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Daniel Defense 3-Gun Dominator: The M4V7 Pro 5.56—Full Review.

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To learn more, visit https://danieldefense.com/firearms/caliber/5-56x45mm/daniel-defense-v7r-pro.html.

To purchase on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=M4%20V7.

This week, we got to lay hands to the new Daniel Defense M4V7 Pro, and it is a thing of beauty. I always get a little excited in the pants looking at new DDs, and sometimes Daniel Defense rifles too. They built the upper for the SOPMOD kits we had back in the day (and still do for all I know), and it was a huge leap forward over the old busted M4s we had prior to that. Black Creek, GA, has always turned out tough, high-quality products, and this V7 was no exception.

the M4V7 Pro from Daniel Defense is purpose-built for 3-Gun competition and competitive shooting.

the M4V7 Pro from Daniel Defense is purpose-built for 3-Gun competition.

SPECS

  • Chambering: 5.56 NATO
  • Barrel: 18 inches
  • OA Length: 34.75 to 37.90 inches
  • Weight: 7.4 pounds
  • Stock: Collapsible
  • Sights: None
  • Action: Direct gas impingement
  • Finish: Matte black
  • Capacity: 32+1
  • MSRP: $1,849

The V7 is purpose-built for 3-Gun competitions, and in that role it performs exceedingly well. It would also make a fantastic designated marksman’s rifle if that is more your game.  The gun isn’t light, but at 7.4 lbs, it isn’t exactly heavy either. My thought on lightweight ARs is generally that maybe you should try going to the gym. You always pay to some degree in a light barrel profile in accuracy, at least from what I have seen so far.  I really like that Daniel Defense kept the barrel profile of this gun thick, and it shows in the accuracy department (more on that later). All the weight saving they did is in the furniture and hand guard, which still makes the gun feel balanced. The only pencil barrel AR I own is my Larue PredatAR, and it is only 0.25-pounds lighter than this DD, both having an 18-inch barrel.

The Details

The butt stock and grip of the V7 are built by Daniel Defense in-house, and they are pretty unique. The butt stock has a rubber inlay where it meets your cheek, with, for lack of a better term, tire treads. The rubber is soft so it’s not uncomfortable, but you feel it grab you a little. This helps keep your cheek from sliding around, ensuring the same cheek weld for accuracy. The butt stock has some tight tolerances, with none of the movement you normally feel in a collapsible stock, but it moves freely when the lock is depressed. I also really liked that the lock device for moving the butt stock is up and out of the way, ensuring you don’t accidentally depress it. Nothing like accidentally compressing your rifle in the middle of a 400-point aggregate, or into a “no shoot” target. The pads on the back of the butt stock are interchangeable for thickness (I will just leave this joke right here), or you can run it with no pad at all, depending on your size and shape. I really liked the thinner pad without a set of armor on; it made the length of pull ideal for me. The pistol grip has the same rubber inlay around it, and has a much straighter angle than a normal factory grip. The only thing I dislike about the grip is that it was a bit small for my hand. This is much more a personal preference thing than a design flaw, and I speculate most shooters will like it. Also peculiar to this pistol grip, the trigger guard is one piece with the grip. This eliminates the gap usually found between grip and receiver, and why not?

Packing an 18-inch barrel and an overall weight of just 7.4 pounds, the M4V7 Pro is a pleasure to handle and shoot.

Packing an 18-inch barrel and an overall weight of just 7.4 pounds, the M4V7 Pro is a pleasure to handle and shoot.

The standard trigger is a flat-faced Geissele Automatics Super Dynamic 3 Gun Trigger, which is quite nice. Definitely my second favorite of all the options, and if the world ran out of AR Golds, this would be my go-to. There is a little bit of take-up in the trigger, but it breaks cleanly at 2.5 lbs according to my gauge. The charging handle is a Vltor/BCM Mod 4 Gunfighter, which also features an oversized latch; very important for 3-Gun. There isn’t much reason to use this gun without a magnified optic on it, and competition is also likely to have you running around with a magazine inserted, no round in the chamber. Having an oversized latch helps with both of these problems.

The author fitted out the 5.56 with a Burris XTR II scope for testing.

The butt stock and pistol grip of the M4V7 Pro are Daniel Defense's own proprietary parts and well designed.

