Diamondback Firearms Cover

Ultimate Guide to Diamondback Firearms

Michael Crites

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Diamondback Firearms is one of those companies that many have only “heard” about but haven’t had a chance to deal with as, when compared to gun makers like S&W or Ruger, they are seen as newcomers.

However, don’t be confused, this Florida-based company is a juggernaut building up steam when it comes to production, while their quality and selection check a lot of boxes.

In This Article:

Diamondback Firearm Comparison

Below is my list of the best Diamondback firearms for 2022. I list the best choices in terms of value, performance, design, and cost.

Click on the name to head to the product page, read reviews and check prices or skip ahead to the list of firearms.

Diamondback Firearm Reviews

1. Diamondback DB380

Diamondback’s first handgun– and first firearm for that matter– the .380 ACP caliber DB380, was introduced in late 2009.

A direct (and more affordable) competitor to the Ruger LCP, which had been introduced the year before, the DB380 is an almost exact match in size, using a 2.8-inch barrel, giving it an overall length of just over 5-inches.

Height, a key factor for deep carry or pocket carry, was under 4-inches. The simple DAO blowback design uses a single-stack, 6-shot magazine and weighs just 8.8-ounces. Over the past decade, Diamondback has made continual updates to the DB380, and today’s guns have both a different external appearance as well as better ergonomics and reliability.

With that in mind, it is always a better idea to buy a new DB380 rather than a used one.

Diamondback has produced the DB380 on dozens of different finishes, going back to a natty nickel finish when the gun was first introduced. Today they catalog at least eight different models.

2. Dimaondback DB9 Pistol

Taking their svelte little .380 striker-fired polymer-framed pocket pistol, the DB380, as a starting point, in 2011 Diamondback introduced the 9mm DB9. Still, with a 3.1-inch barrel and a slim, single-stack 6+1 shot magazine capacity, Diamondback describes their gun as the “smallest and lightest” 9mm on the market.

At 4-inches high, it is still pocketable.

Not flashy, but hard to beat in terms of bang for the micro compact buck.

The maximum width is 0.89-inches, and the maximum length is 5.7-inches. Weight, with a loaded mag and one in the pipe, is in the 17-ounce range.

As with the DB380’s evolution, Diamondback has made continual quiet updates on the DB9 series based on user feedback and warranty claims to make the guns better and the current model is the DB9 Gen 4, which includes front and rear slide serrations. Smaller than the comparable Kahr CM9, Ruger EC9S, and SCCY CPX-2, the DB9 is tough to beat in its category, especially considering the price.

DB9 Gen 4 models current
The current DB9 Gen 4 models are made in at least six different finishes.

3. Diamondback DB9FS

In 2014, Diamondback took a rare swing and a miss, introducing a double-stack full-sized pistol, the logically named DB9FS.

The striker-fired design was available in a 15+1 9mm Para. or .40 S&W with a polymer frame. It had a flared magwell, giving it a sort of race gun look, as well as a decent-sized 1913 Picatinny rail on the dustcover.

The company dropped the .40 S&W variant almost immediately and halted production on the handgun altogether in 2018, pivoting to the more logical AM2. While there are certainly some of these still floating around on the secondary market, support for them may be hard to find.

4. Diamondback AM2

Introduced in 2018, the AM2 is a more compact-sized 9mm striker-fired polymer-framed pistol than the DB9 but has a lot of similarities.

Diamondback AM2 compact compared to the Diamondback DB9 Gen 4 subcompact
The micro DB9 compared to the compact AM2 with flush-fit 12+1 stick.

A double stack with a barrel just a half-inch longer than that found on the company’s DB9, it is roughly the same size as the Glock 43X and comes with a flush-fit 12+1 shot magazine while an extended 17+1 shot mag, complete with a grip sleeve, is available.

Diamondback AM2 with the 17-round mag
The AM 2 17+1 extended mag adds almost 50% more grip (and 5 more rounds.)

Complete with a Nitrided stainless steel barrel, an integrated trigger safety, 3-dot Glock-pattern sights, as well as front and rear slide serrations, these are an interesting alternative for those looking for an American-made carry gun with a decent magazine capacity.

5. Diamondback DB9R (AR PCC)

Not to be confused with the DB9 pistol, the Diamondback DB9R series of rifles are an entirely different animal. These AR-style pistol caliber carbines run 16-inch CMV barrels, use forged aluminum receivers, a Mil-Spec trigger pack, and accept Glock-pattern 9mm double-stack mags, typically shipping with aftermarket ETS or ProMag 31/32/33-round examples of the variety. 

First introduced in 2017 with a Roger’s stock, GI A2 pistol grip, and a short 9-inch KeyMod handguard, this has been updated in more recent years to a Magpul MOE stock and grip and a 15 inch M-LOK handguard. 

