I will echo some of the points already made by many others and select, without hesitation, the Glock 30⁽¹⁾ for "best in class" of the three Glock 45ACP pistols.
Magazine Options and Accessories
There are a phenomenal range of magazine options with the G30 to load 9, std. 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 27, or 30 rounds in a single mag
; all in a subcompact model more concealable and better suited for CCW than the full-sized Glock 21 45ACP, but just as capable in formidable home defense service.
The G30 has a front accessory rail⁽²⁾ for a tactical light
and/or laser like the G21, making it much more versatile for a home defense pistol combined with the selection of high-capacity mags. The single-stack, slimline G36 45ACP (6+1) does not have an accessory rail and the mag capacity options are 6 and 7 rounds. In fact, of all the subcompact pistols Glock makes in all calibers, only the G30 45ACP and G29 10mm subcompacts have an accessory rail.
Glock 30 factory mags (10-rnd and 9-rnd) are a challenge to load to capacity when they are new and require substantial force to load in the pistol when at capacity with the slide closed. Repeated loading and unloading of a new mag loosens it up with time, but there are many additional steps that can be taken to speed up the process and ensure trouble-free operation. Additional reading: Mag Preparation and Maintenance
The first accessory that new G30 owners usually consider is a replacement for the polymer factory sights. While the choices in aftermarket sights are numerous and personal preferences should guide your decision, I can suggest five configurations of sights that I've installed and evaluated on a carry pistol. In my G30 night sight summary posted at Glock Talk
, I list the five sight configurations (one plain black and four night sights) and offer opinions on the pros and cons of other popular sight options.
For those familiar with the popular Glock 19 9mm compact model pistol, but unfamiliar with the subcompact G30 45ACP, it will surprise you how remarkably similar the two pistols are in physical size from a side-by-side photo comparison
. While very similar in height and length, the G30 is 2.5 mm (0.1 inch) wider than the G19 measured at the widest part of the grip about 1/4" below the mag release. All Glock 45ACP and 10mm pistols have the wider grip, excluding the single-stack slimline G36. The width of the G30 slide (1.126" ± 0.002") is 1/8" more than the G19 slide.
The overall height of the G30 and mag can be made significantly less than the G19 (0.6 inch less) with the optional, 9-rnd flush fit factory mag
available for the G30. The overall height of a pistol, in particular the length of the grip, is an important factor in keeping the concealed pistol from "printing" under a cover garment.
On the positive side of a larger G30/G30SF slide, the width of the standard slide (1-1/8 inch) is a perfect match for the Trijicon RMR® red dot sight mounted on a milled slide
. It's an awesome combination with tall, suppressor night sights for co-witness BUIS. This configuration is becoming increasingly popular for daily CCW use and I've written about it in more detail
The loaded weight of the G30 Gen4 (33.7 oz.) can be carried comfortably Inside Waistband (IWB) with a good quality gun belt designed for firearm carry (I prefer 1-1/2" width) and a hybrid holster such as the Comp-Tac Minotaur MTAC
, White Hat MaxTuck
, Crossbreed SuperTuck Deluxe
, or Theis Holsters
. The MTAC and MaxTuck offer interchangeable, replaceable kydex shells if you change guns. The very inexpensive Glock Sport Combat Holster
(LG size) works remarkably well to conceal carry the G30 Outside Waistband (OWB) with a cover garment. Plan ahead with an open muzzle holster for caliber conversions requiring extended length barrels and compensators.
The Glock 30S pistol announced at SHOT Show 2013
is a Gen3 G30SF (10+1) frame topped with the slimmer, lighter slide of the G36 pistol and a lighter G36 barrel with smaller outside diameter (thinner walls). You may decide this pistol suits your needs better after considering all the pros and cons of the new G30S model
Caliber Conversions and Ammo
It's extremely attractive to have the option with the G30 or G21 to convert the pistol to shoot a caliber with higher muzzle velocity and energy than 45ACP for woods protection and sport. It's not a viable option for the G36 or G30S because aftermarket conversion barrels aren't readily available for these two models. It's just as well they aren't available since the lighter slides of the G30S and G36 aren't an optimal design for muzzle velocity and energy greater than the normal range for 45ACP +P ammo.
