September 28, 2023

The world of inexpensive firearms was once filled with handy pistols like the new Diamondback Sidekick in .22lr. There were auto-loaders too, but they tended to be very hit or miss with reliability and longevity; often being relegated to Saturday Night Specials that were effectively throwaway guns. But Diamondback seeks to change that despite them having a reputation for inexpensive firearms. But can the new Sidekick usher in a new era of affordable plinksters?

Let’s take a closer look and find out.

The Diamondback Sidekick is a tough little pistol. IMG Jim Grant

Diamondback SideKick .22r Revolver


Bearing a distinct resemblance to the classic Colt Single Action Army revolver, the new Diamondback SideKick .22r Revolver is actually a double/single-action, nine-shot revolver chambered in both .22lr and 22 Winmag. How is that possible? You might ask.

The Diamondback Sidekick features molded polymer grip panels. IMG Jim Grant

The Sidekick includes an additional cylinder that shooters can quickly swap out to fire the more potent round. It features a very heavy 4.88-inch steel barrel, and a zinc-alloy frame with a set of molded polymer grip panels. These panels feature the Diamondback logo and molded cross-checkering to give shooters a better grip on the gun.  Speaking of which, the grip on the Diamondback is ergonomically perfect for shooting in single-action but exceptionally awkward in double.

The Sidekick’s barrel is thick as hell – and makes it balance extremely well. IMG Jim Grant

Mostly because the design upon which it is based was never intended for two-handed shooting. But also because the double-action trigger pull on the Sidekick is extremely long and very heavy – measuring around 11 pounds on my Lyman digital trigger scale. This obviously makes landing hits in double-action very difficult at anything past 15 yards, but the value of the utility it adds isn’t lost on me. Because if a shooter wants to use this gun as a hiking gun or – with the 22 Winmag cylinder – a self-defense pistol, single-action just isn’t going to cut it.

“Fill your hands!” The Sidekick points like an extension of your body. IMG Jim Grant

That said, in testing, the accuracy of the little Diamondback was great despite the fixed iron sights. Shooting with these sights is especially tough because they are black-on-black and next to impossible to pick up against dark targets. Aiming shots in double-action is actually even more difficult because the hammer blocks the iron sights when it’s in the down position.

That said, when I took my time and shot the gun from a rest, I was able to achieve roughly 2-inch groupings at 25 yards. This might not sound like much but is right in line with the gun’s design philosophy.

As far as reliability goes, I fired 250 rounds of CCI standard velocity ammo, 250 rounds of Winchester Wildcat high velocity, and a few dozen rounds of subsonic ammo through the Sidekick and never experienced a single malfunction whatsoever.

It looks like a Colt SAA, but the cylinder swings out and it can be fired in double action. IMG Jim Grant

Personally, I really like the Sidekick. It’s hard to express in more objective terms, but it feels just like a real Colt SAA in the hand, balances well and points even better. At first glance, I found the gun too utilitarian in appearance, but the more I shot it and linked soda cans on my range, the more I fell in love with it.

Diamondback SideKick Verdict

So, is the little inexpensive plinker worth its $320 MSRP? Yes and no. If you’re looking for the ultimate .22lr revolver, the Sidekick isn’t it. The sights are difficult to use, the trigger pull is heavy, and the aesthetics are very utilitarian. But if you’re looking for a durable, reliable little hiking companion that can vanquish any snake brave enough to challenge you, the answer is Yes to the Diamondback SideKick .22r Revolver.

A double-action SAA clone? IMG Jim Grant

Specification Diamondback SideKick .22r Revolver:

  • Product Name: Diamondback SideKick .22r Revolver
  • Brand: Diamondback Firearms
  • MSRP: $320.00 (less $$ online)
  • SKU: DB0500A001
  • UPC: 810035752450
  • Caliber: 22LR|22MAG
  • Frame & Handle: Zinc W/ Cerakote
  • Height: 4.88″
  • Barrel Length: 4.50″
  • Length: 9.88″
  • Barrel Twist: 1:16 RH
  • Width: 1.38″
  • Capacity: 9 Rounds
  • Weight: 32.50 oz
  • Grip Panels: Checkered Polymer
  • Grooves: 6
  • Trigger Pull: S/A – 2lbs D/A – 16 lbs
  • Front Sights: Blade
  • Rear sights: Integral

Diamondback SideKick Revolver User Manual

About Jim Grant

Jim is one of the elite editors for, who in addition to his mastery of prose, can wield a camera with expert finesse. He loves anything and everything guns but holds firearms from the Cold War in a special place in his heart.

When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly, their son, and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low country.

Jim Grant

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