Kimber’s Micro9 Rapide 1911 Black Ice – Steaming Pile or Underpriced Wonder?

Kimber’s Micro 9 Rapide Black Ice shown with a Tops Knives Street Scalpel 2.

If you love America, 1911’s, and think plastic pistols should be melted into Tupperware, then the Kimber Micro 9 Rapide Black Ice just might be the EDC you’ve been dreaming of. It’s small, thin, light, smooth, and absolutely gorgeous.

In all seriousness though, in this review, I’m going to try to keep fluffy words to a minimum and give you hard facts with pictures to illustrate so read the captions as they are part of my review.

Kimber’s Micro9 Rapide Black Ice is essentially a miniature 1911. It’s very light but well-balanced. The frame is made from aluminum. The gun only weighs 15.6 ounces with an empty magazine. The aluminum frame is coated in a matt silver coating that Kimber calls Kim Pro 2 Silver.

The cuts on the frame are anything but plain. Check out all the cuts, and angles just on the trigger guard.

The texture on the front strap resembles a honeycomb pattern, gives texture and grip, and looks amazing.
The back strap has a stainless steel insert that is machined with lightening cutouts that match the slide and grip and give texture for grip. The beavertail is perfectly contoured to protect your hand from slide bite but still allows you to get high on the gun. NOTICE that unlike a traditional 1911, there is no grip safety. However, it features ambidextrous thumb safeties. You can see the right-side thumb safety pictured.
Shot of the left-handed thumb safety.

The trigger is also aluminum. Not only does it feature serrations down the trigger face but it also has cool-looking machined cutouts on the sides. The slide stop is stainless steel and matches the serrations on the tops of the thumb safety. The magazine release, like traditional 1911’s is set up for right-handed shooters only. The mag release is stainless and features a diamond shape texture.
The grips are black G10 that is machined with a pattern that is similar to the front strap with cutouts that match the slide. It feels great and has excellent texture for gripping the gun while shooting, but it isn’t overly aggressive to the point it will hurt your hand or eat your clothing. I think the black grips with the matte-colored coating on the frame and the brushed stainless all look amazing together.
Finally, at the bottom of the grip, there’s a flush-fitting magwell that ties everything together. Notice the machined lines on the sides and the funnel that makes reloading a single stack so much easier.

The magazines fit perfectly with the magwell and give the gun a perfect grip length. I have fairly large hands and there’s plenty of room for my pinky.

The Kimber Micro Rapide Black Ice comes with two magazines. The magazines hold 7 rounds for 7+1 in the gun. The mags feature witness holes and numbers to let you know at a glance how many rounds are in the mag. The magazine you can see pictured has two rounds in the magazine.
The slide is stainless steel and I think it looks exquisite. It features Tru-Glo TFX Pro Day Night Sights that have both fiber optic inserts and tritium. The sights are extremely bright during the day and glow at night. Literally the best of both worlds.
Here’s a closeup shot of the front sight and the top of the slide cutouts. Bright and easy to see is an understatement.

The rear sight is robust, dovetailed in, and features a flat front edge for hooking on clothing or a belt for emergency racking. Notice the rear slide serrations that look great and give excellent texture for racking the slide. Also, notice that the rear slide cutouts match the cutouts in the G10 grip and really tie things together.
I personally found the sight picture to be excellent for such a small little gun.
Both sights are a little more in focus here.

The front serrations and lightening cuts match the other cuts on the gun and grip. They’re both functional and pleasing to look at.

You can see the top cutouts, side cutouts, and serrations here.
The slide sits nearly flush with the end of the barrel. Obviously, the Kimber Micro9 doesn’t use a bushing but fits more like a bull barrel.

The hammer is skeletonized and has serrations on top.

I don’t find 1911’s difficult to break down because I’ve been doing it most of my life. However, traditional 1911’s and bull barrel 1911’s are much more difficult than say a Glock, SIG P320, or S&W M&P. This Kimber is almost as easy as the polymer wonder guns. It’s relatively easy to pop the slide release out. Once the slide release is out it comes apart just like the polymer wonder guns.
When you put it back together you must push down the ejector as you push the slide onto the frame.

Slide off but recoil assembly installed. The recoil spring is 11.5 pounds which surprised me a little. Usually, small guns have heavier recoil springs. The slide is relatively easy to rack.
The barrel is 3.15 inches long, match-grade, stainless steel, polished very smooth, and coated in DLC coating, The crown as you can see is very well machined.