The .460 Rowland and .40 Super caliber conversions are the route we have recently chosen in our household. We carry one Gen4 G30 converted to 460 Rowland and another Gen4 G30 converted to 40 Super as backup for sidearm protection when hiking and camping in the habitat of dangerous four-legged critters. For carry in the habitat of less dangerous wildlife, instead of the 460 Rowland I will load 45 Super in the G30 for stopping power ranked between 460 Rowland and 10mm.
10mm Auto is a good option for a converted G30 pistol intended for various uses in target shooting, self defense, hunting, woods protection and competition since there are more factory ammo options available in 10mm that span a wide range of power. I formerly owned a G30SF converted to 10mm for woods carry. Since we use our converted pistols only for woods protection, I prefer .40 Super instead of 10mm for stopping power closer to 460 Rowland with available 40 Super factory ammo. The 40 Super conversion is also less complicated since the stock 45 extractor and 45ACP mags can be used.
Avoid using semiwadcutter
(SWC) bullets in the G30 either in factory or reloaded ammo. The G30 is known to have serious problems reliably feeding bullets with a SWC profile. The sharp shoulder at the base of the SWC is the problem, not the flat point.
When evaluating ballistic performance of each G30 caliber conversion and ammo type discussed below, compare the results to a benchmark premium factory load of 230gr 45ACP +P ammo at 1000 fps muzzle velocity, 510 ft-lbf energy for a Taylor KO Factor
of 14. An online calculator to compute energy and Taylor KO Factor
from bullet weight, muzzle velocity and caliber makes comparisons easy.
10mm AutoThe G30 can be converted to 10mm Auto caliber
with a drop-in conversion barrel, some G29/G20 mags, and perhaps
an extractor modification; so it doesn’t suffer in comparison to the G21 for that capability. Performance of a 3.78" 45-10mm conversion barrel is very good, for example, capable of delivering a 10mm 155gr bullet at 1450 fps, 723 ft-lbf energy and Taylor KO 12. Operating pressure is 37,500 psi max. For woods protection in black bear country, I prefer 10mm ammo with a higher Taylor KO Factor fired from an extended length 45-10mm conversion barrel, such as 10mm 220gr HC-FN rated at 1200 fps, 703 ft-lbf energy and Taylor KO 15 from Underwood Ammo
or Buffalo Bore
Glock, Inc. warns owners not to fire non-jacketed (HC lead) bullets in a factory barrel with polygonal rifling. Doing so voids the Glock warranty.
The G30 can be converted to .460 Rowland caliber which places it squarely in mid .44 Magnum power levels for hunting and woods protection. Operating pressure is 40,000 psi max. The complete conversion package from 460 Rowland, LLC
includes the 460 Rowland conversion barrel (either threaded with screw-on compensator or triple-ported extended length), 23-lb recoil spring with steel guide rod, and extra-power mag spring. Wait times for product delivery are very long (3+ months). I don't recommend the ported barrel for the G30 due to the greater recoil. Lone Wolf Distributors
can ream an aftermarket barrel to chamber 460 Rowland, but I'm only familiar with the complete conversion kit specified and approved by 460 Rowland, LLC. The 460 Rowland, LLC conversion enables one to shoot 460 Rowland, 45ACP, and 45Super with the same barrel in the G30. Although the OAL of 45ACP is the same as 460 Rowland, the 1/16" shorter case of the 45ACP and 45Super will not seal as tightly at the casemouth in the 460R barrel. It's held to the breechface by the extractor. More sooting can be expected requiring more frequent cleaning of the chamber and extractor. The stock 45 extractor is used throughout. Factory 460 Rowland ammo is available from Underwood Ammo
, Buffalo Bore
, Georgia Arms
, Wilson Combat
, Gemini Defense
, American Custom Ammo
, and JD's Bullets at GunBroker.com
. Very formidable 255gr HC-FN 460 Rowland ammo for hunting rated at 1300 fps, 957 ft-lbf energy and Taylor KO 21 is available from Buffalo Bore. Other 460 Rowland loads for self-defense and hunting are available from among the nine mentioned suppliers for bullet weights of 185gr (1400-1575 fps, max 1018 ft-lbf and Taylor KO 18), 200gr (1340 fps), 230gr (1200-1400 fps, max 1000 ft-lbf and Taylor KO 20), 255gr (1100 fps), 300gr and 325gr (1000 fps).
Click the video links below to view a G30 460 Rowland in action at a firing range. Although there are some comments made in jest in the first video, it accurately portrays what you can expect with recoil and muzzle rise. This powerful, small semi-auto 460 Rowland pistol is very controllable, but obviously not for the recoil sensitive shooter.
