Saturday, June 18, 2011

Diamondback DB9 Update & Ballistics Test

On my first trip to the range with my DB9, I called out a couple of problems.  You can find that range report here.  The biggest issue was the failure to feed most of the premium defense ammunition.  Diamondback was very responsive to the problem and had new magazine followers made and they shipped one to me last week.  So it was time to go back to the range and see if the new follower fixed the feed problems.

Last week I finally did something about the finger rest on the magazine base plate.  With my hands, the additional length wasn't enough to allow me to get a third finger on the grip and it actually became annoying to my pinkie that was curled under the magazine.  I did the primary polymer removal with 3M blue 80 grit. I followed that up with a double sided nail salon type file with 100 and 180 grit. Fine finish with a sheet of crocus cloth. Washed it up in water and followed that with a drop or two of McGuire's Back to Black. Time consuming to do by hand, but easy enough.  Aside from being more comfortable to shoot, the gun is now shorter in height and conceals a bit better in the pocket. 

The other issue I had was the walking frame pin.  That was easily fixed with a drop of blue Loctite on each end of the pin.

I ran another 105 through my DB9 today using the new follower that Diamondback sent me.  From my initial range trip, I could not get Gold Dot 124 grain or HST 124 grain to feed from the magazine.  The rounds would nosedive and stick on the feed ramp.  My results today with the new follower installed were outstanding.  Aside from one failure to feed on round number 4, the rest of the trip went great.  The info below is a detailed synopsis of the 105 rounds fired today.

1-7   Speer Gold Dot 124 grain HP. Fail to Feed on round 4. Cleared jam and finished mag.
8-14 Fed HST 124 grain HP. Perfect
15-49 Fed Champion 115g FMJ. Perfect
50-56 Winchester 147 grain HP. Perfect
57-70 Speer Gold Dot 124 grain HP. Perfect
71-84 Federal HST 124 grain HP. Perfect
85-91 Winchester 124 grain NATO FMJ. Perfect
92-98 Winchester 115 grain White Box FMJ. Perfect
99-105 Speer Gold Dot 124 grain HP. Perfect

Ideally, I was hoping the Speer Gold Dot 124 grain would feed and also give good accuracy.  It delivered so I can run that load in the DB9 with the same confidence I have using it in other pocket 9's. 


To my knowledge, I may be the first to actually run some ammo through the DB9 and across a chronograph.  The 3" barrel of the DB9 allows the 9mm ammo to get a decent head of steam built up.  All rounds were measured about 8 feet from the muzzle over a CED M2 chronograph.  Energy is roughly 50% higher than what you get from a pocket .380.  Some people are asking if the DB9 can handle +p rounds, but I really have no interest in trying them.  Recoil is snappy, but manageable in the DB9 with the standard pressure rounds.  I personally see no reason to step up the pressures and recoil when I can comfortably shoot the standard pressure rounds.
Click on the picture for a larger view.

So I guess that about wraps up my DB9 Review and Testing.  I've got 312 rounds through the gun now and all issues found on day one were eliminated on test day two.  I have picked my load of Speer Gold Dot 124 grain as the one I will use as my carry round.  I've run it across the chronograph so I know what velocity and energy it's producing.  The only thing I will do in the future is some water jug testing just to be sure the 1000+ fps velocity is enough to allow reasonable expansion of the Gold Dot bullet.  Keep checking back here for those test results.

Early on in my evaluation of the DB9, I mentioned it could be a world beater in the ever growing population of micro 9mm pistols.  All results I've seen show me that my initial evaluation has been spot on.  Prices for DB9s have recently gone up due to supply and demand pressures, but even at $350 the DB9 offers a significant value proposition and is really a best buy in the market segment.  The closest competitors in size and weight, will set you back 2 to 4 times as much as the DB9.

I'm looking forward to the aftermarket and Diamondback catching up with night sights, holsters, and spare magazines.  As is, it's great.  With some additional goodies, it will be fantastic.

If you are interested in the thoughts and impressions of other DB9 owners, please check out the Diamondback Talk Forum.   