Similarly, Diamondback has also marketed this platform as a pistol with shorty (4.5 or 7-inch) barrels with KAK flash hider cans and 6 or 9-inch handguards. Originally offered with SB Tactical SBA3 braces, these have been switched in more recent years to the Gearhead Tailhook brace.

6. Diamondback DB10

The logical step up from making AR-15s, Diamondback pocketed their experience with Eugene Stoner’s .223 platform and went .308, producing an AR-10 style rifle with an 18-inch heavy barrel with a black nitride finish, machine billet lower, Odin KeyMod rail, and a Magpul ACS stock.

Diamond Series DB10 7.62
The DB10 added .308 pow to the Diamondback lineup.

Since then, at least seven different models of the DB10 followed including variants with stainless steel fluted barrels, carbines with 16-inch barrels, dropping KeyMod for M-LOK, a precision rifle with a PRS stock, and CMC trigger, and even a 6.5 Creedmoor (the DB1065) model. 

As far as compatibility goes, the DB10 accepts SR-25 style mags (shipping with Gen M3 PMAG 20-rounders), has the current AR-10 receiver cut, and DPMS AR-308 style threads when it comes to handguards. The brakes are on 5/8×24 TPI threads for those who want to add a can, and they run on mil-spec AR trigger packs. 

DB10P pistol models, while heavy (we are talking 9-pound handguns here) are also extremely popular as Diamondback is one of the few players in the shorty .308 game. The current DB10 format includes a 13.5-inch medium profile 4150 CrMov barrel with a hefty muzzle brake guaranteed to make you friends at the range and a Gearhead Tailhook brake.

7. Diamondback DB15

Just a couple of years after getting in the firearms game, Diamondback began making AR-15 style carbines. Over the past decade they have branched out from the standard 5.56 NATO-chambered models to guns in .223 Rem and with .223 Wylde chambers, as well as 300 AAC Blackout (DB15300), 6.5 Grendel (DB1565G), and 7.62×39 (DB1547).

Diamondback DB15 rifle basic Carbon series
If you want variety, the DB15 has it in spades, with more than 50 models on offer.

Today, the Diamondback DB15 series is available in no less than 50 models of rifles differing in caliber, barrel length (16, 18, 20), barrel contour (medium, heavy), receiver grade (Carbon, Black Gold, Diamond), handguard (M-LOK, KeyMod, A2 plastic, quad rail), stock (MOE Carbine, Magpul CTR, Magpul ACS-L, 6-Position M4 Mil-Spec, ATI), muzzle device, color, and GIO gas system (no pistons).

Currently, Diamondback uses shot-peened, magnetic particle inspected mil-spec 8620 bolt carrier groups in all its DB15 builds as well as Magpul Gen 3 PMAG magazines. Their barrels, rifled in-house, use 1:8 or 1:7 RH twists for .223/5.56 and 1:9.5 RH for 7.62x39mm.

They use T-marked A3 flat-top style uppers exclusively, keeping away from the retro A1 and A2 carrying handle crowd.

8. Diamondback's DB15 Pistol Line

Starting in 2014, just months after the SB Tactical brace hit the market, Diamondback began aggressively marketing DB15 series AR pistols.

As with their carbines, they exclusively use forged aluminum A3 flat-top upper and lower receivers coupled with gas impingement operation systems, usually of pistol-length, and either 10.5, 8.5, or 7-inch CM barrels. Over the years, Diamondback has introduced DB15P models in 5.56 NATO, .223 Rem, .300 BLK, and 7.62×39 with a variety of brace styles (SB Tactical, Gearhead Worx, and Maxim) or the more-ATF friendly buffer tube foam pad.

DB15 pistol
The DB15 pistol series hit the market hot on the tail of the SB Tactical brace.

Handy guns, these have proved extremely popular for those looking for a compact home defense or hunting option.

Using standard 1/2 x 28TPI threads, they are suppressor-ready. Diamondback currently catalogs more than 20 DB15P models.

Diamondback 7.62x39 DB15 pistol
Diamondback 7.62x39 DB15 pistol

9. Diamondback DBX57

Introduced in 2020, the DBX57 appeared on the scene as 5.7x28mm was becoming more popular. Although introduced in the 1990s, only FN made guns chambered for the aggressive little round that has been characterized as a .22 Magnum on steroids. 

However, as Ruger brought out the 57 pistol and CMMG introduced a Banshee model, the MK57, in the caliber, it suddenly started getting a lot of new looks. And Diamondback’s take on a gun that feeds on the 5.7 is very fresh.

DBX57 truck gun
The DBX57 is really the ultimate truck gun.

