UPDATE 1/12/2017: Our full review of the Kimber K6s is available here.

Welcome to a very special edition of Wheel Gun Wednesday, straight from SHOT Show 2016 in Las Vegas! I’ll be offering my impressions of a few highlights from the show later on, but I wanted to give some special attention to what I consider to be the most interesting new product release this year: the Kimber K6s revolver.

This small-frame 6-shot revolver from Kimber is a totally original design put together by the Kimber engineering team with input from noted wheel gun expert Grant Cunningham. This project is the first time in… well, an extremely long time that a gun maker has attempted a revolver design without ever having made revolvers in the past. It’s a big gamble for Kimber, and I’m eager to find out if it pays off.


The key feature of this little .357 Magnum snub nose is the six round capacity. As I lamented in my previous posts about mid-size carry revolvers, most revolvers made for concealed carry these days hold five shots and have lightweight frames. Great for carry, but not so great for shooting, and you lose a round of capacity versus a larger revolver. A concealable 6-shot .38/.357 self-defense revolver is hard to come by. No one has really attempted it since the much-beloved Colt Detective Special, which was discontinued back in 1995. Kimber’s new K6s seems to be an attempt to fill that void.

At the Kimber booth at SHOT, I got to inspect the new K6s, and also had a chance to briefly chat with Grant Cunningham and Tim Mulverhill, one of the project’s leaders at Kimber. Grant seems very pleased with how the finished product has turned out. When he was advising the design team, he stressed that reliable operation should be the top priority, a point I could not agree with more. It seems the Kimber engineers were able to pull it off, and the samples I was able to handle at the Kimber booth were quite impressive.

The K6s is roughly the size of the Ruger SP101 with a slightly wider cylinder to accommodate the extra round. The trigger is smooth, breaking at about 10 lbs with a sharp reset. The overall feel is very similar to a well-tuned S&W K-frame trigger.


Unlike most concealable revolvers on the market, Kimber has not equipped the K6s with traditional fixed sights — typically a fixed ramp in the front and a shallow gutter on the top strap to form the rear sight. Instead, the K6s has user-changeable sights. The front is held in place with a pin and the rear sight is in a dovetail, similar to most modern semi-auto sights. The stock sights on the pistol are low-profile plain black sights, but Tim from Kimber assured me that night sights and other high-visibility aftermarket options would be available from multiple companies by the time the pistol ships. There will also be other accessories available, like holsters, Crimson Trace laser grips, and speed loaders.

Okay, so I know what a lot of you are thinking. Kimber’s 1911s have a questionable reputation in terms of reliability and quality control, and some would say that’s being too generous. Revolvers typically require very precise machine work in order to function properly, which is why so few companies do it well. Is Kimber up to the task? I am apprehensive as well, but I’m also encouraged by Grant Cunningham’s involvement with this project. I know Grant won’t be personally inspecting every revolver that comes off the line, but the design itself seems to be a winner.

So for now, I’m keeping an open mind. The K6s is projected to ship sometime around April, and I’ll be first in line to pick one up and put as many rounds through it as possible.

Kimber K6s Technical Specs

Caliber .357 Magnum
Barrel Length 2″
Overall Length 6.62″
Height 4.46″
Width 1.39″
Weight (unloaded)
1.44 lbs (23 oz)
Sights black pinned front, black dovetail rear
Action double action only
Ammo Capacity 6
Advertised trigger pull weight 9.5-10.5 lbs
MSRP $899

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25 thoughts on “Preview: The Kimber K6s Revolver

  1. I am officially intrigued. I like that they used a Ruger-type cylinder release (I find that easiest for ambidextrous use), and it looks like this has a recessed cylinder, which is a nice touch. The stats look just about right for my tastes. The weight is good, the cylinder width is about what you are going to get in a 6 shooter, the sight options are great (if XS makes a rear sight for this, I may have to have it simply on those grounds), etc. I am really looking forward to the reviews once folks start getting a chance to handle and shoot these.

    1. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Rhino’s soft recoil. Apparently the main weakness is its overly complex internal design, which has led to numerous reports of mechanical quality control related issues. I may test one eventually, but I’m skeptical. I’m also skeptical of the Kimber’s execution, but from talking to Grant, it sounds like the design is based on more traditional and proven DA revolver principles.

      1. Regarding the Rhino: exactly right in my personal experience. Magically soft recoil; serious quality control problems.

  2. This looks like a great gun. I’m a revolver guy and often carry an SP101. My only gripe on this is the price, for half that I can get an lcr 6 shot in 327, and it’s half the weight.

    1. The price is high, but not much higher than the S&W 640 Pro ($839) and the Wiley Clapp SP101 ($850), which are really the only other small steel-frame revolvers on the market with similar features.

    2. Apparently there’s no MIM in it at all. Considering what S&W’s go for – especially Performance Center models – I think the price is justified.