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Is The Great .380 Ammo Test Cursed?

I did get the chance to hit the range this morning and get started on the testing.  I wish I could tell you that I got it all done, but I can't.  A little bugaboo called the rain moved in and shut me down about 30 minutes after arriving at the range.  Looking outside now, it's bright and wonderful.  It never really rained hard, but the cloud cover and sprinkles were playing games with the CED M2 chronograph's ability to register the bullets traveling over the sensors.  The new M2 is a huge improvement over the one I had to send back.  This one should work out fine.

I did get 2 of the 22 varieties tested today, so I put them into the spreadsheet and finalized the format I'll use for reporting the rest of the samples.  When all ammos are done, I'll add a bullet energy calculation for each load so we can compare those as well as the 4 currently reported statistics.  I'm capturing more data for each sample string, but only reporting the following:
Hi = Highest velocity measured for the 5 shot string.
Low = Lowest velocity measured for the 5 shot string.
ES = Extreme spread of velocities measured across 5 shots.
Avg = The average velocity of the 5 shot string.
Click on the picture of the spreadsheet for a readable version.

Two down and 20 more samples to go.  Maybe next weekend will be more productive.

.380 Ammo Test Update

Back in this entry Great 380 ACP Ammo Test I mentioned that my CED M2 went back to Midway USA for replacement.  I shipped it out on May 31st via USPS Priority Mail.  I'm happy to report that the replacement unit arrived on June 8th and the testing will commence as soon as possible.

Kudos to Midway for the fast service and refunding my $11.90 return shipping expense.  I was willing to eat that in order to get a unit that worked, but Mr. Potterfield was having none of that and gave me the return shipping back.  If you've never shopped with Midway, you should check them out for your shooting needs.

With any luck, I should be able to get back to testing today.  Our weekend plans got scrapped so it looks like I'll have a chance to get back to the range today.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Update on DB9 Issues and Carry Impressions

I wanted to publish an update on the issues I experienced with my DB9 during my first trip to the range last week.

The first issue was the walking frame pin pictured below.  I called Diamondback on Tuesday and explained the issue.  As I expected they advised me to apply a tiny drop of Blue Loctite on the pin before pushing it back into place.  They were certain that would fix my issue and I have to agree that will be the case.  If you don't know about Loctite, it's basically the duct tape of the gun world and is used to keep a multitude of screws and pins from loosening or moving during the stress of firing.

I also reported an issue with failure to feed some varieties of hollow point ammunition.  I did some testing and measuring after my range trip and found something interesting. The DB9 was failing to feed when the combined length of the cartridge + the width of the bullet nose exceeded 1.307".  You can see it pretty clearly in the sheet below.

To the credit of the folks at DBF, they were all over this reported issue on Monday morning.  They determined that the root cause of the issue was shrinkage in the plastic magazine followers after they were molded.  New magazine followers are being made and will be sent to all current owners with feed issues and all unshipped DB9s will have the new follower installed before shipping from the factory.  My replacement follower left DBF on Friday June 10th.  I'll wait until the new follower is in hand before going back out to the range to retry the Federal HST and Speer Gold Dot.

I do have a CHL so I've tried to carry my DB9 as much as possible this week, which was actually an easy chore to accomplish.  This thing is just so small and light that it's no trouble or bother to have it along with you on your daily routine.  Custom holsters aren't available yet so I tried the Desantis Nemesis for the DB9 and the Blackhawk! #3 pocket holster.  The weights are the actual as carried weights including a full charge of ammunition.  Both holsters work fine, but I do like the closed muzzle end of the Blackhawk!.  I like the grip space of the Desantis, but it was made too short and the muzzle protrudes from the end of the holster where it becomes a pocket lint magnet.  We buy these pocket guns for their light weight so again the Blackhawk! comes out on top.
 


Conceal-ability is excellent in the front pocket.  I think many people get too hung up on "printing".  Seriously, how many times have you checked out someone's front pockets when you saw them walk by?  I know I don't.  The most visible feature in either holster is the magazine base plate.  It's the widest point on the grip and it does print a bit.  Otherwise it's out of sight and small and light enough to be almost out of mind as well.

