Full-Sized Hot Rod: The Kimber 4-inch K6s Target

Full-Sized Hot Rod: The Kimber 4-inch K6s Target

Kimber K6s Target 4

With excellent lines and accuracy to boot, Kimber’s new 4-inch K6s Target has speed and performance worth bragging about.

What The K6s Target Brings To The Table:

  • Despite boasting a 4-inch barrel, the revolver comes in at a very manageable 25.5 ounces unloaded.
  • A slab-sided cylinder keeps the gun's width at 1.39-inches.
  • A fully-adjustable target rear sight allows shooters to dial in the handgun.
  • Dovetailed in, the rear sight can be swapped for Kimber's low-rise combat sight.
  • All stainless steel, the gun proves quite fetching.

Concealed carry calls the handgun market’s tune. So (a surprise to no one), when Kimber jumped into the revolver game four years ago, that’s exactly what it blueprinted and milled out. The K6s, in its original iterations (all eight of them the first couple of years), wasn’t good for much more … unless the Marquis de Sade in you revels banging away with a double-action-only knuckle-buster.

Yet, Kimber’s snubbies struck a chord, offering something a bit different than what pocket gun aficionados have seen in a spell: style, effectiveness and, above all, cold, hard steel.

The company also served up something else—the perfect platform to mature an entire revolver line. For all intents and purposes, that happened this year.

Creeping along, Kimber has grown the K6s line in number and stature, culminating in the company’s first full-sized wheelgun. But, don’t turn a jaundiced eye toward the 4-inch DASA Target as just another clone of the K-frame archetype. Whereas those .357 Magnums are the “muscle cars” of revolver-dom, Kimber’s big wheelie is a “roadster”; agile, quick and, yes, dashing. What’s more, it’s something to brag about.

Built for Speed … Among Other Things

Knock or compliment, early K6s iterations were notable hefty revolvers. A stainless steel frame, cylinder and barrel endow this attribute, but less so as the K6s has grown in size. Through the addition of a hammer and longer barrels, the frame and six-round cylinder have remained essentially the same. In turn, the revolver has grown bigger; but, relative to the rest of its class, the K6s Target is comparably small.

Unique barrel geometry simultaneously keeps the target slim and the weight of the gun forward.
Unique barrel geometry simultaneously keeps the target slim and the weight of the gun forward.

Don’t take my word for it; measure it up against similar makes and models—say, the Smith & Wesson Model 19 and Colt Python. Booking at 25.5 ounces, the 4-inch Target is a full 12 ounces lighter than the Model 19. The Python is a full pound less. That’s substantial and quite a bit less burdensome on the hip. Add on that it’s also slimmer (1.39-inch width) and shorter (5.25-inch height), and this is a revolver that’s got the edge in a number of ways. Not only does it prove much more nimble—an advantage in a match for certain—but it’s also a better candidate for an on-person defense option.
Concealed carry? Is he serious? Quite, and so is Kimber.

It’s evident, with the gunmaker smoothing every sharp edge to remove any snag point and flatten the surfaces that keep it pressed tightly to your profile. Need more proof? Well, the Target was released in tandem with the K6s Combat, an optimized defensive model with low-rise sights and finger groove grips. Either, however, is more than up to the job as a carry piece—and not just outside the waistband, if you know how to do it right.

Bone Up On Kimber:

Going big, or at least larger, is an advantage pistol-makers figured out awhile ago. Many in the ubiquitous striker-fired market reined back their subcompact catalog, emphasizing their 4- and 4.5-inch compact models. It’s not a ton more gun to tote, and its benefits are legion. A longer sight radius, less muzzle rise and better accuracy all make sense in that light—a similar ethos that the K6s brings to the revolver game.

Barrel, Cylinder … And Plenty of Them

Nevertheless, not everything about the 4-inch K6s is slight. The gun has both a substantial barrel and cylinder; yet, through some clever geometry, Kimber has kept both slender and manageable.

