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Glock 30 - Most Versatile .45 ACP Glock
Like so many owners of this terrific Glock pistol, I have selected the Glock 30⁽¹⁾ for "best in class" among the four Glock 45ACP pistols. The 30 and 30SF feature an impressive combination of manageable size, amazing versatility in capacity and supported calibers, and outstanding accuracy. The pistol is suitable for a variety of applications in LE/Security/Military duty, personal defense, hunting, and competition.
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 and cover applications of a subcompact pistol more concealable and better suited for a CCW than the full-sized Glock 21 or tactical Glock 41 45ACP, but just as capable in formidable home defense service if desired.
The G30 has a front accessory rail⁽²⁾ for a tactical light and/or laser like the G21 and G41, 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 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: G30 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 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.
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 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.
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 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 very 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. Caliber conversions are useful during ammo shortages and can save money on lower cost ammo. 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 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.
The G30 can be converted to 10mm Auto caliber with a drop-in conversion barrel, some G29/G20 mags, and perhaps an extractor modification. A 3.78" 45-10mm conversion barrel can deliver 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. Caution: 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. My complete conversion package from 460 Rowland, LLC included the 460 Rowland threaded conversion barrel with screw-on compensator, 23-lb recoil spring with steel guide rod, and extra-power mag spring. The newest kits omit the stronger recoil spring and instead supply a weighted rear sight to increase slide mass. They also offer a double-ported extended length barrel without a compensator. I don't recommend the ported barrel for the G30 due to the greater recoil. Some reports from customers have been very unfavorable because wait times for product delivery were very long (3+ months), and emails or phone messages were not answered. Lone Wolf Distributors sells 460 Rowland barrels and accessories, but I'm only familiar with the product from 460 Rowland, LLC. The 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, CorBon, 460Rowland.com, 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 Underwood and 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 (with compensator)
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. Underwood and Buffalo Bore offer 45 Super 255gr HC-FN ammo rated at 1075 fps, 654 ft-lbf and Taylor KO 17 that is excellent for hunting. 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 exceeds 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, which is well below the Starline Brass case strength rating of 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 and CorBon.
.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 (Underwood and 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 (Underwood, 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 Federal HST 230gr +P JHP (SKU# P45HST1), Winchester Ranger T-Series 230gr JHP (SKU# RA45T), and Remington Golden Saber 230gr HPJ (SKU# 29448). Federal HST 230gr +P 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.
Massad Ayoob 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/G30SF 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 G21, G30S or G36. The G30/G30SF is freakishly accurate for a combat pistol with a 3.78 inch barrel.
Mas Ayoob 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 very first G30 he received for evaluation is 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 Hydra-Shok HP factory ammo. The best three of five shots were just 3/8" apart. Ayoob 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!
- Fun Video -
G30SF 45ACP 230gr FMJ Ammo Versus Cement Block
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 Standard Frame and Short Frame 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, multiple backstrap adapters, and a larger, reversible mag release. The new Gen3 G30S, although technically a variant of the G30 pistol, is not included in this discussion because it lacks caliber conversion versatility and the inherent mechanical accuracy of the G30S is more similar to the G36 single-stack 45ACP pistol.
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.
Wide Variety of Magazine Options for Glock 30
Yes indeed, there are many mag options for the Glock 30 considering all the Glock factory mags (OEM) and aftermarket 45ACP magazines and extenders that are available.
When you start to think about adding magazine capacity for range use and home defense with the G30/G30SF/G30S, keep in mind the wide array of options to choose from with your pistol.
For the G30/G30SF/G30S 45ACP, I can recommend the following combinations of mags and extenders that can be configured to hold 9, std. 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 27, or 30 rounds of 45ACP in a single magazine:
9-rnd (Glock OEM optional flush fit mag for G30/G30SF/G30S)
10-rnd (Glock OEM std. mag for G30/G30SF/G30S)
11-rnd (Glock OEM 9-rnd mag with Pearce +2)⁽¹⁾
13-rnd (Glock OEM std. mag for G21 that also works in G30/G30SF/G30S)
15-rnd (G21 OEM mag with Pearce +2)
17-rnd (G21 OEM mag with Arredondo +4)
27-rnd (SGM Tactical Mag⁽²⁾ made in S. Korea but SGMT-installed mag spring is robust)
30-rnd (G21 OEM mag with KRISS Vector MagEx made by Magpul in USA, advertised as 25+rd)
I highly recommend the Arredondo +4 mag extension for reliability and excellent durability.
The KRISS Vector MagEx mag extension has been reliable in my experience. It is very durable in drop tests. If you decide to buy the KRISS extension, get just one and test it thoroughly before buying more. The KRISS MagEx is advertised as a 25+ round mag since they began shipping an extra-power mag spring with the extension to better ensure feed function and reliability. Nevertheless, I routinely load 30 rounds in the KRISS MagEx using an UpLULA™ ammo loader.
Note the following warning from KRISS regarding G21 mag compatibility.
"Note: We have found that the older, first-generation G21 magazines (circa 1995 and marked by pre-ban printing between the round count windows), may have occasional functional issues when installed in these MagEx kits that can cause the follower/spring assembly to hang up as the magazine unloads. Best results will come from using the newer generation G21 magazines."
Mag extensions and aftermarket high-cap 45ACP mags that I've tested and rejected in favor of superior alternatives include the Scherer +2 (SUPER2) and the S.Korean-made Victory brand 27-rnd 45ACP mag also sold under the KCI brand name.
