The .300 Blackout has become the second most popular cartridge for the venerable AR-15 rifle. After all, it is hard to ignore the improved stopping power of a intermediate .30 caliber round that also uses standard magazines and bolts.
This booming popularity has set shooters of all sorts on a quest to find the best .300 Blackout scope, and like any good quest, the solution is half magic, and half practical reality.
Matching a scope to a firearm and scoped firearm to a person is a careful juggling act of gut instinct and tailored analysis. Because rifles (and pistols!) in .300 Blackout are used for everything from casual plinking, to serious duty, we applied a broad and objective set of criteria in an effort to find a bit of everything suitable for the most common uses.
In many cases, there are dedicated .300 reticles available, which made selecting certain scopes easy. In other cases, we relied on tried and true high end optics that simply will not let the operator down. Ultimately, we hope you find these recommendations valuable. We know choosing a .300 Blackout scope is a highly personal decision, and have selected four fine options for your consideration.
This one is for those folks who need the best scope for their .300 Blackout pistol. AR-15 style pistols are one of the next big things, and for good reason- they are bloody fun to shoot, and even have practical applications, particularly as substitutes for expensive and heavily regulated short barrel rifles.
The Simmons ProHunter is a simple four power scope with a 32mm objective lens. Long recognized as a highly suitable configuration for medium range shooting and intermediate calibers like the .300 Blackout, this scope is well suited to AR pistols, or for the shooter who simply likes a scout rifle configuration. Built to be water, fog and shock proof, the Simmons ProHunter is an excellent choice for the increasingly popular .300 Blackout pistol market.
Given the increased range and power that the .300 offers, I’d consider this on any barrel that offers greater than hundred yard performance, or if you are building a scout rifle in .300 Blackout. I know some people look at AR pistols as little more than toys and gimmicks, but with a little bit of work, they can be extremely viable firearms, and are an ideal platform for the .300 Blackout.
- Well suited for short and intermediate range shooting
- Ideally configured for AR style pistols
- Small objective lens and low magnification
- Not suitable for rugged duty
- Limited tactical use
When looking for a .300 Blackout scope, it’s easy to forget that not everyone is using it as a tactical round. In fact, because the .300 Blackout was designed to mimic or nearly duplicate 7.62×39 performance, it is really a dandy knockabout intermediate .30 caliber round, which means sometimes you need glass that can work the outer limits of the round’s performance.
The Nikon P-300 is just such a scope. With 2-7 magnification, and a comfy 32mm reticle, this variable powered scope offers the comfortable reach that the .300 Blackout can use, while also offering cutting edge multicoated optics, a quick focus eyepiece, and instant zero reset turrets. When I look at this scope, I feel it is ideal for easy handing hunting rifles, reloaders who may play with several kinds of rounds, or even for many common tactical situations.
It is a handy all purpose scope that works for most applications a person might have for the .300 Blackout round. While I’d prefer a 40mm reticle, for most work, there is nothing wrong with the P-300. However, what makes this a really nice .300 Blackout scope is the fact the reticle is calibrated for standard and subsonic ammo. There isn’t much to dislike about this scope, and an awful lot to love.
- Calibrated for the .300 Blackout
- Suitable for all but the most demanding applications
- Spring loaded zero reset turrets
- May not be suitable for low light shooting
- Not designed for the most difficult duty
- 32mm objective lens compromises size with light transmission
Did you really think we were going to talk about the best scope for a .300 Blackout rifle without touching on the Trijicon ACOG? This world famous, often imitated but never really equaled, combat proven optic is now available calibrated for the .300 Blackout.
While the ACOG hardly needs introduction, it never hurts to run down the celebrated list of features that makes the ACOG great.
Illuminated with tritium dials or daytime fiber optics, the ACOG has an always on, battery free illuminated reticle that is there when you need it the most, without having to think about turning your scope on. With a 32mm objective lens, and fixed four power magnification, the ACOG gives you about everything you can ask for out of a combat carbine optic, while not compromising on quality and design.
Now this is a highly specialized optic- there is no need to drop the cash for an ACOG unless you are building a tactical rifle and there are cheaper clones available. The ACOG does one thing, and it does it very well, which means if you are building a tactical carbine, or just have to have the same gear the Army uses, then it’s the best darned .300 Blackout optic on the market. Period. Full stop.
- Military grade construction
- Illuminated reticle does not require batteries
- It’s an ACOG. Seriously, that should be enough right there.
- High cost
- Best suited for tactical carbines and similar functions
- Limited sporting utility
This one will generate some controversy- and after all, what is the point of writing about scopes for the .300 Blackout without some controversy?
As this round is increasingly popular for hog hunting (and that is what gets some people riled up, but hey, caliber arguments are fun) we would be remiss not to include a good hog hunting scope in here.
The Vortex Crossfire II has an oversized 50mm objective lens that makes it ideal for night hunting, plenty of magnification at 4-16 power, a 30mm tube for superior light transmission, and of course is built like a brick outhouse. Mount a light on your rifle, and you are ready for the next hog hunt.
