This is the story of 400 rounds of ammunition and a new pistol called the DB9-- Diamondback's latest micro-compact pistol. Founded by a former Kel-tec employee, Diamondback is based in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Their first model, the DB380, has earned the favor of gun writers and the trust of many concealed carry shooters. When the DB380 was first introduced, I called it the pocket Glock that Glock never made. The new DB9 is slightly larger than the original DB380, but affords shooters the more potent stopping power of 9mm. The DB9 is also much smaller than its main competitors: the venerable Kel-tec PF-9 and Ruger's new LC9. [click here for the photo gallery and torture test video]
Last week, we took a bone stock, brand new in box DB9 to the range for testing. Before firing it, we field stripped the weapon, cleaned and lubed it with Breakfree CLP, and added some TW25B light synthetic grease just for good measure. We brought an assortment of common ammunition with us-- 400 rounds total. Here are the results and some video to boot:
Round 0-50: The first fifty round box of ammo we tested was Magtech 115gr 9mm. The last round of the first magazine stove-piped, but the rest of the box ran flawlessly. I was thankful to have four other shooters with me, because this little gun kicks like a mule! The DB9 is not a gun you would want to take to the range and shoot all day. Unfortunately, that's exactly what we committed to.
Round 51-100: The second box of ammo was PMC 115gr 9mm. We experienced no malfunctions of any kind. We also noticed the superb trigger and extraordinary accuracy for such a tiny weapon. The DB9 has three dot sights, which make target acquisition a breeze. This gun can really shoot-- even at 25 yards!
Round 101-150: Next up was a box of Sellier & Bellot 115gr 9mm and five consecutive light primer strikes, resulting in the weapon failing to fire. This occurred after a total of 120-125 rounds. At first, we suspected a broken or damaged firing pin, but upon inspection the DB9 was just very dirty and possibly over-lubricated. We wiped away the gunk and reassembled the pistol. The rest of the S&B ammo ran flawlessly.
Round 151-200: So far, the team has been very pleased with the Diamondback DB9's performance. One of us was bleeding profusely from slide bite, but our spirits remained high. All of our hands hurt from the recoil, but we pressed on. The DB9 needs a Hogue grip sleeve-- especially if you're going to shoot this many rounds in one sitting. We also could've used another magazine, as the Diamondback DB9 only ships with one. A 50rd box of Federal American Eagle 115gr went down range without a single hiccup. So did a handful of Wolf 115gr steel case ammo that made produced an enormous flash (see video). We even sprinkled in some heavy Federal 124gr +P+ just for good measure. The DB9 didn't explode, so we were happy.
Round 201-250: After a quick break to duct tape our wounds, we came back strong with a box of Swiss made 124gr RWS EcoG ammo-- which turned out to be very clean and functioned flawlessly in the Diamondback DB9.
Round 251-300: Fiochi 115gr 9mm was another item on our menu. At round number 274, we experienced a failure to eject. The lube might have been wearing off, but we cleared the jam and continued to fire. The rest of the box went down range without incident.
Round 301-350: During this volley, we selected Lake City M882 124gr 9mm. These are the military's factory seconds, so if anything was going to happen this late in the game, perhaps the ammo would be the culprit. At least that's what we thought when Ed experienced back-to-back-to-back failures to feed. I took over on the DB9 and didn't have any issues. Turns out Ed was wearing a pair of gloves to combat the DB9's recoil-- and they were interfering with the action of the weapon. Issue resolved.
Round 351-400: Magtech Clean Range 115gr 9mm lead free ammo was our last box of ammo. All 50 rounds went off without a single malfunction. The little DB9 felt like it was properly broken in and running smooth. This little gun impressed the heck out of us!
We gleaned a lot of knowledge from this torture test, and the aftermath gave us some good intel. First, we noticed that one of the take down pins that holds the trigger group in place was beginning to work its way out of the frame. Thankfully, we finished the test before this happened and tapped it back in with a nylon hammer. After stripping the weapon, we found the weapon was absolutely filthy and a lot of Mitch's blood ended up on the slide assembly. We also noticed a small chip that had developed on the barrel's feed ramp. This might become a problem in the future. Or it might have actually improved the feeding. Regardless, this is something we'll have to watch carefully during future range sessions. The DB9's dual recoil spring is mighty, so it's pretty hard to rack the slide back-- especially while coated in TW25B lube and type O+ blood. Thus, the team agreed that the Diamondback DB9 wouldn't be the best choice for a lady. It was hard to rack the slide-- even after 400 rounds. Recoil was also punishing-- even more than you experience with a J-Frame revolver firing .38 Special +P ammunition.
Overall, the new Diamondback DB9 is a very impressive weapon. It's something all of testing team would own. In fact, I'm keeping the test unit for myself. On my list of upgrades is of course, more magazines and a decent pocket holster like the Nemesis by Desantis. I'll probably opt for Speer Gold Dot 124gr +P ammunition, and I may also decide to modify the stippling pattern on the grip or add a Hogue rubber sleeve. The Diamondback DB9 is barely larger than most 380s on the market, making it a really unique firearm-- easily one of the smallest, lightest, and most accurate 9mm pistols available today. If you're adding a new micro-compact pocket pistol to your gun wardrobe, you might want to consider the new Diamondback DB9. It's a good 'un!
Until next time, have a good one and God bless. -- Evan
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