WARNING - DO NOT install a Pearce +2 or Scherer +2 extension on the G30 10-rnd mag. Pearce warns that the +2 extension (PG-G45P2) is not intended for the G30 mags. I'll go further and state that using a +2 on the 10-rnd mag can have disastrous consequences. I tested the Pearce +2 on the G30 10-rnd mag and discovered that the mag follower "tipped over" at the bottom of the fully-loaded mag and jammed against the mag wall, rendering the mag inoperative. It's a very serious failure mode since there is no outward indication that the loaded mag is disabled until you shoot the pistol. The pistol malfunctions with a failure to feed after one round has been chambered from the mag, fired and ejected. There is no spring tension to raise the stack of loaded ammo in the jammed mag once the top round has been stripped from the mag.
G30 with optional 9-rnd mag and Glock OEM floorplate(a)
G30 with optional 9-rnd mag and Pearce +0 grip extension(b) (PG-29)
G30 with optional 9-rnd mag and Pearce +2 mag extension(b) (PG-G45P2)
G30 with standard 10-rnd mag and Glock OEM floorplate(c)
G30 with standard 10-rnd mag and Pearce +0 grip extension (PG-30)
G30 with G21 13-rnd mag and A&G Grip Extension(d) (AG-2021)
1. This configuration will load 11, but some type of magazine loader is required (for example, UpLULA™). It is extremely tight loaded to 11, so don't expect 100% trouble-free function. Also consider it for an alternate 10-rnd mag (downloading one round) as a substitute for the OEM 10-rnd mag. You may find the angle of the +2 floorplate, in relation to the grip, more to your liking than the OEM 10-rnd mag floorplate. It may load 10+1 more easily in a tight pistol that has trouble with the OEM 10-rnd mag loaded to capacity.
2. See my full review of the 27-rnd .45ACP SGM Tactical mag. In my opinion, the SGM Tactical mag with +2 floorplate is suitable for mainly range practice because the results of fully-loaded drop tests showed some vulnerability. The robust mag spring in the SGMT mag is similar to the mag spring in the KRISS Vector MagEx Extension Kit for a G21 mag. While very functional, the SGMT mag quality is not quite up to Glock OEM quality standard. The ruggedness can be greatly improved by replacing the +2 floorplate with a Glock OEM flat floorplate and mag insert, thus reducing total capacity to 25-26 rounds.
3. Photographs courtesy of Glock Talk members; (a)Phantom465, (b)Butch, (c)jamesbern, and (d)Hogpauls.
Converting the Glock 30 to 10mm Caliber
A Glock 29 10mm factory barrel actually will function in a G30/G30SF slide and maintain good accuracy. This has been clearly proven in live-fire tests, the results of which are available in multiple cases, for example, Post #76 of the Glock Talk thread titled "Glock 21 conversion to Glock 20?" posted in the General Glocking Forum (Update: the thread has been retired). The O.D. of a G30 and G29 barrel are identical and the barrel lugs are compatible. The same holds true for an aftermarket G29 replacement barrel in the G30 slide (aftermarket G29 barrels from Bar-Sto, KKM Precision, StormLake, Lone Wolf, EFK Fire Dragon and others). While a G29 barrel is a good fit in the critical dimensions, the 10mm barrel chamber hood is narrower than the 45ACP barrel hood by slightly more than .050 inch. The dimensions of a 45-10mm conversion barrel are identical to a G29 10mm factory or aftermarket replacement barrel except that the barrel hood of the conversion barrel is made .050" wider to better fit the 45ACP pistol breechface.
Although a G29 10mm factory barrel will function in the G30 slide, the recommended conversion of the G30/30SF .45ACP pistol to 10mm caliber strongly favors a 45-10mm conversion barrel or aftermarket G29 10mm replacement barrel for best results. An aftermarket barrel typically has better chamber support than the Glock 29 10mm factory barrel, thus the brass casings are less likely to suffer damage which is critically important if you reload them. The aftermarket barrel has conventional rifling (land and groove) suitable for non-jacketed (hardcast lead) bullets of all weights for 10mm. In addition, the aftermarket barrels are available in extended lengths which provide greater velocity and energy. For all these reasons, most shooters want this capability to take full advantage of the potential of the 10mm caliber in their converted pistol.
A drop-in 10mm barrel (aftermarket 45-10mm conversion or G29 10mm replacement barrel recommended) and G29/G20 mag change are the two minimum requirements to shoot 10mm caliber ammo with the G30/G30SF pistol.
Some G30 owners find that the stock .45 extractor functions reliably to extract the 10mm case in their converted pistol. A G30 pistol that happens to have a looser fit in the distance between extractor claw and bore axis can experience erratic ejection and occasional failure-to-extract problems. Replacing the .45 extractor with a G29 10mm stock LCI extractor is an alternative (Part No. SP 01909 and 3442 Spring-Loaded Bearing for a slide with 15° ejection port). This option requires more time and effort to convert the pistol from 45ACP to 10mm and return it back to 45ACP service. Furthermore, while the 10mm extractor is different, it does not necessarily improve extraction reliability on the G30 slide since it doesn't reach any closer to the bore axis. There is another option suggested by KKM Precision, Inc.