Video: Glock 30SF Shooting 460 Rowland caliber
Video: Glock 30 460 Rowland conversion with ported barrel
(I don't recommend this config)
.45 Super & .450 SMC
With a stronger 21-23 lb recoil spring to reduce frame battering, the G30 can shoot 45 Super
FMJ or JHP factory
ammo (230gr at 1100 fps, 618 ft-lbf and Taylor KO 16) using the stock 45ACP barrel, extractor and mags. Operating pressure is 28,000 psi max. Periodically check for damage to the fired cartridge cases when shooting 45 Super in the factory barrel to continually certify it for safe operation with your ammo. Look for cracks, splitting, or bulging of the cartridge case or evidence of gas leakage at the primer pocket appearing as sooty smudges on the case head. Keep the barrel chamber clean to reduce the risk of out-of-battery detonation. If you plan to reload the 45 Super brass or hand load ammo exceeding factory ammo specs, use an aftermarket barrel with a fully supported chamber.
The 45 Super factory ammo I carry for woods protection with the factory barrel is Underwood Ammo 230gr Speer Bonded JHP rated at 1100 fps, 618 ft-lbf and Taylor KO 16. Buffalo Bore offers 45 Super 255gr HC-FN ammo rated at 1075 fps, 654 ft-lbf and Taylor KO 17 that is an excellent hunting load. An aftermarket barrel must be used for this 255gr hardcast lead ammo in the G30 for safe operation and to comply with the Glock warranty. Hand loaded 45 Super can attain power levels covering the Taylor KO range of 460 Rowland factory ammo (for example, 45 Super 250gr XTP JHP at 1150 fps TKOF 18 up to 300gr hardcast at 1100 fps TKOF 21). One of my pistol instructors hunts deer using hand-loaded 45 Super ammo and a Glock 21SF pistol with 6-inch KKM barrel. Factory 45 Super ammo is available from Underwood Ammo
and Buffalo Bore
. DoubleTap Ammo
sells a variation of the round as .450 SMC which is basically a 45 Super cartridge with a small primer pocket.
Suggested additional reading: 45 Super Chrono/Recoil Spring Data G30/G21C
Video: Glock 30 45 Super Ammo Test - Accuracy, Velocity, Recoil
Video: Fast forward in video to summary of ballistic results and recoil tests
The G30 can be converted to shoot the powerful .40 Super
cartridge using a custom 45-40Super conversion barrel, steel guide rod with stronger 21-23 lb recoil spring, stock 45 extractor and 45ACP factory mags. A compensator on a threaded barrel is recommended for the G30. With a proper build of the G30 40 Super and high performance ammo, the ballistic performance of 40 Super is greater than the already formidable 10mm caliber. Although light 40 Super bullets yield very high velocity and energy (135gr at 1775 fps, 945 ft-lbf), there is risk of fragmentation on impact and mediocre penetration for light JHP bullets that aren't designed for such high velocity. The full potential of 40 Super caliber for woods use is realized with heavier bullets. An impressive woods protection and hunting load of 40 Super 220gr HC-FN can be delivered at 1325 fps, 857 ft-lbf and Taylor KO 16 from a 4.5" barrel with compensator in the G30. The designers of 40 Super (Triton Cartridge) loaded it to 37,000 psi, but the extremely strong case is rated for 50,000 psi. Opportunities exist for hand loaders to customize and extend the performance. Factory ammo in 40 Super caliber is available from Underwood Ammo
and DoubleTap Ammo
Click the video links below to view ballistic and recoil tests featuring a G30 40 Super build with an EFK Fire Dragon
4.5" 45-40Super conversion barrel and Lone Wolf 10mm compensator
, both threaded 9/16 x 24. The recoil spring used in the tests is a Wolff matched set of non-captive inner and outer springs rated at 23 lbs (Wolff Part No. 50923
Video: Glock 30 40 Super Ammo Test - Accuracy, Velocity, Recoil
Video: Fast forward in video to summary of ballistic results and recoil tests
With just a conversion barrel, one can shoot .400 CorBon
(165gr at 1350 fps, 667 ft-lbf and Taylor KO 12) in the G30 using the stock 45ACP mags and 45 extractor. Operating pressure is 29,000 psi max. This caliber produces moderate recoil and has a much flatter trajectory than 45ACP which is very apparent at longer range out to 100 yards. It's very suitable for hunting small varmints (rabbits, gophers, squirrels, foxes, bobcats, etc). Factory ammo is available from Underwood Ammo
.40S&W - .357SIG - 9x25Dillon
Although conversion barrels for the Glock 29 10mm pistol are intended by the manufacturer for use in the G29 only, people have reported successfully shooting 40S&W in the G30 slide using a G29 10mm-40S&W conversion barrel
and G29/G20 mags loaded with 40S&W ammo. I have confirmed this with a G30SF and a Lone Wolf G29 10mm-40S&W conversion barrel borrowed from a friend. This is feasible since there are only small, inconsequential differences in the external dimensions of the G29 10mm barrel and the G30 45ACP barrel. Having acknowledged that a G29 10mm factory barrel functions in the G30 slide
and accuracy remains good, one can accept that a G29 conversion barrel will function in the G30 slide. I do not claim this is commonplace, but it's feasible and worth exploring for anyone interested in expanding the range of calibers their G30 can shoot. For reference, conversion barrels for the G29 10mm pistol are available for 40S&W, 357SIG, and 9x25Dillon.
