Since 2009, Daniel Defense has been making quality products in their M4 line of firearms. It all started with the desire to improve upon the AR platform. Daniel Defense has designed their own flash suppressors, muzzle brakes, handguards, barrels, furniture and more. They know a thing or two about building better ARs from the ground up.
Today, the latest in the line is the Daniel Defense M4 Carbine V11. Chambered in 5.56x45mm, this carbine features a mid-length gas system. The barrel is 16 inches long, cold hammer forged and has a government profile. But that’s not all Daniel Defense had in mind for this firearm.
Let’s start with one of the M4V11’s most distinguishing features: its 15 inches of SLiM (Slim Lightweight Modular) rail. The SLiM rail includes both Picatinny and KeyMod systems. Less bulky than a traditional quad rail, it is both lightweight and functional. In fact, the whole gun weighs only 6.28 pounds!
Also, the 15 inches of handguard allows you to hold the firearm closer to the muzzle end. This is great both for stability and agility. Your leverage while holding the handguard lets you pivot from one target over to the next more easily. The lighter weight helps with this easy movement as well.
A more subtle advantage of this gun is its quality. The upper and lower receivers are tight, machined from 7075-T6 aluminum. The bolt carrier group is magnetic particle inspected and has a properly staked gas key. And, a nice touch in the lower is the flared magazine well, which helps for faster and smoother reloads.
The M4V11 also includes several integrated QD (quick disconnect) sockets. These allow for the easy attachment of a sling. Additionally, the GRIP-N-RIP charge handle and the safety selector are both ambidextrous. This is another convenience of the DDM4, especially for southpaws.
But one of the best things about the M4V11 is its Daniel Defense buttstock and pistol grip. You may not think ergonomics and the “feel” of a gun matter much. But you may sing a different tune when you experience its "glass filled polymer" and soft touch overmolding yourself.
That’s not to say this gun is perfect. Daniel Defense created their own handguard, grip, stock, and flash suppressor, etc. But they still use a mil-spec charging handle and trigger components. Why make a gun that’s half original, half GI standard?
Then there’s the price. This isn’t a bargain gun, so it’ll cost you anywhere from around $1,300 to $1,800 to bring one home. Maybe you’re looking for a starter semi-auto or something to keep “just in case” for defense. If so, you wouldn’t need to drop quite so much cash.
And, there are those who find the trigger somewhat heavy or gritty. The DDM4V11 is an excellent carbine with lots of nice details. Paying a little more attention to a smooth and easy trigger action would make sense. That said, you may find the trigger on this gun to be perfectly fine for the job.
Speaking of which, the M4V11 will definitely get any AR job done. It has proven itself a very reliable firearm, hundreds and thousands of rounds at a time. Though not immune to muzzle rise, the V11 groups at around 1.5 inches at 100 yards using appropriate optics like the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8x24. (Keep in mind this gun does not come equipped with sights.)
So is the DDM4V11 rifle for you? If you’re interested in ARs and ready to try a nice gun, then probably yes. Many folks love this gun from the moment they see the SLiM rail, or from the moment they feel its soft touch grip. And if that doesn’t convince them, its lightweight, maneuverability, and solid results do.
Daniel Defense has worked hard to improve on the well-known and well-loved AR platform. Their guns are developed by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts. And sometimes you have to pay a little more for quality. In the case of the Daniel Defense DDM4V11, it is definitely worth it.
Richard Douglas is a firearms expert and educator. His work has appeared in large publications like The Armory Life, Daily Caller, American Shooting Journal, and more. In his free time, he reviews optics on his Scopes Field blog.
Image: Creative Commons.