Founded in 2009 and located in Cocoa, Florida, Diamondback Firearms was, until recently, a maker of handguns only. But now the company makes the DB15, an AR-15-style carbine utilizing the traditional direct gas impingement system. With a suggested retail price lower than many competitive models, it should appeal to the patrolman or department that is on a tight budget.
The DB15 sports a T-marked Picatinny rail on its flattop receiver, which is machined from forged 7075-T6 aluminum and is nicely anodized. The T-markings facilitate the removal and replacement of optics in the same place.
There will be no mistaking the “safe” and “fire” positions on the DB15 because the lower receiver is marked in big red letters on both sides with the word “fire.” Safe is likewise marked, but in white letters. The Diamondback logo is positioned on each side of the magazine well, and the right side is marked indicating the lower receiver works with multiple calibers. The magazine well is nicely beveled to aid in speedy reloads, while the magazine release is a standard AR-style that, when pressed, allows magazines to fall freely away. Cops can find themselves in a situation where a fast reload is required, and the DB15 is set up for that contingency.
The receiver extension, or what some call the buffer tube, is of the larger-diameter commercial style, so if the cop wants to change buttstocks, a commercial (not mil-spec) variant is required. The tube has detents to allow the buttstock to be adjusted to one of six positions. This is an important feature for the law enforcement officer who might wear tactical body armor one day and a regular uniform the next.
Fitted to the receiver extension of my test sample is an ATI buttstock. The buttstock latch spring is fairly light, making it easy to depress, so care must be taken not to accidentally do so, especially if using a bag to rest the buttstock on when shooting from a supported prone or benched position. An adjustable saddle attached to the top of the buttstock may be raised or lowered to align the shooter’s eye directly behind the sighting system. This could be helpful if an optic were mounted high because of a large-diameter objective lens. However, if the buttstock is not extended far enough to the rear, the charging handle cannot be fully retracted because the saddle interferes with it. If you like the saddle, leave it there. If you don’t, take it off.
The receiver is mated to a one-piece, black anodized aluminum handguard that has a Picatinny rail running along its top, making it possible to mount optics or accessories like a laser—for those agencies that use them—or a front sight. The handguard is ventilated to help cool the barrel and is comfortable to handle because it does not have rails running along its sides or bottom. However, at the front of the handguard, at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions are 2-inch rails onto which may be mounted accessories like a foregrip, a bipod or a light—which is often a requirement for law enforcement.