  3. I have to think that in the age of the LCR, PolyTaurus and other revolvers with overmolded type grips which hae the potential for literally hundreds of sizes and configurations that a revolver with a full exposed grip frame is limiting at least. At most it will be as wicked recoiling with full magnums as some others of its ilk. I think they may have made this so much nicer for shooters of all hand size. I will stick with my LCR and SP101.

  4. I know I’m not a gun guru who makes a name reviewing guns most people can’t afford, but having carried a Kimber 1911 in Iraq for two years and never having a single problem with it under the most adverse of conditions I don’t get the comment about Kimber reliability being poor. In my personal experience it was smooth as silk and never failed me once. Can’t say that I’ll be paying $900 for a snubby, but if this gun is a sweet as that 1911 was it’ll be a very nice gun for revolver fans.

    1. There are certainly some great Kimbers out there, but many not-so-great ones as well. My personal experience happens to have only been with the latter. The inconsistent quality control is a common concern. Melody Lauer, one of our regular contributors put it best: “Throughout the years, I have owned four Kimber firearms. Two of them have been fine working machines. The other two can only be called firearms in the sense that they occasionally fired bullets.”

      More about her Kimber experience here: http://www.luckygunner.com/lounge/10-lessons-learned-worst-gun-ever-owned/

      1. Interesting. I have owned 3 Kimbers, all incredible. Better than any S&W, Sig, or Ruger I have.

  5. Like Greyson, I’m intrigued. I love revolvers and this seems to be a stretch for Kimber. With Colt out of the game and Taurus not my style, that leaves S&W and Ruger. We need another player in the game. PS – Chippa followers; I wasn’t dissing you. The Rhino looks neat. I wonder, with the barrel on the low bore access (that’s what helps tame the kick) how careful you need to be with your fingers so the “flame cutting” doesn’t blow a chunk out of a digit.

    1. My Chiappa Rhino was not ready for prime time. It had a number of quality-control problems that I have never encountered in a revolver before.

      As to the shooting: it is almost magical regarding recoil! And it conceals well. But the trigger is problematic, and cocking is heavy to the point of bizarre.

      I hope that they get it right–or have gotten it right (I have one of their earlier efforts).

      1. How do you hold your thumbs on that? I’m always afraid the “spray” at the forcing cone might blow your thumb off!

  6. I like revolvers, and I like your series on concealed carry revolvers. But I don’t carry myself, and I have accumulated a mixed bag of those I like to shoot, the shortest barrel being a new 4.25″ S&W Model 66. Snubbie K-frames have come and gone. I don’t see the point of concealed-hammer-DA-only, or 10lb trigger pulls, except maybe as the first shot on a DA/SA SIG auto. (If you want a heavy trigger pull, see: plastic-frame striker fired auto.) So this one is a total meh for me like the Ruger American is for you.

  7. I saw a video of the Kimber 6s. The recoil was so surprisingly modest, the shooter checked to see if the load was indeed .357 magnum. The recoil in the video appeared comparable to the recoil of a .38 special fired from an lcr .357 magnum. If, in fact, that was an accurate rendering of the recoil, then I’ll buy one, and so will many others.

  8. Meh. DA only in a .357? Once again. Meh. Fine for a .38, not .357 mag. 6 O’clock barrel sa/da would have been the ticket.

  9. 2nd Amender
    Had a S&W 657 for 1st pistol…..still have it, but it’s not a CCgun, unless your wearing a harness or long overcoat.

    I have a 3′ Ultra TLE and a Super Carry Custom HD, (5″bbl.). The TLE is my every day carry…..never had a problem with it, same-same with the Super Carry. Magazine springs are a nuisance and a weakened spring must NOT be tolerated, so always shoot up those carried rounds. I do this monthly, for practice at the range, and a spring check, with new ammo following.

    I trust my Kimbers. I like the K6, don’t think the price is too high for a quality firearm, and will probably have my dealer order one for me!

  10. Hi Chris, always love to see and read your reviews because you’re so through and thoughtful of all levels of experience. I am really intrigued by the Kimber K6s revolver and wondered if you’ve had a chance to shoot it since this review 10 months ago. They’re a hard gun to come by but I can get one from my local gun shop for $819 in about 2 moths time, and wanted your input subsequent to your review. Would love to hear some feedback on the performance and concealability of this revolver. Thanks.

    1. I have one that I’m evaluating right now. Hopefully, I’ll have a full review ready to publish next month. It seems to be a pretty nice revolver so far. I would be reluctant to jump on as an early adopter, however, simply because this is a completely new product category for Kimber and knowing their track record, there is a huge potential for quality control to be spotty. If you really want a small 6-shot revolver and you’re going to shoot several hundred rounds through it before carrying it, then it might be worth considering.

  11. Have you gotten your hand on a K6S to Review yet? I’m really waiting for an honest review of it. Especially compared to a SP101 since it seems very similar with the exception of the 1 extra round. Is it worth the $$$

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