Saturday, June 4, 2011

Diamondback DB9 First Look

Last year the DB380 compact .380 acp autoloader was released and almost 13 months ago I sat down on a Friday night and penned my DB380 review.  Tonight I sit down and prepare to do it again, but this time I'll be writing about the newest Diamondback, the DB9 super compact 9mm pistol.  There have been a few of us anxiously awaiting the DB9's arrival.  Some of us bought DB380s while we waited for news of the DB9.  Some of us speculated and posted what we though the DB9 would be like.  Here's one of my posts from the Diambacktalk Forum from last year.

I think we were all looking for the same things from this pistol.  We all appreciated the simplicity of take down and very light weight of the DB380.  We wanted the folks at Diamondback to take things to the next level and give us a similar platform, but upsized for the 9mm Luger round.  They certainly didn't disappoint and I'm super jazzed to be adding another pocket 9 to my CC stable.

I picked up my DB9 this afternoon and I plan on recreating the same experience I had with the DB380 last year.  True to form from last year, I've got a heavy baseball weekend going this year too so I'll be updating the review as time permits.  Tonight I wanted to do the unboxing and cover some of the inevitable comparision questions that several of us have.  The first trip to the range will have to wait for Sunday.

 If you previously purchased a DB380, then there really isn't anything exciting here for you.  The plastic case appears to be the same along with the die cut foam.  The pistol ships with one magazine, instruction manual, trigger lock, Crimson Trace advert, and a discount card for 10% off any order over $50 at the DB store.  I'll be using that discount on spare mags as soon as they are available.  I quickly scanned through the manual and all pictures feature the DB380.  I'm almost positive it's the same manual they ship with the DB380's.

So let's get down to the comparisons.  This next section will be a bit picture heavy, but I had to shoot a bunch of pictures to compare the DB9 with the DB380, Kahr PM9, and the Rohrbaugh R9.  The Kahr and Rohrbaugh have been the kings of pocket 9's for some time now so it's only natural that people will want to see how they compare.  Since I can't get out to the range until Sunday, I'll focus on the weight and dimensional differences tonight.  All weights include an empty factory magazine.  All pistols take 6+1, so ammo will add the same weight to all guns.

First up was the 11 oz. Diamondback DB9.  As you can see, it gained a little weight with the magazine in place and the 11 oz. gun is really 11.4 oz. without the magazine so I'll let them slide since they didn't include the magazine and they rounded the weight down to the nearest ounce. 

Next to hit the scale was the Rohrbaugh R9.  It logged in at a flat 15 oz.

Moving on to the PM9, we see a hefty 17.1 oz, but you have to remove the Crimson Trace from that weight (.6 oz.) which gets you down to 16.5 oz.  Just to be honest here, this is hands down my current favorite pocket gun.  This is the benchmark that the DB9 must beat.

I'm sure there will be some DB380 fans that want to know what upgrading to 9mm will do to their pockets in weight and $$$'s.  Here's the difference in weight.  10.4 oz. vs. 12.8 oz. and I get better sights on the DB9.  I'll take that trade-off all day long.   

Dimensionally, all 3 of the pocket 9's are different.  I really struggled with the best way to convey that to myself and those that humor me by reading this blog.  I ended up making a trip to Walmart tonight to pick up one of those scrap booking mats that has the measured grid lines on it.  I used it as the background for all of the following pictures so I hope the size difference conveys.  I struggled with lighting, shadows, and picture clarity, but I think I finally got some good pictures that compare the relative sizing of the three.

Diamonback DB9

Kahr PM9

Rohrbaugh R9  I have to come clean here.  My carry mag includes a finger extension that increases the height dimension.  I used the factory magazine for the measurements because I'm sure most people will run their Rohrbaugh stock.

 Let me jump in at this point and make a few comments.  Rohrbaugh has been the king of smallest pocket 9's for several years.  Kahr has also sold scads of PM9's,  As you can see above, the Rohrbaugh is the smallest in length and height, but they give up their width advantage to the DB.  If the Diamonback checks out on the range, you could be looking at a world beater.  Here's why I think that.
1)  The DB9 can take a CT laser.
2)  The DB9 could have night sights in the future.
3)  The DB9 is rated for +P ammo as long as it's not +P all the time.
4)  The DB9 manual doesn't mention the need to change the recoil springs every 200 rounds as you need to do with the R9..
5)  The DB9 is literally 1/4 the price of a Rohrbaugh and 1/2 the price of a PM9.
6)  The DB9 is smaller and lighter than the PM9.

At this point, I think I'd like to put up some pictures that compare the DB9 with the DB380.  I'm sure there are some DB380 owners out there that would like to see what upgrading would do to the real estate in their pockets.  The answer to that question is not much more.  You can see in the photos below.  DB9 is on the left and DB380 is on the right.

To wrap up the first look I took a 360 view of the DB380 and the DB9.  It will give you a little more insight into the differences between the two.
So with that I should probably end here for the night.  My plan is to get into the guts of the pistol tomorrow and see if anything has changed between the DB9 and the DB380.  The day after that will the range day where all will become more clear on recoil and reliability.  Stay tuned.


  1. The review says, "The DB9 manual doesn't mention the need to change the recoil springs every 200 rounds."

    What does that mean, please? Does that mean that the DB9 needs to have its recoil springs changed every 200 rounds, but the DB9's manual fails to mention that essential fact?

    Or does that mean that the reviewer believes that the DB9 does not require its recoil springs to be changed every 200 rounds, whereas some other pistols in this review DO require their recoil springs to be changed every 200 rounds?

    Clarification, please.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I nearly forgot to say thanks for the superb review. Thanks!

  4. Hi Marc. My comment about changing recoil springs at 200 rounds was alluding to the need to do that with the Rohrbaugh R9 pistol. While the springs are cheap to replace, several people point to that maintenance routine as a drawback of the R9 design. From the R9 manual "... will be in the need to periodically replace the pistol’s recoil spring (recommended after 200
    rounds), as the force of recoil of a 9mm parabellum cartridge in a pistol with this
    total weight results in wear on the recoil spring."

    In practical usage, changing the spring every 200 rounds has not been a problem for me.

  5. @Bruce F, thanks for the clarification. Much appreciated.