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Revolver Report: New Wheelguns for 2017

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A number of new revolvers are creating quite a stir in those who love the venerable 6-shooter. Lots of anticipation about what we're going to see next week at SHOT Show 2017. Until then though, we'll give you a quick rundown on some of the…

Industry News: New Wheelguns for 2017


1. The Kimber 6s

Kimber K6S New for 2017

Kimber's new wheelgun offering is to found in the 6S line. It's a small framed, two inch barrel built for .357, and available in a few different styles (hammer, no hammer, wood grips or Crimson Trace Lasergrips, etc.). It's DAO, features a 1.39 in. diameter cylinder, and a match grade trigger. It weighs 23 oz. unloaded, and was at least partially designed with influence from master wheelgunner Grant Cunningham (which is, we reckon, a Good Thing).

Here's what Kimber tells us about it.

Kimber 6S: Kimber has Evolved the Revolver

The K6S revolver brings an unmatched level of performance and shootability to concealed carry.

With the smallest cylinder capable of holding 6 rounds of .357 Magnum (also compatible with .38 Special), K6s compact revolvers are ideal for back-up, concealed carry and home defense.

The Kimber K6s’ small frame, two-inch barrel and 1.39 inch diameter cylinder are machined from the finest stainless steel for superior integrity, strength, and resistance to the elements. The Kimber K6s offers other important design features, such as: a smooth match-grade trigger that creates confidence while helps ensure accuracy; an internal hammer and edges that are rounded and blended to help prevent a hang up when the revolver is removed from concealment; superior ergonomics and grip design that creates an extremely shooter-friendly experience; and an all stainless steel construction weighing in at 23 ounces.

Kimber 6S Revolver 2

“A 357 magnum is a good weapon, but I've seen 38's bounce off of windshieds. No good in a city like this.” Detective Harry Callahan, San Francisco Police Department, 1971

You can choose from the following models:

• The limited edition K6s First Edition (with “mirror polished finish” and Pao Ferro wood grips)

K6S Stainless (rubber grip and satin finish)

• the K6S Stainlss (LG) with CT laser grips

K6S Stainless (NS) with brushed stainless finish and 3-dot tritium sights

• the K6S DCR Deluxe Carry Revolver with Millenium rosewood grips and fiber-optic front sight, and

MSRP on the new revolvers ranges from $899 to $2,039. You can see what people are saying about the Kimber 6S on their Instagram account, @kimberamerica. Some are happily heralding its arrival; others worry how the comparatively lightweight weapons will hold up to sustained abuse from Magnum rounds. Go back and read the preview from last year's SHOT Show right here.




2. The Colt .38 Cobra


Historic gun-maker Colt has resurrected the double-action Colt Cobra for 2017. It's the first time in years Colt has built wheelguns. This has made many, many revolverphiles very happy indeed. It's a stainless steel, small-framed handgun, suitable for (some folks) concealment, and weighs just a smidge over 1.5 lbs. unloaded. It's rated for .39SPL+P, and features a Hogue overmolded grip, red fiber optic front sight and frame trench rear sight. It's built with a Linear Leafe mainspring design, transfer-bar safety, and a six-groove two inch barrel with a 1:14 left hand twist.

Here's what Colt tells about it.

Colt .38 Cobra: Colt's Legendary Double-Action Revolvers Return

The Colt Cobra® marks Colt's triumphant return to the world of double-action revolvers. Its small frame and 2″ barrel make it ideal for concealed carry. The Cobra® features all-steel construction, as well as a rubber wrapped grip that's been moved rearward to help manage recoil. The Cobra® is chambered in .38 Special and is +P capable. This firearm was designed to meet the needs of new shooters and seasoned professionals alike. It's easy and enjoyable to shoot, easy to carry, and draws from the fine lineage that make Colt revolvers special.

Fiber Optic Front Sight
LL2™ Trigger System
Colt Branded Rubber Grip
.38 Special (+P Capable), Six Round Capacity
2″ Barrel Length


Photo courtesy of Mark Keefe

You can find the .38 DA Colt Cobra spec sheet online here. Colt's on Facebook at /ColtFirearms/. They're on Instragram too, @coltfirearms. Maybe watching those freqs will answer the obvious question – will there be more snake guns? If so, when? You might also watch the Colt Forum.



3. Two New Rugers



For their part, Ruger is adding two new wheelguns to the handgun lineup; one each to the GP100 and Redhawk familes. The former is a revolver chambered in .44 Special (yes, .44 Special, not .44 Magnum), while the latter is an eight round revolver chambered in .357 Magnum. Both feature elevation and windage adjustable rear sights, but there all but the obvious similarities end.

Here's how Ruger (whom some of us remember as Sturm, Ruger & Co, spells out the difference.

