There are certain firearms manufacturers that are always on the top of the “must-have” list.

Daniel Defense is one of those companies. No matter whom I talk to, when Daniel Defense is mentioned, the opinion is always positive. Daniel Defense is an industry leader in development of all things AR, and it continues to bring exciting new products and enhancements to market.

Last year, Daniel Defense launched its V11 series, which features the company’s newest lightweight KeyMod rail. This series of rifles has been very popular for Daniel Defense since its release, and the company has responded by enhancing and expanding the lineup.

With the growing popularity of 3-Gun competitions, Daniel Defense has identified room for expansion and another venue for its mil-spec rifles. The V11 Pro goes beyond the 16-inch barrel of the standard V11 and adds an 18-inch, cold-hammer-forged barrel. Daniel Defense believes in the benefits of hammer forging and invested in machines of its own to churn out these durable and very accurate components. This 18-inch barrel features a 1-in-7-inch twist rate and is salt-bath nitrided. A rifle-length gas system is onboard, making the V11 Pro a real gem to shoot. After putting some rounds downrange with the V11 Pro, I found it quite comfortable, smooth and controllable. It’s amazing how good an AR can be when it is built to
run using the properly tuned gas system.

Daniel Defense’s new 15-inch SLiM Rail provides a rock-solid mounting platform out front. The company’s popularity arose from, if nothing else, its excellent quad-rail design, and it has transferred that same excellence into these KeyMod-style SLiM Rails, which stands for “slim,” “lightweight” and “modular.” It satisfies all designations. The SLiM rail achieves its intended goals while keeping that familiar Daniel Defense look and feel. It is extremely light yet offers a strong and precise “one-piece” feel.

In fact, it feels as if the V11 Pro rifle were machined all from one piece. Not all ARs are able to achieve this. The rail’s 15-inch length allows the shooter to get their support hand out closer to the muzzle. This allows you to get more leverage out front so that you can drive the gun from target to target. KeyMod’s thinness, cleanness and lack of “biting” Picatinny slots is immediately evident. Should you opt to use your V11 Pro for general shooting, the SLiM Rail will continue to shine, especially with the assortment of Daniel Defense’s accessories for the KeyMod rail. Accessory attachment locations are in the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions on this rail, and everything from Harris bipod adaptors to weapon light mounts are available directly from Daniel Defense.

The company didn’t stop there, however. It has also outfitted the V11 Pro with a Geissele Super Dynamic 3 Gun Trigger. This trigger is amazing with a very light and short trigger pull and equally short reset. The V11 Pro Series comes with two different springs: a 3-pound black one that is installed and a 4.5-gold one. The trigger face is flat and should allow for consistent trigger manipulation. The Dynamic 3 Gun Trigger is meant for rapid-fire shooting in a competition setting.

Although there is already a soft-shooting, rifle-length gas system, Daniel Defense has looked to further decrease recoil effects on the shooter by offering a muzzle device of its own design, the Muzzle Climb Mitigator, which comes standard on the V11 Pro. It is the company’s second iteration of the device, and it’s designed to improve performance over the previous model.

Inside the receiver is Daniel Defenses’ consistent, straightforward approach of mil-spec internals, including MP-/HP-tested parts, a staked gas key and an H-buffer. It also features a BCM Gunfighter Mod 4 charging handle. This formula means that the V11 Pro will be a very effective tool during competition or any other shooting scenario. Daniel Defense’s glass-filled polymer pistol grip and adjustable buttstock finish off the V11 Pro’s hard-use features. These pieces feature “soft touch” overmolding and have a great feel. I personally think this buttstock is one of the better-feeling stocks on the market.

