Advanced Armament Corporation developed the .300 AAC Blackout (7.62×35mm) to meet the need for a cartridge offering superior supersonic performance to the 5.56×45mm NATO (M855/SS109). It simultaneously outperforms 9×19mm Parabellum at subsonic velocities.
Its supersonic form delivers a .30-caliber bullet weighing between 90 and 180 grains. Depending on the bullet, it has kinetic energy comparable to the 7.62×39mm M43 AK-47 cartridge.
In its subsonic form, the .300 Blackout is optimal for a sound suppressor, eliminating the miniature sonic boom. Unlike subsonic 9mm loads, which typically use a 147-grain bullet, .300 Blackout can accommodate 230-grain projectiles, equivalent to .45 Auto, propelled to the same muzzle velocity.
From light frangible bullets to medium-weight projectiles for hunting deer to heavy subsonic loads for suppressors or hogs, the .300 Blackout is also a versatile hunting cartridge.
Derived from the .221 Fireball cartridge, the .300 Blackout is compatible with the .223/5.56mm bolt face, necessitating only a barrel change. Standard G.I. magazines, likewise, can accommodate both cartridges.
Best .300 Blackout Rifles
Daniel Defense DDM4 V7P Law Tactical
Daniel Defense, a major player in the AR-15 rifle market, hasn’t ignored the .300 Blackout’s meteoric rise in popularity, offering several rifles and pistols to satisfy the ongoing demand.
Among these is the DDM4 V7P Law Tactical, classified as a pistol but essentially serving as a carbine, with an SB Tactical SOB Pistol Stabilizing Brace. Already designed to be ultra-compact, the stabilizing brace is paired with the Law Tactical GEN 3-M AR Folding Stock Adapter. This stock adapter allows the brace, which serves as a makeshift shoulder stock, to fold, further reducing the overall length for transport.
CNC-machined from 7075-T6, the lower receiver is mil-spec except for the enhanced flared magazine well, which increases the ease with which you can insert magazines. Any advantage regarding reloading is worth having for those who compete under time pressure or reload under defensive or combat conditions.
The upper receiver is also made from 7075-T6, and both are hard-coat Type III anodized for a tough, corrosion-resistant finish. Inside the upper receiver, you’ll find an M16 profile bolt-carrier group chrome-lined and with a staked gas key.
The 10.3” barrel, chrome-lined per military requirement, and a 1:8” rifling twist is housed in an MFR 9.0 M-LOK handguard. Free-floating and made from 6061-T6, the MFR is 9” in length and features 7 different M-LOK attachments for mounting accessories, providing the versatility you need for a varied range of field or range conditions.
Light in weight, the DDM4 V7P is only 5.44 lbs. and measures 28⅝” in overall length with the brace extended. At this weight and length, especially with the brace folded, the Daniel Defense option is a light, handy weapon.
This entry on the list is a single-shot break-action weapon manufactured by Harrington & Richardson for AAC. If you live in a jurisdiction that restricts access to tactical rifles by law, the Handi-Rifle is a compliant substitute. Alternatively, if you’re on a strict budget and want to test the external ballistics of the .300 Blackout cartridge without breaking your bank account, the Handi-Rifle is the least expensive option available.
The appropriately named Handi-Rifle is both lightweight, at less than 5 lbs., and compact (30” in overall length). Despite the overall length, the rifle has a 16.25” barrel with a 1:7” twist rate. Thanks to its youth-compatible stock with a 12” length of pull, the Handi-Rifle is an excellent choice for teaching beginners and youngsters. Although the .300 Blackout isn’t known for its recoil, the stock is suitably cushioned, so the reduced weight isn’t a handicap.
A break-action design, there’s a lever on the right side of the exposed hammer that you depress with your thumb to break the rifle open. When you open the gun, the cartridge is partially extracted for your convenience. You’ll still have to remove the cartridge with your fingers because there’s no automatic ejector. You may consider this an advantage if you reload since your spent brass won’t be violently ejected and damaged or lost.
The Handi-Rifle may appear to be a traditional sporting rifle, but it still features a threaded muzzle for attaching a sound suppressor. Rather than shipping with iron sights, the Handi-Rifle leaves the factory with a Picatinny accessory rail so you can attach a rifle scope or reflector/holographic sight.
Bravo Company RECCE-16 AR-15 Semi Auto Rifle
The AR-15 pattern Bravo Company RECCE-16 is a mil-spec direct-impingement carbine built to exacting standards.