As of 6/10/2011 it's impossible to find spare magazines for the DB9.  We've been told they should be available in about a month.  So I'll be keeping an eye open for them to start popping up on the Diamondback Firearms Web Store.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cheap and Easy Target Holder

I recently gained access to a fantastic range.  The only problem is that it's bring your own target holders so I needed to get one together in a hurry for a recent trip.  I shopped at Lowe's but I'm sure that Home Depot or any other home center or builders supply would have the same stuff.

Here's what I bought.
Required:
(2) 1 1/4" 5' sections of Sched 40 PVC pipe
(2) 3/4" 5' sections of Sched 40 PVC pipe
(2) 1 1/4" x 3/4" Sched 40 T couplers
(2) 1 1/4" Sched 40 elbows

Optional:
(2) 3/4" Sched 40 caps
(2) 1 1/4" Sched 40 caps
Kobalt 1 5/8" PVC Pipe Cutter


I really went for the economic approach and was trying to see how little you could spend to get a decent reusable and non-wood target holder put together.  My total investment wasn't too bad.  Just under $31.00 after tax.  You can skip the end caps without sacrificing function.  I just wanted a more finished look.


The biggest expense was the PVC pipe cutter.  I originally thought I would use a hacksaw, but the pipe cutter solution looked well worth the extra $10 and now I've got a new tool for future projects.  I shopped in the irrigation section and not the plumbing section.  Irrigation had the 5 foot lengths of pipe I was looking for.  Plumbing supplies may be cheaper, but I didn't bother to find out.

Start by cutting both 1 1/4" pipe sections in half.  That will leave you with 4 30" sections of pipe.  Set one of these aside as it will not be used.  Cut 2 of the 30" sections in half.  Rejoin the cut halves with your T couplers.  Put your elbow couplers on one end of each section.  The elbow should be oriented 90 degrees from the 3/4" outlet of your T couplers.  Insert your remaining 1 1/4" PVC section between the elbows to complete your base.  Add your two 3/4" 5' PVC pipes into the corresponding holes in your T coupler.  You're done!

I went over the ends of each pipe section with 300 grit wet/dry paper and also a green Scotchbright pad.  I did this so disassemble could be easily done if I needed to do it.  I used a rubber mallet to seat the pipes in the T and elbow sections.  I also used the mallet to add my optional end caps to the open end of the base and one end of the 3/4" vertical sections.

I had the Pony clips, closed cell foam mat, sandpaper, and Scotchbright pad at the house.  If you don't have those available, you should pick them up with your PVC.   The closed cell foam mat is actually a camping mat that you lay on the ground and put your sleeping bag on when camping.  I picked one up at Walmart last year for another project that required closed cell foam so I had it on hand.  If you don't want to go the foam route, you can always substitute a piece of scrap cardboard.  I like the foam because it can be reused multiple times, accepts staples for hanging targets, and you can stick an adhesive target to it and it will peel right off when you are done shooting.
Assembled

Disassembled for transport or storage. You can remove the cross support for transport if required.  This fit perfectly in the back of my vehicle. 

Target holder in action with (2) 10 1/2"x12" NRA B-16 targets attached.  Plenty of room.
 


I do plan on picking up another 4 plastic Pony clips that will be exclusively for the target holder.  I like plastic vs. metal in case I ever shank a shot and it hits the metal clip.  I'm sure the plastic clip would be destroyed.  I don't want the metal clip sending my shot back at me or someone else as a ricochet.