First, the barrel. It’s a single piece of stainless steel shaped like an inverse teardrop. The narrow bottom runs the length of the bore, creating a shroud for the ejector rod at its aft. At once, this design puts more material desirably toward the muzzle, thereby giving the gun leverage against muzzle rise. At the same tick, the profile remains trim enough to practically disappear on your person. As an added benefit, the barrel makes for an exceedingly smooth draw and re-holster—cutting like a knife in and out of your hanger.

 The gun’s push-button cylinder release is quick and intuitive. Also note the flat sides of the cylinder: They keep the K6s slim yet give it some heft. The ejection rod isn’t full length, pushing .357 cartridges out about three-quarters of the way (bone up on your stress reloads!).

The gun’s push-button cylinder release is quick and intuitive. Also note the flat sides of the cylinder: They keep the K6s slim yet give it some heft. The ejection rod isn’t full length, pushing .357 cartridges out about three-quarters of the way (bone up on your stress reloads!).

The cylinder is equally an oxymoron. A matter of physics, it’s as beefy as any other .357 Magnums, yet it cuts a leaner contour, thanks to how Kimber removes material. Fluting is out; slab-siding the cylinder is the order of the day. It’s an ingenious system.

Kimber situates the flat sides between the chambers so that where the cylinder needs the steel to withstand magnum pressure, it has it. The rest is milled away, making it a mere suggestion when concealed.

This combination does change the fulcrum of the K6s compared to similar revolvers I’ve shot, but not drastically so. The center of gravity is before the trigger, as opposed to behind. This actually balances it better in your hand—while leaving enough material forward to prevent it from becoming a beast when shooting hot loads.

In Control

With a self-defense pedigree, Kimber aimed at intuitiveness with the K6s from the start and carries it over to the Target. Its push-button cylinder release is especially welcome, making reloads fast when the situation calls for it. However, the gun doesn’t boast a full-length ejector rod. This is a point of contention for some (I personally prefer one), but perhaps a minor one, given that most emergency reloads involve tilting the rear of the cylinder groundward. Gravity helps make up the deficit.

The hammer spur is high—fractions of an inch below the rear sight when down. This is, I’m sure, a function of the gun evolving from a “carry” concept. Yet, it’s still within reach to cock the Target into single-action mode quickly with either thumb. It also has plenty of real estate to apply leverage. Additionally, Kimber includes a very positive conical pattern on the spur, which, with even minimal thumb flesh, is aggressive enough to ensure cocking.

A fully adjustable target rear sight allows the shooter to dial in the K6s. However, dovetailed in and a gutter at Target’s frame means the gun is compatible with Kimber’s low-rise combat sights.
A fully adjustable target rear sight allows the shooter to dial in the K6s. However, dovetailed in and a gutter at Target’s frame means the gun is compatible with Kimber’s low-rise combat sights.

The reward for doing so is an exceptional single-action trigger—which might be the highlight of the whole K6s setup. Kimber has won kudos far and wide for its early revolvers’ double-action trigger pull. I’ll attest to that as a result of my time with the Target and snubbie K6s models, it’s excellent. Yes, it’s long and heavy (around 10 pounds), but it’s also smooth as silk and stageable if you so desire.

As nice as it is, it pales to the revolver’s single action. Tripping at the low end of 3 pounds, it’s the nearest thing to a hair trigger you’ll get out of a production revolver. And, as you’d expect, it does wonders on upping the revolver’s overall accuracy potential.

Hand-Eye Coordination

What makes the Target model the “Target model” is its sights and grips.
As you might have gathered, the sights are target sights with a fully adjustable rear for windage and elevation. Here, Kimber has textured the rear of the plate to flatten it and ensure no glare. Up front is a steep ramp front sight with a bold-orange fiber-optic pipe that really catches and keeps the eye. Conveniently, both are replaceable—the rear is dovetailed into the frame, and the front is pinned to the barrel. And Kimber does have a selection of sight upgrades, including night combat sights.

