Firearms are like road maps. You can trace the details back to the owners core personality. Every trait, color, addition, and modification tells a story. All of us here at TAT love to build firearms. We have a special affinity for the AR15 platform and over the last year each one of us has built at least on AR pistol. Here is my personal story of my 300 Blackout Pistol/SBR build (more on that later) and why I did what I did.
Before you can begin a build, you have to determine what you are trying to achieve. I wanted to build an all purpose rifle or pistol AR-15 that could not only serve as an effective piece of my kit, but also pack lightly for hiking or hunting and not break the bank when it came to training.
From first glance it is pretty obvious: I wanted my pistol build to be TINY. I spent many hours researching what caliber, barrel length, manufacturer that I would like to go with. After a lot of consideration I decided to go with a 300 blackout. Now with the caliber out of the way, the build was able to move along. Part of what drove my decision to build a 300 blackout was the fact that I wanted to shoot suprpessed. Right around the time I started building this 300 blackout I purchased a Silencerco Omega suppressor. I waited almost a year for this suppressor, but that is another story for another time.
The foundation of any AR-15 build is the lower receiver. Naturally I started here. I decided to go with Anderson Manufacturing Lower receivers. I say plural because I bought two at the same time. You may be asking "why did you do that?" The answer is simple: One was immediately engraved and applied for a SBR tax stamp. I wanted to go all the way, but also have a lower that could be used as a pistol build. I wanted similar handling between the two lower setups. Sometimes the versatility and ease of travel with the pistol is nice. Some places, like Pennsylvania, don't allow hunting with semi-auto pistols. This is where the SBR lower shines. I can chase coyotes with the SBR lower, and travel freely (in free states) with my pistol lower. It really is a "do all" setup.
You will notice on the pistol lower I currently have a Law Tactical Side Folding adapter. I plan to add one of these to my SBR lower as well, or one of the Deadfoot Arms folders. They are both great options and each does certain things better than the other. I will go into this in a later post.
For the Upper receiver I went with 100% Anderson Manufacturing parts. They were the right price, and I have had 100% reliability with this gun. Accuracy at 50, 100, and even 200 yards is insanely good. I would gladly shoot a coyote at 200 yards and not even think twice. I went with a 7.5" 1:7 twist barrel. I currently have Anderson's EXT rail, however I would like to swap this out for another rail. Maybe a Geisselle or SLR. I went with Silencerco's ASR brake on the end of this bad boy, because I usually don't shoot it without a suppressor. Without my Omega Suppressor the brake is obnoxious, and it is not very fun to shoot. I run the ASR flash hiders on my other rifles for this very reason.
For the Bolt and carrier group I went with a standard Nitrided BCG. As far as optics I am currently running a Holosun 515C red dot. This red dot has the solar backup and battery, and the battery life is insane. I keep it on all the time. I like that the dot is crisp and it has taken serious abuse and held its zero. I carry this gun in my Vertx Gamut bag and I am not gentle with it at all. I have Magpul MBUS backup sights and, yes, that is an Inforce APL pistol light on the top of the rail. I actually really like this little light for this build. It is ambidextrous and very low profile. Call me crazy since its a pistol light, but this is, however, a pistol build isn't it?
The law tactical folding adapter on the lower receiver allows easy carry in my Vertx Gamut bag. Here is how I carry the 300 blackout every single day, no exceptions:
You will notice I run a 20 round magazine when I carry in the Vertx Gamut bag. A 30 round magazine is just a little too large to fit into this compartment without getting hung up. I found that a 20 round magazine was a great compromise/solution to this problem, while still allowing me to have plenty of ammo on hand.
Every good rifle or AR pistol needs a good sling. For now I am running a Blue Force Gear Vickers sling. I like the quick adjust features of this sling and its minimalist design. It does what I want and nothing more.
