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[Review+Video] Daniel Defense DDM4 PDW (.300 BLK): Ultimate Shorty

Ready to buy once, cry once? We hands-on review the Daniel Defense DDM4 PDW in .300 BLK from reliability to accuracy, trigger, and worth-it-ness.

Buy once, cry once is a time-honored mantra in the firearms community, and if you’re an adherent…then Daniel Defense is likely on your shortlist for AR-15s.

But with the bar set so high, can they really live up to the hype? Never meet your heroes a Wiseman once said…

DDM4 300 Blk in the world
DDM4 300 Blk in the world

Johnny has the DDM4 PDW in .300 Blackout sent to him by Daniel Defense themselves and gave it a full shakedown and testing, take a look at the video below or read on for the full story!

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Table of Contents


The Rifle Pistol PDW?

While Daniel Defense calls this their DDM4 Personal Defense Weapon, it is legally speaking a “pistol” with a Maxim Defense CQB Pistol Brace.

Design intent though is exactly like it’s named, as a personal defense weapon.

DDM4 300 Blk Hey Man

Fitted with a 7″ barrel and coming in at barely over 20″ OAL, this is basically as small as small can get for a good AR-15.

Fit it in a bag, in a safe under your seat, in a nightstand, or just where ever you need to keep a defense weapon ready at hand.

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The Cartridge

.300 BLK is a great cartridge if you want to keep things very small and very quiet (assuming you have a suppressor) while also delivering a major punch ballistically.

Popular Rifle Calibers, Part I
Popular Rifle Calibers, Part I

It is, however, limited in range.

If you’re shooting super-sonic ammo, it’s not unreasonable to expect .300 BLK to reach out to at least 200 yards. But if you’re being quiet and using sub-sonic ammo, you can expect more like 100 yards.

Size differences between 5.56 NATO, .300 BLK, and the 6.5 Grendel
Size differences between 5.56 NATO, .300 BLK, and the 6.5 Grendel

This does make for a fantastic home defense, truck gun, ranch rifle, or hog killer!

We’ve even tested how .300 BLK will penetrate through home walls and found multiple loads to be acceptable for effect on the target, but won’t over-penetrate badly.

Range Report!

With a brand name as well known as Daniel Defense and a price tag nearing the stratosphere, expectations were set high for the DDM4.

I won’t keep you in suspense though, the bottom line is that this PDW lives up to the hype.

It is outstanding in every way.

DDM4 300 Blk ADS
Before you comment, the ATF says we can shoulder them.

From start to finish the DDM4 ran flawlessly, zero malfunctions, zero issues. Running in the gun was Sig Sauer Elite Performance Match Ammo 300 Blackout 125gr OTM that Sig provided for the review.

We’ve always had outstanding results with Sig ammo and are always happy to run it in our guns!

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So other than the gun running perfectly, what are you getting for your money?

Not surprising, you’re getting attention to detail and a quality end product.

First off, the DDM4 is a nice looking gun. Sure, it’s another AR-15, but even we can tell that this is slick.

DDM4 300 Blk side view

Watch Your Fingers!

One issue with small little gats like this is that you need a place to put your support hand. And when your barrel is only 7-inches long, you don’t have a lot of options.

Daniel Defense knows that though and includes an SLR M-LOK MOD2 Front Handstop to protect your digits.

DDM4 300 Blk finger stop
SLR MOD2 Front Handstop

This does a few things like giving you something to brace the gun off of, but also makes sure that your hand doesn’t slip forward in-front of the blasty part.

No Stamp? No Problem

If you’re in a state that lets you, we highly recommend getting yourself a suppressor for this PDW, .300 BLK was designed to be suppressed and really so was the DDM4.

But if you’re in a less free state or just waiting while the federal government decides to allow you your freedoms, the DDM4 does come standard with a Daniel Defense Linear Compensator.

DDM4 300 Blk linear comp
DD Linear Comp or as we like to call it “The Blast-Be-Gone”

Stainless steel, standard 5/8-24 threads, and does an outstanding job of directing the blast away from the shooter!

This makes it a bit less noisy at the shooter’s ear and cuts way down on the concussive force made by having such a short barrel.

Red Dot!

You’ve seen this optic a bunch, but the Sig Sauer Romeo5 is a red dot that just keeps on giving.

Brutally Tested Budget Red Dot
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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We’ve beat the crap out of a handful of Romeo5 dots now and not a one of them has given up the ghost. If you want a budget optic with features and durability, it’s the top of the list!

See our Best Red Dots article for more info and its competitors.

Trigger, Charging Handle, Pistol Grip

As you would expect, basically everything on the DDM4 is just… awesome. It works, it’s well made, and you can depend on it.

The trigger is solid, not match grade but a huge improvement over milspec also. Johnny does feel the uptake is a little different feeling but the reset is very short and the whole press is smooth.

We’re not crazy about this charging handle, but that is due to it being a little small. Granted, this is a PDW and designed for being slim and clean — so a smaller charging handle isn’t shocking.

DDM4 300 Blk DD charging handle
“GRIP-N-RIP” Charging Handle

It’s also designed for use with a suppressor, so if you do throw a can on this it will help protect you from gas blasting you in the face.

