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[Review] Kimber K6s: Worth It

Face it: revolvers are one of the most unappreciated platforms in the gun world.

A lot of gun owners see them as antiquated and not worth the time, and they’re missing out.

Revolvers have a place in your gun safe and even in your holster–yes, you can carry a revolver–and we should all have at least one in our collections.

In the world of concealed carry, that means the gun in question needs to be reliable and concealable. That’s where the Kimber K6s comes in and this is why we think you should have one.

900
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Table of Contents

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Historical (Not a) Deep Dive

No, this isn’t a deep dive into revolver history.

It’s more like a quick topical look to make sure we’re all on the same page. Bear with me because we’re going to talk about not-a-Kimber guns for a minute.

Revolvers were less an overnight invention and more the result of decades–centuries, even–of advancements. But if you had to point to a single moment in gun history that did a lot for revolvers it would be the 1830s when Samuel Colt got involved.

There was already a flintlock revolver at the time, one created by Artemis Wheeler and Elisha Collier, but it wasn’t a revolver like you’re thinking. That flintlock revolver was self-priming but not self-rotating.

Flintlock revolver
Flintlock revolver

Samuel Colt had time to get a good look at it during his time traveling by ship to India and England and somehow he figured out how to make it a lot better. It was February 25, 1836, when Colt’s US patent US138/9430X was finally granted, giving us the Colt Paterson, the early version of today’s revolvers.

Colt Paterson revolver
Colt Paterson revolver

The Colt Paterson was a big leap forward mostly because the cylinder was indeed self-rotating. Sure, capacity was limited, but the ability to keep firing after the first shot without reloading was a big deal.

For one thing, it meant settlers and soldiers could defend their lives a lot more effectively than before, and for another it meant the gun world at large was moving into the semi-auto realm. 

Of course, it wasn’t all guns and roses for Colt. Thanks to the Militia Act of 1806 he was unable to sell his revolvers directly to militias–try to remember militias back then were different and way more common than what we have today–and then-President Van Buren’s 1837 economic crash he just wasn’t selling enough guns to get ahead.

It ended up being wars that helped Colt; the Second Seminole War and the Mexican-American War happened and required revolvers. Plus, Texas Ranger Samuel Walker placed an order for 1,000 guns to be used fighting Santa Anna when he refused to admit Texas wasn’t part of Mexico (and hadn’t been in a good decade). That’s how we got the Colt Walker, an enforced-chamber, 44-caliber revolver. 

Captain Samuel Walker of the Texas Rangers
Captain Samuel Walker of the Texas Rangers

Moving on. Decades of changes and improvements may have taken place but revolvers remain a solid, basic platform.

Cock the hammer and press the trigger and the spring propels the hammer forward to strike the firing pin (the exception being guns with integral firing pins in the hammer, meaning the hammer moves forward and its integral firing pin strikes the primer).

john wayne grit
So easy, you can do it one-handed.

Can revolvers fail? Absolutely, it’s just less common than in other platforms. Having an uber-reliable handgun should be enough on its own to convince you to wade into the revolver pool. Just saying.

Kimber K6s Specs

The Kimber K6s DASA is what the company calls the “next evolution” of their revolver line.

If you’re familiar with the original K6s you know it’s a double-action; the K6s keeps the nicely-delivered double-action option while adding in the ability to run the gun single-action.

It’s a win-win situation.

Its three-inch stainless steel barrel with a brushed finish does make this gun a snubby, making it extremely well-suited for use as a carry gun (or backup gun). The K6s DASA is chambered in .357 Magnum so you can run it with those rounds or with the softer-shooting .38 Special.

The gun’s frame is also stainless steel with a brushed finish; the use of steel throughout makes this a more solid gun, a good thing for .357 Magnum. It weighs 25.1 ounces empty.

Other numbers you’re probably at least a little curious about…

The gun has a height of 5.0 inches, length of 7.62 inches, and width of 1.39 inches.

It has a six-round capacity. Features include white three-dot sights, walnut grips with diamond checkering, and the aforementioned DA/SA trigger.

Kimber lists the gun’s trigger as being set within an approximate range so I measured the trigger pull with my Lyman Digital Trigger Gauge. Double-action my K6s DASA has a measured trigger pull weight of 10 pounds, 2 ounces; single-action the gun has a measured trigger pull weight of 3 pounds, 4 ounces.

Range Time

Yes, this is a revolver so it probably comes as no surprise to you guys that it’s eaten all the ammo I’ve thrown at it.

So far I’ve run half a dozen loads through it including Hornady Critical Defense .38 Special 110 grain FTX, Hornady .357 Magnum 158 grain XTP, and Inceptor Preferred Defense .38 Special 77 grain ARX.

As expected there’s more felt recoil and muzzle rise with the .357 Magnum and the frangible Inceptor rounds have the least felt recoil of any load. 

So here’s my problem with a lot of smaller revolvers: grip.

You have to be able to get a good grip on any gun to shoot it well and many snubbies–I would dare to say most snubbies–just don’t let you get one.