On really windy days, I think I could pour water into the base through the holes in the vertical T to add weight.   I would probably have to drill some holes in the 1 1/4" caps to let the water out after the shooting session.  As is, it works great.  You can do an unlimited number of variations on this theme to add more cross members to the base, add cross members to the vertical target supports, and on and on and on.  I believe this is just about the minimum build you can get away with and still have a stable stand.  I would have upped my vertical supports to 1" diameter, but my Lowes was out of stock when I did my shopping.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Finally - The DB9 Range Report

It was a beautiful day here today so I was able to follow through with my plans to get out to the range and give the DB9 a thorough shake down.  As of this morning, the plan was to take this ammo along and burn through as much as possible for the evaluation.  What  you plan and what you actually end up doing rarely coincides so I didn't get the chance to shoot everything pictured, and I go into detail on why as we progress through the evaluation and range report.  In total, I got through 207 rounds and if I refer to a round number in the rest of this post, it's the number of the round between 1 and 207.

You may me wondering why so much Blazer.  I took the Blazer in quantity because it's been the best performer in the DB380 so why wouldn't it do great in the DB9.  1 plastic box has 100 rounds of Federal 115 grain FMJ and the other plastic box has 100 rounds of Remington UMC 115 grain Value Pack HPs.  I get both at Walmart and immediately just dump them in a bin when I get home to cut down on storage space.  Jeff Quinn over at Gunblast.com mentioned that DB9 was a fussy eater in his review.  I wanted to be sure I had plenty of options available if my DB9 turned out to be fussy too.

I had the range to myself again today.  I guess I'm one of the few stupid people willing to go out in 95 degree weather in the afternoon and shoot guns.  Trigger time is happy time regardless of weather conditions so I just grabbed a couple of quarts of Powerade Zero and got down to business.  I had to scramble around last night and get a target holder put together.  I had a design in mind and it took about an hour to get the stuff an put it all together.  I'll post a blog entry on that project in the near future.  I set the target holder out at 7 yards and didn't move it during the testing so everything was done at 7 Yards.





As I mentioned above, the plan was to run a bunch of Blazer through the DB9 and see how it performed.  I ran a mag +1 on each target with the following results.  Not too shabby for my first two mags through a brand new gun.  I'll take it.  The black area is 5 1/2" across on these targets.  I did have a failure to fire on round 9.  The primer was hit, but did not detonate.  I put things back in order and the cartridge did fire on the second strike.

Rounds 15 to 21 were an absolute disaster.  I've never had this happen before, but rounds 17 and 19 actually stuck in the chamber after firing.  17 required me to poke it out from the muzzle end.  Rounds 19 was worse.  It was so stuck in the chamber that I had to grasp slide and frame in different hands and bang the frame hand on my leg in order to free the stuck case.  Please learn from my experience and do not attempt to use Blazer Aluminum in your DB9.  Here's a picture of the ammo to avoid.  As you can see, rounds 20 and 21 went back in the box and Blazer aluminum was DONE! for further testing.

The next ammo up was the Federal Champion 115 grain FMJ that you could get at Walmart for under $10.00 a box before the price increase.  I use this as my IDPA load so I keep a plastic tub of loose rounds and just grab what I need when I need it.  I had brought along 100 of these in case the DB9 was ammo fussy.  I used this for rounds 22 to 77 and every round was perfect.  At round 77, I did notice something that you should see.


That little pin on the right side of the frame turned out to be a walker.  From round 70 forward, I had to push that pin back in at every 20 rounds or so.  I never let it walk much further than the picture so I can't tell if you if it would keep walking and eventually cause the pistol to fail.  I can say that the pin can walk at least that far and the gun will still function.  A quick press of the thumbnail and the pin slides right back into position for another 20 rounds or so.

At this point I started switching up ammos more frequently.  I had a ton of stuff to shoot up so I was really interested in what would work and what would not.  Next up was the Remington UMC bulk pack 115 grain HPs that you can also get at Walmart.  No issues at all with these and they made a nice tight little group.  I used these for rounds 78 to 98 with perfect function.

Rounds 99 to 112 were Fiocchi 124 grain HP.  Rounds 113 to 126 were Winchester White Box 147 grain HPs.  Both ammos worked perfectly and the Fiocchi was really delivering good groups as long as I did my part and didn't shank one as I did with the target in the upper left corner in the picture below.  These targets are 3 inch circles with 1 inch centers.

