"Dad," she announced, "I need another gun."
When she was at the ripe old age of 20, still in college and nursing school, she decided she needed to take my state-certified concealed carry permit course.
Since the certificates were good for one year, that meant as soon as she turned 21, she could go to the state police and apply for her state concealed carry permit.
"And," she announced at the time, "if that bill passes, and they allow concealed carry on campus, I'm going to do it."
Of course the bill failed. But Jessica got her permit, and shortly afterward was endowed with one of the best little guns I ever owned, a Smith & Wesson Model 37 Airweight.
These were familiarly known as "Chief's Specials" and came in steel frame (Model 36), and aluminum frame (Model 37) versions. I had the little 2-inch-barreled, open-hammered revolver tuned, the trigger honed to the best trigger I have ever owned on any gun and carried it as a boot gun backup for years in uniform patrol.
Now it is hers — and she carries it faithfully. And on at least one occasion, she and her roommates were glad it was with them when a drunk fixated on their apartment, and decided he was going to come inside. Most fortunately for him, the police got to the scene before he decided to force his way through their door.
Now she had run straight into the concealed carry permit quandary — one handgun frequently isn't enough.
"I'm sick and tired," she said, " of having to carry the gun into the apartment, and then back out to the car in the morning. I need a car gun — and an apartment gun."
Naturally, it was difficult for me to even consider acquiring yet another handgun — but in the interest of father/daughter relations, I gave in and ordered a couple of Diamondback DB9 pistols.
I had been interested in these little pistols ever since seeing and handling them at a local sporting goods store.
I was impressed with the quality and workmanship, and I was particularly impressed with their size.
A Diamondback DB9 is a striker-fired 9mm pistol with a 6-plus-1 capability in a package that weighs only 11 ounces.
It is 4 inches tall, .80 inches wide and 5.6 inches long. You might find a smaller full-bore 9mm, but I think you will be hard pressed.
And they come in COLORS! I had a lady friend asking about a pistol for self-defense, and she loved the pink frame. Diamondback answered the request, and Jessica and friend both had pink, lady-like, bad-to-the-bone seven-shot 9mm pistols.
The trigger pull is double-action only. There is no safety. If I have one complaint on any of these small micro pistols, it is the slide rarely locks back. You have to constantly check that thing, cowboy, to make sure it's got fangs or not.
But shoot? Lord a mercy. A retired state trooper friend went to the range with me to test it out. He turned his nose up at the pink frame, but liked the size and the "shootability" of the trigger so much that he wants one for his personal defense. The trigger is much smoother and of much shorter duration than some of the better-known mini-9s, such as the Ruger LC9, that it resembles in size.
I was amazed at how small the groups were while rapid-firing targets at 15 feet.
I was able to put all seven rounds in a 6-inch circle shooting rapidly — the trigger is that smooth. I read internet reviews listing 6- to 7-pound triggers (not bad for any pistol), but my Lyman trigger gauge consistently broke the trigger at 5 pounds, 4 ounces — pretty impressive. I shot quarter-sized 6-shot groups off sandbags with it at 15 feet.
My retired trooper friend took it and dropped it in his double-breasted work shirt pocket, and the gun disappeared in it as his face broke out in a wide smile. Like me, he likes little guns with bad attitudes, and this one is about as bad as it gets. He coined a phrase I really liked. He called it a "repeating derringer."
The double-recoil spring supposedly reduces felt recoil, but 11 ounces is not going to reduce 9mm recoil that much. I shoot a lot — and after 50 rounds, my wrist felt it. These little guns have fierce recoil — but they are also a real kick to shoot. And 9mm ammo remains one of the few bargains left at the counter, so it doesn't hurt the wallet quite as much.
We took the new toy to the range, and my lady friend quickly learned to handle the recoil, although limp-wristing caused some malfunctions until she learned to hold firmly onto the grip. She wears a lot of boots and jeans, and found the DB9 rides around just perfectly in the left boot, just above her ankle.
I took Jessica to the range to try out her new Christmas present. She dry-fired the gun several times to get used to the trigger. Since she carried a revolver mostly, I was being very cautious, and would not let her have the gun until she had fired at least 50 rounds through it.
When she let the first round go, there was a release of air from her throat, and a quiet "whooee!" But like everyone else that shot the Diamondback, her face lit up with a smile. And it wasn't hard to get 50 rounds fired through it after that.
Now she has the problem of deciding which gun is the apartment gun and which one goes in the car — but she's ready now, wherever she goes, and she and Dad are both a whole lot more confident about her ability to take care of any problem that arises.