The DBX is a locked-breech, dual gas piston operation semi-auto pistol with an 8-inch barrel. Using 20/30-round FN FiveseveN pattern mags, aluminum receivers, and an AR-15 Mil-Spec trigger and AR-pattern grip, it has Picatinny rails on top for optics and in the rear of the receiver for a stabilizing brace. An M-LOK handguard allows lights, lasers, and handstops.

On the whole, this is seriously compact and only weighs about 3-pounds. With the muzzle threaded 1/2x28TPI and the gas system user-adjustable on both pistons to accommodate different loads and uncorking profiles, the DBX also makes a great suppressor host.

Dimensionally, it is very thin and is only 15.25-inches long in its shortest configuration, comparable to the Micro Draco. This has led many to feel the DBX is extremely well-suited for discreet trail use or in an urban environment.

The DBX57 like a 5.7x28mm Mini Draco.

10. Diamondback Sidekick

In 2021, Diamondback stretched its comfort zone once again and moved into the rimfire market and revolver market at the same time by introducing the Sidekick.

DB Sidekick
The Sidekick pairs classic cowboy looks with modern revolver tech -- such as a swappable cylinder (from .22LR to .22WMR).

Although it looks like a single-action .22 revolver akin to the Ruger Bearcat/Wrangler or Heritage Rough Rider, the Sidekick is just styled to bring in those who like cowboy guns and is actually a double-action revolver with a 9-shot cylinder that kicks out (get the name now?) to the left for loading and reloading.

Further, it is convertible and can move between .22LR and .22WMR cylinders, with the user able to easily swap them out in seconds. Using a 4.5-inch 6 groove barrel, it is accurate despite the fixed blade front integral rear groove sight.

Fitted with a basic checkered glass-filled nylon grip and a black Cerakote finish over the budget Zamak frame, it weighs 32.5-ounces, which just soaks up recoil.

11. Diamondback 1911s

Diamondback 1911
While not yet on the market, I'm looking forward to the DB entry into the 1911 market.

Because it is just the American thing to do, Diamondback has been talking quietly about introducing a line of 1911-style single-action pistols.

The company has brought one to SHOT Show, complete with a stylized slide with lightening cuts, a skeletonized trigger, ring hammer, Novak combat sights, G10 ergo grips, an extended beavertail grip and surface controls, and a flat mainspring housing.

No details on caliber(s) and price are available yet, but the company says they plan to announce the DB1911 is ready to ship sometime in 2022.

Diamondback 1911 and DBX 57
Diamondback 1911 and DBX57.

Who is Diamondback?

Starting in 1989, “with a small shop of three employees” Diamondback only entered the firearms business after evolving through other unrelated industries.

Originally a maker of boat accessories (Diamondback Marine), a no-doubt booming market in South Florida, then of fanboats (Diamondback Airboats), another staple of the Sunshine State, by 2009 the company added Diamondback Firearms to the mix.

Their first gun was the simple black-on-black micro compact DB380 in .380 ACP, expanding to a slightly larger 9mm DB9 by 2011, then the even larger 17+1 capacity AM2 pistol.

DB380
The original DB380, from back when Diamondback's website ran on Adobe Flash.
Diamondback SHOT Show 2012 debut
Diamondback exhibited at SHOT Show for the first time in 2012

By 2013, the company had begun down the road to making AR-15 style rifles, then going into the more niche AR-10 market two years later. In 2018, they added a mutant 7.62×39 caliber AR to their catalog, followed shortly after by the very curious– and unique– DBX57 pistol then, last year, the Sidekick revolver, something that was unexpected.

Meanwhile, the Diamondback brand has expanded to include Diamondback CNC, Diamondback Barrels, and Diamondback Industrial Finishes– taking their in-house gun-making expertise to the next level by making components for other folks to put their name on.

Diamondback factory assembly area
Diamondback factory assembly area.
Diamondback factory DB9s on the line
DB9s on the line at the Diamondback factory.

They also bought a knife company (Zac Brown’s Southern Grind knives) and have expanded their factories in Cocoa, Florida, on the Space Coast, a hub for engineers and high-tech manufacturing.

Diamondback factory rails
Diamondback factory rails in various states of completion.

For a window on how their production has ramped up over the years, according to data from the ATF the company made just 1,526 firearms in 2009– all .380 pistols. In 2014, just five years later, Diamondback manufactured 42,901 pistols and 9,892 rifles. According to the most recent figures available, the company in 2019 produced a whopping 61,071 rifles along with 16,119 pistols and was listed as an international exporter as well, sending more than 3,000 of their firearms to hungry buyers overseas.

To put this in perspective, Daniel Defense in the same year only produced 26,094 rifles while Walther made 9,830 pistols in the U.S.

To say that Diamondback’s growth has been exponential is an understatement.

