BREAKING: Black Hills Sole-Sourced for Contract for FBI Hostage Rescue Team .300 Blackout Subsonic Ammunition

Good news for everyone’s favorite Dakotan ammunition company, Black Hills has just won the contract to provide subsonic .300 Blackout ammunition for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Hostage Rescue Team, according to a listing at FedBizOpps. The contract, which sources tell TFB is for 39,000 rounds and a value of $106,080, marks the Hostage Rescue Team’s first move towards the increasingly popular .300 Blackout caliber.

The .300 Blackout is reputed to be¬†extremely quiet in subsonic, thanks to its relatively small .30 caliber bore, versus the .35 cal bore of 9mm, or the even wider bore of .45 ACP. It’s yet unknown exactly what projectile Black Hills will be loading into the ammunition they are providing to the FBI HRT, however¬†according to the listing the projectile will weigh 201 grains. The only that I know of for the .300 Blackout that is close to 201 grains is the S&B 200 grain FMJ, which seems an unlikely choice. It seems likely that the FBI has adopted either a standard OTM projectile, or a more exotic expanding subsonic bullet.

In my research for this post, I was unable to find out what weapon the FBI HRT has chosen to fire its shiny new subsonic .300 Blackout ammunition. If any of our readers know, please tell us in the comments!



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • CommonSense23

    AAC had supplied JSOC with some 300BLK rifles but apparently ran into issues with quality control and lost the contract. The rumor mill was Sig was going to be the likely replacement for them.
    The better question is what exactly is the HRT needing 300BLK out for, unless they are just trying to copy they military counterparts.

    • Mike N.

      Gotta destroy the village to save it, and all that.

    • SIG does have a SOCOM contract for MCX uppers (which work with M4s), and IIRC I believe they were in 300BLK.

      • CommonSense23

        Didn’t know they would work on the M4 lower.

        • You just need an adapter kit. It replaces the receiver extension, and has the pic rail like you see on the MCX and MPX. From there you can attach stocks designed for those guns.

          Though I wouldn’t be surprised if they developed a replacement buffer for SOCOM. You lose a lot of the versatility if you have to replace the receiver extension every time you want to switch between 5.56 and 300BLK.

          • int19h

            Can you get the adapter kit separately? If so, this could be a sweet build for an ARAK-21 upper, since it doesn’t need the buffer tube, either.

            Actually, come to think of it… if it can interface with the regular AR lower, then this means that MCX lower can also interface with a regular AR upper, right? I mean, it wouldn’t work, since there’s no buffer tube, but it should connect? So then you could actually use an ARAK upper on an MCX lower?

          • mig1nc

            Theoretically, yes…. Interesting idea.

          • That would be a question for SIG. I’ve never seen an adapter kit in the wild, and the only MCXs I’ve handled were at SHOT.

    • rennsport4.4TV8

      They need it for when they assassinate people the government does not like.

    • JSmath

      It’s definitely not as though subsonic weapons would be beneficial in recovering hostages, surely no.

      • CommonSense23

        300BLK is a murder round. Its useful for shooting people in their sleep in one room, without waking up people in the next room, and then if things go south, switching to a intermediate rifle round with a mag change for dealing with the QRF if they get alerted. It allows you not to have to carry a 10inch and a MP5 at the same time. The HRT doesn’t really have the same issues that JSOC faces overseas.

        • RSG

          I’m not sure if you’re being facetious, but I got into 300blk for similar reasons. Not for murder, but for self defense. The ability to go from 110 supers traveling 2400fps to 220 subs at 1050fps and quiet as a mouse, is uniquely unmatched.

          • mig1nc

            Lets say, you need to eliminate guards posted on the perimeter before clearing the room with the hostages. It might be a good idea to not alert the guy holding the gun to the hostage’s head that you are coming.

        • iksnilol

          I dunno, maybe a subsonic 300 BLK suppressed beats a 10 incher suppressed in regards to not concussing the heck outta hostages and whatnot.

          • CommonSense23

            Yeah. That flashbang or breaching charge that is going on isn’t that bothersome though. A 10inch 5.56 suppressed isn’t going to be bad indoors.

          • iksnilol

            For the user, the MK18 might be bothersome.

          • CommonSense23

            For the user, they are going to have peltors.

          • iksnilol

            Yeah, and those are supposed to help?

