The Daniel Defense® DDM4 V7 Semi-Auto Rifle comes outfitted with a CNC machined, 6061-T6 aluminum, type III hard coat anodized, free-floating handguard, featuring M-LOK® attachment slots running along 7 positions. An uninterrupted 1913 Picatinny rail runs the entire length of the receiver and handguard. The 6-position buttstock and pistol grip are constructed of glass filled polymer with Soft Touch overmolding. The Mil-Spec upper and lower receivers are CNC Machined from 7075-T6 aluminum, and Type III hard coat anodized; the lower receiver has a flared mag well and a QD swivel attachment point. The cold hammer forged, chrome moly vanadium steel barrel is chrome lined with a 1:7″ twist, and has a heavy phosphate exterior coating. The Daniel Defense flash suppressor is made of 17-4 PH stainless steel, with a salt-bath, nitride finish (attached with 1⁄2″ × 28 thread). The Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 Semi-Auto Rifle operates with a mid-length, direct impingement gas system. Made in USA.
Manufacturer’s model #: 0212802081047.
7-position M-LOK handguard
Uninterrupted 1913 Picatinny rail
Mil-Spec upper and lower receivers
Type III hard coat anodized
Chrome lined barrel with 1:7″ twist
Heavy phosphate barrel coating
Daniel Defense flash suppressor
Direct impingement gas system
Soft Touch overmolded pistol grip
Review: Daniel Defense DDM4V7 LW
Daniel Defense was founded by engineer Marty Daniel in Savannah, Georgia, in 2001, and in the short time since then it has become a powerhouse in the firearms industry. In 2009 Daniel Defense moved to Black Creek, Georgia, where it is now based, and built a 38,000-square-foot plant. In 2011 the company expanded production with the addition of a new 90,000-square-foot plant in Ridgeland, South Carolina.
Daniel Defense makes excellent AR-15-type rifles that aren’t your run-of-the-mill guns. They are high-end ARs in a number of calibers and configurations, including one model that is an internally suppressed .300 Blackout gun with a 9-inch barrel. The company also has advanced rail systems, upper receivers, barrels, muzzle brakes, suppressors, and magazines. Daniel Defense’s motto is “Stronger, Better, Lighter,” and the company says its ARs are where “precision, accuracy, and quality meet.”
Engineered to Perfection
One of Daniel Defense’s newest AR iterations is the 5.56mm DDM4V7 LW. The DDM4V7 LW has several specialized features that make it tantalizingly attractive to shooters who are interested in quality, fine accuracy, and shooting heavier .22-caliber bullets. Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 Semi-Auto Rifle
The DDM4V7 LW starts with mil-spec upper and lower receivers that are machined from 7075-T6 aluminum. Both are then Type III hard coat anodized. The lower has an enhanced flared magazine well and a rear QD swivel attachment point. A nice touch is the ambidextrous safety. The upper has M4 feedramps and indexing marks.
The 16-inch barrel is chrome-moly vanadium steel that is cold hammer forged and has a heavy phosphate coating. Significantly, the DDM4V7 LW has a 1:7-inch twist, so all but the heaviest bullets will stabilize with normal loads. In my experience the idea that fast-twist barrels “over-stabilize” lightweight bullets has been conclusively discredited with today’s superb bullets, so varmint shooters need not fret about this nonissue.
The action is direct gas impingement, and the gas system is mid-length, which saves wear and tear on the gun, increases reliability, and produces a smoother recoil impulse that reduces felt recoil on the shooter. A Daniel Defense Improved Flash Suppressor is installed on the barrel’s 1/2-28 threads. The bolt carrier group is mil spec and chrome lined, and the gas key is securely staked. The handguard is the company’s MFR XS 15.0, which is CNC machined from 6061-T6 aluminum and has an uninterrupted Picatinny rail up top and M-LOK attachment points that run along seven positions. The stock is six-position adjustable for length of pull and has Soft Touch Overmolding on the pistol grip and along both sides of the comb. The gun is finished in basic black
The DDM4V7 LW carbine I received for testing and evaluation weighed 6 pounds, 3.3 ounces without sights or magazine. For my shooting session, I mounted a Bresser Konig 1.5-6X 42mm scope in a Burris P.E.P.R. mount, and with the scope, mount, and an empty 32-round Daniel Defense magazine, the carbine weighed 8 pounds, 12.7 ounces.
I put the new DDM4V7 LW through its paces by shooting a variety of factory ammunition as well as seven handloads. Most handloads had a cartridge overall length (COL) of 2.26 inches. Exceptions were two Hornady 75-grain bullets and the Sierra 80-grain MatchKing (seated to 2.39 inches) and the Nosler 64-grain Bonded Solid Base, which had a COL of 2.20 inches. All loads of 2.26 inches or shorter were fed through a five-round magazine, and all functioned perfectly. The longer rounds were loaded singly with the aid of an Original Bob Sled single-shot adapter. Over the course of testing, there was not a single malfunction of any kind. Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 Semi-Auto Rifle
Top honors for factory load accuracy went to the Fort Scott Munitions 5.56mm NATO-spec loads with the company’s proprietary 55- and 62-grain solid copper bullets; they averaged 0.59 and 0.57 inch respectively. The best .223 Remington load was the Black Hills 69-grain MatchKing load, which produced an average of 0.75 inch and a velocity of 2,643 fps. Second best was the Hornady Superformance ammunition loaded with the company’s 75-grain BTHP. It averaged 0.85 inch and 2,641 fps.
