Diamondback’s New “Sidekick” Nine-Shooter Combines Old School Looks with New School Features… For Only $320 MSRP!

There is no more iconic revolver than Colt’s Single Action Army. With its plow handle grip, extended trigger spur, and prominent ejector rod, Colt’s famous gun is probably the most recognizable wheel gun in the world.

Diamondback Firearms took that classic profile and modernized it. The Florida-based company’s recently released Sidekick looks like a Colt, but its features and functionality take cues from more modern roots.

The double-action revolver comes with interchangeable nine-shot cylinders in .22 LR and .22 Mag. that swing out for easier loading than Colt’s one-at-a-time gate system. The Zinc frame, Cerakote finish, and nylon grips also depart from Colt’s original design, but each of these features keeps the MSRP down to a very reasonable $320.

While revolver snobs pucker at Diamondback’s new Frankenstein wheel gun, the rest of us will be enjoying quality range time at a price that won’t break the bank.

Click here to check it out!

The Sidekick comes with .22 LR and .22 Mag. cylinders.

Specifications

Caliber: 22LR / 22Mag Convertible.
Action: Single & Double.
Grips: Checkered glass filled Nylon.
Capacity: 9 rounds.
Front Sight: Blade.
Rear Sight: Integral.
Barrel length: 4.5”.
Overall Length: 9.875”.
Frame & Handle Material: Zinc.
Frame & Handle Finish: Black Cerakote.
Weight: 32.5 oz.
Twist:1:16 RH.
Grooves: 6
MSRP: $320

Classic Looks, Modern Features

Diamondback isn’t the first company to combine Colt’s classic looks with modern, user-friendly features. Revolver nerds might remember the High Standard Double-Nine from the 1960s and 70s, which in many ways is similar to Diamondback’s Sidekick.

Most noticeably, both guns feature an “ejector rod” that serves no functional purpose. In a Single Action Army, this ejector rod is used to remove spent shell casings one at a time through the loading gate. Like the one-at-a-time loading process, it’s a pain. A nostalgic sort of pain, but a pain, nonetheless.

The Sidekick uses a modern plunger that removes all spent casings at once. Unloading spent shells is a simple matter of pulling forward on the plunger rod to swing out the cylinder and then pushing back to drop the shells. Loading is the reverse of that process.

The “ejector rod” is all for looks. The cylinder swings out by pulling forward on the plunger rod.

Also unlike the Colt but like many modern revolvers, the Sidekick is double-action/single-action. In double-action, users pull the trigger, which both drops the hammer and revolves the cylinder. As with most DA/SA revolvers, the double-action trigger pull is heavy. It maxed out my trigger gauge, and I’d estimate its weight at something around 14 pounds. For context, a mil-spec AR-15 trigger is in the 7-8-pound range.

In single-action, users first cock the hammer manually and then pull a much-lightened trigger. In the model I received, the trigger broke consistently at three pounds, which is comparable to many modern competition and hunting rifles.

The trigger pull in both double-action and single-action is consistent with a revolver at this price point: perfectly functional, but nothing to write home about.

But you might decide to write home about the interchangeable cylinders—not because the idea is new but because both a .22 LR and .22 Mag. cylinder come standard with every Sidekick.

Plus, swapping cylinders is easy. Depressing a plunger in the front of the frame allows a cylinder to drop free, and the new one is installed in the reverse of that process. I used an Allen wrench to depress the plunger.

It Only Costs $320 MSRP, OK?

The Sidekick is easier to load and more fun to shoot than Single Action Army replicas, and it comes with a .22 Mag. cylinder out-of-the-box. That’s a great value, considering the MSRP. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few of the ways Diamondback appears to have achieved that excellent price point.

First, the sights are… rudimentary. The front sight is a simple blade, and the rear sight is what Diamondback calls “integral.” Basically, they cut a groove on the top of the frame and called it good. This is pretty common practice, and I don’t fault them for it. But the blacked-out sights can be difficult to pick up on a dark background, and they’re non-adjustable. If you plan to take the Sidekick into the squirrel woods, be sure you have your Kentucky windage dialed in (more on this below).

The sights aren’t fancy, but they’re serviceable.

Second, the frame and handle are made of zinc. Ruger also uses a zinc alloy in the Wrangler’s grip frame and trigger guard, and zinc is plenty strong enough to withstand wear and tear at the range. It also costs about 40 percent less than steel, which is part of the reason Diamondback can offer the Sidekick at this price. Still, zinc isn’t as strong as Colt’s all-steel revolver, so you might run into some trouble if you drop the Sidekick during your next cattle drive.

