Accurate and packing the extra punch of a .30-caliber, the Daniel Defense M4 V5 300 Blackout carries more energy to the target and can be operated almost silently with subsonic ammunition and a suppressor. Shown with a Browe optic.
AR-15s are some of the most versatile guns ever designed and lend themselves well to a variety of roles, from assaulting an enemy position to close-quarter structure clearing. They also can be fitted with sound suppressors, which are very useful in not only protecting the hearing of the shooter and those close by—especially if in the confines of a structure where sound bounces off of walls instead of dissipating into the atmosphere—but also to mask the location of the operator so that the enemy will have a more difficult time finding him. However, the 5.56mm NATO round can remain supersonic for 900 yards or more and cause a sonic crack for the entire distance, alerting an enemy to the presence of a shooter.
To maintain stealth, deliver more foot-pounds of energy (fpe) on target, penetrate barriers better than the 5.56mm round and still have the benefits of the AR-style weapon system, the 300 AAC Blackout cartridge was developed. The .30-caliber round was specifically designed around the AR platform, with a different barrel being the only required modification. Recognizing the benefits of the new cartridge, Daniel Defense of Black Creek, Georgia, has chambered its successful M4 V-series carbines in the new round. The M4 V5 received for testing is a well-executed AR-15 with a free-floated barrel and a quad-rail forend that is more than 12 inches long, providing lots of room for optics and accessories.
Since the AR’s introduction in the 1960s, there has been a great deal of controversy about the so-called “varmint round” that the military chose. Derided as underpowered for military use, critics have long called for a .30-caliber alternative that would carry more energy to the target. Many have suggested that the Russian 7.62x39mm cartridge, which is fired by the AK-47, is a better choice, and that the 7.62mm NATO round would be even better. However, the 7.62mm NATO round is too long for the AR-15’s receiver and the Russian cartridge’s taper makes it incompatible with the AR-type magazine and magazine well. Additionally, the taper induces unwanted stress on the bolt. Therefore, an alternative was needed.
J.D. Jones of SSK Industries designed the 300 Whisper and in 1992 copyrighted the name. His work helped prove the concept of a .30-caliber round based on the same case used to develop the 5.56mm cartridge; but being a copyrighted proprietary round, it was not eligible for adoption by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI). Another solution developed by Advanced Armament Corp. is the 300 AAC Blackout, which was submitted to SAAMI and approved in January 2011. The new round, also referred to as the 300 BLK, then became a standard chambering that any manufacturer could produce. At that point, interest increased and now several ammunition manufacturers are committed to making 300 BLK ammunition.