If you hadn’t already figured out by now, the Kimber Micro9 Rapide Black Ice is chambered in 9mm. The barrel is a left hand 1-16 twist which should stabilize whatever you put in it.

The barrel is ramped and very smooth and polished.

Reliability

I didn’t have a single failure of any kind. I tested several different factory loads ranging from 115 to 147gr. The majority of the shooting I did was with my own handloads using RMR 124 gr bullets and I had no issues with those either.

The Kimber Black Ice ate everything I fed it.

What would I Change?

The trigger pull weight of 7lbs advertised by Kimber is surprisingly heavy. Mine was worse than that at an average of 8.5 lbs. The Kimber Black Ice is essentially a custom machined micro 9mm 1911 with a heavy trigger. 1911 triggers can be some of the best triggers in handguns. I understand that it’s meant to be carried concealed and that it has no grip safety but I still feel like 5lbs would have been a better number.

In its favor the trigger pull is crisp and relatively short and if I had to guess I would have guessed it at about 6lbs rather than the 8.5 that the trigger pull gauge registered. If I decide to purchase this gun I will have a gunsmith buddy work over the trigger.

Accuracy

The Black Ice is only limited by its heavy trigger when it comes to accuracy. I’ll be honest, I don’t shoot guns very often that have 8.5 lb triggers and I absolutely will admit that they are hard to shoot groups with. When I did my job the Black Ice stacked them in there. I don’t generally shoot small guns at 75 yards but this one had no problem putting round after round on the steel bcc target offhand.

BCC target at 75 yards was not difficult.
A typical offhand group at 15 yards with the Black Ice. The vertical stringing was all the shooter!

Kimber Black Ice ready for EDC

I own several custom 2011’s and 1911’s. If I were to get a machinist to build an aluminum-framed 1911 and put the cuts, serrations, and coatings that the Black Ice features, the bill would be somewhere between $2500 and $5000 depending on specific parts. Kimber’s MSRP for the Black Ice is $910 but the street price is less. Honestly, I think that the price is fantastic considering what you’re getting. Many of the polymer wonder guns that are a similar size are $600 or more and they aren’t even half as nice as this gun. If you demand better you should take a hard look at the Kimber Micro9 Rapide Black Ice.

Visit Kimber to Learn More about the Black Ice

Check out the Tops Knives Street Scalpel 2 featured in the photos.

Size Specs:
Height (inches) 4.07
Weight (ounces) with empty magazine: 15.6
Length (inches): 6.4Width (inches)

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About the author: True Pearce is the Managing Editor at GunsAmerica. He’s a competitive shooter, hunter, instructor & attorney. You can see and follow his adventures on Instagram. @true1911 https://www.instagram.com/true1911/

{ 24 comments… add one }
  • Max Hoyle August 6, 2021, 7:09 pm

    Speaking for myself my backside still hurts from my Solo trydon’t think I’ll go that way again!

  • Grumpy 49 August 6, 2021, 11:51 am

    Want a “semi 1911”??? Find a STAR BKM. Bought mine about ’83, a commercial model. STAR had both an all steel, and aluminum frame model. As a NATO approved/issued (Spanish Navy) pistol, appears that all of the issues the KIMBER has, was addressed by STAR to get their NATO approval. Sometimes it appears that designers ignore what had been done by others to put their mark on a new design, while others find that sometimes an “old” design (i.e. – Remington #8 safety versus AK47) is still a viable option. KIMBER should buy a BKM, and just make a clone.

  • Red August 6, 2021, 8:28 am

    Mark, I don’t want to be on either end of your 40mm pistol!. Yes we all know what you meant. Cheers!

  • JP Hamilton August 5, 2021, 10:29 am

    I’ll take my “combat Tupperware” any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I’m sure Kimber makes a fine weapon but I’ve carried Glocks my entire career and have absolute confidence in them at a fraction of the weight and cost.

  • OLTRAILRDR August 3, 2021, 12:06 am

    Bought a Micro 9 two years ago after shooting a single magazine from the one my son bought. True, it is not a mini-1911, but it FEELS like one! Mine shoots multiple bullet weights without any hick-ups. Six pound trigger pull. Put a box of ammo through it and you are good. Carry mine all the time in a pocket holster with one in the pipe, safety off, an hammer down. I practice drawing and thumbing the hammer. Shot a 1911 in the Marines for years. This pistol was like coming home. Love it. My son dumped his M&P after he got the Kimber…more accurate and smaller.

