The Diamondback Sidekick .22 is far from a new concept. In fact, the design is steeped in history. The original High Standard Manufacturing Company offered several interesting firearms. The Sentinel was an aluminum-frame double-action revolver with a swing-out cylinder. The Sentinel held nine shots and was a popular firearm beginning in the 1950s.
An interesting variation on the Sentinel was the Double Nine. It is by far my favorite High Standard revolver. The Double Nine features cowboy-type styling. These handguns were redesigned from the Sentinel to resemble a single-action revolver.
The large plow-handled butt resembles the SAA, and the hammer is a large SAA type. A fake ejector rod housing completes the picture. These handguns were useful, affordable, reliable, and accurate.
I have seen a few with a stuck sear or broken springs but no more than any other revolver of the era and less than some. In other words, the design was solid. High Standard is long out of business. A modern company with the High Standard name offers some of the .22 caliber automatics and a quality 1911 .45 ACP.
Diamondback Sidekick Features
Diamondback Firearms recently introduced its Sidekick. The Sidekick is a modern version of the Double Nine — in appearance — but benefits from modern materials and design.
The Sidekick has a 9-round capacity in either .22 LR or .22 Magnum. The cylinders are held in place by a spring-loaded plunger that is easily punched into the frame to release the cylinder. This would not be possible without close tolerances. Single-action revolvers using a base pin are often offered with an interchangeable cylinder. Double-action revolvers are much more difficult to get right, and until recently, largely unsuccessful, or terribly expensive.
The Diamondback Sidekick cylinder is easily changed and locks tightly without the need to adjust headspace. It is something of a modern wonder. To swing the cylinder out of the frame, simply pull the ejector rod forward to release the cylinder. Load the chambers, snap the cylinder back in place, and you are ready to address targets once again.
The option of shooting either .22 LR or .22 Magnum gives you the ability to enjoy a firearm that is great for target shooting and training, and also for small game hunting or pest control.
The revolver weighs but 32.5 ounces with a 4.5-inch barrel. The six-groove barrel features a standard 1 in 16-inch barrel twist. The overall length is 9.8 inches. This is a nicely-sized package with good balance.
The revolver action is smooth enough. The double-action trigger is manageable and best used by stacking the action. That is, the double-action trigger is pressed until the hammer is to the rear and almost breaking the shot. Hesitate, take aim, and then press completely to the rear to break the trigger.
Most of us will fire the revolver in the single-action mode. Cock the hammer and press the trigger. The single-action trigger press demonstrates a very crisp consistent 4.0 pounds. With any .22 rimfire, never dry fire — you may damage the firing pin and chamber.
A plastic cover is supplied to fit into the cylinder and each individual chamber for dry fire. The sights are a simple front sight and a groove in the top of the receiver. The sights are well regulated for the six o’clock hold at 10 yards.
The cylinder is opened by pulling forward on the cylinder rod. Pull the ejector rod forward and swing the cylinder out for loading. After firing, the ejector rod is given one smart slap and all spent cases are ejected. The fake ejector rod attached to the barrel simply gives the revolver a ‘cowboy gun’ appearance, it isn’t a functional ejector housing.
15 yards, 3-Shot Group,Shooting Rest
|Load||Velocity (FPS)||Group (Inches)|
|Remington .22 Short 29 grain||650||3.0|
|Remington .22 Long Rifle 40-grain Thunderbolt||967||2.0|
|Fiocchi .22 Long Rifle 40-grain RN||988||2.0|
|Fiocchi .22 Long Rifle 38-grain Plated Hollow Point||992||1.8|
|CCI Mini Mag .22 Long Rifle 40-grain Thunderbolt||967||2.0|
|Winchester .22 Long Rifle 37-grain Hollow Point||987||2.1|
.22 Magnum Results
|CCI 30-grain TNT||1,401||3.0|
|CCI 40-grain FMJ||1,290||2.0|
|Hornady 45-grain Critical Defense||1,150||1.8|
The finish is a dull matte blue, probably Cerakote. The revolver uses a modern transfer bar safety system. This means the piece may be carried loaded without fear of a discharge if the revolver is dropped or the hammer rapped.
As a bonus, the revolver fits holsters designed for single-action revolvers. I used a very useful belt slide, the 1791 Gunleather Universal Fit Belt slide during the test.
I collected a wide selection of ammunition and headed to the range. The Diamondback Sidekick turned out to be a joy to fire and use. Recoil is nonexistent.
The revolver is easy to load and easy to fire. This is a good handgun to practice double-action revolver shooting on the cheap. At 7 yards, it wasn’t difficult to keep all of my hits in the X-ring.
Moving to single-action fire, I was able to strike the X with every hit at 10 yards. I also settled into a solid benchrest firing position at 15 yards. Taking my time and firing from a solid rest, I was able to fire several 2.0-inch 15-yard groups.
The Diamondback Sidekick .22 is a useful, and affordable, revolver with much to recommend. Retail should be around $320 — possibly less once they are in the supply chain. The one handgun you must have is a quality .22 caliber revolver. This handgun fills that bill nicely.