Kimber’s K6xs – The Best Snub Yet!

Kimber K6xs revolver with Hornady ammunition on wooden table
The Kimber K6xs carries some great features

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

The Genesis

In 2016, Kimber surprised the industry when it entered the revolver market with the K6 series. The new revolver featured an internal hammer, a unique cylinder design, a set of really good sights, and a great action. Since then, the K6 line has been expanded to include adjustable sights, an exposed hammer, and various barrel lengths. Since their introduction, I have evaluated several models for GunsAmerica. They include the original Kimber K6, the slick

Kimber K6 Deep Cover and the Kimber K6 DASA Combat. All were exceptional pistols. However, the K6 is a medium-frame, all-stainless revolver making it very nice to shoot but a challenge for some to carry.

Compact revolvers

XS is for eXtra Special

Actually, xs stands for extra small, but that doesn’t mean the new wheelgun isn’t special. The Kimber K6xs addresses a void that other major manufacturers seem to have ignored. It is an alloy-framed, 6 shot revolver. It is the smallest configuration that can accommodate a 6 shot cylinder and falls between a Smith & Wesson J frame and a Colt D frame. Due to the size and materials used, the xs is chambered in .38 Special and rated for +P ammunition.

Kimber K6xs trigger guard closeup

The K6xs follows the design and contours of the original K6 guns including an enlarged trigger guard, an internal hammer, and a shrouded ejection rod. However, unlike the K6’s rear sight blade, the xs features a machined sight channel. The rear of the top strap is raised to provide a deep rear sight notch. The front sight blade features an orange insert that, combined with the rear sight, provides one of the best sight pictures of any snub I’ve ever shot. The cylinder has deep offset flutes to reduce weight. A close examination will reveal lightening cuts on the rear of the trigger and ejection rod housing and scalloped recoil shields. The trigger has a smooth face with radiused edges.

Attention to Detail

Kimber K6xs cylinder and barrel

The 2” barrel and the cylinder are stainless steel with a clean glass bead matte finish. This finish pairs well with the Kim Pro II finish on the frame. The barrel features a recessed crown with a beveled muzzle. The cylinder release on the xs is a square button that is recessed and rounded to prevent bite during recoil. I appreciate that Kimber has also recessed the cylinder charge holes. The xs is void of any offending sharp edges. This attention to detail will be appreciated by those who choose to carry the xs regularly.

Kimber K6xs cylinder release button and brand name engraved into metal

Proper stocks are a critical component. They directly affect fit to the hand, felt recoil, and concealability. Kimber made an outstanding choice when they selected to equip the xs with Hogue Baton rubber over-mold stocks. The Batons fill the sinus behind the trigger guard and enclose the entire backstrap. They feature finger grooves that actually fit my hand and have an extension that allows a full firing grip. They do all this without compromising concealability!

Kimber K6xs revolver grip

The Roundup Evaluation

I obtained the xs for another project that required five different shooters to evaluate the xs in eight categories. These included: aesthetics, ergonomics, sights, trigger control, recoil control, reloading ease, accuracy, reliability, and value/price point. Between the five shooters, we ran over 300 rounds through the xs without any issues. Without going into all of the specific scores, the Kimber K6xs had a total score of 41.26 out of a total of 45 points. The lowest score was a 3.83 in aesthetics. Some just couldn’t find the Kimber to be pretty to the eye! Regarding accuracy, sights, and recoil control, the xs scored 4.84, 4.25, 4.80 respectively. Given the quality and experience of the shooters, this is high praise!

Range Time

Kimber K6xs sights

Most of the shooting was done with Hornady’s Critical Defense 110 gr. FTX load. This was followed by Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel 135 gr. +P and Federal Punch 120 gr. +P JHP. I included Georgia Arms 148 gr. wadcutter Ultimate Defense load. Tests have shown that most hollow point loads do not open up when shot out of a 2”, or less barrel, especially through clothing or barriers. Many serious people see the benefits of a properly loaded wadcutter. They are extremely accurate, they tend to shoot to the sights of small pistols, and the sharp shoulder provides a cutting wound channel. The Georgia Arms load was specifically designed to provide adequate penetration when shot from a 1 7/8” barrel.