Barrel manufacturer KKM Precision, Inc. recommends some minor gunsmith work on the stock .45 extractor that enables it to function more reliably for 10mm and continue to work for 45ACP. It involves removing no more than 0.020 inch from the 'fitting pad' on the inside of the .45 LCI extractor (see photo below) allowing it to travel closer to the axis of the bore and make solid contact with the 10mm case. As material is filed from the fitting pad, test for proper tension of the extractor against a cartridge. With the slide removed from the frame, insert an empty 10mm case or dummy round underneath the extractor claw from the bottom of the slide. There should be some measurable tension being applied by the extractor claw to the cartridge. A dummy round should remain suspended by the inward force of the extractor. Some who have studied this .45 extractor modification believe it functions better than the option of installing a stock 10mm extractor. I made the modification to a spare .45 extractor and have been completely satisfied with the function and reliability for the factory ammo I prefer to carry. Underwood 10mm ammo and 45ACP Speer Gold Dot 230gr JHP feeds and cycles normally in rapid fire. Such is our confidence in the pistol, my gal uses the G30SF with modified .45 extractor and 45ACP factory barrel for EDC. She converts it to 10mm for woods protection with an extended length KKM 45-10mm conversion barrel (no longer offered by KKM). Contact KKM for advice and instructions before attempting this modification (Phone: 775-246-5444). It is best to modify a spare extractor in case of a problem.
All the Gen3 and Gen4 Glock .45 ACP and 10mm pistols use the same ejector (marked 8196-2) so that is never an issue for the conversion.
Referring to the thread at Glock Talk in The 10 Ring forum titled "Conversion report G30 to 10mm", some factual information from two different perspectives by GT members humphreys19 and ennis are good examples of conversion projects and approaches.
humphreys19 converted his G30 with just a KKM drop-in conversion barrel and G29 mags. The stock G30 .45 extractor and stock recoil spring in the G30 slide worked for him with zero malfunctions. He found the stock G30 .45 extractor worked better than a 10mm extractor from Lone Wolf. See his update in Post #35 of the thread where he expresses complete confidence in the reliability and states, "I would carry this gun."
ennis installed a KKM conversion barrel with a 23-lb recoil spring and modified the G30 .45 extractor per KKM's instructions. The combination worked perfectly for 10mm and 45ACP in his G30 pistol.
A 45-10mm conversion barrel in stock length (3.78") is offered by StormLake. The MSRP is ~$170 and discounted prices from distributors are common. Rather than purchase directly from StormLake, buy the barrel from a distributor that has a good money-back refund policy in case there are problems with fit and function (for example, MidwayUSA). IGB Austria reportedly offers 10mm conversion barrels for the G30 up to 6.02 inches long for import into the USA, but I have never read a review from anyone using an IGB barrel in a G30. IGB 10mm barrels are more expensive at $220 for stock length. As mentioned above, aftermarket suppliers offering G29 10mm replacement barrels include Lone Wolf, KKM Precision, Bar-Sto, StormLake, and EFK Fire Dragon.
Another conversion option is to purchase a complete G29 upper assembly (factory slide with 10mm factory barrel and internals) and install it on the G30 frame. The Gen (3 or 4) of the upper and frame should match. The complete upper swap is the one option that will produce a converted G30 10mm pistol most closely resembling the factory G29 pistol. For reference, a complete G29 upper retails for $360 from Glockmeister and wait times are long. A complete upper from Glockmeister includes a Glock factory 10mm barrel. The cost to include the factory barrel is a waste of money if the shooter needs better chamber support for hot ammo and the ability to shoot non-jacketed (hardcast lead) bullets. Other sources of a complete, used G29 upper include The Want Ads at Glock Talk or GunBroker.com. A Glock complete upper assembly is not a firearm under federal law and can be shipped directly to the buyer.
IMPORTANT: A complete G29 upper is the only option to convert a Glock 30S pistol to 10mm caliber. The G29 factory barrel or commercially-available aftermarket 45-10mm conversion and G29 replacement barrels for the Gen3 G30/G30SF and Gen4 G30 will not fit in the G30S slide. IGB Austria reportedly makes a 10mm conversion barrel for the G36 that might fit in the G30S slide, but subtle differences in feed geometry between the single-stack G36 and double-stack G30S will almost certainly cause failure-to-feed malfunctions. It's just as well the G30/G30SF conversion barrels don't fit (probably intentional on Glock's part) since the lighter slide of the G30S isn't an optimal design to handle muzzle velocity and energy greater than the normal range for 45ACP +P ammo.
Glock warns owners not to fire non-jacketed (hardcast lead) bullets in the factory barrel with polygonal rifling. Doing so voids the Glock warranty. Many shooters believe the chamber support of the G29 factory barrel is insufficient to prevent damage to the brass casings of full-power 10mm loads rendering them unsuitable for reloading. The factory barrel with polygonal rifling is known to have problems stabilizing some full-power loads of 10mm non-jacketed, hardcast lead bullets heavier than 220gr. Greg Kinman (Hickok45) has shown that DoubleTap 10mm 230gr WFNGC hardcast lead bullets tumble and accuracy suffers drastically when fired from the factory 10mm barrel but perform well when fired from an aftermarket barrel with conventional rifling. The lighter DoubleTap 10mm 200gr WFNGC hardcast bullet performs well with the factory or aftermarket barrel. Reference Video: Glock 20 with Heavy Cast Bullets (Chapter 2)
If you plan to frequently shoot full-power 10mm loads, then you can consider something stronger than the factory standard 17-lb recoil spring in the G30, perhaps one in the 21-23 lb range. Springs are available from Wolff Gunsprings and ISMI. I prefer Wolff springs because I have greater confidence that the measured spring strength matches the rating of Wolff springs and they are available in matched sets of inner and outer springs for the G30 RSA. If the converted pistol with stock recoil spring exhibits signs of frame battering or brass is thrown a great distance, try a 21-lb spring first and increase the strength if brass is thrown further than 10 feet making brass recovery difficult. One can overdo recoil spring strength so don't assume that the stronger the spring the better. Perceived recoil will increase with a stronger recoil spring and one that is too strong will induce failure-to-feed malfunctions with weak loads in practice ammo. Examples of full-power, factory 10mm loads are 135gr at 1600 fps, 155gr at 1500 fps, 165gr at 1400 fps, 180gr at 1300 fps, 200gr at 1250 fps, 220gr at 1200 fps and similar loads.