The butt stock and pistol grip of the M4V7 Pro are Daniel Defense’s own proprietary parts and well designed.

One of the more outside-the-box solutions on this gun is the dust cover over the bolt carrier group. I have seen a few competition guns that get rid of the dust cover all together, which I think is a mistake. You don’t have to run around the desert very long before you figure out exactly how much dust that cover keeps out of your gun. Outside of tactical reasons, a 3-Gun match is often a dusty affair. Traffic from ATVs and trucks, shotguns hitting a berm, and long days are the norm. Daniel Defense replaced the normal dust cover with a polymer one, making it almost non-existent weight wise. We will see how it holds up, but I see no reason it shouldn’t work out just fine.

The hand guard is skeletonized, but feels built like a tank. It is round-ish, with barely perceptible flat edges at 3,6,9 and 12, which help stabilize the gun when using the environment for support.  The model I tested supports MLOK accessories, so at 15 inches you have plenty of space to add whatever you need. The diameter is comparable to a D-Cell Maglite, which means most hands should be able to get a solid grip on it. Holes are pre-drilled front and rear of both the left and right sides for very low-profile sling attachment.

The muzzle break is a new development from Daniel Defense. They call it the “Muzzle Climb Mitigator,” and from my limited testing it appears to work very well. You don’t know the difference in speed a muzzle brake makes until you have a good one, and this is a good one. It is very small for the job it does, certain to be legal in any shooting competition. I am not sure what it does for flash signature, as I ran out of time before I got to shoot it at night, but if you want this for a baby sniper rifle, it is easy enough to swap out.

the dust cover on the rifle is an effective polymer unit that worked well for the author.

the dust cover on the rifle is an effective polymer unit that worked well for the author.

The barrel is topped off with the companys "Muzzle Climb Mitigator" for taming perceived recoil.

The barrel is topped off with the companys “Muzzle Climb Mitigator” for taming perceived recoil.

Also new to this package, the Daniel Defense 32-round magazine. I always hold judgment on a plastic magazine until it has seen at least one summers use, but so far this one works great. It fits 32 rounds in the space of a standard issue 30, and more bullets is always better. I have written elsewhere about the trade-off of prone position use and extended magazines, but the height added by the 32 rounds and base plate is minimal. If nothing else, this is a great addition to the competitor’s tool box. We have all seen the 31 target array to force a reload, or the position you wish you had a ¼ inch of help on the base. Hell, I have at least once walked to the line with 2x 20 rounders in my redimag. It is worth having one of these in your bag for just in case.

The hand guard on the rifle is skeletonized for light weight and as tested could accept MLOK accessories.

The hand guard on the rifle is skeletonized for light weight and as tested could accept MLOK accessories.

Where It Counts

Let’s revisit the barrel profile from the opening paragraph. I said the trade-off of a thicker profile is generally increased rigidity, which leads to better accuracy. This was the true moneymaker for this Daniel Defense. The last group I shot with some Black Hills 77-grain ammo was so tight, I wish I had a micrometer instead of a plastic ruler from Staples. Granted, I wasn’t set up for Marquis of Queensberry rules of record setting, but I am also not known for fudging my numbers. My five-shot, 100-meter group (with the rifle equipped with a Burris XTR II) measured just over .27 inches, which is damn impressive for an AR. The gun may actually shoot a tighter group, it is now limited by the shooter. Usually if a gun shoots a ½ inch group, I am impressed. That is also about the limit as a shooter that I can guarantee, and only then on a good day. I have only had one other AR in all my years that would match that group size. With this gun, if you can’t hit what you are aiming at, you know what the problem is. Even though I need another AR like I need a hole in the head, I am sorely tempted to write a check for this one, just for the future purpose of testing ammo.

The author was able to wring out some really impressive groups with the rifle.

The author was able to wring out some really impressive groups with the rifle.

The author tested some of the new Daniel Defense 32-round magazines. They are negligibly longer than a standard 30 rounder.

The author tested some of the new Daniel Defense 32-round magazines. They are negligibly longer than a standard 30 rounder.

To learn more, visit https://danieldefense.com/firearms/caliber/5-56x45mm/daniel-defense-v7r-pro.html.

To purchase on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=M4%20V7.

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