Beautiful Black Ice: Checking out the New Kimber Rapide
The Kimber Rapide (Black Ice) is something of a modern gentleman’s premium M1911A1 with a truckload of features that give you a semi-custom U.S-made gun right out of the box. It pairs nicely with a nice folder like a Case Gunstock. (All photos: Chris Eger)
A unique take on the M1911A1 platform, Kimber‘s new Rapide Black Ice series handguns are new to the market and loaded with premium features that come standard.
Introduced to the public last November when the company unveiled its 2020 catalog and presented at SHOT Show this year, the Rapide is now headed to market. With a name familiar in Europe commonly used for a fast express train– and a popular Aston Martin model– the Rapide is billed by Kimber as a 1911 platform built for speed and is both competition and range ready.
The pistol is feature-rich including stepped cocking serrations, slide lightening cuts, a DLC coated barrel for extreme durability, extended magwell and new V-Cut match-grade trigger. It also comes with Tru-Glo TFX Pro Day/Night sights and G10 grips.
We have been evaluating an early production model over the past few weeks. The new Rapide comes in a choice of .45ACP, 9mm, and 10mm. We went with the latter, but general dimensions and features remain the same no matter the caliber.
When it comes to specs, the Rapide is familiar to fans of John Browning’s Government Issue as it comes standard with a 5-inch barrel which gives the single-action handgun an overall length of 8.7-inches. Weight unloaded is 38-ounces. Height is 5.25-inches. Frame width is 1.28-inches. The slide and barrel are stainless steel with a distinctive two-tone silver and gray Kim Pro II finish.
For what Kimber bills as contributing to faster lock time, the slide has lightening cuts in addition to front and rear stepped cocking serrations with five grooves at the rear and three forward. The DLC coated stainless barrel is almost black and shows through the cuts. Rollmarks on the slide are not obnoxious, with a stylized “Kimber” on the left…
And “Rapide” on the right. The guns are made at the company’s Yonkers, New York facility.
The match-grade barrel is also stainless steel with a black DLC coating. It uses a stainless steel match grade bushing and has a 1-in-16 left-hand twist rate.
The gun takes down much like any M1911, although it should be noted that it was very tight. It uses what Kimber described as a mil-spec guide rod. The .45ACP model sports a 16-pound recoil spring from the factory while our 10mm version carried an 18.5-pound model. The 9mm gets by with a 14-pound spring, because 9mm.
The gun is a 70-series, which is sure to please those who turn up their noses at mush brought about by the 80s. Also note that the bottom of the barrel on our T&E gun is electro-penciled with the last three digits of the serial number, likely done during the fitting and final assembly process.
The Rapide comes with excellent high-profile Tru-Glo TFX Pro Day/Night sights installed. The rear is ledged and serrated and has a green fiber optic in lit conditions.
The front sight incorporates a high-vis orange ring. Both the rear and front have tritium inserts for low-light conditions.
The standard grips are hex-head secured gray/black WavZ G10 panels with aggressive texturing although most M1911 panels should fit.
The grip safety is “tactical bumped” and the Rapide sports an extended beavertail to ward away slide bite. The gun uses a flat mainspring housing
The trigger is a V-Cut aluminum that specs say is set at the factory between 4- and 5-pounds. In our testing, we found our evaluation gun broke at a crisp 4.9-pounds on average. A high cut under the trigger guard allows for higher grip access to better manage recoil.
When it comes to surface controls, the gun has extended ambidextrous thumb safeties as well as a stippled slide stop.
The frame’s front strap has a very tight-pattern Kimber Stiplex stippling that forms a honeycomb.
The extended magwell is deeply beveled with flush-fit mags disappearing into the well while the extended base pad of the included Tac-Mag provides a better fit. Either way, the front of the magwell is notched so that stuck mags can be stripped away more easily.
The stainless steel Tac-Mag magazine holds 9-rounds on the 9mm version, and 8-rounds when it comes to .45ACP and 10mm. It houses a Rocket wire spring and oversized witness holes. Notice when you are in a more muted light, the Rapide looks almost slate gray
In the end, you get the impression that Kimber, best known for their M1911 offerings, has put a lot of time and attention to the Rapide series guns, as every inch of the pistol, from every angle, has something to talk about. Right out the box, it could serve target, personal protection or competition needs.
How does it shoot? We are currently in the middle of testing that and will get back to you in the coming weeks with the full run-down in a future article, so keep an eye out.
The Kimber Rapide (Black Ice) ships with a single 8-round (or 9 round in 9mm) Tac-Mag magazine for an MSRP of around $1,500, a price that will likely be a tad lower at retailers.