The Diamondback DB9: One Sneaky Snake

The Diamondback DB9: One Sneaky Snake
The Diamondback DB9 with its 6-round magazine.

The Diamondback DB9 is an often-overlooked ultra-compact 9mm CCW pistol that's been around for a while, but its small size may make it still worth considering.

Currently, the most popular handguns for personal protection are what are often called ultra-compacts. Handguns of this size are nothing new, but what’s relatively new are handguns this small that are chambered for the 9mm Luger. The reason this type of firearm has become so popular is because as the popularity of concealed carry rises, so too does the realization that a full-size pistol is uncomfortable to carry and hard to conceal. So, every year, we see new introductions into this segment of the market.

Diamondback DB9 Feature
The Diamondback DB9 with its 6-round magazine.

Ironically, one of the smallest and easiest to conceal 9mm handguns has been around for a while, and it’s often ignored by those looking for something small, easy to conceal and comfortable to carry. It’s the DB9 from Diamondback. My first exposure to this handgun was more than a decade ago while I was hunting alligators in the Florida swamps. Not only did I use the DB9 to shoot alligators that were hauled up along the side of an airboat, but I also got to tour the factory. As a result of that visit, I’ve had a DB9 that I keep handy anytime I need a handgun for deep concealment.

Diamondback DB9 hand
How small is the DB9 Well, if you have normal-sized hands for a man, you could call it “hand-sized.” It’s a very compact 9mm pistol, hardly bigger than a smartphone.

Over that past decade, that little pistol has served me well and has proven to be very reliable. A friend begged me out of it, so I acquired another, newer DB9. This pistol is less than 6 inches long, less than an inch wide, less than 5 inches tall and tips the scales—unloaded—at less than 14 ounces. It holds 6+1 rounds of 9mm ammunition, and there are 15 different variants to choose from. The DB9 comes with one magazine and two base pads. One of the base pads extends below the grip for little finger support, and the other fits flush.

Sights on the DB9 vary depending on the model. Several have what I’d call bumps or pocket pistol sights. They work, but they’re small. Four versions of the DB9 come with more conventional handgun sights of the three-dot variety, and these DB9s are compatible with aftermarket Glock sights. Unless you’re going to pocket carry, I’d for sure recommend one of the versions with the better sights. At 10 yards, I was able to keep my shots inside a 3-inch circle and run the Forty-Five Drill—five shots, inside a 5-inch circle, at 5 yards, in less than 5 seconds—in an average of about 4 seconds, and that’s drawing from a coat pocket.

Diamondback DB9 firing
The Diamondback DB9 hardly fills your hand, but you’ll need to hold on to it. For some shooters, 9mm recoil from a 13-ounce pistol can be intimidating.

The DB9 is thin and light, and with full power 9mm loads, it’ll bite your hand a bit. But, honestly, what would you expect from such a small pistol? I wouldn’t want to take a 250-round per day training course with the DB9, but, of course, that’s not what this pistol was designed for. It’s intended to provide you security without bulk; it’s a deep concealment handgun. My friend carries his every day at work in an office environment, and in the appendix position and in one of those little Sticky holsters. He tells me he often forgets the gun is even there.

Diamondback DB9 Fanny Pack
For those of you who like to carry in a fanny-type pack, like the Galco Fastrax Pac Waistpack, the DB9 adds very little weight.

Some will tell you that the DB9 isn’t very reliable. That hasn’t been my experience at all. However, I’ll append that with the advice this is a pistol you must hold on to when you pull the trigger. If you try to shoot it with a relaxed grip, like you might be able to do with a duty-size 9mm pistol, don’t be surprised if reliability lessens. The smaller 9mm pistols get, the firmer they must be held and the stiffer the wrist must be kept. My daughters recently discovered this during a training course they took with one of the new Mossberg MC2sc pistols. I think this is one of the reasons the DB9 and other ultra-compact 9mm pistols sometimes get a bad rap for reliability. Shooter-induced stoppages aren’t reliability problems inherent to the handgun.

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  1. Magazines are the main reliability issue with the DB9, or at least they were on earlier models. I took care of that on mine by cutting a couple coils off a Kel-Tec magazine spring and substituting that for the stock spring.


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