The Diamondback DB9 is a semi-automatic pocket pistol chambered for 9mm. Diamondback opened its doors in 2009 and has already established a name for itself in the pocket pistol market. What makes DB9 different from other pockets is DB9 comes standard with 3-dot adjustable sights, which seems to be a luxury for self-defense guns.
The DB9 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 that sets off the action with a 5-pound pull. The DAO and Zero-Energy striker double as the DB9’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. And, the DB9 is 0.8″ wide, so it’ll be comfortable for shooters to carry in a pocket or waist holster.
Diamondback recommends the DB9 for concealed carry or home defense.
|Sights:||Adjustable three-dot sights|
|Material/Finish:||Polymer frame/black<br />Steel slide/blue|
|Trigger Pull:||5 pounds|
Last summer, after trading in a pile of junk pistols I inherited from my father, I bought a Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless, a .380. I’m still not sure why—the gun just spoke to me. And I thought it would make an excellent concealed carry gun, something I was looking for at the time. I’m not averse to the .380 pistols. But when I brought it home I discovered something I hadn’t considered in the store; the 1903 doesn’t like hollow points.
While I don’t mind the .380 cartridge, I don’t want a self-defense gun that won’t shoot hollow points. Much of the stopping power of pistol rounds comes from the bullet’s ability to mushroom and deform, which spreads the force on impact. Without hydrostatic shock (which is more a product of terminal velocity), many pistols rely on the devastating physical properties of hollow point bullets.
Many of our most venerated gun designers, John Browning included, didn’t have access to the same ballistics data available today. A hundred years ago, the concealed carry market was driven by a group of well designed vest pocket models in .22 and .25 calibers. If you read many noir detective stories, you are familiar with these. They are constantly being drawn by mousy women who think they have something to hide. There were larger options, like my Colt 1903, which came in .380 and .32.
But over the last century, those who aren’t hiding guns in small beaded purses, or hoping the mother of pearl grips might accent their eyes, demanded something with a bit more power. Modern concealed carry guns are designed to kill. And while a well placed shot with a pellet gun might kill someone, chances are better with a something with a bit more punch. While bullet design answers part of this demand, people still want a bigger bang.
The Diamondback DB9
While I love my old 1903, I’ve decided I would rather have something a bit more modern. I bought the 1903 without doing a lot of research. So this time, I’ve decided to do it right. I want to shoot everything on the market. I recently had the pleasure of shooting the Ruger LC9, and I loved it. But there is so much competition.
Lucky for me, I know a bunch of gun nuts. Most are loyal to their chosen weapons and eager to show them off. A state trooper friend carries the Diamondback DB9 when he’s off duty. We went to the range last week so he could convince me that the DB9 was the way to go.
Like Kel-Tec, Diamondback specializes in lightweight, inexpensive, American made guns. I have a tremendous soft spot for that business model, but they are entering into a crowded marketplace. Most manufactures of semi-automatic pistols have something chambered in .380, 9mm, or even .40 Smith & Wesson.
So how does the new 9mm Diamondback stack up?
The design of so many polymer framed subcompacts seems so similar. They all have some molded texture to improve grip security. The DB9 has a squared off trigger guard that helps to steady the heavy recoil. It has an internal striker instead of a hammer. The trigger pull is not too heavy. The single-stack magazine holds six rounds.
With the 3” barrel, I was able to get predictable short-range accuracy, and no malfunctions.
100 rounds. Silhouette target.
I shot 16 magazines—6 shots a piece.
At ten feet, all were in the black. Three sets of six were grouped around five inches. 10 groups of 6 were grouped under four inches. The remaining three groups didn’t get much tighter, though I did get one really tight group—under two inches—by really going slow and feeling the trigger break.
But this isn’t a target gun. Even a four-inch group is enough to get the job done. And the DB9 is dependable.
I backed up a target and tried my skills at 25 feet. The results were much worse. While I kept 45 of the 50 rounds in the black, only 22 shots were really on target. I missed with five.
And after 150 rounds, I was tired of fighting the tiny little gun. My hand hurt. I was satisfied with the performance of the pistol. But I wasn’t really smitten. But I could say that about most of the DB9’s competition, also. Unless the design is really unique—like the stylish Solo Carry form Kimber, there isn’t much to talk about in the design and function of this type of gun. Maybe if there is something seriously wrong….
The theory at work with the DB9 is easily understandable. There is significant demand for smaller guns that shoot bigger cartridges. I think Diamondback is relying on their tenuous hold on claims about the DB9’s size and weight. At .80” wide, this is the thinnest of the available 9mms. And it only weighs eleven ounces. Gun nuts love to talk statistics almost as much as baseball fans. But what happens when the next subcompact shaves off a bit more width, or another ounce or two. Then what, Diamondback?
I don’t know that guns need to get any smaller. The shorter the grip and the shorter the barrel, the easier the gun is to conceal. But the harder it is to actually shoot with any semblance of accuracy. This limits the gun’s potential.
Diamondback’s a new company. They debuted in the subcompact market with a reasonably priced .380. The internet discussion boards are full of folks complaining about problems they experienced with the guns. But there are just as many, if not more, positive reviews. And the company stands behind their products. And though I am hard pressed to recommend a DB9 over a Kel-Tec, I can certainly say that what the DB9 does, it does quite well. But I was just as happy to give it back to its rightful owner.