The American-made Diamondback DB9 is a competitively priced micro 9mm pistol based largely on the Glock design (evidenced by the takedown latch, the slide release and the slide backplate). It is designed for comfortable and effortless EDC just about anywhere on the body. The one visible difference that sets the DB9 apart from the Glock series of pistols is the lack of a trigger-mounted safety lever.
Diamondback DB9 Specifications
Length: 5.79 inches
Overall width: 0.9 inches
Overall height: 4 inches
Barrel length/type: 3.1 inches/stainless steel with chamber viewing port
Frame: Polymer/stippling on front and rear
Slide: Black-finish front and rear cocking serrations
Trigger action: Striker-fired double-action-only
Weight: 13.4 ounces
Operating controls: Magazine release/manual slide lock/release
Magazine capacity: One six-round magazine and optional extension included
Sights: 3-dot white/Glock compatible
DB9 at the Range
When my lieutenant and I got the DB9 out of the box, we noted that it sat comfortably in the hand despite its small size. This was aided in part by the fingertip magazine extension. We also noted the strong recoil spring as we locked the slide back. A strong recoil spring is needed to control the power of +P 9mm ammunition in a micro 9mm pistol. In fact, on a couple of occasions during live firing, both of us failed to fully retract the slide to the rear when charging the DB9. This caused a couple of failures to properly chamber the first round.
A few months before testing the DB9, I had been sent an ArachniGRIP Slide Spider. Unfortunately, I forgot this, so I didn’t install it for the first range session. This oversight gave me a great opportunity to test the Slide Spider’s effectiveness via a before/after test though.
I had brought along SIG Sauer’s standard-pressure Elite V-Crown ammunition in both 124- and 147-grain loadings. The 124 grain has a muzzle velocity of 1,165 feet per second with 374 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. The 147-grain load has a muzzle velocity of 985 feet per second with 317 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
The DB9’s trigger is not like a Glock trigger. It has more slack to take up before the striker begins to release, and it breaks when the trigger ends up nearly in contact with the frame. However, with a bit of practice, I was able to easily manage it.
Both the SIG Sauer Elite loads were a bit of a handful. At 21 feet, the quicker 124-grain load shot noticeably below the point of aim — a good 6 inches or more. The slower 147-grain load shot dead-on. It clearly wasn’t like shooting these rounds from a full-sized 9mm. I wasn’t satisfied with the results (groups in the 4- to 6-inch range at 21 feet) and believed I could do better if I used ammo better-tuned to a pistol of this size.
The DB9 at the Range … Again!
This time, I came back with the Slide Spider installed and a couple of boxes of SIG Sauer 365 115-grain V-Crown ammo optimally designed for use in micro 9mm pistols. This much milder ammo has a muzzle velocity of 1050 feet per second, which delivers 282 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle (and much less recoil).
It was like I had brought an entirely different gun to the range. My lieutenant and I were amazed at the difference in the ease of manipulating the DB9’s slide with the Slide Spider installed! There was no longer any problem with manually chambering the first round for firing. It chambered as smooth as silk.
Firing the DB9 with the 365 was much, much more enjoyable, and our group sizes reflected the improvement in handling. The shots landed dead-center. My best six-shot group at 21 feet measured 2 inches. The difference in shootability was remarkable, and the SIG Sauer 365 loading would be my carry load of choice.
If money is tight these days — as it is for many of us — the Diamondback DB9 would be a great value for those looking for a single-stack micro 9mm defensive pistol, especially with the addition of an ArachniGRIP Slide Spider and the use of SIG Sauer 365 ammunition. I would like to see Diamondback include a second magazine, even if it bumps the price up.
About Scott W. Wagner
Scott W. Wagner has been a law enforcement officer since 1980, working undercover in liquor and narcotics investigations and as a member, sniper and assistant team leader of a SWAT team. He currently works as a patrol sergeant. He is a police firearms instructor, certified to train revolver, semi-automatic pistol, shotgun, semi- and fully automatic patrol rifle, and submachine gun. Scott also works as a criminal justice professor and police academy commander.