Kimber Stainless Raptor II
A Custom Shop 1911 In 45 ACP Gun Review
By Dan S. Defense
The Kimber Raptor series comes to us from the Kimber
Custom Shop. The Kimber Raptor line is quite diverse.
Kimber Raptors come in three form factors, ranging from
the sub-compact Ultra Raptor, to the full size Grand
Raptor, and with different options, the current line has
seven different versions for you to choose from.
review we will focus on the full size, 45 ACP Kimber
Stainless Raptor II. We'll cover key data points, range
report, ammo selection and concealed carry report and
The Kimber Stainless Raptor II is a handsome firearm,
with a distinct look. From the flat top slide, with its
reptilian scales, to the matching wood grips-this is a
firearm that will stand out in any collection. The
Stainless Raptor II, as other Raptors, is entirely built
in the Kimber Custom Shop, by skilled gunsmiths and high
While not a full custom handgun, since
parts are made in a production line, it's still feel as
good as many custom guns, thanks to the attention and
hand fitting done at the Kimber Customer Shop. Because
it's built well, with a match grade barrel and match
grade trigger, this Kimber shoots as well as it looks,
but more on that later, when we describe how well the
Raptor II did at the range.
The Kimber Stainless Raptor II, as its name implies, it
made from stainless steel. Kimber than gave it a
distinct look, by first by giving the frame and slide a
brush polished finish, and then adding the distinct
reptilian scales, both on the slide top and the front
and rear serrations.
The latter is a point of contention
to some who think that front serrations are an
abomination, while others see it as a useful add-on
feature. I have guns with and without front serrations,
and I don't really mind their existence, or lack of. I
will say that on this handgun, the front scales fit very
nicely with the overall look and I think Kimber did a
fine job with the overall design. As an aside, if I'm
not mistaken, the first gunsmith to design the scale
look was Ed Brown, a well-known and respected master
gunsmith, but I couldn't swear to it, so it's a fact (or
assumption if you prefer) that you may opt to examine
The Kimber Stainless Raptor II isn't light or small.
Being made from stainless steel and quite a bit of it
too, it weighs a hefty 38 oz. when empty. Add a magazine
loaded with sell defense ammunition, and you end up with
a heavy self-defense handgun. Polymer gun users (e.g.
XD, Glock) will baulk at this weight, but as you'll see
later, what comes in as a disadvantage (for some) in the
carry category, comes in as a plus, when it comes to
shooting this pistol.
Additional relevant data points
include its overall lengths which comes to 8.7", a 5"
match grade barrel and typical 1911 slim width of 1.28".
The Raptor II comes with good, bright night sights and
handy sight radius of 6.8". From an accuracy or ease of
use perspective, keep in mind that more is better, when
it comes to sight radius. Finally, the Raptor II comes
with handsome wood grips, a full length guide rod and
16lb recoil spring.
Shooting the Kimber Stainless Raptor II is simply fun
and enjoyable. The full size 1911, with its sufficient
weight to dampen recoil, long sight radius, fine trigger
and high grip, makes shooting seem too easy. This
handgun is highly accurate, generating groups that put
most production guns to shame and doing so with ease. I
attribute this level of accuracy to the fine trigger and
As mentioned before, a heavier handgun
with a good trigger is far easier to shoot well than a
light handgun. The eight round magazine performed well.
It was easy to load all eight rounds and it fed each and
every round properly. The wood grip and front and rear
grip checkering allowed for a superb grip, which
remained firm even after my hands started perspiring.
The sights are clear and easy to see.
The Raptor shot to point of aim and the ambidextrous
safety locked and released with confidence. I'm
generally cautious when it comes to ambidextrous
safeties, because they can release during carry, but
with a good holster that problem is pretty much covered
and it allows easier weak side shooting.
loaded and ejected each and every round I fed it. From
range ammo made by non-US firms, to Winchester and
Remington range ammo to high end self-defense ammo from
Speer, Federal, Corbon and Winchester-the Kimber liked
them all and delivered them on target with superb
accuracy. If I was to sum up the range report with one
sentence, I'd say that this handsome handgun shoots as
well as it looks.
The Kimber Raptor II seems to be very generous with ammo
selection and I found no brand that needs to be avoided.
Still, there must be one or two that work better with
this specific handgun (more accurately, with the one I
have) and I'd say that the Federal HST 230gr, the
Winchester Ranger Bonded 230gr or if you refer something
lighter, the Wilson Combat Custom 185 gr ammo worked
better than the rest. That doesn't mean that I'd feel
anything but secure with Speer Gold Dot or Corbon DPX-it's
just that these cartridges worked a bit better.
Carrying this handgun properly, which means with decent
comfort and accessibility, requires a good holster and
even better belt. I use IWB holsters in summer and OWB
in winter. My favorite holster, belt combination comes
from "Haugen Handgun Leather", by Jerry Evans . I have
been using several of Jerry's holsters for many
different handguns and they are simply perfect. Another
favorite is "CrossBreed Holsters", which also offers a
good belt and holster combo. Jerry's work is very
pleasing to the eye, and the CrossBreed is pretty ugly,
but I trust both with my life.
In summary, the Kimber Stainless Raptor II is a strong
and handsome self-defense handgun. It offers quality,
reliability, accuracy and even good looks. If you intend
to carry the Raptor, be sure to get a good holster and a
great belt. If you are in the market for a classy, high
end but still affordable 1911, we strongly recommend you
give this fine firearm a close look.
Until next time, stay safe by staying alert!
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© Rational Self Defense, 2010