Kimber K6 Revolver Review
by David Bott
This review is long over-due. The Kimber K-6s has been out for about 18 months or so by now. However, for the first 8 months, it was like a unicorn – you’ve heard of ‘em, but you never could find one. As a shooting instructor for Jackson Hole Shooting Experience, I was able to attend Industry Day at the 2016 SHOT Show. (Thank you, Lynn and Shepard for the great fun.) Kimber was there of course, and there was a bit of a line to shoot their first ever revolver. But as a wheel gunner from way back, I felt it was my duty, and thought it would be worth the wait.
It was! In full disclosure, though I have always liked the idea of a snub-nosed revolver, and have shot several; I’ve never been a fan of snub-nose revolvers. I’ve never been a fan of hammerless double-action only handguns of any configuration; at least until the striker fire pistols came down to my price range. I like the idea of pocketsize protection, but shooting them has just not been that much fun. If it is not fun to shoot them, you are likely not to train to shoot them. So this little guy had two strikes against it before I ever laid eyes on it. But being the open-minded sort that I am, …wait, I’m Lutheran… Anyway, I decided to give it a fair shake. If anybody could make me like a .357 magnum snubby; Kimber would likely have the best shot. (Yeah, pun intended.)
Having once shot another manufacturer’s .357 snubby, I had decided I never again needed to do that. It was offensive to every arthritic joint I had – kind of like a .454 Casull, only without the ego boost of just having shot a BFR. But, like I said, I’m the open-minded sort …and Lutheran.
Snub-nose revolvers have a minuscule sight radius. Nothing to be done about that. But the way Kimber seems to helps the shooter with the abbreviated sight radius is with a pronounced slot along the top strap drawing you eye to the front sight. Of course the proof is in the ringing of the steel when you aim and press the shot. The front sight is a pinned in place low serrated ramp with rounded corners so as not to hang on clothing or holster. It is broad enough to help your eye acquire it rapidly and it fills the notch on the rear sight. This helps reduce the temptation to push or pull the shot. The rear sight is a windage adjustable dovetailed piece with a serrated back ramp. The serrations on the sight surfaces nearly eliminate glare. These sights are obviously meant for intentional aiming – not merely a general suggestion to point and shoot, like some other sub-nose revolvers appear to be. They definitely beat having just a nick in the steel above your hand. And as I said, the sights draw your eye to your front sight, where it ought be focused. The front and rear sights are finished in a matte finish contrasting black color that stand out nicely against the stainless steel body.
The heft of the K-6s is substantial for a two-inch barreled six-shooter, yes, six. Of course experienced handgun shooters know to appreciate the respectable weight of a handgun when your pressing shots with magnum cartridges. But even the inexperienced handgunner will no doubt have an instant affinity for this revolver. The satin stainless finish with smoothed corners and edges make this gun easy on the hands. The rubber-ized grip has a texture that grips back giving the shooter a confident hold – very important with the magnum loads or even .38 +P.
The cylinder is smoothly sculptured with slab sides to diminish the profile, and no doubt shave a few tenths of an ounce or two from the overall weight. The fit and tolerances are tight, yet move freely when called upon to do so. Every edge and corner is smooth and graceful. Yes, I’m talking about a gun, and if you have held the K6s, even without pressing a shot, you know what I mean. This revolver is made to carry – draw smoothly, and re-holster with no snags or hang-ups. Its performance, like its finish, is flawless.
As much as I’m raving about this revolver’s sights and appearance, I have not yet begun to rave, because I haven’t yet mentioned the trigger. This is, in my opinion, what sets the Kimber K6s apart, and will have other revolver manufacturers chasing their engineering. This trigger is what other double-action only triggers want to be when they grow up! It has a consistent pull from start to finish. There are two discernible “clicks” in the trigger’s travel. The first is more audible that tactile and the second is more tactile that audible. The former is heard when the cylinder reaches about 50% of the rotation between chambers. The latter is felt at cylinder lockup. Roughly, a quarter of an inch more travel, and it goes bang. Those two events help the shooter feel the mechanisms of this precision machine operate. That translates into a predictability that aids the shooter in better governing their trigger pull and quickly gaining confidence as each shot breaks.
This year at SHOT Show Kimber reps told me that a variety of grip materials will be available (and probably now are). If there would be anything that did not wow me, it would be the muted blue/grey color of the grip. Not the feel of the grip (see above), just the color. It is not bad. It is different. But, I cannot think of a better color to put on it. If it were bluer it would be too blue. If it were greyer, it would look too much like the stainless steel. Nothing looks worse than trying to match and miss. And there’s not much worse than missing. The exotic wood grips or black poly, or …whatever other color would, in my opinion, contrast too starkly. So I dare not ding Kimber for something on which I cannot offer suggestions for improvement.
For wheel-gunners, the K6s is a treat. For conceal carry, the K6s is sleek and narrow (about an inch and a quarter – see www.kimberamerica.com for exact specs), albeit hefty. As far as the knock-down power of the .38, 38 +P, or .357 magnum; there is no question. There is plenty, and the K6s keeps you in control of the gun (given a decent grip). The drawbacks are limited the density of your wallet, or your credit score. The accessories (holsters, speed loaders, etc.) are available, but they are priced like everything else for Kimber. Some internet posts suggest using J-frame accessories, but warn that the fit will be a little tight, due to the six-round cylinder. The K6s is the only Kimber I own, and I am delighted to own it.
Rev. David Bott