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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Diamondback DB9 One Year Follow-up Review

 
In June of 2011, I took delivery of my first Diamondback DB9. It's the black one on the left in the picture above.  I immediately took it out to the range and ran over 200 rounds through it on the first day. I did a blog post about that range trip in this blog post. I've shot it frequently over the last year and ran the round count up to over 1000 by October 2011. I picked up a second DB9 at that time and have not shot the original DB9 very often since last year. I probably put another 200 rounds through it since October. To celebrate the first year of ownership, I took the DB9 out to the range this weekend with a 100 count box of Remington/UMC 115 grain JHP ammo with a plan to exercise the pistol by shooting it in just about every safe and practical manner I could.

This video below documents the 100 rounds I put through the pistol as well as some general comments about my ownership experience over the last year. The video is long, but you will get to see every round fired as well as any problems or issues that came up during shooting. I'll say up front that I had one failure to feed out of 100 rounds fired and that happened while shooting one handed.  The slide cycled, but did not strip the top round of the magazine so I was required to manually cycle the slide to continue shooting.

Initially the plan was to run through all 100 rounds in a continuous video.  That plan changed when I had two stop by visitors during the 100 round session.  Since these guys own the range, and have been great about providing me with access, I always have time to stop what I'm doing and shoot the bull with them.  I promise there was no other reason for stopping tape.

No excuses, but I started out pretty dismally.  I really struggled on the first two plates to keep my shots where I wanted them to go and maintain a good grip on the DB9.  You can see my support hand re-gripping between shots.  I think part of this was due to spending so much time recently shooting another pocket 9mm with a more hand filling grip.  Later on in the video when I switch from the standard DB9 to the EXO version with the Hogue Hand-all Jr. installed, the accuracy really picked up.  I will be adding a Hand-all Jr. to the original DB9 even though it really pains me to add any additional width to such a trim and slim pistol, but it's results on target that count and any change to improve those results should be implemented   

I also switched over to the DB9 EXO with compensated barrel for a few magazines just so I could comment again about the difference in felt recoil with the compensated barrel in place. I captured all shots on camera so you can compare how much my arm moves with the compensated and standard barrels.  In this blog post, I originally compared the compensated and non-compensated barrels.  In that blog post I also commented on the accuracy improvement between the two DB9's and the different barrels.  There is either something wrong with the barrel fit on the original DB9 or something special with the barrel fit of the EXO.  Even if I shoot slowly, and carefully aimed every shot, the EXO DB9 with the comp barrel is still much more inherently accurate than the original DB9.



The upshot from Saturday was another confirmation that the original DB9 continues to be a solid performer as long as I keep it stoked with the Remington/UMC 115 grain JHPs.  In an ideal world, 100% reliability should be the norm for any defensive arm.  I'm willing to accept 99% reliability from my particular DB9 because I know it's track record over it's lifetime of 1200+ rounds, and I've tried shooting with several different holds.  The EXO DB9 still has some rounds to go before it earns that same level of trust from me, but I'm willing to stick with it due to the accuracy improvement over the stock DB9.

In the video I made an error I would like to cover.  I stated that I didn't modify the DB9 in any way other than to swap out the magazine springs.  That was incorrect because I forgot to mention that all early DB9s received an updated set of knurled assembly pins last Fall.  I did install those replacement pins.  I did a blog post about the pin change HERE.

If you've got a DB9 of your own and find yourself struggling with reliable feeding, I really encourage you to check into replacing the factory magazine springs with KelTec PF9 springs.  I did a post about the change HERE and made a video walk though on trimming the springs to work.  Others have reported success using the springs without trimming.  You may want so test different trim lengths to see what works best for your specific DB9.

After a year, I would say I'm satisfied with the DB9.  Being an early adopter is always a risky proposition, and when you are adopting the thinnest and lightest new pocket 9mm of the day, you can only hope for the best.  Being familiar with Diamondback's lifetime repair/replacement policy took away some of the concern during the first year and also for as long as I continue to own the pistols in the future.

22 comments:

  1. Appreciate the feedback on this pistol, Bruce.

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  2. I just purchased this firearm today. I have never shot a pistol before and was hoping to see a positive review like this somewhere..Have plans to take individual shooting lessons at Arm Rooms in the next few weeks.

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    1. I'm glad to hear you are taking some personal instruction. It's really important to get a firm foundation on safety and shooting fundamentals. Best of luck to you and I hope your DB9 serves you well. Happy New Year.

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  3. Hey bruce, thanks for a heads up on the ammo the db9 likes. I have a yb series i bought in the summer of 2012. 1st time out with mine a ran 100 rounds of rem umc 115 hardball threw it, not 1 problem.For self defense ammo i tried 124 hyrashoks, i kept getting ftf from it. I then went to critical defense 115s and ran thru 2 boxes like a dandy. DB says it will run with 124s but i think it runs best with the 115s. Thru your tests and shooting the bull on u tube the cd seems like good sd ammo. Last night i watched shooting the bull run 124 hsts thru his test and it was almost perfect. Did you ever try 124 hsts thru your dbs ? If i can ever find some i would like to try some. Thanks again. Lou F.

