Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I had a feeling it was going to play out like this.

The first time I saw one of the little Diamondback .380-cal pocket pistols in a dealer's showcase, I let out an involuntary squee. The thing looked like a prop gun from that Disney classic, Honey! I Shrunk The Glock! Unlike the plethora of Kel-Tec-alikes out there, it looked like a tiny copy of a service pistol and not some gun-shaped key fob you get out of a gumball machine.

I wanted to like it. I wanted it to work, but I wasn't holding my breath. I've learned to be very wary of completely new pistol designs; for every success story, it seems like there are a half-dozen that aren't ready for prime time yet. I'm just not the early adopter type.

So when Caleb wrote that the Diamondback he was testing was a malfunctioning ball of fail, I was disappointed, but not what you'd call "surprised".

18 comments:

Carteach0 said...

Kind of why I hung back so long on the LCP which now lives in my vest pocket. Sometimes it takes a while for the bugs to crawl out from under the mattress.

Tam said...

Yeah, but the LCP was an established company refining an already existing design.

I always said about the little Kel-Tecs that if they spent another fifteen to twenty bucks a gun, they might have something. It looks like I was right. ;)

Les Jones said...

I'm still waiting for an "all clear" signal on the fourth generation Glocks.

I don't like beta testing software, much less guns.

Blackwing1 said...

Does anybody have some personal experience with the Sig P238? I was looking at a few of those, and (price aside) they looked sort of like a shrunken 1911A1. I did a complete reverse, and went with a full-size, aluminum-framed .45 for carry instead.

I also read that they can share a magazine with the Colt Mustang .380, but I haven't actually talked to anyone who's done that.

I see from Sig's website that they're now having a recall on the safety, which would make me a little uneasy about buying one.

Midwest Chick said...

Love my P238. Note that the recall was from July 2009 and if you get a 27A... serial numbered one, they weren't included in the notice.

They are essentially a mini 1911 and mine came with a laser sight and aluminum grips. Despite the size, it's actually fun to shoot--I put 200 rounds through it in an afternoon with no trouble.

doubletrouble said...

Our local gunsmith has reported similar problems with the Diamondback- Glock it ain't.

My P238 had some issues early on, but a three day trip to the factory cured it. The best part is (other than it being a tiny 1911) that you can actually use the sights.

Caleb said...

I shot the crap out of a P238 the same day I ran the Diamondback into the ground. By the end of the day, the P238 had no lubrication left on it and was running sluggishly but still stubbornly kept feeding everything I threw in there, and was easy to shoot to boot.

Anonymous said...

When I was shopping for a pocket gun, someone was picking up a couple of these Diamondbacks. He made some comment to the effect that his guns were teh awesome and I should shoot his right then (we were at a range) so I would be convinced. We did. It fed correctly maybe 5 times out of the 20 rounds I shot. To be fair, this was straight out of the box, no cleaning whatever grease or whatever it came with. I passed.

JP said...

One of the people who works at the gunstore that I sometimes help at picked one of these up and it has pretty much worked flawlessly.

However, every other DB380 that has gone out of the store (that I know of) has had serious issues.

There are other people I know or who I have talked to that have had similar experiences: It either works great, or does not work at all.

Ancient Woodsman said...

Hemmed on the LCP but didn't buy one until Marko reviewed it; now I love the little "gun shaped key fob" (thanks for that term, btw).

I carry it anytime I can't carry a gun. Like the 238 it too had a recall - which seems SOP for Ruger, anyway. It works, is fun but loud, and it works. Won't therefore be needing a DB380.

Weer'd Beard said...

I wanted a para warthog so damn bad. Itty-bitty 1911 that eats from a 10 round box, awesome.

Too bad they don’t run either, and are filled with single-source MIM parts to boot....

Keads said...

I have to agree with you Tam, Kel-Tec P3-AT went malf and after wintering in sunny FLA last year still returned to malf state.

The new S&W Bodyguard has already been back home. I have not fired enough rounds with it to form an opinion though.

At least the Colt Mustangs work! There is a government model of that but I currently do not have one.

Ed Foster said...

We stopped making civilian pistol parts for Colt's last year. I think pretty much all their line is being made, or soon will be made, by a Korean outfit called PointTech.

Almost everybody I knew there back in the 90's is either gone or shifted over to military production, and there isn't much R&D there anymore.

Sic transit something or other.

Tam said...

Ed,

If there is a gun company more relentlessly mismanaged than Colt's, I've never heard of it...

Ed Foster said...

As a former engineer there, I can only concur. Sadly, it was the best engineering department I ever worked in. So many brilliant people. I did much of the best work I ever achieved, but always with one eye on management and one on the union.

If I'd had a third eye, I would have kept it on the union also. The UAW fits with firearms manufacturing the way kangaroos fit with Ferraris.

A great shop screwed into a cluster by fools on both ends of the spectum.

Discobobby said...

Colt can't just rest on being the owner of the M4 TDP anymore, it will be interesting to see how that plays out.

Ed, I hope I found the right email address.

Tam said...

Ed,

Oh, I was using "managed" in the broadest sense of the term.

Seriously, Colt's has an amazing record going back to some time just after WWII of snatching defeat from the slathering jaws of victory.

It says something that Colt's has such a tiny share of the market for two of the most popular handguns in the world, the Single Action Army and the Government Model.

Beaumont said...

Can't comment on the P3ATs, but my P32 runs like it was hand-built by a function-obsessed Swiss engineer. But no matter who made the gun, never bet your life on it until it's been thoroughly tested.