  • Jim Ezell August 2, 2021, 8:32 pm

    It doesn’t matter how nice the gun if you can’t find a dealer with one that can ship, or sell in West Kentucky!!

  • Beachhawk August 2, 2021, 8:21 pm

    That’s a beautiful pistol, but beauty is only skin deep. Kimber is famous for building beautiful guns with reliability issues. I would love to own this gun, but I’m not going to buy a pistol with an 8.5-pound trigger pull. Besides that, Kimber has built a beautiful sorta 1911 in 9mm with a 7+1 capacity when modern 9mm pistols have capacities of 10+1 or more. While Kimber was redefining the 1911, they would have done well to figure out how to get the round count up to at least 10+1 and spent a little more time improving the trigger. My Sig P365 is not as pretty, but it does hold at least 10+1, is smaller, and has a very good trigger. I would certainly consider buying a Black Ice should Kimber build one that brings the pistol into the 21st Century.

  • WALTER BRYANT August 2, 2021, 8:20 pm

    It looked like the pistol was dirty, at least to take photos.

  • Eric August 2, 2021, 6:08 pm

    Nice looking pistol but I think I’ll stick with my Hellcat 9mm with 14 rounds and half the price. Never had any issues with it in 2 years.

  • DrThunder88 August 2, 2021, 1:54 pm

    Y’all want to take a ride in my mini Ferrari? It’s made by Pontiac and called a “Fiero”.

    That’s what this article sounds like.

  • Zupglick August 2, 2021, 12:06 pm

    I’ll stick with my Bond Arms Bullpup 9. It isn’t a “1911”, but it also isn’t a “Tupperware” gun. It’s shorter than this Kimber with the same length barrel. I just have to stay away from cheap ammo and remember to load the magazine backwards.

  • Chuck Wright August 2, 2021, 12:00 pm

    Maybe Kimber has improved their machining. I bought a Kimber micro 9 in 2017 that took hundreds of rounds to break in before it would function reliably and then only with 147 grain ammunition. I like Kimber rifles but wary of their pistols.

  • Ron D. August 2, 2021, 11:59 am

    Having been bitten really badly by the Kimber Solo when they came out. I had to return them for “upgrade”, they wouldn’t eat everything (or anything), I finally sold both of them and lost a bundle. I don’t believe that Kimber can actually build a concealable 9mm gun. both Springfield and Sig have ergonomics and the accuracy that have eluded Kimber up until now. Maybe Kimber should buy one of each, reverse engineer them, and find out how to build one.

  • Edward Allen August 2, 2021, 11:49 am

    I have about 20 1911s. Two of which are Kimbers. I won’t buy another Kimber because they both have exhibited the same problem. They are the only 2 that I have that have had repeated failure to go into battery. My 1911s from Springfield Armory, Rock Island Armory and Sig Sauer have never had this issue.

    I even had a reliability and trigger job done on my Kimber Custom II. It did not resolve the failure to go into battery issue 100%. As a result, I’ll never trust it in a life or death event.

    Sure it’s pretty, but is it truly reliable?

    As for the Black Ice not being a true 1911. That is a true statement. It does NOT have all the features that a 1911 has.

    No GRIP safety,
    No straight pull trigger.
    No link pin
    Safety is not 1911 design.

  • Paul Zoba August 2, 2021, 10:49 am

    Yeah, this gun disappoints me. It’s just not a 1911. No grip safety and no 1911 trigger system. The trigger is arguably the best part of the 1911 and Kimber blew it by making a change.

  • Rick August 2, 2021, 10:30 am

    After 30+ years split between policing and the military jumping out of airplanes and fun filled all expenses paid adventure tours in foreign lands, I am bemused at those who are fixated on “too heavy a trigger”. There is indeed such a thing, but the primary weapon of the pointy end of America’s bayonet is the M16/M4 platform. Americans pull the triggers on those rifles when it means something tens of thousands more times than they do using either military sidearms or civilian sidearms.

    A trigger pull gauge will those who never served that most of America’s military service rifles have a trigger pull somewhere around the 8.5 lb. mark. That’s for a weapon that’s stabilized by being mounted to the shoulder with a cheek weld, not waving around in extended arms, while being fired while the other side is trying to kill you.

