Like the .458 SOCOM, the .338 Spectre cartridge was developed specifically for the AR-15 family of gas-operated, detachable-box magazine-fed firearms. The cartridge is intended to fill the gap between traditional pistol caliber cartridges and existing rifle cartridges used in this weapon system.  It shares rim size with the Remington 6.8 x 43mm SPC cartridge, allowing use of OEM bolts in this caliber. By offering ballistics similar to the .357 Maximum, the .338 Spectre offers great potential as a single shot, silhouette and small game cartridge. By using .338 caliber bullets, the cartridge offers a variety in projectile choice, ranging from 160-grain Barnes X Spitzers, through 180-grain BST to 300-grain HPBT MatchKing rifle bullets. Furthermore, it allows the user to employ existing suppressors for the 9mm without modification, providing enhanced tactical firepower.

Ballistic performance is comparable to the .357 Herrett, .35 Remington or even the 180-grain load for the .44 Magnum. In the 16″ barrel carbine, the .338 Spectre will launch the 180-grain BT at 1,800 ft./sec., approaching 1,300 ft-lbs. of energy. By loading the 300-grain Sierra HPBT MatchKing bullet at subsonic velocities (1,040 ft/sec.) for suppressed applications, the muzzle energy measures 720 ft-lbs., surpassing both the high velocity 115-grain load for the 9mm Parabellum as well as the 240-grain .300 Whisper ® load.