The Diamondback DB380 – What a great piece to add to your ever-growing collection. I went looking for a good conceal carry firearm and ended up with this very small, 5.25″, pistol. The pistol has an MSRP of around $430. I had seen others fire this same weapon at other ranges and liked what I saw. Before this Diamondback, I never had a chance to fire this specific caliber.
- Capacity: 6+1 Rounds
- Weight: 8.8 Ounces
- Width: .750″
- Barrel Length: 2.80″
- Firing Mechanism: Striker Fire
- Trigger Pull: DAO 5 lbs
Small, light, great optics – and best of all, they didn’t skimp on caliber size for a pocket pistol. I know some will say a .380 ACP isn’t ideal for defense but lets be honest, how many people are going to keep coming at you with 6 rounds in them? At the very least it will give you time to get away and get help.
Let’s start off with the sights. The DB380 comes with standard 3-dot sights for quick acquisition. When comparing this model to other .380 ACP calibers of the time, most of the other pocket pistols have standard black-post sights. The black-post-style sights are horrible in low-light conditions. In a self-defense situation, I don’t see many opportunities for the “wolves” to corner a “sheep” or “sheepdog” in well-lit conditions. The set that came with the DB380 are not Tritium, or any sort of light-gathering optic, but they are a lot better than most other .380 models.
The gun weighs close to nothing! The firearm (unloaded) rings in at just over 10.1 ounces. This is a little heavier than similar .380 ACP models like the Ruger LCP, etc – but the added weight seems to help with the recoil.
The DB380 comes standard with one magazine. The magazine does not have a finger extension. Without the finger extension, my pinky wanted to slide under the magazine as I have very large hands. This is the smallest pistol I have fired – so it felt a little weird, but after a few rounds, I didn’t notice that my pinky was under the magazine at all. It would fit someone without my fat fingers or a female a bit better than me. All and all still not a bad fit.
The DB380 is set up primarily for right-handed shooters. The ejection port is on the right side, and the magazine release is on the left – for a standard right-thumb release. The magazine release is very stiff – which is a plus for a pocket pistol, and a minus for attempting fast reloading.
The Diamondback company seems to be quite proud of their products. They place their logo and name just about everywhere they can on the firearm and accessories. They even place their name on each side of the magazine. The magazines are engraved both with the logo/name of the company, and with clearly visible loaded-round indicators. This is especially handy on most firearms, to see how many rounds you have loaded into one magazine. I like their attention to detail with this handy feature, but with a six-round firearm, I don’t know if it was entirely necessary.
Cons (in the opinion of some)
There are a few cons with this firearm. There is no loaded chamber indicator. On new-model firearms, a safety feature built in is a loaded chamber indicator. This indicator will generally pop up to signal there is a round in the chamber. The DB380 also has no ACTIVE safeties. Active safeties can be defined as a button, switch, or lever that PREVENTS accidental discharge of firearms. With that being said, the DB380 has internal passive safeties. These safeties include: Double-Action operation ONLY, five-pound trigger pull, and a drop safety. What this equates to is a semi-automatic pistol that acts very similar to a revolver, only with a more crisp and smooth trigger pull.
So far I have tested three brands of ammunition in this firearm:
• Remington 95 Gr FMJ
• Hornady 90 Gr XTP Critical Defense
• Blazer 95 Gr TMJ.
The ball-type ammunition of the Remington FMJ seemed to feed the best into the chamber – but I had the best performance out of the Hornady XTP. I would love to keep the Hornady XTP ammunition in this pistol all the time for self-defense, but as a back up for law enforcement due to the misfeeds I got with these rounds. I believe this is because of the rubber tips that are inserted into the hollow point. From what I have researched on this ammo, the rubber tip is designed to keep the bullet from mushrooming or fragmenting out until it passes through both clothing and some soft tissue. This makes all of the stopping power go into the main part of the body. I have put about 100 rounds of the XTP through the DB380, with around 15 misfeeds. Some misfeeds were bad, since the firearm has no slide lock, it sometimes took one person to rack the slide back and hold it, while another person pulled the misfed bullet out. In a self-defense situation, a misfeed could spell disaster, but a misfeed requiring two people to clear definitely spells death. From what I can tell, the rubber tip was causing too much friction on the feed ramp, causing the misfeeds. A freshly clean gun resolved the problem – BUT after around 12 rounds (2 magazines full) the misfeeds started happening again. I then switched to Remington UMC 88 Gr. Jacketed Hollow Point. After the switch, and about 100 rounds, only one misfeed. This ammo (so far) has the best track record. Although it took a bit of time to find the right ammo for the firearm it is still a reliable gun in a CCW situation, as long as you are carrying the right ammo.
The breakdown/takedown of the firearm is very simple. Many people refer to this DB380 as the “Mini-Glock” – and it breaks down almost the same. There is a takedown lever just in front of the trigger guard. The lever goes all the way through the frame. The first step would be to remove the magazine from the weapon, and verify there is no round in the chamber. After clearing the firearm, point it in a safe direction and dry-fire the pistol. I like to place the firearm in my off-hand (left for me) and use my left thumb and index finger to pull down the takedown lever on both sides of the frame. Once pulled down, use your main-hand and gently pull the slide to the rear position until you hear an audible click. This won’t take much, generally about 1/4″ distance. With the takedown lever still pulled down, pull the slide forward and off of the frame. The barrel and guide rod can be removed, and then you can break it down further by pulling the spring off of the guide rod. This is the basic breakdown for the firearm, and is all that is needed for standard cleaning.
To reassemble – simply reverse the steps. Place the spring back on the guide rod. The barrel and guide rod can then be placed back in the slide. Holding the frame in your off-hand, place the slide back onto the slide rail, and slowly pull the slide into the rear position – as if you were chambering a round. I also like to cycle the firearm a few times by moving the slide back and forth to verify the process “feels right”. The magazine can then be inserted into the magazine well, and the weapon is now ready for ammunition and shooting fun!
From my research, Diamondback Firearms, LLC is based out of Cocoa Florida. Some of the owners of Kel-Tec have branched off to make this new firearm company. Diamondback have been around for years – just making airboats, and have recently come into the firearms market. Just like all products – I believe a good firearm stems from a good quality, determined manufacturer. From all of the reviews and forums I read, I haven’t seen many bad comments about any Diamondback-made firearm. They are proud of their product and happily stand by it with great warranties.
THE REALLY GOOD PART
I am giving away this firearm and a few accessories around Christmas time. That’s right all you will have to do is find an FFL and pay the transfer fee. Well there is one catch, for me to get the firearm free I had to add a stipulation. You have to sign up and complete the free Firearm Safety course at http://www.dbgunsafety.com. I know, too easy right? Then once you finish just email a copy of your completion certificate to firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name. Entries can start on the first day this is posted and will go through Dec 20, 2011. I will then draw for a winner on December 21, 2011 and announce it on http://www.weapon-blog.com. In the meantime I will contact the winner by email to get the transfer all set up. What are you waiting for? Get Started…
This guest post was written by Brian Keally.