Lastly, the grips are glass-filled Nylon. I don’t love ‘em, but please refer to the title of this section for further explanation. If you’d like to swap out the grips for something a little more classic, Diamondback offers wood grips for about $30. Company reps also told me aftermarket Ruger Wrangler grips will work as well.

At the Range

Enough yammering about the features. You’re here to read about how the Sidekick shoots.

Low-cost .22 LR revolvers are a blast, and the Sidekick is no different. Recoil was minimal with Long Rifle cartridges, and the magnum loads weren’t painful at all. Though the shot report is significantly louder, new shooters won’t have any trouble with the magnum cartridges.

A great day at the range!

New shooters will have trouble hitting targets with the heavy double-action trigger. Fortunately, it’s smooth enough to allow for quick acclimation, and it would make a great DA trainer. If you’re looking to sharpen your skills with a DA setup, the Sidekick would make a good range gun. Ammo is cheap, and the nine-shot cylinder means you can spend more time shooting and less time reloading.

Single action is more workable for shooters of all experience levels. As long as you use a light-colored target to contrast with the black sights, you shouldn’t have any trouble making good shots at 10 and 15 yards with .22 LR.

Sitting down to do some accuracy testing with my Ransom Multi-Cal Rest, it was easy to see why. The Sidekick posted excellent groups from 10 yards with .22 LR, the smallest of which put five shots through more or less the same hole.

The Sidekick won’t be winning any Olympic competitions, but it’s a great range gun.

I’ve seen other users report light primer strikes, and I experienced the same issue, especially with the .22 Mag. cylinder. It’s possible the ammunition is the culprit. I was using new Winchester ammunition.

AmmoVelocitySmall GroupLarge GroupAverage Group
CCI 40g .22 LR896 fps0.5”1.5”0.8”
Win. 30g. .22 Mag.1450 fps1”1.5”0.9”
This group was shot from 10 yards with 40-grain .22 LR.

Speaking of the .22 Mag., the gun shot about 5 inches low at 10 yards with those cartridges. Like I mentioned earlier, you’ll want to determine the appropriate point of aim at the distance you plan to shoot prior to doing any real work with the Sidekick. The .22 Mag. option allows the Sidekick to do double-duty as a varmint gun, but it’ll only work if you know precisely where the gun shoots with the cartridge you’re using.

Accuracy with the .22 Mag. was acceptable, though much like the trigger, nothing to write home about.

Last Shots

Why might you purchase Diamondback’s new nine-shot revolver? I can tell you why I’m thinking about it. I bought a replica .22 LR Colt Single Action Army for my son to use when he’s older, and I’m not looking forward to explaining the loading and unloading process. The various hammer positions are confusing, and the whole ordeal feels like it takes longer than it should.

The Sidekick is much easier to use. Colt’s design comes with inherent safety, but I think with supervision, the Sidekick will make an excellent first gun. Plus, he can graduate to .22 Mag. as he gets older and work on shooting from greater distances.

The Sidekick could make a varmint gun or a camp gun, but I’d hesitate to use it in any self-defense capacity. That’s not because it wouldn’t work–.22 Mag. can be an effective self-defense round—but there are so many other better options. On the used market, you can buy an old model Smith & Wesson Shield for around the same price.

Diamondback’s new Sidekick is a fascinating little gun that combines modern features with the look and feel of the Old West. It ain’t perfect, but it is the perfect way to have fun on your next trip to the range.

Click here to check it out!

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • David Dixon June 3, 2022, 2:56 pm

    This is a Re-make of the High Standard Double 9… This is a really sweet little gun!
    I really dislike the finish and the grips they chose. It makes the gun look ugly and cheap. I’m a collector of the High Standards.
    just saying!

  • Skypilot June 3, 2022, 12:34 pm

    Back in the 70’s I purchased a nickel-plated Colt Frontier Scout .22LR/.22Mag. That was an awesome little revolver. VERY accurate, too. I got it for fast-draw work. Didn’t know it was an alloy frame until both sides cracked in the channel where the hammer fell. Shipped it back to Colt for repair. Three months later received a voucher for my money back from the vendor. Super disappointed. A couple of months later Colt introduced their ail-steel New Frontier models. Would have preferred they’d just sent me one of those. Oh well….

  • WILLIAM QUIRK June 3, 2022, 11:44 am

    ZINK! ha ha! ISN’T LEAD CHEAPER THAN ZINK! NEVER HEARD OF THAT ! PLEASE ,AFTER YOU PUT A BUNCH OF ROUNDS THROUGH IT ,LETS US KNOW HOW THE FRAME HELD UP! DON’T THINK I WILL BE BUYING ONE,UNTILL I SEE HOW IT HOLDS UP AND HEAR FROM OTHER SHOOTERS ! OTHER WISE A GOOD ARTICAL!

