new RAP 401 !


May 15, 2003, 11:25 AM
Republic Arms, South Africa, RAP 401
Action: DA/SA w/second strike capability; can also carry cocked/locked
Caliber: 9mm
Capacity: 8+1 (single-stack)

This is the first 9mm handgun I've owned.

Packaging: well done, healthy amount of grease throughout the firearm.

Initial Impression: looks alot like a Sig P239. heavy. small. this one will be easy to conceal.

Disassembly was downright easy. Glanced at the directions, and had it field stripped in a matter of seconds.

Appearances: built solid, and it shows. the slide is tight, the bluing even, the etching is well done.

All controls were easy to access one-handed, yet nothing was in the way.

Feed Ramp: looks like a true professional polishing job.

Grip: I liked the rough polymer grips that came on it. Family was all impressed with the Republic Arms logo, too.

actually, it was hard to get my family to stop fondling the damned thing. my mom doesn't even like guns. wife really liked the trigger, was easy for her to reach, except the DA trigger pull was very hard for her.

Initial Complaints: I hate it when "Read Instructions Before Handling" is etched into the metal. Not immediately obvious, but I know it's there.

After cleaning and militecing it, I took it to the NRA HQ range last night. Only had 100 rounds of Winchester, but that was enough seeing as I was shooting my 1911 last night too.

Sights: 3-dot whites. I like them.

Trigger: not the cleanest trigger I've ever handled, but still pretty good. DA is a long hard pull, but smooth enough that I shot just as well (but much slower) as SA.

Sight alignment is quick and natural.

Recoil was easy to control. Very easy. Guess the 32 oz of steel comes in handy.

DA groups and SA groups were probably 3" at 25', but I know there was a lot of shooter error in there.

Fast shooting at 25', was about 5". Target reacquisition after recoil was very fast and easy.

Shot about 2" low at 15', right on target at 25'. Again, this could be shooter error though. just was taking me a while to get used to a non-colt-commander handgun.

BTW, guy next to me let me shoot his Kimber ultra-carry. very nice. possibly easier to control than my colt commander.

oh, yeah, and the price?
Bought this one new through the internet for $250, to include shipping, handling, and 4 magazines total. FFL transfer $22.

Overall: I really really like it, and I felt myself get better without throughout the evening. It's solid and well built, attractive, fits my hands wonderfully, and sights/pointing were natural and quick.

Now, I just need to find myself a holster. Anyone here have a RAP 401 with holster? Where'd you get it? I'm currently thinking I'm going to try it in a Sig P239 holster.

Sorry, no pictures... no digital camera. has some nice pictures, though. It looks the same as that.

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May 15, 2003, 11:32 AM
Youve got a very very nice but not very well known gun. They are a South African made Astra 75 Clone....with a better safety and sights. The Astra mags will work if you can find them.

The safety I love...just like the Taurus PT series and HK...Cond 1, Decocker and hammer down safety...if you are that "safety minded" :rolleyes:

The machining is absolutely perfect inside and out...I compared a 440 (40 S&W version) to my K 40 Kahr's marks internally...the Kahr is one of the better made guns out there...mine was immaculate. The RAP was actually nicer on the it. :what:

Ive yet to shoot one....but Id love to get one. The only other temptations in the same price range are the Arcus 94 C compact (Hi Power clone), Star firestar and Daewoo D51c....which is absolutely tiny.

You got a good may hear a bunch of trivial hooplah about it on this board...then again you may not. From the people I know who own/shoot/carry them....they are a "BEST BUY"!

Well done...Shoot well

Tropical Z
May 15, 2003, 12:02 PM
I am thoroughly convinced that the RAP's are as fine a handgun as any ever built.I loved my first 440 sssoooo much i went out and bought a spare! They are extremely well made and ive NEVER seen a handgun that was machined better.You did great on the price with that many mags! I just use a generic "Uncle Mikes" holster and it works fine.YOU WILL LOVE YOUR RAP!

