The DB FS Nine for this review was provided by The Kentucky Gun Company.
Diamondback Firearms, best known for its pocket-sized micro pistols, the DB380 and DB9, has just entered the full-sized pistol market with the release of the DB FS Nine. This striker-fired, polymer-framed contender is certainly gunning for a share of the GLOCK/XD/M&P/et al market. The DB FS Nine looks good and it stacks up on paper, but its ace in the hole is an MSRP well below the competition. That’s all good and well, but how does it shoot? Find out after the jump…
In The Box:
When you open the black, lockable plastic case you’ll find a warranty card, free year of NRA membership card, owner’s manual, cable style gun lock (most likely), the pistol, and one, 15-round magazine. In my case, Kentucky Gun Co pulled this example from their stock for TTAG to test, and the box included a price sticker for the enticingly low amount of $384.99. In the last week it has been available on KYGun Co’s website for even less. If it runs, this is going to be a popular gun.
Without question, the DB FS Nine will draw no shortage of comments about its looks. Most likely, comparisons to other pistols already on the market. I certainly see bits of the pistols mentioned above as well as some Arsenal Strike One-like styling queues. However, design similarities is an easy target when any pistol that is held in a hand, accepts a magazine in its grip, and has a reciprocating slide is going to have similarities to existing guns. The layout is fixed, and there’s only so much you can do with styling before you turn people off or make something like the ZiP 22, which really only fits your hand if you’re a robot (plus it doesn’t work).
I like the DB’s aesthetics. Aggressive, modern, and maybe a little tacticool. The palm swells and curves on the grip make it more ergonomic than a GLOCK. I find the grip size — both circumference and length — to be great for my [glove size L] hands, and a buddy said it felt surprisingly good in his small hands. No swappable backstraps or other adjustment, but I think the balance here is just right. If I could change anything about the grip, I might go for a little more pronounced texturing.
That beavertail looks a bit thick, but it works. It’s comfortable and allowed for pretty much precisely the highest grip I could take without the chance of slide bite. The squared trigger guard is undercut at back to facilitate a high grip as well.
The stainless steel slide has plenty of serrations to grab. They’re wide and they’re sharp, which is good and bad. Lots of grip for positive manipulation, but those edges can bite. The long block of front cocking serrations along with the full-size picattiny rail give it a long nose look that I dig.
Like many other striker-fired guns these days, the DB FS Nine has a trigger blade safety and the trigger will not move unless that blade is depressed. I like the shape and contour of the trigger, and like that it’s metal instead of polymer. However, I found the edges of the safety blade (or possibly the inside edges of the slot in the trigger itself) to be pretty sharp and it started to grate on my trigger finger after shooting for a while. To be fair, I’m not a fan of the trigger blade safety genre in general.
If you’ve pulled the trigger on a GLOCK, you already have a good idea of what this one feels like. The slack, creep, break, and total amount of travel are quite similar, as is the reset and the overall feel (that slightly springy, striker-being-cocked feel). Well, there’s a couple millimeters more creep. Diamondback lists the pull weight at ~5.5 lbs, and mine measures consistently at 7 lbs, 3 oz. It’s no PPQ trigger, but it’s workable and it’s consistent.
The slide lock and magazine release make up the list of external controls. There is no manual safety. I found the slide lock extremely difficult to use as a release — it really sticks in that notch — but it’s possible it would break in over time. I’ve taken to only ‘slingshotting’ slides to release them from lock anyway, so this wasn’t a problem for me but I also didn’t test any sort of breaking in theory.
A hole in the slide cover plate allows the back of the striker to stick through when it’s cocked, a la Springfield XD and some others. This gives a visual and tactile indicator of ready-to-fire status. Pulling the trigger cocks the striker just a touch further, then releases it. The slide must reciprocate again to reset the striker (no “double strike” capability, which is the norm here).
Sights are metal and of the 3-dot variety. The rear on my DB FS Nine loaner is a Novak sight, and it’s easily drift adjustable thanks to a set screw, rather than a squeeze fit, keeping it locked in place (see pic below). Point of impact for me out of the box was a bit to the left, and I was able to fix that very quickly at the range. Once moved and tightened back down, it stayed in place for the subsequent 550 rounds I put through the pistol.
The rear notch is wide, so there’s plenty of light on either side of the front blade. This made the sights quick to acquire and more than accurate enough for combat shooting, but, at least for me, it’s slightly detrimental to ultimate precision. A 6.25″ sight radius helps, though.
A viewing port allows a peek into the breech for determining loaded status. I like this better than a mechanical loaded chamber indicator that almost certainly interferes with the round’s travel up the breech face to some degree, but still prefer a press check if status isn’t known for certain. Those front serrations are great for this.
Sorry to keep comparing this to a GLOCK, but GLOCK definitely set a lot of standards for plastic, striker-fired guns so it’s hard not to sometimes. In this case, there’s no other way to describe the takedown process other than by saying it’s exactly identical to that of a GLOCK. Verify that the firearm is empty, pull the trigger to release the striker, pull the slide back only slightly, pull down on the takedown levers, and then pull the slide forwards off the frame.
The captured recoil spring and guide rod assembly come out first, then the barrel. Field strip achieved.
One notable difference here as compared to “the norm” for polymer-framed pistols is longer slide rails. The steel inserts are actually of a pretty good length and thickness with rails running the full length of each, rather than just tiny, thin tabs of rails. The resulting slide-to-frame fitment is pretty good, with very little wiggle. The barrel lockup does have a touch more wiggle than I would call ideal for top notch accuracy.
On The Range:
The DB FS Nine’s low MSRP alone will draw reliability and quality concerns regardless of whether there is any basis for that in reality. Add to that the fact that Diamondback’s micro pistols don’t really have the most stellar reputation for flawless function and reliability, and some of that hit-or-miss experience will be assumed here by many.
