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Sometimes things get stereotyped for a reason. I don’t see a need to further elaborate on this, as those of us who live in the real world already know it. Guns have the same problem in popular culture. M16’s (AR’s) jam and are unreliable. AK’s are in accurate, but indestructible. Hi-Points are never bought, only stolen, etc.

You get it. The 300 BLK was designed around suppressors, and reader Jeff A asks this:

Thank you for publishing the above referenced article. It was helpful and your opinions on this caliber are much appreciated. I do have a couple of lingering questions due to the fact that suppressors are illegal in my home State of Delaware: In light of this fact, does it still make sense for me to purchase a 300 blackout pistol with a 10.5″ barrel vs. 5.56×45 in the same barrel length for home defense?

Secondly, is the sound from using this caliber pistol in a confined space greater than 5.56×45, and should I strictly use supersonic 300 AAC if my pistol is unsuppressed. Thank you very much for your time and responses.  They will be very much appreciated.

Getting straight to the point, it sucks that Jeff is in Delaware when places like Texas and New Hampshire exist. I know, I know, moving isn’t easy these days and he probably has an established life there. Anyway . . .

Even an 8” barrel can benefit from magnified optics like the ACOG

Suppressors and the 300 BLK are tight, but not inseparable. In the years since it was first introduced and became popular, it has since taken on a much larger evolution, but so much of the lore around the caliber is from a decade ago. That’s a long time and as as things have progressed with the AR and suppressor market, so has development and popularity of the 300 BLK round.

Today we have a couple schools of thought with the 300 BLK, divided into NFA and Non-NFA camps. The former makes heavy use of the cartridge for its subsonic capabilities and the latter for its real and functional use as an outdoorsman’s AR round.

I have noticed that, over time, there has been a distinct separation in these end uses with some companies going so far as to specialize in one or the other. The Q Honey Badger seen in this article is certainly in the NFA camp, as it’s a super-compact weapon that is at its best suppressed.

Others have embraced the 16” 300 BLK as a hunting platform and really only shoot supersonic loads with it. It’s insanely popular with hog hunters across the country and most of these guys treat the rifle and supersonic loads as a sort of medium range ranch rifle.

Left to Right: Lehigh Defense 78gr HVCQ, SIG 120gr HT, Lehigh Defense 111gr MSFT

Looking at the self-defense angle for Jeff, we are again looking at a matter of perspective. A 10.5” 300 BLK is indeed more powerful than a 5.56 from the same barrel length, however for home defense I don’t really see there being too much of a practical difference.

The 5.56 and 300 BLK from this barrel length will be equally effective at point blank, and since I’m assuming the same platform would be used for either, the overall length and ergonomics won’t change either. At inside-the-house distances, it isn’t going to matter much. The 300 firing supersonic will have a little more recoil, but not by much.

A bare muzzle brake like this Q Cherry Bomb is loud, but allows great control.

The second point Jeff made was about blast in a confined space. Jeff, let me tell you from firsthand experience that there is a reason people wear muffs in a shoot house. ANY gun is loud as hell in a hallway. When I function check a firing pin using a primed case it makes my ears ring and that’s just a primer.

Guns are loud, and they will destroy your hearing in indoor situations. I don’t have industrial grade decibel meters, but I’ve shot shorty guns like this in these types of spaces and I don’t think you’ll really notice much of a difference because it will suck either way.

A 10.5” 5.56mm like the Brownells BRN 180S is compact and effective.

As far as supersonic ammo goes from a 10.5” barrel unsuppressed, that’s really your only choice if you want your pistol to work. I’ve never seen an AR cycle using subsonic ammo unsuppressed. And at that rate you’re really looking at something clumsy and not even as powerful as some .45 ACP loads out there which, in at in-home distances, would be just as good.

The Whistle Tip redirects radial blast away from the shooter.

Supersonic is really the only way to go here and from an 10.5” barrel you’ll be getting plenty of power and energy. Something like a 110-125gr bullet should still be over 2000 FPS from this length and that’s plenty for medium game in a pinch as well should it be legal in your jurisdiction. You’ll basically be getting performance akin to a 7.62x39mm AK…minus just a bit.

Depending on the ammo you buy, you can get low-flash powders. If you can’t get a suppressor, you may want to check out something like a flash can that threads on over a muzzle brake. The one in this article attaches to the Q Cherry Bomb brake. It does nothing to suppress noise, it just redirects blast away from the muzzle. They call this one the Whistle Tip, but other companies make their own versions, usually with unnecessarily tacti-cool names.

