I was standing at Glock’s booth at Media Day before the SHOT show this past January waiting to see what all the hype was about. A new Glock. A new compact .45 ACP Glock. A 10 shot compact .45 Glock. With all there was to see at the SHOT show, a new Glock built from parts of other existing Glocks wasn’t high up on my must-see list.
As I stood there in the bitter freezing wind waiting for a chance to shoot the thing, I was less than impressed. The gun didn’t seem small enough or new enough for all the hype. But then a member of the Glock team, who had sensed that I wasn’t duly impressed, came over to extol the virtues of the 30S. And he pulled one from his coat pocket.
I hadn’t even seen it, and I’m good at picking these things out. He was wearing a neat black wool coat, and the gun fit perfectly in the pocket. And it is a 10 shot. And a .45 ACP. And a Glock. And then I shot it. And I’m here to confess that I was more than a little impressed.
The Glock 30S
What is this little beast? It is a project gun, of sorts. For those who speak Glock, the 30S is a Glock 30 SF frame with a Glock 36 slide. The externals are Gen 3 in appearance, but the recoil system inside belongs to the Gen 4 line-up. The double stack magazine is fat, but not impossible to hold. It is short, but there is room for all of your fingers.
The sights are standard Glock fixed sights. Because the gun is meant to be concealed, it has had some of the corners rounded over a bit. The barrel is 3.78 inches of the overall length of 6.8 inches. It’s 4.76 inches tall and 1.28 inches wide. It weighs in at 20 ounces.
The 10+1 magazine will be the real appeal for most of us. 11 rounds of .45 ACP. Not too shabby.
Shooting the 30S
The most impressive part about the 30S is how well the recoil is managed. I’ve worked out some .45s that really bite. This isn’t the hottest round on the market, but it generates recoil. That recoil is even harder to control in a compact pistol. But if you watch the video above, you’ll see Jacob hit his stride with the 30S. The barrel doesn’t hardly move.
This requires that you hold on tight, obviously, and use your second hand effectively, but it is easy with the 30S. Like most Glocks I’ve shot, the 30S works reliably with ball, hollow points, and +P. We blew through 300 rounds on the first afternoon, and didn’t have any issues whatsoever.
The trigger pull is somewhere north of 5 pounds. The test gun we have in has a decently smooth pull with a reliable break. With no manual slide mounted safeties to operate, the trigger acts as a safety feature, and a 5- to 6-pound pull provides adequate insurance against accidental discharge and is light enough to allow for defensive accuracy.
To wrap up the basic evaluation of the 30S, I will offer this. I’m not a Glock guy. I don’t own a Glock, and I never have. But I might, soon. I like the way the 30S runs that much. If I can say this without sounding reductive, it functions like a Glock. It is small enough to conceal, offers 11 rounds of .45 ACP firepower, and is as easy to control as many full sized .45s. The MSRP on the 30S is $637. Not bad at all.
The 30S beside the 19
We took a Glock 19 with us to the range this week and it became a bit confusing. They are almost identical from the outside. We had the two sitting open on the bench between video takes, and I had to read numbers on the slides to tell them apart.
The 30S and the 19 are so close in their dimensions that they will fit in the same holsters. I haven’t found a holster for the 30S yet, but it fits nicely in a BlackHawk SERPA CQC.
This should hold true for any holster that is adjustable (by this I mean the tension), or leather (which will stretch just a touch). The 30S is a fraction of an inch (0.10 inches) wider than the 19, so that’s where you may need extra room. Kydex might pose more of a challenge.
The question becomes a matter of arithmetic, I think. Would you rather have 16 rounds of 9mm, or 11 rounds of .45 ACP. When we’re talking a difference of just five rounds, I’m going with the .45 everyday. But that’s me.
I think the 30S will appeal to many who are looking for a compact .45, but want more than the limited single stack capacity of a gun like the Springfield Armory XDs (which is just slightly thinner than the 30S, but comes up four rounds short).
According to the Glock spokesman, the 30S was originally built for plainclothes LAPD officer who requested a compact .45 ACP with enough capacity to be used as a serviceable back-up gun. It is certainly up to the task. But it is more than that, and will be for many. The 30S would be a great primary carry gun for plain-clothes LEOs and civilians who can legally carry such staggeringly high capacity in their respective states.