Daniel Defense is a well-known producer of top-tier firearms, but the company spawned from humble beginnings. What began as a small business producing innovative gun parts quickly grew into full firearms productions of high-end AR-15s. A couple of SOCOM contracts along the way, smart reinvestment back into the company, and the Georgia-based industry leader made a name for itself in a crowded field where it’s challenging to stand out. 

Just one of their offerings, the DDM4 V7 -- an M-LOK railed version of a rifle that came out around 2016 -- is the topic of this review. I will warn you, this is not an inexpensive rifle, but it’s worth your attention.

Beauty and the Beast


When I pulled the DDM4 V7 out of the Daniel Defense gun case, I was already anticipating good things. I am often a sucker for a pretty face, and the V7 does not disappoint. The rifle is aesthetically appealing. The thin-profiled handguard with abundant M-LOK, the signature Daniel Defense curved stock and grip, and even the included vertical foregrip feature an over-molded rubber texture that has more in common with an all-terrain tire. It was clear Daniel Defense has given a great deal of consideration to the main places the shooter will interact with their firearms.

The stock has a great grip and angle for hooking up on the shoulder, as does the cheek rest. (Photo: Sean Curtis/Guns.com)


Past the initial blush, the function of the rifle became my concern. I was determined to learn what this rifle might be capable of offering. Thankfully, Daniel Defense was kind enough to send a couple of their 32-round magazines out for testing as well. 

By the Numbers


Out of the box, the DDM4 V7 has a 16-inch barrel that is cold-hammer-forged, phosphate-coated, and chrome-lined with a 1-in-7 twist. Daniel Defense provides its own proprietary flash suppressor on the end of the muzzle, and there is a 15-inch MFR handguard with M-LOK all around that covers the whole affair. Quick detach spots abound on the rail, which has Picatinny on top and underneath, and a mid-length gas system supports the function of the action.  

The upper is CNC machined, 7075 T6 Aluminum, with Type III hard coat anodizing. It includes a forward assist and a polymer dust cover that is lighter and holds its shape better. I always thought this was a minor area that could be improved, so bravo to DD. Within the heart of the beast is a bolt carrier group made of 8620 steel with a phosphate finish. It features a full-auto profile and a well-staked gas key. The charging handle was my only source of disappointment, being essentially Mil-spec, though admittedly, this is a personal preference.

The rail offers both Picatinny and M-Lok attachments, the polymer dust cover proved easy to use and clean, and the flas supressor is similar to A2 just stretch out a bit. (Photo: Sean Curtis/Guns.com)


The lower is also forged 7075 T6 aluminum and has a flared magwell, which is a nice touch, as well as a QD under the castle nut. The grip and stock are made of glass-filled polymer with a rubber over-molding. The stock runs on a six-position buffer tube and has a good angle for snugging into the shoulder. The grip has a slightly more vertical angle and was comfortable to use. The whole rifle weighed in at just over 6-pounds before anything was added. The V7 does not come with sights of any kind.

Good Glass
 

The NightForce NX8 is stellar, allowing quick engagement up close and accuracy out far in a tiny package. (Photo: Sean Curtis/Guns.com)


Having an outstanding rifle, I was not about to mount a subpar optic to test it out. I contacted NightForce, and they provided an NX8 1-8x24 LPVO, a truly impressively compact optic, just barely longer than the receiver on the V7. Equipped with a red dot, the scope functions as an RDS with true 1x magnification and has a first focal plane reticle (MOA) that increases in size as the magnification increases—something these aging eyes greatly appreciate. The unit only weighed 17-ounces. I mounted this scope to the rifle and took 500 rounds of Wolf 5.56x45mm ammo to the range to see what the pair might accomplish.

Stand and Deliver


Using a CTK Precision Bench Rest, I settled in at the range to see what accuracy might be expected. Granted, 55-grain Wolf is not exactly match-grade accuracy ammunition, but I was happy to have it in the current shortage we are experiencing. At 25-yards, I put three rounds in the same hole during the zeroing process and was encouraged. At 50-yards, the groups averaged a half-inch.  When I reached out to 100-yards, my accuracy expanded quite a bit. The smallest group was 1.2-inches, but the average was around 2-inches. I attributed these results in part to the ammo and was impressed.

I then ran a magazine drill with several different brands. Everything fed reliably, and I had no failures whatsoever. Notably, I filled the Daniel Defense brand, 32-round magazines to the brim, and stuffed them into the mag well with the bolt closed. I liked the texture on the outside and noted the yellow follower for visual confirmation of empty. The magazine seated easily, and I was able to charge up the gun for the next series of tests. This is not something I take for granted as these tolerances are often why people run 28 rounds in their 30-round magazines.

The impression I came away with was the rifle felt like it was built for me. Those places where I came into contact most with the gun were comfortable, and my skin hung on to the over-molded rubber. The trigger felt like Mil-spec +, measured at an average of 6- pounds, broke cleanly, and had a resounding reset.

The Finer Things


Some will undoubtedly balk at the $1,729 MSRP of the V7. To them, I would argue that quality comes with its own rewards. As is, you do not need to upgrade anything as you may on a less expensive gun. Adding a quality optic, like the NightForce NX8, is not necessary, but suggested. The resulting package will definitely satisfy you whether you’re a weekend shooter or a competition shooter. If you only plan to purchase one AR-15, you can’t go wrong with the DDM4 V7 from Daniel Defense.  

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