Ruger Announces Additions to GP100 and Redhawk Families

“The five-round, big-bore GP100 has a three-inch, full-shrouded barrel and offers the perfect balance of size and weight. This new introduction is sure to bring a whole new level of interest in shooting the venerable .44 Special.

The all-stainless steel GP100 in .44 Special absorbs recoil and comes back on target quickly whether shooting cowboy loads or higher velocity defensive loads. The smooth Hogue® Monogrip® without finger grooves is attached to the proprietary Ruger® grip frame and is sure to fit nearly all hand sizes and shapes. The grip frame allows for a quick change to custom grip configurations, many of which are available from

The newest stainless steel model of Redhawk combines an 8-round cylinder, a 2.75 inch barrel and round butt, hardwood grips to create a package that is powerful and reasonably compact with very manageable recoil. The .357 Magnum Redhawk is equipped with Altamont hardwood grips that fit nearly any size hand and allow the revolver to roll in the hand during recoil. The unfluted cylinder incorporates a recessed ejector, allowing shooters to quickly load the revolver with the use of full moon clips. Three full moon clips are shipped with each .357 Magnum Redhawk revolver. Additional full moon clips and speed loaders are available at

Both new revolvers feature windage and elevation adjustable rear sights. The GP100 in .44 Special features a green fiber optic dot set in black square post front sight, which provides for quick sight acquisition and offers a crisp sight picture. The Redhawk in .357 Magnum features a red ramp front sight that is readily replaceable with other front sight blades available on”

You can find Ruger on Facebook at /Ruger/ if you're looking for more info than what's on the website. They're also on Instagram, @rugersofficial.



Yeah, but how do they shoot?

Ed Head recently reviewed the new .44 Special Ruger GP100 on Downrange TV if you'd like some feedback on it. You can find that here. We've included an excerpt below.

“In 1986 when the GP100 was introduced as a .357 Magnum it went head to head in competing with the L-frame Smith & Wesson 686 for a share of the police revolver market. The two revolvers are very similar dimensionally, and as a matter of fact you can use the same speed loaders and holsters for either revolver. While I think the GP100 may be a bit stronger, the 686 can hold up with high-pressure loads, as Smith & Wesson released a 5 shot version in .44 Magnum about a year ago. So where does that leave us with the GP100? I think it will handle any .44 Special load, including some pretty hot handloads. The folks at Ruger must have anticipated this, as they strengthened the cylinder by eliminating the usual flutes. That’s not to say I’m recommending the use of extreme loads – they aren’t necessary. The “sweet spot”, for the .44 Special is flinging big, heavy bullets at moderate velocity. As it turns out, this is exactly what’s needed for defensive use against man and most beasts.”

Mark Keefe wrote a review of the new .38 DA Colt Cobra on the NRA's American Rifleman website, if you're looking to see how it performed. You can find that story here. Here's an excerpt.

“Colt spent some serious time trying to get this gun right. They knew they only had one shot after a decades-long double-action hiatus. Some changes include trigger geometry. When you look at the new cobra you can see that the trigger rides on a pin more centrally located in the frame. And it is straighter than one might expect. Colt wanted to use the trigger of the Python as the baseline for what it wanted in the new Cobra. They have graphs, charts other tests that resemble a pathological liar’s polygraph test saying that they have determined this revolver’s trigger is right in there with the well-regarded Pythons. I would add, perhaps, that looking at how the bolt and hand are put in, there may just be less chance of this gun going out of time like a Python.”

Fred Mastison took a look at Kimber's lone revolver, the Kimber K6S, on Personal Defense World. That review can be read in its entirety right here. You can read some of what he concluded below.

“Next on the list of notables is the double-action-only (DAO) trigger. The trigger on the revolver I tested was surprisingly smooth, with a clean break at the end. Although the trigger pull is listed as weighing 9.5 to 10.5 pounds, you would never guess it. It’s butter smooth and had no jerky take-up or roughness at any point. In fact, the smooth, non-stacking nature of the action makes it easy to stage the trigger for precision shooting. Some might snicker at the words “revolver” and “precision” being used in the same article, but the K6s performed well beyond what I expected and better than revolvers twice its size.”

•Now, know what someone needs to build us next? Here's a hint. It rhymes with Le Mat.

Ed Harris LeMat Westworld-2

This has been an installment of RECOILweb Industry News.

From the RECOIL staff:

Though they've been around for centuries, wheelguns aren't going away any time soon. Here some suggestions for study, training, and learning about revolvers.

Follow Michael De Bethancourt's Snub Training. Some great information on there, and quite frequently too.

