I don’t get the appeal of .300 Blackout


Long ago I was at the range and one of the regulars was talking about how he had loaded some .300 Whisper rounds and that they were so super quiet. Everyone was so excited to hear them, that it was suppose to be like shooting a silenced rifle. I was working as a range officer at the time so we arranged for the line to be called hot just for this guy so we could hear him shoot.

A shot was fired. I was so very disappointed because it sounded like any other gunshot.

.300 Whisper was changed slightly, and became the .300 AAC Blackout. Robert Silvers did some brilliant marketing and made it popular.

I have heard and read some really outlandish claims about the .300 BLK. Had someone tell me it makes .308 obsolete. I’ve seen many claims online that a suppressed subsonic .300 is hollywood quiet. I’ve even seen more than one person proclaim that the U.S. Military needs to replace all the rifles, carbines, machine guns, and sniper rifles with .300 Blackout. Claims like that made me even more skeptical about the round.

A more realistic comparison is 7.62×39 Russian or .30-30 Winchester. Both are good rounds, but I don’t see anyone clamoring for the U.S. Military to switch to either of them. .300 BLK does have the advantage of using a wider variety of bullet weights than either of those two other cartridges.

For someone plinking unsuppressed, 7.62×39 is far more available and cheaper. .30-30 has more than proven it self over the years.

It seems to me the best strength of the .300 Blackout is out of short barrels. You can have a subgun sized weapon with better performance than a pistol caliber.

An overlooked plus of the .30 cal bore for special operations would be that the barrel would drain quickly when exiting water. Unlike the issues with capillary action keeping water in a 5.56 bore.

Subsonic .300 BLK provides muzzle energy similar to a .45 ACP. Subsonic .300 BLK is more like a pistol cartridge than a rifle round. But it retains the greater flash and blast of a rifle. With the really short barrels and super sonic ammo, you are talking similar performance to an M1 Carbine firing .30 carbine.

I often see the comment of a short barreled AR15 in .300 BLK as a replacement for the MP5. That makes sense as the MP5 is old, large, heavy, has a worse manual of arms. But if you are looking for the smallest package, a SMG with the mag in the grip would be even smaller than an AR15 style weapon.

I don’t really see the appeal. Certainly not a bad round, but what is the real niche of it?


  1. The advantage of 300BLK is running both subs and supers. It’s the reason it came about. There is definitely some arguement for it’s use in the 6 to 7 inch barrel range with M80A1 projectiles. But it’s major strength is always going to be the ability to use subs and supers in the same mag.

    The 300BLK pretty much replaced 3 different weapons in the inventory. MP5SDs, MP7, and MK24s for suppressed use. While providing significantly more versatility. Unlike the MK24 you can patrol to the target with it at the ready. And it’s a stocked weapon. It gives you the ability with supers to not need to bring a rifle like the MP5SD does. And it’s capable of shooting subs, and then having supers that are actually useful terminally unlike even the HP 4.6 rounds.

    I’m a huge fan of the round. Shooting it for the first time back around 2011. But I’m the first to say it’s a pretty niche cartridge that unless you got a requirement for a need for both subs and supers at the same time. It’s going to be outperformed by cheaper and older rounds.

  2. The appeal?
    1) For fun. Subsonic, suppressed, mag dumps are fun (on reloaded ammo to keep the costs down).

    2) For short to moderate range hunting. Supersonic, the 300blk has roughly the same terminal ballistics as a .30-30, but with better external ballistics, but out of a shorter barrel; which makes it a fantastic brush gun. The amazing 300blk 110gr Barnes Tac-TX bullet expands out to distances of 300 yards, but realistic hits are more likely out to 150 yards (for me, my setup, and ability).

    I like using my suppressed 300blk SBR for hog and deer hunting because I can get the capacity for hogs on large sounders and even with a can, it’s the same OAL or shorter than “normal” hunting rifles to get in and out of blinds, vehicles, side-by-sides, or through the heavy brush and woods.

    Is 300blk a replacement for anything? Not really. .308 of course has much more energy and velocity. 300blk can’t replace 5.56mm NATO for many reasons. Its niche is for short barreled use, which SBR’s niche is its handiness and/or the use of a suppressor.

