first published on November 18, 2019 by Josh Brooks[mashshare]
Daniel Defense has been a main stay in my arsenal for a long time. Their rifles have been in my safe since 2009 when I purchased my first fully built AR-15 platform. In the decade I have owned their firearms, there has never been a significant issue or cause for me to doubt the quality of the tools they build.
That’s why I thought it was long overdue for me to review something from Daniel Defense. We just picked up the M4A1, and this is our comprehensive review of the most beard friendly firearm we’ve ever had the pleasure of shooting.
There are a ton of really great options in the AR-15 space. No joke, I don’t think it’s even possible to fully count every single option in one sitting without accidentally forgetting someone. What makes Daniel Defense so special in comparison to all of their competition? In fact, what makes buying a pre-built rifle from a rifle manufacturer worth it at all when you could just build your own rifle much cheaper?
For one, building your own rifle presents a lot of challenges. For some people, those challenges aren’t something that they want to deal with. Gun nuts everywhere love building their own firearms, but in some instances you just want to buy a rifle off of the shelf and not handle all of the headaches that can come from ordering parts to build out a rifle.
When it comes to competition, Daniel Defense has a lot of great things going for it. There is a slight premium on their rifles that could prevent some people from purchasing there, but with that premium you are getting a lot of value. Each and every rifle from Daniel Defense is tested against rugged standards at inception. Here’s a direct quote from Marty Daniel, the company’s founder.
“We love making high quality products and, quite simply, care about our customers more than any of our competitors do. That’s what got me started in this business back in 2000. I like well-made products – products that exceed expectations for accuracy, durability, reliability, style, and value. We know how much our customers care, and that’s what makes working in this business so much fun. Thanks so much to all of our loyal customers, and for those of you new to our brand. Isn’t it time you got a Daniel?”
The M4A1 is a master class in rifle craftsmanship. In it’s entirety, the rifle is crafted from NC machined of 7075-T6 aluminum, type III hard coat anodized. If you don’t know a lot about aluminum, this translates into being an extremely high grade and quality of metal that will stand up to a lot of resistance. (74,000–78,000 psi to be exact.)
When it comes to barrels, the M4A1 is no slacker. A chrome moly vanadium steel, cold hammer forged, 1:7 twist, 14.5″ is present to ensure that you will always get rounds on target. At the end of the barrel is a pinned and welded bird cage flash suppressor from Daniel Defense.
Essentially, the M4A1 is a true Mil-Spec rifle. You can see the rest of the information in the specifications list below, or by clicking on this link.
Out on the range, this thing is an absolute monster of a rifle. It is slightly picky when it comes to the ammunition types you feed it, but with a little extra lubrication you can get this thing to chew through even low quality steel cased ammunition. Obviously, we don’t recommend this as it causes extra wear and tear on the rifle’s extractor, but in a pinch you can make it happen with the M4A1.
If you plan on only running cheap steel cased ammunition through your rifle, we do not recommend making the Daniel Defense M4A1 your every day shooter. You will be able to get it to run the ammunition, but there will be a bit of a struggle at first and it will cause a ton of extra wear and tear to the extractor. If that’s not the case for you though, and you like to run high quality ammunition through your rifle, this thing is a dream come true.
With high quality ammunition in the rifle, we ran over 1,000 rounds through the weapon over the course of a week. Not a single piece of brass failed to fire or extract. The GRIP-N-RIP charging handle that comes stock on the rifle is also perfect for right amd left handed shooter straight out of the box.
We’d rate the Daniel Defense M4A1 a 10 out of 10. It’s worth every dollar. Seriously.
When we took this out to the range, we had four different shooters of varying skill levels use the weapon. Not a single shooter had a complaint, and two of our bearded shooters commented on the Daniel Defense stock. For those of you with beards, you’ll understand the struggle of shooting with a standard M4 stock. If you don’t have a beard, let’s just say that sometimes the standard M4 style stock has a habit of chewing your hair off of your face.
The M4A1 sports a glass filled polymer stock with rubber pads. This means that even a heavily bearded shooter can get a good cheek weld on the stock of the rifle, without worrying about losing any of their facial hair in the process. This stock may be the best stock for bearded shooters that currently exists.
Personally, Daniel Defense is one of my favorite rifle makers. For the past decade they have obtained a permanent spot in my rifle safe. Without a shadow of doubt, I recommend anyone in the market for a new AR-15 to give this company and their rifles a look.
Specifically, the Daniel Defense M4A1 is another quality rifle notch in the company’s belt. If you purchase the M4A1 from your local gun shop, or online, rest assured that you have purchased yourself a rifle that will last long-term.
That’s just the opinion of one blogger and three other shooters though. Maybe you’ve had a different experience with Daniel Defense in the past, and if that’s the case we would love to hear from you down in the comments.