SIG tipped subsonic and American eagle 150gr supersonic.

So Jeff, I don’t think you’ll be at a detriment going with a 10.5” 300 BLK. Far from it. If you plan to keep it handy for home defense, that’s a great role for it. If it ends up becoming a range toy or a little truck gun, all the same. You’ll have fun with it no matter what.

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31 COMMENTS

  1. It depends on what you want it for. At distance, especially, the 6.5 Grendel outdoes both. This is America get what ya want and if you don’t like it just trade it.

  2. I have a 10.5” 5.56, a 8.5” .300 BO, a 8.5” 7.62×39 and a 9mm MP5 that has about an 8.5” barrel.

    5.56 is the worst. My shooting range has a roof and back wall and you have to wear ear muffs and plugs to not have your ears hurt when shooting. If you are just shooting outside in a field or the woods, this gun isn’t bad at all. The roof overhead reflects a lot of the sound back to the shooter.

    The 7.62×39 Krink is also pretty awful. The first time I shot it I was knocking the crud in the rafters loose and dirt was falling on me due to the muzzle blast.

    I’ve only shot a few boxes of S&B 125 and 147 grain .300 BO, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the 5.56 or 7.62×39

    Overall the SBR’s I actually enjoy shooting are all 9mm, just because the muzzle blast is even less than most handguns.

  3. I have two ARs in .300 BLK with unsupressed 10.5″ barrels (I live in CA where suppressors are verboten).

    I’ve shot both 220g subsonic and 120g supersonic with never a single cycling issue…and I built my guns from PSA kits! Admittedly, the heavier subsonic feels and sounds a little “klunky”, so my preference is supersonic, which is *loud*. So loud that as I switched from my 5.56 to my Blackout gun while with buddies, upon firing the first shot they all stopped and asked me “what in the world do you have there?”

    Blackout is my favorite AR cartridge, fitting nicely between 5.56 and .308. Basically giving a .30-cal bullet in an AR-15 (not AR-10) platform. Even if I miss an enemy attacker’s vitals, a .30-cal wound is likely to bleed out, while .22-cal skin holes are not as likely. I read an article from a surgeon stating he worked on a patient admitted with five 5.56 wounds that all missed vitals, but also all closed up.

    • Unless you hit the femoral artery, if you’re waiting for an assailant to bleed out, I hope you have lots of cover and no plans for the next few hours. I know a lung shot deer can run for miles so I would think a violent criminal would be capable of contracting his index a few more times before it all goes dark.

      • There is no way a double lung shot deer runs for miles . It’s dead within 15-20 seconds , and it may well run 200 yards or so in that time . That’s it # science

        • I never said double. But I have personally seen a 4 point take a 12ga slug to a lung and still run for miles.

    • Hello everyone. I am just stopping by to remind you that this contemptible coward skipped out on 1/6 Freedom Day despite having the means and motive to be there. She’s a whole lot of talk but when the time for action is at hand, she’s nowhere to be found. Ditch this cowardly fool!

    • .30-30. Federal has a 125gr. SJHP @ 2570fps that would be very effective inside of 100 yards.

  4. At that point why not just 7.62×39 and save 50% on ammo costs?

    And a 10.5 AR in 5.56 isn’t even hitting the 2,600 FPS threshold which is what that round really needs to fragment, tumble, and do more than poke .22 caliber holes in things.

    • You really need to catch up on what ammo does. There are great choices in the short barrels that we use a lot.

  5. Ask someone:
    The other day my handgunm got soaked, I WD40’d it and no rust. However where there was a little holster wear at the muzzle and touching the wet leather of the holster there now is a very nice color blueing, like a Smith&Wesson. It’s a Norc brand, so we know what that blueing is like. The only thing I can figure out is it was some kind of reaction between the tanning of the holster and the WD40? I dont know, if I could get the whole gunm that color thatd be nice.
    So my question, could it be possible the wet holster, WD40 blued that part?

    • I think I figured it out. Perhaps the holster was cured by an oak acid type process. Having worked in the lumber business, ‘green’ white or bur oak will stain a metal blue with the help of moisture. When the holster got wet some of the oak tanning process leached out. ?

  6. I bought my first 300 Blackout over a decade ago before it was even a SAAMII approved cartridge and when AAC was essentially just introducing it. I have never looked back. It is my favorite cartridge within the scope of what it was created for.

    I am always flabbergasted by comments about short barrel reliability issues with subsonic loads.

