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Is this just another budget AR-15?

byPeter Suciu

Introduced at this year’s SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show) the Diamondback Firearms DBX 57 is quite a firearm. It is chambered in 5.7x28 millimeter, has an 8-inch barrel, standard AR-15 mil-spec trigger and a Magpul MOE-K grip. It has more than a passing resemblance to the Sig Sauer MPXand this semi-auto, locked breech, dual gas pistol firearm has an overall length of 16.1-inches without the folding brace and 24.5-inches with it extended.

By the legal definition of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) that makes it a pistol—but it seems to be just on the line, although that if that is enough for BATFE that should be more than good enough for shooters.

It also means that average Joe civilians can own this fun-looking firearm, which is built on a 7075 aluminum, hard coat anodized frame that is topped with a full-length Picatinny rail for mounting pop-up iron sights or other optics. It also features a 6061 aluminum handguard and features a DBX muzzle device.

More Than Budget AR-15s

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The family-owned and operated, Cocoa, Florida-based Diamondback Firearms, which was only was established in 2009, has grown quickly by making a name for itself in the AR-15 modern sporting rifle market.

New firearms such as the DBX 57 only reaffirm that this company is so very much more than the maker of affordable yet reliable ARs. This pistol is a testament to Diamondback’s ability to innovate in a market that has truly become much more of the “same old, same old.”

While this pistol has the look of an AR, those looks would be deceiving. That’s because as noted it is chambered for the unique 5.7x28-millimeter round, which was developed by FN Herstal in the early 1990s as a replacement for the 9x19-millimeter NATO cartridge that has been around for almost ever. That round has only been slowly catching on in recent years and was most widely used in a handful of firearms including the FN P90 PDW and the Five-seveN pistol, and more recently the Ruger-57 pistol.

Diamondback has wisely even made the DBX 57 compatible with those FN Five-seven 20-round magazines and the company has indicated that future models would be compatible with Ruger-57 mags as well.

Beyond the unique caliber, the operating system of the pistol is also different from the AR platform. Rather than a direct-impingement, the DBX 57 utilizes a locked-breech dual-gas piston system—which is noted for its reliability and durability. Yet, despite the differences “under the hood,” the pistol does have similarities with the AR—and will even accept AR triggers, safety selectors and pistol grips for those who want to do the customization thing.

“Diamondback Firearms has worked hard to offer not only a new and different product, but something truly innovative for shooters to enjoy,” said Kaley Cox, marketing director for Diamondback America. “We are very excited to bring our customers the DBX 57 and introduce them to something beyond the traditional pistol or carbine on the market.”

The DBX 57 is truly compact and weighs just 3.7 pounds with brace. About the only thing that isn’t small is the MSRP of $1,299 but quality comes at a price!

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear includingA Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on