Diamondback factory rifles shipping out according to 2019 figures they make 1200 per week
Diamondback factory rifles shipping out. According to 2019 figures they produce and ship about 1,200 per week.

Aftermarket support

Nothing can be more aggravating than getting a firearm that is unsupportable, i.e., something for which you can’t find optics, triggers, holsters, magazines, and spare parts. When it comes to Diamondback Firearms, this isn’t a problem.

Large holster makers such as DeSantis and Galco have several fits for both the DB380 and DB9, although leather and Kydex for the less common AM2 may be harder to find.

The same story goes for magazines, with both Diamondback and aftermarket stick makers like ProMag producing inexpensive (sub-$25) magazines for the company’s handguns. As we have already covered, they accept Glock-pattern sights. 

Diamondback’s rifles by and large are AR platforms, which makes them about as plug-and-play as possible.

The Brace Issue

In 2012, SB Tactical, working in conjunction with Sig Sauer, introduced the modern pistol stabilizing brace.

This triggered a wave that swept through just about every AR maker in the past decade, with an estimated 3 million stabilizing braces since 2013– and that is the figure the ATF cites.

Well, in order to clarify when a pistol with a brace attached is actually a rifle “intended to be fired from the shoulder,” the U.S. Attorney General signed ATF proposed rule last year, “Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached ‘Stabilizing Braces,” proposing to amend the ATF’s regulations on the popular devices, splitting the hair between a legal pistol with a brace and an unregistered (and therefore illegal) SBR.

The final rule is set to be published sometime in 2022, which could mean lots of dreadful things for AR pistols, especially the larger AR10 models like Diamondback’s DB10P series. 

With that, be advised that any pistol using a stabilizing brace could have restrictions and regulation headaches on the horizon.

Are Diamondbacks any good?

While folks like to make lists of brands used by the “poors” in which they lump Diamondback in with PSA and Anderson, the guns made by this Florida-based manufacturer are well-tested and have received a lot of accolades by those that have used them.

Several law enforcement customers, especially in South Florida, run the company’s DB15s.

There are lots of stress-tests and torture tests out there on Diamondback firearms going back a decade and the guns just run after repeated mag dumps. Firearms writers for numerous publications and websites have– sometimes begrudgingly– given the company’s guns a nod when it comes to reliability and durability.

Diamondback uses FEA (finite element analysis) in their design process, are a leader in developing and applying corrosion-resistant coatings– remember, they have their own coating business– developed to protect metal in the tough Florida saltwater climate, and have been innovative, creating the “ZERO Energy” striker firing system used on the company’s AM2, DB380, and DB9 handguns, as well as the piston system used in the DBX57.

Check out the company’s in-depth quality control and testing process, done on every gun.

Life cycle, or 'How long will a Diamondback last'

Diamondback, as shown in factory tours of the facility, is modern, filled with top-of-the-line CNC machines, robots, laser engravers, and remote manufacturing.

The company, unlike many competitors, makes just about everything for their guns in-house and believes in the little things like getting the stakes right on gas keys and castle nuts and constant QC with CMMs, optical comparators, and gauges to make sure every component stays in spec.

With that, you can expect a Diamondback AR to remain ticking as long or longer than any other standard mil-spec AR made in the U.S.

The company has a “Limited Lifetime Warranty” on all its firearms, which gives you a good idea of what they think of their build quality.

Carbon? Diamond? Black Gold? Billet?

Diamondback, for most of its ARs, uses forged 7075 T6 Aluminum upper and lower receivers. They finish these in three different grades– Carbon Series, Black Gold Series, and Diamond Series. The basic Carbon models have a standard trigger guard while the progressively nicer Black Gold and Diamond models have enhanced trigger guards and more elaborate machining. The price range between the three grades is modest, for instance with the company only listing around a $65 difference when it comes to stripped lowers in Carbon and Diamond grades. 

At this point, Diamondback also makes billet AR receiver sets, but only in the DB15 format, and only for separate sales. 

Carbon vs Black Gold Diamond
Diamondback Carbon Series .308 lower compared to a more top-shelf Diamond Series model, to illustrate the differences. The Black Gold falls between the two grades.

Summary

Diamondback parachuted on to the firearm scene a little over a decade ago and has gone from being a complete unknown to being a household name– at least in the black rifle world.

The DB15 line is probably the best combination of quality and affordability you will find today, especially when you look at some of the more tricked-out models. It is really tough to seriously beat the platform for the price.

The same thing can be said about the DB10, with their .308 pistols being trendsetters in the field and a sleeper that folks should take a second look at. Then there are new guns that nobody else has a comparable version of, namely the DBX57 and Sidekick.

Our thought is that it is hard to go wrong with a Diamondback. Keep an eye on them, we certainly are.

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