May 15, 2003, 12:44 PM
So where did you get it and how much did you pay? I have seen them on the auction sites a little bit but who is actually selling them? I would love a 401.

May 15, 2003, 01:00 PM
"The Astra mags will work if you can find them."

Century Arms ( has cratefuls. (Click Consumer Online Store.)

May 15, 2003, 01:10 PM
PCRCCW: yeah the worksmanship on the internals just blew me away!

Tropical Z: ah, so there IS a secret subculture of RAP fans! good to know :D thanks for the tip on the generic Uncle Mike's... may go down to Galyan's later and pick one up. also thinking of making an amateurish IWB leather holster - my friend's been dabbling in leather for sword sheaths and handles, and hopefully we may have a little project on our hands :cool:

Todd: e-mail me and I'll give you the contact info.

hksw: wow that's alot of em. good to know.

May 15, 2003, 01:20 PM
and maybe post the contact info.


May 15, 2003, 03:56 PM
Great gun. I almost got one yourself a favor and put a drop of superglue on the dots of the sights. They tend to fall out......

May 15, 2003, 04:13 PM

May 15, 2003, 04:14 PM
Here's the .40 cal review by our friends that themic referenced, with photos:

May 15, 2003, 05:18 PM
Thanks for posting the pic, arinvolvo

I took a couple of shots on film, but I go out of town for a while and won't be able to develop them for a while

flashbackk: thanks for the tip bout the superglue

if you want to e-mail me I'll give you the contact info
but i'm currently asking the dealer for permission to post his e-mail address on this forum... seemed like the polite thing to do

... went to a leather shop today, and got some supplpies. gonna try to make my own iwb holster! it'll probably be ugly, but it'll be MINE :D

May 15, 2003, 06:17 PM
someone asked me about thickness, so i thought i'd post this link up

the firing line that has pictures comparing it to a Kahr:

Old firing line thread on the RAP (

the comparison pics are linked about halfway down the page

don't have measurements on me, but it's pretty thin, cause it's a single stack. the slide is about 1", possibly less. and the grips do flare out a bit from there

but anyways these pictures are probably better than anything I could describe

May 15, 2003, 08:25 PM
The RAP 401 is seeing limited use by the S. African Police Service.
A pistol intended for Females and Detectives.

Some people really like them, some hate them with a passion.

The major complaint by everyone it seems. That the gun is too
heavy. As heavy as a Z88 but only holds 8 rounds.

Maybe a better choice for the money is a Tresitu TZ99??

May 15, 2003, 08:52 PM

Shawn Thayer

he also sells them on auction arms for $209
or you can talk to him directly (my recommendation)

it comes with 2 mags, and $12.50 for each additional mag

May 15, 2003, 08:54 PM
my little brother just got a 401 to go with his 440 ... he swears by the little guns (he lives almost 1000 miles away so I haven't seen them in person yet).

I'd say the RAPs are one of the absolute best deals in handguns right now (if you can find one).

D.W. Drang
May 16, 2003, 01:50 AM
:what: Man, I thought someone had introduced Rocket Assisted Projectiles for pistolas... :evil:

May 16, 2003, 11:47 AM
I have recently acquired a 401 and absolutely love my 440.

In all the talk and reviews I have found on these rather obscure firearms, the primary downfall of the RAP seems to be weight. They are just a tad too heavy for the discerning CCW carriers out there.

But that is them. For me, the RAP 440 and the 401 are my 2nd and 3rd handguns respectively. My first being a Mauser M2.

With these three firearms as my only basis for reference (with the exception of a single visit to the range with my brother's MK40 E98)
I would have to say I welcome the slight increase in weight. I look at it like running with weights on your ankles.
If my primary CCW is on the heavy side of all the others, then I should be fairly comfortable with any future additions.

I'm no expert on firearms, far from it, however the people at RAP know what they are doing. And put out as fine a quality of product as Sig or Glock.
Now keep in mind I state that only on appearence and quality of construction. I have no idea how its firing characteristis compare to said competitors. The simple fact is you can purchase a RAP for half to a third of the price of the others.

