Revisiting the Suppressed .300 Blackout for Survival

Shooter in ghilliesuit with a suppressed rifle.
Shooter in ghilliesuit with a suppressed rifle.

I watched an interesting video on the 300 blackout and the versatility it offers by being able to use suppressed subsonic rounds for occasional silent shots, and then switch to supersonic if and when all hell breaks loose. (See link to the video below.) I should add that what interested me was not so much the footage as the content of the voiceover and the testing related to the sound of a suppressed round at 50 and 75 yards.

Subsonic Survival Scenario One

This scenario is similar to one mentioned in the video. You are protecting your home/neighborhood during a protest march that breaks down into civil unrest and then outright looting. The “mostly peaceful” protesters are anything but. They start kicking in doors, robbing the homes, beating up and raping residents, lighting houses on fire, and engaging in other mayhem that threatens you and your neighbors with death or grave bodily harm.

If you shoot to protect yourself using an unsuppressed weapon, your location will be evident. You might draw return fire or get swarmed by an angry mob. You better have lots of magazines and be able to reload quickly. If, on the other hand, you are using a suppressed weapon, the mob may not know where the shots are coming from. I would add that this is especially the case if you are shooting at the mob from a distant position or shoot from inside your house at people attacking a different house.

Perhaps even more important (depending on the district attorney in your area) if they don’t know who is shooting, no one can identify you and your face won’t be on phone video footage.

My personal use case for the suppressed rifle was to shoot people attacking my home from a location in the surrounding mountains. My thinking was the suppressed round and the landscape (narrow valley) make it difficult or impossible to determine where the shot came from. As seen in the description above, a similar approach can work in the suburbs during or immediately after the SHTF.

Subsonic Survival Scenario Two

A wandering band of toughs looking to do some pillaging weeks or months after the societal collapse is heading towards your neck of the woods in two trucks and an SUV. After turning up your road, they come to a stop at the sixteen-inch tree you and your neighbors felled across the road. This isn’t their first rodeo, so two fellows hop out of the truck to hook a chain up to the tree trunk. It’s clear they plan to pull the tree out of the way using the truck.

There’s a meaty “thwack” and one guy looks surprised and then collapses as a suppressed.30 caliber round strikes him in the chest. The other guy scrambles behind the truck, looking around wildly to see where the bullet came from. 

The pillagers now have two choices: They can leave and look for a softer target, or they can dismount and counter attack. They choose the latter and each of them dumps their mag into the surrounding woods and hills with little discipline or aim. They do not know where the shooter is, so they are unlikely to hit their unseen target. While they are shooting, another defender could open fire, even if they don’t have a suppressed weapon. The racket they are making will make it impossible to tell where the new incoming fire is from.

When the shooting dies down, the person with the suppressor shoots another one of them, this time in the thigh. He goes down screaming. Now you get to learn something about your new enemy. Do they drag the wounded behind the truck, slap on a tourniquet and evac him? Or does one of the other team members shrug and shoot the wounded man in the head? In the latter case, it might be a good idea to identify the leader and try to take them out because you can’t expect this bunch to compromise.

The tough question here is, do you leave the vehicles alone and let them withdraw, or do you kill as many as possible and aim to damage the trucks? Things to consider are: Do you really want them on foot in your area of operations? If they depart, will they return with reinforcements? What are the odds that you can kill all or most of them without further endangering yourself? Will their shooting attract more defenders to your side? Do you have a fallback position and a safe way to get there? If they get past the first tree, are there other roadblocks ahead where you can repeat the winnowing down process?

Subsonic Survival Scenario Three

A prepper couple has been keeping a low profile at their retreat. They agreed with people in two neighboring homes to back each other up if there is trouble, but counting all three families, there are only eleven people, including kids and elderly. Everyone has agreed that the best bet is to keep their head down and avoid attracting attention from outsiders. Maybe they can just wait things thing out.

As dusk approaches one day, the couple spot a big buck at the edge of the woods. Boy, some venison would sure be welcome. Because they have a suppressed weapon, they can take the deer without the sound of the shot letting others for miles around know they are there and you may have fresh meat. It’s only an 80-yard shot. The .30 caliber cartridge flies true. The buck takes a couple of steps and stumbles to its knees before collapsing. They’ll be eating well and have enough to share with the neighbors, all without ruining their low profile and attracting unwanted attention.

Subsonic Survival Scenario Four

The Israelis reportedly have used a suppressed .22LR rifle to “kneecap” protesters, rock throwers, and other “troublemakers” who get a bit too exuberant during their battles with Israeli police and military. (Note, I have read this but don’t know if it is true.)

By kneecapping a few protesters, the headlines don’t read “Ten Palestinian Protestors killed.” Leg wounds don’t generate angry speeches at the UN. It also takes some of the most militant protesters are out of the protesting game for a month or two as they heal and learn to walk again.

I’m sure you can think of a few post-SHTF WROL scenarios where the ability to silently and secretly wound someone can discourage them from doing something, perhaps for good. Maybe they’re trying to raid your garden, for example, beating you to the harvest. Perhaps they are breaking in to your chicken coop. If you are counting on that food to survive the winter, lethal force is a reasonable response. You just have to assess whether it’s better to shoot-to-kill or shoot-to-wound.

If you choose the latter and they limp home, you need to hope someone with a good head on their shoulders will tell them, “You’re lucky they let you live. Don’t go up there again.” Of course, the danger is someone will say, “All they have is a .22? Let’s wait a couple of weeks for things to calm down and then raid them.”

Again, a tough call. But if you have a suppressed .22, you can always use it to shoot small game when you aren’t busy kneecapping militants.

Grim Results

Looking back over these four scenarios, most of them are not very pleasant. When it comes to the kind of survival where you need to use guns, suppressed or not, there are few pleasant endings. I don’t like to think of myself as bloodthirsty, but I am prepared to meet those who are with a similar level of force. A world without rule of law (WROL) will be ugly for many months. If you are not prepared to meet force with force, you will be victimized.

My Plans

After watching the video, I’m going to get my short-barreled AR pistol out of the safe and do some more experimentation with it. I’d like to find out why the rounds move so far to the left with the suppressor mounted. If the problem I experienced last time is repeatable, I may look into getting a new barrel. Of course, if I do that, the question then becomes, why not make it a 16-inch barrel and not worry about the stupid ATF pistol brace rule? If the regulation gets overturned in court, which I expect will happen eventually, I can always build a new .300 blackout AR pistol. Maybe it will even shoot straight!

If you like the .300 Blackout, the best price I’ve seen on ammo is at Palmetto State Armory. Their AAC ammo is as low as $11.99 per round for the 110 and 125 grain supersonic rounds and $14.99 for the 220 grain subsonic. If you haven’t been paying attention, those are great rates. I’m used to paying at least $1 a round.

Video of the Day

Here’s the video that caught my attention and spurred this post.