Kimber describes the grips of the K6s as “three-finger” grips and it’s accurate, at least for my hands. Try though you may the pinkie of your support hand is going do dangle and, in fact, even your strong-side hand might not quite fit. It all depends on your hand size.

That said, the checkering and width does give you a firm grip on the gun (and it’s comfortable, too). Personally, I like the fact that it doesn’t have finger grooves since those very rarely work with my hands. 

This has been a relatively accurate little gun.

It isn’t meant for longer shots so I’ve stuck to under ten yards. Shooting from the bench at seven yards, five-shot groups are consistently under two inches whether .357 Magnum or .38 Special.

Move back to ten yards and you’re looking at closer to three and three-and-a-half inch groups. Of course, no one sits at a bench and sandbags their gun while trying to defend their lives.

Offhand you can still get groups close to two and two-and-half inches without trouble. The sticking point is going to be whether or not you can run that double-action trigger smoothly. If you’re thinking hey, I’m not going to bother running double-action, pump the brakes.

You need to learn to run a double-action trigger.

As factory triggers go the trigger on the K6s is excellent. It’s smooth, consistent, and has a clean, crisp break. Single-action it’s ridiculously easy; double-action it is one of the better out-of-the-box pulls I’ve experienced. No complaints.

Kimber really did nicely designing this gun for concealed carry. It doesn’t have sharp edges; the frame and barrel are beveled and smooth to drastically reduce snagging and cut down on printing, too.

The smoothness of the gun’s frame also improves draw stroke and makes re-holstering slicker as well. Checkering on the cylinder release and hammer makes manipulating them easier, especially if your hands are wet or sweaty (and they’re going to be if you’re using this for self-defense).

A word on recoil: yes, .357 Magnum produces enough muzzle rise and felt recoil to be… let’s go with unpleasant.

noisy cricket
An apt comparison.

It does deliver far more energy than .38 Special so it’s worth finding out if you’re cool with it. Nothing wrong with using .38 Special, though. There’s +P .38 Special to consider, too.

Don’t dismiss the use of .357 Magnum outright, though. Spend time shooting it, get used to it, and try more than one brand of ammo. You might find one that’s accurate and workable for you offhand at close range.

By the Numbers

Reliability: 5/5

It’s a revolver. Sure they can fail but this one hasn’t yet. It’s reliable.

Ergonomics: 3/5

This has both good and bad ergonomics. The grip is large enough to facilitate a good grip but small enough for dangling pinkies which I see as a bit of a bummer. Dangling pinkies never bode well for accuracy. On the other hand it’s a snubby so it is meant to have shorter grips and to be smaller in general, so can you really complain? It is comfortable, so there’s that. Trigger reach is a tiny bit short for me but again, this is a small gun. It is what it is.

Accuracy: 4/5

I’ll go with 4 out of 5 for accuracy because it is accurate at closer distances and that’s what it is designed to do. It gets the job done with no problem whatsoever. If you rapid-fire your groups broaden quite a bit; if you rapid-fire .357 Magnum you’re looking at dinner-plate-sized groups or worse. Take the time to aim. Always.

Customization: 3/5

Options to customize this gun are really limited to swapping out the grips and sights. I would prefer night sights, personally. Yeah you could start messing with the trigger and hammer but I wouldn’t. No reason to do it.

Value: 4/5

For the most part the K6s DASA does outperform its $970 MSRP. Even so it is a steep price for a gun that’s likely going to be used as a BUG (or only at the range). I’m torn on this one because it is a pretty good value but it’s also on the higher end of the spectrum for this specific type of gun.

Overall: 5/5

Conclusion

Kimber did an awesome job with this revolver. Aesthetically it’s appealing and eye-catching. The controls are easy to manipulate, the trigger is beautifully smooth, and the gun feels good in my hands. The biggest downside is the need for speedloaders because they are not easy to find.

Speed strips are okay but not ideal.

Here we come back around to the reason many gun owners dislike revolvers: capacity. I’d use the K6s DASA as my BUG but not as my main carry, not as a general rule, anyway. I fully admit I prefer having more rounds at my disposal from the jump.

Still, this is a great revolver. I totally recommend it, especially if you want just one good revolver in your possession. There are a lot of revolvers out there not worth the expense but this isn’t one of them. It outperforms its price point and delivers for concealed carry. DeSantis has some nice holsters for it.

48
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Want a sleek revolver that’s made surprisingly well? Then you’ll probably love the Kimber K6s DASA. 

900
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Have you tried out the Kimber K6? Do you want to? Let us know what you think about this little revolver in the comments below! While you’re here, check out the Best CCW Revolvers or move to the semi side with Best Concealed Carry Handguns.

