NC Law Enforcement say Kimber pistols unreliable must go!

Frost

Active Member
1911s unreliable?
What do you think?



http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/02/06/ ... iable.html


RALEIGH -- Little more than a year after buying 150 collector-grade handguns, officials at the N.C. Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement say the $1,055 pistols were so unreliable they had to get rid of them.

ALE Director John Ledford said the Kimber pistols repeatedly suffered such problems as rounds jamming during training exercises, broken sights and the weapon's safety button sometimes falling off. He made a deal with a local firearms dealer to swap the pricey pistols for less expensive handguns without spending any additional money.

"Failure of a weapon during training is problematic enough, but if any of these types of failures occurred during a life-and-death situation the result could be loss of life to a sworn member of the division or an innocent civilian," Ledford wrote in a November memo to justify the new weapons. "During violent encounters with armed suspects, reliability and speed are paramount."

Responsible for conducting background checks on ABC permit applicants and catching bootleggers, ALE is among the smallest of the state-run law enforcement agencies. Currently, there are just 112 full-time agents statewide. An additional 22 retired ALE personnel serve as "reserve agents." They will also be issued new service pistols.

ALE agents rarely get into shootouts, but it has happened. An agent was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1994.

Crime Control Secretary Reuben Young, who supervises Ledford, agreed that the new pistols were needed.

"The Kimbers were unreliable as a whole and had numerous problems involving the malfunctioning of the weapon," Young said last week in a written statement. "They needed to be replaced as their use had become a safety issue for the officers and a liability issue for the department."

The Kimber .45-caliber 1911 pistols were bought under former Director Bill Chandler, who abruptly retired in September 2009, days after The N&O detailed the purchase and revealed that two assault rifles issued to ALE agents were missing. Other issues included stolen pistols and an agent who accidently shot himself.

Special pistols ordered

An avid gun buff and collector, Chandler ordered Kimbers with special sights and the ALE seal carved into their handles, spending $158,250 provided to the agency through federal seizures involving alcohol, drugs and illegal gambling. The purchase was also approved by Chandler's supervisor, Gerald Rudisill, the chief deputy secretary of crime control.

Similar pistols are used by elite Special Forces soldiers and the U.S. Olympic rapid-fire target shooting team, according to Kimber's website.

The Kimbers replaced Sig Sauer handguns bought in 2003 and 2005 for about $685 each. The Sig pistols, which Chandler said were worn out, were declared "surplus" and sold to agents for $326.

A review of Internal ALE records going back three decades shows the agency has bought all new firearms every few years. The old guns are then typically sold to ALE staff, usually for less than half the price the state originally paid.

Records show that since 2000, the agency has sold at least 373 pistols and shotguns back to its own agents. Some agents have bought as many as six discounted weapons in the last decade, sometimes buying more than one of the same model.

Service weapons @ $1

As with state troopers and SBI agents, a state law also allows retiring ALE personnel to buy their last service weapon at a price set at the discretion of the agency. Historically, that price has been $1.

Chandler, the former director, bought his ALE Kimber for $1 when he retired in 2009. Records show he also bought a Sig pistol for $250 in 2003, a Remington shotgun for $92 in 2006, and another Sig pistol for $320 in 2009.

Records show that Ledford, the current director, bought a Sig pistol from ALE for $250 in 2003, while he was sheriff of Madison County. Having been an ALE agent in the 1990s, Ledford was listed as a reserve agent while he was sheriff.

Pistols malfunction

Since the Kimbers were issued to agents in the fall of 2009, Ledford said, his agents documented 289 malfunctions with the pistols during training exercises. Many agents chose to carry personal weapons instead, Ledford wrote in a memo Nov. 8 to Young.

In an effort to fix the problems, Ledford contacted Ralph Karanian, the chief operating officer of Kimber America of Elmsford, N.Y. Karanian promised to fix the problems, and the company replaced a key spring on the pistols, according to the memo. Agents also fired as many as 1,500 rounds with each pistol on the suggestion they needed to be "broken in."

But with the manufacturer's warranty expiring at the end of 2010, Chandler wrote Young that the best solution was to trade in the troublesome Kimbers for new Sig Sauer 220 pistols similar to what the agency had previously.

With Young's approval, Ledford negotiated a deal to trade in the department's Kimber pistols to a Raleigh firearms dealer in exchange for 150 new Sigs valued at $718 each.

Karanian declined to be interviewed about the specific malfunctions ALE experienced with its Kimbers.