    There’s a lot of misunderstanding with 300blk, and people who wrongly praise it with attributes it doesn’t have, are merely spreading what is paramount to lies.

  3. .300 BLK was designed to completely burn powder in a 9″ barrel, and as was stated above, run subs and supers, with the latter having similar performance to 7.62×39. Also, despite the subs having comparable velocity and energy to .45 ACP, not only do they have better ballistics, but unlike .45 ACP, they will defeat Level III A soft armor. There are now a number of reliably expanding bullets in subsonic loadings, most notably by Discreet Ballistics with their CNC’d copper bullets that provide excellent terminal effect for hunting or self defense.

  4. I will say the appeal of the .300 is for some folks using 5.56 hunting illegal,adding a .300 upper to already owned lower that uses same mags/BCG/reload casing was it’s appeal.Of course,someone who did this then built a dedicated lower/different BCG/sites/scope,cant forget sling and a new case ect.,hmmmm…..

    As always,use common sense and do not mix up ammo,clearly marked dedicated mags and more importantly common sense will keep that from happening.

    I will say am a different James from the one above who made some nice points.

  5. I think not needing unique mags or bolt, and, if you’re a reloader the ability to use cheap and easy 5.56 brass has appeal for people who like to tinker around. Yes, there are rounds that are comparable or even better, and you can even get some of them in an AR platform, but to my knowledge none are as “easy” as 300BLK for the reasons above.
    I’ve heard some seriously quiet 300 subs though so the guy who loaded the ones you heard must’ve went a little heavy on the powder throw.
    In the end I say to each their own. I’m no one’s moral compass and they don’t have to answer why to anyone but themselves.

    It did have some good marketing back in the day.

  6. If it weren’t for the NFA, an SBR with a suppressor would make an awesome home defense gun that would still have a ton of versatility. Even if I were willing to go through the NFA nonsense—which I’m not—I still wouldn’t use an NFA gun to defend myself if I could help it.

  7. I’ve wanted to get a suppressed centerfire for a long time, and was doing everything I could to find a better alternative to 300 blk, and could not. Here’s why:

    Compared to pistol rounds:
    1) easier to get match or even just medium grade accurate rounds (rifle-level accuracy)
    2) easier to get a good ballistic coefficient

    To get any range out of a suppressed gun you need good accuracy and of course ballistic coefficient.

    Compared to 7.62×39
    1) accuracy…much harder to get accuracy off the shelf in 7.62×39 rounds
    2) limited subsonic selection
    3) harder to get to run in standard AR lowers, meaning a little less “same manual of arms” as with my other rifles

    Compared to .30 carbine
    Simply not a popular enough round to consider…selection of accurate and/or suppressed stuff is just not gonna be up to snuff

    Additional 300 blk advantages:
    Made to work in AR pattern mags.
    Made to work from .223 cases if you reload…who doesn’t have a million of those?
    Made to work from .308 bullets if you reload…who doesn’t have a million of those?
    Optimized for short-ish barrels (short enough to make suppressor not too long in the end), yah some other rounds do that fine, but not all…so that still counts as a notable factor
    Government adoption means popularity will only keep going up, selection up, and prices down.

    I genuinely tried to find something better…couldn’t. Frankly the world just needed a round that ticked off all the boxes:
    1) common brass
    2) common bullets (with lots of both cheap, mid-grade, and match-grade options in heavy and light)
    3) uses common AR-15 mags or at least only very slightly changed otherwise common mags
    4) goes in common AR-15 lowers
    5) good short barreled so is efficient at a length where suppressor isn’t unwieldy
    6) selection of ammo designed for relatively accurate shooting of both suppressed and unsuppressed
    7) pressure curve designed to be used both suppressed and unsuppressed
    8) common caliber so suppressors are already plentiful for it

    Lots of rounds check off many of those boxes…but only 300 blk gets them all….because it was literally designed to.

  8. The quick answer is, it’s actually more effective in the weapons we use today in the Military. 5.56 NATO is designed for a 20 inch barrel, in today’s Military we are using 16 inch. So not all the powder burns, we lose some of the effectiveness of the round. Yes it’s still absolutely an amazing round coming out of a 16 inch barrel. .300 blk is designed to burn in 9 inches, thus getting maximum use of the round. I’ve used both rounds in my military career, and would have to say .300 blk is actually better.


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