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Diamondback’s Sidekick: A Great Companion

Late last year, Diamondback Firearms released a new double-action revolver known as the Sidekick. It has a classic Old West design very reminiscent of the Colt Single Action Army (SAA), but with a sort of new twist upon it.

The Sidekick features a swing-out cylinder for faster loading and unloading. This cylinder is removable and can be interchanged for either .22 LR or 2.2 Magnum. And it holds nine rounds as opposed to the more traditional 6.

This is significant because it makes loading, unloading, and ejecting spent cases quicker and easier than the typical solid-frame single-action revolver.

Diamondback Sidekick

WHY A .22?

When someone is new to shooting and looking for a first gun, the advice they are often given is to start with a .22 of some type. This holds true for rifles, handguns, and silencers. They are great for learning the basics, in most cases, are relatively inexpensive to buy and cheap to shoot (when you can find ammo, of course), and their utility and fun factor pretty much ensure that you will keep them around awhile.

The problem lately is when it comes to double-action rimfire revolvers. They certainly are not as inexpensive as they once were, and older S&W Model 17s and Colt Diamondbacks are climbing in value. As a result, most folks are looking at single action rimfire revolvers such as Ruger Single Sixes and Wranglers or cheaper models by Heritage Manufacturing.

The ejector rod and housing on the Diamondback Sidekick is strictly for looks.

There is nothing wrong with any of those revolvers. I have a few of them, myself in the collection. However, they limit you to single-action fire requiring the hammer to be manually cocked every time and a slow loading and unloading process of one round at a time through a loading gate after rotating the cylinder.

Diamondback found a way around this by drawing on an old example known as the High Standard Double-Nine.

WHAT IS OLD IS NEW

High Standard definitely has more fame for their semiautomatic rimfire pistols, but they did offer a line of double-action revolvers back in the 1950s through 1984. Originally, they resembled standard double-action revolvers, but eventually, they produced a model in 1958 with a larger hammer, and a plough handle shaped grip like the Colt SAA known as the Double-Nine. Since the cylinder swung out, the ejector rod and housing were strictly for looks.

High Standard Double Nine

The Sidekick mirrors the lines of this classic revolver very closely with a few updates. First of all, the finish on the Sidekick is black Cerakote. Of course, Cerakote was not an option in 1958, and those original guns were mostly matte blue. Factory records show they were available in nickel, but I have only seen their Sentinel Model in nickel and never that finish in a Double-Nine. Although, admittedly, I have not seen all of them out there.

Secondly, the grips on the Sidekick are a marked improvement over the faux stag and other vintage-era plastics used on the High Standard. What I like best, however, is the option to swap out the cylinder for .22 Magnum. This was present on many of the High Standards, but in my experience, most shooters seemed to have lost, misplaced, or sold whatever spare cylinder they may have had.

SIDEKICK AT THE RANGE

One word of caution would be to attach whichever cylinder you intend to use at home before you head to the range. If you want to try both at the range, keep in mind that this conversion requires depressing a spring and a plunger loaded under pressure, and that spring may want to shoot out. Not a huge deal at a private bay at an indoor range, but out on BLM land, you may not be so lucky.

The Diamondback Sidekick includes 2 cylinders allowing the shooter to choose between .22 LR and .22 Magnum.

Single-action pull is a crisp 4-pounds. Going double-action seems to almost triple that at about 14 to 15-pounds. The sights are fixed, the bbl is 4.5-inches long, and the double-action pull is long and heavy; it is obvious that this is not intended to be a target revolver, but the accuracy was not too shabby.

At 25-feet I put all 9 rounds of .22 Magnum Hornady Critical Defense into a 0.575-inch group. Performing that in double-action mode opened that up to an inch and a half.

Dropping down to .22 LR provided a similar measure of accuracy using Winchester Silvertip .22 LR. I do prefer plated bullets in .22 LR in revolvers like this as I've found some lead .22's to be a bit undersized for the bore at times. Results were remarkably similar with the single-action group at 0.55-inches and a corresponding double-action group at 1.475-inches.

The disparity between the DA vs. SA mode can most likely be chalked up to the double-action trigger’s somewhat longer reach and much heavier pull.

ACCESSORIES

You won’t be adding adjustable sights, a scope, or even a red dot to one of these anytime soon. There are no accessory rails or MLOK slots to mount lights or lasers. This is a simple single-action stylized wheel gun. As of this writing, I have seen no after-market grips available for it. The only accessory I found useful for it is the DeSantis Wild Hog holster.

The DeSantis Wild Hog fits a variety of 22 single-action revolvers, including the Diamondback Sidekick.

The Wild Hog is an old school western Style holster made from premium top-grain steer hide and center-cut steer hide. It has a rough-out leather suede finish with finished leather accents and is completely ambidextrous for left or right-hand carry as well as cross-draw.

For a revolver like this, a good holster may be all that you need. Along with a few bricks of 22 LR or Magnum. I would say .22 shorts and longs, too, but those were expensive for what they are even a few years before all these shortages became reality.

LOOSE ROUNDS

The Sidekick performs well, and I think this is a great gun for new shooters as well as seasoned ones. The utility of the .22 LR cartridge cannot be understated.

Whether you want to give your more expensive centerfire cartridges and your wallet a rest, are just starting out, or have the need for a small caliber piece like this for varmint and pest control.

The added benefit of stepping up to the more powerful .22 Magnum is especially nice, and this is effective for dispatching larger predators and varmints if you have the need.

  • Make: Diamondback Firearms
  • Model: Sidekick
  • Caliber: .22 LR, .22 Long, .22 Short /.22 Magnum conversion cylinder
  • Action: Single or Double
  • Capacity: 9 rounds
  • Grips: Checkered plastic
  • Overall Barrel Length: 4.5-inches
  • Overall Length: 9.875-inches
  • Frame & Handle Finish: Black Cerakote
  • Overall Weight: 32.5 ounces
  • MSRP: $320 

Website: http://diamondbackfirearms.com

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