Worth mentioning, however, is that tiny pocket pistols require compromises that full-size guns do not, and even manufacturers with decades-long, stellar reputations for quality and reliability have suffered issues when attempting sub-compacts and smaller models. This just goes to say that past micro pistol performance may not be an indicator of future full-size performance.
That said, I’m approaching this review from a completely blank slate, as I always try to do, with no preconceived notions or desired outcome. MSRP and manufacturer reputation have nothing to do with how this particular gun shoots and functions for me. I’ll be following official TTAG testing protocol of a 500-round (or more) test. Even though I always field strip, clean, and lube a new pistol of my own before shooting it, I shoot test guns as they come straight from the box unless the owner’s manual says otherwise. This is the best way to further ensure that my experience will match another user’s experience.
First step, putting a few rounds down range to familiarize myself and to check function and sight alignment before accuracy testing:
A handful of 25-yard, 5-shot groups from a sandbag rest with Aguila 124 grain and American Eagle 147 grain produced 3″ to 5.5″ spreads. Unfortunately, my 25-foot target got rained on and destroyed so I don’t have a photo of it. It’s shown in the video at top, though, and the results of 5-shot, rested groups were as follows:
- PMC 115 grn: 2.47″
- Aguila 124 grn: 1.33″
- American Eagle 147 grn: 1.34″
- Federal HST 124 grn +P: 2.79″
- Magtech First Defense 92.6 grn: 2.76″
I had two failures to feed and one failure to eject (basically a stovepipe on the last round in the mag) in the first two magazines that I put through the DB. After that, it ran without issue for about 450 rounds.
When I got to that round count it had been raining for about 15 minutes, and the pistol was wet inside and out, as was the magazine and some of the ammo. All of a sudden it stopped feeding, with the nose of the bullet pointing skyward and the bottom of the breech face on the middle of the case. This is the same feed failure it had out of the box, too. I tested with three brands of ammo and it was doing this after almost every shot. My guess was that the magazine follower wasn’t moving up quickly enough and the slide was coming forwards before the next round was in place, so it was missing the case rim.
This seemed to be the case, because a quick cleaning of the magazine and follower and some light lubrication on the follower fixed the issue (I’m still using the Tactical Triad stuff, btw). The DB FS Nine ran reliably after that, and I quit with about 575 total rounds through it.
Magazines are made by Check-Mate in NY, which generally has a good reputation these days. Mine loaded to 13 rounds just fine, but getting that 14th and 15th round in there took some serious effort. I left it loaded for a couple of days before going shooting, but it didn’t seem to help. Otherwise the quality of this mag looks and feels good, and I can’t specifically explain why mine hated being a little dirty and a little wet so much. Again though, if this were my personal gun I would have taken the mag apart and cleaned and lightly lubed it inside before shooting it. No way to know how that would have changed things.
The price for additional DB FS Nine magazines isn’t yet announced, but Check-Mate’s pistol mags tend to run like $16 to $19 so I’m hoping it’ll be in that range. They’re supposed to be on Diamondback’s website and at resellers soon.
Side Note: Apparently there is already a rumor that Beretta 92FS magazines fit and function in the DB FS Nine, and I went to my FFL to see if there was any truth to this. I tried a handful of different Beretta factory mags manufactured as far back as the early 90’s up to current, plus a new Mec-Gar mag, and none fit. It’s possible that Check-Mate’s 92FS mag would work but I didn’t have one to test (that I know of). They certainly do look almost identical (and the part numbers on the DB’s mag are the same as Check-Mate’s 92 mags), but the 92’s notch for the slide lock isn’t deep enough and the notch on the top, back under the feed lips isn’t deep enough (hits the ejector before mag is seated). It turns out this is a result of DB’s partnership with Taurus, actually. The DBFS9 mags are compatible in the Taurus 92, but typically not vice-versa (baseplate compatibility).
Primer strikes were textbook perfect. The only issue that reared its head one or two more times was that same ejection failure where the case got stuck in the ejection port after firing the last round in the mag. This may be partially my fault, as my thumbs-high grip meant I would ride or push sideways on the slide lock, preventing the slide from locking back on empty. When I made a conscious effort to keep my thumb elsewhere, the slide always locked back and that ejection hiccup never happened.
Would I trust this gun to fire and cycle through full magazines? Yes. It did it with two brands of hollow points and five brands of ball ammo, two of which were reloads that comprised the bulk of my plinking/testing ammo. Cleaned and lubed, I feel confident this example would make it through hundreds of rounds without a stoppage. If I had to choose a gun that could go 1,000 rounds without a C&L break, it wouldn’t be this one but that may only be due to the magazine’s limitations (and the fact that I only have one, so it has to do all of those rounds also).
There’s some close-up work at the end of the video if you want to take a closer look, but the pistol looked just fine internally after the ~575 rounds. Nothing out of the ordinary anywhere. Expected finish wear on the barrel hood with maybe slight extra contact on one part of the right side, finish wear on the bottom of the slide where it presses down on the trigger bar, and otherwise nothing that wouldn’t look like new after a cleaning. Will it hold up to 20,000 rounds? No idea. Now accepting ammo donations to find out.
I’ll come right out and say it: I really enjoy how the DB FS Nine shoots! It runs very softly with very little muzzle flip. It’s a highly controllable, pleasant pistol. It shot much more accurately for me than I expected, and it stayed right on target during rapid fire. An easy gun with which to make steel targets sing.
Hitting my steel FBI Q target — a small torso section like only the white zone seen here — during fairly quick fire out to 30 yards was a total non-issue. As mentioned before, the sights are quick to acquire and the low felt recoil and low muzzle flip also contribute to picking them back up easily after each shot.
The only thing that slowed me down was the trigger pull length and weight (and the single magazine). It wasn’t a hindrance at all for combat accuracy, but for ultimate speed it was the limiting factor (whereas, for example, with the PPQ it was the muzzle flip that made tracking the sights harder).