The Black Hills ammo with the 75-grain OTM bullet shot under an inch. It is totally counterintuitive, but the velocity of the 75-grain load was 10 fps faster than the 69-grain load.
My best handloading effort was an average of 0.69 inch, and it came with the Nosler 77-grain Custom Competition HP and CFE 223 powder. The velocity averaged 2,365 fps. This bullet can be seated to magazine length (2.26 inches). Close behind, with an accuracy average of 0.73 inch, was the Sierra 80-grain MatchKing HPBT, also propelled by CFE 223. Two other powders that also performed well in the DDM4V7 LW were Alliant Power Pro Varmint and AR Comp, both with Hornady 75-grain A-Max and BTHP bullets.
It pains me to admit it, but the accuracy of my carefully prepared handloads lagged slightly behind the factory fodder. The overall average of all factory loads and handloads was 0.89 inch. Factory loads registered 0.88 inch, and my handloads came in at 0.90 inch. I consider that pretty darn good considering the trigger pull was over 7 pounds and that I was using a 6X scope. Functioning was 100 percent with all loads, and the points of impact between different bullet weights were pretty close together. The barrel picked up little fouling and was easy to clean.
My hypothesis that the 1:7-inch twist would shoot heavier bullets better was confirmed, but only slightly. The top three loads in terms of accuracy were with 77-, 80-, and 69-grain bullets and averaged 0.72 inch. By contrast, the three largest groups were with 55- and 62-grain bullets. At 1.13 inches, they were almost twice as large as the top three loads. That said, none of the loads were what you might refer to as “bad.”
As the performance results in the Accuracy & Velocity chart clearly shows, just about any of the loads would be suitable for all but the toughest match competition, and small to medium-size varmints should tread lightly in the DDM4V7 LW’s path when its magazine is fully loaded with today’s high-tech bonded and monolithic bullets.
Overall, the DDM4V7 LW performed very well. It was 100 percent reliable. It was lightweight yet accurate. It was pleasant to handle and didn’t have a bunch of sharp projections sticking out here and there like on many other ARs. It definitely delivered the goods. Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 Semi-Auto Rifle
Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 Review
If you’ve spent much time hunting for an AR of any sort, you’ve almost certainly come across Black Creek Georgia’s Daniel Defense. In the mix of ever-expanding AR brands, they’re among the most recognized (and most coveted) AR builders around.
Daniel Defense was kind enough to send me their marquee DDM4 V7 to get my thoughts on their flagship AR, and we happily put it through its paces.
Daniel Defense’s DDM4 V7 may be the kind of AR that does everything you want. Offering all the bells and whistles you’d expect from rifles near the $2k price point, it’s bound to please those interested in a top-shelf AR (with the possible exception of how it lightens your wallet).
Define your purpose before taking the plunge
There are a LOT of black rifles available these days, from makers of all stripes. Before pulling the trigger on any AR, it’s critical to think through essential considerations to make sure you’re getting the right rifle for your needs.
Why exactly do you want a premium AR in the first place? Competition shooting, home defense, distance shooting, or just adding to a collection? Daniel Defense rifles are available in a massive array of calibers and configurations, so your intended use for the gun should inform the eventual product you purchase.
A home defense configuration would want to consider a shorter barrel chambered in a caliber like .300 BLK, which was engineered to perform optimally with shorter barrels and suppression (which also makes a lot of sense for home defense use if you value your hearing.)
Competition shooters will want a build that offers a solid mix of shootability and stability — 14-16-inch barrels with a top-mounted red dot or holo for speedy target acquisition. Long-range shooters will almost certainly want more barrel and possibly a collection of accessories geared toward stability. Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 Semi-Auto Rifle
All of these considerations can lead someone to drastically different rifles. The DDM4 V7 rifle as configured is only available in 5.56 NATO (SBRs and pistols are available in .300 BLK, and there is a single 6.5 SPC version of the DDM4), but if you want to run more exotic cartridges like a 6.5mm Grendel or .224 Valkyrie, you’ll need to look to another brand. Daniel Defense offers the larger 7.26×39 cartridge in their DD5, so those interested in a rifle of the 30-caliber persuasion have a viable option.
The DDM4 is the smaller-caliber 5.56 NATO brother to the 7.62/.308 AR-10 DD5. It’s an excellent example of a premium AR-15-type rifle; with attention everywhere you look — from the rail system, upper receiver, barrel, muzzle brake — it fits together like a high-end watch.
It also offers several upgrades over typical AR builds, with an array of QD swivel attachment points, 7075-T6 aluminum machined lower, ambi safety, and a pistol grip that felt just right to these hands.
