I’m a major 300 AAC Blackout fanboy. I think the cartridge is perfect for my needs: killing things at about 50 to 100 yards using the shortest, quietest, and lightest gun possible. Apparently the Dutch special forces agree with my assessment as they have now announced that they are switching from their 5.56 NATO short barreled rifles to the 300 BLK cartridge. 300 BLK isn’t perfect for every application, but it was more or less custom designed to fill the role that the Dutch will be using it.
The Netherlands Maritime Special Operations Force (NL-MARSOF) are planning to purchase a new carbine chambered in the non-NATO standard 7.62×35 mm (300 BLK), with a formal tender being launched by the Netherlands’ Defence Material Organisation.
The tender is the first publicly known tender for the purchase of a 7.62×35 mm chambered rifle by any military.
In total, the Dutch naval commandos are looking to buy 195 select-fire carbines and 1.82 million 7.62×35 mm cartridges (1,345,000 ball, 244,000 subsonic, and 231,000 lead free frangible). Suppliers can apply to supply any combination of the small arms and rounds until 27 July.
The U.S. has been fielding 300 BLK firearms for a few years now, and they have been successfully used in combat. I’ve met the guy with the first confirmed 300 BLK combat kill and he can’t stop raving about it. So while the Dutch may be the first to officially issue the cartridge it’s usefulness in action is already a known value.
The whole point of 300 BLK is to give soldiers who use a short barreled gun a round that is actually designed for their firearm. Instead of re-using the aging 5.56 NATO cartridge (designed for 20 inch barrels), 300 BLK is specifically designed to burn all its powder in about 9 inches and provide the maximum muzzle energy for that barrel length. It also can be used either supersonic or subsonic without needing to change any settings on the gun, which is ideal for combat scenarios where quickly switching form subsonic to supersonic ammo might be a critical and time sensitive activity.
For the Dutch special forces, the swap makes sense. For your average shooter it may not, but this is one of those special use cases that 300 BLK was born to fill. I’m betting we will see more special operations teams swapping over to the 300 BLK in the future if all goes well here.