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7 Leave a Reply

  • Doug Montgomery

    I have the k6s Dao and just recently purchased the k6s data. They are super quality guns, relatively light and the reason I carry is because of the reliability. I carry a Dan Wesson vigil but it is just big enough to be difficult to carry in some scenarios. The kimber is as accurate as the shooter in my opinion. Most of my shooting is 3-7 yards and it does everything I could ask for. I read alot about capacity but I believe that if I need more than the six rounds and the 6 rounds in my speed strip I probably am in the wrong place.. recoil is not an issue for me with full power .357 and if you think it is too much shoot .38+p

    July 4, 2021 6:46 pm
  • Hector

    I own the K6s in 2" and it is absolutely beautiful. All the edges have been rounded for concealed carry. Set it down next to an SP101 and the attention to detail becomes apparent. The trigger is by far the smoothest in its class. My 686 was butter smooth but the smaller Smiths don't even come close. Kimber even fixed an extractor issue out of warranty then went the extra mile and replaced the old grips and buffed out little scratches from the fantastic finish. Ignore the naysayers and traditionalist and pick up this American made pocket cannon. Was someone really complaining about having a 6th round? I guess you can't please everyone.

    April 16, 2021 12:45 pm
  • Henry

    Having owned several revolvers, I'd say there are a few issues. First, let me say that despite what you read in many reviews, revolvers are still very popular due to their simplicity and reliability compared to semi-autos. No "tap/rack/bang" or limp wrist malfunction issues to worry about. Also much better for reloading regarding case life, since the case is fully supported at the base (no extractor cutout). You can can actually blow up a semiauto if crimp the rounds improperly.

    All that said, on to the Kimber revolvers:
    1. Compared to the reliable competition (Ruger SP101 and S&W Model 60), it is ugly. Fugly in fact.

    2. The sights are poor compared to the screw adjustable sights on the 3" Model 60 or the 4" SP101. (The shorter-barreled models of the 60 and SP101 are fixed sights.) The front sight should be ramped in a revolver that needs to be drawn fast to avoid any potential hang up on the draw. The Kimber sights are ugly too.

    3. If you are going to sell a revolver with a nice wood grip, at least make it large enough for your pinky to grasp (like on the SP101 Match Champion). Otherwise people are just going to swap it for an aftermarket grip like the Hogues (whos grips accomplish the feat of making the Kimber look even uglier). One of the Kimber wood grips is obviously too small. From the review, it looks like even the larger wood grip on the 3" model is too small. The exposes steel backstrap also obviously smacks your hand and is ugly. They should have used a post design like on the SP101, which would also make aftermarket grip design much easier and better (especially with rubber grips).

    4. With the cartridge rims being so close together in the small cylinder (6 rounds rather than 5 in other small-frame revolvers), there may be an issue with speedloader operation - we will have to see.

    5. Putting 6 rounds into such a small diameter cylinder obviously gives you less steel in case of an overcharge (a "kaboom"). It does happen. And when it does, the cylinder fractures. Same thing as when S&W and Ruger put seven rounds in a cylinder designed for six (as in some models of their larger framed revolvers). Bad idea. Also not sure if the cylinder lock-up mechanism is as strong as on the Ruger or Smith. (By the way, the Chiappa Rhino revolver also has serious problems if you have a kaboom.)

    6. $970 MSRP? If that is any reflection on the wholesale price or actual selling prices, it is going to be about $200 more expensive in the stores than the competion small-frame revolvers (hard to know right now [2021] with the panic buying prices). At about the same MSRP, you can get a larger-framed Ruger GP100 4" Match Champion or several mid-frame S&W revolver models.

    7. Kimber has had some quality control problems in the past. We'll have to see on this gun. In short, a revolver designed by a semiauto pistol company.

    Nice try, but not quite there.

    March 16, 2021 5:51 pm
  • robert lee sichel

    I purchased the kimber dasa 4 inch combat for a side arm when fishing in montana very pleased with the way it shots and looks, ejector is smooth and the cylinder locks up no slop at all. I'm not very happy I can't get a rubber grip or a good fitting holster like the ones i own from Mitch Rosen. I would of liked the option of getting the weapon with a ported barrel.

    October 8, 2020 10:35 am
    • ChristopherCanis

      You can get a Hogue Rubber Monogrip for less than $30 and shoot the hottest 357 you care to shoot out of the gun with no issues. It greatly mitigates the slap of the backstrap into the web of the hand. I have not problem with any 357 ammo with those grips installed. My gun is a 3" DASA. I also have a 2" DAO and the grips have made this gun a pleasant powerhouse to practice with and carry.

      January 19, 2021 12:21 pm
  • Douglas M Montgomery

    I have a k6s dao 2".
    I love it. I am no expert shot but at 30-35ft it shoots a 3-4 " group. At 7 yards which is where I generally shoot it cuts that group in half. My primary carry is a sig 365 but I like the simplicity of this little revolver.

    September 28, 2020 10:11 pm
  • Kenny

    I own the Kimber K6s DASA w/3" Barrel and and old S&W Model 15-4 4' barrel and I just love both these guns. Shooting the Kimber with 38 special rounds is REALLY NICE! The gun is solid and the trigger pull wonderful. The 3" barrel is now my new favorite. Better sight line than 2" snubbie and 3" just feels even better than my 4" S&W.. I love wheel guns and Now I have two that make me smile. As for home defense those two plus a 12 gauge Mossberg 500 tactical with pistol grip has me feeling pretty good.

    August 30, 2020 6:29 pm
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