“I spent much of this week working on improving the Spring's force-on-force drills. It is notable how nearly every shooter working on this project is a skilled shooter against paper. But add sudden, loud noises, interactive participants, and even a small reduction in available light and even the best shooters (i. e. fighters) find that their on demand skills are reduced by about 90%. In one drill we set the shooters against three unknown individuals – and even after explicitly informing them that one was an armed, off-duty officer and another was an unarmed witness – most shooters preformed very poorly. Hopefully in the near future force-on-force programs will come into their own and produce a new generation of safer, smarter, and more skilled gun owners.” MDB

You should be dialed in on Revolver Science, and keep eye on Agile Training and Consulting and the The Tactical Professor as well.

If you do, you'll wind up with good stuff like this, correcting one of the greatest misnomers there is about revolvers:

Remedial Action Revolver Kit

“If you spend any amount of time shooting revolvers you’ve no doubt discovered that revolvers can be , uh, fickle. Some days, they work with the perfection and regularity of a Swiss watch, and other days, they are like the Fiat of guns. This can be really frustrating! There are times where I want to throw the offending wheelgun into the nearest body of water, and simply press-on with life, using a semi-automatic pistol.

To combat the issues I experience regularly shooting revolvers, I’ve become accustomed to carrying several tools that make them, ‘run,' more efficiently, and allow me to clear common stoppages that inhibit proper functioning.  To think about this fundamentally, remember that to load and unload a revolver, you essentially have to disassemble it partway, swing the guts out one side, eject the spent cases, and then recharge the chambers, put the gun back together, and get back to it shooting.” Dr. Sherman House; read the remainder here.

Or this, giving you some ideas on training:

Out the door dryfire practice session

Several people have asked me to elaborate on my out the door dryfire practice session mentioned in my Resource Constrained Environment PDN article. Here it is:

Short barreled revolver – Advanced Daily Dry Fire Practice Session

•3 yards – two targets, two yards apart

•Begin holstered – two body shots and one head shot on right target, then two head shots on left target in six seconds.

•Begin holstered – Strong hand only, two body shots and one head shot on right target in three seconds.

•Transfer weapon to support hand.

•From low ready, support hand only – one head shot on left target, then one head shot on right target, in two seconds.
•7 yards – two targets, two yards apart.

•Begin holstered – two body shots + one head shot on right target, step right, two head shots on left target, 7 seconds.

•Begin holstered – two body shots + one head shot on right target, step left, two head shots on left target, 7 seconds.

•Begin holstered – two body shots + one head shot on right target, kneel, then two head shots on left target, 7 seconds.

Done with iron sights only, my recording of this takes 2 minutes 10 seconds. For two sessions, one with laser and one with iron sights only, the recording is 4:36. The targets I use are LET Photo targets cut to the size of an FBI Q.

This session was adapted from the Atlanta Police Department Second Weapon Qualification Course. I tightened up the standards a bit, though.”  Claude Werner, Tactical Professor

It would also be a good idea to read Rich Grassi's articles on The Tactical Wire. Here's an example right here.

“Revolvers are terrific for a range of uses. Smaller versions are better pocket guns due to shape and form allowing easily acquired grip on the gun in pocket holsters. Smaller calibers, while featuring necessarily stiffer hammer springs, are light in recoil and – with proper technique – can quickly bring misery on an attacker with no misses.

Something to look for on a defense revolver – whether it's field defense or carry on the street – is a fluted cylinder. The flutes between chambers are handy as a tactile reference used when loading the gun in adverse light conditions or when your eyes are otherwise occupied.”  Rich Grassi

History buff? Watch and read Ian McCollum talk about revolvers on Forgotten Weapons. If you like wheelguns, you'll be able to spend days on this site.

Just getting started? You might be interested in this (very) simple video.



What is the NSSF SHOT Show?

The NSSF SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show) and Conference is an annual event held by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Typically attended by thousands of people from all 50 states and over a hundred countries, it is (quite rightfully) described as the “…world's premier exposition of combined firearms, ammunition, law enforcement, cutlery, outdoor apparel, optics, and related products and services.

Imagine the Worlds' Fair, but packed with everything from mini-guns and every breed of body armor, bows and boots; from eye pro and ear pro to optics and ordnance, socks to swords…you get the idea. If you'd like to see a sampling of the companies who will be showing at this year's SHOT, there's a live map right here, though it doesn't reflect the organizations set up elsewhere, in hotel suites, etc

View imagery from our coverage of last year's SHOT Show here; 2015's is right here.

SHOT 2017 Schedule

January 15 — Special invite-only events; Veterans Training Fund/Wishes for Warriors at The Ranch, SIG Sauer Range Day, and others
January 16 — Media on the Range, Boulder City Rifle & Pistol Club
January 17 — 20, 2016

Sands Expo and Convention Center
Las Vegas, Nevada
Tuesday, January 17 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, January 18 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, January 19 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Friday, January 20 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.


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