Daniel Defense DDXV Review: Part 1

Daniel Defense recently sent me one of their new DDXV rifles to shoot and review – and now you get to see it in action before anyone else.  This is part 1 of the two part First Look at the new DDXV, with Part 2 taking place LIVE (so watch live) on tomorrow night’s Gun Nuts Radio webcast.  Part one deals with the shooting of the rifle, and tomorrow on Gun Nuts Radio we’re actually going to look at the function and features of the rifle.  Of course, to intro the rifle here are the features as listed on Daniel Defense’s website:

  • Barrel: 16″ Ordanace Grade 4150 MP Tested, Cold Hammer Forged, 1:7 Twist, M4 Profile
  • Bolt Carrier Group: Mil-Spec MP Tested, Properly Staked Gas Key
  • Sights: Daniel Defense A1.5 Fixed Rear Sight; Pinned “F” Marked Front Sight Base
  • Magazine: MAGPUL 30 round PMag in Black

There are several other features, but those are the key items, because they reinforce an important point – this is not an “entry level” M4 clone.   In fact, this is the same gun mechanically as Daniel Defense’s excellent M4 Carbine with the exception that the DDXV does not have the rail system, the Magpul MOE stock, or the forward handgrip.  The sights, barrel, and lower receiver are all the same parts – which means that the DDXV is a top of the line rifle at a fraction of the price.  Of course, none of that is important if it doesn’t shoot – so I hauled it out to Atlanta Conservation Club with Mrs. Ahab in tow to do some shooting.  She had never fired an AR pattern rifle before, so the DDXV was going to get tested twice: first in the hands of an experience shooter, and then in the hands of a neophyte.

(note: click any of the photos in the post to enlarge)

First item of business was to sight the gun in and make sure we were on paper at 25 meters.  I’m generally a fan of the 25/300 zeroing technique for iron sights as it gets the rifle on paper for the most likely defensive ranges I’d use it as a civilian, while at the same time ensuring that it’s on target for a long shot as well.  The DDXV comes with Daniel Defense’s excellent A1.5 fixed sight, which features two apertures, a small one for precision shooting, and a wide, almost ghost ring aperture for up close shooting. Once the rifle was sighted in, the bulk of the shooting was done with the large aperture. But the sighting in process – how well does that rifle shoot?

From Daniel Defense DDXV

Pretty well, I’d say. Three shots at 25 meters, and the only reason that last one isn’t touching is because I jerked the trigger. As far as the shootability of the rifle, it’s excellent. My wife was able to handle the rifle with ease:

From Daniel Defense DDXV
From Daniel Defense DDXV

The light weight and short barrel make the rifle very easy to handle on the move, and of course it feeds reliably from the supplied PMAG. Doing moving and shooting drills, the rifle fed flawlessly, and as long as I didn’t yank the trigger, put the bullets exactly where they were supposed to go.

From Daniel Defense DDXV
From Daniel Defense DDXV

In this image (which I’m going to link to, not insert) you can get an excellent view of the rifle itself – that’s me with the gun in full recoil, so as to be expected from the 5.56 cartridge, recoil is mild, even for my tiny wife.

So what’s the bottom line on the Daniel Defense DDXV? I mean, there is a veritable sea of AR/M4 clones out there, so why should you buy the DDXV? Ultimately, it comes to to quality. The DDXV carries an MSRP of $1199, which means street will be lower than that, and for around $1k you’re getting a rifle with all the same functional mechanical parts as a $1700 rifle. It’s built right, and it’s built to shoot. From the factory you get an accurate, functional rifle with excellent iron sights – you don’t need to do anything to this rifle to make it an excellent home defense carbine. It terms of “no-muss no fuss” defensive weapons, the DDXV does very well for itself, providing an accurate, lightweight platform at a reasonable cost.

Don’t forget to tune in to tomorrow night’s Gun Nuts Radio for Part 2 of the DDXV review! We’ll be looking at the rifle live on camera and taking your questions briefly regarding the gun. But you only get the webcast if you listen live, so make sure you listen in at 9pm Eastern time!

From Daniel Defense DDXV


  1. Caleb,
    Sorry to go OT, but what kind of timer are you wearing on your arm? Just saw it in the banner, and curious minds want to know.
    Thanks for writing!

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