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Brad Taylor spent 21 years in the U.S. Army, including eight in the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment–Delta (aka Delta Force), before retiring in 2010. In 2011, he published his first novel and the first book in the Pike Logan, “Taskforce” thriller series, One Rough Man (an allusion to the George Orwell quote: “People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would do them harm.”). Since reading that book a few years ago, I have faithfully pre-ordered every subsequent installment as soon as it popped up for Kindle pre-order on Amazon, and recently finished The Insider Threat, the most recent novel in the series. Much to my surprise and enjoyment, Mr. Taylor quite prominently featured the .300 AAC Blackout cartridge, the PWS MK109, and the GEMTECH GMT-300BLK suppressor all working together in concert to provide a new, highly effective “black rifle” for the Taskforce to replace their range-limited HK UMP45s. Excerpts from the novel follow. . .

“Knuckles,” explaining the switch from the UMP to the MK109:

Reliability wasn’t the problem. The caliber was. The PWS system is chambered in 300 Blackout. Much, much more knockdown power than the UMP’s forty-five. The can is Gemtech. Believe it or not, it’s shorter than the UMP suppressor, and it’s built specifically for the Blackout round. In subsonic, it sounds like a pellet gun.

[…] The 300 Blackout in supersonic has much greater knockdown power, and in subsonic it beats anything in its class. The HOLOsight has a Mil-Dot calibrated for both, so you don’t have to worry about zero problems if you switch from sub to supersonic, and the Gemtech suppressor can handle both just fine. In fact, better than fine. […] The PWS system will clear a room just like the UMP, but beyond that, it’ll clear a block when shit gets bad. Unlike the UMP.

The MK109 in action, some a bit gory:

…then a bullet smacked the concrete pillar next to his head, spraying him with spall. He fell flat, searching for the shooter, confused because he’d heard no sound. He saw a black man deeper in the bowl, behind the stage, and he held a rifle with a fat barrel, pointed right at him. […] The black man swung his weapon as if it were on rails, then surgically put two rounds into Hashim.

[…] He yelled in Russian, then glanced my way, looking for support. What he got was two rounds from my rifle, both hitting him in the head and breaking it open like a watermelon smashed with a mallet. The 300 Blackout round was definitely growing on me. He slumped down and everything grew quiet.

In the Acknowledgements, Mr. Taylor sheds some light on just how a GEMTECH-suppressed, PWS MK109 became the Taskforce’s go-to weapons system:

…with the US military’s continuing quest for a new primary weapon, I figured it was time for a change in the Taskforce, both in weapon system and choice of caliber. The “black rifle” is chambered in just about any round imaginable, but I finally settled on the 300 Blackout round for reasons expressed in the book, and that was an easy choice. The weapon was a different story. There are literally hundreds of excellent builders of AR-type rifles, and I got to see plenty of them while doing research at SHOT Show in Las Vegas. I eventually settled on the Primary Weapon System MK109 because of its unique piston system, combining the reliability aspects of the AK-47 into an AR platform. Thanks to Bill at PWS for walking me through it. Believe it or not, suppressors are just as complex, some good and some better. GEMTECH suppressors are at the top of the pyramid, and I’m indebted to Casey for showing me the ins and outs of how his GMT-300BLK tames the noise of the Blackout round in both super and subsonic. I liked the setup so much, I’m building my own PWS/GEMTECH weapon system. Chambered in 300 Blackout, of course.

As I have very much enjoyed this series, I’m already looking forward to reading The Forgotten Soldier, due out December 29th. Dutton publishing was actually kind enough to try and arrange for a TTAG interview with Mr. Taylor, but he’s traveling for research for the next novel and won’t be available for a few weeks. Hopefully we can connect with him ahead of The Forgotten Soldier‘s release.


Excerpts from THE INSIDER THREAT by Brad Taylor.  Reprinted by arrangement with DUTTON, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2015 by Brad Taylor.


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  1. I love when TTAG talks books. I’m constantly in search of new books (actually I now prefer audiobooks), and TTAG has pointed me in some good directions. Now to go find some Brad Taylor…

    • Cool; in that case I’ll definitely do a review of the next one. As for the first in the series — which was also the first book Brad Taylor ever wrote — it’s a little rough around the edges but obviously still a fun read. After it proved popular, it’s probably fair to say that the subsequent novels are “better” at least in writing, flow, etc.

  2. Heh, the super double secret probation taskforce could have just picked up the evil Russians’ AK-47’s in 7.62×39 and got the exact same ballistic performance.

    • Jesus, this old chestnut? You do realize that the .300 blackout has more going for it than just its ballistic profile? It also can be easily loaded to subsonic velocities and have enough mass to still be a pretty devastating round in its effective range. It can work easily in off the shelf AR-pattern rifles with very very minor changes, and do so using standard AR mags. In fact, those are its MAJOR benefits, the fact it can do all that while still have the same ballistic profile of an AK round is just icing on the cake.

      • LOL, you can load heavy sub-sonics in 7.62×39 too. And they won’t cycle, just like the 300 BLK, not without an adjustable gas port. As for the other “benefits”, isn’t it odd for a lavishly funded government death squad to have problems acquiring equipment? Doesn’t really vibe with the book’s setting, but whatever. 🙂

        One thing is true, it is difficult to pimp PWS, Gemtech and other AR accessories with a Russian rifle. Mmmm, COD/MW style gun shilling in a paperback.

        • That just means your rifle is overgassed for supersonics, broski.

          But if you’re cool with premature wear and tear, then go shoot it some more.

        • I’d say the primary issue is that there aren’t commercial loadings for subsonic 7.62×39. You could use the same 220-grain bullets, but nobody’s doing that. Additionally, AR-15 bolts for 7.62×39 have a reputation for being unreliable due to breaking lugs, so the .300 BLK gets a nod there for using the same bolt, same magazines, etc, as 5.56. The straighter mags are generally preferable for a lot of people as well.