So at this point, I'm doing the happy dance.  The DB9 is controllable and it's possible to shoot some decent groups at 7 yards as long as you take your time and make sure the sights are lined up at about the center of the target you are shooting at.  By now you can see that I have a low bias on my targets.  I don't think I'm snatching the trigger and dropping the muzzle at the point of firing, but maybe I am.  In reality, I think these groups are close enough to point of aim that I really don't need to worry about it.  Time to try out the super premium ammo.

Next up I wanted to try the Speer Gold Dot 124 grain HP and the Federal 124 grain HST.  I really like the 124 grain Speer Gold Dot and run it in my other pocket 9's.  The Federal HST is new for me after finally being able to get a couple boxes after the ammo shortage of the last couple of years.  I have to say that I was not impressed with the DB9's performance with these rounds.  I think I have a fix for the problem, but it will be up to the good folks at DB to address this or not as they see fit.  The four rounds on the left worked great.  The two on the right wanted to nosedive if you had 6 rounds in the magazine and you racked the slide to load one into the chamber.  When I say nosedive, it's really nose hook where the feed ramp will catch the bullet jacket serrations and lock the gun up.  Clearing a jam like this is quite a challenge since you have to retract the slide, push the top round back into the magazine, then push the mag release to drop the mag while all the while holding the slide back in it's most rearward position. 

I know you're probably thinking that the DB9 won't feed nickel cased ammo, but I think the problem runs deeper than that.  =)  The nickel cases are probably just a coincidence.  See the gap between the bottom of the grip and the magazine base plate in the photo below.  The DB9 is on the left.  At the range I noticed that the magazine would actually move up and down the the range of that gap when you manually load a round from the magazine.  It's advisable to keep upward pressure on the magazine base plate while you retract the slide if you want smooth chambering of the top round.  This problem could be minimized with a change to the location of the magazine catch window on the magazine body.


After a bunch of troubleshooting, I was able to get 2 magazines of Gold Dot and one of HST through the gun.  I tried a bunch of things and loading one in the magazine and cycling that into the chamber before refilling the magazine to 6 will work, but the top round of the magazine does nosedive after the first shot.  Groups with both ammos were just OK.
As mentioned above, the Gold Dot 124 grain is my round of choice in my Kahr PM9.  Just for giggles I ran a magazine of Gold Dot through my PM9 (target upper left) and the DB9 (target lower left) to see how they could compare.  Pretty much the same in my opinion.


I'm feeling hot and disgusting at this point so I'm done with testing new ammos and I go back to finish up the rounds I know will work.  The DB9 round count is now at 135 so I go back to the Federal 115 grain FMJ.  I have one Failure to Feed at round 151 which requires me to drop the mag and bump the rear of the slide to feed the cartridge.  At round 166, I switch over to the Remington UMC 115 grain HP.  At round 172 I go back to the Fiocchi 124 grain HP and run 3 mag dumps +1's through the DB9 with the following results.  The extreme spread across 21 rounds is 3 1/4" inches.  I think I've found my carry load. 

Rounds 194 through 207 are back to the Remington UMC 115 grain JHP and then I decided I'm done.  It's been just about 3 hours now and I've crossed that 190 round hurdle where the DB380 previously let me down.  I've found a load that I'm happy with in the Fiocchi 124 grain so it's time to call it a day.  I've also got documentation on the issues with the walking frame pin and the failure to feed issues that the folks at Diamondback can mull over and let me know if they want to address.  The photo below sums up my range trip.

Back in school you got extra credit if you showed your work.  Here's my work. 


If my experiences are any indication of the overall population of DB9s, then this sure does look like a winner.  I have no issues at all dropping this in my pocket as a concealed carry option with either the Remington 115 grain HPs, Fiocchi 124 grain HPs, or Winchester 147 grain HPs.  Fiocchi also makes a 147 grain loaded with the XTP bullet.  I'll have to try some to those and see how they work.  Overall, the most reasonably priced ammos were the ones that worked best, so the DB9 is nice because you can practice with your carry load and not break the bank.

