The Kimber Micro-9 series has a lot of options for compact 1911 handguns. From plain Jane to fancy Nancy, you can get all the works if you want to pay for it. Sometimes I like the plain Jane gun. Some of the great classics like the M1911 with its simple finish and wood U.S. grips has more meaning than a dolled-up version. But on some guns, more is better, if the price doesn’t bankrupt you. I have reviewed several of the Micro 380 and Micro 9 pistols from Kimber but none of them had as many upgrades as the Rapide series.
Kimber produces several series of compact 1911s and within that series, they offer several finishes to choose from. The one I am reviewing today has been dubbed “Dusk” by Kimber. It has just about every upgrade you could want on a 9mm compact handgun. From the finish, barrel, trigger, and sights, they left nothing out on this model. I have been carrying it for a while and I’ve taken it to the range multiple times. I found a few things I don’t like about the Micro-9 compacts in my past reviews and this model has them too. Let’s look at the fit and finish of the Rapide Dusk and then talk about the good and the bad.
Finish and Color
One thing Kimber is known for is the excellent finishes offered for their 1911 handguns. A Kimber 1911 can always be spotted by the unique finish and grip combination. They also offer a wide range of pistols with slide cutouts and serrations for an even more unique look. With the Rapide, they spared no expense and gave it a little bit of everything. The slide is a brushed stainless-steel slide with what Kimber calls a Black KimPro II finish across the top part of the slide. This gives the slide a cool look because the black top has just a little bit of a metallic sheen to it.
The frame is aluminum and finished in Black KimPro II so that it matches the top of the slide. This type of finish feels smooth, which helps it from scratching as much. Even though the top of the slide and frame have the same finish, they look just a little different because one is over stainless and one over aluminum. To me, this gives it even more of a unique look that makes it really stand out.
Slide and Barrel
The slide has serrations from front to back and cutouts near the front so you can see the barrel through the slide. This is starting to be a common trend with guns as the industry competes for the best-looking “out of the box” gun. This is fine with me because the guns I’m seeing now would have never been available as a standard purchase 10 years ago. The cutouts on the barrel are square with two small cutouts on each side of the slide and two on top. The serrations have the same black finish inside of them, making them stand out even more.
The barrel on this gun is what brings it all together. Constructed from stainless steel and Titanium Carbo-Nitride coated (TiCN), it is match-grade and finished in Rose Copper. I think I like it so much because it is different than the norm. The 3.15-inch barrel is match-grade and has a left-hand twist rate of 16. It almost looks like someone melted a bunch of pennies and crafted a barrel from them. I am curious to see how well the finish holds up over time, but with Kimber’s reputation, I’m guessing it will do just fine.
Sights, Grips, and Trigger
These sights are no different than the rest of the gun—quality at its best. They used Tru-Glo TFX Pro day/night sights which are among my favorite handgun sights. The sights are taller than standard sights and were designed to be snag-free. They are made from a Tritium and Fiber-Optic combo making them stand out in the daytime and glow in the dark. Just this upgrade alone will cost well over $100 for the front/back set.
The grips are black and grey G10 grips which is a common grip material. The design however is perfect for the Kimber Rapide and keeps up with that high-end look. One of the first things I think about when I buy a 1911 gun is what kind of grips could I get for this thing. But these grips are perfect. I’m not sure anything else would do it any justice.
The trigger was not left out when they made serrations on the rest of the gun. The are some blocky-looking serrations on the sides of the trigger that match the texturing on the grip. The front of the trigger has strain-line serrations so it’s not over-aggressive, but it does have enough texture to keep your finger from sliding off. The black trigger stands out against the black KimPro II finish which has just a little bit of a pewter tint to it. The hammer, magazine base, slide release, and sights are also black.
Thumb Safety Too Stiff
The 1911-style thumb safety is great to have on a micro-1911. It is helpful to those who have muscle memory from a full-size version. But one of the few complaints I have with the Kimber Rapide is that the safety on this thing is so stiff I can’t activate it without using both hands. Just to make sure I wasn’t going crazy, I handed it to several other people and asked them to flip the safety on once the hammer was in the “cocked” position. They couldn’t get it to budge.
I have reviewed other models in the micro-series before and noticed the same problem, but not as bad as this one. The safety is easy to flip off, which is the most important thing for carrying this gun. But still, they need to look into why they are so hard to activate. I suspect a slightly longer safety lever would help with this issue. While this is an annoying issue, it is not significant enough for me to dislike or not carry it.
Field Striping the Kimber Micro-9 Rapide
My second complaint with this version of a micro-1911 is that to remove the slide from the frame, the slide release must be removed. This is a common design where the slide release doubles as the slide stop holds the barrel in place. But most guns with this design can be easily pushed out without any tools. If I have a fingernail long enough to push in on the slide release I can get it out. Otherwise, I must use a pen or something else to push it out. Just a little more length to it would help a lot.
The barrel and slide remove like most other guns, but putting this one back together is also harder than most other handguns with this design. The guide rod spring is not compressed and held in place within the guide rod. This makes re-installing it a little harder because it must be compressed as you push the guide rod back in place. If you are familiar with field-stripping handguns, it is more annoying than anything else. For those who have never taken a gun apart, this is not a good one to learn with.
My Overall Thoughts on the Kimber Rapide Dusk 9mm
Overall, this is a great-looking gun that shoots smoothly and has plenty of upgrades. I fired several different types of 9mm ammo through it and had some trouble with the hollow point ammo that had side openings. This is not surprising however and fairly common with 1911-style pistols. With everything else, it functioned flawlessly. Hornady Critical Defense, Remington Ultimate Defense, and Winchester USA Ready all cycled without any problem.
There are a couple of things I wish could be improved, but I’m also getting a little nit-picky with those. For the price of this gun and the way it shoots, you can’t find a better custom-looking CCW gun. If you are a 1911 fan, this gun will not disappoint.