Three decades ago, Kimber Manufacturing set out to reinvent one of the most popular pistol designs of all time, the Colt 1911. That’s an ambitious goal for a relatively new brand, but Kimber managed to not only leave their mark on the 1911 world but quickly became the top producer of 1911 pistols in the world. Now, Kimber has their sights set on dominating another subset of the handgun market with the introduction of their single-action/double-action K6s DASA Combat .357 Magnum revolver.
The new DASA Combat model shares much of the same architecture with Kimber’s previous K6s compact revolver including a forged and machined stainless-steel construction, the smoothest DA trigger pull in the class, and a compact cylinder with scalloped edges. Those scalloped edges help make the K6s the thinnest 6-shot .357 Magnum revolver on the market with a cylinder diameter of just 1.39 inches. The K6s DASA Combat offers .357 Magnum punch in a package that’s thinner than some single-stack 9mm semiautos. What’s more, the scalloped edges eliminate the rounded cylinder profile that causes most carry revolvers to print. The K6s DASA blends substantial stopping power with unrivaled concealability.
In addition to being the thinnest 6-shot .357 Magnum, the K6s DASA Combat also is one of the lightest revolvers in this class, weighing just 29 ounces unloaded. However, the Kimber remains well-balanced and is capable of handling full-power .357 Magnum loads comfortably. Of course, the .357 Magnum K6s DASA also allows the shooter to fire .38 Special loads, which produce very mild recoil, perfect for new shooters or extended practice sessions at the range. The energy spectrum with available .38 Special/.357 Magnum loads is far greater than that of semiauto ammo, adding to the K6s DASA Combat’s versatility.
Kimber’s use of premium-quality coil springs and superior machining and design have earned previous K6s revolvers a reputation for being the smoothest-shooting double-action revolvers on the market. The new K6s DASA Combat is equally refined, with a single-action trigger pull of 3.5 pounds and a double-action trigger pull of just 10.4 pounds. That means the Kimber’s double-action pull weight is two pounds lighter than competing revolvers. Perhaps more importantly, Kimber’s non-stacking pull is far smoother than its rivals. In single-action, the trigger is as light, crisp, and clean as those found in premium target pistols.
The edges of the K6s DASA Combat’s barrel and frame have been rounded so that there isn’t a sharp edge on this revolver. The one-piece 4-inch barrel and integral underlug are oval when viewed in cross-section, and the frame edges are also rounded off. This attention to detail helps improve concealability and reduces a bit of weight, but perhaps most importantly the rounded edges add to the K6s’ classy, premium look. Kimber clearly isn’t just adding another revolver to their catalog but is making a play for the top spot in the market.
The K6s DASA Combat’s clean, brushed stainless finish cuts glare and looks good, and it will stand up well to exposure to perspiration and moisture while the gun is being carried. The metal finish contrasts nicely with Kimber’s walnut laminate grips which feature finger grooves and diamond checkering. The grip is rounded for improved concealability without sacrificing so much grip space that shooters with large hands can comfortably hold the gun. As with other K6s revolvers, the Combat version’s rectangular cylinder latch is located on the left side of the frame and, when pressed inward (the simplest and most logical design, especially when you’re trying to reload in a hurry) the cylinder swings to the left. The rectangular hammer spur is angled sharply back and easy to access. The rear sight is dovetailed into the frame and can be adjusted for drift while the front sight is pinned. The three-dot design makes these sights easy to see even in poor light and the rear sight’s low, snag-free profile won’t impede your draw.
With its 4-inch barrel the K6s DASA Combat measures 8.62 inches long, almost exactly the same as a full-size Kimber 1911. The DASA Combat is slightly shorter than its full-size 1911 brandmates; the K6s measures 5 inches high while the Kimber Custom II 1911 measures 5.25 inches. That also makes the K6s DASA Combat the easiest 4-inch .357 to carry concealed, and with an MSRP of $970, the DASA Combat is competitively priced in the premium revolver segment.
Performance at the Range
The Kimber K6s DASA Combat offers a 6.1-inch sight plane, and that makes this one of the most accurate .357 Magnum revolvers still suitable for concealed carry. The muzzle blast with .357 defensive loads is potent, but the DASA K6s Combat isn’t abusive to fire and isn’t particularly hard to control. Accuracy at 25 yards proved to be around 2 inches on average with .357 Mag loads, with the best five-shot group measuring 1.6 inches from a sandbag rest at that distance. That’s more accuracy than you need from a defensive pistol, but I’ve yet to hear anyone complain that their personal protection firearm shot too well.
With .38 Special loads, the DASA Combat is very mild mannered, and the extra barrel length helps wring maximum velocity from .38 defensive loads and improve downrange energy. When fired in single-action mode, the K6s DASA Combat is very accurate for a revolver, and the smooth trigger allows it to be fired quickly and efficiently in double-action mode. There’s minimal muzzle flip thanks to the Kimber’s weight and balance, and it’s possible to fire this wheelgun almost as quickly and accurately as a subcompact 9mm. The DASA Combat certainly offers better accuracy potential than most short-barrel, ultra-light semiautos, too.
Mechanically, the K6s DASA Combat is outstanding. Operation is smooth and cylinder locks up securely. The grip helps keep the gun planted even when firing magnum loads, and you’ll learn to appreciate the iron sights when firing defensive drills. A vast improvement over the traditional gutter sights found on many defensive revolvers, the Kimber’s large white dot front sight is easy to locate in a hurry. What’s more, the adjustable rear adds a level of versatility that is absent on many competing self-defense revolvers.
The Right Revolver
This year has seen record handgun sales, and up to 70 percent of the millions of firearms sold this year were purchased by first-time owners. These new gun owners will appreciate the simplicity and reliability revolvers offer; the learning curve on a wheelgun is not nearly as steep as with a semiauto, and cleaning and maintenance chores are less involved. The K6s DASA Combat offers tried-and-true revolver durability in a right-size package that’s easy to shoot and easy to carry.
But it’s not just new shooters that will appreciate this gun. Even the most seasoned semiauto shooter can appreciate the aesthetics, build quality, and attention to detail you’ll find on the K6s DASA Combat from Kimber. What’s more, the Kimber offers excellent accuracy at a price that competes with more established brands. No handgun collection is complete without at least a few revolvers, and even the most persnickety shooter will appreciate the refined nature of the K6s DASA Combat revolver.
Some of Kimber’s competitors have had a century-long head start in the revolver business, but that hasn’t stopped Kimber from developing a class-leading wheelgun that’s among the most elite and desirable guns in this class. Is it possible Kimber will rule the revolver market as they have the 1911 segment? Time will tell, but the K6s DASA Combat is certainly a step in that direction.
Kimber K6s DASA Combat Specifications
- Action: Double-Action/Single-Action Revolver
- Caliber: .357 Magnum/.38 Special
- Capacity: 6
- Width: 1.39 inches
- Overall Length: 8.62 Inches
- Height: 5.00 Inches
- Barrel Length: 4.00 Inches
- Weight: 29 ounces (unloaded)
- Trigger Weight: 3.5 lbs (SA), 10.4 lbs (DA)
- Frame: Stainless Steel
- Grips: Checkered Walnut Laminate
- Metal Finish: Brushed Stainless
- MSRP: $970
- Contact: Kimber Manufacturing, Inc. www.kimberamerica.com, (888) 243-4522