In the past 4-5 years, we have seen the proliferation of “micro sized” 380 ACP and 9mm pistols appear on the scene. These light weight and tiny polymer pistols are being produced by leading manufacturers throughout the industry covering all price points, from Taurus to Kimber.

Until recently, the Kahr CM9 had been the smallest 9mm that I have seen on the market. At an MSRP of $349, it was also the most affordable of the micro 9mm pistols. Although I wasn’t aware of it, there was a company in Florida creating 9mm and 380ACP pocket pistols at a very reasonable price. Diamondback firearms has been around since 1989, and while they have been successful, they aren’t a household name like Glock.

Diamondback began producing the micro 9mm around 2011. The DB9 is now in its 4th generation of refinement. Previous models did not have a slide stop, did not lock back on the last round, and were not rated for plus P ammunition . The latest iteration now has a slide lock, front serrations, and the sights are interchangeable with Glock style sights. The overall dimensions are barely larger than that of a Ruger LCP2 while being capable of firing plus P 9mm ammunition.

The LCP2 is on the right. The DB9 Gen 4 is on the left.

Ruger LCP2 specs…


Diamondback DB9 Gen4 specs…

The 9mm DB9 is 2.8 ounces heavier (unloaded eight for both guns), .29 inches taller, .56 inches longer, and .14 inches thicker at its widest point. Both the LCP2 and the DB9 Gen 4 are 6+1 in capacity, however, the DB9 Gen 4 is chambered for 9mm as opposed to 380ACP for the LCP2. You are not sacrificing much in size and weight to step up to 9mm. And if you prefer plus P rated ammunition for your EDC, the DB9 4th Generation is rated for plus P and ammunition greater than 124 grain. (The picture below is from this article)

https://www.shootingillustrated.com/articles/2019/7/10/range-review-diamondback-db9-gen-iv/

All that in a package which can be had for $269 MSRP (Street price will vary by location, but expect to pay $220- $240 ish after taxes or shipping/transfer based on what I’ve seen.) That sounds great, but how well does it perform? I had high hopes for this gun. So… thanks to MMP Guns for lending us a brand new out of the box model for testing. We took the gun out for some Desert Time, and it performed flawlessly.

You can see the recoil is noticeable given the small frame of the gun, but very controllable.

We used 3 kinds of ammunition. Wolf steel case 115 grain(40 rounds), Sellier and Bellot 115 grain brass(40 rounds), and Federal HST 124 grain hollow points (20 rounds). We did not include plus P ammunition, or run a high round count for this test, as it is just the initial function test. We did alternate and mix the ammunition in the same magazine for 3 full mags.

In my experience, if a gun fails to feed or eject during testing, it is usually when being fired with a mixture of different kinds of ammunition in one magazine. The DB9 Gen4 ate all three magazines of mixed ammunition flawlessly. We shot the gun straight out of the box without cleaning or lubing as this is what most gun owners typically do. (It also field strips like a Glock)

DB9 Gen 4 on top and the LCP2 on the bottom for size comparison

There were only two failures, both operator errors. Failure to feed was caused by not having the magazine seated fully, and failure to lock back was caused by me having my thumb ride the slide. Other than that, the gun ran perfectly. Typically speaking, for a back up gun like this which will see more time being carried than shot, 2 boxes of range ammo, and one box of carry ammo is sufficient for the initial function test. I would have no concerns with carrying this gun at this point.

Side by side, LCP2 on the left, DB9 Gen 4 on the right.

I am a big fan of this gun. However, it is not a gun for everyone. Any time you reduce the mass of a gun, you increase felt recoil. 9mm in a 380ACP package will result in greater felt recoil, especially with defensive ammo. The trigger on this gun has a long travel. It will require getting accustomed to, but the reset is very short. The sights are good, but this is not designed to be a range gun. It is designed to be a deep cover or back up gun. It is not meant to be shot for hundreds of rounds on an afternoon at the range.

Not our picture, but a nice close up from defensivecarry.com

As a last ditch or deep cover gun, it is a “get off me” gun. I put it in the role of a point and shoot gun for distances 10 feet or less although it is capable of shooting accurately at greater distances. It does not come with an accessory rail for lights or lazers, and for my purposes, it doesn’t require one.

Deep cover guns or pocket carry guns are reserved for times when the situation doesn’t allow a larger gun to be carried. It gets very warm in Arizona during the summer. Shorts, T-shirts and sandals are common attire for most of the year. Business casual dress with light materials are also common.

It is difficult to carry a duty gun, or even a subcompact side arm in these conditions. Ladies also find it difficult to conceal a bigger handgun, and maintain their desired wardrobe. This is where the DB9 Gen4 shines. It is chambered in a legitimate self defense caliber. It offers greater capacity than a 5 shot airweight revolver (6+1), and faster reload capability. It functions with a variety of ammunition, including plus P. It is extremely affordable. We will do further testing for long term reliability, but our initial testing indicates this gun is reliable, affordable, provides great value, made in America, and extremely concealable.

LCP2 laid directly on the top of the DB9 Gen4

So if you are not convinced 380ACP provides enough power for your purposes, you might consider the 9mm Diamondback DB9 Gen4. It is virtually the same size as the smallest 380 ACP, the Ruger LCP2. For the money, it’s difficult to beat the value, reliability, and concealment ability of this great little gun.

Note how small the gun is for a 9mm. With the pinky grip extension plate removed, it’s 4 inches tall.

You can see our shooting review in the link below.




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