The DB FS Nine’s grip angle looks steeper (more upright) than a GLOCK, but it pointed like a GLOCK for me. The grip is certainly more ergonomic, though, which improves control and comfort. ~575 rounds was of no consequence for my hand, although I did wear gloves for about 2/3 of those rounds just to save my trigger finger from that safety blade and my left hand from the slide serrations.
Magazines drop free and the mag release button is extended and easy to find and activate, but not so easy that it might happen accidently. I could go for a different texture on it, but this is a teeny nit pick. The tapered mouth of the magazine, slightly flared mag well, and large pad on the bottom of the mag worked together to make insertion very easy and fast. As mentioned earlier, that 14th and 15th round were difficult to insert and, if I didn’t have a mag loader with me, I probably would have stopped at 13 for plinking use.
My only shooting complaint (besides loading the same magazine like 34 times in one day) is that ejection is a bit weak and slightly inconsistent. Most of the empty brass went back and to the right like it should, but only about two feet away. Plenty of cases landed on my wrists, arms, and head, and one dropped square on my nose — it’s in the video if you watch closely. A couple flipped over to the left side. It was slightly better with full power factory ammo than with 115 grn reloads, but still not ideal.
Overall my shooting impressions of the DB FS Nine are highly positive.
Say what you will about similarities to other pistols, but I think in many ways Diamondback took the best features from some of the major players and combined them into a good looking, soft shooting package. All at a heck of a low price. I certainly did not experience perfect reliability, but if you’re into internet complaints you’ll probably agree that it crushed the detractors’ expectations. Again, making a full-sized gun isn’t the same as making a mouse gun.
The DB FS Nine is such a sweet shooter that I’m pretty bullish on it right now. If other examples run as decently as mine did — especially if having a couple mags and doing a little C&L first improves things — then I’m pretty confident Diamondback has a big hit on its hands.
Were my safe not pretty chock full and if my preference didn’t generally run to pistols with hammers anyway, I would probably be calling up KYGun Co and buying this one. It still may happen. If the trigger was better — either solid with no safety blade or just a shorter, cleaner pull — then I would be keeping it for sure.
Bottom line: were I a gun buyer looking for a polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol who didn’t already have a safe full of those (or I had some “fancy” ones and wanted a range toy / “truck gun”), the DB FS Nine would be near the top of my list. Or, were I a gun buyer on a budget and/or a first-time pistol buyer, it would most definitely be at or near the top of my list. I think the simplicity, shootability, and low cost make it an excellent first pistol for sure. Price aside, it’s a heck of a shooter.
Magazine Capacity: 15 rounds
Build: Melonited stainless steel slide, polymer frame, chromemoly barrel.
Weight: 21.5 oz empty
Barrel Length: 4.75″
MSRP: $483.34 — normal price on KYGun Co appears to be $385.
Ratings (out of five stars):
Accuracy: * * * 1/2
Totally sufficient ‘combat accuracy,’ but I believe slightly loose barrel lockup tolerances hurt ultimate accuracy. I was shooting with a laser, btw, so I feel my groups are as tight as can be. A cleaner, shorter, lighter trigger would probably assist just a bit, but I was pretty stable on that sandbag.
Ergonomics: * * * *
It’s not a CZ or PPQ, but it beats the socks off a
Block GLOCK and fits the hand similarly to an M&P. I’d say 3.5 stars on the grip itself, but the undercut trigger guard, effective beavertail, low bore axis, and the fact that it seems to work well for a good range of hand sizes bumps it to a solid 4 stars for me.
Reliability: * * * 1/2
It’s possible that, on another day with a different magazine, I would have given the DB FS Ninea 5-star rating here. Had I lubed the follower before I started shooting, it may have gone through all 575 rounds without a hitch. That didn’t happen, though, and I do blame the mag. Your tolerance for magazine malfunctions after 450 rounds of somewhat dirty reloads coupled with some rain in the works may be different from mine.
Customize This: * * * 1/2
This was a 2-star rating, but I’ve edited it to reflect new info as of 05/05/2014. Ameriglo is making its entire line of sight options for the DBFS9 and is adding a Diamondback section to its website soon. Most Glock 17 holsters fit this gun properly, including many kydex ones. G19 holsters, also, if they’re open-bottom. Obviously there’s a ton of 1913 Pic rail space for whatever accessory you can imagine. If somebody comes up with an upgraded trigger, this rating will bump to 4. The only thing missing will be upgraded magazines (stiffer springs and/or better followers) to ensure reliability even when dirty.
Concealed Carry: * * * *
A half inch taller, but slightly thinner and lighter than a GLOCK 19.
Style: * * * * *
Even more subjective than the other ratings, but I think it looks sweet.
On The Range: * * * *
She’s a shooter! The trigger knocks it down a star. If you love a GLOCK trigger, though, you’ll be happy.
Overall: * * * *
After some internal debate, I’m giving the DB FS Nine 4 stars. If it cost $550, I’d give it 3 stars. But I can overlook the less-than-ideal trigger and ease up just a little bit on my dirty magazine-related feeding issue [that came on suddenly and then went completely away with a little lube] since the gun is selling for well under $400.
The DB FS Nine for this review was provided by The Kentucky Gun Company.
At first I was like, oh wow a pistol covered in picatinny rail, now you can side mount your MRDS or inforce light ON THE SIDE OF YOUR SLIDE OMG HOW COOL /sarc 🙂
But yea those are some aggressive serrations.
Freaking cheese grader
I like aggressive serrations, if I’m not physically being poked be the grip serrations then I’m not happy. One exception to the rule is my gen3 glock 22
I’d run the economy version of Smith and Wesson’s M&P (the SD model) and see where it lines up in a comparable performance. As these two pistols compete in that same price bracket and unless you wanted somewhat finicky Taurus guns really only the cheaper polymer Smiths were worth the coin. It’s nice to see another handgun in that range though. And rain with 115 grain reloads is a bit much for an out of the box foreign pistol that has no track record.
