Would you like to pocket carry a small pistol, but are put off by the cries of “Don’t carry a mousegun!” We have found you an option in the Diamondback DB9—a new pistol in 9mm that offers, well, less. Read on for my full Diamondback DB9 review.
[Ed. note: Diamondback Firearms updated the DB9. It now is in its fourth generation. New features include the ability to run +P ammunition, a slide stop, a captive recoil spring and vastly improved sights. Click here to read a review of the Diamondback DB9 GEN 4.]
The DB9 is a polymer-framed pistol in 9 X 19mm that tugs at your pocket to the tune of only 11 ounces, unloaded. That is three to four fewer ounces than other lightweight 9mm pistols or most .38 cal. Airweight revolvers.
The Diamondback DB9 is sized more like a gun throwing a .380 ACP downrange than the much more potent 9mm Parabellum. Its dimensions are a slim .80” in width, 5.6” in length, and 4” in height.
I found the DB9 to follow through on its promise to be an easily carried, reliable 9mm firearm for off-duty or secondary on-duty carry. And, it is Made in America.
Contrary to Internet myth, Diamondback Firearms, LLC is not related to Kel-Tec CNC Industries and was not started up by disgruntled Kel-Tec employees from just up the road in Cocoa, FL.
Diamondback Firearms began life in 2009 as an offshoot of Diamondback Airboats, a Cocoa company that had been making boats for civilians, law enforcement, the Military, and rescue applications since 1989.
I was eager to shoot a DB9, as we were able to handle one in January at SHOT Show 2011, but not fire it. The gun displayed in their booth was a prototype. Still, I thought it felt very compact and very familiar.
What was noticeable about the DB9 was that it seemed like a slightly stretched version of Diamondback’s DB380. The elongated grip accounted for the longer case of the 9mm vs. the .380 ACP.
I purchased my test gun for this Diamondback DB9 review from B&H Gun Rack in Merritt Island, FL in July for much under $400.00. Since that time, my co-workers and I have shot over six hundred rounds of various 9mm ammunition through it for this Diamondback DB9 review.
I have owned two other pistols from the competing company in Cocoa and I have learned that guns of this fashion require a break-in period of at least several hundred rounds before they find their reliability for self-defense carry.
In the first 75 rounds of both Speer 124 grn TMJ and 124 grn GDHP’s, the gun experienced approximately 10 failures to feed. This happened mostly with the hollow points. After the first hundred rounds were sent downrange, it had no further feeding issues.
The remainder of the bullets I shot through the DB9 for this review, were all standard pressure 9mm from the ammo can. You know, random stuff that came from who (and when) knows where. The gun had no problems with mixed magazines of this ammunition.
The Diamondback DB9 arrives in a plastic case with a trigger cover and padlock. The owner’s manual recommends a 50-100 round break-in period and goes on to explain failures to feed, extract, and eject.
The DB9 is a striker-fired pistol and is double action only. There is a cut out at the right side of the chamber that serves as a loaded indicator window. There are scalloped serrations on the front and rear sides of the slide.
The polymer grip frame is checkered aggressively. I noticed that the texturing on the backstrap dug into the web of my hand during extended shooting. Since this is a self-defense gun, I thought it a testament to the positive hold it would provide under stress.
The trigger and magazine catch assembly are made of steel for durability. The metal, blued six round magazine is made in Italy and it features a slightly protruding front lip for stability.
Diamondback reports the trigger pull at 5 lbs. Richard’s DB9 had a 6 pound 9 ounce trigger pull. The action of the trigger is smooth and resets when fully let out like a DAO revolver.
In a sacrifice to overall width, the DB9 does not have a slide release or a slide lock. It will not lock back on the last round. This does not bother me, given the intent of the design to make it as small as possible.
This gun has real sights. They are white three dot, with a windage-adjustable rear. Like another popular polymer pistol maker, Diamondback’s factory sights are plastic. Trijicon sights are available for the DB9.
In range testing a few months ago, Richard and I went to a Central Florida outdoor range to shoot both our DB9’s (and a few other goodies). Richard’s gun functioned without a hiccup from round number one on. Mine was at about round three hundred and fired just fine.
At the time of this shoot, a Diamondback sales rep was stating on their forum that limited use of +P ammunition was okay in a DB9. Fair enough! Richard loaded up a magazine full of mixed 9mm +P loads and let ‘er rip. The gun cycled every round without incident.
This recently appeared on Diamondback’s DB9 web page: “Notice: Diamondback Firearms does not recommend using any 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 that these rounds cause. Any use of non recommended ammunition in a Diamondback Firearms will void the warranty.”
Early in October, I shot the off-duty and secondary firearm qualification course at work, which is actually the State qualification course for on-duty handguns. I shot a better score with the DB9 than some officers did with their full sized Sig Sauer P226’s.
I won’t kid you, the recoil can smart after a while. This is a gun you have to hold on to for it to function properly. A poor grip or limp-wristing will have you practicing a malfunction drill.
To make a long story short, I think the affordable Diamondback DB9 provides above average firepower in a micro-pistol package.
Video of the Diamondback DB9 being fired with standard pressure and +P, +P+ ammunition:
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