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    1. Early on I used HST 124 grain, but it won't feed reliably with the factory magazines. I did get it to feed better by swapping out the magazine springs with trimmed down Kel-Tec PF9 springs. I did a post about it here. http://mousegunaddict.blogspot.com/2012/03/my-fix-for-my-diamondback-db9-feed.html Ultimately, I tested the Rem/UMC 115 grain JHP a few times and it did well. It also ran reliably in my DB9 so I saw no reason to use anything else.

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    2. Bruce, thanks for the advice. The good thing about about running the rem 115s is your practice ammo and sd ammo is the same, that smart. I have watched your video on replacing the springs, if i run into a problem thats what i will do. Right now my db is in florida having nights sight installed. Do you have any idea y people on u tube are having so much trouble with their dbs. Wrong ammo, limp wristing, hard to tell. most of the so called pocket 9s really cant be carried in the pocket imo. Being left handed i carry left front pocket in a desantis pocket holster, with a spare mag on my right side.I really love this pistol and may buy a second one like you have done. I was waiting on a single stack 9mm from glock to appear at shot show, but it looks like thats not gonna happen right now,ie glock 42. What were they thinking ? Have a good one. Lou F.

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  4. Bruce, I have had some problems with my DB 9 where rounds engage the rifling in the barrel when chambered and don't allow the slide to go forward into full battery. This has happened with pretty much anything but Remington UMC 115s. The result is a FTF with a serious jam requiring a hard mechanical "clearing" (normally I use the edge of a countertop to push back the slide and disengage the round). I've had this happen 4 separate times and once the round came apart when I cleared it (leaving the bullet in the chamber) requiring further clearing with a cleaning rod...and then cleaning due to the powder mess). Just wondering if you've seen a similar malfunction/problem?

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    1. I know exactly what you are referencing, but I'm surprised that it's happening to you. I've shot a bunch of different pistols over the years and it's only happened to me once with a Kahr P45 with Hornady XTP ammo. If your DB9 barrel is giving you problems with several ammo types, call Diamondback and explain the issue to them. It sounds like a bad barrel, which can be exchanged (doesn't require fitting by a gunsmith) without having to send the entire pistol in for service.

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  5. Hello bruce, i noticed on u tube you commented on a laserlyte video and that you bought one for your db9. Have you tested it yet and what do you think of it ? I hope it will work out better than the crimson trace, that was cracking the frame. Thanks for the info. Lou

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    1. It's been on the DB380SL, but one of these days I'll move it to the DB9.

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  6. Is DB9EX better than regular DB9? DB9EX has nickel borron slide, it should be less friction and better rust protection. I just can't decide on which one to buy DB9 or DB9EX. It's just $ 10 extra. What do you think?

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    1. I ended up selling the EX version because I really didn't need two DB9s and I found it too slippery when gripping the slide. Still very happy with the original DB9. I've heard rumors of a new DB9 model similar to the new DB380SL is coming. Just not sure when it will be out.

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  7. It's already selling at Gunbroker, but I'm not sure about new slide. Old one looks better. How much DB9 weight fully loaded without holster? Because I have Kel-Tec P-32. Do you think DB9 still pocket gun compare to P-32 or it's too big for regular pocket, not large pocket? Thank you.

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    1. Your best bet is to go to this website and compare the stats on both. https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B22wLsyYEkTOMDU4MjJlNTktOTRlZi00NTJkLWE0MGMtZmEwNGFlMWE3ZDlm/edit?hl=en_US

      Personally, I think both are pocket-sized, but that's my opinion. If you review the stats you might decide differently.

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  8. Do you have link to full size guns comparisson? Thank you.

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    1. I'm not aware of a similar list for full-size handguns.

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  9. Gen 2 db9 for sale @ kentucky gun company.( they dont call it a gen 2 but it has the new improvements).New slide design, longer extractor, 3 pins in trigger group, and a two tone look to slide.Looks sweet and a great price.

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    1. Does it have the new grip texture like the DB380SL?

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  10. No, they stayed with the same grip texture (diamonds) but still looks great. I hoping this gen 2 model will run 124 federal hst reliable,my current db will not.It does love hornady critical defense 115s, no failures of any kind.They do great in all the testing(watched all your videos, thank you).So i guess that makes for a great combo,the thinnest, lightest, true pocket 9mm on the market with accurate,reliable ammo in it.

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  11. after two clips the trigger would not reset
    since the trigger must be pulled to take off the slide i can't disassemble the gun
    the size is amazingly small 1/2 inch longer and taller than an lcp380
    i really want this gun to work
    any suggestions
    have not spoken with customer service yet
    heard they were bought by Taurus

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  12. Bruce, would love to see a part 7 on your db9 with the laserlyte attached. I hope they fixed the problem that crimson trace was having on the dbs.Wondering if the gun will hold up to it and hold zero.Great videos and articles, us db owners thankyou. Lou

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    1. I have one of the laserlyte units. I tried it out on the new DB380SL in this review. http://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/diamondback-firearms-db380sl-new-gun-review/

      It's now on my DB380MS since the machined sights are too small to be of much value. I did ask the folks at Laserlyte if they tested the laser on the DB9 and was told they did with no problems. It's in the comments on this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Szr-gNyffo

      I like my DB9 "as is" and I'm sure I'll be facing a tough decision if Diamondback makes a DB9SL version in the future.

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