A year from now all the verdicts will be in but I’ll take this one as is and give the benefit of a doubt if I’m looking to branch out and learn the economy market more.
Oh FYI it isn’t foreign. Diamondback is a Florida company and the guns are made in the U.S.
In that context I use “foreign” to mean “unfamiliar”. I forgot where it was made but knew Diamondback was US made…somewhere.
Ah. I see it now 🙂
Here’s my problem with Diamondback.
They do not have an original design of their own they infringe on other manufacturers designs. They’ve been through litigation its all over the internet this new pistol looks like a combination of a a few other pistol combined mix and match. You will notice form does not follow function here.
I think for the money. There are other options of higher quality available on the market place. I remember my first Diamondback 380 the slide exploded after we sent back to the factory for repair for FTF ,& FTE….need I say more.
Even the freaking Canik is much better value.
So There’s The Truth About Guns
Plus you can buy an SD9 for $300 on a regular basis.
You took the words right out of my mouth. I love my SD9. It’s dead nuts reliable, more accurate than most shooters, and even when you factor in the cost of a set of Apex springs, it’s still $60 bucks cheaper than the DB FS 9. The magazines hold an additional round as well.
Why would anyone pay $385 for a Diamondback, when both the Ruger P95 and the Smith and Wesson SD9VE are $300?
Well for one, aesthetics. Like it or not, it’s a huge factor in purchasing decisions. Whether you think one looks better than the other isn’t relevant — what’s relevant is that they look different and some people will like one gun more than the other enough to pay more money for it.
Additionally, the “why would you buy X when Y is less expensive” argument is practically never-ending. I could make the SAME argument against the SD9 and P95 by asking why anybody in their right mind would buy those when they could buy an EAA SAR B6P for $269.99. With its 17-round magazine, no less.
The answer is that these are all different guns, and price is only one factor of many that affect a buying decision. In my personal opinion, I think price and looks are going to be the two primary driving factors that cause people to walk home with this gun in their shopping bag instead of one from the major players (GLOCK, Springfield, S&W, etc).
Buds sells the DBFS for <$300
Well, after 500 rounds still working great. Not one FTF or FTE and I am loving the pistol still. It is a cheap full size pistol but well worth the money.
Because the DAO trigger on the SD9 VE SUCKS big-time! And, did I mentrion that the trigger on the SD SUCKS?
You’re comparing a 5lb single action pull to a 10lb pull with a travel distance of a few miles that doesn’t break until the trigger hits the back of the trigger guard. And, don’t give me this “Staging the trigger BS!” You’re not going to be staging a trigger in a self-defense situation – not if you want to survive it.
Also, try rapid firing fifty rounds without pulling your SD off-target and fatiguing the heck out of your trigger finger.
Sure, you can drop $60 and shorten the trigger travel a tad lessen the pull 2 0r 3 lbs, but why blow $60 on a $300 gun instead of buying a better $360 gun?
The SD outweighs the DB9FS by 6 oz., too. The felt recoil is nonexistent compared to the the SD9 VE. So, don’t rag on a gun you haven’t even fired. I owned an SD9 VE and test-fired the DB9FS. Bottom line: I dumped the SD as fast as I could write an ad for it.
Now, if you want to talk bargains and a better gun than the DB9FS for less. I got a Walther PPX for $279 from CDNN sports in all black. The two-tone stainless model and the longer, threaded barrel model run $299. The PPX has a $449 MSRP. The SD had a $399 MSRP which dropped to $389 and now down to $379. You think S&W is feeling the heat?
Not only is the PPX a better bargain but it will outshoot a Glock 17 with your eyes closed. Downside? It has no external safeties of any kind – not even a split trigger – that would scare the pants off an SD owner – which also does not have any external safetie, but doesn’t need one as the DAO trigger will keep it from being fired unintentionally (or intentionally, for at matter).
The DB9FS cocks like the PPX – which is about half-way back, and stays in that pre-cocked state like a Glock, so it’s not as “safe” as a long-ass DAO trigger on the SD, but then there’s the flatness and slipperiness of the SD’s grip that causes it to turn in a sweaty hand – so it needs someting like a Pachmar or Hogue grip in addition to the trigger work to get up it to tolerable level.
Not mentioned in the video or review is the reason why it’s so hard to drop the slide lock. There is slanted, diagonal notch in the DB slide versus the squared-off notch.found in virtually every other slide in the world on a semiauto poly pistol. Why they chose to go that route instead of having a sqaured off notch on both sides and make the release ambidexterous if theyu were worried about the slide not locking in place, is a mysterty that only the engineers at Taurus can tell me (seeing as how they own Diamondback and make a plethora of semiautos).
Another thing is the red dot on the back of the striker that, when visible, indicates the gun is cocked. On the PPX, the plastic hammer piece folds inside of the slide back and when cocked, stays flush with it.
Right now, the only other gun in the $300-330 prioce range I’m considering, besides buying the DB9FS that I’ve been borrowing for testing, is the Ruger 9E. But that baby is a beeach to rack normally, and given the lack of space and serrations on the slide back, a recoil spring transfusion would be what the doctor would order.
Yes, it’s a combat pistol and not competition one. Not in that price range. If I could afford another $225-250, I’d get an XD(m), Fuggedabout the M&P – more proof that S&W doesn’t know how to make a decent trigger. Unless you consider an articulated, flexable plastic trigger a good thing.
Ahh….there it is….”the jump”……….
Is this a bad thing? Truly. I have no idea. Is that looked down upon or is it cliche or something?
