The Most Interesting thing from SHOT SHOW 2016


This is something I don’t think anyone saw coming… the most interesting thing at the 2016 SHOT Show was a snub-nose revolver.  I don’t think a new snubby has been the most most interesting new gun for the year since maybe the 60’s.  Or when the SP101 came out.
The Kimber K6 is a pleasant surprise though.  It’s the same size and weight as a S&W 640.  Yet it has a 6 round cylinder.  That’s a significant upgrade.  But that’s really not the point.

The question is if a little revolver is still a viable self defense option.  If the answer is yes, then this is certainly the most viable option.   So… to the question.  Is a revolver viable?
The round we’re working with here is the .357 Magnum.  A cartridge that was the most significant advancement in handgunning since the 9mm Luger.   And speaking of the 9mm Luger, it is the chief self defense cartridge choice these days and the most over rated at that.  Comparing most 9mm self defense pistols to .357 Mag options it’s hard to find an apples to apples.   Generally speaking though, the .357 Magnum will hit about 100 to 200 FPS faster and harder with similar bullet weights out of similar barrel lengths.   This is a big advantage in exterior and terminal ballistics for a handgun.  And you want as much of that as possible.  The biggest advantage though comes in the heavier Magnum loadings with bullets that can weight almost twice that of some of new hottness 9mm loads.
Now combine the flexibility of a wide variety of ammunition for your selection.  Now mix that in with a firing platform that is inherently reliable and accurate.   You trade some capacity in exchange for greater power, accuracy, and reliability.   But is that really a big deal?  kimber-k6s-cylinder-1
Most self defense shootings are between 1.2 and 1.8 rounds, depending on the source of the stats.  What do they have in common?  The 1.  Generally the one who hits first wins.   That being the case, that 1 hit needs to be as big of a hit as you can make it.  So yes, indeed, .357 Magnum is a great option for self defense.
In the realm of small snub nose .357 Magnum revolvers, the K6 is going to be a great choice.  And it’s not just because it’s a +1.  It’s a premium quality revolver that’s priced less than something from S&W’s Performance Center, yet is reported to be smoother.   And the K6 is cool looking.  Solid stainless construction, no MIM, and all made in the USA… and it’s a plus one… Yeah, I really like it.

16 thoughts on “The Most Interesting thing from SHOT SHOW 2016”

  1. yea Kimber putting out a revolver was one of the last things most people would think…but what a way to keep people on their toes. Other than the 6 shot capacity, I like the cylinder flats which would both contribute to more comfortable carry (against the body) and also help lower its profile while tucked under a shirt. I’d definitely give it a look if I see one at a local shop.

    1. Just glad that someone finally thought to put real sights on it. I love my J frames but their tiny sights limit them.

  2. Feels like a J Frame and a Ruger had a baby.

    Interested depending on the MSRP. I’ve heard $750 plus which is way too much.
    Can’t see this being better than a Detective Special or a 686.

    1. You raise valid points. But let’s see here… A Colt Detective Special? If you find a decent one in good enough condition to carry, it’s going to be worth a lot more.
      A 686 is going to be priced close, and it’s going to be a lot bigger. Remember, this is the same size and weight as a J-Frame, not the bigger and heavier 686… so that’s a big advantage.
      The K6 really does fill a gap in the market, and it’s not priced too high, either. It’s actually priced surprisingly good.

  3. i think this is absolutely bitchin. almost like they read my mind. not sure if anyone else noticed this but to me this is a combination of the best features of a smith and wesson 642 and a ruger sp101. the beveled edges, good sights, and extra 1 round are bonuses.

    1. If you are a Revolver Guy, then yes… this is indeed bitchin. If you are not a Revolver Guy, then it’s going to fall flat for you.
      Me? I’m jazzed about this.

