When it was originally fielded, the M16 became embroiled in controversy. Critical issues involving the barrel, ammunition, powder and maintenance almost derailed the new rifle. In addition, the old guard had a hard time giving up walnut stocks and a .30 caliber bullet for a plastic “space gun” that shot a .22! Now, 45 years later, the M16 and its variants have become the symbol of the American military, and the design is the choice rifle for many countries around the world.
The M16’s technical package is in the public domain, which has resulted in more manufacturers than can be reasonably counted. However, one company has established an identity and reputation that places it at the very top of the list, Daniel Defense. Marty Daniel founded Daniel Defense in 2000 with only one product, a sling adaptor. This was the mustard seed that started the story of what is now a major manufacturer with an international client base.
Daniel Defense has grown from humble beginnings to a staff of over 100 employees. While keeping its original 38,000-square-foot facility in Black Creek, Georgia, the company has expanded to a 90,000-square-foot production facility in South Carolina. What sets Daniel Defense apart from others is the company’s total commitment to quality. To that end, Daniel Defense manufactures, in house, nearly every component of its rifles. This not only includes the barrels, the upper and lower receivers and fire control parts, but the pins and detents as well.
The heart of every Daniel Defense rifle is a quality barrel. All Daniel Defense mil-spec barrels are cold-hammer-forged in house, through intense hydraulic pressure that is applied at opposing angles by carbide steel hammers. During the hammering process, a mandrel is inserted into the bore. The hammers shape the barrel’s chamber, lands and grooves around the mandrel, creating a defect-free bore and a consistent chamber. Every barrel is magnetic-particle (MP) tested to ensure there are no hidden flaws or fractures. All of the rifles are equipped with an M16 bolt carrier group that meets all military specifications.
For 2014, Daniel Defense introduced several new models and upgraded some of the standard rifles. The first item readers will notice is the new stock and pistol grip. Daniel Defense has designed a new stock and pistol grip that is ergonomically designed and features rubber over-molded panels. New for 2014 is the M4v9 LW carbine. The M4v9 LW features a 16-inch, lightweight-profile barrel that is matched with a 15-inch DDM4 quad rail. This combination gives the user the maximum length of rail. This configuration is combined with a mid-length gas system that offers smoother recoil impulse. The M4v9 is also available with a standard profile barrel. The M4v9 is also one of the models being offered in the new Daniel Defense Tornado CereKote finish, which is a gray color that is ideal for urban environments.
Ambush 6.8 SPCII
Daniel Defense also offers a line of sporting and hunting rifles under the Ambush line of rifles. The Ambush 6.8 SPCII is chambered in the popular 6.8mm cartridge that offers improved ballistics over the 5.56mm/.223 cartridges. The Ambush 6.8 SPCII features the standard Daniel Defense quality parts, including a 12-inch, free-floated, low profile smooth rail, an adjustable foregrip and a two-stage Geissele Super Semi-Auto (SSA) trigger. This allows the hunter to get the most out of the barrel.
The DDM4v5 is a workhorse carbine that is ideally suited for security, law enforcement and personal defense. The M4v5 features a 16-inch lightweight barrel with a 12-inch DDM4 rail. The DDM4V5 uses a mid-length, low profile gas system that makes it easy to control and facilitates soft shooting. Weighing just 6.15 pounds, the DDM4v5 is a perfect everyday rifle. It is also available in the new Cerakote finish.
The MK12 is Daniel Defense’s equivalent of the Army Marksmanship Unit’s 5.56mm SPR. The MK12 is constructed around an 18-inch stainless steel barrel with a rifle-length gas system that is built to Crane/SOCOM specifications. It is equipped with the 12-inch DDM4 rail that provides room for accessories without adding unnecessary weight. Designed as a precision rifle, the MK12 is equipped with the Geissele two-stage SSA trigger. In addition, the company equips the MK12 with a VLTOR Mod 4 charging handle.
Perhaps the company’s most unique rifle is the DDM4ISR (Integrally Suppressed Rifle). The ISR is chambered in the popular 300 BLK and is designed to take advantage of the versatility of that cartridge. The ISR uses the Daniel Defense Modular Float Rail and a 10.3-inch barrel with a pistol-length gas system. The suppressor is integral to the barrel and extends the length of the barrel to 16 inches. Given this design, the ISR requires only one NFA tax stamp for the suppressor. The core of the suppressor can be removed for cleaning. The ISR uses all of the same quality components as the rest of the Daniel Defense family of rifles.
Other popular Daniel Defense rifles include the MK18. The MK18 is a clone of the carbine used by U.S. SOCOM and features a 10.3-inch barrel and the RIS II rail. While the company offers select-fire rifles to government agencies, there is a NFA-approved semi-automatic. This allows the MK18 SBR to be sold to any qualified buyer through the customer’s local FFL dealer.
Daniel Defense is extremely responsive to the market, and to feedback from its customers. For a look at the complete line of the company’s rifles, visit
danieldefense.com or call 866-554-4867.