Advanced Armament Corp’s 300 AAC Black has suddenly gained a lot of traction, with many other manufacturers chambering their rifles into it, and AAC developing interesting new guns in it as well; it’s the little .30 cal that could, and now Smith & Wesson’s getting on the Blackout train.
For reference, the 300 BLK uses a .223/5.56 case necked up to accept the .308-inch diameter bullets, providing the AR platform with a 7.62x39mm equivalent that is completely compatible with .223/5.56 bolts, extractors, and magazines (all it requires is a correctly-chambered barrel) and can be loaded to either supersonic or sub-sonic levels and remain accurate with both, at close to medium ranges.
It’s very popular with police who want to move up a notch in knock-down power and also play with silencers and other toys, as well as enthusiasts who want a cheap cartridge, in both terms of buying and reloading, that shoots major, is good for hunting, etc. without having to get a complete 7.62x39mm or x51mm upper or rifle and all the other accessories that go with that. If you’re already thick with STANAG mags, then it’s an easy sell.
Smith & Wesson’s 300 is only different in that it’s chambered in 300 Whisper, a wildcat cartridge that the 300 BLK is remarkably similar to; it is only shorter in overall length, which means that 300 BLK can be safely and accurately fired in a gun chambered in 300 Whisper, which is ballistically identical but a little more expensive.
It’s got a thick .30 cal barrel without a cutout, which has a 5/8-24 threading and eschews a front sight for a flattop-height Picatinny gas block. The barrel has a Melonite finish, which we like a lot; it may be harder to spot fouling on the black finish, but it’s more durable and corrosion-resistant than chrome, all while cutting down on the price a bit, like the Sport. Otherwise, it is pretty much your standard AR carbine, an M&P15PS in .30.
Because it can be suppressed so easily, it’s naturally got appeal for hunters who are allowed to hunt with silencers, which is why it comes with S&W’s Realtree camo finish and a ten-shot magazine; in fact, that’s our only complaint. Right now, it’s only available in camo, not black, which is of course the correct hue for tactical. And you can’t make a gun that shoots 300 BLK without acknowledging its operator appeal. So hurry up, Smith, get your tactical on.