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It seems to be year of the pocket guns — from small revolvers to small semi-automatics, it seems like almost everyone is building a small pocket gun. People are acknowledging the evil element in the world, which makes it a wise choice to carry a gun whenever possible. They understand there is nothing wrong with a good security blanket in the form of a reliable handgun and some like to carry a small pocket gun as their security blanket. Gun manufacturers have stepped up and started to manufacture these small pocket pistols.

At a recent trade show, as I entered the range there were several different companies showing off their new line of guns, ammunition and sights. The first table had several handguns, and they all appeared to be the usual .32 or .380 pistols because of their small size. When I picked up one of these small pistols, I was pleasantly surprised to see “Diamondback 9mm” stamped on the slide. It was a small, .380 ACP size, but chambered in 9mm.

Pocket Viability

Some people believe there is a place for the small semi-automatics in .22 LR, .25 and .32 ACP as a back-up gun, but as a fellow Gunsite instructor says; “Friends don’t let friends carry mouseguns.” Any gun is better than no gun, but learning from other’s mistakes has shown us that the smaller caliber guns don’t reliably stop people. Most firearms instructors I know consider the .380 ACP with the right ammunition as the smallest caliber gun to carry for self-defense. I have on occasion carried the small pocket guns in .380 ACP but most of the time I prefer to carry a larger caliber .38 Special +P or 9mm as a minimum caliber carry gun.

The small, lightweight five-shot revolvers in .357 Mag have been my preferred choice of pocket carry gun. In the past couple of years the small revolvers have become lighter by using newly developed metals that can take the higher pressures of magnum rounds but the revolver still has the problem of the width of the cylinder and the low capacity of five rounds. The need for a true small lightweight semi-auto pocket gun in 9mm has always been there, but until now only high-priced 9mm pocket guns were available. With the Diamondback DB9, that has all changed. There is now a true 9mm small lightweight pocket gun that costs under $500.

Gun Details

The DB9 comes in a black box with one magazine and trigger lock with padlock and key. This small pistol is made entirely in the USA and features a double-action-only (DAO) striker-firing system. It has a mechanical firing pin block and a steel magazine catch. Another interesting note is the DB9 does not have a slide stop. There is simply no internal or external slide stop and no means to hold the slide to the rear. The trigger pull is long, smooth, non-stacking, and a little over 5 pounds. This is a very good trigger for a pocket gun, as it is heavy enough to carry safely.

The sights are sharp and easy to pick up three-dot style. The front sight had a width of 0.14 inches, while the rear windage-adjustable notch was 0.13 inches wide. The DB9 weighs just 16 ounces when fully loaded with seven rounds of Winchester 147-grain jacketed hollow point ammunition. This is a great lightweight carry gun with 9mm punch.

I call these small light pocket guns, my “Carry-A-Lot-Shoot-A-Little Guns.” I like to carry them every day but realize they are not fun to shoot large amounts of ammunition through. This is definitely not a range gun to go out and shoot all day. It is a great pocket pistol that will get carried a lot and shot a little. While the small size and lightweight of the DB9 makes it a joy to carry, you don’t get something for nothing. This little gun has more recoil than a larger heavier 9mm, but not so much that it can’t be controlled. I have always felt the polymer frame guns have less felt recoil because the give in the plastic and the same goes for the DB9. The DB9 had less felt recoil and was easier to control than the small, light five-shot .38 Specials guns loaded with +P ammunition.

The real proof is in the carry. A pocket holster is a “must have” when carrying any pistol as a pocket gun. There have been numerous cases of people carrying a gun in their pocket without a holster and the weapon firing because keys or something in the pocket caught on the trigger. The pocket gun and holster are the only things I place in my left pocket, as this is where I carried my back-up gun most of my career as a police officer. I continue to carry it in the same left pocket now that I have retired from police work. The lightweight and small compact size of the Diamondback DB9 makes it easy to forget that you’re carrying a handgun.

Range Time

Five different Gunsite instructors and several students shot the little Diamondback 9mm. All were impressed by the small size and how controllable the gun was. One Gunsite instructor made the comment that this gun was made for “bad breath distance.” We shot the gun at targets from “bad breath distance” out to 25 yards. We shot four different manufacturers ammunition for a total of 400 rounds and only had one malfunction.

Bullet weight ranged from the Federal 115-grain full metal jacket ball to the Winchester 147-grain jacketed hollow points. The only major malfunction encountered was with the CCI Gold Dot 124-grain jacketed hollow point round, specifically made for short barrel guns. The 124-grain bullet would nose dive and get stuck on the feed ramp when I tried to chamber the first round out of the 6-round magazine. This failure to chamber a round happened only when the magazine was loaded with six rounds and only with the CCI Gold Dot 124-grain ammunition. The gun would chamber the CCI ammunition every time when the magazine was loaded with only five rounds. The factory knows about this issue and recommends not using this ammunition in the Diamondback DB9. Our one other malfunction came at a little over 200 rounds when the Winchester 147-grain hollow point ammunition failed to chamber a round.

All four brands of ammunition shot respectable five shot groups at 10 yards, with the Remington 115-grain JHP shooting the smallest group of 2.3 inches. Just for kicks, I shot a group at 25 yards with the Winchester 147-grain JHP. The 25-yard group measured a surprising 3.6 inches. Not too bad for a bad breath distance gun.

A little after 325 rounds I noticed the pin behind the trigger started to work its way out of the right side of the pistol. It wasn’t much, but enough that I tapped it back in and talked to the factory about this. The factory says this doesn’t happen very often but is looking at a different pin to alleviate this possible issue.

Final Notes

The DB9 pocket pistol eliminates the excuse of not carrying consistently, because it’s small enough to fit in your front pocket and it’s chambered in a major 9mm caliber. The DB9 carries more rounds than the five shot revolver and the recoil is easy to handle due to the solid polymer frame. It has a combat accuracy of 2.5 inches at 10 yards and is a great way to ensure your every day security for under $500.

This pistol is a no-frills gun that was built for an intended purpose; to be a reliable pocket pistol in a powerful caliber made for bad breath distance that can be counted on when needed. I’m not getting rid of my small revolvers and will carry them on occasion, but right now, every morning the DB9 gets the spot in my left front pocket. Find out more by visiting diamondbackfirearms.com or calling 888-380-2767.

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