BCM was founded in 2003 by a U.S. Marine to meet the needs of private security contractors working in Iraq. The result is a rifle assembled from the ground up to satisfy discerning customers.
For accessorizing your rifle and ensuring free-floating accuracy, the RECCE-16 features a KMR-A KeyMod handguard. While M-LOK has taken the market by storm, there’s no reason to leave out one of the alternatives — KeyMod still has a loyal group of followers.
Bravo Company manufactures SBR (short-barreled rifles) variants in .300 Blackout, but the RECCE-16 has the advantage of not requiring compliance with NFA regulations. That saves you time and money in procuring a weapon suitable for many applications, from tactical to sporting.
The RECCE-16 has a civilian-legal 16” barrel. The bore is chrome-lined according to mil-spec to resist corrosion, and the external finish is a manganese phosphate (black parkerizing).
In pursuit of strength, Bravo Company forges the upper and lower receivers from 7075-T6 aluminum. The alloy is mil-spec, but many companies machine receivers from billet material. While milling is good for achieving close tolerances, forging increases the material’s strength because the steel’s grain structure is compressed under considerable force.
Weighing 6.1 lbs., the RECCE-16 is one of the lighter rifles you can acquire in this caliber. Being an AR-15-pattern carbine with a collapsible buttstock, the overall length varies from a compact 35.5” with the stock extended to a mere 32.5” with the stock collapsed. While still longer than the bullpup rifle, the Mod 0 buttstock provides the shooter with length of pull adjustment, so you can tailor the gun to suit you. In addition, the Mod 0 has a larger surface than the traditional M4 type, so there’s more area for your cheek.
Remington ACC Model 7 300 AAC Blackout
The Remington ACC Model 7 is derived from the Model 700 series, a bolt-action magazine-fed rifle. While it shares the same legal category as the Handi-Rifle, it offers repeating multi-shot capability. Heavier than the single-shot option at 6.5 lbs., the Model 7 is still compact and manageable at 36” in overall length with the same 16” barrel.
For reloaders, the bolt-action is one of the kinder systems to brass, allowing you to control the extraction and ejection of spent cartridges. But violent ejection is not the only cause of damaged casings. If a gas-operated self-loading rifle action opens too quickly, the brass not having contracted, there may be extraction marks on the brass.
An added benefit to using the Model 7 is that AAC specifically designed the .300 Blackout cartridge to work with a sound suppressor. The bolt-action Model 7 eliminates the bolt clatter associated with a semi-automatic rifle’s reciprocating action and would pair perfectly with a suppressor and subsonic target or hunting ammunition.
While the Model 700 typically ships with the receiver drilled and tapped for scope rings, the Model 7 ships with a 20-MOA (minute-of-angle) Picatinny accessory rail installed from the factory. This simplifies your installation of either a rifle scope or reflector/holographic sight.
To ensure you can achieve a proper stock weld, regardless of the height of the scope or other sighting system, Remington includes a vertically adjustable cheek riser.
For increased precision, the externally adjustable X-Mark Pro trigger breaks at a crisp 3.5 lbs. This trigger mechanism is a trademark of Remington rifles.
Desert Tech MDRX 300 Blackout
While the AR-15 is well-respected, it’s not the only semi-automatic or tactical rifle pattern available. A well-known name in bullpups, Desert Tech recently rechambered its MDRX (Micro Dynamic Rifle X) in .300 Blackout.
A bullpup is a configuration in which the firearm action, the firing chamber, and the magazine are located behind the pistol grip and trigger. This allows the design team to reduce the rifle’s overall length, increasing its maneuverability without sacrificing barrel length. Despite its 26” overall length — right at the legal limit — the barrel length is 16”.
However, one difficulty that left-handed shooters encounter is the placement of the ejection port. Desert Tech sought to remedy this by enabling left- and right-handed ejection without purchasing a separate bolt carrier group. In .300 Blackout, Desert Tech opted for a forward-ejection system, not unlike that pioneered by FN in its F2000 and continued by KelTec in its RFB.
As the .300 Blackout cartridge was designed for compact, handy rifles and carbines, it lends itself perfectly to the bullpup layout. The MRDX is compatible with standard AR-15-pattern magazines and ships with a Magpul PMAG. While the MRDX is short, it’s not particularly light, coming in at 8.85 lbs. This may be heavier than what you’d expect from a .300 Blackout rifle, but the short overall length balances the weight more efficiently, keeping the center of gravity closer to your shoulder.
