Review: Kimber K6xs

posted on June 10, 2024
Kimber K6xs revolver

Kimber released the K6s revolver in 2016; it was an unexpected departure from the quality bolt-action rifles and M1911 pistols with which the company had built its reputation. Kimber’s engineers solicited input from experienced revolver trainers while designing this compact six-round revolver, and the K6s’s immediate success was a tribute to this thoughtful collaboration. Constructed from stainless steel, featuring a 2" barrel and an internal hammer, the .357 Mag. wheelgun offered great sights and a noteworthy trigger for a small double-action-only (DAO) revolver.

The K6s lineup has expanded rapidly since then to include models with 3" barrels, optional external hammers and different finishes, and the current catalog also shows service-revolver-size target models with 4" barrels and adjustable sights. In 2023, Kimber introduced the K6xs—a return to the deep-cover snubby. It’s the first K6s with an aluminum-alloy frame and also the first chambered exclusively for +P-rated .38 Spl. ammunition. The aluminum K6xs weighs 15.9 ozs., substantially less than the all-steel K6s—which starts at 23 ozs.

Kimber K6xs features

A push-button release (l.) on the left side of the frame unlocks the cylinder. Unlike Kimber’s all-steel, .357 Mag.-chambered revolvers, the six-round cylinder on the new aluminum-frame, .38 Spl.-chambered K6xs has deep flutes (r.) to minimize its weight.

The revolver’s barrel and cylinder are made of stainless steel with a bead-blasted finish, contrasting slightly with the silver light alloy frame. The engraved badging is tastefully minimal, declaring the model and chambering on opposing sides of the barrel. The serial number is etched on the frame’s left side along with “Kimber Troy AL USA.” The company’s logo adorns the opposite sideplate.

The K6xs cylinder has deep, wide flutes as opposed to the flats on the .357 Mag.-chambered steel-frame K6s. The cylinder front is slightly chamfered; it’s aesthetically pleasing and helps seat the gun into a snug holster. The barrel underlug has a relief cut that exposes the center of the extractor rod and shaves a little weight. The front sight is integral with the barrel but maintains the high profile of the K6s’s pinned-in sight. It has a painted orange dot to draw the eye. Kimber opted for a “trench” rear sight in lieu of the dovetailed rear used on the magnum K6s. The aluminum frame is built up to give the rear notch additional depth that provides an outstanding sight picture.

Kimber K6xs sights

The fixed front sight (r.) on the K6xs has a bright orange dot to provide contrast with the trench rear sight (l.) cut into the revolver’s topstrap.

A one-piece overmolded-rubber Hogue Bantam grip offers a suitable compromise between small size for concealment and adequate cushioning on the backstrap for shooting comfort. The front extends slightly below the bottom of the frame, allowing most shooters to get all three support fingers involved in the grasp. Pebble-like texturing and finger grooves also help anchor the gun. The cylinder release activates with inward pressure; we found it to be a little stiffer to operate than on the steel K6s. Fit and finish of our sample K6xs were excellent. The cylinder locks up tightly on all chambers, and the trigger was on par with other DAO K6s revolvers we’ve evaluated.

The K6xs was test-fired with three factory loads designed for defensive carry, all in the intermediate bullet-weight range for the .38 Spl. cartridge. Accuracy was more than satisfactory for a compact DAO revolver. Bullets weighing 125 grains impacted just above the point of aim at 7 yards, while the 130-grain ammunition struck an inch higher. The Hornady 125-grain XTP load was also fired offhand at 10, 15 and 20 yards, and hit at the point of aim at those distances, too.

Kimber K6xs shooting results

One of the few complaints against the original K6s was its sight regulation. The sights were designed to strike point of aim with 158-grain .357 Mag. JHPs at 15 yards. Because of this, most contemporary defensive loadings with lighter bullets (110-135 grains) impacted below point of aim to varying degrees. Kudos to Kimber for listening to these complaints and addressing them. The sights offer an excellent sight picture for a small defensive revolver, but the silver color of the rear sight tends to wash-out on some backgrounds, making it hard to see; this can be remedied with a black marker or sight paint. 

The K6xs functioned flawlessly throughout our 190-round evaluation. Firing 75 rounds of +P ammunition in the lightweight gun confirmed the wisdom of the .38 Spl. chambering—.357 Mag. ammunition is more sensibly deployed in heavier, all-steel guns. The extractor rod on the K6xs has a generous length of throw (approximately 0.85") and extracted and ejected empty cases with 100 percent reliability. The countersunk chambers acted like a chamfer and made loading cartridges by hand or from a strip quick and sure. All Kimber revolvers come with a DeSantis Swift Strip—an easy way to carry a reload and a nice touch by the company.

The K6xs upholds Kimber’s standard of building quality snub-nose revolvers with good sights, good triggers and six-shot-capacity cylinders. The weight-saving aluminum frame makes it a joy to carry, and the retail price is $300 less than the magnum K6s. For those that opt for a small revolver as a carry gun or a backup, the K6xs merits serious consideration.

Kimber K6xs specs


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