    • Jerry June 3, 2022, 5:48 pm

      (sigh) here we go again. It is not zink. It is an alloy containing zink, along with magnesium and aluminium and copper aka zamac, zamak, mazak, among other proprietary names. You could call it aluminium, as did ruger and colt’s back when they used it in their lightweights. It is not steel, but was and still is a good alloy for a variety of purposes. Not a great alloy, like steel, but at about half or a third the price. Ya pays yer money, and ya takes yer cherces, as said by that salty sage Popeye. They are great for knockabout guns, you cant feel as bad about what happens to it as you would a steel one, and you coulda/shoulda bought two at half the price of a steel equivelant, and a coupla hundred rounds of ammo. In 40 years, i have observed three failures in the alloy saa scout type .22’s, from over a dozen owned and hundreds handled, and they were two which the frame cracked, as the one fellow said, down each side of the hammer at the captive firing pin, the third displayed some spectacular flame-cutting around the barrel from only half a box of magnums, the other half of that same box thru another one went un-noticed. For somebody who may not ever shoot more than a coupla hundred rounds thru it, zamac is fine, and may go several thousands if theyre not magnums. I have handled only a few dozens of the original of this clone, being High Standards and a few Sears, True Value, et.c., and only one of those was bad, as in boat anchor, but it operated very nicely, and only showed a trace of flamecutting above the b/c gap. Likewise for a rather disreputable Ruger. One may note, that High Standard did not seem to have sold many magnums before switching the family to steel, most notably the Sentinel and Camp gun, and the remaining westerners. Millions of them made, and millions not taken too-good care of. (But theres steel guns treated as badly, too). And millions of ravens, high points, and jennings/jimenez, and other auto pistols, from .22 to what is the big high point, a 9mm? If there were a statistically noticeable failure rate, they woulda been shut down. they are hugely reliable, if ya clean the gunk out once in a while, and with fixed sights, you learn where the gun shoots-to, or have a gunny touch it with a file. Its like the snobs who sneer and spew all over cheap cars, as not being worthy of existence. These zamac guns are the ginzu knife/yugo/hyundai/pinto equivelant; cheap, simple, uuugly, but they Do Get The Job Done, i.e. send lead downrange. You may scrimp to buy one, you may be lucky enough to outright buy a Colt’s, but be a gentleman about other people’s financial limitations! Please!

      • Dave June 7, 2022, 9:33 am

        I had a high standard just like this when I was a kid. First gun I owned. It wore out in the cylinder pin pocket in short order from moderate use. Pot metal wearing against steel parts is never a lasting recommendation.

  • Stephen Adams June 3, 2022, 11:04 am

    Sig Sauer P226 & P220 were zinc/alum alloy, maybe still are. No problems there. Had a High Standard 949 that worked great and looked great, only cost $50 back in the 50’s. I will definitely look into this gun.

  • Laddyboy June 3, 2022, 8:41 am

    Not a fan of ZINC! It is NOT a STRONG metal! It cannot take “abuse” like steel can.

  • Art May 31, 2022, 12:12 am

    I like the idea of 9 rounds but I have to wonder how it will hold up to consistent magnum shooting.

  • Robert May 30, 2022, 6:54 pm

    I had a big one to make but Jerry beat me to it, in spades. This is just a reproduction of the High Standard revolver of which I own a few and have used for over 60 years. Do I like the High Standard? You bet your booties. I love them! I have a beautiful K22 masterpiece and a 3 screw Ruger. Guess what? I, of course, love the Smith, the Ruger is OK, but they both stay put away when I want to shoot a .22 & I pick out one of my fantastic High Standards. Why? The Smith is just as accurate, loads & ejects just as well and is, of course, the Queen of my .22s, but its like a very expensive jewel, that you keep locked up in the safe – just too good to use- just cherish. The Ruger is not very accurate, its heavy and with one cartridges at a time loading & unloading, so that’s a no brainer. I may get a couple of these reproductions just to put back & save. First, I will look to see if their barrels are nearly as good as the High Standards.

  • Allen May 30, 2022, 3:23 pm

    My Mom had a High Standard double nine, nickel plated and a very nice hand tooled black leather gunfighter type holster with tie down. I loved that gun and learned to shoot pistols with that. It looked great in that holster. Back in the day I got to wear it for Halloween a few times dressed up as a cowboy. I wish this had a steel frame and was at least blued. But there is a place for a cheap 22 and that may be under the seat of. My truck. I don’t like to carry my Ruger single six loose in my truck too much. But this may be perfect. If I can see the sight.