As to the K6s Target’s grips, they’re a rich walnut with a satin finish and ample diamond checkering. Combined with contours on the rear of the frame, they provide a fairly positive grip and excellent access to the controls. You can get a solid high grip with the layout, thanks to an undercut trigger guard (which, incidentally, is large enough to comfortably run with gloves). And, while the grips run on the small side, even for a guy with medium-sized hands such as myself, they won’t muddle up a traditional two-handed grip.

Dropping the Hammer

For my range exercise, I ran four different rounds through the K6s Target, striving for a cross-section of target and defensive ammunition. Given that the gun is more than fit for either, it seemed fair to go this route. The choices included 158-grain Speer Gold Dot, 130-grain Federal HST in .38 Special +P, 125-grain Sig Elite Performance FMJ and 110-grain Winchester white box JHP.

K6s Target Specs

No matter what the gun grazed on, it didn’t disappoint. Across the board, the 4-inch K6s produced the results you’d expect from a gun in this class, with no group average exceeding 2.5 inches when shooting at 25 yards off a fixed rest in single-action mode. It particularly shined with the Winchester ammo, which produced the best single group at of the day—1.6 inches—and the best overall average, at 1.8 inches.

Running the gun closer in free fire, the double-action trigger lived up to my expectations from dry-firing and previous encounters with other K6s snubbies. Especially with lighter to moderate loads, I could run the gun fast and accurately—a tribute, in part, to the excellent sights Kimber has mounted on the gun. This, in my book, further heartened my belief that the K6s has the chops as a well-equipped self-defense gun.

One concern I had heading out was the lack of texture in the sight radius, given the stainless steel construction. This was unfounded: The frame’s satin finish was more than enough to dissuade any glare, even on a cloudless, bluebird day. Overall, the grips were the only hang-up for me.

As mentioned earlier in this article, they were slimmer than I prefer—a fact backed up when I shot some of the hotter and heavy ammo. However, I don’t believe this is a deal-breaker; it’s simply more of a personal preference.

Parting Shot

Bringing a full revolver lineup to fruition, Kimber has done a great service to the gun-shooting world … for a price ($989 MSRP). Is the gun worth that? Yes: I very much think so. Bringing it to this point with a full-sized revolver fit for concealed carry is a boon for the armed citizen.

Kimber K6s Target Specs
Height: 5.25
Weight (ounces): 25.5
Width (inches): 1.39
Length (inches): 8.62
Cylinder capacity: 6
Action: DA/SA
Frame Material: Stainless Steel
Finish: Engraved over Brushed Stainless, Serrated backstrap
Barrel Length (inches): 4
Material: Stainless Steel
Finish: Engraved over Brushed Stainless
Sights: Compact Target Adjustable
Radius (inches): 6.1
Grips: Extended 3 Finger Grip, Diamond Checkering
Double Action Factory setting (approx. pounds): 9.5 – 11.5
Single Action Factory setting (approx. pounds): 3.25 – 4.25
MSRP: $989

For more information on the Kimber K6s Target, please visit kimberamerica.com.

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the August 2020 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.


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Elwood Shelton is the Digital Editor for Gun Digest. He lives in Colorado and has provided coverage on a vast spectrum of topics for GD for more than a decade. Before that, he was an award-winning sports and outdoors reporter for a number of newspapers across the Rocky Mountains. His experience has consisted of covering the spread of chronic wasting disease into the Western Slope of Colorado to the state’s ranching for wildlife programs. His passion for shooting began at a young age, fostered on pheasant hunts with his father. Since then, he has become an accomplished handloader, long-range shooter and avid hunter—particularly mule deer and any low-down, dirty varmint that comes into his crosshairs. He is a regular contributor to Gun Digest Magazine and has contributed to various books on guns and shooting, most recently Lever-Actions: A Tribute to the All-American Rifle.


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