Hilton Yam is probably the go-to guy on duty 1911s these days. It's been four years now since he pulled Kimbers from the list of 1911s he recommends for duty use, but it seems like there's always someone who doesn't get the word. Apparently North Carolina's liquor cops spent a wad of money on Kimbers, complete with a fruity "ALE seal carved into their handles", only to find that the guns were lemons. This is my shocked face.
Firearms instructor Pat Rogers sees lots of AR15-pattern firearms from budget manufacturers go Tango Uniform at his classes because they are not made to the true military specification: improperly staked gas keys come loose, cheap bolts shear locking lugs, weak extractor springs fail and cause FTE's, et cetera. His derisive term for these is "hobby guns". Sure, they're up to shooting fifty or a hundred rounds at the range every now and again, but when you run them hard, they choke in the clutch.
Most 1911s made these days are hobby guns. They have ejectors that aren't pinned, MIM plunger tubes that won't take a stake, limp noodle cast or MIM extractors that aren't properly tensioned from the factory, and other failings. These are caused by the fact that the design of the pistol is not friendly to modern manufacturing methods, and so shortcuts get made to keep the guns cost-competitive.
You can get a current production 1911 that's properly built and devoid of these shortcuts for right around a grand, which is what makes the current Kimber situation so annoying: They're selling a shortcut-filled gun slathered in cosmetic fluff at a price that could buy you a real heater. This method works in the marketplace, because the things that separate the real deal from a compromised "hobby gun" are pretty esoteric and not visible when the gun's sitting in a showcase. To the untrained eye there's not much to distinguish an RIA from a Taurus from a Kimber from a Colt from a Baer from a $2k+ custom gun. Why spend big money on a custom when the gun sitting on the shelf next to it costs half as much and says "Custom" right on the slide?
Given the current situation in the 1911 market, if you had to buy guns for 100 guys, and you just had to have .45's with A-zone accuracy in a hostage situation, why wouldn't you just buy HK45's?
UPDATE: Oh, look! They were bitty little 3" Ultra Carries, complete with idjit magwell on a subcompact CCW piece. Color me extra unsurprised! More on this tomorrow...
(H/T to Bob via email.)