  • Steven May 30, 2022, 12:56 pm

    The ejector rod on the Double Nine revolver does work, it facilitates the swing-out operation, and the use of nine shot speedloaders. Can reload it as fast as I can with my H&R Sportsman

  • Rick May 30, 2022, 12:34 pm

    Is it just me or is this just a cheap copy of the old HiStandard Double Nine.

  • Mike in a Truck May 30, 2022, 12:09 pm

    Zinc frame. I gave up on zinc guns when I outgrew my Mattel’s. “But its all I can afford!” The loon cry of the guy with a thousand dollar smart phone.

  • William Quirk May 30, 2022, 11:23 am

    So the gun weighs 14 lbs ,I would say Wow for that! There should be no kick at that weight! LOL
    If the pistol shoots 5 inches low at ten yards ,why didn’t you keep increasing the distance until the Pistol was right ON! Sounds Like the Pistol may dead on at 50 yards! I would like to know ! Sounds like a Great pistol!

  • Jerry May 30, 2022, 10:31 am

    Nothing new about this piece, except for the modern finish. The original High Standard Westerners series had every feature this one has, OVER 60 YEARS AGO, including a birdshead grip. Modern ejector? Thats at least 125 years old, as in S&W hand ejector. Gun nerds?!? (snort, snicker, chortle, guffaw), you disrespect the entire community with your silly-ass-umption that anybody who remembers the original of this clone can be called a nerd. To go with your flow, many who read these columns would probably prefer geek, in the sense that nerds are goofy stumbling wannabees, and geeks were the ones who know stuff, like the IT guys; you dont want a nerd doing your repairs, or your research; you go full geek on it if youse want it done right. As an aside, the comment about the zink frame, its ZAMAC, or ZAMAK,, whuch is an alloy of Zink, Aluminium, Magnesium, And Copper (or Kupfer). This alloy has been used as “Aluminium Alloy” in early Ruger, High Standard, and yes Colt’s 22 revolvers, plus the extended family of Heritage Rough Rider, since its great grandaddy Herbert Schmidt, as well as the love’em/hate’em Raven, Jennings, and High Point automatics. Some states ban them, ‘cos they can melt at like 700 degrees, but do you want to trust a steel gun that was in the same fire? Nerdy gunscribes aside, i will likely purchase a brace of these, should they ever appear.

    • Jerry May 30, 2022, 10:38 am

      Hmmm….. i seemed to have neglected to mention Ruger has returned to the ZAMAC corral with its new wranglers. And, yet, i too lean towards the added safety feeling of Real Steel, at cost of Extra Weight, but only ‘cos im one-o’-them what’ll prolly feed it with Magnums

    • Rock June 3, 2022, 7:11 am

      Some of these comments prove that IDIOTS walk among us and also own firearms. I dont care what was made 60 years ago. You can not find good hi standard guns just anywhere. I have been looking for a good swing out 9 shot 22/22mag combo for years. There is a big market for this gun. I plan to buy for sure.

      • Jerry June 3, 2022, 6:12 pm

        Aye, sadly, the originals of this clone are either overpriced, or thrashed, (and overpriced), which is the Why for bringing out this nice little gun. If it can get to market, it will surely sell at least as good as the same-alloy ruger wrangler and heritage roughriders. For size, this is the same as a k-frame 6×38/357, a bit bigger than the .22 saa scouts and close to Colt’s original saa. I have had two steel sentinels in .22 mag, and am resurrecting an abused alloy sentinel, which is a direct sibling to these, and which i might be feeding magnums. I wouldnt have got it if i’d’a known these were coming!

  • Dan May 30, 2022, 9:41 am

    Dunno about the rest of you, but the zinc frame doesn’t instill a lot of confidence. I prefer steel.

  • Kb31416 May 30, 2022, 9:29 am

    I’m reminded of an old adage: buy once, cry once. One rarely has long term regret about saving up and then purchasing a superior product. Conversely, a cheap gun usually reminds the purchaser of what a great deal they got every time they use it.
    I have a Ruger single six in ss that my wife gave me for Christmas more than 30 years ago. It’s still the jewel that it was on that day (and so is my wife).

  • CHARLES WALTERS May 30, 2022, 8:51 am

    Keep up the great work !

  • Wallace K. Kniffin May 30, 2022, 7:54 am

    I have looked almost everywhere to buy the Sidekick”, but was unable to find one in the Dallas, Fort Worth area. Where can I physically touch one? Where can I buy one?

  • Jeff May 30, 2022, 7:53 am

    My 38 special Colt Diamondback has a swing our cylinder for loading, not sure why they state the Colt is a side single loader.

    • Rick May 30, 2022, 12:35 pm

      It is a double action revolver and not referred to as a single loader.

    • Godfrey Daniel May 30, 2022, 12:51 pm

      They’re talking about the Colt SAA.

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