Friday, January 15, 2010

Review: Diamondback DB380

Check out the latest .380acp pocket pistol on the market: the Diamondback DB380. It's made in Cocoa, FL, supposedly by one of Kel-tec's defectors, and it's a solid little carry piece. At first glance it looks like the Glock that Glock never made. The DB380 also field strips instinctively like its aforementioned Austrian brother. It's striker-fired and the trigger pull is long and smooth, not unlike the legendary Kahr double action only. 6+1 rounds of .380acp are fed from what appears to be an Italian Mec-Gar magazine. Fit and finish are excellent-- especially when you consider the $302 price point. So far everything looks and feels great, but how does it shoot?

I took the DB380 out to the range this morning, gathering whatever .380acp rounds I could find at the shop-- a dismal 40 count. And it was a sorry ragtag bunch-- a mixed bag of Magtech FMJs, Speer Gold Dot, Corbon Pow'r Ball, and two lead nose reloads of unknown origin. I cleaned and lubed the gun with CLP and loaded the first magazine. The first two rounds went off without a hitch, but then came the first malfunction: a failure-to-eject the spent round effectively. I pulled the mag from frame and cycled the action to clear the jam. Unfortunately, the magazine doesn't really like to drop free 100% off the time, even when loaded to capacity. So, this is one of the rough edges of this new firearm that needs to be ironed out. The little DB380 ran flawlessly for another two magazines (12rds), but then I encountered a couple of failure-to-feed malfunctions. Out of the forty rounds fired, I ended up with a half dozen of these malfunctions. This is an issue that needs to be addressed before it can be considered a concealed carry gun in my book. Then again, the DB380 is a brand new gun from a brand new company-- so I give it some slack. They're well ahead of the curve.

After shooting, I returned to the shop and was able to compare the feed ramp of the DB380 to its more expensive cousin, the Kahr P380. The ramp on the DB380 has a narrow groove in the center, which should be more gradual and accommodating like the Kahr's design. I think this the weak link that is having an adverse effect on feeding. Also, the frame to magazine fit needs to be tweaked slighty to allow for a smoother operation. Overall, the Diamondback DB380 shows a lot of potential. This is the first generation of pistols from the brand new company and I believe they will iron out these issues and bring a truly exceptional product to market. This is definitely a company to watch in 2010!

[ click here for the Diamondback DB380 photo shoot ]

Have a good one and God bless. -- Evan

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