I own the only handgun I'll ever need to own. Now the rest of the collection will be for fun. That's how happy and content the RAP has made me.
(of course you all know that once I ACTUALLY have the opportunity to fire many of my "dream guns" I reserve the right to alter my opinion :) )
just my 2cents

May 16, 2003, 11:59 AM
I know where opks is. Did you pick up your RAP locally and do they have more? Would you tell me what you paid?

Oh Yeah, Welcome to The High Road, the best site on the net.


May 16, 2003, 05:24 PM
I purchased both of mine off of individuals via Gunbroker
with shipping and $25 FFL transfer fee both of them averaged $250 but actual purchase price of them were $220 for the 440 with 2 holsters and 3 mags $206 for the 401 never fired 1mag.

Thanks for the welcome.. I am however an old TFLer, just haven't been on forums in general lately.

I think they can be bought in the $200-300 range as long as you find one for sale.

May 17, 2003, 12:28 PM
Anyone know if you can get breakable/expendable repair parts (like extractor, ejector) ?

May 17, 2003, 11:59 PM
Can someone post the dimensions of the RAP401? Thanks, JR

May 18, 2003, 12:13 AM
Convinced me, I emailed Shawn for information on getting one. Looks like a whale of a deal. :D

May 19, 2003, 01:45 PM

I hope my old Firing Line thread was an influence in your getting a RAP. Mine has been great! I still think RAPs are the biggest bargain out there! Have a good time with yours.

BTW, mine came from Shawn as well, (new for $199 at the time.)


May 19, 2003, 06:23 PM
I haven't had a chance to play with one, but I really support the basic design. This is a safer design for general carry duties than a Kahr or Glock.

The Rap is also an excellent pistol for the single pistol owner. What you lose in weight, you gain in durability. The weapon is tough, safe and simple. It would be a good deal at twice the price.

The only redesign I would favor is a companion full size and a lighter weight version, but still in steel.

Instead of spending money on roughly made Keltecs or pricey Kahrs, here's value in a new, in production modern pistol.

May 20, 2003, 01:18 PM

actually, your article was very helpful in convincing me to get one. The pictures comapring it to a Kahr were great, since I'd fired a Kahr before. I also loved the review on

May 21, 2003, 02:21 AM
I want one! I am a sucker for 9mms, inexpensive guns, good deals, odd ball guns, and guns from other parts of the world. My gun collection is begining to look like a I am trying to get a gun from every nation on earth, I have some guns that were made in countries that don't even exist anymore.

I had a chance to pick one up dirt cheap online but for some reason I was under the impression that they were a lot bigger than they are.

May 23, 2003, 03:40 AM
Themic...I know you have already posted quite a few pics of this gun...but could I bother you to take a pic of it next to a ruler, and perhaps a different pistol like commander sized 1911....or a beretta 92 would be nice...I am still having a rough time getting a handle on the size of this pistol.

Thanks in advance, and if you cant manage it, no worries.

May 23, 2003, 10:01 AM

If you click the Old Firing Line Thread ( that themic posted earlier you can see a RAP 401 compared to a Kahr K-40. Plus the guns are pictured on 1/4" grid graph paper.

I'd repost the pictures on this thread but I'm working :rolleyes: and don't have them on this computer.


May 31, 2004, 09:01 AM
Mine is on the way and should be here next week! Cannot wait. Here's a pic the FORMER owner sent me.


May 31, 2004, 10:21 AM
This is a safer design for general carry duties than a Kahr or Glock

Unless these RAP guns have also passed the CA and MA "drop tests" as Kahr and Glock have, you are speculating wildly.

Cocked'N'Locked vs. DA/SA vs. DAO safety is not a design issue but an operator issue.



After looking at the photos at TFL, I'd say its about the size of the CZ RAMI -- the kind of guns I really like. I'll have to keep an eye out for one.

