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Gun Review: Testing Out the New Kimber Rapide Black Ice

The Kimber Rapide Black Ice is striking from any angle, and in our testing performed well. (All Photos: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

We’ve been kicking around Kimber’s latest M1911A1, the beautiful but functional Rapide Black Ice, and have a few things to pass on.

Background

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.

The Rapide is a 70 series M1911A1

The Kimber Rapide Black Ice takes down much like any M1911 and includes a 5-inch barrel which works out to an overall length of 8.7-inches. Weight unloaded is 38-ounces. Height is 5.25-inches. Frame width is 1.28-inches. It is a 70-series for better or worse.

Related: Checking Out the New Kimber Rapide 

Sure, it’s pretty, but does it shoot?

Trigger

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.

Besides the excellent factory trigger, a high cut under the trigger guard on the Rapide allows for higher grip access to better manage recoil.

Besides the excellent factory trigger, a high cut under the trigger guard on the Rapide allows for higher grip access to better manage recoil.

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.

Ergonomics

The Rapide has slide ports top left and right

The Rapide, a full-sized M1911A1, has a trio of slide lightening cuts at the 3- 12- and 9-o’clock positions for faster lock time, as well as front and rear slide serrations and oversized surface controls to include an ambi thumb safety lever.

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.

Kimber Rapide Black Ice 10mm (5)

The extended magwell helps with magazine exchanges.

Kimber Rapide Black Ice 10mm (9)

The gun points and handles exceptionally well. In short, it just feels good in the hand.

We even found that a 12-year-old could handle the gun with no issues, even in full-power 10mm JHP loads.

We even found that a 12-year-old could handle the gun with no issues, even in full-power 10mm JHP loads.

Reliability

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.

Sig 10mm Auto Ammo

Our test ammo was 300-rounds of Sig Sauer 180-grain FMJ and 80 of Elite V-Crown 180-grain JHPs, used on a pistol right out of the box with no extra lube. We would have loved to run it with some cheaper and more diverse loads, but they were harder to find with the advent of the Great TP Ammo Horde of 2020.

Accuracy

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.

Kimber Rapide Black Ice 10mm (1)

The typical 25-yard three-shot string, off hand.

Final Thoughts

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.

Kimber Rapide Black Ice 10mm (4)

In the end, the Rapide Black Ice is both pretty, and pretty practical.

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