Daniel Defense builds some of the most consistently reliable AR-platform rifles available. I’ve tested several, and they all worked regardless of the environment, the conditions or their configurations with various types of ammunition. When it comes to short-barreled rifles (SBRs), you’d be hard pressed to find a better manufacturer. Even with a sound suppressor mounted, they just seem to run and run. Daniel Defense’s ARs are simple direct-impingement builds designed for those going into harm’s way, yet they’re available for anyone. The company’s MK18 is one such a rifle, and I recently had the chance to run one through its paces.

During a recent SureFire event for gun writers, several Daniel Defense rifles were available for use. This was a real training school with some pretty intense instruction at times. During a High Risk Executive Protection course taught at the event by Solutions Group International, my Daniel Defense MK18 ran without a hitch, prompting me to request an MK18 for testing at my home range for a more in-depth evaluation.

The MK18 I received was just as reliable. It has a 10.3-inch barrel, weighs 5.88 pounds unloaded, and has an overall length of only 26.75 inches with the Daniel Defense stock—a new design with rubber overmolding—fully retracted. The grip is also a new Daniel Defense design with matching rubber overmolding. The controls are all standard AR, and the quad-rail handguard mates seamlessly with the flattop upper, providing plenty of space for mounting sights and optics.

The carbine acquitted itself well, even while I ran it through a number of rapid-fire drills in 100-plus degree heat. Take a quick look at my video to watch the MK18 in action, and keep your eyes peeled for a full review in an upcoming issue of SPECIAL WEAPONS FOR MILITARY & POLICE. To subscribe, visit

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