May 31, 2004, 08:55 PM
After looking at the photos at TFL, I'd say its about the size of the CZ RAMI
Maybe in height and length ... but in thickness the RAP is going to be much thinner then the CZ (unless the RAMI is a lot thinner then a CZ75).

I'll have one in my possession soon ... my brother is buying my Porsche 914 and part of the deal is a RAP 401 (hate to sell the car, but need money ... my dog just had knee surgery :rolleyes: ... at least I get a little toy out of the deal ).

I've shot this particular RAP and I found it to be pretty accurate ... accurate enough to make a small bucket dance all over the place at about 25 yards (and that's plenty accurate for a SD/plinking gun).

May 31, 2004, 09:19 PM
I think the CZ RAMI is 1-1/8" wide at its widest -- where the safetysticks out of the frame.

Hard to beat a Kahr for overall thin and consistant width.


May 31, 2004, 10:14 PM
i will agree there...i sold my RAP, and now own a Kahr.

however, i still wish i would have kept the RAP.

June 1, 2004, 11:06 AM
arinvolvo, I once sold a Kahr I wish I still had ... yet another reason to never sell a gun :(

June 4, 2004, 09:44 PM
It looks beautiful! The CZ52 I ordered from AIM also arrived today. Here's a pic of the two - they will get a bath and a visit to the range tomorrow!


June 4, 2004, 10:39 PM
In case anyone`s interested a dealer near me (SE Pa.) has an Astra A-75L (lightweight/alloy frame!) 9mm,used in nice shape for $225. Here`s a link. Nice little gun,the RAP is just like it except the RAP can be carried C&L,the Astras are decock only. I used to have an A-75 .40 which I liked pretty much but this A-75L is MUCH lighter. Marcus

June 5, 2004, 06:28 PM
All I can say is everything I've ever heard positive about the RAP401 proved to be true for mine. Not even a hint of a hiccup with S&B; it's all I brought with me and put 200 rounds through it as fast as I could fill the mags. Three full mags at RAPID fire and it didn't even flinch - neither did I because of the very low recoil and the way the gun fit in my hand.

Despite the 8 round capacity and the fact that it's a tad heavy, I might carry this gun sometimes in the cold weather instead of my Glock26, just because. It's thinner than my Glock and if it doesn't prove to be too heavy, why not? I have a Kydex holster for my Glock and the RAP fits right in; it isn't snug but maybe I can tighten the hex screws...

It's a Saturday and the range was crowded so I was limited to shooting at 25 yards. It could be shooter/new gun error but it wasn't close to my Glocks accuracy at that range. However, I don't plan on shooting IDPA with it and will be interested in going back to see what it will do at 7 yards and under. If my range is crowded tomorrow I may go to an indoor range.

It's a RAP thread but my first ever CZ52 also proved to be everything I've seen on these boards. The decocker worked safely and the gun fired about 150 rounds without a hint of trouble. Again, 3 mags went downrange as fast as I could pull the trigger. I'll add a new firing pin and rollers just in case and a new set of walnut grips should make it look really great since the barrel is primo.

Again, I was limited to 25 yards but the gun seemed to have respectable accuracy. There was a plastic detergent bottle on a sting from the target crossbar and I hit that pretty easily. The 50 yard Shoot N See target was another story. I was mostly 2-3 inches out of the black area and had maybe 5 shots out of 40 in the 8 - 10 score.

What a great day to be a gun owner! Both guns are keepers!


June 6, 2004, 07:10 PM
Are there any importers bringing these in anymore? I really would like to have one.

June 6, 2004, 09:50 PM
I don't know about the state specific drop tests, but the RAP series are among the only small imports to have passed the NIJ requirements.

I love my 440, as much as I did when working on the article for CRUFFLER.COM - if I can answer any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

By the way - Astra 75 mags may or may not fit. I have several Astra mags for mine, and I wasn't happy with the fit.

