February 19, 2020
By Joel J. Hutchcroft
Four years ago, the classy Kimber K6s double-action revolver started out in one configuration. It had an internal hammer, a 2.0-inch barrel, and a natural stainless-steel finish. From that beginning, it has progressed into seven standard variations in two barrel lengths and in natural stainless, matte black stainless, black DLC, and two-tone finishes, plus a couple of fancy special editions. Some versions are now available with an exposed hammer. Lately, I’ve been shooting one of the newest configurations that has a 3.0-inch barrel and the all-new Control Core grips. It’s definitely worth a look.
The Kimber K6s Control Core
The K6s Control Core does not have an exposed hammer. The hammer is completely internal, and that means this version of the K6s has a double-action-only mechanism. The 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 screws. The mainspring is contained within the grip frame, and it is a coil type. Coil mainsprings in revolvers are thought to be more durable than leaf-type springs and to give “velvety” trigger pulls. The trigger pull on the K6s Control Core I’ve been shooting is definitely that. On average, according to my RCBS trigger scale, it breaks at 11.25 pounds of pull. Over 10 measurements, the pull varied 8 ounces.
Like all Kimber K6s revolvers, the Control Core’s cylinder is made of stainless steel and holds six rounds of .357 Magnum or .38 Special ammunition. Kimber proudly states the K6s cylinder is the smallest diameter on the market for a cylinder that holds six rounds. The charge holes are countersunk. The cylinder swings out to the left side, and when operated, it rotates counterclockwise.
The cylinder has six flat flutes, and it locks up via a centerpin that is activated by a checkered, rectangular-shaped cylinder latch. The latch actually pushes in, not up or to the side as with other swing-out-cylinder revolvers. Pushing in on the latch is a more natural movement (especially when the user is in a stressful self-defense situation) and makes operating the revolver quicker and more effective.
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, the yoke typically is not symmetrical. The yoke shape of the K6s is a departure from that norm and is symmetrical, and the gun doesn’t have that flat area on the frame because the crane was designed to allow a hard stop for the cylinder when it’s opened.
The K6s’s trigger fingerpiece is smooth and measures approximately 0.3 inch wide. The double-action trigger pull is factory-rated at between 9.5 and 11.5 pounds, and as I stated earlier, the sample Control Core’s trigger pull averaged 11.25 pounds. Most other double-action revolver trigger pulls I’ve measured over the 27 years I’ve been doing this have averaged 12 pounds or more.
Our K6s Control Core’s one-piece barrel is 3.0 inches long and is threaded to the frame. It’s made of the same 410 stainless steel as the cylinder, and the twist rate is one turn in 16 inches. The K6s Control Core also is offered with a 2.0-inch barrel.
The front sight is pinned to the barrel, and it has a white dot. The rear sight has two white dots and is dovetailed into the top of the gun’s frame. As I’ve said before, the style of the rear sight is unique for a revolver and reminds me of a combat-style semiautomatic pistol rear sight. Below the dots, the rear sight’s face has horizontal striations. Sight radius of our 3.0-inch-barreled K6s is 5.1 inches.
The Control Core takes its name from the brand-new Control Core grips. As Kimber’s literature states, “The grip envelops the backstrap area of the frame with low durometer rubber constructed in a semi-waffle pattern that helps to reduce shock during recoil and increases contact area for better traction with the hand.” The grip is definitely comfortable, and I like the way it looks, too.
With its 3.0-inch barrel, the K6s Control Core is 7.62 inches long, 1.39 inches wide, and 4.46 inches high. It weighs 23 ounces. The entire gun has a low-glare bead-blast stainless-steel finish. And although the new Control Core grip wraps around the backstrap, the backstrap has vertical striations that are designed to provide a secure grip when a different style of grip is used. Also, all edges of the frame have been softened.
Accurate & Comfortable
As I’ve reported before, I’ve fired several K6s revolvers since the gun was introduced, and all have performed superbly. The Control Core is the most comfortable Kimber K6s that I’ve fired. The shape of the grip comfortably fills my shooting hand, the recoil-absorbing design of the new grips really works, and the sweep of the backstrap keeps the well-balanced revolver from shifting up in my hand even when firing the hottest .357 Magnum ammunition.
I fired five .357 Magnum and five .38 Special factory loads in the new K6s Control Core, most of them being the same loads that I’ve fired in the other K6s revolvers I’ve reviewed. The results are listed in the accompanying chart. My best accuracy came with the Black Hills .38 Special ammunition, which averaged 2.41 inches. That’s a target load, so I wasn’t surprised by the accuracy results. The most accurate defense load was the .357 Magnum Federal Hydra-Shok ammo. It averaged 2.79 inches. Overall average accuracy for all loads was 3.17 inches. All groups were fired from a sandbag bench-rest at a distance of 25 yards.
As expected, the velocities of all loads ranged from 30 fps to 60 fps higher with the 3.0-inch barrel compared to the K6s revolvers with 2.0-inch barrels that I have shot. These results confirm what I have found when conducting other velocity comparisons between .357/.38 revolvers of different barrel lengths.
I also fired a couple of action-type drills. With one setup, I placed three targets one yard apart from each other, 10 yards away from my shooting position. I started by facing away from the targets with my hands raised in a surrender position. When I was ready, I pivoted 180 degrees, drew the revolver from a holster, and fired two rounds on each of the three targets. I performed this drill five times and found the K6s Control Core to be very fluid. Double-taps on each target were smooth and fast.
The other drill is a very simple backing-away routine I learned a few years ago while attending a seminar. It was part of an informal self-defense competition that included shooting around barriers, shooting with the weak hand, making some midrange precision shots, and shooting while backing away from an attacker. All shooting was timed in addition to being evaluated for accuracy. I did fairly well on everything except the backing-away shots, so now I like to practice it every chance I get. Starting at five yards from the target, I fired a full cylinder while backing away as quickly as possible. I performed this drill five times, and by the time I wrapped up the shooting for that day, I was able to put all six rounds into a tight group in the chest area of the target.
When Kimber introduced the K6s, rumors were that it would eventually evolve into an entire family of revolvers. Well, that’s exactly what has happened. The lower price of the new K6s Control Core and the enhanced grip design that improves the gun’s shootability make it an excellent option for self-defense.
Kimber K6s Control Core SpecsManufacturer:
.357 Magnum/.38 SpecialCylinder Capacity:
6 roundsBarrel Length:
3.0 in.Overall Length:
4.46 in.Weight, Empty:
Synthetic Control CoreFinish:
Low-glare bead-blast stainlessSights:
White three-dot sightsTrigger:
11.25-lb. DA pull (as tested)MSRP: