For 60 plus years, the M1911 semi-automatic pistol designed by John Browning and chambered by the John Browning .45 ACP round was the primary issue handgun of the United States military. The .45 ACP round has a reputation for stopping power. Unfortunately, if you are a fan of the .45 ACP and you are also a concealed carry license holder, your options have been limited.
It was inevitable that Glock would produce not just a pistol chambered for the .45 ACP, but also one that is small enough to be easily concealed and carried by almost anyone. Seizing on the ever growing number of concealed carry license holders and the undiminished popularity of the .45 ACP, the Glock 30 was born.
In its latest incarnation, the Glock 30S is slightly smaller and lighter than the original Glock 30. What many people wonder is whether the small frame, the lighter weight, and the huge .45 ACP bullet come together to make such a beast of a pistol that most shooters will cringe at the thought of pulling the trigger. Before we get to that answer, let’s take a closer look at the Glock 30.
The Glock 30 Lineage
Glock introduced the Glock 30 in 1997, and since that time, the Glock 30 has undergone several upgrades and is now available in different versions. The basic Glock 30 is now in its fourth generation of upgrades and enhancements, and has three variants:
- Glock 30 Gen4 – Glock took the Glock 29, which was originally chambered for 10mm, and created the Glock 30 chambered in .45 ACP. The Glock 21 and Glock 30 share the same magazine.
- Glock 30 SF – A shortened G30 frame creates a smaller grip profile on the Glock 30 SF (short frame) model. The overall trigger reach from the back of the grip to the trigger is 2.5 mm less than on a standard Glock 30 yet maintains the same 10 round double stack magazine that is used in the Glock 30 and the Glock 21.
- Glock 30 S – In an effort to further the concealability of the Glock 30, Glock introduced the Glock 30 S, which is thinner than the Glock 30 Gen4. A thinner slide on the shortened frame makes the Glock 30 S the smallest of the Glock 30 line, yet the pistol still retains the 10 shot standard Glock 30 and Glock 21 10-round double stacked magazine.
The Nuts and Bolts
For comparison’s sake, let’s look at the technical specifications for each of these pistols in the Glock 30 line.
|Glock 30 Gen 4||Glock 30 SF||Glock 30 S|
|Caliber||.45 ACP||.45 ACP||.45 ACP|
|Magazine Capacity||10 rounds||10 rounds||10 rounds|
|Barrel Length||3.78 inches||3.78 inches||3.78 inches|
|Weight (empty)||26.28 oz.||26.28 oz||22.75 oz.|
|Weight (loaded)||33.69 oz.||33.69 oz||30.16 oz.|
|Length Overall||6.97 inches||6.97 inches||6.97 inches|
|Width Overall||1.38 inches||1.12 inches||1.38 inches|
|Height with magazine||4.80 inches||4.80 inches||4.80 inches|
There is a negligible difference in these pistols. There is so little difference that from this point on, I am going to speak generically of the Glock 30 and not differentiate between the three models. For all practical purposes, they are the same gun and should perform and operate identically.
When you open the box, the first impression I always get is, “It’s a Glock.” These are utilitarian, working guns designed more for function than form. Gaston Glock was known for the knives he designed and manufactured for the Swiss Military. He came to the knife design business because of his expertise in advanced polymers and their use in industry. With no experience in designing firearms, Glock took only one year to bring the Glock 17 to market from the time he began the design.
The Glock design was intended for military and police use but soon became famous for its reliability that it has been universally adopted around the world and just as easily recognizable. Opening the box on a new Glock never offers any surprises.
The Glock 30 is no exception. Black, polymer, and with an air of functionality, the Glock 30 evokes the same feeling I get every time I handle a Glock. These guns just feel good in my hand. There is a mental understanding that this is a firearm that will function every time. That is comforting if you are carrying a firearm on which your life may depend.
Glocks are not glamorous or showy. They are perfect examples of form following function. In a strange way, I do find the Glock an attractive gun in much the same way I look at a well-designed and functional tool. There is an elegance in something that is designed to work.
Design and Features
The Glock 30 follows the same principles that guide all Glock designs. Everything is there for a reason and nothing is added that doesn’t have a genuine purpose toward making the firearm function more efficiently or effectively. The features on the Glock 30 mirror almost every other Glock firearm design.
- Simple and efficient disassembly for ease of maintenance
- Loaded chamber indicator on the extractor
- Striker fired two-stage trigger rated at 24N from the factory
- Polymer frame and magazine body
- Low slide profile
- Clean ergonomic design for easy draw and return to the holster without snags
- Trigger safety
- Octagonal barrel rifling
- Designed specifically for concealed carry
The Glock 30, as with any Glock, is a shining example of high quality and professional engineering.
At the Range
I must admit that I was a little apprehensive at the range. I have shot .45 ACP in several different styles of pistols. Some were a pleasure to shoot, and some were of the “I’d rather not endure that again” variety. Given the small size and the lightweight of the Glock 30, I was afraid this was going to be one of the latter types of experiences.
I was pleasantly surprised. I found that the grip of the Glock 30 is substantial enough that I could get a good grip contact and maintain superb control of the little pistol easily. The recoil and muzzle jump were a lot less than some other .45 ACP semi-automatic pistols I have shot and some .40 SW pistols I have owned.
My normal routine is to put at least 250 rounds downrange during a pistol evaluation. I try to shoot a variety of ammunition from generic factory brands to my own homegrown reloads. I include at least one magazine of self-defense rounds.
I shot the Glock 30 using a factory 10 round magazine. The extra bit of magazine protruding from the magazine well was just enough to allow me to get a full grip, including my little finger. This made the comfort zone much better for handling this handful of a small pistol.
Accuracy was excellent at 7 and 15 yards with the factory ball ammunition and my reloads. I didn’t suffer a single failure to feed during the entire test. My accuracy did suffer a bit when I did a rapid-fire magazine dump. Several rounds of the ten that I fired ended up in the seven ring.
I didn’t’ shoot past the 15-yard mark. I have found that the combination of my eyesight and the short barrel and sight length make it almost an exercise in frustration. I have no doubt that the Glock 30 will deliver rounds accurately at longer ranges, but my feeling about a concealed carry firearm is that it will probably be used much closer.
I left the range impressed with the Glock 30. It was not the handful I had expected. It performed as I expected a Glock to perform. In fact, the gun will probably shoot much better than my ability.
Concealability and Carry Comfort
The Glock 30 was designed to be a concealed carry pistol. The dimensions and the weight testify to that. Paired with the right holster, this firearm is easily concealable in and inside the waistband holster and under an untucked shirt. If you have routinely carried a Glock 19 as a concealed firearm, you will have no trouble managing the Glock 30.
There are some places where I would make some changes and additions to the Glock 30 for me to fit my personal tastes.
- Trigger Guard – I would contour the strong hand side of the trigger guard.
- Stippling – The whole frame from the back of the grips forward needs to be stippled. This greatly improves the purchase of the gun in your hands.
- Sights – Night sights are a given in my book – they improve accuracy in a strenuous situation, and are an easy upgrade.
Would I, or Wouldn’t I?
The Glock 30 in one of its incarnations would certainly find a home in my safe and probably become a concealed carry choice for me. If someone came to me and asked for my recommendation on a concealed carry firearm in .45ACP, the Glock 30 would be at the top of my list. I am an admitted Glock fan (see our Glock 19 review and Glock 26 review for more Glock goodness!). Notwithstanding that, this is a fine example of engineering meeting needs without a lot of unnecessary garnishing or glitz.