If you do want to change it out, we would recommend another suppressor-ready option like the Radian Raptor SD.

Best Suppressor Ready CH
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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Also standard with the DDM4 is DD’s proprietary pistol grip, and it’s awesome!

Sure, it’s a pistol grip. But it’s a good one.

Glass reinforced polymer with a rubberized over-molded, it’s comfy, grippy, and just nice to use.

It appears to have a slightly more vertical angle to help with the gun being closer to your body.

DDM4 300 Blk DD branded grip

Maxim Defense CQB Pistol Brace

If you had to pick the crown jewel of the DDM4, it’s the brace. Clearly.

DDM4 300 Blk Maxim Defense CQB Pistol Brace
Maxim Defense CQB Pistol Brace

Adjustable to three lengths, Maxim Defense is the Cadillac of pistol braces. Or you could call them the Daniel Defense of pistol braces.

Feels good, adjustable, easy to use, it delivers where you need it while also being low-profile and lightweight at a mere 3.3 ounces.

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By The Numbers

Reliability: 5/5

Find us a problem with how this gun runs. We’ll wait. 

DDM4 300 Blk pew pew
pew pew

Ergonomics: 3/5

It’s an AR. It’s 21 inches long. Move along. 

Accuracy: 4/5

You can drive nails in close quarters and short distances…just like PDWs are designed for. 

Customization: 4.5/5

The PDW buffer system and shorty rail may limit your options, but still, you got options for days.

DDM4 300 Blk fruit
Flat top and Mlok, nice.

Value: 4/5

Other than that blank flat top rail staring at you, it’s ready to go. No upgrades needed. But at the better part of two grand in cost, DD could at least slap on some iron sights. 

Overall: 4.5/5

It runs. It looks great. And it performs. Top-tier PDW. And it runs. 


The Daniel Defense DDM4 PDW lived up to what we hoped, but that’s not surprising really. The .300 BLK chambering is perfect for its use. Reliability and accuracy were top-notch. And you seem to get what you pay for in terms of everything else.

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Is it worth it for you? Only you can judge that. But we definitely recommend that you consider it!

Are you ready to Buy Once, Cry Once? What do you use .300 Blackout for? Let us know in the comments! Need a top tier optic for a top tier firearm, then take a look at our High-End Optics Torture Test!

Group Shot of Destroyed Optics
Group Shot of Destroyed Optics. RIP.

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8 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Rodney Vermillion

    Put a Surefire 762-RC2 suppressor on it and have tried many different sub ammo and next round jams or does not load properly causing a pull back on charging handle to load another round. Talked to DD about this and they said just need to run about 400 rounds of super ammo through the suppressor first. Did that and still have same issue. After paying $2,000 for the gun and $1,079 for the suppressor I wouldn’t expect to have to spend $300 in ammo to get the gun to work properly with sub ammo. Now I’ve wasted that money on super ammo to “break” the gun in and still have same issue with sub through my suppressor.

    April 27, 2023 6:54 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Javier Rojas

    I think that in a home defense situation, the combination of a 7" barrel with a heavy expansive bullet would have better stopping power with less wall penetration than a .556mm. Which weight bullet should I try? There are so many options in .300 BLK.

    March 7, 2023 11:48 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Ridgeback Whisperer

    I got the special edition FDE version and I am over the moon with this pew-pew! As a first time DD owner I knew of their reputation and I can tell you it is WELL deserved. Just holding the PDW you can feel the precision. It has a certain intangible quality I've never felt with any other gun I've held. If you can swing it, GET ONE!

    October 27, 2021 2:42 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I got mine when they first came out and me and my family love shooting it. Daniel Defense has a great credit program that helps purchase their stuff over easier monthly payments.

    August 23, 2020 9:00 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I like 300 black and I like Daniel Defense, but as a rule of thumb I don't like any PDW type option with a dysfunctional short barrel. There is no reason to get a PCC shorter than an average pistol barrel, and no reason to get a rifle barrel so short you can't even shoot supersonic rounds effectively.

    I fail to see for the money what the heck your paying for here.

    June 17, 2020 7:54 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Josh Rosenthal

      I don’t think this is meant for supers

      September 10, 2020 1:38 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    This is a nice piece of kit. A buddy of mine has a DD 18" AR something or other and I can shoot typically 50% smaller groups with it than I can with my more vastly more economical (and admittedly amateurish) home builds. For someone without budget worries or with limited mechanical skills, this seems like a no-brainer...but at 18xx or so, I could build my own version using PSA components, a fancy trigger and BCG, and have money leftover for a Mossberg 940 JM PRO, shifting it from no-brainer to deal-breaker. Thanks for the review. Love your page and recommend the articles to everyone I know from from first timers to seasoned shooters.

    June 16, 2020 8:00 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    SMH, I bought the 10.3" two months before DD dropped this lol. Would you run Eotech EXPS3 on this or the 10.3" 300blk or DD MK18 5.56/.223 over a red dot for home defense?

    June 16, 2020 4:21 pm
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