Yeah I don't like to lead with a kick either. I would usually like to push whoever I'm against back with a combo before I throw off a kick. I'd always really go with my hands first, unless it's a leg kick, but against I feel that you do better putting that on the end of a hand combo. In karate the only time I lead with a kick is a half step lead round kick which I'll use as a distraction for a straight to the body.
I'm probably the best at keeping threads on topic of all time.