S&W 1911TA 'E' series vs Kimber

This is a discussion on S&W 1911TA 'E' series vs Kimber within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; It seems pretty clear that as handguns go, there are two categories: 1911s and non-1911s. Within the 1911 category, there seems to be, again, two ...

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 22
Like Tree2Likes

Thread: S&W 1911TA 'E' series vs Kimber

  1. #1
    Senior Moderator
    Array Tangle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Chattanooga
    Posts
    9,661

    S&W 1911TA 'E' series vs Kimber

    It seems pretty clear that as handguns go, there are two categories: 1911s and non-1911s. Within the 1911 category, there seems to be, again, two categories - Kimber 1911s and non-Kimber 1911s.

    After all the Kimber bashing I've heard, and all the problems claimed, I thought maybe I should try another brand - a non-Kimber 1911. I liked the look of the S&W E series and figured to try one. I did some reading up on the S&W 'E' series and guess what I found? A review by Hilton Yam that was not all that positive about the E series The problem was the recoil springs and mag springs were not necessarily compatible. I won't go into details, but it seems the right thing to do is replace the stock springs with Wolff springs.

    But, gee, two springs how bad is that? So I go to my safe to see what I can trade. Well there were plenty of options, and I must trade - I don't want more, I want to downsize if at all possible and I'm not sure that is possible.

    So I call around and this one S&W 'E' series was available in one gunshop, so off I go. I wanted an aluminum frame, but one wasn't available. I wanted a 4 - 4-1/4" bbl, but one wasn't available. I didn't want the rail, but one was available. So what the heck, don't be so picky I think. I did get one thing I wanted - the traditional squared off butt instead of the rounded one.

    So I wind up with a S&W 'E' series 1911TA. As I understand it, the 'E' series is supposed to be S&Ws bridge between their entry level series and their top series. Here's what I acquired:


    right side by ron.0000, on Flickr

    and the other side:


    left side by ron.0000, on Flickr

    So I get this thing home, so very proud of myself, and measure the trigger pull - 5.5 lbs!!! Can that be right? So I measure it again - yep 5.5 lbs. Well, so far my Kimber clobbers that at 4.25 lbs (out of the box - they're not that now of course) - any three of them in fact. Oh well, like they claim, trigger weight doesn't matter as long as there's no creep and it breaks cleanly. I guess an 8 lb trigger would be just as good as a 3.5 lb trigger - for those that don't shoot a lot.

    So I field strip it to de-factorize it and I notice when I put the barrel in the slide and engage it in the locking lugs, the barrel can move back and forth about a 1/16". My Kimbers don't do that. At least I've never noticed it. Hmmm, can that be good?

    And then to get completely shallow about it, I can't stand the way the ambi safety has that lever-looking thing that goes under the grip panel - in simple words, I think it's very distracting from an otherwise pretty nice looking gun.

    Anyway, I start shooting it and notice how great it is that trigger weight doesn't matter at all or I'd probably blame the trigger for it not shooting as well as my Kimbers. But it's not bad, in fact honestly, pretty decent accuracy. Wait until I adjust the trigger weight to 3.5 lbs that doesn't matter anyway!

    Several times I noticed I couldn't break the shot at all. I realized what was happening was even a 1/16" of thumb safety motion would block the trigger, or more accurately, the sear. So a thumb-riding-the safety is a must for this gun. Not so with any of my Kimbers.

    Please don't waste time explaining why the thumb over the safety is 'the' way to grip a 1911. I've had so many grip safety blocks with that grip, I quit using it.

    What else? OH! The grip safety. It has only about a 1/16" of over-travel after clearing the trigger. IOWs, it has to be depressed almost fully to release the trigger. That's not good for guys like me that experience grip safety trigger blocks. I know, I know, you've never had one so nobody else can either - heard it before.

    Hmmm...oh yeah, the mag release. This is bad; I will correct this. If you press too hard/far on the mag release, it will prevent the mag from releasing. Even read about that before I got it. And to be fair, Kimbers do that too - at least mine do. Not quite to the same degree though.

    Another thing - the recoil spring feels unusually stiff - when you rack the slide - you know you just did something! I have just a bit of degeneration at the bases of my thumbs, not much, just something that happens with age - I cannot sling-shot the slide from a hammer down condition! Can't even start to. I can over-hand it readily.

