As I mentioned in my top five firearms based on round count list, the Daniel Defense DDM4 V11 is overdue for its 1,000 round review. This review is going to be tricky as the accessories have changed quite a bit in that first 1,000 rounds which took place over the course of more than three years. In that time span, I learned quite a bit about shooting in general. As my knowledge grew, my perspective evolved. In turn, how the DDM4 was configured changed. So hold onto your pants, this review is going to be, if nothing else, all over the place and a little odd.
I suspect the thing most folks want to know is whether or not the rifle has remained reliable. The answer to that is a resounding yes. It has been very reliable. In the grand scheme of things, 1,000 rounds isn’t anywhere near high mileage. Sure some parts have developed some shiny spots as one can expect, but nothing has broken and I can’t recall a single stoppage. Granted, I have kept it very well lubricated and mostly clean. I’ve had a number of folks ask how I tuned it to have such a consistent 4 o’clock ejection pattern and the truth is I haven’t changed a thing internally. It has the stock buffer spring and weight, stock trigger group, stock gas system, and stock bolt carrier group. I haven’t even changed the charging handle even though I’ve been meaning to. I will say that I’ve noticed the ejection pattern isn’t quite as consistent when I run the rifle suppressed (more on this in a bit), but it’s maintained an impeccable reliability nevertheless. Honestly, there is nothing to report in regards to the operation of the rifle. It’s still as accurate and as reliable as it was out of the box, which is probably why this 1,000 round review is overdue. Well, that and most of the accessories that I’ve swapped out have been reviewed independently.
Honestly, that pretty much sums up the 1,000 round follow up as far as the rifle is concerned. However, I also suspect there are some who are still reading this that may want to know about the changes that it’s been through and what’s on the horizon for it. I’ll start with the changes it’s been through and will address them in chronological order.
The very first thing that I changed on the rifle was replacing the Burris Fullfield TAC30 Riflescope Tactical Kit, which served as the sighting system on the rifle, with a Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8x24mm LPVO. There were a few contributing factors that led to this decision. The first factor was that my wife picked an earlier generation Strike Eagle scope for her AR-15 and I liked it better than the LPVO I had on the DDM4. However, that wasn’t enough. At that time, I still didn’t know enough about scopes and reticles to see a benefit over one scope over the other. I just knew I liked it better, which was purely subjective. The next contributing factor was the praise that the LPVO received from Sean Hoffman when I took his Tactical Pistol/Rifle Course late in 2019. What finally tipped me over the edge to make the change were the improvements that Vortex Optics made on the reticle, the AR-BDC3 reticle, for the next generation Strike Eagle combined with what I had learned about reticles and scopes so far.
Not long after installing the Strike Eagle, I was drawn to the idea of adding an offset mounted red dot sight to the rifle as a secondary sighting system which would work better for close range target work. This made a lot of sense since at the time my intention for the DDM4 was to serve as a general purpose rifle which included the role of a home defense rifle. While I hadn’t quite decided on the red dot I wanted to go with, I started looking at mounting options for that set up and found the Badger Ordnance Condition One Modular Mount (COMM). The mount was highly regarded by many folks I trusted and knew more than I did at the time and offered several modular add ons including the ability to mount an offset red dot sight as long as that sight used one of the four leading mounting footprints. So the Burris AR-P.E.P.R. that was included with the Fullfield TAC30 Kit was replaced with a Badger Ordnance COMM mount.
The most obvious next change to me was adding the offset red dot. I landed on the Aimpoint Micro T-2. This wasn’t an easy decision as the T-2 is not exactly a budget optic. Furthermore, I was already in the process of obtaining a suppressor that I intended to use on this and other rifles which was yet another not exactly budget friendly project. However, I knew that I wanted an enclosed emitter red dot sight. This bias was heavily influenced by the ongoing notion that the DDM4’s role was a general purpose rifle. As such, a rugged enclosed emitter was ideal in order to handle the abuse it would receive in the field and protect it from debris. Furthermore, since that general purpose role included home defense, I didn’t want to compromise on the quality of the optic as I may someday need to depend on it to defend the home and the loved ones that reside in it. The T-2 fit the bill and so it was acquired along with the required COMM mounting accessories and that was that.
After that and while waiting for approvals on the suppressor, it dawned on me that the Strike Eagle LPVO was the only budget friendly accessory still mounted on what I considered to be my most important rifle given its role. As such, I did what any enthusiast would do and started considering better LPVO options. This took place not long after Vortex had introduced the first one to ten power first focal plane (FFP) low powered variable optic rifle scope into the market, the Vortex Razor HD Gen III. This was also shortly after I had developed a very strong preference for FFP reticles. It took some time to put sufficient cash aside for the purchase and find the right deal before pulling the trigger on the purchase which also required the purchase of a new COMM mount given the Razor Gen III had a larger tube than then Strike Eagle that was on the DDM4. Eventually, the stars aligned and the acquisition took place.
It was right around the same time that the Razor Gen III was acquired and I took possession of the SilencerCo Omega 300 suppressor that I had been waiting on. That led to the replacement of the stock A2 run of the mill birdcage muzzle device on the DDM4 with a SilencerCo ASR flash hider in order to allow attachment of the Omega 300 to the DDM4.
At this point, the DDM4 could do just about everything I could ask for from a general purpose rifle. I had the optics that supported rapid engagement of targets at close ranges to engagement of targets at the maximum effective distance of the 5.56 cartridge out of a 16″ barrel. I could run the rifle suppressed or unsuppressed. The only thing that was missing was an illumination device for low light engagements. So I solved that with the acquisition of a Modlite OKW rifle mounted light, a Keymod mounting adapter for it, and a ModButton pressure switch.
That’s the configuration that the DDM4 has been in for quite some time. While I used this configuration lightly in a training course and have used it quite a bit at static ranges, it wasn’t until I attempted to run it at speed at a local pistol and carbine match a few months ago that I realized that this configuration is far too heavy to do anything with for an extended period of time. Furthermore, the whole general purpose motif, while adequate for a number of different applications, doesn’t really excel at any particular thing. This got me rethinking the whole general purpose thing altogether. In theory, it sounds nice. Perhaps, in practice it isn’t half bad. However, out of all the things I can do with this rifle, home defense is the most important. As such, there are some things I’d like to do to reconfigure this rifle from a general purpose rifle to a home defense rifle.
The most obvious change to me is removing the Razor Gen III LPVO and the COMM mount while keeping the Aimpoint Micro T-2 as the primary sighting system. That alone would reduce the weight significantly. That change will certainly make engaging targets at medium to long distances virtually a nonstarter, but that’s not something I expect a home defense rifle to do.
Another thing that I may consider is looking at a shorter or lighter suppressor for the rifle. The suppressor is important to me for the home defense application as it provides hearing protection for everyone in the household. A lighter and shorter suppressor would make the rifle more maneuverable in tight quarters as well. That’s not a high priority for me, but it would be nice and it could potentially support better match performance whenever I compete with the rifle in the future. Again, this is not a necessary change, rather a charge that would simply be nice to have.
The timeline for these changes is a bit nebulous, but changes are on the horizon for this rifle nevertheless. However, I will share updates as they happen via social media and will summarize them in the 2,000 round update (which probably won’t be for a good while).