April 11, 2017
You've probably already heard that Kimber brought out its very first revolver this year. You very well may know that the company also has created a 9mm version of its popular, little .380 Micro semiautomatic pistol.
The guns made quite a stir when they were first announced earlier this year. Well, Shooting Times just received shooting samples of both guns, and I had the pleasure of putting them through our standard evaluation procedure for this report.
Actually, I had an advance look at the new K6s Stainless double-action revolver last year in preparation for writing the article that appeared in Kimber's 2016 magalog. That project involved visiting the Kimber factories in New York, where I got my hands on the new wheelgun and fired it on Kimber's state-of-the-art indoor shooting range.
For this report, Shooting Times received another K6s and a Micro 9, both right off the production line, that I put through our standard shooting review on my home range.
The K6s Stainless is chambered for .357 Magnum, and it has a double-action-only trigger mechanism, an internal hammer, a swing-out cylinder, a small frame, and a 2-inch barrel.
The "s" stands for small, as in the frame size, and the frame is all steel. The firing mechanism uses a floating firing pin that's held in the frame by a pressed-in firing pin bushing.
The internal action parts are accessed via a sideplate that is attached to the frame with three torx-head screws. The mainspring is contained within the grip frame, and it is a coil type.
The stainless-steel cylinder holds six rounds of .357 Magnum or .38 Special ammunition. The charge holes are countersunk, and the cylinder swings out to the left side. It rotates counterclockwise.
One primary design criterion Senior Product Manager Ron Dudzic, who oversaw the design and development of the K6s Stainless, was tasked with was to make the cylinder the smallest diameter on the market that could hold six rounds. Kimber never even considered building a five-shot snubnose revolver.
In order to achieve the goal of making the K6s Stainless's cylinder the smallest in diameter yet be strong enough to withstand the firing of the most powerful .357 Magnum cartridges, the engineers modeled it on the computer, then remodeled it, then built samples, and then tested those samples extensively, including plugging the barrel and firing proof-level ammo.
The material they settled on is 410 stainless steel. The engineers designed the cylinder with six flat flutes. It locks up via a centerpin, which is activated by a checkered, rectangular-shaped cylinder latch.
The latch actually pushes in, not up or to the side as with other brands of swing-out-cylinder revolvers. Pushing in on the latch is a more natural movement and makes operating the gun quicker and more effective.
The trigger's fingerpiece is smooth and measures 0.3 inch wide. The double-action trigger pull is factory-rated at between 9.5 and 10.5 pounds. The sample I got my hands on averaged 10 pounds, according to my RCBS trigger pull scale, and it is crisp, smooth, and consistent.
The one-piece barrel is 2 inches in length and is threaded to the frame. It's made of the same 410 stainless steel as the cylinder, and it has broach rifling at a twist rate of one turn in 16 inches.
The serrated front sight is pinned to the barrel; the rear sight is dovetailed. The style of the rear sight is unique for a revolver, and it reminds me of a combat-style Model 1911 rear sight. Its face is serrated. Both sights are all black, and sight radius is 4.1 inches.
The standard version of the K6s Stainless comes with blue-gray rubber grips made by Crimson Trace. They don't have the built-in laser Crimson Trace is so famous for, but a Kimber spokesman told me a laser-gripped version of the K6s is a natural, and Crimson Trace has already announced just such a grip for the K6s.
The K6s Stainless is 6.62 inches long, 1.39 inches wide, and 4.46 inches high. It weighs 23 ounces. Its finish is called "Smooth Satin." The backstrap has vertical serrations that are designed to help provide a secure grip. All edges of the K6s have been softened.
Usually, swing-out-cylinder double-action revolvers have a flat area on the side of the frame up front that butts up against the yoke when the cylinder is opened fully. Consequently, their yokes typically are not symmetrical. The K6s Stainless's yoke shape is symmetrical.
According to Dudzic, the K6s Stainless doesn't have that flat area on the frame because a special axle was designed into the crane to allow a hard stop for the cylinder when it's opened.
I fired the K6s Stainless with a variety of .357 Magnum and .38 Special ammunition, and the results are listed in the accompanying chart. Overall, the gun was easy to shoot, even with the .357 Magnum ammo. In fact, I did my most accurate shooting with the Magnum ammo.
The shape of the grip comfortably filled my shooting hand, and the sweep of the backstrap kept the gun from shifting up in my hand. Felt recoil was not harsh, even with the most powerful loads. And as I said earlier, the trigger pull was excellent.
By the way, I used a DeSantis Speed Scabbard black leather holster made specifically for the K6s revolver for some draw-and-fire drills. It's a nice holster.
The new Micro 9 is based on Kimber's popular recoil-operated .380 ACP Micro semiautomatic pistol that was born in 2013. The 9mm version is a tad bigger than the .380 Micro, measuring 6.1 inches long, 1.06 inches thick, and 4.1 inches tall.
It looks and handles a lot like a small Model 1911, and it easily fits in a pants or jacket pocket, but it's not so small that it feels odd in the hand. In fact, it feels quite good in my hand, and it points naturally.
Standard magazine capacity is six rounds, and the pistol comes with one flush-fitting magazine. An extended seven-round magazine is available for purchase as a separate item. The magazine release button is checkered, and it protrudes just enough to be easily activated.
The low-profile, all-black sights are dovetailed into the slide. Sight radius is 4.3 inches.
The combat-style hammer is skeletonized, and the pistol's thumb safety operates sort of like one on a full-size Model 1911. However, when the hammer is fully cocked and the safety is engaged, the safety does not lock the slide, so the slide can be racked to empty the chamber with the safety engaged.
With the hammer down, the safety can be engaged, and engaged this way, it does lock the slide, plus it prevents the hammer from being fully cocked. The hammer can be positioned in its halfcock notch.
There is no Model 1911-style grip safety, but a disconnector prevents the hammer from falling unless the slide and barrel are fully into battery. Also, there's a firing pin block that prevents the firing pin from contacting the primer of a chambered cartridge until the trigger is pressed.
Three versions are currently offered: the Two-Tone model that I fired for this report; the Stainless model that comes with rosewood grip panels; and the Crimson Carry version that comes with Crimson Trace Master Series lasergrips.
Note that for my report, I switched out the factory-standard rosewood grips with a set of aftermarket Crimson Trace lasergrips, and I also used a DeSantis Mini Scabbard brown leather holster. CrossBreed also offers holsters for the new Micro 9.
Shooting the Micro 9 from a sandbag bench-rest at 25 yards, I was able to produce group averages measuring 3.24 inches or less with five different factory loads. That's well within the accepted standard for self-defense pistols.
Out of the Micro 9's short 3.15-inch barrel, the 9mm ammo I fired produced velocities ranging between 912 and 1,165 fps. For comparison's sake, those same loadings range in velocity from 1,052 to 1,374 fps out of my 5.5-inch-barreled 9mm Model 1911.
The Micro 9 functioned perfectly with all of the ammo I fired, and its trigger pull was very good. It was heavier than I prefer, averaging 8 pounds, 8 ounces, according to my RCBS trigger pull scale, but it was smooth.
Both new pocket pistols from Kimber functioned perfectly during my shooting session.
They are easy to conceal, and they are accurate. They are the kind of personal-protection handgun you can stake your life on. But that's not surprising. Kimber has been making dependable self-defense and duty handguns for more than two decades.