      1. I love many revolvers and have shot many yet havnt owned one yet. I’ve always wanted a snub. Just never found the one that was for me. If this is as good as it looks it might be my first. Obviously for a specific purpose…

  4. Hmm, short barrel gives low ballistic function, 200 FPS maybe above a standard 9mm of similar weight, hot +P or +P+ 9mm of the same weight in smaller gun push velocity well into low/med .357 velocity in four inch guns. 9mm near twice the capacity generally even in the smallest guns and much more controllable in rapid fire or follow up shots, as well as cost considerations. Modern sub engineering on projectiles make distinguishing between 9mm, .40 and .45 on an autopsy table very difficult, (FBI returning to 9mm dumping .40 and .45 only for SRT units in CQB). Gun size and weight factors for small or female shooters dealing with recoil, massive flash and blast issues. Modern autopsy results show after a certain level of ballistic power its diminishing returns on impact. Sure you can down size the power of the short barrel .357’s but then what’s the advantage? Don’t get me wrong I have a SP101 .357 snubbie but it would not be in the top three for a carry gun. Sorry Ogre the snub .357 revolver is old tech., it might be sufficient for your needs and if it floats your boat go for it but the graph lines of power/control/efficiency/size/weight/capacity don’t stop at the snub station anymore. Nice looking gun though, price is nuts .

  5. Hate to tell you George, but your ballistics are off. In general you’d be right about .357 Mag having an advantage over 9mm Luger when it comes to muzzle energy but you’ve forgotten that we’re talking about a snub-nose here.

    Factory .357 loads have slower burning powder and a larger case volume than a 9mm round of comparable bullet weight. In longer barrels, where there’s enough burn time, the .357 will be able to develop full pressure and be significantly more powerful than a 9mm. In super-short barrels, however, the smaller, faster, more tightly packed 9mm is going to do better. For a quick demonstration check out these two graphs:

    Bottom line: with its 2″ barrel the Kimber K6 is actually going to deliver LESS muzzle energy than a 9mm. Maybe as much as 50-100 ft-lbf. It’s basic physics.

    1. And it would seem 9mm does even better because Auto Barrels are measured at the muzzle to the breach and revolvers are measured from the forcing cone. But you go from 2 inches to 3 and the .357 Magnum gains major ground. Still… The numbers in the charts (Not just the graphs) are interesting. The only real 1 to 1 numbers that are comparable are at the 125 bullet weights. And at that, you’ve got the Corbon +P load. Which is a far cry different than the other loads. Yeah… you can play with the numbers to be argumentative… But you miss my point about flexibility.

    2. The flexibility is nice, and I certainly don’t miss that, but I was addressing erroneous claims of higher muzzle energy. You’re correct about the differences in barrel length measurement techniques but you neglect the fact that revolvers also have cylinder gap issues that can rob 50+ FPS depending on the ammunition and the particular gun.

      Of course if you’d really like to get into the nitty-gritty of comparing revolvers to semis it’s worth mentioning the fact that design considerations also tend to make a 2″ barrel revolver equivalent to a 3″ barrel semi when it comes to overall length (due to that pesky cylinder thing where you might otherwise like to put a grip).

      All of that aside, though, I really brought it up because I find that people tend to ignore anything but the simplest physics when they play Cartridge Wars. Especially if it doesn’t benefit the round they’ve decided to back. Too many people, including industry “experts” who should really know better, have given me simple, linear “rules” to relate muzzle energy to barrel length. In reality, though, it’s always a curve and that’s important to understand. Those oversimplifications often work okay in the middle of the range but when you get to extremes (snubbies and carbines in the case of pistols) you can find yourself getting a lot less than you bargained for. All in all it probably rarely matters but when it comes to self defense I like to make fully, correctly informed decisions.

  6. i think the biggest advantages with this particular snub are comfort and concealable, enclosed DOA hammer design as opposed to the open DOA trimmed hammer sp101 for the reason you do not get lint or other shit built up in those moving parts areas, all stainless instead of aluminum or plastic, and IMO its not a bad thing that the shell case stays with you as opposed to autos…interpret that how you may. as far as ballistics it will make a hole, and i dont think the the guy bleeding out from the hole will know the difference.

  7. I’m not big on a revolver with DAO. I paid a $50 premium for a S&W M-638-3 over the DAO models.

    I think the accuracy advantage of having the single action available is a good thing.

    My wife annexed my original M-38 Bodyguard Airweight and I wanted a replacement.

    Kimber essentially built a classic snubby, I would hope for something new.

    Who notes the Ruger LCR 3″ was unavailable for comparison.

  8. Maybe also of note at SHOT would have been the new-from-Springfield EMP4 I just discovered. Has the Ogre handled one?

    Always with EMP before (& p938, etc.): “… meh- too snubby.” Something a little… meatier… approaching the size of a single stack HP, but still with the finesse of the 1911 system.
    With the EMP4, Springfield has finally done exactly that.

    Now Dat’s what I’m talkin bout!

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