    Robert Silvers, the primary designer of the cartridge, used to have a website describing the development history and original design objectives. IIRC, the criteria were 1) supersonic performance equal or better than 7.62×39; 2) flawless super and subsonic reliability with a nonadjustable gas block both suppressed and unsupressed; and 3) more muzzle energy out of a 9″ barrel than 556 out of a 16″ barrel.

    I have never had a single issue with subsonic reliability from a 9″ barrel unsuppressed. One of my favorite demos is to load a mag with alternating subs and supers and then shoot suppressed and unsuppressed from 9″ and 16″ barrel lengths. If you have reliability issues, you might want to check your build.

    • Dang straight.
      If your 300BLK AR can’t run with supers and subs both muffled and unmuffled, then it’s a crappy build and/or needs some serious attention.
      I’m a novice and built mine with regular ol’ gas block and generic silent captured buffer spring. It’s backyard quiet with any decent can plus subbies and eats anything in the magazine. Maybe I got lucky or something, but my buddies’ 300BLKs are hit and miss (even the fancy factory Sig MCX SBR wouldn’t run some ammo).

  7. Are you dealing with super tight confines? If not, then just get a 16″ or 14.5″ barrel. The blast won’t be as bad, plus you can have a proper stock.

  8. I refer to 300 BLK as .308 Short/.308 SPL/.308 CQB– as it does everything I want a .308 to do, but in a more manageable package with better control and less discomfort that’s more conducive for close to medium range applications.

    The M1A is an exceptional full power .308 rifle, and a Mini-14 Tactical 300 BLK is an exceptional “carbine” version of the M1A- a M(ini)1A, if you will. I dearly love them both, and each excels in its respective category. For example- I would reach for the Mini-14 if facing an adversary indoors, and the M1A if leaving home for unknown uses in disparate locations. Different jobs require different tools.

    I never had the desire for an AR or a Mini-14 until they were offered in 300 BLK because I’d never had a job that required a .223 tool. An AK serves the .308 Short role well, but having a modern, American-designed, more ballistically efficient cartridge with many more useful options to choose from was preferable to me. ‘Round here 7.62 outnumbers .233 five to zero.

    7.62×51 is truly a “do it all” cartridge, 7.62×35 provides .308 performance in a more friendly package for closer distances with lots of bullet choices, 7.62×39 is a fun, inexpensive to shoot, intermediate power legacy rifle caliber, and 5.56×45 is, well… I still don’t personally have any use for a .22 “Hyper Magnum” cartridge. But, to each their own.

  9. I mever understood 300bo in bolt guns I guess its good to be able to grab subs off the shelf but I never see them anyway, it makes since in the platform it was designed for but as a handloader I can shoot any caliber subsonic but have the power when needed, G_d bless Trailboss

    • A Ruger American Ranch 300 BLK is an extremely versatile bolt action rifle- it’s compact, weighs under six pounds, is stone-axe reliable, takes AR mags, is a tack driver, will shoot any ammo you put in it (78gr to 250gr), is pellet gun quiet with subs and a muffler, and it does all of this with negligible recoil.

      I couldn’t imagine NOT owning one…

  10. Bottom line, the .300 BO was designed to burn it’s powder in a shorter barrel while 5.56 was designed around a 20″ barrel.
    Take this information for what it’s worth.

  11. I looked at getting one a couple times but I really don’t want another caliber to keep up with. Currently I’m on a kick of only buying firearms that can take multiple calibers. 22LR & 22WMR, 38 Spec & 357 Mag, etc.

    • It was a bit difficult for me. I’ve narrowed down the calibers my self. Throughout the years I’ve found what suits me a and will be up to the task of the job at hand.
      Tried for a three gunm battery, just couldn’t do . Fudds haven’t got it that tuff, 30-06, 12 gauge, .22 handgunm should cover most of their requirements.

  12. .300 BK versus the 30/30 appears to be the better question. 30/30 (1895??) with 150 grain bullets is almost an ideal deer/hog cartridge. .300 BK, if you can get a 150 grain bullet up to ~2,500 fps, would be an updated .300 Savage (parent of the 7.62×51). Would an 18″ – 20″ barrel get up to 2,500 fps??? Being able to go subsonic is just frosting on the cake for hog hunters. There is a reason why so many 30/30 and .300 Savage rifles still are found in deer camps around the country.

  13. 300 BK is perfect for all of those TactiCoolFools who can’t handle the recoil from the 300 Winchester Magnum that is favored by so many Fudd’s.

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