@Jeremy S, a fair question deserving a fair answer: It is a bit cliche and way overused…especially here at TTAG. Not to mention, its just redundant as all get out. Not needed as anyone who has spent more than two minutes on the internet knows how to click a link.
Very nice review by the way.
I used to read Autoblog and Autoblog Green (and sometimes TTAC) a few years ago as part of my job and I think it just rubbed off on me. It was every. single. article. But… that was years ago and it looks like they don’t do it anymore. Okay, I’m 31 and now I feel old haha
Well, the link has to say something. Do you have any suggestions? And they probably won’t be sending full articles by email any time soon.
@Rich Grise, I counted 11 links in the article and two youtube videos…and that’s not including the links in the comment section. TTAG does a good job of identifying the links with a red font. There is no need to toss in “make the jump….or make the jump for the presser”… its not needed in 2014.
The real question is, what is your obsession with it? You feel the need to make comments on it endlessly. I have seen some rather extreme comments you have made regarding your feelings about “make the jump” before they were rightfully deleted. I am beginning to think you have some sort of mental disorder related to this issue. Otherwise, why the hell do you care so much? Personally, I hadn’t even noticed the damn phrase until you had pointed it out for the 87th time.
@Lord Wulfgen, because I’d like to see the TTAG continue on its path to greatness and professionalism. But if you don’t, I understand.
I still think the grip looks like batman’s jockstrap.
I’m Batman Damm it!
Excellent review!! Good work.
Great review, Jeremy, thanks. Even though I am not interested in the gun, I watched your video and clicked the ad in gratitude. Now that I did, I’m glad I watched your video; you are like a more pleasant version of NutnFancy. I can’t stand that guy.
To be fair Wulf he probably can’t stand you either.
To be honest, scurv, that wouldn’t bother me in the slightest.
Nice review there, Jeremy. You’ve piqued my interest. But I don’t think this gun is aimed at us, but first time gun buyers. We all have too many full-sized “duty” handguns. My bet is they’ll try this out, then come out with a “compact” version next year.
I understand there’s only so much a company can do to differentiate your basic plastic striker 9, but the “creative inspiration” on display here seems a little extreme. The slide and most of the frame is a Glock, everything behind the trigger guard is an M&P, and those slide serrations are the spitting image of the “TactiSkin” Glock slide covers that were making the rounds a while back.
Personally I wouldn’t recommend a firearm with a Glock style take down where you have to dry fire it first to a first time pistol buyer. Newbs tend to do some pretty scatterbrained things like forgetting to remove the loaded magazine when they rack the slide to check the chamber. There is an argument for the point and pull the trigger simplicity, and maybe if that person were in imminent danger I would recommend it. But if they are unlikely to ever use it anywhere but the range, the more safety features the better IMHO.
I wholeheartedly disagree. If you think that “make sure there aren’t any bullets in the gun before you pull the trigger” is a likely failure point, how do you expect them to remember to flip a switch on the side with their thumb? Besides, safeties can very easily become a crutch to newbs, whereas if the gun is always dangerous to point at things, they are less likely to point it at things and think it’s okay.
When you consider how frequently the IGOTD award here goes to cops, I think you’re asking a lot from people with no training whatsoever. Even smart people do dumb things. Have you never run a red light? Forget to brush your teeth? Lock yourself out of the house? If you’re honest with yourself you’d have to admit you have brain farts almost daily. Having to pull the trigger to take a firearm down is just plain bad engineering IMHO. Even pros get in a hurry. Everyone needs to make their own assessment of their needs so maybe your circumstances are different, but I’m pretty sure the odds of me having a negligent discharge are much higher than the odds of getting into a gunfight, so I prefer safeties. I do agree that safeties are no substitute for good trigger discipline though.
Granted the best approach is to take them out to the range and hold their hand for a couple of hours, but that doesn’t always happen. The other thing I’ve seen newbs do is panic when they have their first jam. It makes it a little easier if they can just put it on safe and then worry about clearing the jam. If they needed a simple point and shoot gun I’d steer them toward a double action revolver first. And you do have a point about them remembering the safety when panicked, which is why I added it might be different if they were in imminent danger. Hopefully, they’ll have time to train before their first gunfight and it doesn’t take that long for flicking the safety off to become part of your draw without having to think about it.
Given your excellent writing, I was surprised to see “all of the sudden.” Still, very nice review. Thanks.
Hmm. Wish I could say that was a typo but maybe I’m a bit of an idiom.
Slide, trigger guard, and mag release – shamelessly copied from Glock
agressive serations, front rail, and cocked striker indicator – shamelessly copied from XDM
and contoured grip/frame, and slide release – shamelessly copied from S&W M&P series
If you cant beat em?
The guts of the gun is 100% Glock. I agree that some of the added features came from the XD and M&P. Those guns certainly wanted to replicate the principles of Glock (polymer frame / striker-fired) but at least they had the decency to engineer their own designs.
Seriously, double-you tee ef.
May as well stamp Rolex on it and sell them out of the back of a truck. I can already imagine the spray-painted sign: “Why pay for a genuine Glock when you can buy a Clock for $150 less?”
<$400 price point: shamelessly copied from none of them. GLOCK guys are welcome to pooh-pooh every new gun and then go fondle their collections 'til the cows come home, but the rest of us are pretty open to function and reliability at a much lower MSRP. Not everyone can afford the big brands, and some people who can would rather not spend extra money just for the name stamped on the slide.
slide an M9 mag in it and see if it locks and feeds…..then we can add that to your list.
This is mentioned in the write-up. M9 / 92FS mags are not compatible. At least not without some Dremel work.
Berretta work in mine, just made a small cut in the mag for the mag catch
Let’s be honest. Diamondback DB FS is a Glock copy. It differs aesthetically only as much as to avoid a lawsuit. Once disassembled, it’s a Gen-3 Glock. The firing pin design and the firing pin safety, the mainspring and barrel lug, the trigger sear… it’s obvious they decided to replicate a Glock and added a few changes afterwards so they’d at least stand a chance in court.
