DDM4 V7 vs. DD4 RIII - Demystifying The DD Line

It can be confusing to choose the right AR-style rifle. Even after you’ve decided to go with a Daniel Defense rifle (good choice), you still need to select a firearm that’s going to meet your needs. And, if you decide to go with a rifle from Daniel’s popular DDM4 family, you still need to choose a model that’s right for you from within that product line.  

In this article, we’re going to cover similarities of—and differences between—two very popular families of rifles from Daniel Defense, the DDM4® V7® and the DD4™ RIII™. But before we dive into how these two rifles are different, let’s first cover a few of their similarities.


Caliber: Both of these rifles are chambered in 5.56mm NATO. The versatile 5.56mm NATO is, by far, the most popular caliber for AR15-style rifles, and most DDM4 models fire this caliber. 

Barrel: These two rifles have identical barrels - a 16" cold hammer forged government profile barrel. Cold hammer forging of a barrel is a method that requires specialized machines that forge a barrel through intense hydraulic pressure applied at opposing angles by mechanized steel hammers. A mandrel is inserted into the barrel’s bore and, during the hammering process, hammers shape the barrel around the mandrel, forming the chamber, lands and grooves, and a defect-free bore and remarkably consistent chamber. The process is more time-consuming and expensive than other traditional methods, but it also produces more-accurate, longer-lasting barrels.

Daniel’s 16” Government profile barrel is an extremely durable but lighter-weight barrel forged from 4150 Chrome Moly Vanadium steel and Mil-Spec heavy phosphate coated and chrome lined. It weighs in at only 1.7 pounds.

Mid-Length Gas System: This gas system is only offered by Daniel Defense on 14.5” and 16” barrels. Daniel has done extensive testing to determine that the Mid-length gas system is the best-performing system for these two barrel lengths. 

Furniture: Both rifles sport identical Daniel Defense pistol grips and buttstocks, which are made of glass-filled polymer and feature soft-touch overmolding. This “furniture” helps make these rifles adjustable, comfortable, and extremely maneuverable. 

Overall Length: Both rifles can be adjusted to be any size from 32 ¼” to 35 7/8” long.  

M-LOK & Picatinny Accessory Attachment: The DDM4 V7 and DD4 RIII both feature rails that use popular M-LOK attachment, which provides secure attachment and reduces weight. They also both have an uninterrupted Picatinny rail on top for optics and other accessories. The rail styles, lengths, and weights, however, differ, which we’ll cover below.

Ambi-Safety Selector Lever: These two rifles both feature an ambidextrous safety, which can be easily reversed to put the longer lever on the side of your side of choice.

Ambidextrous GRIP-N-RIP Charging Handle: CNC-machined from 7075-T6 Aluminum, this durable charging handle is easy to grab with either hand and provides a secure purchase.

Bolt Carrier Group: Both rifles feature a durable M16 Profile, Mil-Spec MP Tested, chrome-lined, properly staked gas key BCG that’s tough enough to handle full-auto. So, it can easily handle semi-auto fire for civilian use.  

Flash Hider Muzzle Device: These two rifles both feature a Daniel Defense flash suppressor made of 17-4 PH stainless steel and salt bath nitride finished for extreme durability. Its improved design reduces flash signature significantly more than traditional A2 birdcage flash hiders for AR15-style rifles.

100% Satisfaction Guarantee: They’re both Daniel Defense products, built with Daniel quality, and Daniel stands behind them—as they do with everything they make. 


Fully Ambidextrous Lower: While both rifles feature ambidextrous safety levers and charging handles, the RIII takes accommodating both lefties and righties one step further with its fully ambidextrous lower. The bolt-catch and magazine-release buttons are also ambidextrous on the RIII.    

Weight: The weight difference is minimal—6.2 pounds versus the 6.52 pounds of the DD4 RIII—but the V7 is a half-pound lighter. 

Vertical Foregrip: The V7 ships with a vertical foregrip attached, and the DD4 RIII does not. The foregrip is easily removed if it’s not your style, but it does come pre-installed on the V7.

Rail Systems - Different Styles, Lengths & Weights: The DDM4 V7 features a 15” MFR rail/handguard, which extends out to where the muzzle device attaches to the barrel. It features seven M-LOK attachment points and, as mentioned, an uninterrupted Picatinny rail on top. CNC-machined from aluminum, this rail weighs only 10.1 ounces and is coated with durable, Type III hard anodizing for added protection.  

The DD4 RIII has a 12.5” lightweight RIS III rail, which is modeled after the revolutionary RIS II two-piece handguard developed for USSOCOM. This rail also features M-LOK attachment instead of the Picatinny attachment used by the RIS II, so it is lightweight while still offering M203 grenade-launcher attachment. This two-piece system is fully compatible with RIS II rails, so you could easily configure a DD4 RIII to have a RIS III M-LOK upper rail and a RIS II Picatinny lower rail. The RIS III rail is also Type III hard anodized for added durability. Although 2.5” shorter than the MFR15 rail on the DDM4 V7, the two-piece 12.5” RIS III rail on the DD4 RIII is slightly heavier—6.5 ounces, to be exact.     

Finish Options: The V7 is available in seven finish colors—Flat Dark Earth, Black, Cobalt, Tornado, Deep Woods, MIL SPEC +, and Rattlecan—while the DD4 RIII comes in only Flat Dark Earth and Black.

Price: Expect to pay a bit more for the fully ambidextrous lower and hardcore, versatile RIS III rail of the DD4 RIII. The DD4 RIII has an MSRP of $2,278 for black and $2,324 for Flat Dark Earth. The MSRP for the DDM4 V7 is a bit less, ranging from $1,907 (for black) to $2,098 (for all other finishes).

6-Bolt Bolt-Up System: The DD4 RIII features a 6-bolt bolt-up system for the handguard. This patented design is battle tested and allows the rail system to free-float the barrel. By not touching the barrel, it doesn’t interfere with barrel harmonics, a very good thing because messing with harmonics can adversely affect a rifle’s accuracy.


These two popular rifles are remarkably similar, so it really comes down to only a couple factors in deciding which one works best for you. If you want a fully ambidextrous lower—we’re talking to you, lefties—then the DD4 RIII is a better choice. Same holds true if you want the robust, versatile, two-piece rail modeled after the design developed for USSOCOM.

But, if you want a longer rail with more real estate for accessories, in a slightly lighter-weight package with a lower price point, then the DDM4 V7 is probably right for you.

The fact that they’re both designed, engineered, and built by Daniel Defense here in the U.S.A. and backed by Daniel’s 100% Satisfaction Guarantee means you really can’t go wrong with either choice.