Diamondback Firearms DB380 Semi-Auto .380 ACP Pocket Pistol


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

January 16th, 2010




Click links below for video!

640x480 WMV format (34.1 MB)
320x240 WMV format (11.9 MB)

Diamondback Firearms of Cocoa, Florida is a new firearm manufacturer, at least to me. While they have been up and running for a while now, I only learned of them about three weeks ago. When I saw a picture of their small .380 pocket auto, I immediately called and ordered a pistol to review. It is not that I desperately need another pocket .380, as I have a few already, but I am always looking for a better pocket pistol. Any pocket gun is a compromise. It is a compromise of power, portability, ease-of-use, and reliability. The reliability part is paramount. The pocket pistol is a last-ditch weapon that is carried for the grave purpose of saving one’s hide. It must work one hundred percent of the time. It must be of reasonable power to get the job done. It must be small enough, light enough, and always within reach. This is the reason that pocket-size .380 autos are extremely popular today. Folks like them because they are so darned handy. You can slide it into your pocket and forget that it is there. Any one of us with any sense at all, if we were really expecting trouble, would avoid the situation if possible, and if not, we would choose a more powerful weapon, if we knew for certain that we were heading for a fight. However, like most who carry a concealed weapon, I slide a pistol into my pocket and go about living my daily life, not expecting trouble, but ready for it if a fight comes to me. I need a pistol that can always be within reach. If I can’t reach it when the time comes, it is of no use to me. A small .38 revolver or .380 auto can always be within reach, and the Diamondback DB380 is the newest .380 pocket pistol to hit the market.

The DB380 differs from most small modern pocket autos. Most have a hammer action, but the DB380 is striker-fired. It has a positive mechanical firing pin block for safety, and the twin action bars and striker action result in a very smooth and relatively light trigger pull. The square profile slide and disassembly system give the DB380 a Glock-like appearance. It looks like a baby Glock. The DB380 has a locked-breech action, and a striker that is set by the retraction of the slide. The trigger is made of steel, and has a smooth face for comfortable operation. The magazine is made of blued steel, holds six rounds for a total loaded capacity of seven, and the magazine catch is made of stainless steel. Another nice feature of the DB380 are the sights: I can actually see the sights on this pistol well enough for them to be useful. I would like to see tritium night sights offered as an option, but the three-dot style on the DB380 are very good for such a small pocket gun, and are windage adjustable as well.

The DB380 frame is made of reinforced polymer, and the slide and internal parts are of steel. The grip is well-textured and very slim. This is a thin pistol, and rides very comfortably in the pocket or a holster. The weight with an empty magazine is just barely over ten ounces. The pistol feels very comfortable to hold in my large hand. The magazine supplied with the DB380 has a flat base, but Diamondback sells a magazine with a finger extension as well. I have not yet tried it, but would like to.  The grip angle is more upright than on most pocket autos, but feels good. I thought upon first looking at it that it might point low as a result, but the arched backstrap corrects that, and the DB380 points very well for me.

Critical dimensions are listed in the chart below. The weights are listed in ounces, and linear measurements in inches. The grip and frame widths were measured at their widest points. Height includes the sights and magazine base. The trigger pull on both pistols is very good, with a smooth release. The trigger pull is listed as pounds of pressure. Weight is with an empty magazine.

Weight 10.1 ounces
Height 3.76"
Length 5.25"
Slide Width 0.758"
Maximum Grip Width 0.74"
Frame Width 0.748"
Maximum Width 0.76"
Barrel Length 2.79"
Trigger Pull 4.5 pounds
Magazine Capacity 6+1

I fired a variety of ammunition over the chronograph to check velocities, with the results listed in the chart below. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second. Bullet weights are listed in grains. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint bullet. DPX is a hollow nose homogenous copper bullet. FMJ is a full metal jacket roundnose bullet. FP is a full metal jacket flat-nose bullet.  PB is Cor-Bon Pow’RBall. HC is a hardcast flat-nose lead bullet. Velocities were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature of twenty-eight degrees Fahrenheit.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Cor-Bon JHP 90 934.8
Cor-Bon PB 70 1201
Cor-Bon DPX 80 1034
Handload JHP 88 768.6
Buffalo Bore JHP 90 1013
Buffalo Bore FMJ 95 943
Buffalo Bore HC 100 1035
Remington JHP 88 805.8

All ammo functioned perfectly, except for one round, which was determined to be a bad cartridge. The primer was dented, but did not fire. I tried the cartridge again, and again it did not fire. The third time through the pistol, the cartridge finally fired. This is no fault of the gun. Every other cartridge fed, fired, and ejected perfectly. Ejection was to the shooter’s right, with no fired cases coming back at the shooter. Accuracy was very good. No benchrest groups were fired, as this pistol is designed purely for social work. Therefore, all testing was done from a standing handheld position. Keeping all shots well within the kill zone of a standard human silhouette at ranges from five to twenty-five yards was easy. Head shots were also easy to make at twenty-five yards, due to the very good sights on the Diamondback.

I really like the feel of the Diamondback in my hand. The pistol is smooth, the trigger comfortable, and I like the square-profile trigger guard. It makes for a handy place to put the trigger finger of the supporting hand. This was popular on pistols twenty years ago, and is just as useful today as it was back then. The trigger guard has ample room for even a gloved finger, and the trigger pull is smooth and even, with an ideal trigger pull weight.  The trigger travel on the double-action-only trigger system is approximately one-half inch. I like the steel trigger, and the steel magazine catch. Also, to cite another very important design feature, the magazine release is not overly sensitive. It takes a deliberate push on the release to drop the magazine. Some pocket pistols have magazine release buttons that tend to pop the mag out when bumped against a hard object. This is a problem sometimes for me, being left-handed and carrying in the left front pocket. I have many times reached into my pocket to find that the magazine has been popped out about a quarter of an inch when carrying some other pocket autos. The Diamondback has not been a problem. I carry it in my left front pocket, and the magazine has always stayed in place. I like the design of the DB380 slide. It is easy to grasp, even with cold dry hands, and pulling the slide to the rear to chamber a cartridge is easier for me than with some of the other small .380 pistols. The Diamondback slide also has forward serrations, which I like. It makes it much easier to unload the chamber, emptying the cartridge into my right hand. Disassembly of the DB380 is also very easy, easier than removing a pin as on competitive designs. Slightly pull back on the slide, without cocking the striker, pull down the disassembly latch, and ease the slide forward off the frame. Reassembly is even easier.

To date, I have experience only with this one Diamondback DB380, but so far, I am impressed. It is a new pistol, but uses proven design features. It is small, light, reliable, and accurate. It fires the extremely popular .380 ACP cartridge., and it is one hundred percent American made.

Check out the Diamondback DB380 online at www.diamondbackfirearms.com.

Jeff Quinn

Ruger LCP (top) compared to the DB380.



Taurus TCP (top) compared to the DB380.



Kel-Tec P3AT (top) compared to the DB380.










Got something to say about this article? Want to agree (or disagree) with it? Click the following link to go to the GUNBlast Feedback Page.




Click pictures for a larger version.


Diamondback Firearms DB380 pistol.



Pistol comes with fitted hard case and trigger lock.





Six-round magazine.





For a pocket pistol, the DB380's sights are excellent.



Disassembly is quick and easy.



Stainless steel magazine catch.



Automatic firing pin lock safety.