I dare someone to take some calipers and measure the slide width and barrel lugs and compare the results against a Glock.
The trigger group looks nothing like a Glock. More similar to an M&P or Ruger- not Glock.
Here’s an exploded parts diagram from the DB FS Nine’s owner’s manual if you really want to see how it works: https://app.box.com/s/0c69ks9uqefkg2roatqw
Lubrication points: https://app.box.com/s/5hijnvdqc3qpk9kwod32
We should be honest. Nearly all modern striker fired pistols are knock offs of the Glock, with Styer and Caracal being designed by the same guy who designed the original Glock. The “it’s a copy” argument is asinine. Glock has changed little in 30 years. The Gen 4 is a joke. So, I applaud the manufacturers who are trying to improve what Glock did. I guess, 100 years ago, we’d all be complaining that every semi auto pistol is just a knock off of the 1911.
Bought one of these. Disappointed at one mag- stampings on the mag are the same numbers for Beretta 92, curious that they don’t fit. Good frame ergos, comfortable trigger, not bad looking in person. Corners on the slide and barrel are very sharp, can pinch and cut your hand. This is now a Taurus product- they took over the “marketing and web presence”, probably bought the company. Cheap polymer clone, good enough.
At some point, DB was sued and lost to Kahr for patent infringement on their trigger.
Sounds like the gun may be over sprung with the weak ejection and FTF issues. A slightly lower spring force would give more positive ejection and longer dwell at the rear to let the round seat under the ejector
Agreed. The reloads I was mostly shooting meet minimum power factor, but barely. I did see the feed error with factory ammo, though, including the Aguila 124 grain and Am Eag 147. But that was after the mag was dirty. Ejection with factory ammo was a bit better. +P felt good in the gun.
The owner’s manual says “Because of inconsistency in loading pressures we do not recommend the use of reloaded, +P, or +P+ ammunition.”
Interesting that it doesn’t actually say DON’T USE IT like many manuals do. However, it does say that “these ammunitions will void this firearm’s Warranty.”
Jeremy S does the best damn reviews! This is ‘magazine quality’. Thank you!
Mom, is that you posting under a fake name?
No, son, I’m right here, and would it kill you to call home sometime?
Hahaha Nah, and no kickbacks either. Your reviews are really awesome as I’m sure everyone would agree. I think we all really benefit from your excellent, thorough, well illustrated reviews that we can digest prior to making a purchase. I know i sure do!
(oh and Jeremy, don’t forget to brush your teeth before you go to bed! /JK)
Those serrations looked like rails. Was hoping for side-mounted sights, sadly that was not to be 🙁
I really appreciate you guys doing these reviews, especially of those common not so known guns. What about a Marlin 60/795 review? Those are pretty cheap.
I’m gonna sue the SHIZER out of these a-holes!
Better than a Hi-Point…
By the way, good photography.
Great review. Not in the market for a full size 9 but appreciate an option. Yes Taurus bought Diamondback. I believe mainly to get in the AR market( I could be wrong).
TTAG had a post about it: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2013/01/daniel-zimmerman/taurus-secures-diamondback-firearms/
Because of the synergy of the quality of the review and the quality of the gun, I’ve decided to go to Turners at the next available opportunity and get one and a spare mag, or if the mag is really reasonable, a couple. (of spare mags, not a couple of guns.)
You know, your post made me realize that I forgot to actually mention “quality” in terms of fit and finish. I’d say overall it’s okay and pretty in-line with what you’d expect from a Glock, with the exception of more tooling marks on parts like the slide. I don’t really care about that one way or the other though unless it’s egregious. I haven’t been holstering this gun or putting it in range bags and whatnot enough to speak to the durability of the slide’s melonite finish. The molding job on the frame is good (industry standard, I’d say).
…if you click some of the photos and make them really large, you’ll see what I mean about tooling / milling marks. For instance, the photo that’s looking down on the top to show the rear sight and the chamber viewing port and the field strip photo that shows the inside of the slide…
Jeremy, keep up the good work. Your reviews are fantastic. While we’re on the topic of inexpensive gun reviews, I’d like to request a review of a SAR B6P.
I actually contacted EAA a few weeks ago about that and didn’t hear back. I’ll check in again next week or see if maybe a vendor like KYGun Co would be willing to loan one. They are definitely priced low as heck considering you can find them brand new for like $270…
Nice review Jeremy. I learned a lot about the pistol which is what reviews are supposed to accomplish. To the Glocksuckers ™ whining about copy cats, go look at a HK VP70Z and then come back and tell me who ought to have the whining rights when it comes to high capacity striker fired plastic framed pistols.
Except that to be fair, the VP’s trigger is awful and the Glock is clearly not copying it. Further I don’t own a Glorp. But the numbers don’t lie; certainly not about that particular firearm platform. The VP was a failure, therein lies the difference. This from an H&K ‘fanboy’.
First time I have ever seen anyone state that Checkmate had a ‘good reputation’. Checkmate magazines typically are what’s commonly called a deal breaker.
It looks like a pellet pistol.
Excellent review, sir! This is quite a bit of pistol for less than $400.
My experience with Checkmate magazines (Beretta M9 military issue) has been satisfactory. (Aside from being dirt and debris magnets.) When deployed overseas I always replaced the magazine springs with a Wolff springs because my life depended on it. I have no experience with other Checkmate made magazines, but I don’t think they produced horrible products.
They had major problems with their M9 mags but apparently the finish change fixed that. They stated that the fine sand encountered in Iraq/Afghanistan embedded into the [military-specified] coating and caused feeding problems. Reviews in the past couple years seem to have been pretty universally good, and apparently the different finish did fix that. Their 1911 mags seem to work without a hitch for most folks.