Unlike some bullpup rifles where you’re forced to activate the magazine release with your support hand, the MRDX magazine release rests under your index finger when it’s straight alongside the trigger guard.
Springfield Armory Saint Victor
Technically, the Saint is a pistol; however, this is a legal classification. The arm brace can substitute as a shoulder stock. You can use it as intended, but how often do you see AR-15-pattern pistols fired this way?
This is the answer to the SBR dilemma. It’s regulated the same way as a handgun, but it has the effectiveness of a short-barreled rifle. You don’t have the same freedom of choice regarding the buttstock, but this is a compromise.
The Saint is not a compromise in any other way. If you want an ultra-compact AR-15-pattern weapon in .300 Blackout, the Saint fulfills that requirement at only 27.75” in overall length with a 9” barrel. The barrel, treated with Melonite for both increased wear- and corrosion-resistance, has a rifling twist rate of 1:7”, which is the standard. The weight is about half a pound less than the RECCE-16 — 5 lbs. 9 oz. without magazine. That’s light enough to be handy but not so light that the recoil becomes too apparent.
Actuated by a direct-impingement gas system, the Saint has an adjustable gas block for use with different cartridge loads and to accommodate a sound suppressor. Considering one of the .300 Blackout’s primary purposes is to be compatible with a suppressor, this is a welcome addition.
To increase the smoothness of the trigger pull, it’s coated with Nickel Boron. This coating is often used to increase the surface hardness and lubricity between working metal parts.
The handguard is M-LOK compatible for low-profile accessorizing. As the Saint is a CQB weapon, the ability to attach a light is imperative.
When we hear Barrett’s name, the first weapon that springs to mind is not likely to be an AR-15. The firm is best known for its .50 BMG semi-automatic rifle, the Model 82A1 and M107/M107A1, also known as the “Light Fifty.” However, Barrett has been producing tactical rifles for years in response to military requirements and civilian demand.
The REC7 (Reliability-Enhanced Carbine) was initially introduced using a short-stroke gas-piston system and chambered in the 6.8mm SPC cartridge. Later, Barrett began offering it in direct impingement and chambered in the increasingly popular .300 Blackout.
At 6.2 lbs., the REC7’s weight is almost the same as that of the RECCE-16 — you’re not likely to notice the difference. Compact to the degree that you would expect from a tactical carbine, the overall length is 36” with the stock extended.
Barrett, like BCM, chooses upper and lower receiver forgings made from 7075-T6 aluminum for increased strength.
The Barrett handguard is free-floating. It’s M-LOK compatible and extends almost to the muzzle device, providing sufficient space for mounting accessories, such as weapon lights, backup iron sights, and optics. However, the REC7 does ship with Magpul emergency battle sights, so you’ll have a usable weapon right out of the box.
Not a fully ambidextrous weapon, the REC7 nonetheless sports a Radian Arms charging handle, which you can retract with either your left or right hand, regardless of whether you grip it firmly or not.
.300 Blackout Rifle Selection Criteria
When selecting a .300 Blackout rifle, determine the intended application and what characteristics you consider to be a priority. Is this rifle for participating in competitive shooting sports, such as 3-Gun? Are you searching for a home-defense weapon? Will this rifle accompany you in a vehicle? Consider these factors:
- Overall length and weight: Do you need a light, handy carbine or pistol for increased maneuverability and ease of transport, or a longer-barreled weapon for increased precision?
- Price: Affordability is essential for those on a budget or who are merely testing the waters.
- Reliability: Shooters widely regard functional reliability as essential, regardless of the application, and it’s not hard to understand why. When you buy a product, you expect it to work. However, when you buy a weapon for self-defense, it’s non-negotiable.
- Accuracy: If you’re buying a rifle for CQB, long-range accuracy may not be critical, but for hunting or precision target shooting, the tightness of the groups you can expect to achieve warrants attention.
- Handling and Ergonomics: From the placement of the controls to the pistol grip and butt stock (or arm brace), is the weapon comfortable and convenient to operate?
The .300 AAC Blackout is a highly versatile cartridge. In its supersonic form, the .30-caliber bullet offers increased penetrating power relative to the 5.56mm, and at 300 meters, it outperforms the 7.62×39mm AK-47 round. In its subsonic loadings, it delivers more mass and energy than a 9×19mm.
Available in rifles of almost every configuration, from single-shot break-action to bolt-action magazine-fed to semi-automatic, you’re sure to find a weapon in this caliber that suits whatever application you have in mind.