Now of course, using the Vortex Crossfire on your .300 Blackout rifle is a bit of a specialized task. It’s something of an overbuilt and overpowered scope for the round, but if you are hunting varmints, predators or hogs at night, it’s a pretty solid scope. Of course it is great for daytime use as well- I just wouldn’t crank the magnification past 10x or so, but that’s my preference. And of course, you’ll find it suitable for most any hunting application, or weather condition you might want to run it through.
- Great for hunting nuisance animals that come out at night
- Well built for hard use
- Reasonably priced for what you get
- Overpowered for many common applications
- Large objective lens and 30mm tube require special rings
- Non illuminated reticle may be undesirable for some night hunting situations
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A Brief History of the .300 Blackout
The .300 Blackout has spiritual roots in WWII Soviet small arms technology, as it was created to be similar in performance to the 7.62x39mm Russian round. In 1943, the Soviet Union started to design an intermediate sized cartridge that would be more useful for the close ranges much of WWII was fought at. The end result was the now famous 7.62x39mm cartridge which has been chambered in military and civilian firearms all around the globe, and still remains a popular combat round. Because the stopping power of the 7.62×39 exceeds that of the 5.56mm round common in the AR-15 and M16, a market among civilians and military end users for a similar cartridge that used standard bolts and magazines resulted. Advanced Armament quickly developed such a round in 2011, which is the .300 AAC (Advanced Armament Corporation) Blackout we all know and love today. It isn’t too hard to find a far more detailed history of the development of this round, but suffice it to say, it was born from a real need to meet real world problems, and succeeded brilliantly. Today, the .300 Blackout is available in both subsonic and supersonic loads, with bullet weights ranging from 78 to 220 grains, with some rounds optimized for short barrels and suppressed rifles. Which brings us around to the meat and potatoes of this article- choosing the best .300 Blackout scope.
Selecting Your Scope
As you can see, there are uses for the .300 Blackout which range from covert tactical operations to competition shooting, to hunting hogs and some deer sized game. These uses cover a plethora of guns- nearly all based off the AR-15/M16 platform. While some single shot and bolt action .300 Blackout firearms exist, they are the exception, rather than the rule, and you’ll find the same rules apply to them when selecting a scope as they do for the AR platform firearms. Broadly speaking, there are three types of firearms commonly chambered in .300 Blackout. These are AR style pistols, AR style rifles and carbines, and short barrel rifles. Ammo that is optimized for each type of platform is available, and where legal, it is also popular to run subsonic ammo with a suppressor.
.300 Blackout Pistols
AR-15 pistols exist for several reason, one simply being “because they can”, another because they can serve as partial substitute for a proper (and Federally registered) short barrel rifle, and several other reasons that tend to revolve around the gun owning public’s desire for something different and cool. All of these reasons make the .300 Blackout an ideal cartridge, especially for those building any sort of tactical pistol. You pretty much need a long eye relief scope for most AR pistol options, although you may be able to get away with an ACOG or such depending on how you shoot your pistol, or make use of wrist braces. While a lot of folks just run a red dot on their AR pistol, there are viable scope options for it if you desire to go that way.
.300 Blackout Rifles and Carbines
Here is where the sky is pretty much the limit. Depending on what you are running, and what you intend to use your rifle for, your needs will range from a simple scope, to something as complex and rugged as an ACOG. This is really a mission specific choice, and the most important factor is the end use of the firearm. You aren’t going to use the same optic for a hog hunting gun as you would for a patrol carbine, or a match target rifle. Fortunately the end use makes it fairly easy to select a scope for a .300 Blackout AR.
Short Barrel Rifles
The easy way out is to repeat what was already said for rifles and carbines, with the added caveat, that a lot of people like to suppress their SBR’s. When running a silenced .300 Blackout SBR or carbine, the usual cartridge choice is a heavy subsonic load, which means you aren’t shooting at great distances. There is no need to burden such a firearm with an overly large or powerful scope, and if your budget allows, you might as well run with an ACOG, otherwise the Nikon P-300 would be a marvelous choice for a quiet SBR.
The .300 Blackout is here to stay. It scratches that all important itch of a 7.62x39mm class AR, without the attendant hassle of weird non standard bolts and magazines. All you need is a .300 Blackout barrel, and everything else is off the shelf standard. For the first time, American sportsmen, law enforcement and military can enjoy a factory standard intermediate thirty caliber round that is a fast, off the shelf answer to their needs. For hunters, this it is possible to retire the venerable old .30-30 for some applications, and take to the field with their favorite modern sporting rifle. For law enforcement and military, the extra power, and reach out and touch somebody ability, while using familiar gear is a welcome change.
Choosing the best .300 Blackout scope then becomes a question of need, want and application. These choices all neatly line themselves up, and make selecting a scope a simple matter of eliminating end uses and features not needed for your final application. There is no one size fits all scope, but neither is there a one size fits all rifle. We’ve shown you four very fine optics suitable for handgun, tactical, night hunting and general purpose use. You’ll find that they will fit almost any use you might have for any .300 Blackout cartridge, or any gun chambered in it. The only question that remains, is which one is the best .300 Blackout scope for you?