Advantage Arms made a LE 29/30 22LR conversion kit for the G30 at one time, but has since discontinued it. The FAQ page of the AA website
states the kit works on Gen3 and Gen4 pistols. Occasionally, the kits are put up for sale on eBay and elsewhere on various firearms markets online.
Video: Advantage 22 conversion kit on a Glock 30
Summary of G30 Factory Heavy Ammo Options for Woods Protection - Ballistics Sorted by Taylor KO Factor
TKOF 21 460 Rowland 255gr HC-FN 1300 fps, 957 ft-lbf (Buffalo Bore)
TKOF 21 45 Super 300gr Hunters Supply LFNGC 1100 fps, 805 ft-lbf (American Custom Ammo, aftermarket barrel)
TKOF 20 460 Rowland 230gr Speer Bonded JHP 1400 fps, 1000 ft-lbf (Underwood)
TKOF 20 460 Rowland 230gr FMJ-FN 1400 fps, 1000 ft-lbf (460Rowland.com)
TKOF 20 460 Rowland 325gr Beartooth BHN 21 WFNGC 1000 fps, 721 ft-lbf (American Custom Ammo)
TKOF 19 460 Rowland 230gr FMJ 1340 fps, 916 ft-lbf (JD's Bullets)
TKOF 18 460 Rowland 185gr Speer Bonded JHP 1575 fps, 1018 ft-lbf (Underwood)
TKOF 18 460 Rowland 255gr Bonded Core 1100 fps, 685 ft-lbf (CORBON)
TKOF 17 45 Super 255gr HC-FN 1075 fps, 654 ft-lbf (Buffalo Bore, aftermarket barrel)
TKOF 16 40 Super 220gr HC-FN 1350 fps, 890 ft-lbf (Underwood)
TKOF 16 40 Super 200gr XTP JHP 1400 fps, 870 ft-lbf (Underwood)
TKOF 16 45 Super 230gr Speer Bonded JHP or XTP JHP 1100 fps, 618 ft-lbf (Underwood)
TKOF 15 10mm Auto 220gr HC-FN 1200 fps, 703 ft-lbf (Underwood and Buffalo Bore)
TKOF 15 45 Super 185gr Speer Bonded JHP or XTP JHP 1300 fps, 694 ft-lbf (Underwood)
TKOF 14 45ACP +P 230gr Speer Bonded FMJ or JHP 1000 fps, 510 ft-lbf (Underwood) - BENCHMARK
TKOF 12 400 Corbon 165gr Speer Bonded JHP 1350 fps, 667 ft-lbf (Underwood)
GSSF Match Competition
For shooters interested in match competitions held by the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation, the G30 is legal for every division.
Very Manageable Recoil
With its dual recoil spring, substantial slide and wider grip that reduce and distribute recoil energy, the G30 has a well-deserved reputation for very manageable recoil in a small 45ACP pistol. It's easily controlled and comfortable to shoot by even novice shooters. The recoil is more of a firm push into the palm rather than the snap and muzzle rise of the Glock 40S&W Gen3 pistols, for example.
The very first handgun that the lovely lady in my life fired was a G30SF I formerly owned. She did very well on the first outing. She also rented a G36 and fired a box of Speer Lawman 230gr TMJ, but the noticeably softer recoil of the G30SF was much more to her liking. Now she can fire 230gr Gold Dot JHP from the G30 Gen4 one-handed with her strong hand if necessary and shoots very well with admirable accuracy.