However, what I suggest to everyone who buys a RAP is to write to the factory in South Africa. They will sell you mags at a very good price, as well as spare parts - the exchange rate on the South African Rand is very much in your favor.

FIST makes an excellent belt slide holster for the RAP/Astra 75.

You have a wonderful gun that is every bit as good as anything Glock, or for that matter, SIG or Beretta puts out at a fraction of the cost.

Congratulations and safe shooting!

November 8, 2004, 09:17 AM
I'll be getting my 401 in about 2 weeks, and was wondering what do you guys use for a holster. I'm looking for a high ride paddle if at all possible.

November 8, 2004, 11:44 AM
Now here's an old thread come back from the dead :neener:

Since this thread originally aired, I have come into possession of Veloce851's RAP 401 (took it in partial payment for a car I sold him ... yes, I regret selling the car too ... now I have both a Kahr and a car I regret selling ... sorry for the punnage). Great little piece, only problem is I only have 1 mag (and its a bad one ... gun doublefeeds occasionaly). I know this particular gun is more reliable with other magazines so whenever I get around to it, I'll have to pick up some more mags.

Anyway, there are many holster makers who make holsters for the Astra A75, so any of those would work. I also suspect that a holster for a Kahr K9 would also work fine.

November 8, 2004, 06:59 PM
the pancake holster from uncle mikes that fits the P239 also fits the rap perfectly.

i had one and sold it along with the gun....

cant remember the size. None of the leather i tried ever fit right.

December 12, 2004, 10:30 AM
I reccomend the DeSantis Tuck This!
I purchased the one for a Kahr MK40 and it fits the RAP440 and 401 perfectly... with one slight downfall being...depending on what angle you set the belt hook at.. it can sit right over the mag release.. and when you lean back on it you can actuate the mag release. This was solved when I played with the angle and found one I liked better that didn't place the hook over the mag release.

But overall very nice construction and an excellent priced IWB MOB holster.

December 13, 2004, 02:08 PM
wow this thread came back from the dead!

For range use, I use an Uncle Mike's holster, like arinvolvo said, the one designed for the sig 239.

I also made a leather one. It's not hard. get some vegetable tanned leather, soak it in water, wrap the gun in saran wrap, and clip/tie/secure the leather around the gun until it dries. take gun out, get the biggest meanest sewing needle you can find, and saddlestich along the edges.

I find it very very difficult to have great accuracy at 25 yards with this gun. although heavy, it has a heavy trigger pull, and a measly 3 1/4" barrel and the consequential short short sight radius. I'll shoot a man sized target at 15 yards, sure, but at 25 yards i'm praying a little more than i'm aiming. it's fun as heck to shoot, though, and I'll never have to worry about a failure. it's as reliable as a rock. heavy as a rock, too.

I polished up some of the trigger contact points, which smoothed the trigger a little bit; but it's still a hard pull, though.

for fun, i like to put a hundred rounds of wolf through it to smoke/stink up the range (when no one's there but me). :D

December 13, 2004, 07:29 PM
"Anyone know if you can get breakable/expendable repair parts (like extractor, ejector) ?"

There in lies the rub. As far as I know, there are NO parts available for this gun in the States. If it breaks, you are SOL in a big way. You will have to have someone custom make you the parts and that could cost as much as the gun. There is a reason these are so cheap. No warrenty, no parts and really no proven track record. Buyer beware as this is not a Glock or a SIG.

I bought mine from Crazycane sports (or whatever) and when the trigger spring broke, I called him to ask for the part as he told me that as far as he knew, there are none. He said I could send it back for a refund but I never did. I ended up dumping at a huge loss at a gunshow. I told the dealer the story so he didn't give me much in trade but I got a S&W 642 out of it after paying a few hundred extra. The 642 never has any problems of any sort and it probably never will. Can't beat a snubbie!

Good luck, I hope you don't have any problems but I felt it was the right thing to do to give a fair warning.