This chart reflects the results of the tests. With the xs weighing in at less than one pound, the recoil from the Gold Dot and Punch was significant, but not unmanageable. At 10 yards, all rounds shot to within three inches, or so, of the sights.

Kimber K6XS Range Results

Kimber K6xs Range Results
LoadAvg. VelocityAccuracy
Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel 135 gr. +P GDHP905 fps1.5”
Federal Punch 120 gr. +P JHP929 fps1.6”
Hornady Critical Defense 110 gr. FTX866 fps1.25”
Georgia Arms Ultimate Defense 148 gr. Hollow Wadcutter765 fps1.25”
Chronograph @ 10 feet/Accuracy @ 10 yards  

The Hardwired Tactical HiTs Snubby Super Test One is one of my favorite drills/competency tests for a small-frame revolver. Designed by Wayne Dobbs and Darryl Bolke, it is an evaluation of a shooter’s capability under realistic conditions. It can either be shot from a low ready or concealed in pocket with the shooter having an established grip on the pistol. Since I did not have a pocket holster for the Kimber with me, I shot the drill from a low ready. The drill only requires 15 rounds and each stage has a par time of 2.5 seconds. The drill is as follows: 10 Yards – 5 shots in 8 seconds using two hands, 5 Yards – 5 shots in 5 seconds using two hands, 3 Yards – 5 shots in 3 seconds strong hand only.

Bulls-eye target with bullet holes

The drill is shot on a B8 bullseye repair center and scored using the values shown on the target. It is also shot cold, and only once for score. I made the par times and, as the photo reflects, I dropped 13 points for a score of 91%.

Ammunition Performance

I had two blocks of Clear Ballistics gel on hand from another project. While these were not virgin blocks, I shot the four test loads into the used blocks, shooting two rounds into the bare gel and two rounds through four layers of denim. The four photos reflect this limited test. The main takeaway is that heavy clothing heavily impacts performance and everything looks good when shot into bare gel. Finally, the only consistent factor in actual shootings is that there is no consistency. However, gel does provide a consistent medium to compare the performance of multiple loads.

Closing Thoughts on the K6xs

With most evaluations, I have a few comments on what I wish they, the manufacturer, had done. With the xs, I could not come up with a single thing I would change. The K6xs exceeded my expectations. It is snag-free for pocket carry, with large pockets. It is large enough to shoot effectively while being small and light for daily carry. Far better than average sights, proper stocks, and a great trigger add to the shooting comfort. Finally, the MSRP on the K6xs is listed as $679!

Kimber K6xs compact revolver on wooden table

The Kimber xs may well be the best concealed carry, personal defense, revolver on the market today. It certainly has my vote.

*** Buy and Sell on GunsAmerica! All Local Sales are FREE! ***

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Clint W. April 3, 2024, 7:50 pm

    I used to carry a S&W Chief Special for years. Sold it to a fellow that really wanted it and still is carrying it, and I bought a S&W Airweight. I think this Kimber needs to go head to head with the Airweight for a real test. One extra round in the Kimber could be an advantage, but if you are carrying a 5 or 6 shot revolver vs 15 in an auto, you have to be a better shot, or hope you are only facing one attacker and not the whole hood.

  • John Carp March 18, 2024, 11:22 pm

    I saw the Kimber at my not so local brick and mortar gun store.
    It is beautifully finished and smooth. Something we used to expect from Smith and Wesson and Colt’s. It is a six shot .38 Special! A good one, by all accounts…But is it worth the cost of admission?
    Very respectfully

    • Mark N. March 23, 2024, 9:39 pm

      The S&Ws I’ve looked at run a LOT higher. Colts are near or over $1000. Sure, you can get a pocket semi for less, but in the revolver world, if you want “down market,” it is Taurus or Charter.

  • Mark March 18, 2024, 8:34 am

    You have unfortunately left out two critical pieces of information in your review that I would need to determine if this is a viable option. This would be carried in deep concealment like pocket carry so overall weight is a critical consideration. A DAO revolver trigger weight and characteristics are also critical to determine if it is a viable option and is also not offered.

    • Mark N. March 23, 2024, 9:40 pm

      The article says “under a pound”: the Kimber site lists the weight as 15.9 ozs. Also according to Kimber, trigger pull is within the industry average of 10-12 lbs, although I would assume most guns will test at the higher end.

Send this to a friend