What you most want to prevent when firing full-power 10mm loads, and the thing most likely to cause serious damage, is an occurrence of out-of-battery detonation. You can minimize this risk by keeping the chamber clean and using a stronger recoil spring. A stronger recoil spring also yields more consistent muzzle velocity from shot to shot for a given ammo load.
The experienced 10mm shooters at Glock Talk in The 10 Ring forum can give you advice on the appropriate guide rod and recoil spring strength.
G30SF and Other Glock Short Frame Pistols
The G30 SF (Short Frame) 45ACP pistol differs slightly from the standard frame Gen3 G30 in that the trigger reach distance of the SF grip is shorter by ~2-3mm measured from back strap to trigger and depending on how the caliper is positioned. The different dimensions of the grips are front-to-back only, the width of the grips are the same. There is no difference in the dimensions of the magazine cavity or mag catch mechanism, the G30 and G30SF use the same mags.
The shorter trigger reach of the G30SF grip is noticeable in the photo comparison below:
Many find the feel of the SF grip to be remarkably different from the standard grip, and a few others can't tell much difference. It's something that only you can decide after holding both in your hand.
Glock began producing the Gen3 G21SF and G30SF 45ACP pistols in 2007 and 2008, respectively. The Gen3 G20SF and G29SF 10mm pistols followed in January, 2009. The SF pistols manufactured before late 2014 are marked with the letters "SF" on the right side of the frame forward of the slide lock as shown in the photo below (G30SF on the right):
Newer SF models, made after late 2014, have the "SF" mark appended to the MADE IN address bar above the grip on the right side of the frame as shown in the photo below. On these new models the space forward of the slide lock is left blank.
The SF pistols have a different trigger mechanism housing (TMH) than the standard frame to fit in the slightly smaller frame cavity, but the ejector, trigger with trigger bar, connector, and trigger spring are identical to those in the standard frame.
The TMH for the 45ACP/10mm Gen3 SF pistols (and Gen4 models) is shown below on the left (Part No. SP 5406). Note the pointed taper and notch at the bottom allowing it to fit in the smaller frame cavity of the SF pistol. The TMH for the standard frame Gen3 45ACP/10mm pistols is shown on the right for comparison (Part No. SP 8203).
All the Gen3 45ACP and 10mm pistols (standard and SF) use the 8196-2 ejector. The same ejector is found in the Gen4 45ACP/10mm models as well. When viewed from above, the 8196-2 ejector has an S-shaped bend.
There are no differences in the slide or barrel of the two current Gen3 variants of the pistols (std. and SF). Both perform equally well.
Suppliers of aftermarket parts provide separate models of various optional accessories that interface with the grip such as grip plugs, grip-mounted lasers, magwell adapters and beavertail adapters that fit only the standard frame or the SF pistol. They are not interchangeable. See the following important message concerning grip plugs.
Important: Glock, Inc. made a subtle change to the dimensions of the frame cavity at the base of the grip in Gen3 G30SF/G29SF pistols manufactured after June 12, 2012. Aftermarket grip plugs designed for the original G30SF/G29SF will not fit newer model G30SF/G29SF pistols or any G30S pistol. For example, the Pearce PG-FI30SF grip plug does not fit G30SF/G29SF pistols made after 6/12/2012 or any G30S pistol. Pearce discontinued making that model of grip plug when customers began sending them back, but they remain in vendor inventory. Prospective buyers should be aware of the incompatibility with newer G30SF/G29SF and all G30S pistols.
The recently released Gen4 G30, without a back strap adapter installed, has essentially the same dimensions as the Gen3 G30SF. The same correlation exists between the frame sizes of the Gen4 G21/G20/G29 and Gen3 G21SF/G20SF/G29SF. The Gen4 frame has a different, more aggressive grip texture (RTF3) around the entire circumference of the grip and a larger mag release button that is easier to reach. The mag release is reversible for left hand shooters. Four back strap adapters are included, two having a beavertail top, that can be installed to increase the grip dimension front-to-back (2mm or 4mm) for a longer trigger reach. With the medium back strap adapter installed (2mm), the grip dimensions are equivalent to a standard frame Gen3 G30 pistol. The Gen4 G30 comes from the factory equipped with the Connector 5, the so-called "dot" connector, identified by a • stamped into the back of the connector. The Gen4 G30 includes three, 10-rnd magazines (one more than Gen3).
The Gen4 G21 45ACP incorporates a dual recoil spring in that model for the first time. The recently released Gen4 G20 10mm pistol also has a new dual recoil spring for the first time. The dual recoil spring substantially increases the life of the system and extends the time between required replacement of the recoil spring assembly (guideline of 5000 rounds fired vs 3000 for Gen3). It also has a beneficial effect on perceived recoil. The Gen3 G30/G30SF 45ACP and Gen3 G29/G29SF 10mm pistols already had the dual recoil spring and that did not change for the Gen4 G30 and G29 models recently released.
The Gen3 G21SF 45ACP was produced in three major variants of the receiver, besides a very limited number with a RTF2 grip, namely:
ambidextrous mag release and Picatinny rail (MIL-STD-1913)
ambidextrous mag release and standard Glock rail
standard right-hand mag release and standard Glock rail
Be aware that the Picatinny rail limits holster options for that form of the G21SF.
The Gen3 G20SF 10mm pistol was produced with a standard Glock rail and standard right-hand mag release only. No G20SF RTF2 pistols were ever manufactured.
