A pint-sized 9mm carry pistol that can be stored almost anywhere or worn with almost anything, the Diamondback DB9 Gen 4 brings a lot to the table.
The micro-framed DB9 Gen 4, with an unloaded weight of just 13.4-ounces, while maintaining a 3.1-inch stainless steel barrel that gives an overall length of 5.73-inches, is described by Diamondback as the “smallest and lightest” 9mm on the market. With a flush-fit magazine shoe installed, its height is 4-inches flat. The maximum width is 0.89-inches. This puts it a hair larger than “mouse gun” semi-autos in .22LR, .32ACP and .380 Auto, but more than, say a J-frame .38.
About the closest 9mm micro-compacts we can find of a similar size are the Kahr CM9, SCCY CPX-2, and Ruger EC9S, all of which are an ounce or two heavier. The Kel-Tec PF-9 runs lighter when unloaded is a tad longer than the DB9.
In short, if you can carry a wallet or mobile device, you can pocket carry a DB9 comfortably.
If a gun is over 4-inches in height or over an inch thick, you can hang it up for pocket carry– or deep carry for that matter. Many of the lilliputian guns hitting that stride include the Beretta Pico, Ruger LCP/LCPII, AMT Backup, Kel-Tec P3AT, S&W Bodyguard and Kahr P380– but the thing is all of the preceding are .380s. Notably, the DB9 lives in that range but runs on 9mm, which is a bonus.
Weight, with seven JHP rounds loaded and the DB9 stuffed into a Hunter leather pocket holster, hit 17.4-ounces on my postal scale. A pound of prevention, more or less. There are, for sure, drawbacks to such a carry technique. For instance, drawing from a front pocket is hard while seated, making back pocket carry more ideal if you spend lots of time on your keister– but you have to train for it. As with anything, your mileage may vary.
Such carry may not be ideal for everyday use, but I did find it great for going to the gym as I find it weird to wear a belt with track pants. Likewise, while kayaking in shorts or doing yard/housework, the Diamondback in pocket carry was a good fit.
For those who want to go “deeper” the DB9 is small enough to work with Paris Theodore’s old-school (circa 1974) Seven Tree’s groin holster or today’s newer DTOM or Smart Carry line, however many are cautious about having a hog leg directly over their peas and carrots.
For belt carry, the DB9 works fine in the 3-to-4-o’clock (personal preference) or appendix (if you are into that sort of thing) provided you get a decent holster. Using a FoXx hybrid IWB holster the DB9 carried fine on the belt, although after spending most of the past couple decades with various Glock, Smiths and SIGs in that position, the Diamondback had a notably lighter footprint. This also lends well to use as a BUG to a larger handgun.
At the Range
Shooting 7.5-pound single-action first round with a reasonable reset on the trigger, the pocket pistol has good sights for a gun its size, especially when compared to other guns in the same class (looking at you, LCP/EC9). This allows for decent accuracy.
Further, it is reliable.
The DB9 is not finicky when it comes to 9mm ammo. The closest thing I had to a malfunction in over 1K rounds fired was short stroking the slide on two occasions during loading drills with a closed slide.
With that, keep in mind that the recoil spring is super stout on this palm-sized pocket pistol, especially when over a full magazine, and you must go about charging a DB9 with your game face on. This could put the gun as something of a training issue for those with low hand/grip strength. Such an issue is overcome by locking open the empty pistol and inserting a full magazine, then releasing the slide.
Although reliable and accurate, the DB9 was not a fun gun to shoot.
While you can fire 50 or 100 rounds at a time through the DB9, after that you are just kind of beating yourself around. In other words, the gun is great for monthly (ideally) practice but if you are going to go to a week-long 1,500-round tactical handgun course, you may want to leave this one at home and reach for something more comfortable.
Whether it was at the gym or kayaking offshore, the DB9 was an easy companion that gave peace of mind– even in pocket carry without taking up room in clothing options that were outside the norm. Able to be stored almost anywhere or worn with almost anything north of a banana hammock without printing, Diamondback’s palm-sized 9mm works across the board as a self-defense handgun in several situations.
Plus, did we mention they are American-made and only run about $225 bucks?