Saturday, March 09, 2024

Legacy Double Nine leads to Sidekick at Diamondback

Image from Diamondback advertising

At the 2024 SHOT Show industry day at the range, this correspondent stopped at the Diamondback Firearms booth. Unfortunately, they did not have any examples of their new .22 revolver, the Sidekick, available. This lead to a discussion of how the Sidekick, which strongly resembles the old Hi-Standard Double Nine revolver, was brought into production. 

Jimmy Stroda was director of product development at Diamondback firearms. He related the story to this correspondent. Diamondback had been looking at product sales in the United States. It is clear .22 caliber single action revolvers have a very large market share, as seen by the numbers of Heritage arms revolvers which are sold every year. Diamondback management believed they could capture part of this market. They started to make plans to produce a .22 single action revolver. Then Ruger entered the inexpensive end of the market with the Wrangler series of revolvers. Diamondback was re-considering its options.

Jimmy had a legacy Hi-Standard Double Nine revolver he had inherited from his grandfather. He thought highly of the handgun. The Double Nine is a nine shot, double action revolver styled to look and handle much like a Colt single action revolver. It fires both double and single action. It has a side swing out cylinder, and ejects all nine cartridges at once. It has the advantages single action style with double action mechanics and ease of loading and unloading. It can be supplied with a magnum cylinder to give more versatility to the handgun.


Image by permission of Rock Island Auctions

The owner of Diamondback, was considering the idea of manufacturing a double action .22 revolver. Jimmy put forward the idea  of re-creating a modern version of the Hi-Standard Double Nine. Another member of the management team piped up. He had one of the legacy Double Nine revolvers and thought it was a great gun. Diamondback decided to move forward with a new version of the Hi-Standard. During the development, they contacted previous Hi-Standard management. Any patents were long out of date. The previous management was very helpful, suggesting areas where Hi-Standard had problems, and how they had been solved. Jimmy has since moved to Diamondback Knifeworks.

The Sidekick uses a zinc alloy casting for the frame. The Hi-Standard Double Nine used an aluminum casting for the frame. Diamondback has strong experience with both zinc and aluminum casting. Zinc frames result in a revolver with a weight closer to the original Colt single action. The Heritage revolvers use a similar material in their frames.  The Ruger Wrangler uses an aluminum casting, the Super Wrangler has a steel frame.

The Double Nine was offered in a variety of colors and finishes. The Sidekick is offered in a variety of ceracote colors. There are advantages to .22 rimfire revolvers, which make them competitive with .22 semi-automatic handguns. This correspondent has owned several of the Hi-Standard Sentinel .22 revolvers. The Double Nine is a variant of the Sentinel design.  The Diamondback team is always working on improvements. This correspondent expects the Sidekick to maintain and build on the legacy of the Hi-Standard Double Nine. 

©2024 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have an old H&R Double Nine, serial number T4***9 so it was made in 1957.