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Diamonback DB380 Quick Review

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by ugaarguy, Sep 5, 2010.

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  1. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    Hello fellow Highroaders. Yesterday I acquired a NIB Diamondback DB 380 from my LGS (where I also used to work). It's one of the new ZCxxxx serial number guns, which are supposed to have all the kinks worked out. A former co-worker whom I trust assured me they'd had no problems with the DB 380s - they never carried the earlier guns. I picked it up just in time to leave the LGS and head to the local cigar shop to watch The Dawgs.

    My initial impressions yesterday where that the pistol looked like a P3AT/LCP sized micro Glock with a S&W M&P slide. Internally it looked like a mix of Glock, and original design. The overall fit & finish are excellent. The polymer frame has has been cleaned up nicely, and there are no visible tool marks, outside nor inside, the slide - save the outer edge of the ejector. The matte black finish is smooth & even. According to a poster on the Stopping Power Forums the DB 380 utilizes a Melonite finish done by the same contractor which Melonites the S&W M&Ps: This according to a DB support tech which the poster spoke to. The magazine is a nice gloss black finished unit manufactured by ACT of Italy with Diamondback markings. The mag looks much like those of the P3AT & LCP (and the KT mags will indeed work in the DB380).

    Today I headed to the range. I started with a box of Gunn Ammunition LLC 100gr TMJ which was the only target ammo the LGS had in .380. I had constant failures to fire, and a few failures to eject when the primer actually did light off. I fought through the 50 round box of Gunn ammo, and in the end exactly 20 of the rounds would not fire. I was worried that maybe the bugs hadn't been worked out on the DB 380, but knew from experience to try a different brand of ammo. I cleared the DB 380, and stepped out of the firing bay. I let the clerk at the range know what was going on, and told me they had a 50% failure rate with a box of Gunn ammo 9mm in a S&W Sigma yesterday. I bought a box of Atlanta Arms & Ammo 95 gr TCJ reloads (which have been flawless in my guns in other calibers), and headed back into the firing bay. From there it was 50 perfect rounds down range, including a few through a KelTec P3AT mag. Do note that while the pistol fed perfectly from the P3AT mag, the P3AT mag would not drop free from the DB 380. The AAA rounds also had a noticeable increase in recoil over the Gunn rounds that did fire.

    All rounds were fired into a standard torso silhouette target at 7 yards, which I feel as an appropriate distance for a pocket / back up pistol. At this range I had no problem keeping all rounds, save one flyer, in the 9 ring or head area.

    I'd like to get another 100 or so rounds down range before I call it good, but thus far I'm quite satisfied with the DB 380.
     
  2. kokapelli

    kokapelli Member

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    I had a Diamondback and a P-3AT. I still have the P3AT but the Diamondback is long gone!

    I hope you have a better experience with your DB than I had with mine.

    My DB was fine up to about 200 rounds and then I had really serious problems with jams that were really tough to clear, usually requiring four hands.

    After a trip back to the factory and a bunch of parts replaced it did the same thing, so it's history.

    I replaced the DB with a TCP that has been flawless and it has a lock open after last round feature that the DB does not have.
     
  3. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    Kokapelli, the P3AT and P32 I used to own were sold during the Obama scare for what I had in them to a family member who's in LE, and one of his deputy friends. I'll continue to update the thread as my round count climbs, and we'll see if Diamondback has indeed gotten the bugs worked out. If not, the LGS will take care of me.
     
  4. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

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    My serial number is ZB***, bought in May.

    I've got about three hundred rounds through it. 6 or 7 different bullets, brands, etc.
    Light primer strikes.
    Failure to extract and eject.
    Trigger not reseting.
    Finally the gun would not fire at all.

    A deal breaker with DB, if I had known it, is DB won't pay for shipping when you have to send the gun in for warranty.
    My dealer had to threaten them with not selling any more Diamondback pistols before they agreed to pay the shipping.

    When I got the gun back the only thing that changed is the gun will fire most of the time now, if the trigger resets, but the gun still won't extract/eject reliably.
     
  5. kokapelli

    kokapelli Member

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    It's really to bad the DB has so many problems because when it works it is one of the better shooting pocket 380s.
     
  6. MICHAEL T

    MICHAEL T Member

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    I have read to many of these type posts I have 4 kelTec's all have been perfect I will keep my family armed with KT or the Bersa thank you
     
  7. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    I read many comments like the one above when I posted about buying my first Kel-Tec several years ago. Kel-Tec had teething problems early on, as did the Ruger SR9 and LCP. Heck, even Glocks are known to have potential feeding problems when you mount a light on the rail. As I said, I'll see how the DB 380 does as the round count increases. Hopefully they have the kinks worked out, and it remains reliable; because it offers a level of fit & finish that put the P3AT & the Little Copied Pistol to shame, at a small price increase.

    ETA: Lest y'all get worried about me not being adequately armed without a Bersa nor Kel Tec my Kimber Classic Custom in .45 ACP, and Custom Target in .40 S&W are both close at hand. The DB is still in the proving phases.
     
  8. harmon rabb

    harmon rabb Member

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    I've read about too many problems with the DB's to ever consider one. I have a LCP that's been flawless since day 1. Good enough for my pocket pistol needs.
     
  9. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    See post #7. I'm glad you like your LCP, but can't fathom why you'd buy a pistol that was recalled twice, if you won't buy a DB just because of what you've read on the internet. I like the Little Copied Pistol though, because it gave Kel Tec some long overdue credibility. Again, make no mistake, I know the DB 380 is a calculated risk. My first P3AT was a calculated risk, but it worked out well. Also, once again, Kel-Tec and Ruger both had SERIOUS teething problems with their pocket pistols, as did SIG-Sauer with P238. That's just the nature of the beast when you push the size & weight dimensions of how small you can make a pistol. Finally, once more, I'm not saying the DB 380 is the bees knees; I'm just providing a sample size of one of the supposedly improved ZCxxxx SN series guns.