    This extra 'stiffness' comes from two sources, one, it does seem to have a bit heavy recoil spring, which makes me wonder if it has to be 'extra' to make up for the lighter slide due to the ugly (my gun, my opinion) flat top and grooving on top of the slide. But the main contributor is the extra strength hammer spring. The 'E' series doesn't have a FPB per se. Instead it relies on a titanium firing pin (low mass) with probably a bit heavier FP spring to resist a muzzle drop inertial discharge (which is stupid in the first place), so it has to have an extra strength hammer spring. With the hammer down, it is hard to rack the slide - not that you'd have to do that in a SD situation, but there are range and home situations it may come up in.

    I really don't like the heavy recoil/racking weight. If it's between a Swartz FPB and the S&W et al, I'll take the Swartz without a second thought.

    I can't stand the serated flat top on the slide - it's not the way JMB designed it! I don't like it!

    What else??? Ahhh, the external extractor - kinda ugly but I love external extractors on 1911s. They are bigger, yielding more positive extraction, they should never have to be tuned and they have a much wider range of motion, and rely on a coil spring instead of a 'leaf' spring (internal type).

    The S&W external extractor is far better and far different than the contraption Kimber came up with a while back that proved problematic. One thing you can do with most external extractors is top off the gun easily. Lock the slide open, drop a round in the chamber, veeery gently lower the slide to contact, press in on the rear of the extractor and it gently hops right over the rim! No slamming, no bagging, very clean and gentle. Engage the thumb safety and then insert a fully loaded mag.

    I also love the look of the grip panels - very cool looking.

    And those fish scales, snake scales, dragon scales, or whatever you need to call them, are great! They look great and work great! Again, my gun, my opinion.

    The magazines are a step up. You can see from the pics, the mag has a skirted follower and can not contact the frame. The SW1911TA comes with, you better sit down, TWO, EIGHT round ACT mags with a big base pad, ugly though the pad may be. A black, 8 round, flat bottom mag would look great in this gun - base pads for the spare mags for more reliable reloading.

    The mag release is slightly extended for better access.

    It has more recoil than I expected in a 1911 this heavy. Seems like I noticed the recoil more on it than I do my AL frame Kimbers, but, of course that can't be.

    So having said all that, I'll just be candid - I like my Kimbers better - my guns, my opinion. Your opinion, of course is just as valid as mine. And guess what? Kimbers cost no more - $1089 for my Kimber Tactical Pro with the same features.

    Sooo, if I have to replace some springs in my Kimbers, or send a mag back because it won't lock the slide back, that's fine by me. Just so I have the Kimber(s). I'd rather not have to do that, but to have a Kimber, I'm more than willing to.

    That's not to say, in any way I don't like the S&W - I do - I like it a lot. But for my money, it's not a Kimber.

    Oh, almost forgot - I only had one mal from the S&W out of 200 rounds. Haven't had any out of my Tactical Pro in 800 rounds - hmmm, time to replace the recoil spring.
    I'm too young to be this old!
    Getting old isn't good for you!

  2. Remove Ads

  3. #2
    Member Array Savage206's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    122
    good post!!! thanks much from someone considering buying a 1911 myself soon!
    EDC: FN FNP-9 w/ three 16 rnd magazines. Mini Maglite.

    " The unarmed man is not just defenseless, he is also contemptible." ~ Machiavelli.

  4. #3
    Senior Moderator
    Array Tangle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Chattanooga
    Posts
    9,661
    Quote Originally Posted by Savage206 View Post
    good post!!! thanks much from someone considering buying a 1911 myself soon!
    Well, there may be a lot of people that disagree with me, but that just means there's lot's of people in error!
    I'm too young to be this old!
    Getting old isn't good for you!

  5. #4
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    8,563
    Well Tangle, in my way of thinkin there are only Glocks and Colt 1911s.
    I believe the Glocks are for those who must shoot, and Colts for those who like to shoot.

    Great and interesting report though. I'm glad you have found the Kimber to your liking.
    C hawk Glock and azchevy like this.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  6. #5
    VIP Member
    Array C hawk Glock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    W. Washington
    Posts
    3,551
    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    Well Tangle, in my way of thinkin there are only Glocks and Colt 1911s.
    I believe the Glocks are for those who must shoot, and Colts for those who like to shoot.

    Great and interesting report though. I'm glad you have found the Kimber to your liking.
    That is a classic quote right there!
    Ccccccc what? Ccccccccccc Hawks!