Many owners of the G21SF had problems with the ambi mag release malfunctioning early on. Glock eventually offered under warranty service to replace, free of charge, the ambi/Picatinny frame with a G21SF frame having a standard Glock rail and right-hand mag release. Glock is now returning a new Gen4 G21 and three mags to owners of the original G21SF with ambi mag release who want to exchange their pistol.
Have you ever wondered why there is a rectangular notch cutout at the center, front of many Glock mags with the metal liner showing through? Blame it on the G21SF 45ACP pistol. The ambidextrous mag release catch, featured in the original G21SF pistol, requires the center notch to function. It is an entirely unique mag catch mechanism not found in any other Glock model in the USA. It was originally included on the 45ACP pistol that Glock intended to compete in anticipated trials for the USSOCOM Joint Combat Pistol System program to replace the Beretta M9 9mm pistol. The program ran from August, 2005 to the Fall of 2006 when it was suspended indefinitely before USSOCOM requested sample pistols for evaluation. Glock released the G21SF pistol with MIL-STD-1913 accessory rail (Picatinny) to the commercial market early in 2007. Although the G21SF was the only Glock pistol with an ambi mag release ever issued in the USA, the center cutout notch is prevalent on various mags in other calibers. Glock decided at the time to retain the design considering it could be required by future models of Glock pistols. However, after many years in disfavor, the trouble-prone ambi mag release idea has been abandoned by Glock, Inc. in favor of the Gen4 reversible mag release. Recent production versions of new Gen4 mags no longer have the center notch ambi cutout.
Some G21SF and G20SF pistols have a lanyard hole at the base of the grip and some do not have a lanyard hole. The Gen4 G21 and Gen4 G20 have a lanyard hole. Be aware that some grip plug and extended magwell accessories rely on a lanyard hole to hold them in place.
UPDATE: Glock, Inc. discontinued production of the Gen3 standard frame G20, G21, G29, and G30 pistols in January, 2014. However, the SF models of the Gen3 G20SF, G21SF, G29SF, and G30SF remained in production after that date.
Rear view of G30 and G30SF
Gen3 G21 and G21SF Grips Compared (Photo courtesy of Glock Talk member Butch)
Massad Ayoob on the Topic of Glock Accuracy
The following excerpt is what Massad Ayoob wrote in his book, "The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery" (6th Edition, 2007, Page 24), on the topic of Glock accuracy:
" Accuracy is adequate at worst and excellent at best. The only Glocks that seemed to be really inaccurate were the first runs of the Glock 22, and the company squared that away quickly. I have a Glock 22 that, out of the box, will stay in 2.5 inches at 25 yards with good ammunition; this specimen was produced in 2001. The baby Glocks are famous for their accuracy. This is because the barrels and slides are proportionally thicker and more rigid on these short guns, and also because the double captive recoil spring that softens kick so effectively also guarantees that the bullet is out of the barrel before the mechanism begins to unlock. Modifying a Smith & Wesson auto to have that same accuracy-enhancing feature costs big bucks when done by the factory’s Performance Center; it comes on the smallest Glocks at no charge.
The .45 caliber Glocks also seem to be particularly accurate. First, the .45 ACP has always been a more inherently accurate cartridge than the 9mm Luger and particularly the .40 S&W. Second, the .45 barrels are made on different machinery than the other calibers at Glock, and seem to be particularly accurate. The “baby .45,” the Glock 30, combines both of these worlds and may be the most accurate pistol Glock makes. My Glock 30, factory stock with NY-1 trigger and Trijicon sights, has given me five-shot, 1-inch groups at 25 yards with Federal Hydra-Shok and Remington Match ammunition. "
Mas is our resident expert at Glock Talk in the GATE Self-Defense Forum and is available to answer questions you may have on this and other topics.
Glock 30 and Glock 19 Size Comparison
The G30 .45ACP (10+1) and G19 9mm (15+1) pistols are remarkably similar in size, even though Glock classifies the G30 as a subcompact model and G19 as a compact.
The size of the Gen3 Glock 19 compact and Gen3 Glock 30 subcompact are compared in pictures below, courtesy of GT member spin180.
Note that the G30 in the photos is a Gen3 standard frame pistol. The G30SF (Short Frame) pistol has a shortened grip by 2-3mm front-to-back in the trigger reach compared to the pistol shown in the photos below. The G30 shown also has the Pearce +0 grip extension (PG-30) attached to the standard 10-rnd G30 mag.
The width of the G19 slide shown in the photos above is 1.002" versus 1.126" for the G30 slide, for a difference of 1/8 inch. The width of the G19 grip is 1.18" at the widest point about 1/4" below the mag release versus 1.28" for the G30 grip, for a difference of 1/10 inch.
The overall height of the G30 pistol with mag can be shortened significantly by using the optional, 9-rnd flush fit factory mag as shown in the photo below (0.6 inch less than G19).
Thank you for the very comprehensive and interesting thread on the G30!
Very comprehensive report. Thank you, great comparisons and info.
The New Glock 30S - Pros and Cons
Physical Size and Concealed Carry IWB Comfort
The widths of the pistol grip and slide are important factors for Inside Waistband (IWB) concealed carry. If your body type and/or wardrobe is suited for only a slim pistol this could be an issue. Consider the recently released Glock G30S Gen3 45ACP pistol if a slimmer slide is better suited for your needs and preference (the "S" in G30S stands for Slim).
The G30S is a Gen3 G30SF (10+1) receiver (post June, 2012 version) topped with a slimmer, lighter slide and barrel originally designed for the G36 single stack 45ACP pistol. The slide of the G30S, designed for the smaller outside diameter of a G36 barrel (thinner walls), will not accommodate the factory barrel from a G30 or G30SF 45ACP pistol.