I took RecoilCam out of my review since the video was so horrible.  I've done a remix and made it quite a bit smaller so I'm bringing it back.  Behold it's RecoilCam.
video


I did pick up on a couple of issues that Diamondback may address with my specific pistol or the issues may exist with the entire population.  Overall, they are easily worked around and can be minimized by paying attention to your gear and careful ammo selection.  I'll post any updates as feedback comes in.

So with that I am done and I hope you enjoyed reading through my updates this weekend.  I did log some hours pulling this all together, but it was very enjoyable and I would do it all again if given the chance to do so.  Please put any questions down in the comments and I will do my best to answer when I can.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Looking Under the Hood of the DB9

I had to chuckle to myself after putting the title on this update.  I wonder how many Aston Martin DB9 fans will google up this blog by accident.

I have to say, after cleaning the DB9 and comparing it to the DB380, this update will be about as exciting as the unboxing from last night.  Not much has changed other than the obvious upsizing of several components, new trigger springs, and a much larger ejection port to accommodate the larger cartridge.

Recoil springs have been beefed up for the larger cartridge.

The slide looks just the same, but larger.  The ejection port is also quite a bit longer on the DB9 to handle the longer cartridge.  The DB9 barrel is has also increased in length by 2/10 of an inch.  I had a very difficult time getting a decent picture of the feed ramps and chamber throats.  I will say that if I could have properly focused the picture, the DB9 ramp was polished to a mirror finish and free of the tool marks found on the DB380 feed ramp.  Both barrels have the same polishing on the chamber throats.

The frames appear to be nearly identical except for the size and modification to the trigger springs.  On my first review of the DB380, I questioned the longevity of the original trigger springs and trigger bar actuation.  The original system has been changed for the DB9.  I did my best to call out the change in the picture below.  I included the over exposed picture as it highlights some components that aren't as visible in the good photo.
A quick scan of the parts list for the DB380 and DB9 shows 39 parts listed for each gun.  On the surface that doesn't seem significant until you dig in a little deeper on the list.  New for the DB9 is a little part called S013 - TB Rear Assist Spring.  For those of us that lived through the early trigger reset issues of the DB380, this new spring should make you raise your eyebrows.  The trigger reset problems were caused by the rear of the trigger bar catching on the rear frame block and sear axis pin.  I'm hoping the new rear assist spring was put into the DB9 to eliminate this problem.  Also new for the DB9 is part G05 - Firing Pin Spacer.  I was hoping that this part would eliminate one other known issue with the DB380.  The issue comes up when your trigger has been pulled on an empty chamber and the firing pin is fully forward.  If you try to rack a round from the magazine, the rim of the cartridge will catch on the firing pin and jam up the gun.  The way around this is to always cycle the slide after dry firing the trigger to reset the firing pin back into the firing pin channel.  Personally, I've never had a problem with this, but others grouse about it frequently.  So I'm not really sure why the firing pin spacer was added for the DB9.  

One last observation on my deep dive into the manual, and it's really quite a huge observation that I would never have caught if I wasn't doing this review.  Check out this picture.  The top manual is the one that came with my DB9.  The bottom manual came with my DB380.  Diamondback had to do a new run of manuals since one manual covers both the DB380 and DB9.  Notice the DB380/320 Parts List title in the new manual.  If I was a betting man, I read 320 to mean we will be seeing a DB in .32 acp soon.  Now that may not get you very excited, but I can't wait to get my hands on one.  I like my Keltec P-32, but I could see a DB320 in my future.  I call dibs on one from the first batch please.

I'm done for the day.  Check back tomorrow for a comprehensive range report. 

New Diamondback DB9 Art Pictures Between Baseball Games

Between the morning and afternoon baseball games today, I did manage to grab the good camera and take a few outdoor photos with natural lighting.  It's 92 degrees here today so I actually broke a sweat taking these, but it was worth it since they are so much better than the pictures I took last night.  I can't wait to get this thing out to the range tomorrow.







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.

Unboxing:
 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.

Comparisons:
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.