We’ve been kicking around Kimber’s latest M1911A1, the beautiful but functional Rapide Black Ice, and have a few things to pass on.
The new Kimber Rapide Black Ice was introduced late last year and just hit the market a couple of months ago. In a nutshell, it is a very nice– some would even say elegant– example of John Browning’s Government Issue design and has much the same layout and specifications. Going to the next level past your generic “old .45” the new pistol in Kimber’s catalog is stacked with aesthetic, yet practical, features that ensure it is anything but. It is offered in 9mm, 10mm, and .45 ACP.
Sure, it’s pretty, but does it shoot?
The trigger on the Rapide is a V-Cut aluminum that the company says is pre-set at the factory with a pull weight somewhere between 4- and 5-pounds. In our testing, we found our evaluation gun broke at a very crisp 4.9-pounds on average right out of the box.
After a few hundred rounds– note that Kimber’s manual still recommends a 500-shot “break-in” period– the trigger remained very tight and still broke in the same aforementioned weight range. It should be observed that many traditional 1911-aficionados such as Wayne Novak considered 5-pounds to be the sweet spot on a custom GI intended for defensive work while the late, great Col. Jeff Cooper preferred a 3-pounder. To each their own.
The big Rapide proved to “stick” to the hand through a combination of a very tight-pattern honeycomb stippling on the front of the grip, “tactical bumps” on the rear of the flat mainspring housing, an extended beavertail grip, and standard WavZ G10 panels with aggressive texturing. Across several range sessions, we found the pistol very easy to control.
When it comes to fit and finish, you can tell Kimber is an experienced M1911 maker, as the gun has a nice, tuned feel to it with no slop and a great frame-to-slide marry up.
The Rapide is clearly designed with operational reliability in mind and has a lowered and flared ejection port rather than a narrow GI-style port. Using an 18.5-pound recoil spring and a mil-spec guide rod in our test gun, which was chambered in 10mm, we observed no jams or failures in shooting on the range– a milestone you always hope to see in an M1911, especially with one that has a recommended break-in period. On the downside, being a single-stack pistol, you have to spend a lot of time reloading mags.
The pistol uses a match-grade stainless steel barrel with a black DLC coating coupled with a stainless steel match grade bushing. When it comes to sights, the Rapide comes standard with excellent Tru-Glo TFX Pro Day/Night sights that proved easy to acquire in bright sunlight, although I did find them a little on the bulky side. Combined with the good ergos and crisp trigger, it delivered on steel out to 50 yards and proved more than accurate at 25.
With a combination of a deep two-tone Kimpro finish and a DLC-coated barrel, the Rapide Black Ice is definitely eye-catching. No slacker on the range and filled with enough features to make the gun a contender for practical shooting, it checks a lot of boxes for those who eschew polymer frames and blocky slides. On the downside, it is not an entry-level gun, as it has an MSRP of $1,500, a price lower at retailers.
Even at that price point, however, the Rapide does not require the same amount of coin as an elite-level M1911 from the likes of Nighthawk or Wilson Combat. About the closest match to it from other makers in price is a Doug Koenig SR1911 or a Springfield Armory TRP although, to be honest, they seem a little homely in comparison.
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