By now you’ve probably realized that your current (or hopefully soon-to-be-built) 300 Blackout AR 15 shares eerily similar characteristics with your other AR 15s – including the lower receiver, and generally every other visible part on the rifle.
This is good for the sake of convenience, but it can be very, very bad if you accidentally slap a 300 Blackout magazine into your .22-chambered black rifle. Below is a little public service announcement that we just feel is good practice to share:
(Photo courtesy/Reddit User GoinDH)
Pictured above, Exhibit A is a lovely, home-built AR 15 with a 5.56 upper seated on a proudly built 80% lower. Notice something amiss? Yes, that 7075 T6 forged aluminum upper receiver managed to explode into two pieces, destroying itself and sending pieces of the bolt carrier group flying like flachettes. Lucky for the shooter, he’s alive – but this could have easily killed someone. So, what happened?
The shooter took a 300 Blackout-loaded magazine, which happened a standard 5.56 magazine (they are interchangeable), and happily slapped it into his 5.56-chambered AR 15. He casually pulled the charging handle, chambered a round, and pulled the trigger. The only problem is that he just tried to send a .30-caliber round through a .22-caliber barrel.
Keeping your AR 15 Cartridges Separate
“Oh, I’d never do that!” You might say. Until you do. We’re not trying to imply you’re careless and we’re not saying you actually would ever do this. But, do you always treated a gun as if it’s loaded? Yes. Should you always take preventative steps to ensure something like Exhibit A never happens? Yes.
Here are some quick and convenient ways you can help ensure your 300 Blackouts and .223s or 5.56 NATOs are kept separate:
Use Different Magazine Colors
If you’re the average black rifle owner, you probably keep a couple Magpuls or STANAGs loaded and hanging around for the zombies. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you’re ever in a hurry and you need to grab one, it pays a lot to ensure you’re grabbing the right caliber for the right gun.
We recommend keeping your different cartridges in different colored magazines. Say, tan for .223 and 5.56, and OD green, FDE or just black for 300 Blackout (we think the latter is most fitting).
Label Your Magazines
Maybe you already own a bunch of magazines and don’t want to invest in more, totally understandable. Just take a sharpie, stencil, or even a label maker and make some markings on your magazines. Draw a line on your 300 Blackouts or label them with “300 BLK” on the bottom.
Mark Your Rifles, Too!
300 Blackout and 5.56 guns both look alike, up to and including general barrel profile and thickness. Compare the two side by side and most will not be able to pick which one is which. It does you no good to label your magazines, only to grab the wrong rifle and conduct an Exhibit A. Mark your rifles, too. We recommend, again, using a simple label on the mag well (“5.56 NATO” or “300 BLK”) or just marking the buffer tube with a white permanent pen.
Yes, we know that you know which rifle is which, but not everyone else will. You might bring friends or family to the range, and they might make that same mistake without you ever realizing until it’s too late. Keep them safe, too.
Label. All. Your. Stuff.
It’s not worth the guilt and anguish of seeing someone you care about get injured or killed.