Is it just me or does that rear sight look a little crooked like the dovetail wasn’t cut square with the slide?
I also noted the canted rear sight, and ass-u-me’d that it had to do with the setscrew adjust feature.
I didn’t notice that myself until I was looking at the photographs after the review was posted. I believe the dovetail is straight, but the sight has just a bit of wiggle room in it. This was pretty convenient for me, as I drift adjusted it at the indoor range by loosening up that set screw and simply pushing on the sight with my thumb. It moved fairly easily but not too easily. I tightened the screw back down and the sight stayed right in place for 550 rounds. Had I realized it had some wiggle room, I’m sure I could have taken care to hold it aligned and still while tightening down the set screw. However, it isn’t anywhere near far enough off to affect the sight picture in any way and the gun shot dead-on for me after drifting the sight to the right a little bit (and I pushed on the back of it with my thumb, which is why I believe the back appears ever so slightly farther to the right than the front does).
Basically, I’d say it isn’t perfect but it isn’t far enough from it that it could cause any sort of negative side effect.
“I can ease up just a little bit on my dirty magazine-related feeding issue [that came on suddenly and then went completely away with a little lube]”
I LOL’d, or I just have a really dirty mind.
hahahaha. I like to make little jokes and puns much of the time, but I swear that entire sentence was 100% completely and totally serious. I did NOT realize how freaking hilarious it is until you pointed it out. LOL. Good stuff.
Apparently, the term “dirty magazines” means different things to different people at different times. 😉
Did you try it in any holsters? Can help but think that trigger guard wouldn’t snick into some glock holsters?
Good question! The only Glock I own at current is a Gen3 G20SF, and I have one kydex holster for it. Turns out the DB fits right into it and the trigger guard clicks in place pretty well. Obviously the slide is too narrow, but you’d expect that from a full-frame Glock holster. Unfortunately I don’t have a G17 or G19 or a holster for one of those handy. I may be able to swing by my FFL tomorrow or Saturday and test this out (assuming they have open package holsters that I can try it out in). Otherwise, I’m sure other folks will be figuring this out in no time. If I go test this out, I’ll update the post — at least in the “Customize This” ratings section to note that holsters are available (you just have to buy Glock ones).
I reckon this gun would look a lot better with a HK USP-style trigger guard and a longer curved-up beavertail wouldn’t hurt. A .45 ACP would go down a storm, methinks.
I think it’s time for the under $400 full size 9mm shoot off with this DB9Fs, a Sig P250F9B, a Taurus 24 7 Gen 2, and an S&W SD9. And maybe throw in Das Brick 17 for a benchmark.
How about it?
I just got mine on monday (7-28-14) and it ran flawlessly through 800 rounds.
I don’t know why these initial reviews had the price point at 350.00+ .. I bought mine from buds gun shop for 298.00.
I’m glad I took the plunge on this gun. I bought my first Glock 23 for 348.00 out the door in 2001. I don’t like missing picking these new guns up for cheap because if proven reliable they always jump on price.
Diamondback has a more than solid handgun here..
Chris, I see you received your new DB9FS on July 28th, does your pistol have the letters “FS” on the slide, or does it have the combined letters that look like a LOGO instead of the two letters?
I have seen one pistol that has the LOGO type FS and one that has normal letters F and S. I would like to know which one yours has, sense you just received yours.
Also, how is the accuracy, recoil, and are you experiencing weak case ejection, and ejecting into your forehead?
I think the gun looks great and feels good in hand. I also liked the trigger action. I was just about to buy a M&P 9 Full Size, when I saw this pistol and now I am torn between the two. Can you share any shooting comparisons between these two pistols, for example; Accuracy- Recoil- Fun To Shoot – spent case ejection? I prefer slim grips on pistols, there just more comfortable to me and the DB9FS and M&P9 are similar and fairly slim. I am very concerned with the DB9FS inconsistent and weak ejection of the cases, spent cases flying back in your face and tagging your forehead can ruin a good day shooting, this alone could make up my mind to go with the M&P9. Any input would be appreciated. And thanks for the thorough review it really helps when shopping and comparing pistols!!!!
Chris Johnson, I see you received your new DB9FS on July 28th, does your model say “FS” on the slide, or does it have the combined letters that look like a LOGO instead of the two letters? I have seen one pistol that has the logo type FS and one that the letters are just normal letters F and S. Also how do you rate the accuracy now that you have some rounds through the gun? How is the recoil ? Thanks and keep us informed of how the pistol is performing!!
Hey, sorry for the late reply.. I wasn’t getting email notifications.
Mine has the DBFS full logo on it. It’s rather large and sits in a large diamond> It’s a pretty slick looking slide logo.
I’ve now shot about 3500 rounds through it. The first 250 rounds or so I had maybe about 5 rounds that ejected weak and back into my face but since then it hasn’t done it at all.
Accuracy is pretty much dead on. It’s right there with my M&P Pro 9mm, PX4 Storm and CZ 75 PO7.
LOVE the trigger on this gun. I can’t stress this enough. It’s SUPER light and crisp reset.
Recoil is no different than any other 9mm I own.
LOVE the overall design of this gun. Was a little weird at first but this is truly one of the best looking pistols on the market right now. I find myself pulling it out of the safe just to look at it I like it so much.
Grip is FANTASTIC. No slipping when your hands get sweaty. I live in Az and it’s been hot as hell here as well as humid lately and this grip just sticks.
It’s been at least 1500 rounds since I cleaned it last. I always do this one time to all my pistols just to see if it’s reliable that way. NO problems ..just keeps on running smooth.
I like this gun so much I just ordered the FDE model.
Only problem is I still can’t find any mags to buy so I’m stuck with just the one.
I don’t know how you drop a new pistol on the market and not have mags available for it. LAME..
Hope this answers your questions. Anymore … feel free to ask.