  7. #6
    New Member Array Roamer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    1
    I read Hilton's review of the E-series guns and came away with a very different opinion - he seems to be very positive about the work S&W has done. He's very critical of 1911's simply because he knows that there are professionals who are going to read and follow the advice he gives. He likes the E-series guns (and the Kimbers!) as weekend and fun guns for casual shooters. But he knows that he needs to review the guns from the perspective of someone who has been responsible for maintaining the guns for an entire department. Based on that, the fact that all he hasn't liked has been the springs makes the guns astonishingly good.

  8. #7
    Senior Moderator
    Array Tangle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Chattanooga
    Posts
    9,661
    Quote Originally Posted by Roamer View Post
    I read Hilton's review of the E-series guns and came away with a very different opinion - he seems to be very positive about the work S&W has done. He's very critical of 1911's simply because he knows that there are professionals who are going to read and follow the advice he gives. He likes the E-series guns (and the Kimbers!) as weekend and fun guns for casual shooters. But he knows that he needs to review the guns from the perspective of someone who has been responsible for maintaining the guns for an entire department. Based on that, the fact that all he hasn't liked has been the springs makes the guns astonishingly good.
    Well, first, not all 'professionals' agree with Yam. The LA SWAT and Tacoma PD come to mind. They both found the Kimber line to be superior to every thing they tested them against - 1911 or not. A guy I know rents Kimbers at his range and sees thousands of rounds go through them - he sees very few issues with them at all. No slight to Yam here at all, but I seriously doubt that Yam sees anywhere near the number of rounds through Kimbers as the rental store.

    Plus, I can speak more for the Kimber than the E series since I've had my Kimbers longer. I just shot my 800th round through my Tactical Pro and haven't had a single mal of any kind. I've read of numerous Kimber owners that have shot tens of thousands of rounds without issues, and even more that have shot thousands of rounds without issue.

    We've seen often that when a manufacturer offers a new line or entirely new gun, they may have problems. But those problems get resolved and the gun performance changes with time from problematic to very reliable.

    I seriously doubt that S&W set out to design the E series for the weekend casual shooter. They may have some intro issues, although Yam seems the only one to be seeing problems with the E series, but S&W is not, and will not be content for their E series to be a 'weekend casual shooter' gun.

    I fail to see how it is "positive" that Yam demotes the E series to a weekend casual shooter???
    I'm too young to be this old!
    Getting old isn't good for you!

  9. #8
    Senior Member Array CDW4ME's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,166
    I agree, nice grips on the S&W.

    I didn't see any mention of an internal lock on the S&W 1911



    Why doesn't S&W stick a IL on their 1911, since they see fit to stick one on revolvers?

    Maybe because it's not necessary. If it was necessary it would be on all of their products. No S&W for me.

    Springfield Armory does it too, only in reverse; their 1911's have a IL, but not the XD's. That is not logical, either stick them on every gun you make or none of them.

    I'll stick to Kimber or Colt if I want a $1,000+- 1911. Those 1911 makers do not suffer from IL confusion.
    No internal lock or magazine disconnect on my pistols!

  10. #9
    Senior Moderator
    Array Tangle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Chattanooga
    Posts
    9,661
    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    Well Tangle, in my way of thinkin there are only Glocks and Colt 1911s.
    I believe the Glocks are for those who must shoot, and Colts for those who like to shoot.

    Great and interesting report though. I'm glad you have found the Kimber to your liking.
    Another way to think about it is Glocks are for those that don't have a choice and 1911s for those that do.

    I shot my G19 just day before yesterday - it is one fun gun to shoot. I couldn't shoot it like I can my Kimbers, but I'd improve if I worked at it.
    I'm too young to be this old!
    Getting old isn't good for you!

  11. #10
    Senior Moderator
    Array Tangle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Chattanooga
    Posts
    9,661
    Quote Originally Posted by CDW4ME View Post
    I agree, nice grips on the S&W...
    It is a 'pretty' gun. I'm warming up to it. Boy! It is heavy though, esp. when loaded - my AL frames have already spoiled me.
    I'm too young to be this old!
    Getting old isn't good for you!

  12. #11
    Senior Moderator
    Array Tangle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Chattanooga
    Posts
    9,661
    Hmmm, I really need to explain this remark from my OP:
    "Within the 1911 category, there seems to be, again, two categories - Kimber 1911s and non-Kimber 1911s."