The G30SF (Short Frame) receiver of the G30S differs slightly from the standard Gen3 G30 receiver in that the trigger reach distance of the SF grip is shorter by ~2-3mm measured from back strap to trigger.
The width of the G30S slide (1.003" ± 0.002") is 1/8 inch less than the G30/G30SF slide (1.126" ± 0.002"). However, the width of the G30S grip, measured at the wide point 1/4" below the mag release, is the same as all other G30 models (32.50 mm or 1.28"). Therefore, only a modest improvement in concealability should be expected.
The G30S weighs 3.5 oz. less than the G30 Gen4, which is 11% less overall with a full 10-rnd mag. Many will appreciate the improved comfort due to the reduced weight when conceal carrying the G30S pistol for long periods of time. The overall weight and height of the pistol (grip+mag) can be reduced even further for easier concealment with the optional, 9-rnd flush fit factory mag available for the pistol. For comparison, the height of the grip+mag of the G30S with 9-rnd mag is 0.6" less than the height of the G19 9mm pistol.
Magazine Options and Accessories
The pistol accepts 45ACP mags, both factory and aftermarket options, covering a wide range of capacity to load 9, std. 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 27, or 30 rounds in a single mag. Since the G30S is a Gen3 subcompact model, two 10-rnd mags are shipped from the factory with the pistol. G30 Gen4 comes with three mags.
Typical of all current production G30 models, the G30S has a front accessory rail for a tactical light and/or laser making it more versatile for a home defense pistol combined with the selection of high-capacity mags.
A holster designed for a G30/30SF pistol appears to be the surest bet to fit the G30S unless the holster manufacturer offers a model specifically for the G30S. Retention in the G30/30SF holster will be adequate but a little loose at the slide. Holsters designed for a G19/23/26/27/36 are hit or miss in properly fitting the G30S from reports (use the video link to see examples at 8:48). The slightly wider frame below the rails and wider trigger guard of the G30S prevent a good fit in some holsters made entirely of kydex and molded for a snug fit to the G19/23/26/27/36. Hybrid holsters with a kydex shell on a leather backing/shield or all-leather holsters have the best chance of fitting because they give a little. Buyer beware, try them before buying.
Recoil and Control
In my field tests of the G30S over two weeks, I fired various factory loads of 230gr FMJ training ammo (Speer, Blazer, Win WB) and premium 230gr JHP self-defense ammo (Speer GDHP and Federal HST +P) for a total of 250 rounds. I agree with the consensus opinion of most reviewers of the G30S that the new pistol has more perceived recoil and muzzle rise than the Gen3 G30/G30SF or Gen4 G30. It is noticeable, especially with +P ammo, but still relatively comfortable to shoot the standard pressure loads. Discomfort became an issue as the round count approached 50 shots of the +P loads in a single session. This is no surprise considering the G30S upper is 3.5 oz lighter and slide velocity is significantly higher. The G30S, G30 and G30SF all use an identical recoil spring assembly. Traveling at a higher velocity, the remaining momentum of the G30S slide is greater as the slide strikes the frame in recoil. The difference can be felt compared to a G30/30SF. Compared to the slimline G36, the wider grip of the G30S distributes recoil energy over a larger surface area of the hand making the G30S more comfortable to shoot.
In my side-by-side comparison test, the G30SF required slightly less effort to achieve a desired split time on follow-up shots compared to the G30S. The muzzle rise on recoil is more with the G30S. I read one G30S article in American Handgunner where the author speculated the lighter slide of the G36/G30S, cycling at a higher speed, might make follow-up shots faster, but that wasn't true for me. Less muzzle rise from my G30SF and prior training with the pistol easily outweighed G30S advantages in this category if they exist.
Inherent Mechanical Accuracy
Some expert G30 shooters such as Mas Ayoob, in tests of the G30S of hundreds of rounds fired, have noted that the G30S is an accurate pistol but not the equal of the G30/G30SF or requires more effort to shoot as well. I believe this assessment is exactly correct. I'll be happy to change my opinion when a reputable, expert G30S shooter equals the well-documented performance of the G30/G30SF. The high standard set by the G30 is 5 shots off the bench grouped under 1.0 inch at a target range of 25 yards using factory ammo reported by Mas Ayoob. He achieved these results twice; first using Remington 185gr Express JHP and later with Federal 230gr Hydra-Shok JHP factory ammo. It's interesting to note, in the second benchrest test the G30 pistol was equipped with the standard 5.5-lb connector and NY-1 trigger spring.
The best results for the G30S reported thus far by Mas Ayoob is a 5-shot group of 2.25 inches off the bench using the same test protocol and 230gr FMJ remanufactured factory ammo (Atlanta Arms & Ammo). He shot two other 5-shot groups of 2.9 inches and 3.25 inches using Black Hills 230gr JHP and Remington 185gr Express JHP, respectively (Guns Magazine, August, 2013, Page 41). My benchrest test of the G30S revealed a similar contrast in accuracy compared to the G30SF. The best 5-shot group with the G30S measured under 3.5 inches in diameter; more than twice the 1-3/8 inch spread of 5 shots achieved by my G30SF at 25 yards with the same factory ammo (Speer Lawman 230gr TMJ). My training Quals include a hostage target drill at 25 yards and this difference in inherent accuracy of the G30S was not a confidence builder. This is not a concern for civilian self-defense purposes at close range, but competition shooters should take notice. Watch the G30S shooting video from Hickok45 using high-quality Speer Lawman 200gr ammo, and then compare it to his earlier Glock 30 shooting video. You can reach your own conclusion regarding comparative accuracy of the two pistols.
