“You’re going to have a lot of fun with that pistol!” Those were the first words out of my friend Tom, owner of Shooters Den, when I lifted the Daniel Defense DDM4 PDW from its shipping case. I replied, “Yes, yes, I am…”
When I spoke with Daniel Defense about reviewing one of their firearms, I asked for their long-range, semi-automatic rifle, the DD5 V4. But they told me, “Our emphasis right now is getting the word out about our PDW.” It didn’t take much convincing to get me to give one a try.
Though DD also agreed to send me a DD5 rifle, the die was cast for me to also get my hands on their new — just released at the SHOT Show in January — DDM4 PDW.
Daniel Defense is making the DDM4 PDW in two configurations, both chambered in 300 Blackout; a SBR and this pistol version with a brace. Both have cold hammer-forged 1:7 barrels that are ideal for use either with or without a suppressor.
My first impressions of this ultra-compact personal defense weapon was “man, it’s tiny…and way-cool!”
With a barrel length and OAL of only 7″ and 20.75″, respectively, and an unloaded weight of 5.7 lbs, this is an extremely compact package that carries comfortably in a backpack for transport to the range. It would also make an awfully good truck gun, too.
The compact DDM4 PDW pistol with arm brace is a compact, lightweight and versatile little weapon that works well in a wide variety of situations.
Daniel Defense equips the DDM4 PDW with a number of upgraded features like Daniel’s ambidextrous GRIP-N-RIP charging handle which is designed for shooting with a suppressor.
The GRIP-N-RIP has gas ports cut in to redirect gasses away from the shooter’s face.
The DDM4 PPW also features an ambidextrous fire control switch and an over-sized bolt release. The magwell is flared and the lower features a QD swivel point attachment for a sling.
Other features of note include a Daniel Defense-made linear compensator that directs the blast from that short barrel forward and away from the operator.
There’s a CNC-machined 6-inch version of Daniel’s MFR XL free-floated aluminum hand guard with plenty of M-LOK connection space.
Daniel Defense also includes a SLR M-LOK MOD2 hand stop that keeps the shooter’s forward hand away from the muzzle end of that short, seven-inch barrel.
The DDM4 PDW comes standard with a Maxim Defense CQB Pistol Brace that, when extended, adds an additional four inches to the pistol’s overall length beyond the end of the buffer tube.
With the Maxim brace fully extended, the DDM4 PDW is still only about 21 inches in overall length making it easily portable or stowed away in a trunk.
The DDM4 PDW ships with one standard 30-round Magpul AR 300 PMAG. I tested the DDM4 PDW with a Vortex SPARC AR Red Dot optic.
The Daniel Defense DDM4 PDW is, well, a personal defense weapon. That means it’s intended to be used as a home defense gun or a firearm you can stow in your trunk and use at close ranges to protect yourself and your family. But man, it’s also a hoot to shoot at the range.
While it’s light and easy to transition from target to target, just as you’d expect, I was amazed at the accuracy I got out of this pistol, even with subsonic loads.
Here’s another of my targets — this time a 20-shot group fired from the same rest at 50-yards — proving that in addition to a good self-defense tool, the Daniel Defense DDM4 PDW is a shooter as well.
Being a PDW 50-yards or more isn’t the range at which this firearm is intended to be used, but this is no ‘spray-and-pray’ weapon. If the DDM4 PDW is needed for personal defense, it will provide the operator with the comfort of knowing it’s not only reliable but also very accurate.
If all you ever do is take the DDM4 PDW out to the range – which I sincerely hope is the case – it’s plenty of fun.
In this age where so many are trying to heap shame on those who love guns, we gun owners may sometimes forget why we love them so much. Maybe what we forget, and seem apologetic for sometimes, is that shooting firearms is just plain fun.
The Daniel Defense DDM4 PDW is a light, compact, maneuverable firearm that’s ideally designed as a versatile personal defense weapon. It would also terrorize feral hog populations should that be an issue where you live. But maybe best of all, it’s all kinds of fun to shoot.
Caliber: 300 Blackout
Barrel Length: 7″ (1:7 twist for compatibility with sub- and supersonic loads)
Barrel Material: 4150 chrome moly vanadium steel, cold hammer forged
Overall Length: 20 3/4″ – 24 3/4″
Weight: 5.7 lbs
Muzzle Device: Linear compensator
Capacity: One Magpul 30-round AR 300 B GEN M3 PMAG included
Ratings (out of five stars):
Style * * * *
I’m definitely a traditionalist in that I love beautiful wood stocks and blued finishes on my firearms. This AR-pattern pistol is all machined aluminum, bristly Picatinny rails and MLOK slots. But with its short barrel and adjustable-length arm brace, the DDM4 PDW is a cool looking firearm…as cool as an AR pistol can be.
Fit and Finish: * * * * *
The parts of the DDM5 PDW show no signs of rough edges, machining marks or slop. Part joins are smooth and even and the coatings — whether on the cold hammer forged barrel or the machined aluminum upper and lower — are glass-smooth. Exactly as you’d want in a firearm at this price point.
Ergonomics * * * * *
At 5.7 pounds unloaded and an overall length as short as of 20 3/4″, this pistol is incredibly maneuverable and easy to handle. The ambidextrous controls and adjustable brace allow the operator to fire the weapon from a variety of positions, making it comfortable and fast to transition between targets.
Accuracy * * * * *
Accuracy at the range was surprisingly good from a short-barreled pistol, much better than expected for this type of firearm at distances beyond those at which a personal defense weapon is intended to be used.
Reliability: * * * * *
Not a single mechanical issue. With its pistol-length gas system, there were no failures to feed, extract or eject no matter the ammo tested.
Overall * * * * *
I challenged the Daniel Defense DDM4 PDW to perform in situations well outside of its raison d’être and it performed flawlessly. It’s not inexpensive, but the pistol’s compact, lightweight design and quality construction make in an excellent home defense or trunk gun option. When I expressed my surprise to a fellow-shooter at how well and accurately the PDW was performing, he stated flatly, “It’s what you expect from Daniel Defense.” Enough said.
Mike Arnold writes for a number of outlets; links to other articles can be found here.
[All photos and video courtesy of Frances and Mike Arnold.]