One of the main things that make the modern AR platform so versatile, is adaptability. The potential customization and configurations are endless. Whether it’s an AR-15, an AR-10, an AR-9, or an AR with .300 Blackout, and so on, you have options. Many serious shooters and firearms aficionados prefer building or customizing their own ARs, and swear by the practice. In fact, some of them live by it, and publicly shame and castigate those who do not. It’s a great option, but let’s not go crazy, guys. For those who want a great gun, but don’t want to build their own, no worries. There are options — several good options. The Daniel Defense AR is one of the best on the market. It might be one of the very best “non-custom,” high-level ARs one can buy.
Yes, I have one of these Daniel Defense ARs. It was not given to me for evaluation or through any kind of sponsorship. This gun was purchased because of what it is, and what one gets from Daniel Defense. I am quite happy with that rifle.
For clarity, it’s not an entry- or mid-level AR. If the $2,000 Daniel Defense price tag is out of your budget, don’t think you are lost in the sea of options with no options. It is possible to find very good, decent ARs, from much less money. You still have options. With that said, the Daniel Defense AR is worth it, if that price is something you can justify. Especially if the intent is to own only one AR and not multiple ARs.
Daniel Defense AR Models
Daniel Defense offers several different models of ARs, in several different configurations. For AR-15s, they offer different barrel lengths, and in both 5.56mm NATO or .300 Blackout. In the AR-10, they offer three calibers: .308 Winchester/7.62 x 51mm, 6.5mm Creedmoor, and .260 Remington. For the AR-10 models, they offer two barrel lengths in each of those calibers. They also offer AR pistols in various configurations for 5.56mm or .300 Blackout.
Be aware that the AR-10 models are going to be a bit more expensive than the AR-15s. These calibers are made for longer-range shooting and more reach than the AR-15, and more accuracy. The heavier, and more precise gun, the higher the cost.
With that in mind, I find the Daniel Defense AR to be inherently an accurate rifle. I own the DDM4 V7, and I can consistently stretch the reach of the 5.56mm round. With a 6x scope, hitting 500-meter targets is possible. Even though the 5.56mm loses considerable energy at that distance, of course, this gun will get you there. The Chrome Moly Vanadium Steel, Cold Hammer Forged, 1:7 Twist, 16” barrel is accurate. I have achieved sub-MOA results with my Daniel Defense AR and decent ammo. That is something Daniel Defense can brag about. There are no excuses with this gun.
Daniel Defense AR Materials and Construction
One of the things that bring value to firearms, pretty much like anything else, is the quality. And in this case, the quality and construction that Daniel Defense offers in their guns, are exactly what helps set them apart.
The machining and manufacturing from their factories are tight, consistent, and also, guaranteed. Daniel Defense guarantees their work with “a 100% satisfaction guarantee against defects in original materials and workmanship.” I believe them.
I have made a couple of slight modifications to my Daniel Defense AR. Not because of anything wrong or any deficiencies on their end, but for personal preference. I do see online that some people have replaced the “stock” trigger, for example. While the rifles all ship with their standard, stock, mil-spec trigger, you might be able to resist the urge to change it. Daniel Defense might make one of the best mil-spec triggers on the market. I have wanted to change it a few times.
However, each time I go out and shoot, I really have little to complain about, so I change my mind again. Sure, a new trigger could reduce the weight of the trigger pull. But it’s so crisp, and has a great “breakpoint,” that I don’t find it overly heavy or getting in the way of more accurate shots. Save the money for something else.
If I were to find any fault in any part or manufacturing of the gun, it’s the stock charging handle. In full disclosure, that is a combination of my personal preference, and the product itself. I am not a fan of “standard” mil-spec, stock, cheap, charging handles. They grind inside the upper receiver and are not ambidextrous. So, I replaced it. Too easy, Drill Sergeant. Now my Daniel Defense AR rocks even more.
If You Are Only Going to Buy One AR
If you are only going to buy one AR, and don’t want to have an arsenal in your house like many of us… buy this one. Or, if you don’t feel confident and competent enough to do the work of assembling and configuring your own AR, and just want something good you can rely on, this is your gun. If you do want to have multiple ARs and want to add a good one to your arsenal… this could be it. In any of those scenarios, you won’t go wrong.
I could go on and on, and keep talking about how amazing the Daniel Defense AR is. After a while, it would just start to sound weird. Maybe even a bit creepy. But… I am a true believer. Well done, Marty Daniel.
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