Caliber Conversions and Ammo
The Gen3 G30/G30SF or Gen4 G30 with the thicker, heavier slide is the safe option (the only option in my opinion) if you have any plans or desire to convert your pistol to .460 Rowland, .40 Super, 10mm Auto or other high-energy pistol calibers for woods protection or sport. Aftermarket conversion barrels commercially available for the Gen3 G30/G30SF and Gen4 G30 are not interchangeable with the G30S barrel and will not fit in the G30S slide. It's just as well the G30/G30SF conversion barrels don't fit (probably intentional on Glock's part) since the lighter slide of the G30S isn't an optimal design for muzzle velocity and energy greater than the normal range of 45ACP +P ammo. The G30S/G36 upper is designed for .45 ACP +P (23K psi), whereas the G30/30SF upper shares a design in common with the G29 intended for the higher energy of 10mm Auto (37.5K psi).
Installing a complete G29 upper on the G30S receiver is a safe and reliable option to convert the pistol to 10mm caliber. IGB Austria reportedly makes a 10mm conversion barrel for the G36 that might fit in the G30S slide, but I don't advise this approach for reasons mentioned above. Furthermore, subtle differences in feed geometry between the single-stack G36 and double-stack G30S will likely cause failure-to-feed malfunctions in the G30S with a G36 45-10mm conversion barrel. The G29 upper swap is definitely the best alternative for 10mm from the G30S.
It's doubtful the G30S is a comfortable and safe pistol to shoot .45 Super or .450 SMC ammo (28K psi). The G30S barrel has thinner walls affecting the barrel strength compared to the G21 or G30/30SF, but my first concern with hot ammo is the chamber support in the G30S/G36 barrel. The G30S/G36 barrel provides less chamber support at the 6 o'clock feed ramp position and the more pronounced funnel profile at the 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock positions compared to the G30/30SF barrel. The G30S slide is much lighter and one can expect greater wear and tear on the G30S pistol frame with .45 Super from battering due to higher slide velocity. Having shot .45 Super in the G30SF, I fear for the brave/reckless G30S owner who shoots .45 Super in the light G30S factory barrel and slide. It's already pushing the limits to shoot .45 Super in the G30/30SF factory barrel with better chamber support and the heavier pistol slide. Frequent inspection of the empty cases is warranted to spot dangerous conditions and it's necessary to use an aftermarket barrel with better chamber support if you reload the .45 Super brass.
To summarize, the Gen3 G30/G30SF and Gen4 G30 in stock form or customized with commercially-available components can shoot all of the following:
.45 ACP (and +P)
The Gen3 G30S doesn't accept G30/G29 conversion barrels and can safely shoot the following:
.45 ACP (and +P)
In conclusion, the G30S is limited to .45 ACP (and +P) exclusively for a duty/carry pistol, and very well suited for an urban CCW for personal defense. The G30S offers an advantage over the G30/30SF in providing improved comfort for some when carrying the pistol concealed IWB and possibly fitting holsters already owned. I can't claim the G30S was any easier to conceal than the G30/30SF since the grip thickness and length is the same, but it was more comfortable over long periods of time due to the lighter weight. I found the G30S comfortable to carry IWB for 8+ hours and it was easy to conceal with the 9-rnd mag (an option for the G30/30SF as well). The advantage of the G30S over the G30/30SF ends there, but that's plenty good reason for the large majority of people who will be extremely pleased with this newest entry in the Glock line of .45 pistols for concealed carry.
The G30 or G30SF is a much better alternative if you require the pistol to serve a purpose beyond personal defense in the city. It offers impressive versatility and capacity in a semi-automatic sidearm capable of shooting high-energy ammo for hunting game and/or woods protection in black bear country. The numerous caliber conversions possible with the G30/30SF provide a diverse selection of ammo choices in times of ammo scarcity for the more common calibers.
Most importantly, shooters engaged in competitions or challenging Quals requiring maximum accuracy and control will be better served by the G30/30SF over the G30S.
G30 Gen4 offers the advantages of the Multiple Backstrap System (MBS) and an enlarged mag release that is easier to reach and reversible for left-handed shooters. Three 10-rnd mags are shipped with the G30 Gen4 whereas two mags are included with the G30S. The more aggressive Gen4 grip texture enables one to grasp the pistol more securely under less than ideal conditions. The Gen4 grip texture is a definite asset when hands are wet or sweaty or when shooting high-energy ammo. Some who find the Gen4 grip irritating against bare skin while conceal carrying IWB will prefer the smoother sides of the Gen3 G30SF or G30S grip.
Suggested additional reading and viewing: Glock 30S Compact 45 ACP Semi-Automatic Pistol (review by Jeff Quinn at Gunblast.com)
Glock 30/30SF with Red Dot Sight for CCW
With the development of rugged, ultra-light red dot sights, Glock pistols with optical sights are becoming more popular for everyday concealed carry. A pistol configuration once used only by SWAT Law Enforcement and the Military has become commonplace in the civilian market.
For a Gen3 G30SF pistol, I selected a Trijicon RMR® model RM07 Adjustable LED red dot sight mounted on a milled slide. Suppressor night sights from AmeriGlo with Trijicon tritium lamps (model GL-329) serve as co-witness backup iron sights (BUIS). There are less expensive red dot sights, but the Trijicon RMR is the one I trust for use on a carry pistol. The RMR can withstand punishing treatment and continue to work reliably.
I recommend night sights with the red dot sight. I had plain black BUIS initially. The plain black sights were AmeriGlo GST-315 serrated front (.315"H x .090"W) and GL-404 rear (.394"H x .150"W notch), which can be purchased together in a set as AmeriGlo GL-429. In low-light exercises I scored better times with night sights. Just as with iron sights, the tritium lamps help one orient the pistol more quickly in low light to get the red dot on the target.