    If an 8.5 lb trigger pull on a shoulder mounted and stabilized weapon specifically intended for use while your life was at risk in battle was derogatory to the performance of troops in battle, at some point or other in the last 50, 60 ,70 years, you would think at least some NATO country would have figured it out even if America (apparently) hasn’t been able to. By now, somebody’s troops should be issued some Western manufactured assault rifle with a 4 – 5 lb trigger to get rid of the disadvantage of an 8.5 lb. trigger while engaged in battle. But for some odd reason or other, that hasn’t happened.

    8.5 lb. triggers are too heavy for citizen self defense on the streets, while at the same time our soldiers can’t deal with a better 5 lb. trigger on their rifles while fighting battles in places like Fallujah?

    Things that make you go “Hmmmm…. ” Kind of like all the arguments about why safeties on handguns are bad – but they’re just fine on military and police rifles, shotguns, etc.

    But yeah, 8.5 lb. trigger pulls are not very good for target practice and assorted other recreational gun games. But then, neither is the short little sight radius on a little sub-compact like this. It’s almost like some guns are specifically designed for a specific purpose… imagine that! Full disclosure: I do like a 5# trigger pull on my carry guns, but I also shoot them almost weekly. Other pistols I own have the dreaded awful 8.5 lb. trigger pull (despite the fact the trigger breaks cleanly) – and I wouldn’t lose a second of sleep if I ended up carrying one of those pistols instead.

    The trigger press and trigger break is much, much more important than what the trigger pull gauge tells you.

    I like the Micro 9s, having fired one a fair amount over two days with our booth situated next to Kimber at a local event. I will be buying one in the near future. But after the pictures in this review, I doubt it will be this one with all the angles and lightening cuts. It’s like they got the design ideas and angles from Battlestar Galactica. Their marketing department must have done their analysis and decided the design theme would be profitable. Those who choose this one over the other Micro 9s will obviously love and prefer this look.

    I don’t know how much weight this saves over the other Micro 9s, but it’s a fashion show fail on a self defense pistol specifically intended to never be seen unless in use. Like buying a $1000 suit jacket that’s going to be worn under a parka.

  • Thomas J Bedsole August 2, 2021, 9:47 am

    It appears that most of what the reviewer called “machined” are in all reality just injection molding features. Not something I will be looking to buy.

  • survivor50 August 2, 2021, 9:29 am

    Boy, if you want to stir up a HORNETS NEST… just start in on a 1911 !!!

    (Of which, I like ALL of mine !!! Even the diminutive Colt Government .380… a sweet Mouse Gun !)

    The only thing I thought people would get upset about on this Kimber was the dirty Barrel … I stand corrected…

  • Rick August 2, 2021, 8:09 am

    At least it has a normal recoil spring and guide, unlike the Ultra. Ugh.

  • Mike August 2, 2021, 8:07 am

    Why is Kimber still being manufactured in Yonkers, NY? Time to move to a free state.

    • John August 2, 2021, 2:57 pm

      They are now made in Troy Alabama

  • Texas August 2, 2021, 7:48 am

    How sweet. 9mm I’ll keep my Glock for my life depender. Fascination doesn’t do it for me. A lifetime of experience does. Never had a jam and punks don’t carry a few rounds.

  • Thoughtful August 2, 2021, 5:01 am

    This pistol is not a “ mini 1911”, although the exterior of the gun is designed to appear that way. Surprised reveiwer would say such a thing. A legitimate 1911’s phenomenal trigger is a result of the trigger and fire control system. That trigger moves straight back and levers the sear off of the hammer hooks. This pistol is actually a pivoting trigger evidenced by the pin seen in the frame above the trigger in pics provided. One of the reasons the trigger is really heavy. Additionally this pistol does not use a link to disengage the barrel from the slide during cycling. There are other significant differences between this pistol and a 1911. In summary, while this gun looks nice and is made to appear as though it is just a 1911 shrunken down, in fact, it is anything but. Thought the readers should know, for those that do not………..

  • Mark N. August 1, 2021, 9:18 pm

    I do not know why reviewers insist on calling these little guns “miniature 1911s.” They are not. They are Colt Mustangs, from what I understand originally a Star model. The trigger mechanism is not the same; it is on a pivot pin right above the trigger, not a straight press. As a result, the trigger pull is higher and longer. There is no grip safety. The manual safety is not the same, it does njot lock into the slide, but only blocks the firing pin. Sig builds these in .380 and 9mm, among other manufacturers (including Colt). Yes, it is a pretty pistol, but it is not a 1911.

    My Springfield EMP 9mm (also available in 40mm) IS a miniature 1911 except for the spring capture on the takedown mechanism (the worst part of a very sweet handling and shooting gun.)

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