BCM or Daniel Defense - Which one to get and why?

So I’ve always seen the same answers on other forums when people compare BCM and Daniel Defense AR-15’s chambered in 5.56:

  • You can't go wrong with either choice. (Okay, thanks... not really pushing me towards anything)
  • They're both reputable rifle builders (I'm aware
  • They're both MIL-SPEC (Okay, whatever... half the people in gun forums don't even know what MIL-SPEC means now a days)

    My question is this: If I can afford to purchase one dream rifle with a mid length gas system, 14.5" Pinned and welded barrel with a 1/7" twist rate that’s as light as possible but still can engage man sized targets out to 300 yards, which one would you spend your hard earned cash on - Daniel Defense or a BCM? Also, why one over the other?

    Tim on the MAC has a video about why he likes BCM and seems to consider them one of the best platforms, but I can’t find a video on MAC that has him review anything Daniel Defense related to compare to. I know that Mr. Gunsandgear has done some reviews and shown that both are capable of impressive accuracy. I don’t want to build anything myself because if I ever do decide to sell the rifle down the road, it’s a lot harder to sell a rifle that has 10 different companies in the components and taking 5 minutes to explain what it is rather than saying “This is a BCM/Daniel Defense.” I want to be sold on why one rifle is worth maybe investing a bit of money for than the other.

    I’ve trained with a local instructor before on my current budget AR-15 (Smith and Wesson M&P 15) which ended up doing pretty well considering what it is, but now that I’ve been engaged in shooting for a number of years, I’m ready to graduate to an improved and better made rifle. I feel like this question is the equivalent of asking if I am a Pepsi or Coke guy. I prefer the taste of Coke. Pepsi has an aftertaste that seems like the beverage is flat or gone bad. There’s nothing like opening up a fresh glass bottle during a bbq on a warm summer day to me.

    If you’ve made it this far, I really appreciate any feedback you may have. Thanks!


    I have experience with both, and it honestly boils down to personal preference. If you’re looking for someone to give you definitive proof one is better than the other in build quality, accuracy, features, etc. you’re not going to get answers you’re looking for.

    I prefer BCM because I know they work (I have several and we’ve sold hundreds. We’ve never had one come back) and I prefer their accessories. I’m not a fan of the “shark skin” texturing of the DD stocks. It’s a minor point, and one of personal preference, but it’s why I go with BCM.

    We’ve also sold plenty of DD’s and never had one come back for any issues either, but we sell 5 to 1 BCM’s vs. DD’s in our shop. We do sell both and stand behind both as very high quality products.


    The only difference between the two, is the DD will give you more bragging rights. If that’s worth a bit more, then go for it.


    Both are basically good to go, but DD doesn’t make their barrels in house so it’s a bit unclear where they get their barrels from. Presumably FN? Do take into consideration that Rob Ski ran into problems with DD. His video’s don’t lie. My vote goes to BCM. I’m a PWS guy myself but I trust BCM more than DD, no matter what LAV says. YMMV but, personally, I wouldn’t bother with DI AR-15’s at all. Get a PWS MK116 Mod 2 or LWRC IC Enhanced and call it the day, your money will be better spent. POF is hit or miss and HK is overpriced so neither of those are worth looking in to. Just my $0.02

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    I advise people to avoid proprietary systems.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with DI systems. Most heavy users of AR’s will tell you they prefer DI over proprietary gas piston systems. You gain nothing from gas piston conversions other than added weight, additional failure points and proprietary parts.

    As for Rob Ski testing, it’s just like mine. It is a sample set of one. Anyone familiar with manufacturing will know that there is a 3% failure rate in any manufactured item. People make mistakes and machines aren’t perfect.

    I would agree that BCM is a solid choice though and it’s my personal pick for AR rifles.


    I guess it boils down to personal preference then. I love piston guns and have never heard of any failures with PWS or LWRC. They know what they’re doing and make a solid product. Every gun is proprietary in one way or another except for DI AR-15’s. I don’t like DI rifles and the increased cleaning intervals associated with them. I also think DI is a thing of the past as the trend nowadays is towards piston operation, and has been for quite soe years now. Virtually every new military general service rifle that is being adopted around the world is piston driven.

    Either way, nice to have a discussion board again, tnx man! It was long overdue.:+1:

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    It does boil down to personal preference.

    People do want piston guns, but I see no reason to retrofit a DI gun with a piston system. The AR was never designed to use a piston which is why it took several decades for people to figure out a workable conversion. Colt was doing such conversions in the 60’s but after testing determined it offered nothing over the DI design. In the 1990’s many failed attempts were made to make a durable piston conversion. By the 2000’s we saw working rifles.

    The DI system is ingenious because it uses carbon as a lubricant. The AR is designed to be self lubricating (not self cleaning as the Army originally misunderstood). When you deny the AR its natural lubricant, now you have to replace it with modern lubricants if you want optimal performance.

    I tell folks, if you want a piston rifle, go buy a rifle that was designed to be a piston gun from the ground up. Don’t try to shoehorn a piston into a rifle that was never intended to have one.

    But as we agree, it’s all a matter of personal preference.


    That’s my whole point. PWS, LWRC and HK AR variants were designed from the ground up to be piston driven. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with them, they do what they’re supposed to do. DI rifles I would trust for reliability though are indeed BCM, Noveske, LaRue, LMT, KAC, Vltor etc. They do it right. I wouldn’t hesitate at all to pick up either one of those and go to war with it. I just prefer piston better. As for the weight increase, that is relative to me. And PWS rifles are actually very light anyway.

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    @Minuteman, can you provide proof that PWS, LWRC, and HK piston ARs were “designed from the ground up”? Also, can you describe why you would only trust that set of manufacturers for DI rifles?

    DD does make their barrels in house.

    @MAC, I couldn’t have said it any better about DI vs Gas Piston (in AR15s). Well articulated points.

    I would disagree. The LWRC, PWS and 416 aren’t built from the ground up to be piston guns. They are built around a standard AR15/M16 with the only differences being the gas system. HK has taken steps to make their system proprietary in areas that are to the detriment of the design. PMAGs, for example, don’t work in the MR556A1. They make you use the tip of a bullet to push out a take-down pin (completely ridiculous). Despite all of these proprietary changes, the MR556A1 is still an AR15 with a gas piston. The PWS and LWRC are straight-up AR’s with gas pistons with a few proprietary parts like ambi-bolt releases and “lightening cuts”.


    I’ve owned two Daniel Defense rifles, and I have loved both unconditionally. I used the first one while preparing to go to a WPS course in 2014, and put literally thousands of rounds through it and can only really recall one time where I had a malfunction, which was caused by steel case ammo failing to extract.

    That said, I’ve heard nothing but good things about both companies. I would suggest going with the rifle that you personally like the look/feel of the most.


    My personal preference is anything that shoots 5.56, lol.

    Both DI and piston rifles are good, there’s pro’s and cons to both. I personally worry more about what and whom each part is mad from, the quality and inspection process of the parts. But even that is a daunting task. I say go in to a shop that carries both DD and BCM look at them,feel it, shoulder it and see which one you think is better for your needs.


    The HK 416 actually used the G36 gas system yes the hk416 was designed to use a gas piston system but the fundamental of the rifle were all based off of the Ferfrans SOAR which is a DI rifle. I would say the only AR style rifle built from the ground up around a gas piston system would go to sig sauer MCX, completely new bolt carrier and buffer design with self regulating gas system (military version, and first run civilian rifles) but even that is stretching the term from the ground up.

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    The way I see it is that when you are altering an existing design, from an engineering standpoint you’re basically going back to the drawing board and coming up with a whole other animal. DI AR’s and PWS/LWRC/HK are kinda apples and oranges. The HK G38 (which I believe we can agree upon to consider the benchmark of the 416 line-up) is highly proprietary and iirc you cannot use either the lower or upper with any other AR pattern rifle. Doestn’t that count as a piston design from the ground up to you? Same thing with PWS and LWRC. When you are modifying the upper of a classic AR to make it work with your own proprietary piston system then you are practically building a new design and are in the production business. Any engineer would agree. But anyway, new design or development, tomatoes potatoes, can we agree on the bottom line that PWS and LWRC make superb guns and they work?

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    @MAC, agreed. I think those manufacturers often try to go out and make “the best AR15” and end up with something that misses out on the point - user configurability to the Nth degree. That is what’s really so great about the AR and that’s why BCM and DD are both great - it’s a high quality AR that can be modified to the individuals needs.

    Except for that new DD 308 rifle, with its proprietary receiver to rail attachment - big :-1:

    @Minuteman - I am literally an Engineer, lol. But yes, LWRC and PWS are both high quality firearms. I’d put nobody down for buying them.

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    Oh ya I have 2 LWRC, one being the PDW they have both proven to run flawless. I have no idea if the H&K 416 can or cannot take a standard AR lower. I would have assumed it would if the US military adapted it for special forces. But could be wrong.


    Those brands because they are trusted and well proven as highend AR-15’s. I don’t like what I consider to be junk brands (Bushmaster, DPMS etc). I believe in quality components and quality results. If you get the best stuff out there then you’ll know that the value and quality control is there.


    IIRC the HK416 is proprietary and the lowers and uppers aren’t interoperable between other AR pattern rifles. PWS Mod 2 series, LWRC Enhanced series and HK G38 are pretty much the benchmark if you ask me. MCX looks promising (finally SIG Sauer USA makes a rifle that actually works). As for DI rifles, all the well-established household names are good to go and I wouldn’t mind picking up any of them BCM, LMT, KAC, LaRue, Noveske, Vltor etc offerings. I just happen to prefer piston. To each their own.


    I’ve never owned either of the manufacturers rifles in question, a little too rich for my blood, though I have shot several samples of both. That said, from everything I’ve seen and personal experience with regard to reliability and accuracy they are evenly matched. It boils down to if you want to buy an off the shelf model and not touch it or buy one that has most of what you want and then upgrade the small bits on your own. If it were me, I would opt for the latter. Buy the manufacturer and model that met the most of my criteria and was within my budget. Anything I found lacking after that could easily be changed.

    Out of curiosity, what is it that you find lacking in the M&P-15 that prevents it from hitting a man size target at 300 yards? For the criteria you listed (14.5 pinned, mid length, 1:7 and light) you could easily just get an upper and trigger. I know of no glaring defects with the M&P lowers that would prevent you from turning yours into a tack driver. In fact, if you look at my post in the “rifle pictures” thread there is a photo of both my M&P carbine and a YHM competition rifle. I have swapped the YHM upper onto the carbine with no discernible loss in accuracy. The carbine lower was stock, save a 15 minute home trigger job.

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    Okay, another try. You want my $0.02? Right out the gate: BCM. Because you don’t need to change anything. The DD stock and grip feel odd to me, the grip in particular. I don’t like its segmented design, it’s uncomfortable and I prefer the gunfighter grips which are the best on the market hands down. YMMV. Just buy whichever rifle meets your needs and preferences best. I’ve never seen a BCM rifle fail, ever, and there’s no need to change out any components because you’re getting the cream of the crop with the Gunfighter grip, stock and charging handle. What’s not to like?