Barrel & Handguard
The 16-inch, government profile barrel — cold hammer-forged, of course — is covered in a heavy phosphate coating and comes with a lightweight 15” M-Lok handguard with a full-length Picatinny rail up top, so you have ample room for accessories.
The free-floating handguard is CNC machined from 6061-T6 aluminum, which is clever given the handguard’s more intricate milling when compared to, say, a receiver. Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 Semi-Auto Rifle
There’s no need for the more expensive 7075-T6 aluminum on the handguard.
The handguard also includes four quick detach sling mounts at 3 and 9-o’clock, as well as 2 and 11 o’clock to help keep your sling and support hand from getting too well acquainted (or entangled.)
We tested the DDM4 and another of Daniel Defense’s ARs — the M4A1 — which sports a more traditional quad-rail handguard. In shooting these two rifles side-by-side, I noted that the DDM4’s M-Lok rail had much more effective heat dispersion than the heavier quad-rail.
So, in addition to saving weight, the DDM4’s lighter M-Lok rail will keep your hands much more comfortable when firing for extended periods.
Rounding off the barrel, there’s a Daniel Defense flash suppressor, which is slightly larger than the standard A2 but nowhere near as aggressive as some aftermarket options. We didn’t test in a night shoot scenario, so while it seemed to do the trick, I can’t speak to its overall efficacy relative to more standard muzzle gear.
The DDM4’s handguard also includes a near-vertical pistol grip, which forces you to an almost vertical support hand orientation or hand placement in front of or behind the grip. None of these placements felt natural to me, so I ended up shooting with my support hand directly behind the grip most of the time. I get what Daniel Defense was going for, but not my cuppa, as they say.
The Mil-Spec receiver is CNC machined from 7075-T6 aluminum and Type III Hard Coat Anodized, making it one tough cookie (if not earth-shatteringly innovative). The central value add Daniel Defense tacks onto the upper is their “RIP N GRIP” ambi charging handle, which works a treat from either hand or angle (beyond being fun to say.)
The Bolt Carrier Group handled its job admirably and the flared magazine well made for quick and easy mag swaps, but not more so than other AR’s with flared magwells. Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 Semi-Auto Rifle
Again, the lower is fantastic quality and milled from 7075-T6 aluminum, which offers almost twice the tensile strength of 6061-T6.
This certainly makes sense given the forces exerted on the receivers. Significant value adds on the lower include the ambi safety selector, which is straightforward enough to operate.
One innovative feature is the inclusion of the 32-round Daniel Defense magazine, which allows you to either pack an additional two rounds into an industry-standard sized magazine or load 30 and keep the spring tension at bay. Either way, not something you’ll find elsewhere.
One of the features I was most surprised by was how much I appreciated the DDM4’s “glass-filled polymer” pistol grip.
It’s, uh, chonky and considerably larger than a standard Magpul MOE grip in all the right ways. When firing, my hands felt at home, shooting was natural and easily controlled, and grippiness was more than sufficient.
However, my stubby fingers required commitment to hit the safety toggle consistently, possibly a byproduct of the stout little grip.
Hmm. The trigger is, for my money, heavy and slightly unpredictable.
There’s some take-up before the break, which lands with a bit of a thud. It’s controllable, and my trigger finger found a consistent and natural placement on the trigger, but the break always gave me a surprise of sorts.
It didn’t impact accuracy — the DDM4 shot well, as noted in the range report below, but the trigger never felt completely natural. Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 Semi-Auto Rifle
I also really appreciated the Daniel Defense stock, which has a simple, single adjustment release button.
My PCC has a Magpul STR Stock, which uses a two-latch release mechanism I find overly complicated (although I appreciate the battery storage, which the Daniel Defense stock doesn’t offer.)
Daniel Defense was kind enough to include 400 rounds of Sellier & Bellot 55gr M195, which we judiciously put to good use without issue. Like, literally zero issues.
Shooting fast, slow, full mags, partial mags, and anything in between, the DDM4 just ate what we fed it over and over. The mid-length gas system paired with the 16-inch barrel kept recoil manageable.
Shooting from 50 yards with a Sig Romeo5 red dot, we could consistently ring four and 6-inch steel at will.
Groupings were generally 1-inch shooting off a barrel, 2-ish inches standing. A magnified optic would almost certainly have us sub-MOA at 100 yards.
At the Chrono
Putting the DDM4 through my Caldwell G2 Chrono I was just as impressed.
For the 3 groups I measured the average FPS landed at 3,082 overall, with the Sellier & Belliot rated for 3,301 at the muzzle. The FPS spreads differed slightly with the slower and faster firing, with the slow firing actually showing a broader spread at 107 across the group vs. 101 with the faster collection of shots, but the difference was negligible .
Overall I was very impressed with the DDM4’s consistency, as many sub-groups came in with less than 10 fps differentials between shots.
The DDM4 V7 offers everything you’d want from a top-tier AR, and while it’s not perfect, it’s going to give you a level of performance, reliability, and precision that only premium builders can provide. With a few tweaks — such as lightening the trigger pull and possibly a more aggressive muzzle brake — you may very well be able to create a perfect AR all-rounder. Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 Semi-Auto Rifle