Nobody will deny: If you want a military clone-correct M4A1 upper receiver, this is not for you. But, at Charlie's, we constantly hear from customer who tell us: "I really like the M4 rifle, but I am more concerned about getting a quality rifle, and it does not need to be clone correct." Okay, maybe that is you, or maybe you are like, Dude, get a Noveske or get a real military clone-correct M4.
But, after years of making a commercial variant of the M4, DD has evolved to the RIS-III in M-LOK, and it is a really cool rifle and a great upper receiver group. And, yup, DD did it with a mid-length barrel. Daniel Defense's mid-length 14.5" barrel first saw military service with its selection as part of the M4A1 upgrade program, the URGI. You would not be wrong to think of this rifle as the DD URGI, which it is in many ways. Even the M-LOK rail looks a bit like the Geissele rail. Hmm.
The heritage of the DD RIS rail goes back to 2005, when SOCOM saw the need to get the handguards and all the accessories that had been piled onto the quad RAS rails off the barrel for better accuracy. The M4A1 Block 2 rifle with the Daniel Defense RIS-II rail become the first general use rifle with a free float handguard and a large platform for lights and lasers and whatever else could be thrown on a Picatinny rail. And, Lord knows, that the team at Charlie's makes a number of Block 2 uppers as well as the CQBR version and the Mk18 Mod 1, all based upon DD RIS-II rails.
So, fast-forward from 2005 to 2023, and the new RIS-III is the improved DD variant of a M4 rile and upper receiver group. The M-LOK platform allows for more modern and lighter weight rail with the ability to add accessories.
The M4A1 AR15 style Upper Receiver Group is built around a 14.5 inch Cold Hammer Forged M4 Profile barrel with a permanently attached Daniel Defense Flash Suppressor, a GRIP-N-RIP Charging Handle, and our mid-length gas system. It features a 12.5 inch lightweight RIS III rail—modeled after the revolutionary RIS II two-piece handguard developed for SOCOM—features M-LOK attachment for lighter weight while still offering M203 grenade-launcher attachment. All Daniel Defense complete upper receiver groups come standard with an M16 profile bolt carrier group.
Manufacturer's Part Number: 23-004-01097-011
Note: Charlie's receives these as factory new, either as a rifle or as an upper receiver. May or may not ship in a factory box. The uppers from rifles are called new take-off and are 100% the same, but have been test fired, which is a good thing. New factory rifles are received by Charlies and often separated between upper and lower, and immediately re-packaged. We do not add to, nor take away anything from the factory, other than popping two pins and separating. The only reason we would do this is we often get requests for DD lowers. Currently, as the volume of DD uppers sold is not significant, like our Colt uppers, we are not giving the take-offs and the new in box a different part number or price, as they are identical. In the future, if customers tell us they would like to pay more for one or the other, we might do that.
pictures courtesy of Guns and Ammo and Daniel Defense