Thanks Chris for all the info, I really dig the looks of the pistol as well.
Does your pistol have the Novak rear sight as pictured here on this review or does it have the sight that looks like a Glock sight?
If you look at the Diamondback website you will see the difference in the pictures of the sights and the Roll Marks that say “FS” on the LEFT side of the slide as compared to the pictures in this review.
That is why I was asking you about the letters, not the triangle DB logo, but the letters “FS” NINE.
In the pictures on this review the FS is kind of combined to make one letter, on the DB website the letters F and S are separated. (on the left side of the slide)
Take a look at there website and compare the pics from this review, and tell me which model you have. It would at least let me know which model I would be receiving if I ordered one today. Thanks David
Mine has the Glock style sights & looks like the one on the DB website. I only paid 298.00 on buds so I’m sure one with the Novak sights would be more.
and..apex trigger kits are now available for the DBFS.
It seems too me that their is 2 different models but the only difference is the one with the novak sight also has a different logo.
I found one here:
And the price is about 100 bucks more…
Would be nice if there was more info out there letting the consumer know this. IMO..this is a very important thing…lol
Just curious if you had ever been able to locate extra mags. If not I can send you the info for my dealer here in MS, he said he would ship them just takes him 1-2 days to get them.
Florida Gun Classifieds – used guns for sale is a new site that lists guns for sale. There giving away a Springfield Xds.
Buds has the ones with the better sites & the lower price – can’t beat that combination. My buddy just got one a couple weeks ago for just over $300, it even has the gray frame instead of the black. He can’t find extra mags anywhere though, that’s the only downside I see.
Based 100% on your review, I started watching the prices on this gun. I also kept a vigilant eye out for magazines. Two weeks ago the planets aligned. Bud’ s had magazines ($32/ea). I ordered 2 mags and the gun ($288.40). It arrived today. I read your article one more time for anything I may have missed. Great job. You sold me.
Purchased my FS 9 on Saturday and could not be happier. Gun looks great and dealer I used matched the price of $291.00 from Budsgunshop.com. They also included two extra magazines with my purchase and made sure I knew about the Diamondback/Costa promotion that was currently begin offered until October 31st.
One question though has anyone figured out what holster this cannon will fit in comfortably.
BUDS has the DBFS9 for $265…….ships for free….
I held one of these back a few months ago at a local gun shop and I loved the way it felt. I do own a Glock 19, hate it, but I do own 20 other pistols, so I have a lot of personal experience. I would buy one of these and I will likely do so this year. It was light, felt good in hand and I liked the sights and the trigger. However, the most fun triggers in strikers are the PMR30 and Steyr pistols and I own both. My daily carrying is a Browning Hi-Power.
Academy Sports has this and a locking pistol vault for $299 Until 2/21/15.
dimondback dbfs9mm just bought one at buds guns $268.00 free shipping , have not shot my wifes 9mm yet seems to work well,the clip is a damn bitch to load need to buy a mag loader off e-bay $31.00 and hope it helps. shot my friends dbfs9mm and liked it and my wife like the wight and feel of it , her first time shooting. i’m thinking of getting another one though db needs a spring asst. on the clips as there stiff as hell , i still like the old stand by 1911 price might make the the choice for me + it would be better if mine and my wifes gun ammo and clips interchange be nice if db came out with a 45acp in the same price range…ps a dbfs45acp maby ill give it a wile…hint…
And Arthur 88 is selling these for less than $200 on GunAuction now…
Just bought this a few weeks ago and I am thoroughly impressed! C&L before firing and have now put 359 round through it with zero issues. Very little muzzle flip..accurate out of the box and zero FTE or FTF. The only exception was the first round that did not fire. After inspection it was not in battery. Ever since then nothing but accuracy and sweet shooting.
The gun is garbage. Bought one brand new after the second mag the firing pin wouldn’t hit the primers on the bullets. Sold cheap to a friend. Don’t bet you’re life on this junk!
These are going for $240 in my area and $294.50 or so with an extra mag, a safe and a holster! Cant beat that for price. I like the SD but agree the trigger sucks… and currently the best I have seen for an SD9 in my area is $319.00 The Diamondback is far cheaper.
I wouldn’t buy a rape whistle from diamondback. Our company made parts for them and employees were supposed to get a decent discount on purchases. Diamondback took their parts (that they COULDN’T make at the time) and then vanished, ignoring the deal they made with us for sales. Nice people, and I guarantee I will never deal with them ever again.
I own a DBFS9 and I love it. I’ve fired 3k+ rounds through it and it runs well. Yes, it jams with cheap ammo and yes, the gun hates being dirty, the slide lock is a bitch to release – but once it is, this gun is sweet. I’m a big man at 6’4″ and my hand appreciates the grip more than the XD or the S&W. I have several S&W M&P guns that I love, and have shot the XD, but I wouldn’t trade my DB for another one. 2 additional mags were 49.98, so total cost was under 400.
I bought my FS 9 in April 2014, but never fired it until October, 2015; I have taken it to the range 3 times, and I have NEVER been able to fire a complete magazine without a either a misfire or a FTE. The FS9 jams like nobody’s business with Winchester white box 115 grain ammo. I don’t think it’s the magazines; I have several OEM magazines from DiamondBack (including an unopened 4-pack for sale if anyone’s interested).
Like the author’s test pistol, mine also pulls to the left on all three range outings, when it manages to fire at all. I could easily adjust the rear sight but I’m so disgusted with the pistol that I can’t bring myself to be bothered. I guess you really do get what you pay for ($268). I will try some heavier ammo and see how it handles it; if the issues continue I’m contacting DiamondBack to see if they will do something for me. As it stands, I’m a little soured on DiamondBack and could not recommend this pistol in good conscience.
Hmmm…. I think I like the looks of the Rex Delta better. This one is interesting though.
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