Kimber shines a new light on one of its classic designs.

Kimber shines a new light on one of its classic designs.

Where were you on August 21, 2017? If the significance of that date escapes you, then you’ve already forgotten about the first total solar eclipse visible throughout the contiguous United States in our lifetime. Odds are you’ve already pitched the certified eclipse glasses for which you paid the princely sum of $10. Life in Casper, Wyoming; Lincoln, Nebraska; Hopkinsville, Kentucky; and other towns along the path of totality has returned to normal. Interviews with astronomers have declined markedly.

But the Great American Eclipse was not the only significant eclipse of 2017. In Yonkers, New York, the product development team at Kimber America—the leading producer of 1911s—was seeking to update the Eclipse, its nearly 20-year-old flagship model. That task fell to director of product marketing Winslow Potter, the same man responsible for the first iteration of the popular Kimber pistol.

“In 2001, not long after I started working for Kimber, I came up with the first Eclipse model,” says Potter. “Back then, the Eclipse started as a blackened frame and slide which were then brush polished on the flats. Night sights, 30-lpi frontstrap checkering and wood laminate grip completed the look. It was an instant hit.”

Indeed it was. 2001 was early in the Kimber America days, and the company’s Eclipse quickly became a premier product. It proved the brand could build a production 1911 with high-quality parts that not only shot well but also looked good. The 1911 crowd was impressed. The new-for-2017 Kimber Eclipse Custom, then, isn’t a radical redesign but rather an update.

“Going into 2017, I wanted to freshen it up a bit but not completely take away the overall look of the pistol from years past,” says Potter. “I added our very durable Kimpro

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