December 13, 2004, 10:26 PM
Being a copy of the Astra A-75, I've a feeling those parts will work. I know the Astra rear sight works. As to other parts, well, I bought two from Crayzcane. One was missing the rear sight (which in turn meant it is also missing the firing pin block and spring) and had a buggered-up trigger bar. I got the sight from CDNN, a Mecgar adjustable for the A-75, and it fits. I've ordered Astra parts from EAA and expect them soon. I'll report if the parts work.


March 2, 2005, 09:34 PM
I love this gun. The machining is perfect, the weight is slightly overbearing but I'll live. I'm using it in a owb galco made for a Colt Defender which provides a perfect fit (not to mention its my first leather holster). Can't wait to take it to the range this weekend. Is there anything this pistol doesn't like firing FMJ/JHP wise? What does everyone carry in theirs?


March 3, 2005, 11:56 AM
I had one but it broke on me and I couldn't get parts anywhere. I won't carry a gun that I can't get parts for.

March 3, 2005, 12:02 PM
would someone please explain to me what a new RAP 401 ! is?


Dave Ginn

March 3, 2005, 04:56 PM
Albanian, you can get parts from EAA for the Astra A-75. They fit exactly. The only parts you could not get would be the safety lever and spring. But, the spring on the safety lever is real common. Everything else, the barrel, the trigger, the sear, the firing pin stop, the various pins and such all fit.

And, this is what an RAP is, in this case, the .40 version which I have.


March 3, 2005, 05:42 PM
looks pretty cool for 300 , Are they any good?
Dave Ginn

March 3, 2005, 07:21 PM
Very good with a superb double-action trigger and three position safety.


March 6, 2005, 03:08 PM
The Good:

Talk about manageable recoil :D. The gun is way more accurate than I could ever be. Fed everything I put through it with no problem. Had 1 FTF pulled the trigger and it went bang (I don't think it reset on that ocasion). Shot good groups (well for me it is).

The Bad:

Well I get a slight pain in the top of my buttock from the muzzle of the holster pressing on it (4:30 position)

The Ugly:

3rd mag in the right-rear site broke off, the left rear on is still there. Funny thing is I did better with only the 2 :scrutiny: Any idea of replacements that could be fitted in? Or should I just try to super glue it back in?

The Insult:

Oh yea by the 150th round, the white dots came flying out at me. I mean I already was having a bad day (dropped toothbrush in toilet, 3 range buddies cancelled on me, the mag catch on my taurus still wasn't repaired and its been 5 months, g/f got pissed just because I said her phone was breaking up)

Even if I can't fix it, I love this gun only thing I need now is a couple more mags

I'll see if I can post my carry rig, and gun pics today or tomorrow

March 6, 2005, 03:17 PM
the sights falling out of the rap has been discussed in great depth.

Fill the holes almost all the way with some epoxy, then paint them a bright color with some paint.

here are mine.

March 6, 2005, 05:48 PM
now do you know how I can "glue" the right rear sight back on the gun?


March 8, 2005, 12:21 AM
I think I do a good job hiding the lil' booger........

Link To Photo Album (

March 8, 2005, 10:22 AM
Get a replacement sight for the Astra A-75 from EAA. They have the part and it is available. IF you want to save some money, you can get an adjustable sight that fits from CDNN for something like $10. They install well, but make it less easy to thumb-cock as they stick back a bit.


March 8, 2005, 11:28 AM
So, where does one find a RAP-440?

March 8, 2005, 11:52 AM
Just keep an eye out. I bought my two on Gunbroker two months ago. I traded one for a Tranter revolver (best deal I have ever done in my life, trade a $250 auto for a $1,000 revolver). I am keeping the other until the end of time.


August 8, 2008, 12:05 PM
I just received a R.A.P. 440 through Auction Arms I had in the past owned a Astra A-75 in .40 caliber, and had been looking for quite a while.
The lips on the magazines needed tuning, the ramp needed work, and the extractor had to be relieved for consistent feeding. now it is as reliable as my old Astra!

August 9, 2008, 12:50 AM

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