Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Rhode Island
As hinted at in a previous post, I decided to step away from my semi-automatic obsession and take a look at a couple of revolvers that I had been considering for a while.
I bought a Taurus 856 Ultra Light (all black, shrouded hammer) on Gunbroker. So I've got a .38+P now that carries 6 vs. 5 rounds from my S&W J-frames.
But because I had an itch that I just couldn't scratch, I arranged a trade with Bud's Guns....my J-frame .357 plus a bit of cash for a NIB Kimber K6s. And, as I was waiting for it to arrive, I got lucky and scored a set of night sights for the Kimber (they are almost always sold out).
I took delivery of both a few days ago. It was like Christmas in June!
First impressions: the Taurus is very nice in the hand...LOVE the rubber grips. The DAO trigger is a bit heavy, but not awful and certainly manageable (I bought a set of trigger springs that promise to cut that pull weight, but my gunsmith was so backed up with work that I had to take it home before he could install it. Gonna bring it back when I return the Kimber for the night sight install.) No idea how durable the Taurus finish will be, but it sure looks nice out of the box...a bit more matte than the M&P 340 I just traded. And this thing is very light. On paper it is heavier than my 642 or 340, but it sure doesn't feel like it. Mechanically, everything feels tight and precise.
As to the Kimber...I think I'm in love. It's a real work of art, with beautiful lines, impeccable machining, and amazingly melting (seems like there isn't a single sharp edge). Great 3-dot sights...unusual on a little revolver like this. And that trigger! Butter-smooth, no stacking, and it just begs to be staged for precision work. It is noticeably heavier than the Taurus, but I carried it around the house in my J-frame AIWB holster (a bit snug, but pretty close to perfect) and it rides quite well.
The game plan was to get both out for a range session ASAP. I had several different brands of both .38 and .357 to try, and I wanted to see if shooting .357 out of the Kimber was more feasible than it was for the 340. If so, the Kimber would probably be my EDC choice moving forward. If it still seemed overly painful or if followup shots were still unmanageable, then my hope was that the Taurus (not as pretty, but perfectly acceptable and apparently well-made) would fill that role with an acceptable SD load.
A couple of days ago, I finally got a chance to try out my new toys. Brought the Kimber and Taurus to the range with a boatload of different ammo choices in .357 and 38...and, on a lark, decided to bring along my last remaining J-frame, the 642 that I carried for 10 years as a BUG/light-duty gun.*.
First up, the Kimber. What an amazing gun. It is definitely stout enough to tame every .357 round I put through it (although the Con Bon was pretty stout). The trigger was amazing for follow-up shots, and those big 3-dot sights are so easy to bring on target. Unlike my J-frame .357, I didn't dread putting a lot of rounds downrange, and my hand wasn't crying on the way home. On a lark, I finished my range session by shoot a couple of cylinders of ammo at steel plates from 25 yards. The Kimber is no sniper's tool, but it is perfectly competent at extended distances...certainly those at the every farthest edges of what you may need for 99.999% of SD work. Also, I should add that while I'm not I'm usually not a fan of rubber grips, given how good this pistol feels in the hand, I'd be reticent to change anything about it. The only downside of the entire experience was how I was kicking myself for not buying one of these sooner.
Next up, the Taurus. Compared to the Kimber, this little revolver certainly suffered by comparison. It certainly isn't as pretty, and the controls all feel just a bit rougher. It was flawless in execution, however, and certainly much better at handling hot .38 +P loads than comparable Smith & Wessons. All of the SD ammos functioned well, and only the Buffalo Bore 158 gr soft lead semi-wadcutter ammo was really too hot to shoot comfortable (although my Kimber ate it up). The only difficulty I really experienced was that the brass seemed reluctant to eject from the cylinder, and the trigger really seemed to stiffen up the more I shot it. Otherwise, while not a beauty queen, the Taurus was entirely acceptable as a SD pistol. It may not be the pistol you lust for, but it is an affordable and viable EdC option.
A couple of post scripts:
p.s. I have since cleaned up the Kimber and carried it around town for a few errands. To my surprise, in jeans and a bison EDC belt with the revolver in a suede AIWB holster, I completely forgot that the revolver was even on my waist. No printing, and no discomfort (even when driving, which is the toughest test for EDC set-ups. Damn, K6s, where have you been all my life?!
p.p.s. I cleaned the Taurus, too, and couldn't believe how much gunk I was getting on my swabs and patches. I realized that the revolver had apparently been treated at the factory with some kind of coating/grease. I spent a good amount of time cleaning it up with Ballistol and spraying some Eezox into the interior, and when I was done it seemed like a different pistol...everything felt smoother and required less effort. No, it still isn't the Kimber, but it's pretty darn good for a revolver that holds 6 rounds and costs less than $300. Should I ever find my Kimber to be just too heavy to carry, the Taurus will fill that role nicely.
p.p.p.s. After writing this, it occurred to me that I never mentioned reliability. And isn't that the really beauty of revolvers? No magazine spring issues or feed ramp hangups or ammo compatibility or recoil spring fatigue?? Both revolvers fired every round I fed them, without complaint or issue. And let me tell you, after a 3+ year quest to find a decent, smaller EDC pistol, that is not insignificant. I remember driving back from the range after too many sessions filled with frustration because my latest micro pistol was refusing to operate reliably. Heck, I still have few that remain ammo-picky. No such thing with properly-functioning revolver.
*It wasn't until I was on my ride home that I realized that I never even shot the S&W. It pains me to say it, but I think my new purchases have made it irrelevant, except as a memento from my career.