More and more shooters are finding the fun in “Old West” .22 single-action revolvers. Despite the popularity of cowboy action shooting, interest in single-action (SA) shooting irons had been on the decline, to the point of some shops only having them as special-order items. As that trend has been reversing, more manufacturers are producing affordable American-made .22 single-action revolvers. And now Diamondback has entered the field with its Sidekick .22.

Diamondback Firearms

Diamondback Firearms began producing firearms in 2009, in Cocoa, Florida. They are also 100 percent American-made, and the full product lineup includes 9mm pistols, AR-15 rifles and a 5.7x28mm pistol. Their latest product is the Sidekick.

Prior to receiving the Sidekick, all I knew about it was that it was a Western-style, nine-shot .22 that came with an interchangeable .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire cylinder. When it arrived, I learned the revolver was actually a double-action/single-action and that it has a swing-out cylinder rather than a fixed one. Also, its single-action style ejector rod functions as a secondary release mechanism for the cylinder instead of ejecting spent shells.

Sidekick Details

The Sidekick is a reproduction of the old High Standard Double Nine revolver. It is a solid revolver with a frame and grip made from zinc alloy. Zinc frames tend to keep expenses down and work well in handguns chambered for low-pressure rounds. The barrel, cylinder, hammer and trigger are steel.

Weight:                        32.5 ounces
Barrel length:               4.5 inches
Overall length:             9.875 inches
Frame and grip finish:   Black Cerakote
Sights:                          Plain black front and top strap rear groove
Cylinder capacity:         9 rounds .22 short/CB, long, long rifle cylinder/9 rounds in .22 WMR cylinder
Grips:                           Checkered glass-filled nylon/factory wood grips available
SA trigger pull:              3 pounds, 4 ounces — average
DA trigger pull:             Approximately 12 pounds

Testing the Diamondback Sidekick

My range access for testing the Sidekick was limited due to time constraints, so I had to opt for my backyard to test two low-power loads: Aguila Ammunition’s Colibri .22 LR round (20-grain lead bullet at 420 feet per second) and CCI’s .22 short CB subsonic load (29-grain lead bullet at 710 feet per second). I used the Thompson Target Double Shooter Target at 15 feet. While the cylinder is marked .22 LR, the use of low-velocity rounds has never caused a problem in revolvers that I have seen. And most manually repeating .22 LR-chambered arms also state that the .22 short and now-defunct .22 long are permissible for use. However, in any of these guns, the use of .22 LR rounds will give you the best performance accuracy.

I opened the cylinder using both the faux SA cartridge ejector release and the free-standing double-action (DA) ejector rod. The rod opens the cylinder by pulling it toward the muzzle. Both methods opened the swing-out cylinder easily. To close the cylinder smoothly, pull and hold the DA ejector rod forward so the extractor star pin can easily clear the frame relief cut. The Colibri rounds loaded and ejected easily.

Accuracy with the Colibri’s conical bullet wasn’t what I had experienced in other guns. I found the shots all grouping 12 o’clock high at 15 feet with a dead center point of aim. Switching to a 6 o’clock point of aim resulted in the rounds landing in the center of the target. Usually, the Colibris shoot dead on at distances out to 30 feet. Accuracy was in the 2-inch range.

I switched to the more conventionally styled CCI .22 short CB subsonic rounds and moved back to 25 feet. Even with the greater velocity, the .22 CB report wasn’t much louder than the Colibris. And the rounds landed in the center of the bullseye aiming dead center. Groups were in the 1 ½-inch range. The .22 LR ammo should provide even better accuracy.


I tried some double-action shooting with the CB shorts. The DA trigger pull is relatively heavy, though I was unable to measure it with my trigger gauge. I estimate it to be around 12 pounds, and it is best managed by staging the triggerStaging the trigger means pulling it to a point approximately ¾ to the rear, holding the trigger in place, checking your aim, then finishing the shorter pull distance.. You can pull the trigger straight through in a close-range emergency defensive situation rather than staging it. However, I imagine most shooters will fire the Sidekick like the traditional single-action it appears to be by thumb cocking the hammer for each shot in order to obtain a 3-pound trigger pull. There were no malfunctions with either type of ammo whether SA or DA fire was used.

Sidekick Worth a Purchase?

At $322, the versatile Diamondback Sidekick is more expensive than the Heritage Manufacturing Rough Rider revolvers or the Ruger Wrangler. However, the Sidekick does offer the advantage of both double-action and single-action fire, swing-out cylinder reloading and a .22 WMR cylinder included in the box. The Ruger Wrangler is not available in .22 WMR. All-in-all, the weather-resistant Sidekick is a quality piece that would make a great handgun to pack in your survival kit, camper, RV or boat, as well as to carry on your hip in the field. If you don’t have a capable .22 revolver, now is a good time to get one.


Thomspon Targets:
Aguila Ammo:
CCI Ammo: