As one of the newest most talked about calibers, the 300 AAC Blackout is gaining fans and drawing some skepticism. The round was produced to be fired from a 5.56×45 AR 15 platform using the same magazine, bolt, buffer, and spring. This means that the only changes that are needed to shoot the round is to change the barrel. Let’s take a closer look at the 300BLK and go over some of the main advantages and disadvantages it offers.
The .300 AAC Blackout, referred to as the 300BLK, is a .30 caliber cartridge that was created to replace the 5.56 NATO round. Argued that the 5.56 doesn’t provide ideal performance, the creation of the 300BLK was meant to provide high energy standard velocity rounds and offer a subsonic round with greater performance than the 9mm Luger round. The thought was to create something that could compete with the AK’s 7.62×39 as far as energy and stopping power with the ability to penetrate heavy barriers yet be lightweight for the military to carry in the field. Inspired by the 300 Whisper, the Advanced Armament Corporation designed the 300 Blackout using the .223 casing. Unlike the 300 Whisper, the Advanced Armament Corporation standardized the 300 blackout using the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) so certain specifications and dimensions will be used when the ammunition is manufactured.
As far as performance, the 125 grain 300BLK shoots at a rate of 2,215 feet per second with 1360 foot-pound force. The 220 grain subsonic round performs at a rate of 1,010 feet per second with 498 foot-pound force. For most, the round is used for around 300 yards, but can reach 500 plus although it just isn’t as practical. Best for short range, the round will deliver high energy, hard hitting shots.
One of the main advantages of shooting 300BLKs is compared to a .223/5.56 recoil is much less which is great for target acquisition. Also, if you are shooting subsonic (220 grain) the energy is amazing for under 100 yards and it is a quieter round than a 9mm whether suppressed or not. Because of this, the round is great for short range use which is good in combat situations. The main disadvantage of the 300BLK is the availability and price. Like most ammunition the shortage has taken its toll. Of course when demand is high and availability is low the price is going to be higher. On average the 300 Blackout costs $.80/round for supersonic and $1.20/round for subsonic. Pretty pricey when compared the $.40/round 5.56.
So the debate continues, will the 300 AAC Blackout replace the 5.56? Only time will tell! For another ammo read, check out our article on The Benefits of Shooting 5.45 in Your AR 15.