June 29, 2020
Just by looking at the Rapide 1911, you can tell it is built for speed. It has all the bells and whistles that a hot-rod 1911 needs for fast function, and its fit and finish are superb.
The Rapide’s slide runs on its rails like grease on glass, and there’s little to no discernible movement in it or in the barrel bushing fit or when I press down on the barrel hood with the pistol locked into battery. The pistol’s joint blending is way above par for a production gun.
The magazine release is nicely fitted, functions smoothly, and is blended perfectly on the backside. The oversize beveled magwell mates perfectly with the bottom edge of the G10 WavZ grip panels. The mainspring housing sits ever so slightly proud of the rear of the frame, intentionally so, as part of the grippy texture provided by the geometric machining of the part.
With the exception of the barrel, the entire pistol is done in matte black KimPro II finish, and it is flawless. The stainless-steel match-grade barrel wears a racy gold titanium-nitride (TiN) coating, which is a PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) application and creates an extremely hard film. In addition to providing corrosion and abrasion resistance, TiN is naturally lubricious and reduces barrel-slide-bushing friction, thus enhancing slide speed.
The cutouts in the slide also enable faster slide reciprocation by reducing weight, and a lighter slide absolutely does have an effect on how quickly the pistol chambers a fresh round. While the slide cutouts don’t reduce recoil or muzzle flip, they do make for a lighter carry weight.
Other nice touches include the skeletonized, lightweight aluminum trigger; the contrasting gray-and-black G10 WavZ grips; the bold geometric slide groove cuts; and the robust fiber-optic-endowed night sights.
Speaking of the sights, they are TRUGLO’s hermetically sealed TFX Pro Day/Night sights that feature contrasting fiber optics and tritium in the front sight for fast acquisition in all light situations. The generous fiber-optic-supported U-notch in the rear sight enables fast precision.
Kimber’s Stiplex TM frontstrap texture combined with the grabby texture of the grip panels and the mainspring housing provides a non-slip grip even when saturated with mud, gunk, or sweat. The radius of the beavertail grip safety is high and sleek, and the frontstrap is relieved at the juncture with the trigger guard. Together they enable the high grip to be incredibly effective at controlling muzzle jump.
The Rapide comes in two chamberings: .45 ACP and 10mm Auto. Hands down, those are my favorite chamberings for a Model 1911. My pistol is .45 ACP, and it came with one magazine.
Tested using my Lyman digital trigger gauge, the trigger pull averaged 5 pounds, 1 ounce over a series of five measurements, with less than 1 ounce of variation. And it was superbly crisp and clean with no creep or crunch and very little overtravel after release.
Fired from a sandbag benchrest at 25 yards, three, five-shot groups with each type of ammo I had on hand averaged 2.08 inches overall. Three of the five factory loads averaged less than 1.70 inches. No doubt the clean, crisp-breaking trigger and clearly defined sights contributed greatly to the excellent accuracy.
Conventional 1911 wisdom holds that a pistol is not properly broken in until about the 500-round mark and that malfunctions prior to that are often par for the course. The Rapide, however, hiccupped just once early on when a fresh cartridge popped up out of the magazine prematurely, not sliding up the breechface beneath the extractor as it’s supposed to. It hung up partway into the chamber.
Throughout the time I was researching, shooting, and photographing the Rapide for this article, I packed it in my Galco Gunleather custom alligator-hide concealable belt holster. The pistol carries beautifully, comes into the hand naturally, and points like an extension of my arm. It’s fast on target, fast to fire, and fast to reload.
Kimber Rapide Specs
- Type: Recoil-operated autoloader
- Caliber: .45 ACP
- Magazine Capacity: 8 rounds
- Barrel: 5.0 in.
- Overall Length: 8.70 in.
- Width: 1.28 in.
- Height: 5.25 in.
- Weight, Empty: 38 oz.
- Grips: G10 WavZ
- Finish: Black KimPro II
- Sights: TRUGLO TFX Pro tritium
- Trigger: 5.06-lb. pull (as tested)
- Safety: Ambidextrous thumb safety, beavertail grip safety
- MSRP: $1,490
- Manufacturer: Kimber, kimberamerica.com