            Those are basically glorified toys. I’d only use them for the occasional shot when hunting. Otherwise they don’t really provide any real protection.

          • CommonSense23

            You are suggesting peltors don’t provide substantial hearing protection indoors?

          • iksnilol

            Electronic ear pro doesn’t really protect much. Simply doesn’t have the volume to reduce the sound properly. Or it might be that I just have super-ears or something.

            Non-electronic ear pro though, works very well, I like those Peltors.

          • Joe

            Coming from the guy that just claimed the .300 Blackout is a Murder round….

          • CommonSense23

            Yeah, it kinda is. 300BLK out had a lot of money thrown at it by JSOC so they could replace the MP5AS a and suppressed MK24s. So they could shoot people in what while legal in a war zone sense, equates to murder in a moral sense. Which is the best way to kill people if you got to stick with shooting them.

          • Joe

            By that definition a 1,000 lb JDAM is as much, or more a murder weapon as a .300 Blk.

          • CommonSense23

            I totally agree. One of the best lessons I ever learned was we shouldn’t even given people a chance. Its war, not a duel. We should be striving to murdue people. Not give them a chance.

        • Kyle

          A murder round. Hahahahaha thanks I needed a laugh this morning

    • 11b

      Why are you questioning the logic of HRT? If the guys out there doing work need it, then they have a use for it. Are you on HRT? Armchair generals ffs

  • Porty1119

    That sounds like a big break for the chambering. As goes the FBI, so do local agencies.

    • Flounder

      Not really, Do you remember jordan adopting 6.8 spc as their main rifle chambering? And now cartridge is circling the bowl. Although it will probably kick around forever.

      Now this is just one small specialized group. But yes it is a boon.

    • USMC03Vet

      Maybe if this was still the 1980’s.

  • Audie Bakerson

    Part of the the Dutch Navy already ordered some 300 Blackout (TFB covered it). Now that a major US agency and a foreign military have adopted it (to some degree), 300 Blackout won’t be leaving anytime soon.

  • AC97

    .300 Memeout is spreading…

    (Why didn’t they start using this sooner?)

    • Anonymous

      Because it only fits in a really small niche.

  • RSG

    I’m all for universal adoption, or as widespread as possible, if it reduces cartridge prices.

  • Juggernaut

    I’d be more impressed if they prosecuted Hillary

    • JSmath

      Not HRT’s job, unless Hillary starts taking hostages.

      • Pickles

        She took the Democratic party hostage through the entire election. Does that count?

        • SerArthurDayne

          Even more win in this response!

      • SerArthurDayne

        So much win in this response

      • SwissFreek

        Prosecuting her still wouldn’t be their job then, either.

    • Rules

      FIREARMS , NOT POLITICS

  • Don Ward

    So I guess the FBI finally wanted a round that was worse than the 9mm Silvertip ammo from the 1980s?

    • Bean Guy

      How is .300blk worse?

      • iksnilol

        Because muh stopping powah.

      • Don Ward

        Because it is a terrible round with worse ballistics than the 30-30 yet has the added benefits of blowing up firearms when someone accidentally chambers it into a 5.56 AR?

        • Ebby123

          If by accidentally you mean “Pounded the forward assist with a hammer until it crumpled the round enough to fit in the chamber”…. then yes.

          Do you have this problem with all of your bolt guns that use a 308 or 30-06 as a parent case?

          • Don Ward

            Because it is absolutely inconceivable that there has ever been a time when .300 blackout has been accidentally chambered into a .223/5.56 caliber AR? I’m sure it has never happened before in the history of the Internet.

          • Dan

            You dont need to pound the forward assist with a hammer to get it to chamber.

        • JoelM

          The .300 is almost identical ballistically to the 7.62×39. I’m sure the hundreds of thousands of people who died from the 7.62×39 will be greatly comforted to hear it’s terrible because it’s less powerful than the .30-30. They might just hop up and decide they made a bad decision dying from such a lesser cartridge.

    • Pievel

      Aw yes, the obligatory caliber haters have predictably commented!

  • Van The Handcannon Man

    Judging by 39.000 rounds, I’m betting that they are in a testing process currently/putting their feelers out. Would be quite interesting to see adoption though.

    • Oregon213

      Yep, that’s a pretty small quantity – even if its just duty ammo and they’re using some other .300 Blackout for training.

