something to get trigger time with the platform on the cheap which this accomplished.

      That said, it’s vastly overpriced for what it is – if I were to re-review this one, I’d give it a pass and say “just get a Ruger Mk IV 22/45 from Brownells or Academy for about the same price.”

  2. Now you have made me nervous. I recently purchased a lightly Kimber kit from an aquaintance gunsmith at a good price. I have not yet shot it but you can bet I will be doing so in the very near future (Read this afternoon or tomorrow). I hope it was one of their earlier (Prior to Cohen) products.

    Thank you for some great reviews.

    1. It’s almost definitely not pre-Cohen Kimber. But, you’ve already bought it – above user horror story above aside, I’ve known a few folks who have picked these up and had zero problems with ’em, and I continue to run mine without issue all these years later, mostly on a Colt Lightweight Commander frame.

      Would I still suggest picking up a Ruger 22/45 at this point instead? Probably – but there is use in getting practice time with a particular 1911 you want to know well, so this Kimber product still has its pros.

      Good luck and let me know how it goes!

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