PHOTO: Alex Landeen
Undercover officers and officers who carry a backup pistol are often forced to compromise size for power in order to carry the weapon undetected. These subcompact pistols need to not only have petite dimensions, they also need to be reliable and offer a certain degree of accuracy despite their diminutive size.
The latest manufacturer to enter the concealed carry pistol market is Cocoa, Fla.-based Diamondback Firearms. The company's new DB380 is designed specifically for deep concealment carry.
Measuring just .75 inches thick and weighing a mere 8.8 ounces, the .380 ACP pistol also possesses a double-action-only trigger pull and has a capacity of 6 + 1. Besides its trim dimensions and extreme light weight, the DB380 also boasts a number of other refinements that make it ideal for backup or undercover carry.
Diamondback rounds all of the edges on the slide of the DB380, removing any sharp edges that might cut skin or an expensive holster. The pistol is outfitted with low-profile sights that while unobtrusive offer the user a very serviceable sight picture.
Diamondback uses a glass-reinforced polymer for the DB380 frame. It's lightweight, durable, and completely corrosion resistant. The frame features texturing for a secure firing grip and dimples on each side for consistent indexing. The trigger guard is undercut where it meets the frame, allowing the middle finger to ride as high as possible and providing the shooter with a very comfortable grip.
The DB380's frame has a duck-bill-style tang to protect the web of the shooter's hand from being cut by the reciprocating slide. Internal parts are pinned into the frame, including stainless steel rails that the slide runs on so that there is no metal to plastic contact that might accelerate wear.
When I first saw the DB380, I thought I would hate the grip. The frontstrap of the frame looks to be almost at a right angle to the slide, and I just didn't think it would be comfortable in the hand or point well. But I couldn't have been more wrong. The DB380's arched backstrap positions the gun perfectly in the shooter's hand. Thanks to the DB380's excellent ergonomics the gun sits very low in the hand.
The DB380's dual trigger bars ride next to the barrel lug instead of under it, which reduces the height of the weapon. The low bore-to-hand angle helps negate muzzle flip and makes quick follow-up shots possible.
In addition to its great ergonomics, the DB380 is made of first-class components.
Diamondback buys its slide and barrel materials already hardened. Many manufacturers use a more mild steel and then heat treat to harden it. The advantage of doing it the Diamondback way is that there is less chance for distortion or warpage that can sometimes happen with heat treatment.
After machining, the DB380's parts are finished in a matte, non-reflective black using a hot salt bath similar to Glock's Tenifer. The finish bonds with a hard shell to the steel.