SLiM Operator

While the DDM4 carbine is the standard offering from Daniel Defense, its roots lie in the V9 series, which was extremely popular and it’s easy to see why. The M4V11 has a free-floating, 16-inch, government-profile, chrome moly, cold-hammer-forged barrel. Barrel twist doesn’t change from the 1-in-7-inch twist rate that appears in the all of the company’s 5.56mm-chambered barrels. The 16-inch length is pretty standard fare and the most popular with shooters, generating acceptable, effective velocities. Daniel Defense’s cold-hammer-forged barrels have always been extremely accurate. Sub-MOA accuracy from your standard, off-the-shelf DDM4 carbine shouldn’t come as a surprise. Performance like this typically comes from several different types of ammo as well. The barrel on the M4V11 is given a Daniel Defense 17-4 PH stainless steel Flash Suppressor, which is salt-bath nitrided, instead of the Muzzle Climb Mitigator.

The upper receiver is machined from 7075-T6 aluminum and reliability is ensured with M4-style feed ramps. The handguard is the same 15-inch SLiM Rail that appears on the V11 Pro, which means there is plenty of room for you to get a hold of the M4V11 during operation. It also means there is plenty of room to add Daniel Defense’s own brand of KeyMod accessories, like its offset flashlight mount, bipod adaptor and reversible QD swivel attachment point. The company also makes a 1 o’clock offset rail as well. The rifle’s mil-spec lower is machined from the same 7075-T6 aluminum as the upper and gets a mil-spec trigger with a break of roughly 6 to 8 pounds.

Further adding to the already attractive nature of the M4V11’s feature set is its gray-toned Tornado Cerakote finish. Black guns are cool, but grey guns are even cooler. The M4V11’s components can more than back up the performance claims of Daniel Defense, and adding this awesome color only makes this carbine more desirable. The Tornado doesn’t just look good, it is also an anti-reflective finish that is also more durable than other coatings on the market and very resistant to heat.

Lightweight Combo

Looking for something that offers all of the benefits of the M4V11 but in a lighter package? Then look no further than the DDM4V11LW (Lightweight) and DDM4V11SLW (Short Lightweight). These offerings feature all of the reliable mil-spec components of the V11 series, but with a couple of differences.

The Lightweight comes with a thin, free-floated, lightweight-profile barrel. This 16-inch, cold-hammer-forged barrel still features all the excellent specs of the V11 series—chrome-moly construction, chromed lining, 1-in-7-inch twist—but its profile significantly cuts the felt weight of the carbine. The Short Lightweight gets a shortened 14.5-inch version of the same barrel, further reducing the weight. Both the Lightweight and Short Lightweight have mid-length gas systems, and the 16-inch barrels get the DD flash suppressor, while the 14.5-inch versions get an extended, pinned and welded flash suppressor to keep its length legally compliant.

Spec-Ops 5.56

You can’t talk about Daniel Defense without discussing the MK18. The MK18 is an SBR version widely recognized for it its adaptation by USSOCOM and its use by elite special operations personnel. Daniel Defense is the sole provider of the RIS II rail that SOCOM uses on its MK18s. The MK18 is sold as a complete weapon or as an upper only. The MK18 is classified as an NFA weapon, which means you’ll need to go through the appropriate process to acquire one. Or if you have an appropriately registered lower, you can just order the MK18 upper.

The MK18 features a 10.3-inch, cold-hammer-forged, chrome-lined barrel with a 1-in-7-inch twist rate. The rifle is chambered in 5.56 NATO and comes with an attached Daniel Defense flash suppressor. The barrel is MP tested and Heavy phosphate coated. M4-style feed ramps and a mil-spec, MP-tested bolt carrier group with a properly staked gas key are expected in a battle-proven platform like the MK18, and they are indeed included on the design. Additionally, the MK18 offers a carbine-length gas system as well.

The complete gun comes with Daniel Defense’s own pistol grip and buttstock to accompany its typical mil-spec goodies and standard AR controls. The MK18 is one of those iconic weapons that you should definitely have in your collection if you can swing it.

You might think that there is only so much a company can do with the AR-15 platform, but Daniel Defense continually adds more products to the mix and pushes its rifles to the next level while keeping the quality high and the usefulness of its offerings legit. You can’t go wrong by picking up a Daniel Defense rifle.

For more information, visit or call 866-554-4867.        

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