Unusual Safety Features
Like most small guns the DB380 has some idiosyncrasies that require some special attention to safety.
Reptile-like cocking serrations are machined into the pistol's slide fore and aft. And shooters must exercise caution if they use the forward serrations to make sure they place no part of their hand in front of the muzzle.
The DB380 has no manual safeties, instead relying on its relatively long double action trigger pull. The length of pull is approximately a half-inch and my test sample's trigger broke with 5.5 pounds of pressure. There is a mechanical block to the striker that precludes it from making contact with the cartridge's primer unless pressure is placed on the trigger.
Diamondback has also been granted a patent on what it calls the Zero Energy Striker. Most striker-fired guns, like Glocks, use a striker that is under spring tension. Not so with the DB380. The Zero Energy Striker on the DB380 is designed so that if something were to fail there is nothing to drive the striker into the primer. Combined with its mechanical striker block the Zero Energy Striker on the DB380 should make it a very safe gun to carry concealed.
Diamondback designed the DB380 with dual trigger bars and this system is responsible for the gun's unusually smooth trigger pull. But this design also precludes the use of a slide stop on the gun. How important is this design exclusion on a concealed carry or backup gun? For its intended role, I don't see this as a tremendous loss. I'll gladly sacrifice last shot hold-open for this gun's trim dimensions.
The DB380 uses a dual spring recoil system. There is a smaller guide rod with a small diameter spring wrapped around it and a larger diameter cap with a flange upon which a larger diameter spring is wound, in the opposite direction. Though it gives the pistol enough spring mass to handle virtually any .380 round it is still easy to hand cycle and chamber a round manually. There is a large claw-type external extractor used on the DB380.
Shooting the DB380
Normally I test full-size service pistols at 25 yards and smaller compacts at 15 yards for accuracy. But for this deep concealment sub-compact I decided that a different protocol was more appropriate.
Realistically, the DB380 is a gun that probably would never be used at more than an arm's length distance. Because of this I decided to test the gun's accuracy at a more realistic distance of seven yards. The results of this test gave me a healthy respect for this pistol.
The DB380's smooth trigger pull and sights made shooting the gun very easy. Frankly, I would have thought that a 2 1/2-inch group for a gun of this type would be perfectly acceptable. So I was pleasantly surprised when six of the eight different loads that I tried produced five-shot groups under one inch at seven yards.
Cor-Bon's Pow'R Ball 70-grain bullets produced an awesome little group of just .60 inches. Sights on my sample gun shot to a point of impact about two inches low and just left of my point of aim. The rear sight is drift adjustable for windage though I was satisfied that they were close enough for the intended purpose.
I was curious to see just how quickly I could empty all seven rounds from the DB380. So I set up a standard USPSA target at seven yards and used a PACT electronic timer to measure the time from first shot to last.
I ran this exercise 10 times and only counted the runs in which all seven rounds landed in the "A" zone of the target. My average time for all seven shots was just 1.78 seconds; that's a split of .25 seconds. For a lightweight subcompact with a double-action-only trigger, quarter-second splits are impressive.