The pistol and RMR combination is a game changer for me. I can focus my eyes at the distance of the target/threat, with both eyes open, and superimpose the red dot without having to focus on and align sights at the near plane of the pistol. It's a terrific system for my aging eyesight. It has helped my shooting and evidently I'm not alone in seeing the benefits.
Holsters designed for the RMR-equipped pistol from Dale Fricke, Blade-Tech, One Source Tactical and others make carrying the unit a snap. It hasn't hampered concealability or comfort in the least for me.
The 6.5 MOA LED or Adjustable LED versions of the RMR, models RM02 and RM07, respectively, are well suited for a pistol used for self-defense. It's a good compromise for the reticle size balancing precision vs speed of target acquisition. The 6.5 MOA reticle is easy enough to see for self-defense shooting at short range under 15 yards, but small enough to make hits consistently on torso-sized targets at longer range out to 100+ yards with a pistol.
I prefer the battery-powered LED model of the RMR over the Dual-Illuminated (DI) model that doesn't require a battery and relies on fiber optic and tritium elements for illumination. The visible reticle of the DI RMR model tends to wash out in unusual lighting conditions, for example, indoors in low light against the bright reflection of a high-lumen tac light off light-colored walls or when shooting from shade or indoors to an outside target brightly lit by sunlight.
The reticle of the LED and Adjustable LED RMR remains more visible under unusual lighting conditions. The CR2032 3v battery lasts an average of two years in typical use with the LED unit on 24x7; twice that long for the Adjustable LED. I change the battery once a year and have no concerns about battery life. The co-witness BUIS are always there if the electronics fail (rare event for an RMR).
There are multiple places to have the mill work done on your slide, but Mark Housel at L&M Precision Gunworks is at the top of my list for future work on a Gen4 G30. Others include One Source Tactical, GlockWorx, ATEi, Lone Wolf, and Bowie Tactical Concepts.
The RMR RM07 6.5 MOA Adjustable LED is near-perfect for my needs. The manual brightness control has come in very handy when the auto-adjust mode setting is not optimal for the lighting and my vision. I use a manual setting at home at night and keep it on auto-adjust mode during the day. I have variable astigmatism in my vision that can't be entirely corrected with lenses. The manual brightness adjustment on the RM07 is useful to reduce the "blooming" effect of the red dot (due to astigmatism) that is worse in low light either at the indoor range or at home. I also like that the Adjustable LED models can be turned off to conserve battery life or to drill with BUIS only. The standard LED RMR is always on.
The RM07 Adjustable LED has some history of slightly increased failure rate for pistol service. Mine has performed reliably without a hitch, but some will say the RM02 is the better alternative. However, I would be hard pressed to give up the features of the RM07 and the advantages of the Adjustable LED for my eyesight.
Because of the increasing popularity of the RMR with BUIS on a pistol for LE/Mil use, Trijicon came out with a new line of Bright & Tough suppressor night sights at SHOT Show 2013. I'm thinking about replacing the AmeriGlo BUIS. AmeriGlo puts white outlines around the tritium lamps, whereas the Trijicon BUIS can be purchased with either black or white outlines. Trijicon also offers a choice of three colors for the tritium lamps on the rear sight (green, yellow, orange). I prefer black outlines on the rear sight for an uncluttered sight picture that is less distracting in normal light. Contrasting lamp colors on the front and rear sight make it easier to spot the front sight in low light and position it correctly between the two rear lamps.
If you like a tritium night sight config with only two lamps aligned dot-over-dot (my preference), be sure to check out the suppressor night sights at One Source Tactical designed for BUIS with an RMR mounted on a milled slide.
Use the link below to see an example of the RMR RM07 mounted on a G30 with a milled slide and co-witness backup iron sights.
Photo: Glock 30 with RMR RM07 and Co-witness Backup Sights
I love my G30. Accurate!!!
Thanks GRT45! All good stuff that saves me a considerable amount of time and money.
Thank you so much for the extensive write-up, it was great.
My Gen 4 G30 has quickly become my favorite Glock of all. I have a few questions, I bow hunt in Colorado and like to pack a handgun for "just in case" with the bears and big cats and dogs. If it was just bears I would pack a .44 mag but with the cats/dogs I like the higher capacity. What would you suggest as the best value way to go in making my G30 more woods appropriate? I've pretty much spent my "allowance" this year already.
If I read correctly I would only need a guide rod/spring change for the .45 Super, is that correct?
The little Glock will stay stock for CC/HD and I would believe 2 boxes of .45 Super (or whatever y'all suggest) will probably do me for the rest of my life seeing I would probably only fire a few for a dependability check then load them only for my hunting trips.
In that case...I'd take my G21. More rounds!
Thank you for this. It's an amazing amount of work and analysis.
I picked up an almost unused G30 the other day, barrel ring was very light and no wear inside the slide/frame. Born date was March/03 and for a 10 year old gun, she's seen almost no action.
I'd considered the 30SF and the 30S, but the 30 seemed like a better choice.
You answered many of my questions about current options. I've been out of the Glock game for awhile....thanks for the great effort and information.
Thanks for posting this, love my G30.
You do realize I can put a G21 mag in my G30, right?
Now if you're talking velocity from a longer barrel, or longer sight radius, that's another story.
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Just to add to this already excellent article... the G30 was the firearm that turned this once diehard 1911 fan into a glockaholic. Inch and a half groups out of a mini pistol? Before, it was a struggle, now it's commonplace. That backstrap curve? It fits (or more accurately, nestles) my hand like it was made for it. And yes, the G21 mags fit and function perfect in the G30. They did their homework on this one... and made a convert in the process.