For those of you new to personal-defense weapons (PDW), the Daniel Defense DDM4 PDW is an AR-15 pistol chambered in the .300 BLK rifle caliber. Because it is legally classified as a pistol rather than a short-barreled rifle (SBR), there is no need to get a federal tax stamp and go through the additional paperwork (and wait time) before purchasing one. The main difference is that the SBR uses a conventional AR-15-style adjustable stock, while the PDW pistol uses a pistol brace.
The DDM4 PDW is an exemplar of quality, toughness, reliability and, for lack of a better term, style. The 7-inch barrel is not only eye-catching but also eye-grabbing. This is due in large part to the linear compensator mounted up front, which directs muzzle blast forward instead of upward. A suppressor can be mounted instead.
Key Features of the DDM4
The DDM4’s 7-inch chrome moly vanadium cold-hammer-forged barrel features a 1×7 twist, optimal for stabilizing supersonic and subsonic bullets. Interestingly, there is proportionally a lot less muzzle velocity loss for the .300 BLK as the barrel gets shorter than there is for the 5.56mm, making the .300 BLK a better candidate for maintaining rifle-like power levels in PDWs.
The Mil-Spec upper and lower receivers are CNC-machined from 7075-T6 aluminum. The operating system is direct impingement, which keeps weight down. The compact 6-inch aluminum M-LOK handguard comes equipped with an SLR plain front handstop to keep your hand in a safe firing position.
While the enlarged bolt-stop and fire control levers aren’t ambidextrous, the GRIP-N-RIP charging handle is. If there is a critical AR component that needs to be ambidextrous, it’s the charging handle. An AR should be kept at the ready with an empty chamber, full magazine and safety in the “off” position — just like a defensive shotgun. With one swift motion of the GRIP-N-RIP, you are ready to deal with any emergency.
The Maxim Defense CQB Pistol Brace is the easiest to operate that I’ve seen. It extends and retracts via a large tab lever underneath the left side of the brace. There is a QD swivel attachment point underneath the buffer tube.
The DDM4 at the Range
I went to my lieutenant’s range for testing on a 30-degree afternoon with a lot of wind blowing in my face. I installed an old Aimpoint Comp II red-dot sight for the test and used SIG Sauer 120-grain HT Premium Grade. It has a muzzle velocity of 2,250 feet per second and 1,349 foot-pounds of energy from a full-length rifle barrel.
This wasn’t one of my better range sessions. Because of the cold, I wasn’t inclined to do extensive testing. Even so, I was able to assess that the DDM4 is a top-end PDW! Accuracy at 50 feet was excellent using the Comp II sight. Functioning was flawless. The five-shot group I fired from 50 feet measured 2 inches in diameter. Recoil, such as it was, was directed gently straight back, with no perceptible muzzle rise. Blast was attention-getting but not objectionable.
The DDM4 PDW is a highly maneuverable arm. The PDW is the only form of AR that I feel is compact enough for room-clearing and interior defense. With the brace collapsed, I can easily carry it in a bug-out bag or while on vacation (where it’s legal).
If your local gun store is currently unable to process orders, I recommend that you plan on obtaining a DDM4 PDW in .300 BLK and a large supply of ammo once the current situation is resolved. It should meet all your close-range — and undoubtedly longer-range — defensive needs. MSRP is $1,865.
Daniel Defense: DanielDefense.com
About Scott W. Wagner
After working undercover in narcotics and liquor investigations, Scott W. Wagner settled down to be a criminal justice professor and police academy commander. He was also a SWAT team member, sniper and assistant team leader before his current position as patrol sergeant with the Village of Baltimore, Ohio, Police Department. Scott is a police firearms instructor certified to train revolver, semi-automatic pistol, shotgun, semi- and fully automatic patrol rifle, and submachine gun.