Handguns > Semi-Auto

Diamondback DB380 Pistol

The Diamondback DB380’s compact size and light weight make it an easy gun to have at the ready at all times.

6/30/2011

The Diamondback DB380 is a new, innovative pocket pistol in the popular .380 ACP chambering produced by Diamondback Firearms of Cocoa, Fla. The diminutive DB380 is a locked-breach, recoil-operated, double-action only, striker-fired semi-automatic with a six-round magazine. Dual nested recoil springs inside the slide help ensure reliability. At only 8.8 ounces, it is one of the smallest striker-fired micro-compact pocket guns currently available.

The DB380’s “zero-energy” striker firing system also distinguishes this gun. The action of the Diamondback’s slide does not partially cock, or pre-load, the striker; instead the trigger does all the work, resulting in a trigger pull heavier than pre-loaded, striker-fired guns. That said, compared to that of other double-action-only pistols, the pull on the test gun measured a relatively light 6 pounds, 8 ounces. It should be noted that the trigger does not reset unless the slide is retracted.

As the DB380 has no manual safety, the slightly heavier trigger pull may be considered a benefit. Another advantage to this system is that there is no energy stored in the striker, so there is less chance that the firing pin may be driven forward accidentally. The pistol also features a firing pin block that helps prevent the gun from discharging unless the trigger is completely depressed.

The frame is glass-reinforced polymer, and the barrel and the slide are made from 4140 steel billet. The magazine catch, trigger and rails are chrome-moly steel and black-oxide coated. The trigger parts and the standard black-colored slide are Melonite-treated for extra hardness and durability. Slides come in three options: melonite, nickel and EXO (tested).

The optional EXO coating is a nickel-boron surface treatment that provides a natural lubricity, dissipates heat and hardens the surface of the slide to improve ease of cleaning while improving wear and corrosion resistance.

The DB380 has a number of features that make it appropriate for pocket carry. The diminutive but very usable three-dot-pattern sights are snag-free, and the rear sight is drift adjustable. The closed design in the back of the gun helps reduce the accumulation of pocket lint, and the low-profile magazine catch help s prevent unintentional ejection of the magazine. The slide is also nicely scalloped, front and rear, to provide an effective grasping surface. All of the sharp angles have been smoothed out as well.

The deeply recessed backstrap of the DB380 allows the shooter to gain a higher hold on the grip, placing the hand more in line with the axis of the barrel. Even those with large hands could secure two full fingers onto the checkered frontstrap. A better grasp results in less perceived recoil and better control of the gun for faster follow-up shots. Slight right and left thumb rests provide good memory pads for the hands as well. A prominent beavertail at the back of the grip also helps secure a high grip without interfering with the slide operation. Operation and disassembly are fairly straightforward and similar to the Glock series of pistols.

On the range the ergonomic characteristics of the Diamondback DB380 were readily apparent, and given its small size and narrow grip it was still an easy gun to shoot well with low perceived recoil compared to other similar-sized .380 ACP pocket guns. After 50 rounds the DB380 remained, if not pleasant, at least comfortable enough to shoot, but shooting more than 100 rounds a session taxed the endurance of our test shooters. As a small pocket gun it is not intended for extended range time.

The factory sights are set at the 6 o’clock position, and at 7 yards bullets impacted approximately 2 inches below point of aim. Shooting from a rest at 25 yards produced groups about 10 inches below the point of aim. Through two range sessions a few malfunctions occurred, resulting in four failures-to-feed using hollow-point ammunition and three failures-to-feed using full-metal jacket ammunition. All of these malfunctions occurred early in our range session.

Although the Diamondback did not seem to prefer one type of ammunition over another, it did provide exemplary accuracy. The smallest group at 7 yards measured an impressive 0.70 inches with Black Hills ammunition.

The growing popularity of concealed carry has singlehandedly revived the once-maligned pocket gun and the .380 ACP cartridge. American shooters are now blessed with a surfeit of choices in this chambering, and the variety and quality of defensive loads in this caliber has improved dramatically. The Diamondback DB380’s compact size and light weight make it an easy gun to have at the ready at all times. 

Specs:
Manufacturer:
Diamondback Firearms, LLC; diamondbackfirearms.com
Caliber: .380 ACP
Action Type: double-action, semi-automatic, center-fire pistol
Frame: polymer
Barrel: 2.8"
Rifling: six-groove, 1:16" RH twist
Magazine Capacity: six
Sights: white three-dot, rear drift-adjustable
Trigger Pull: 6 lbs., 8 ozs.
Overall Length: 5.24"
Width:
0.75"
Height: 3.77"
Weight: 8.8 ozs.
Accessories: plastic case, trigger lock
Suggested Retail Price:
$430

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18 Responses to Diamondback DB380 Pistol

Martha K. Thomas wrote:
June 28, 2014

After reading all of your comments I have decided take them for what they are, COMMENTS. This is a great gun if you are experienced with weapons. If not take a class to learn. You will find with experience comes knowledge and safey

Donald Jackson wrote:
March 28, 2014

I been having FTF FTE I am going to find out what ammo it likes in keep this firearm I love it for its weight in size and it is a good shooter I can wait it out and find what it like

greg boggs wrote:
June 30, 2013

I've had a db380 for 2 1/2 yrs. DB recently replaced it with ZF series. The new model has a much longer extractor the trigger from the db 9 aspring under the trigger bar and a stainless slide. Fit and finish are excellent. After 250 to 300 flawless rounds this now a fantastic gun. As far as poor CS they offered to exchange the gun.