  • Daniel

    As a .300 fan I’ve got to throw this out – I am shocked nobody has mentioned the ~$2.75 per round cost. I am also a fan of Black Hills but if I recall correctly I paid less than $1 a round for Gemtec subs last time I bought. And that was only in quantity of 1-2K. Is the Black Hills stuff with the 3x price tag? Or should this be chalked up to how the Govt does it- gleefully pay triple what it should go for just because there was a budget to squander.

    • Justin Roney

      Well, if it’s a custom subsonic expanding bullet they are loading, that would explain a majority of the cost.

      • Flounder

        Black hills ammo is also pretty expensive in general.

        BUT OH CRAP you are right! 2.72 per round… That is crazy… UNLESS The FBI is planning on doing something crazy with this ammo… Like full auto sniper rifles. Do we know what rifles these rounds are for? And the bullets are going to go through suppressors… so maybe there is some other cost? Hopefully?

    • lgsstudent

      your math is wayyyyy off.

    • Steve Kosovich

      Well, look what they pay for hammers and toilet seats?

  • A.WChuck

    Breaking!: Electric Boogaloo

    • USMC03Vet

      Electric Boogaloo 3: Tax Payer Funded Ammo Dump

  • Nick

    Given the $2.72/Rd cost the FBI is paying, I’d say that’s a good guess. Those bullets are pretty impressive too. Bought a box to try (@ $42 per 50) and have loved them. They expand nicely and cycle well (except in a pmag).

    • whamprod

      Nick, any clue as to why they don’t cycle well in a PMAG? I’d like to try these. Haven’t had any cycling problems with 208 grain A-Max, but the bullet shape looks quite a bit different. Are the Maker bullets substantially longer than the A-Max?

  • Anonymous

    They need a special Subsonic Projectile, ive seen a ton of OTM’s taking quite long to open even supersonic.

    • Henry Reed

      Lehigh?

      • Anonymous

        ? what do you mean

        • Henry Reed

          Lehigh makes specialized expanding subsonic projectiles.

  • Adam

    I called Black Hills and spoke with Carl. This article was news to everyone at Black Hills. They are not aware of any purchase order by the FBI. Black Hills did submit a quote to the FBI in January. The ammunition will not be made available to the public. It is Law Enforcement Only. So, unless the author has a deep connection within Black Hills or the FBI this article is “Fake News” with a grain of truth in it.

    • Henry Reed

      When you say “they are not aware,” do you really mean Carl? Maybe Carl’s not in the loop?

      • Dan

        What he means is it was only news to Carl since that is the only person he spoke to. Carl also isnt allowed to speak about contracts with .gov so Carl plays dumb

    • whamprod

      Dammit Carl! You had ONE job! ……..

  • Henry Reed

    106,000 divided by 39,000 is $2.72 a round.
    Wow.

    • Henry Reed

      Oh wait, that math is wrong. When you flip them around it’s actually 37 cents a round, which is much more manageable. Lol.

  • ExternalBallistics

    I produce videos for Lehigh Defense and without disclosing too much information, I do know that a significant percentage of their production output goes toward satisfying military requirements for subsonic and match grade accurate AP projectiles.

    • Ballistic

      Lehigh Defense and AP in one sentence?

  • DT

    and that ladies and gentlemen, is government procurement in action… $2.72 a round?
    Jeez, just order it online for crips sake, save two bucks a round.

  • Doesn’t .300BLK subsonic basically do about the same job as .45acp, but at higher pressures and two or three times the price?

    • Duray

      Similar energy, but fitting in a standard AR platform, with better penetration, flatter trajectory, and the ability to instantly switch to AK-equivalent ballistics.

      • I suppose that last one is indeed a legit selling point, so you can drop a magazine of pistol-effect ammo once things get loud and reload with rifle rounds.

    • JoelM

      No. It has quite a bit more power in subsonic (since it’s moving 200fps faster), it’s much quieter, it’s got a much higher ballistic coefficient so it’s velocity retention is much much better than .45 (even at a lowly 100m the advantage is huge), quicker time on target makes moving targets easier, magazines hold more for their length, and then you also have the ability to use full power ammo in the same rifle with only a magazine change. You also don’t have to train on a different weapon system than the other guys using M4’s because with a barrel swap you’re firing .300 out of an M4.