Diamondback Firearms of Cocoa, Florida is a
new firearm manufacturer, at least to me. While they have been
up and running for a while now, I only learned of them about
three weeks ago. When I saw a picture of their small .380 pocket
auto, I immediately called and ordered a pistol to review. It is
not that I desperately need another pocket .380, as I have a few
already, but I am always looking for a better pocket pistol. Any
pocket gun is a compromise. It is a compromise of power,
portability, ease-of-use, and reliability. The reliability part
is paramount. The pocket pistol is a last-ditch weapon that is
carried for the grave purpose of saving one’s hide. It must
work one hundred percent of the time. It must be of reasonable
power to get the job done. It must be small enough, light
enough, and always within reach. This is the reason that
pocket-size .380 autos are extremely popular today. Folks like
them because they are so darned handy. You can slide it into
your pocket and forget that it is there. Any one of us with any
sense at all, if we were really expecting trouble, would avoid
the situation if possible, and if not, we would choose a more
powerful weapon, if we knew for certain that we were heading for
a fight. However, like most who carry a concealed weapon, I
slide a pistol into my pocket and go about living my daily life,
not expecting trouble, but ready for it if a fight comes to me.
I need a pistol that can always be within reach. If I can’t
reach it when the time comes, it is of no use to me. A small .38
revolver or .380 auto can always be within reach, and the
Diamondback DB380 is the newest .380 pocket pistol to hit the
The DB380 differs from most small modern
pocket autos. Most have a hammer action, but the DB380 is
striker-fired. It has a positive mechanical firing pin block for
safety, and the twin action bars and striker action result in a
very smooth and relatively light trigger pull. The square
profile slide and disassembly system give the DB380 a Glock-like
appearance. It looks like a baby Glock. The DB380 has a
locked-breech action, and a striker that is set by the
retraction of the slide. The trigger is made of steel, and has a
smooth face for comfortable operation. The magazine is made of
blued steel, holds six rounds for a total loaded capacity of
seven, and the magazine catch is made of stainless steel.
Another nice feature of the DB380 are the sights: I can actually
see the sights on this pistol well enough for them to be useful.
I would like to see tritium night
sights offered as an option, but the three-dot style on the
DB380 are very good for such a small pocket gun, and are windage
adjustable as well.
The DB380 frame is made of reinforced
polymer, and the slide and internal parts are of steel. The grip
is well-textured and very slim. This is a thin pistol, and rides
very comfortably in the pocket or a holster. The weight with an
empty magazine is just barely over ten ounces. The pistol feels
very comfortable to hold in my large hand. The magazine supplied
with the DB380 has a flat base, but Diamondback sells a magazine
with a finger extension as well. I have not yet tried it, but
would like to. The grip angle is more upright than on most
pocket autos, but feels good. I thought upon first looking at it
that it might point low as a result, but the arched backstrap
corrects that, and the DB380 points very well for me.
Critical dimensions are listed in the chart
below. The weights are listed in ounces, and linear measurements
in inches. The grip and frame widths were measured at their
widest points. Height includes the sights and magazine base. The
trigger pull on both pistols is very good, with a smooth
release. The trigger pull is listed as pounds of pressure.
Weight is with an empty magazine.
|Maximum Grip Width
I fired a variety of ammunition over the
chronograph to check velocities, with the results listed in the
chart below. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second. Bullet
weights are listed in grains. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint
bullet. DPX is a hollow nose homogenous copper bullet. FMJ is a
full metal jacket roundnose bullet. FP is a full metal jacket
flat-nose bullet. PB is Cor-Bon
Pow’RBall. HC is a hardcast flat-nose lead bullet.
Velocities were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea
level, with an air temperature of twenty-eight degrees
|Buffalo Bore JHP
|Buffalo Bore FMJ
|Buffalo Bore HC
All ammo functioned perfectly, except for one
round, which was determined to be a bad cartridge. The primer
was dented, but did not fire. I tried the cartridge again, and
again it did not fire. The third time through the pistol, the
cartridge finally fired. This is no fault of the gun. Every
other cartridge fed, fired, and ejected perfectly. Ejection was
to the shooter’s right, with no fired cases coming back at the
shooter. Accuracy was very good. No benchrest groups were fired,
as this pistol is designed purely for social work. Therefore,
all testing was done from a standing handheld position. Keeping
all shots well within the kill zone of a standard human
silhouette at ranges from five to twenty-five yards was easy.
Head shots were also easy to make at twenty-five yards, due to
the very good sights on the Diamondback.
I really like the feel of the Diamondback in
my hand. The pistol is smooth, the trigger comfortable, and I
like the square-profile trigger guard. It makes for a handy
place to put the trigger finger of the supporting hand. This was
popular on pistols twenty years ago, and is just as useful today
as it was back then. The trigger guard has ample room for even a
gloved finger, and the trigger pull is smooth and even, with an
ideal trigger pull weight. The trigger travel on the
double-action-only trigger system is approximately one-half
inch. I like the steel trigger, and the steel magazine catch.
Also, to cite another very important design feature, the
magazine release is not overly sensitive. It takes a deliberate
push on the release to drop the magazine. Some pocket pistols
have magazine release buttons that tend to pop the mag out when
bumped against a hard object. This is a problem sometimes for
me, being left-handed and carrying in the left front pocket. I
have many times reached into my pocket to find that the magazine
has been popped out about a quarter of an inch when carrying
some other pocket autos. The Diamondback has not been a problem.
I carry it in my left front pocket, and the magazine has always
stayed in place. I like the design of the DB380 slide. It is
easy to grasp, even with cold dry hands, and pulling the slide
to the rear to chamber a cartridge is easier for me than with
some of the other small .380 pistols. The Diamondback slide also
has forward serrations, which I like. It makes it much easier to
unload the chamber, emptying the cartridge into my right hand.
Disassembly of the DB380 is also very easy, easier than removing
a pin as on competitive designs. Slightly pull back on the
slide, without cocking the striker, pull down the disassembly
latch, and ease the slide forward off the frame. Reassembly is
To date, I have experience only with this one
Diamondback DB380, but so far, I am impressed. It is a new
pistol, but uses proven design features. It is small, light,
reliable, and accurate. It fires the extremely popular .380 ACP
cartridge., and it is one hundred percent American made.
Check out the Diamondback DB380 online at www.diamondbackfirearms.com.
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