Brent C. wrote:
May 10, 2013

I have a ZE..... Series and have about 200 perfect rounds through mine. I have shot russian cheap import stuff and expensive speed gold dot. I would recomend ZE serial numbers and higher. They had bugs to work out on low ZA serial numbers. I trust my life to it. Cant recomend it any more than that.

Joey wrote:
February 21, 2013

I've had my DB380 for about 3 months now and all I can say is that this is a fantastic handgun! I've fired several hundred rounds through it from several different manufactures and the only issues I've had were a couple of FTF/FTE incidents when _I_ failed to keep a firm grip on the weapon. In fact I intentionally fired with a "limp" wrist and it will FTE every time. But that's my fault. The lower is very low mass and the entire gun moves back vs. the slide if I don't do my part to keep it in place. Besides, when I fire with a limp wrist it also affects how quickly I get back on target, so it's a bad practice anyway. This has become my favorite CC weapon!

Colossus wrote:
December 26, 2012

Two jams in the first hundred rounds. Well worth the dough for a CC backup. Those of you who have had bad experiences, it's the gun, and not, the manufacturer. Take them back and exchange them.

Dave wrote:
November 22, 2012

The DB380 is junk! Misfires and FTF so many times, no way can I trust this gun. Don't waste your money or your life....

Jonathan wrote:
September 02, 2012

Got one for the wife today after talking her out of the LCP. Tried to get her to like the Taurus TCP, but she really took to the DB380. I had reviewed it along with the other 2 mentioned guns and found that it suffered from the same things that the LCP and TCP do. FTF / FTE. Got home and the first round out of the mag FTF, almost stovepiped. The lip if the case being fed was catching on the bottom sharp corner of the extractor. Some quick work with a stone, along with polishing the feed ramp, breach face, etc. the gun loaded flawlessly. Had to do some of the same work on my TCP, so none of these new micro .380's are without issues. Well none of the sub $400 ones anyway.

JimFarmerJr wrote:
June 19, 2012

At approx. 1/2wt of Charter Undercover, the DB380, like the other miniglock .380's, strikes me as a dandy replacement for a biggish .25 or mini.32. RE: MikeJ's comment how defensive .380's should be blowback, , a locked-breech .380 can be lighter in the slide & recoil spring than a blowback & still function. Also, 9kurz locked-breech guns as the Star DM Starfire, the all-steel IJ X300 & the Colt Pony versions & the derivative Colt Mustang/Pocketlites allow the higher-powered +P loads to be fired more safely than in the straight blowback 9kurz's w/o ruptured cases. The lock-breech 9x19 miniguns like the DB-9 were developed from the lockbreech 9x17mm's. Modern gun-as-club technique is to punch w/it to break the opponent's momentum or stancegrip & then pull it back into chamber to a clear firing or guard distance rather than just jamming the gun into an opponent & leaving it extended there or firing w/it in contact. It's a pity Diamondback states it would void the DB380 & the DB9's warrantees to fire +P or reloads, but that's legalbabble-- a defensive .380 that won't digest Hornady +P reliably & isn't warranted for +P is like making/buying a new .38spl (saami std non-plus P only) gun, it's double plus uncool. Ruger wimped-out on the original SP101's that way by making them for the .38spl saami-std non-plus P only (38largo stds)first, instead of making them .357 from the git-go. I still reserve opinions on the DP380, having not wrung one out yet. Still it looks good for a tertiary gun or as an alternative, or better, an addition to a 9oz large folding knife.

MikeJ wrote:
March 01, 2012

IMHO, pocket autos should be blowbacks. Should you be forced to jam the barrel into your assailant's flesh, a locked-breech auto will be pushed out of battery and fail to fire. A blowback auto with a fixed barrel ought to fire at least once.

bill wrote:
March 01, 2012

Great gun!...Horrible customer service!

Old Snipe wrote:
July 10, 2011

Totally love it, it's perfect for deep concealment and when you don't want anyone to know you are armed.

Az Desert Pig wrote:
July 08, 2011

I own his little pocket .380 and I love it! I have 5 Glocks and this is a mini wannabe that I am very happy to own. I put a Crimson Trace laser grip on it and zeroed it in at 15 yards just for kicks. This gun has fired everytime I have pulled the trigger. I own the original all black model and it shoots! Fits nicely in pocket holster as CCW.

Dale wrote:
July 08, 2011

Not to sound like a smart___, but, if winchester ammo jams try another brand and/or another type of bullet. Guns just work better with certain brands of ammo.

GunBurger.com wrote:
July 07, 2011

I bought this gun and it does not fire every time. Went back to shop, back to factory, back to shop (tried polishing inside) still does not fire each time. This gun is 100% useless as a self-defense weapon. I highly recommend against it.

MARTY KING wrote:
July 07, 2011

USING THE WINCHESTER TARGET AMMO, THE GUN WOULD JAM AFTER EVERY OTHER SHOT. ANY SUGGESTIONS?

WTS wrote:
July 01, 2011

Thanks for a thorough review. Were the failures to feed related to a weak grip? I recently purchased a K-Tech 9mm and have to crush the grip to avoid misfeads. I don't have this issue with my all metal Firestorm 380s.

Dirk wrote:
June 30, 2011

I bought one of these little pocket pistols after shooting the Ruger LCP. If you dont like the long trigger pull from the LCP you will like this gun. Sights are a little low from the box but a small amount filed off fixes that. I had no problems with FTF or FTE. Just a nice well rounded gun. Glock should make the baby Glock like this one.