The 300 AAC Blackout cartridge, or 300 BLK for short, is fast becoming the belle of the AR-rifle ball.

For years, manufacturers have attempted to get 7.62x39mm ballistics out of an AR with varying success. Several have come very close and even surpassed that goal. Others cartridges, while having excellent ballistics, require different (or modified) magazines. Others yet are either proprietary or simply unsupported by mainstream ammunition manufacturers. But the very promising 300 BLK seems to have overcome all these obstacles. The vast majority of my time behind a weapon has been law enforcement related—I have had little time to get involved in the competition or sports markets. This means I have a rather focused approach at times, with “Will it work on patrol or in a team environment?” typically being my first question of a gun. There is a lot of great stuff out there that in my opinion simply has no practical use in the police world.

Given the liability-conscious environment that officers work in, our choices for duty ammunition must be made with great thought. While I recognize my opinions fall outside the mainstream, they are born from 15-plus years of testing, approving and using duty weapons and ammunition. Although I was aware of the 300 BLK cartridge as early as its .300 Whisper days, my real interest in it came much later because of the focus on subsonic ammunition for the 300 BLK.

To me, subsonic ammunition remains a unique novelty that has only very specialized applications for law enforcement. What we need are bullets that both penetrate armor and expand quickly and completely at practical ranges. The more energy that is dissipated in the threat, the better. If the round will work suppressed, that’s simply a bonus. In my experience, the 300 BLK seems to do exactly that, and very well for that matter.

My recent testing of the 300 BLK in a 10.2-inch-barreled rifle was impressive—so impressive that the firearm has become my primary rifle. It offers more energy on target with proven expanding bullets and almost no recoil—a huge plus. When you add a suppressor, it is even better. Suppressing short-barreled 5.56mm rifles can be a nightmare. Not so with the 300 BLK, even with supersonic loads. It suppresses as well or better than any similar caliber.

But suppressors bring up the usual issues for officers: They are expensive and require months of waiting to acquire. The same is true of short-barreled rifles: Federal paperwork is required, and you can expect to wait months before you can use your rifle. For precisely these reasons, a 16-inch carbine remains the first choice of most officers and agencies, and American Tactical Imports (ATI), in conjunction with Head Down Products, has created a rifle that will fit the bill—the ARcane Blackout.

Gun Details

ATI is offering several carbines perfectly suited to duty use and at reasonable prices. A few of these are built using Head Down Products’ forends. Given the popularity of the 300 BLK, ATI is planning to offer several variants in this chambering, including an NFA version with a 10.5-inch barrel, which requires the usual transfers, and a simple carbine with a 16-inch barrel. Both are built in the U.S. with mil-spec parts. With a retail price at less than $1,000, they provide solid options for most officers.

For more information, visit or call 800-290-0065.

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