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300 Blackout, also know as 300 blk or 300 AAC, was designed for use by the special forces, but, is it any good as a home defense round?
Yes, the 300 Blackout is a good choice for home defense. The heavyweight and size of the 300 blk allow it to have a greater impact at a lower velocity than a 5.56 or .223 equivalent making it an excellent round for large wound cavities without over-penetration.
If you are unsure, keep reading to see my reasoning behind making such a claim. I was skeptical of 300 blk at first, but after looking at the research below, I now use 300 blk in an AR-style pistol as my home defense weapon of choice.
Why was the 300 blk created?
The 300 blk, also known as the 300 blackout and 300 AAC, was created for use in the special forces. The special forces needed a subsonic round to suppress that impacts the target with more force than a subsonic 5.56. While subsonic 5.56 rounds exist, they left a less than desirable penetration and wound cavity than is required for effectively neutralizing a target.
So, the 300 blackout was created by trimming down the casing of a standard 5.56 and replacing the bullet with a heavy and larger bullet. The larger weight and size slowed the projectile while maintaining adequate penetration and impact on the target. In addition, since the 300 blk uses a trimmed down 5.56 casing, it works in all military AR-style weapons chambered for 5.56.
It can use the same magazines, bolt, and upper/lower receiver. The only thing that needs to be changed is the barrel. This made the 300 Blackout very attractive to the special forces and the military in general due to the cost savings of refusing current equipment rather than replacing equipment.
How does the 300 blk work for home defense?
When people hear something was created for use by the special forces, they automatically seem to conclude it must be the best of the best. “If it’s good enough for the special forces, it’s good enough for me” is the common thought process. This isn’t always the case.
To see whether 300 blackout is a good defensive round, we must first examine what the primary objectives are in a home defense round and compare that to the testing of various 300 blk variations to see if it is indeed a good round for home defense.
What is needed in a home defense round
When talking about home defense, everyone has slightly different views. For me personally, I have two main objectives that come to mind. First, I need to incapacitate my target’s ability to attack as quickly and efficiently as possible. Second, I need to limit my penetration as to not stray past my target and have the possibility of hitting a family member, or even a neighbor.
These two dichotomies are often at odds with each other. For maximum incapacitation, you need a round with high impact. The high impact often leads to over-penetration. This is good for incapacitating a target, but a negative for anyone that may be behind your target.
On the other hand, too little penetration often does not have a high impact and therefore leaves a small wound cavity making it much less incapacitating and more likely the attacker can continue.
So, a good home defense round in my opinion leaves the largest wound cavity and damage to the target while not over penetrating past the target.
The best 300 blk round for home defense
While the 300 blackout is an excellent round for home defense, it does not mean all variations of the caliber are of equal value. The various ways in which bullets are made, even within the same caliber, create vastly different effects on the end target.
For example, Full Metal Jacket rounds (also called FMJ) are a great, cheaper choice for target practice and general shooting. They are terrible as a defensive round in most cases due to their high likelihood of overpenetration and lack of expansion leading to a smaller wound cavity.
For defensive rounds, in any caliber, hallow point varieties are almost always the best choice. Even among hollow points within the same caliber, there can be large differences in impact size and penetration.
After many hours of research watching 15 different varieties of hollow-point 300 blk hit ballistic gel (used to simulate human tissue to gauge the effectiveness of a projectile), I concluded the best 300 blackout round for home defense was the Controlled Chaos by Lehigh Defense.
The 300 AAC Blackout / Whisper 115gr High Velocity Controlled Chaos Copper Ammunition has the greatest wound cavity and size while consistently maintaining pentation depth between 12-18″.
How the Controlled Chaos 300 Blackout Works
The Controlled Chaos round has a small hollow ring at the top of the round. This ring, or “hoop” as Lehigh Defense calls it, is designed to rupture at a predetermined depth when the hydraulic pressure has built up enough. Hydraulic pressure only builds up when the bullet hits a liquid, not a solid.
In theory, this means the bullet can pass through a solid object without rupturing but will rupture when it hits human flesh, or anything with a water content.
When the hollow point has enough pressure built up, it is designed to fracture into 8-10 pieces while leaving the bulk of the projectile in the rear intact. This creates an exceptionally large wound cavity as the fractured pieces splinter outward while the bulk of the bullet stays intact and continues to penetrate.
The rapid expansion and fracturing of the bullet result in a rapid loss of velocity and the wound channel generally does not surpass 12-18 inches. 12 inches is the standard width of an adult human male, and is used for reference.
In the below example, you can see the bullet penetrated around 2 inches before expansion occurred. This is precisely what it was designed to do so that the fracturing of the bullet could take place in the most vital area of the target.
How 300 blk compares to .223 for home defense
To properly compare 300 blk to 223 for home defense, we must look at a bullet, designed in the same way, to see the end result on the target. Comparing the above-mentioned controlled chaos to the standard hollow point would yield very different results regardless of the caliber.
For our purposes, we will show two comparisons. The first will be a head-to-head battle at 100 yards using a full metal jacket 124 grain 300 blackout and a 55 grain .223. The test is done by a YouTuber with the channel “The Daily Shooter” and both bullets are shot at a distance of 100 yards into a stack of wood boards.
Both bullets cleanly penetrated the first 3 boards. After that, the .223 began to loose energy and splinter. It continued to splinter creating an expanding hole until it stopped in the 8th board.
The 300 blackout, on the other hand, maintained shape and cut a precise hole through all 12 boards exiting out the back.
This test very clearly shows the added punch the 300 blackout has even at a lower velocity compared to the 223 due to its size and weight. You can watch the full video of the test below:
Another great video example of 300 aac blackout vs .223 is from a YouTube channel called WHO_TEE_WHO where he shoots 25 lb blocks of clay with both the 223 and 300 blk to see the results.
What is the maximum effective range of a 300 blackout?
Statistics show that most self-defense shootings happen within 3-5 yards or 9-15 feet. The 300 blk is, of course, accurate and effective well within that range. But how far out can you effectively shoot a 300 blk?
The range of accuracy depends on the length of the barrel. 300 blackout was designed for use in 10-inch barrels. The effective range of a 300 blackout in a 10-inch barrel is 481 yards or 1,443 feet. Out of a 16-inch barrel, 300 blackout is effective up to 503 yards, or 1,509 feet.
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