    Let me put this another way. I'm not asking for recommendations on a new pocket pistol. The DB 380 is already in my possession, and testing has begun. I'm not a pocket pistol neophyte. I don't need y'all telling me what I should have bought instead - we're beyond that stage. If you're interested to see if this particular ZC series DB 380 continues to work well, please stick along for the ride. If you want to offer advice or recommendations on testing procedures please do.
     
  10. harmon rabb

    harmon rabb Member

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    Ruger stands behind their products, will pay shipping both ways, and is a large enough company that I'm not worried about them being around in a few years. A lifetime warranty from a company like Ruger or S&W means something. A lifetime warranty from a brand new company, with one product that's been showing to almost universally have catastrophic issues, doesn't mean nearly as much to me. I don't quite think your comparison is fair.

    In any event, I wish you the best with your DB and invite you to keep us updated. I certainly understand taking a calculated risk for a design you like -- I did just that and bought a Taurus PT709 a while back. It worked out for me and it's been flawless since day 1, becoming my most often carried gun. In fact, I'm so happy with it, that I'm going to take some more risks on Taurus products in the future, including a TCP. Who knew that Taurus, of all companies, is making kick-ass triggers?

    As far as testing procedures, try a mag full of mixed ammo. Try 3 or 4 different types of jhp's, with some fmj in there as well. Try purposely limp-wristing the gun. I've tried those with my LCP, and it passed those tests. Humorously, I can limp-wrist my glock 27 and it will stovepipe. Yet my pocket pistol won't :eek:
     
  11. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    If I can get my hands on 4 or 5 different types of .380 ammo at the same time I'll certainly try the mixed mag test.
     
  12. DoomGoober

    DoomGoober Member

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    From my experience with a brand new DB380:
    1) PMC Bronze -- Nearly 100% failure to feed or failure to eject. Through 21 rounds, I literally fired two shots in a row only once. One "three hands required to clear" jam, where the casing got jammed into the slide.

    2) Magtech -- No problems except one either light strike or failure to reset the trigger through 21 rounds. Might have been my fault, might not.

    The problem appears to be too strong a recoil spring and something weird with the trigger reset. Supposedly, both problems go away after the 200 round break in period. It's too bad, as shooting the DB380 is much nicer than shooting a P3AT. As a fun tiny range gun, it's OK, but as a backup weapon I'm a little nervous.
     
  13. kokapelli

    kokapelli Member

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    Well 200 rounds didn't cure anything with my DB. It was the most disappointing gun I have ever purchased.
     
  14. G27RR

    G27RR Member

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    My DB was also a huge disappointment. I think I would've really liked it if it had been reliable. I had at least 1 failure per mag and often more.
     
  15. LightningMan

    LightningMan Member

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    Another thing to consider about buying a Diamondback DB .380 is they will not sell you extra recoil springs. If any of you are like me, I like to keep at least 1 extra spring, just in case. Especially in all these new makes of current pocket pistols. This really turned me off to this company. LM
     
  16. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    I like the look of the DB in pictures, but have not laid hands on one. I don't think I need one, but I'm interested in how the OP's works out.
    "Michael T", I had to read and re-read your post (no.6) to get what you were saying. I think you're getting light strikes on your keyboard's "period" key..
     
  17. MICHAEL T

    MICHAEL T Member

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    Med Wheeler At 0145 in the morning. I am lucky to find the key board.
    ............ their that should make up for ones I missed with interest.:neener:
     
  18. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    For any DB owners out there: besides reliability issues, was there anything else about the gun that you didn't like? I've handled several of them and while I like the overall size of the gun, plus the sights, I'm kind of concerned about the small trigger guard. It seemed like there wasn't a whole lot of room there, and I have relatively small hands.
     
  19. smartshot

    smartshot Member

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    yeah the one thing about buying from a new manufacturer is that they often dont have the financial resources to thoroughly test and improve upon their product. You know Ruger did their homework with the LCR, you know S&W does their homework with their firearms.....diamondback, what have they done? Who are they?
     
  20. kokapelli

    kokapelli Member

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    Don't you meam Kel-Tec did their work for Ruger before Ruger came out with it?
     
  21. skipjack

    skipjack Member

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    I sold a Diamondback to a customer who had major issues with it. He traded it back to me, and I sent it back to the manufacturer on their dime.
    It just came back repaired and I put it through it's paces today.

    We fired a box (50 rounds) of S&B ball through the gun. It was shot slowly and rapid fire. We fired it gangsta style and also one mag (6 rounds) held upside
    down. We tried to make it fail...but failed in doing so. I also shot a box of
    hydra-shocks through it...flawlessly. It shot as well, or better than any keltec
    or lcp I have ever shot.

    Hopefully, they got their act together. I am disappointed that it didn't work
    correctly for the first owner. But, it seems like it is functioning well now.

    The service from Diamondback was very quick and they paid the shipping without being asked. It took roughly 10 days for them to repair and return
    the gun to me, which is acceptable in my mind.
     
  22. KBintheSLC

    KBintheSLC Member

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    What does Kel Tec have that even remotely resembles the LCR?

    ...
     
  23. harmon rabb

    harmon rabb Member

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    He meant LCP, which is a complete P3AT rip off. I read an interview with a KT engineer who said that they would make an improvement to the P3AT, then see that very improvement pop up in a batch of new LCP's a few months later.

    Honestly, that sucks for KT. I can only imagine how annoyed they are about that whole situation.
     
  24. Ben86

    Ben86 Member

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    I wonder where Ruger got the idea for a slide lock, a different extractor and a checkered grip?
     
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