Dual Role for Concealed Carry and Home Defense
We have "his and hers" G30 Gen4 pistols in our household now and each of us carry ours daily for CCW. I carry 10+1 using the Glock 10-rnd mag equipped with Pearce +0 grip extension (PG-30
) and a spare 13-rnd G21 mag concealed in a Safariland 123 horizontal mag holder
on my belt or a Snagmag
™ carrier in a pocket. My lady runs the Glock 9-rnd mag with Pearce +0 grip extension (PG-29
). At night our loaded pistols are stowed in separate, locked pistol boxes at bedside with a spare 17-rnd mag for each pistol (G21 mag with Arredondo +4
extension). Several high capacity 30-rnd mags (KRISS/Magpul Vector MagEx
) are stored in various defensible locations in the home and our vehicles for emergency reserve.
The fairer sex can conceal carry the G30 with a variety of holster types to suit the clothing. Ladies, watch this video for suggestions. Video: Concealed Carry Holsters & Outfits for Women
We load Speer Gold Dot 230gr JHP ammo in our pistols for CCW and home defense (SKU# 53966). Other brands of personal defense 45ACP ammo that are excellent choices include Winchester Ranger T-Series 230gr JHP (SKU# RA45T), Federal HST 230gr +P JHP (SKU# P45HST1), and Remington Golden Saber 230gr HPJ (SKU# 29448). Winchester Ranger T 230gr JHP is the personal choice of Massad Ayoob for his CCW G30. For training ammo, 230gr FMJ rounds of American Eagle, Blazer Brass (or non-reloadable Blazer Aluminum), Speer Lawman, Remington UMC, or Winchester USA White Box will suffice, but I prefer Speer Lawman.
The deal closer is the truly outstanding accuracy⁽³⁾ of the G30 pistol.
is internationally known as a renowned author, columnist, and instructor on the subject of firearms and self-defense. He is Glock Talk's resident expert in the GATE Self-Defense Forum. On several occasions, Ayoob has made very compelling and positive statements about the amazing accuracy of the G30
which he has chosen for one of his carry guns. Ayoob favors the G30 over the G21 and G36 Glock 45ACP pistols and calls the G30 his favorite Glock
In his book, "The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery", Ayoob writes the G30 "may be the most accurate pistol that Glock makes
." In his personal experience, the stock G30 with factory ammo is capable of under 1.0-inch groups of 5 shots at 25 yards from off the bench, performing better than the Gen3 G21 or G36. The G30 is freakishly accurate for a combat pistol with a 3.78 inch barrel.
Mas wrote a comprehensive review of the Glock 30 that was published in the American Handgunner 1998 Combat Annual, titled "Fist Full of .45". The impressive result he obtained on the firing range with the first G30 he received for evaluation is very interesting reading. After firing three boxes of ammo to break in the pistol, Ayoob shot a 1-3/16" group of 5 shots at a measured range of 25 yards from a righthand barricade standing position using Federal 230gr HydraShok HP factory ammo. The best three of five shots were just 3/8" apart. He was so favorably impressed by the G30 that he couldn't resist the temptation to buy the test pistol for his personal use.
G30 all the way!
1. References to Glock 30 versatility and performance apply equally to the Gen3 Glock 30 (Standard Frame), Gen3 Glock 30SF (Short Frame), and the Gen4 Glock 30. The differences between the Gen3 Short Frame and Gen3 Standard Frame 45 ACP Glock pistols are explained in detail elsewhere at Glock Talk. The Gen4 G30, without a backstrap adapter installed, has essentially the same dimensions as the Gen3 G30SF for both frame and slide, but the Gen4 has more aggressive grip texture and a larger, reversible mag release.
2. Gen3 G30 standard frame pistols manufactured before June, 2005 do not have an accessory rail. The Gen3 G30 pistols built after that time, with serial number prefix HGM and later, have the rail. All Gen3 G30SF and Gen4 G30 pistols have the accessory rail.
3. Technically, the more correct term is "precision", which is a measure of the reproducibility or repeatability of the point of impact from shot to shot under unchanging point-of-aim conditions. However, the term "accuracy" is commonly used in firearm industry publications and among firearm enthusiasts to describe the relative tightness of grouped shots on a target.