Diamondback DB380

Description

The Diamondback DB380 is a semi-automatic pocket pistol chambered for .380 ACP. Diamondback opened its doors in 2009 and has already established a name for itself in the pocket pistol market. Most reviewers rave about the DB380’s large 3-dot sights because, unlike on other pockets, they are easy to see therefore easier to aim. And, the rear sight is adjustable for windage. However, there are other sight options. The DB380MS has machined sights, which are flatter, and depending on the shooter’s preference, would be more comfortable to carry. Also, the DB380CTC comes with the same large 3-dot sights but also a Crimson Trace laser (model LG-491). To activate the laser, all the shooter has to do is wrap a hand around the grip and a finger will naturally press the button that activates it, so the lasers works naturally.

The DB380 uses Diamondback’s patented Zero-Energy striker firing system where the trigger is the driving force behind the firing pin as opposed to spring tension. It also has a double-action only trigger, so a long pull sets off the action. The DAO and Zero-Energy striker double as the DB380’s safety because it doesn’t have a manual one. Typically concealed carry weapons have a DAO trigger because in a situation where the user needs a pocket pistol, he or she wants to react immediately whereas a safety switch would interrupt that reaction.

The DB380 is 0.75″ wide, so it’ll be comfortable for shooters to carry in a pocket or waist holster. It is available in a variety of colors and finishes. And, an extended magazine grip is available.

Its caliber .380 ACP continues to grow in popularity. It is slightly smaller than the 9mm and performs comparably to it. The major difference, besides size, is the .380 caliber is said to have less stopping power.

Diamondback recommends the DB380 for concealed carry or home defense.

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Specifications

DB380
Caliber:.380 ACP
Grip:Polymer
Capacity:6
Sights:Adjustable three-dot sights
Features:Steel trigger; and available with an extended grip
Action:Semi-auto
Material/Finish:Steel/blue
Size:Pocket
Trigger:Double-action only
Website:http://diamondbackfi…
Weight:0.55 pounds
Trigger Pull:5 pounds
Barrel Length:2.79"
Length:5.25"
Height:3.76"
DB380N
Caliber:.380 ACP
Grip:Polymer
Capacity:6
Sights:Adjustable three-dot sights
Features:Nickel coated trigger; and available with an extended grip
Action:Semi-auto
Material/Finish:Steel/two tone nickel finish
Size:Pocket
Trigger:Double-action only
Website:http://diamondbackfi…
Weight:0.55 pounds
Trigger Pull:5 pounds
Barrel Length:2.8"
Length:5.25"
Height:3.76"
DB380EXO
Caliber:.380 ACP
Grip:Polymer
Capacity:6
Sights:Adjustable three-dot sights
Features:Steel trigger; and available with an extended grip
The DB380EXO has an EXO coating, which high-performance nickel boron coating that "gives metal surfaces an extraordinary combination of hardness, abrasion resistance, and lubricity."--by UCT Coatings
Action:Semi-auto
Material/Finish:Steel/EXO coating
Size:Pocket
Trigger:Double-action only
Website:http://diamondbackfi…
Weight:0.55 pounds
Trigger Pull:5 pounds
Barrel Length:2.8"
Length:5.25"
Height:3.76"
DB380MS
Caliber:.380 ACP
Grip:Polymer
Capacity:6
Sights:Fixed sights
Features:Steel trigger; machined sights; and available with an extended grip
Action:Semi-auto
Material/Finish:Steel/blue
Size:Pocket
Trigger:Double-action only
Website:http://diamondbackfi…
Weight:0.55 pounds
Trigger Pull:5 pounds
Barrel Length:2.8"
Length:5.25"
Height:3.76"
DB380C
Caliber:.380 ACP
Grip:Polymer
Capacity:6
Sights:Adjustable three-dot sights
Features:Steel trigger; extended ported barrel; and available with an extended grip
Action:Semi-auto
Material/Finish:Steel/blue
Size:Pocket
Trigger:Double-action only
Website:http://diamondbackfi…
Weight:0.5625 pounds
Trigger Pull:5 pounds
Barrel Length:3.05"
Length:5.5"
Height:3.76"
DB380HO
Caliber:.380 ACP
Grip:Polymer
Capacity:6
Sights:Adjustable three-dot sights
Features:Steel trigger; and available with an extended grip
Action:Semi-auto
Material/Finish:Orange frame
Steel/blue
Size:Pocket
Trigger:Double-action only
Website:http://diamondbackfi…
Weight:0.55 pounds
Trigger Pull:5 pounds
Barrel Length:2.8"
Length:5.25"
Height:3.76"
DB380CTC
Caliber:.380 ACP
Grip:Polymer
Capacity:6
Sights:Adjustable three-dot sights
Features:Steel trigger; Crimson Trace laser sight; and available with an extended grip
Action:Semi-auto
Material/Finish:Steel/blue
Size:Pocket
Trigger:Double-action only
Website:http://diamondbackfi…
Weight:0.55 pounds
Trigger Pull:5 pounds
Barrel Length:2.8"
Length:5.25"
Height:3.76"
MSRP$429.00

Editor Review

Steel or Polymer?