    The ambiguity of the remark is that it could appear that I'm elevating Kimber above all others, etc. and that was not my meaning at all. What is was intended to suggest is that all other 1911s are accepted and Kimber is not because of all the purported problems, flashy ads, purported over-pricing and crumbling MIM parts. It was intended to be a humorous poke at all those that treat Kimber as the whipping boy of 1911s.

    I just realized there was no way in the world to get that from the remark and that it could easily be mistaken for something it wasn't - my bad, I hope that clarifies that.
    I'm too young to be this old!
    Getting old isn't good for you!

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array SCfromNY's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    1,005
    This will in part repeat other posts I have made. I have had 3 Kimbers and all have been accurate and fun to shoot with FMJ. The issues arise when I switch to JHP. My Eclipse took 3 trips to the gunsmith and over 1000 rounds to reliably shoot JHP. My Grand Raptor was the same as well as my SIS Pro. The Pro especially annoyed me because it was built as a response to a tactical need. Yes many of the JHP were "handloads" however the handloads shot in all my other guns: H&K, Sig, and CZ.

    I had my Eclipse stolen and traded the SIS for the new E series Commander sized lightweight. The S&W has been great since day one. It has shot everything:FMJ, handloaded JHPs both short and long, and SWC. Is it perfect? NO! I do not like ambi-safeties and this one was particularly ugly: replaced. I am also not enthralled with the night sights: great at night and the bright day but have dim light and they are difficult to acquire. The grip safety issue is one I would send back to S&W.I recently had a Wilson grip safety installed on an old Colt and it did the same thing. The gunsmith found a small burr and slight bend which caused this.

    I am very happy with the new S&W and have even carried it a few times despite my dislike for safeties on a carry gun. IMO ANY gun costing as much as these Kimbers and S&Ws should perform out of the box just like Glock, H&K, and Sig. I do not subscribe to all this break in bull **** to be reliable. Break in maybe to loosen up the slide and trigger but not to shoot every time I pull the trigger.
    Registration: A prelude to Confiscation and Anarchy.

  14. #13
    Senior Moderator
    Array Tangle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Chattanooga
    Posts
    9,661
    It's not quite apples to apples when comparing any brand of 1911 to non-1911s, but I fully agree that they should work out of the box. Although I don't mind a break in period at all to let the slide and frame fit hone in. But that's not what Yam was saying in his review. He was pretty much saying the spring timing was wrong, and the E series shouldn't be considered for more than a weekend fun gun - I totally disagree with that, but who am I to question the mighty Yam. He said the same thing about Kimbers.

    I haven't shot JHPs in my Kimbers yet, but I'm pretty sure the LA SWAT has and don't seem to be having any issues. Often any JHP issues are found to be mag related rather than the gun per se, and it's usually a pretty easy and inexpensive fix.

    I also read, from yet another 'expert', and in all fairness probably is, that JHP bullet shape is very important in 1911s for the best relibility. The specific brands recommended were the HydraShoks and Golden Sabres.
    I'm too young to be this old!
    Getting old isn't good for you!

  15. #14
    Senior Moderator
    Array Tangle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Chattanooga
    Posts
    9,661
    Oh, and SCfromNY please note that the things I pointed out about the S&W were pretty picky. Some of the things, like the heavy hammer spring is of more concern, but I like the gun, period. But it's still in the proving stages to me, but it was on my bedstand last night - cocked and locked and will be tonight too, with the addition of a SureFire weapon light on it.

    Just didn't want you to have the impression I didn't like the SW1911TA, I do, but I still like my Kimbers better, but that may just be me.
    I'm too young to be this old!
    Getting old isn't good for you!

  16. #15
    sgb
    sgb is offline
    VIP Member Array sgb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    You don't need to know
    Posts
    2,414
    "There is a secret pride in every human heart that revolts at tyranny. You may order and drive an individual, but you cannot make him respect you." William Hazlitt (1778 - 1830)

    Best Choices for Self Defense Ammunition

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Search tags for this page

s&w 1911 e series
,

s&w 1911 e series review

,
s&w 1911ta
,
s&w e series
,
s&w e series review
,
smith and wesson 1911 e series
,

smith and wesson 1911 e series review

,
smith and wesson 1911 e series reviews
,

smith and wesson e series

,
smith and wesson e series 1911 review
,

smith and wesson e series review

,

sw1911ta review

Click on a term to search for related topics.