Review: Diamondback DB10 .308 Pistol at 500 Rounds
The Diamondback Firearms .308 Winchester-chambered DB10 pistol ups the power curve over AR-style large-format handguns while still keeping a more compact profile than a rifle.
While the Florida-based company has been making AR-10 style guns for the better part of a decade, their .308 handgun line is a newer addition. Our test gun is a DB10P13BGSB, a designation that marks it as a DB10 pistol with a 13.5-inch barrel that uses the company's Black Gold Lower.
Any time you start whittling away at barrel length for a firearm chambered in a traditional rifle caliber, you start to lose performance. While there are some factory SBRs, such as the FN SCAR-H, that run a 7.62 NATO in lengths that touch the 13-inch range, they are the exception to the rule. That's where AR10 pistols like the DB10 start coming into play. In chronographic tests, we found the 13.5 inch 4150 CrMoV barrel to hang a variety of loads from 2,200 to 2,500 fps velocity at the muzzle. While this sounds plenty fast, keep in mind that common velocities for a 7.62 NATO usually runs north of 2,800 out of 20-inch barrels.
Nonetheless, that is still a lot of energy. Keep in mind that you are pulling down somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,600 to 2,000 ft/lbs. of energy even on this shorty barrel. A lot of "thump" for its size, if you will, pushing almost twice the energy of a 5.56 NATO bullet out of an M4 carbine-length barrel.
Accuracy potential with a 1:10 RH twist barrel is decent for its size. The tightest groups from a lead sled with Magpul MBUS sights ran just under 1 MOA on the Gold Medal Match King. The lighter MSR loads were in the 4-inch range. Stretching its legs, we pushed the pistol to 300 yards on a deer-sized archery target (hey, it was available), placing most hits in the kill zone with both the 180- and 175-grain loads, pointing to the assumption that the gun liked heavier bullets.
The DB10 is not match grade, but keep in mind you are getting these figures from a pistol with a 13.5-inch barrel.
Recoil and Manipulation
The Diamondback-branded CNC muzzle brake, attached with the barrel's 5/8x24TPI thread pattern, aided in control of the pistol even in rapid-fire.
In low-light situations, the pistol also has a significant muzzle flash, breathing fire and flame. While any of the above sounds fun to a degree, you aren't going to make friends with your neighbors doing mag dumps with the DB10 on a crowded range, especially indoors.
Between the weight, massive BCG, Magpul MOE grip, and muzzle brake, the DB10 is an easily controllable pistol. It's effective when either bracing the stabilizer on the cheek or occasionally pushing it back into the shoulder pocket.
In all, we put 500 rounds of mixed 7.62 NATO and .308 Win loads through the DB10. This included a range of milsurp rounds of Malaysian and Korean extraction, Russian-made steel case, and domestic brass stuff. We cleaned the pistol twice during the tests. Reliability was not 100 percent. We had four jams while on the range, mostly seen as FTFs when feeding soft-pointed .308 hunting ammo on a dirty chamber. This was likely an issue with bullet profile more than anything. Recovered casings were not dented at the neck, likely due to the BCG's rounded-tip ejector.
We noted no walking pins, wobbling gas keys, or alarming wear on the throat or bolt even though it felt like the gun was over gassed with its mid-length system. Ejection was strong and just forward of the port's 3 o-clock range. Being over gassed on the whole is not a bad thing, as it allows the gun to chew through a wide range of ammo types. Keep in mind that Diamondback uses a stout shot-peened and MPI-marked multi-cal bolt with a high-pressure firing pin in an 8620 carrier group.
Enabling rifle-caliber performance in a more compact package, the DB10 pistol provides better maneuverability and packability than a full-sized long gun. It does this while offering the user longer range and more energy than a pistol chambered for more traditional handgun or even smaller rifle rounds. There are definite niches for the gun to fill in home defense or hunting – where permitted – or whenever you just want to have fun and conjure a dragon on the range.
Stay tuned as we continue to test out the DB10 and see what it can do.