I’ll be honest, when I saw the press release for the Diamondback Firearms .357 Magnum SDR revolver the other day, I was nonplussed. It looked fine, but nothing special at a glance. After being able to examine it up close and shoot it at SHOT Show 2024’s Industry Day at the Range that all changed. The SDR .357 is Diamondback’s second revolver release following the .22LR/.22 Magnum Sidekick last year. That was a Western inspired trail gun/plinker that had a swing-out cylinder and double-action mechanism. The SDR is another double-action design but in a more traditional snubnose carry-gun style.
The SDR is a stainless steel design, with the initial models coming with a high polish finish. It has a 6-round capacity, which puts it one up on S&W, Ruger and most Taurus models for a snubnose revolver. It uses a push-button cylinder release similar to a Ruger which is nice, low profile and snag free. The SDR comes standard with an orange fiber optic fixed front sight and a dovetail fiber optic green rear sight. It has a low-profile Novak style to it. It has a Diamondback calls a fully captured crane link and cylinder assembly. This allows you to quickly and easily remove the whole cylinder and crane assembly for cleaning without having to remove a side plate or screws. It has a 2-inch barrel and solid stainless-steel frame and weighs only 21 ounces. I actually asked to confirm that I wasn’t handling a version with an alloy frame. Grips are Diamondback-branded rubber Hogue grips, which are quite comfortable. A nice feature of the grips is that they’ll take any J-frame S&W grips, so your options are endless.
The SDR is a good looking revolver and feels better in the hand. It’s a well thought-out and well-finished product. While I expected “just another snubby revolver,” I found a piece with well thought engineering details and a combination of features that make it stand out. The 6-round capacity, removable crane and cylinder, great sights and the practicality of using J-frame grips make the SDR worth checking out on their own. But as good as the features sound, it’s only as good as it shoots, and it turns out it shoots great, too. The trigger is exceptional. It has a light, crisp single-action trigger and a smooth double-action that lets you stage the action for accurate double action fire.
I walked into the Diamondback booth planning on just breezing through, but ended up spending a good bit of time going over the SDR and walked away impressed. I’m not a huge fan of highly polished finishes personally, but other than that, I liked what I saw a lot. It has an MSRP of $799 and while it isn’t showing on Diamondback’s website yet, it should be available soon.
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