The Diamondback DB380, bottom, performed pretty well in our tests. It isn’t worth the price tag and is little more than a cheap belly gun, but it works at least. The DB9 however didn’t work and failed almost immediatly. The worst thing is that Diamondback seems to have created new conditions for their warranty that aren’t in the manual. They now claim that if you shoot standard 9mm with a bullet more than 124 grains, you have voided your warranty. What a joke. Stay away from Diamondback.
After a dismal performance with range rounds we put some of these 90 grain Hornady Critical Defense through the 6+1 DB380.
You would need a ruler, not a caliper, to measure the group size at 10 yards on the DB Even at across the room distances, your chance of missing is far greater than your chance of hitting your target.
We tried Hornady Critical Duty in the DB9. They are 135 grain, which apparently now voids the warranty on the Diamondback DB9. Thankfully we didn’t pay for the test guns and they will be going back.
The DB9 groups were closer to point of aim at 10 yards, but still wildly unnaceptable, when we could get the gun to fire of course. Note that the wrong gun was put on the target for the picture, but this was one of the DB9 targets.
It is a shame because we were really excited about these guns when they came in, and CrossBreed Holsters even sent us a pocket holster for the DB380.
In the world of small semi-automatic pocket pistols, you have a lot to choose from these days. Diamondback Firearms has laid claim to the “smallest and lightest” in that category, so we decided to take a look at a couple of their guns, the DB380, and the newly released DB9, both with a street price under $400 . Are they really the smallest and lightest? Apparently so, at least as compared to the more common names out there, including the Kel-Tecs, Kahrs, and S&W Bodyguard. But do they work? Our results were mixed. The .380, which is the more mature product, performed almost perfectly, but is not that accurate. The 9mm version weighs only 11 ounces empty, compared to 18 for the S&W Shield, 21.4 for the Walther PPS, and even the tiny Beretta Nano is 17.7. Diamondback may have tried the impossible with this gun because we didn’t find the DB9 to be reliable or accurate. If you are going to buy a Diamondback, for now you should probably stick to the DB380. We have to put a do not buy on the guns however, due to the way they seem to be handling what are clearly problems with their guns
Our problems started almost immediately with the DB9. It cycles fine, but something in the trigger mechanism isn’t catching properly and it doesn’t engage the sear. You can work the trigger back and forth and feel for it, and eventually fire the gun, but this is of course unacceptable. It doesn’t seem to be a lockup problem, but pulling back the slide will sometimes get the trigger to catch. The funny thing is, we may have officially voided the warning with the first round we fired. Eager to try the new Hornady Critical Duty, which is a new round designed to punch through barriers like windshields and such. They make a “+P” version of this in 9mm, but we used the standard pressure 135 grain load. Surprise, surprise though. Diamondback has unilaterally declared on their website, completely absent in the manual, that not only will +P ammo void your warranty, but also any bullets over 124 grains. It seems that too many of their guns are breaking, and that instead of fixing them, or giving people their money back, they are simply telling them that they voided the warranty, with SAAMI specification ammunition.
Notice: Diamondback Firearms does not recommend using 9mm Bullets above 124 gr or any Ammunition that is rated NATO, +P, +P+ or anything else that is higher than SAAMI Standard pressure 9mm. The DB9 is the smallest and lightest 9mm available on the market and was not designed for the abuse and damage these rounds cause. Use of non-recommended ammunition in a Diamondback Firearms will void the warranty.
There is no mention in the manual of even a prohibition of +P ammunition. This is totally unacceptable, and should be an embarrassment to the company and its distributors. My dealer friends have told me that a high percentage of the Diamondback guns are coming back, and there is nothing that they can do.
Some guns we test hard and some guns we don’t. Small, light, fairly inexpensive guns were not meant to take to the range for an afternoon of shooting. There is no point beating guns like this up with a lot of rounds because they just aren’t made for thousands or sometimes even hundreds of rounds. Yet the Diamondback manual claims that the guns may have failures to feed and fire for up to 150 rounds. We did put over 150 rounds through each gun but the performance didn’t improve. These are not cheap pot metal Lorcins or Davis derringers, both of which work better than the Diamondbacks. But the Diamondbacks cost as much as real guns.
Granted, the Diamondback guns are tiny. In a .380 that isn’t such a big deal. A lot of tiny .380s are out there and have been out there for years. The Diamondback .380 actually did work well, and didn’t even require the break-in stated in the manual. Will it still work a couple hundred rounds more down the road? Who knows, but the guns are very similar inside. It is like Diamondback said to themselves, “let’s make the parts that hold the bullets bigger and leave everything else .380 size.” Well if that was going to work don’t you think real gun companies would have done this already? Diamondback is an airboat maker for heaven’s sake. You don’t think that Kel-Tec, Walther, and Beretta could blow mold a tiny 9mm and put it into the market, hoping that nobody will notice it doesn’t work?
As for the handling, the DB380 is truly a micro gun and it worked really well, except for the accuracy. The recoil is sharp for a 380, but at a half a pound empty, what would you expect? This gun had about 100 rounds of Remington 9mm put through it, then we accuracy tested it with Hornady Critical Defense 90 grain FTX. This is the kind of trip to the range that most people who buy this gun would put it through, and we had no failures to feed or fire at all. I do highly recommend actually shooting your carry rounds in this gun. As you can see from the targets, she isn’t accurate at all. The DB380 is a belly gun and not much else, if it even continues to work. I wouldn’t buy a gun from a company that voids a warranty for shooting SAAMI specification ammo in their firearms, especially when no mention of this exists in the manual. There are plenty of guns out there. I would let Diamondback’s fly by night firearm operation fade into history without you, and let them go back to making airboats, which we have heard are quite awesome.