Smaller EDC style pistols have dominated the market for a few years now. They’ve been selling well from just about all of the major manufactures, and all that demand has spurred several smaller firearms makers to put out their own version of the popular pistols.
Last year, Diamondback Firearms out of the Gunshine State put out their .380ACP Pocket pistol, the DB380. This year, they’ve upped everything. The size, the caliber, and the capacity, with their DBAM29SL (AM2) in 9x19mm.
It’s a blocky, stubby little thing. The SL in the DBAM29SL is their two tone brushed stainless model. You can also purchase an FDE frame with a black slide, their DBAM29FDE model.
It’s nice to see some attention paid to the style of the deep cocking serration cuts in the front and rear of the slide. Simply by connecting the vertical lines with a lower horizontal cut, Diamondback turns the functional into a design feature that visually separates the pistol from the competition.
The magazine well is a little small, or at least it is for the position of the trigger. I get that that Diamondback is made in Florida, but I wasn’t able to get a gloved finger into the trigger guard without getting the trigger pull started. Note that the front of the squared off trigger guard is also deeply textured with horizontal relief cuts.
All of the necessary gripping surfaces of the Diamondback DBAM29 are well textured. The factory stipple work gives the shooter a solid grip on gun. Most of my shooting of the DBAM29 was done during the unseasonably warm Texas September, and even with sweaty hands in 100+ degree heat. I had no trouble controlling the pistol.
Small-handed shooters should take note that while the pistol itself is small, the grip is not. It fit my size-large hands well, with an appropriate length of pull. That wasn’t the same for a couple of smaller statured women at the Range at Austin during one of my range session with the double action only DBAM29SL. The grip size put the trigger just beyond the distal crease of their index fingers.
Both the backstrap and front straps are well textured, too. There are no alternative backstraps with the DBAM29 to adjust grip size. You get what you get.
The DBAM29 comes stock with a 3-dot sight set up. In this case, it’s a bright orange front site and two white dot rears. If you would like to upgrade those to a tritium or other set, they’re compatible with the plentiful GLOCK and GLOCK aftermarket sight sets.
Like a few guns of this size on the market now, the DBAM2 fits a lot of rounds in a fairly small space. The flush fit magazine fits 12 rounds, and the extended magazine holds a full 17. I also had no problems running the gun with a round chambered and a full magazine with either the 12 or 17 round versions.
As with most striker-fired polymer framed pistols, the trigger on the DBAM29 is squishy with a bit of creep and stack at the back. Along with a short sight radius, that leads to a real challenge keeping the front sight still during the trigger pull, throwing off accuracy.
Diamondback Firearms advertises these pistols as having a 5-6 lb. trigger pull. My Lyman trigger gauge put this one at 6lbs, 10oz. The trigger shoe includes the common “safety bar.” Some of these are better than others. The DBAM29’s trigger safety tab stays out of the way and does its job well.
The angle of the trigger is a little weird. Because of the shape of the grip and the fact that the shooter can get a pretty high grip on gun, the trigger finger angles down. For me, that resulted my trigger finger sliding across the bottom interior of the trigger guard with each trigger pull. That created a pinch point which, after a few hundred rounds, left me with a bright red digit. Not ideal, but not a deal killer either.
With the extended 17-round magazine, and the accompanying grip sleeve, the DBAM29 gives even the most bear-handed shooter plenty of purchase on pistol. Of course, it’s also longer than the grips of most duty guns, and would be very challenging to carry concealed. But for a spare magazine, reload, or on the range, it works great.
The high capacity of the small-statured DBAM29 is achieved with a fairly wide, long grip. The flush-fit 12-round magazine is a little larger than most truly sub-compact firearms, and all three fingers below the trigger guard is possible. Given the texturing of the grip, and a slight undercut on the trigger guard, it’s possible for someone with even size-large hands to get a solid single grip on the gun.
The takedown procedure of the Diamondback DBAM29 is just like GLOCK pistols.Exactly like them…which means you will have to pull the trigger to take down the gun. If that’s a challenge for you, perhaps reconsider your choice to handle a firearm at this particular time in your life.
Much of the DBAM29’s design is like GLOCK pistols. Here’s the slide interior above a GLOCK G42. Other than the size and recoil spring, they appear pretty much identical. The chassis and frame have a few internal differences from the GLOCK, but not much.
The Diamondback DBAM29 ships in what is becoming the industry standard, a cardboard box. Diamondback provides a soft carrying case in that cardboard box, which is a little more than most companies do, especially at this price point.
On the range, the Diamondback was easy to control. The large, full grip diminished the snappiness that’s common with small polymer 9mm pistols.
At about the 200 round mark, the pistol stopped fully returning to battery, I had to just push it a little with my thumb to complete the cycle. I noted this, and then went to disassemble and lube the gun to see if I could determine the problem.
The problem was that I forgot to lube the gun at all in the first place. Considering I had just shot 200 rounds straight through a compact pistol out of the box without even basic lubrication, I’d say that’s not bad reliability at all.
After a little CLP on the rails, the gun ran like a champ. I had no further issues at all with any kind of round after I lubed the gun. I put a total of 560 rounds through the DB2AM29 over the course of a couple of weeks. I shot multiple brands, weights, and types of bullets through the gun with no problems.
Accuracy on the subcompact(ish) Diamondback pistol was acceptable for its size. All of my shooting for accuracy was off a bench with bags and were 5-shot groups averaged over four shot strings, for 20 rounds total fired of each type of round.
Even in slow fire, I really struggled to keep the front sight still during the trigger pull. My first series of groups at the 25 yard line were in the 5-inch range, and I knew the gun could do better than that. I slowed down and focused on pulling the trigger straight back and steady, and was rewarded with 3-inch average groups from the 115gr Speer Lawman round. The inexpensive Armscor 115gr range round scored 3 1/2″ on average. The heavier 147gr Armscor HP did a little poorer, averaging out at 4 1/4″.
It’s much appreciated that Diamondback took the time to work with holster makers to make sure there are options available. A quick look at their website or a web search will show the shooter a wide variety of brands and styles.
Especially considering the gun’s very low price point, you get a good carry pistol in the DBAM29 very affordably. The grip is deceptively large, and I’d recommend anyone with less than size-large hands take a few turns at dry-firing it before they purchase, just to make sure the grip size and trigger aren’t an issue.
Specifications: Diamondback Firearms DBAM29
Slide: Stainless Steel, Black Nitride Coated
Frame: Black Polymer
Action: Striker Fired, Double Action Only
Height: 12 round mag: 4.6″, 17 round mag: 5.6″
Weight: 22 oz. (Unloaded)
Overall Width: 1.09”
Slide Width: .975”
Sight Radius: 4.97″
Barrel Length: 3.5″ Stainless Steel, 1:10 RH
Sights: 3-Dot, Glock Compatible
MSRP: $340 (about $285 retail)
Style and Appearance * * *
The two-tone models and the styled serrations on the slide are a nice touch.
Customization * *
GLOCK sights are available. That’s about it.
Reliability * * * * *
Not bad with zero lube at all right out of the box. Perfect with just of few drops of CLP.
Accuracy * * *
Most groups were just over the 3″ mark at 25 yards. That’s about average for today’s smaller guns shooting today’s great ammunition.
Overall * * *
A good overall budget concealed carry pistol. Because of the full, well textured grip surface, the DBAM29 is easy to control. It’s accurate enough, and the capacity is outstanding for a pistol of its size. The price point is exceptional.