A few years ago, Diamondback Firearms entered the compact carry market with the successful introduction of the DB380. It followed that up with one of—if not the—smallest 9 mms to hit the market. In fact, about the only difference between the two is the slightly increased size of the DB9 required to accommodate the larger 9 mm cartridge.
Diamondback did not design the DB9 for target shooting, plinking or home defense. The DB9 was designed to be as small and concealable as possible. As a result, the whole package weighs less than 13 ounces unloaded. Top to bottom, it’s a tad under four inches and including the beavertail 5.5 inches in length. Slim? How about a 9 mm that measures only 0.80-inch wide? That makes for a gun that can be carried in a pocket or on an ankle and all but disappear.
The DB9 is striker-fired, but more importantly, it features a striker block to prevent discharge should the weapon be accidentally dropped. Other than that, the DB9 uses the world’s oldest and best safety mechanism—your finger. Keep it away from the trigger until you are ready for it to go bang!
The DB9’s mag holds six plus one in the pipe for a total of seven rounds on tap. The slim design lacks any external controls. This means no slide stop to indicate the gun has run dry, so learn to count your rounds. However, it is unlikely you would ever have to reload in a self-defense situation, but it’s still worth pointing out.
Consumers often get the wrong opinion about a particular product based on an unrealistic expectation. Let’s take a look at what the DB9 is or is not. The DB9 is a highly concealable weapon [period!]. It was never intended to be a weapon you take out every weekend and put a few hundred rounds through at the range. It’s not for plinking, and there are several weapons I would put ahead of it for home defense. A broom is great for sweeping the porch—it’s a lousy tool to clean your dinner dishes.
I would not carry a weapon I wasn’t intimately familiar with. Upon receiving my DB9, a couple of range sessions and several days of dry-fire practice will be necessary before it ever rides my hip in public. This is true of any weapon.
Likewise, you need to do your own ammo testing. Run the rounds you plan to carry through it. It’s a little more expensive than cheap ball ammo, but you are carrying the DB9 to defend your life and the loved ones around you. Isn’t that worth more than $20 bucks of savings?
What Makes the DB9 an EDC Gun
Features that make the DB9 desirable for every day carry (EDC) include its compact size for concealability. The 3-dot polymer sights are low profile and drift adjustable to account for windage. The DB9’s magazine latch is not only low profile, it is somewhat recessed, eliminating the chance of it hanging up on your holster or pocket when drawn. The steel mag release requires a stout push, ensuring it won’t be accidentally engaged during the draw.
On the Firing Line
The trigger pull on my DB9 was smooth, though a bit long. I did not get a chance to test it on a scale, but believe it to be in the neighborhood of six pounds. This may seem heavy to some, but in a high-stress situation where you are drawing your weapon for self-defense, this is extremely appropriate—and safe.
The recoil on the DB9 can best be described as snappy, which makes perfect sense. If you want small and powerful, you’ll need to make a few sacrifices that would be offered in a larger-frame model. However, “snappy” does not mean unshootable or violent recoil likely to rattle the fillings from your teeth. It’s simply a solid pop that is completely manageable. Again, past break-in and routine familiarization drills, this is not a plinking gun…
Like any gun you plan to carry for self-defense, you need to run a minimum of two boxes of the actual ammo you plan to carry. Trying to test the gun with cheap ammo, then loading it with a premium round is a recipe for disaster. When I test a new gun that I plan to carry, I like to run three or four different rounds through it as a minimum. I run one magazine slow and controlled. If it functions properly, I run the next mag hot.
Limp-wrist the DB9 and you’ll probably get a feed issue. This is true of most guns, but you’ll notice it more on small-frame or smaller-caliber weapons. This is not a flaw in the gun; it’s a flaw in the shooter’s form. Don’t worry, if you ever have to pull a weapon for self-defense, you’ll white-knuckle the grip without thinking about it.
Reading through Diamondback’s literature or its website, you’ll see a serious statement about ammo choice for the DB9.
Notice: Diamondback Firearms does not recommend using 9 mm bullets above 124 gr. or any ammunition that is rated NATO, +P, +P+ or anything else higher than SAAMI Standard-pressure 9 mm. The DB9 is the smallest and lightest 9 mm available on the market and was not designed for the abuse and damage these rounds cause.
I talked with Brad Thomas, Diamondback’s founder and CEO—plus he is the guy who designed the DB9—and he had these thoughts on ammo: “For those looking for loads that exceed SAAMI Standards for the 9 mm, think of the DB9 more like a .380 on +P. The DB9 is essentially a .380 that shoots 9 mm.”
When choosing a good self-defense round for the DB9, a couple of quick choices that come to mind are Speer Gold Dot, Hornady TAP FPD, Winchester Silvertip and—a personal favorite—Federal 124-grain Hydra-Shok. I wouldn’t hesitate to check out Remington and Cor-Bon as well. What’s your pick?