Anyone who regularly reads my reviews knows that I like all-steel guns with a lot of style. I’m not really a Glock-type gun fan because of the polymer and the lack of general presence – they are too plain Jane for me. However, this past weekend I had the opportunity to shoot a friend’s Diamondback .380 compact pistol and I gotta say, I liked the damn thing. I liked it a lot.



I had my trusty Kimber 1911 with me, as well as my CZ 9mm and my wife had her beautiful Ruger .357 revolver. My buddy brought his own 1911 and we were in the process of some friendly ribbing when he pulled out one of the smallest guns I have actually seen outside of the shop display case from his pocket.

The range we were visiting is a great big outside job with a lot of room. All that space mixed with the full-sized hand cannons we had been using made the tiny Diamondback seem, well, extremely tiny. Once we were done laughing I had a look at the pistol and was initially pretty impressed for what it was.

The entire gun measures a mere 5.25” and so is very slight when compared to my 1911, on which the barrel alone is 5” long. The polymer frame on the DB380 combined with 4140 billet barrel and slide help bring the gun weight down to an almost shocking 8.8 ounces. For the sake of comparison, my 1911 weighs in at well over 40 ounces with a full magazine.



What's it got?

The cool little gun is, as you may have guessed, chambered in .380 and comes only in semi-automatic, double-action form. Like many other pocket pistols, the DB380 has no manual safety – it’s pull and fire. The gun comes in three different finishes including nickel-plated, melonite and EXO. We were shooting the black EXO model, and that finish itself actually dissipates heat better and is much less prone to wear and tear. I could go for some of that.

At this particular outside range, we are set in gravel lanes far removed from any other shooters and so it’s a nice place to relax and plink for the day. We had our regular array of saved-up beer cans and plastic Gatorade bottles ready to take a beating. We had also marked off seven, 10, and 20 yards from the target earlier, and so we were ready to put the little Diamondback through its paces.

The .380’s sights were pretty clear, and they are ramped to aid in pulling the thing out of your pocket in a hurry – literally. One of my favorite aspects of the gun was its grip; the frontstrap was checkered and large enough to comfortably get two fingers on it, and the backstrap was recessed just below the well-defined beavertail, which allowed a pretty high grip with no chance of “slide bite”.



The trigger pull is understandably heavier than it would be on a single-action setup, but at 6 pounds, 8 ounces, it wasn’t bad at all. It was crisp and pulled smoothly the entire way. After a few shots, I had gotten used to the double-action of it all and was making some pretty good groupings, much to my friend’s delight.

Accuracy

At the seven-yard line I was consistently shooting groups that were just over an inch around, which is exemplary for me with any gun, much less one so compact. Needless to say, I was impressed with it and wanted to see more. My friend gave me the raised eyebrows look, and in return he got my dull-eyed look. Impressed? Yes. Sold? Not quite yet.

At 10 yards, I wanted to be a tad more hot-shot about it all and emptied the six-round magazine rather quickly, which produced about a 2” grouping, a little low and to the left. Thus far, I had put twelve rounds through the little Diamondback and it was feeding back numbers that were well into the acceptable range.

We had a lot of fun at the 20-yard mark. I fired off two magazines regular style and managed a seven-inch grouping, but barely. Others that day did worse with the same gun. The barrel is only 2.8” long though, to be fair. This isn’t a gun that was meant for range accuracy; this was a gun that was meant for close-up, self-defense action and I believe it would do mighty well in that arena.

Next, we tried the whole, “whip it out of your pocket and fire off a few rounds” trick to see both how smoothly it would exit the jeans and get into firing position and then how accurate the shooter could be in that situation. While our groupings were nowhere near as good, we always (okay, almost always) hit the target, somewhere. We found out a few things about the little .380 in that exercise: the gun does indeed go smoothly in and out of a front pocket with no snags, its light weight and easy grip were a blessing, and also that six rounds are plenty for it to find its mark.

At the end of the shooting day, I had to admit to my buddy that the DB380 was indeed a cool little gun. With concealed carry becoming more and more a popular subject, I think this pistol will get some recognition. I will always love my 1911s but I also understand that a full-sized gun isn’t necessarily best for every day carry, whether concealed or open. At some point I’ll just have to accept the new breed of polymer minis.

The Verdict



The tricky little .380 is priced to sell, as well. The MSRP on the pistol is around $430, and I expect that the ones you’ll find in the display case down at the local gun store will be priced a little less than that. Considering that some of the fancy models and name brands can set you back a thousand dollars or more, the Diamondback DB380 is a decent bang for your buck.