"Kimber stands solidly behind every product with unwavering warranty service," Karanian said, according to a written release by a company spokesman. "This is, in part, why Kimber is the world's largest manufacturer of 1911 pistols, and why Kimber pistols are carried on duty by elite law enforcement and military groups."

Faith in Kimber

Chandler, the former director, says he hasn't had any problems with his Kimber service weapon.

"I have no qualms about carrying the weapon," said Chandler, who is a reserve ALE agent.

State Sen. Ed Jones, a retired state trooper, said he was concerned about how often ALE was buying new weapons. In his 30-year career with the Highway Patrol, Jones said, he was issued three pistols.

"I want officer safety to be foremost, but a weapon ought to last more than a year and a half," said Jones, a Democrat from Enfield. "Even the sorriest weapon ought to last that long."

Assault rifles traded

In addition to the new pistols, ALE agents have been issued new assault rifles after leaders determined their $1,495 Swiss-made Sig Sauer rifles, bought in 2006, weren't up to snuff, either.

Records show Ledford arranged a deal in July to trade in the agency's 120 Sig Sauer 552 assault rifles, which were bought in 2006 at a cost of $179,400. Ledford said last week that the trade-in was necessary because the 2006 rifles had been discontinued and spare parts were not available.

In exchange, a Greensboro firearms dealer provided the agency 120 Bushmaster M4 assault rifles valued at $1,270 each. ALE also got special Eotech 512 "holographic" sights that make a red dot appear on a target, valued at $439 each.

Because guns were being traded for guns, Ledford said, he did not have to follow state rules on bidding.

Al Sutton of Lawmen's Law Enforcement Supply, the dealer who traded for ALE's old Kimbers, said he plans to offer the pistols for sale back to any ALE agent who wants to buy them. Those that are not bought by agents will be sent to a dealer out of state for sale on the open market.

Sutton said having the ALE seal carved into the weapons will likely increase their resale value.

"That sort of puts the weapon into a commemorative-type class," he said. "It makes it more collectible."

Classified as a "Class 3 machine gun" under federal firearms laws, the Sig 552 assault rifles traded by ALE can only be resold to the military, a law enforcement agency or a citizen with a special permit for automatic weapons.

Ledford, who has already been issued a Bushmaster assault rifle and a new Sig pistol, said he expects the current batch of guns to last for several years.

"These are really no-frills guns, no ALE emblems or seals on them or anything," Ledford said. "We are hopeful these will be quality products, and we believe they are. The Sig handgun is the same model carried by the Secret Service."

Read more: http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/02/06/ ... z1DH2VwBUj
 

fordnut

Active Member
Re: NC Law Enforcement say Kimber pistols unreliable must go

Sounds to me like the" Good Ole Boys" had figured out how to buy guns on the cheap, and that they had a dealer that paid someone a kick-back for gun he bought...

I have had a dozen Kimbers and have fired every one of them. I have never had one problem with the first one.....

Guess they just had too much money to spend.

Steve
 

thebrasilian

New Member
Re: NC Law Enforcement say Kimber pistols unreliable must go

Would you really want a "Collectors Grade" weapon for duty in the first place. From my limited knowledge probably not.
 

Gr8shot

Member
Re: NC Law Enforcement say Kimber pistols unreliable must go

Malfunctioning Kimbers? Worn out Sigs? I would say that somebody has got some very nice decommissioned firearms in their collection. My Sig P220 is nearly 20 years old and I gaurantee you I have more rounds through it than they had through their Sigs and Kimbers combined. Mine is still going strong, never fails, and even the original night sights still glow!
 

Gary

New Member
Re: NC Law Enforcement say Kimber pistols unreliable must go

Gr8shot said:
Malfunctioning Kimbers? Worn out Sigs? I would say that somebody has got some very nice decommissioned firearms in their collection. My Sig P220 is nearly 20 years old and I gaurantee you I have more rounds through it than they had through their Sigs and Kimbers combined. Mine is still going strong, never fails, and even the original night sights still glow!
I agree. Something's fishy about that story.
 

Midnight Raver

Active Member
Re: NC Law Enforcement say Kimber pistols unreliable must go

First things I was wondering:

A. Do these chumps even know how to field strip and clean their firearms?

B. Do they have an armorer/maintenance department that cares for their weaponry?

C. Do they have the perfect BS routine for getting nice decommissioned firearms cheap?

This story definitely smells worse than our local waste/water treatment plant!
 
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