          Also, I’ve shot a few guns that cycle both supersonic and subsonic .300 BLK reliably without having to make any adjustments to the gas system regardless of shooting suppressed or unsuppressed. The most recent was the Shaolin Rifleworks .300 BLK carbine (

          ), which ran every single load I shot through it (from 110 grain super to 220 grain sub and like 4 other loads in between) silencer or not without touching the gas block once. Yes, I’d agree that it’s technically overgassed for supersonic rounds but ejection distance was still within normal range and it still felt smooth (no noticeable impact of buffer at the end of the receiver extension) with minimal blowback. Felt normal. It can be done.

          …oh and nothing was said about this fictional Taskforce group having “problems,” financial or otherwise, acquiring equipment. Where did you infer that? And FWIW, when I contacted the marketing folks at PWS they were entirely unaware of this mention in the book. It appears as though their East Coast sales rep chatted with the author but most of the company didn’t know about it. I flat-out asked the PR & marketing team if they paid for this placement and they didn’t even realize they were in a book.

        • Wow. He’s shilling for free. Just wow.

          Also the benefit of AR platform interchangeability is to save money on equipment. That’s not really something the government cares about.

        • While we’re talking about cycling supersonics and subsonics with the same gas system, what is the reliability on the low gas subsonic round? Does it work in adverse conditions? What’s the margin on that setup?

          Does the overgassing supersonics affect the rifle’s long term reliability?

          These are all questions that need answering.

        • “Need” is a strong word. And lots of people and organizations choose an AR-platform rifle for myrid reasons having absolutely nothing to do with budget. I’d guess the Jordanian and Saudi Royal Guards could have gone a different route, but still chose an AR platform (LWRC Six8 PDWs). Heck, you seem to be suggesting an AK-47 instead? Not exactly the $$$ choice there, eh

          At any rate, especially or particularly on piston guns, if you’re so very concerned about additional wear there are plenty of click-adjustable gas blocks that can be adjusted in less than 5 seconds with no tools. For example (since I’ve had one of their uppers for years), Adams Arms’ gas block adjustment can be rotated by hand and a ~45* turn from “high” to “low” on mine is completely sufficient to go from properly gassed for no suppressor to properly gassed for suppressed shooting. Or some people choose to tune a DI gun so, without adjustment, it runs supersonic properly with no suppressor and subsonic properly with suppressor. Options abound.

  3. Brad Taylor’s books are definitely fun to read, so are Brad Thor’s, whose protagonist’s weapon of choice is LWRC.

  4. I’ll need to check out his books.
    I finished all the Jack Reacher books in a month.

    • That’s another series that I faithfully pre-order as soon as it pops up. Jack Reacher novels, these Brad Taylor novels, and Clive Cussler stuff… usually end up purchasing them like 6 months before they actually release, because Amazon knows I do this and sends me an e-mail every time a pre-order on these becomes available haha. It’s really kind of cool, because I will have entirely forgotten about it and all of a sudden an e-mail comes through telling me a new book is on my Kindle and it’s a great surprise 🙂 …always 9:00 PM the night before the book is available in stores (as that’s midnight EST and that’s when they e-deliver ’em)

  5. I like this series, but I like Brad Thor’s novels even more. Vince Flynn (RIP) was the king, IMO. Mitch Rapp is the bad-ass operator we need. Still waiting on a movie adaptation..

    • I could never get over some of his early stuff, like simply re holstering a Beretta M9 with suppressor under a track suit. A lot of the tactics were, well, wacky.

  6. I really want to like novels like these but having read through a bunch of Thor, Patterson and Cussler I realize I never will like them.
    The scenarios always strike me as absurd and I’m more than certain should I ever meet any of their fictional heroes in real life I’d just think they were assholes.

    I can forgive all the tropes of hero fiction in movies and games but for some reason in literature I just want to strangle everyone for being the stereotypes they are.

    • These strike me as more down to earth (realistic). Unlike Cussler, the bad guys aren’t plotting to destroy the whole world. It’s a lot of current, actual terrorist sort of stuff being countered by realistic technology and tactics. At least, realistic enough that it’s believable and not hyperbolic. Unlike the other authors, this guy actually walked this walk…

  7. One day, someone will love 300 blk! By God, I swear it.

    Until we get a gun owner approved ban on “commie calibers”, you know…for America, .300 BLK is just another boutique round.

  8. A tangent to the original post, but it seems like people might be able to answer it. Why the 300blk over the .458SOCOM? Just round count or ammunition availability?

    After not recovering several pigs with a subsonic 300blk round, I chose to go with the .458SOCOM instead. Maybe I’m missing something though. I’d appreciate some of the knowledgeable opinions here.

    • Ammo capacity. .300BLK is a man hunting round, pure and simple. It got a lot of funding from JSOC that most people don’t realize to get where it is.

        • Yeah I did write a little blurb on here a couple months ago about “the next big firearms trend” and I’m thinking that will be extremely heavy, barely subsonic bullets. Suppressed, of course. .458 SOCOM or .50 Beowulf are solid candidates. Send up to 600 grains at 1,050 fps and now you’re onto something. 220 grains subsonic = .45 acp power levels. Treating subsonic .300 blk like a rifle round is basically a mistake. You have a pistol caliber carbine, really, even if the bullet is relatively sleek. The trick comes in its ability to also fire supersonic rounds at actual rifle-level energy levels, but in subsonic it’s pistol power…

          But it’s popular because it takes nothing more than a barrel swap to run in an AR and it’s made from the same brass…

  9. Col. Taylor is the man. I consider myself very lucky to have taken his class while I was a cadet at The Citadel.

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