I am running a polished Milspec Trigger for now, however I plan on switching this out to a drop in sometime in the future. I want to do that mostly for hunting. For training I honestly don't mind the milspec trigger. It is smooth because it is polished, but it is rather heavy. I currently am running a KAK shockwave pistol brace as well. Although it looks like a stock, it is in fact classified as a pistol brace. I like it because it is extremely low profile and has multiple ways to thread my sling through it. On my SBR Lower I am simply running a Magpul Stock. I will probably switch this up sometime for something a little more low profile, but it is comfortable and was inexpensive.
As far as the finish goes, it is a simple rattle can job for now. I plan to redo it with cerakote in the very near future.
Let's jump into the reliability. This gun, stock out of the box, runs subsonic AND supersonic ammunition with or without my suppressor. Crazy right? Maybe I found a unicorn. Maybe Anderson sprinkled some special pixie dust on it for me, or maybe Anderson just has a pretty legit little 300 blackout setup. I am running a non-adjustable .75 low profile gas block. I did not drill out or enlarge any of the ports. It is a pistol length gas setup. If you are running a blackout, I HIGHLY recommend a pistol length gas system. The 300 just doesn't have the pressures of a 556 and I have found these lengths to be the most reliable. Although it cycles the subsonic ammunition without the suppressor, I will say it does not fully lock the bolt to the rear on the last shot in the magazine. Throw the suppressor on and it successfully holds the bolt open.
Usually about this time is when people say "there's no way a 7.5" barrel is accurate." I took the liberty of trying out some new handloaded 110 Grain V-MAX bullets stuffed in front of H110 powder to the range to test that theory. The results:
Keep in mind this 300 blackout was zeroed with a totally different ammunition, which is why the group was high. However look at how tight that five shot group is. This is with a red dot and a simple wooden rest and sandbags. I regularly shoot our Rifle Dueling Tree at 200 yards. You don't need a 20" barrel to be accurate. This is, after all, 2017.
Lastly comes the price tag. If you put aside the SBR tax stamp/lower and the suppressor, this is a fairly inexpensive build. It did cost a decent amount, but compared to some other companies and components I could have spent a lot more. That being said, I could have also spent a lot less. I believe this build is a happy medium and the reliability and accuracy are on par with top tier manufacturers. Keep in mind the prices below are rounded from memory, so they may be incorrect or different than current prices.
- Anderson EXT 7.5" Upper: $450.00
-Anderson Lower, KAK brace, Parts kit, Buffer/tube/spring: $205.00
-Holosun 515C: $200.00
-Inforce APL: $ 120.00
-Magpul BUS: $100.00
Total build without NFA items (approximately): $1075.00
Extra items that I added:
-SBR Tax Stamp: $200.00
-Silencer Tax Stamp: $200.00
-Silencerco Omega suppressor: $900.00
-Spare lower with Magpul Stock: $160.00
All in all this is an extremely compact, hard hitting AR build, and I have been extremely pleased with it. It is light, compact, accurate, reliable and puts a smile on my face every time I hit the range. I am going to put some links in the bottom to the companies I have used for this build.I paid for every part just like everyone else, so this is not a paid advertisement. This is simply my story and reasoning behind why I built this 300 blackout. Keep in mind this build has been ongoing for over a year. I have slowly saved up and purchased everything shown.
I'm going to drop some links down below for all the manufacturers so you can check out their current prices:
I hope this write up helped some of you out. I get questions every week on this build, so I wanted to drop this so I had somewhere to direct people to. Is this the best build on the planet? No, and I am not claiming that it is. For me, it was the best build I could achieve with the limited money that I had available. I am very pleased with it, and I feel like I got a lot of value out of it.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and thank you for checking out our site. Your continued support is amazing and overwhelming. If you want to chat personally shoot me an email here: Email Jared. You can also message me on instagram @tatargets or on my personal page @keystonecarry. Thank you again for your support. God Bless.
***UPDATE: To check out my latest blog update on my 300 blackout build, click HERE.