U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Less than a month ago the world first learned of the existence of .30 Super Carry. What is .30 Super Carry? In short, it’s a new caliber designed for use in defensive handguns. Using somewhat unconventional designs, the round has become extremely controversial while also stirring up a lot of interest. I’m hoping that it’s here to stay, now let me tell you why.
Why 30 Super Carry Could Win
Featuring a .31 diameter bullet, .30 Super Carry comes in just under 8mm, catching many by surprise. Why move to a smaller round when the uber-popular 9×19 is already on the small side of service calibers? Simple, capacity. Product material from Federal states that comparably-sized magazines will hold an additional two rounds of .30 Super Carry when compared to 9mm.
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In a world of SIG P365’s and Springfield Hellcat’s, we’re clearly dying for more rounds in smaller packages. Even Taurus and Ruger are getting onboard the capacity train with the GX4 and .380ACP LCP Max respectively. Imagine getting 12 rounds flush fit in your P365. Or your +5 Glock extension turning into a +7, giving you 27 rounds or more in a fully topped off G34. Smith & Wesson sees the appeal, with their Shield Plus being one of the first pistols chambered in .30 Super Carry, rocking 12+1 or 15+1 with flush and extended magazines.
Ballistics and Performance
Again looking at promotional material from Federal, .30 Super Carry looks to be a winner in performance. With their new 100gr HST load, shooters can expect 1250FPS with 347FT-LBS of energy. This is only 17FT-LBS short of their 124gr 9mm load. Federal also claims the same 100gr HST load achieving 15.5 inches of penetration, along with .530 inches of expansion in ballistics gel with a heavy clothing barrier. When compared to the same 124gr 9mm HST, .30 Super Carry gets an additional inch of penetration.
Speer has also published numbers for the performance of a 100gr and 115gr loads of Gold Dot in .30 Super Carry. In the four-layer denim test, 100gr Gold Dot achieved 14 inches of penetration with an expanded diameter of 0.52 inches. The heavier 115gr load managed 15 inches of penetration with a slightly reduced 0.49 inches of expansion.
Shooters first got their hands on .30 Super Carry during SHOT Show this year. Reports say that felt recoil is indistinguishable from comparable 9mm loads, dispelling fears of harsh recoil.
Support from Ammunition Manufacturers
A new caliber needs support to be successful. Out of the gate things are already looking hopeful. Federal, Speer, and Remington are all producing multiple loads for .30 Super Carry, with practice and duty options available. For defensive ammunition, the stellar Speer Gold Dot and Federal HST are available in 115gr loads, with testing of 100gr Gold Dot on record as well. Remington is offering a 100gr version of their HTP jacketed hollow points. Training ammunition includes 100gr loadings of Remington UMC and Federal American Eagle FMJ. Speer is opting for 115 grains in their Blazer Brass line for .30 Super Carry.
Pricing is higher than 9mm, but not unreasonable. The above FMJ loads hover around $31-32 for a 50 round box. Defensive ammunition varies slightly, running $27 for Remington HTP, $36 for Speer Gold Dot, and $37 for Federal HST, all of which are 20 round boxes. These prices are based off of pre-release numbers from Davidson’s. I would expect prices to drop as .30 Super Carry grows in popularity, much like we’ve seen over the years with other products.
Why 30 Super Carry Could Fail
While I want .30 Super Carry to succeed, I know that may not be the case. What are some reasons why this new round might fail? I’ll tell you.
Ammunition Prices and Availability
Ammunition is expensive and scarce across the board. While prices overall are not as bad today as they were at the height of 2020, they are still astronomically higher than they were a few short years ago. Add onto this the rapidly rising prices of goods and services across the nation, and lower employment, and you can quickly see budgets getting constrained. This isn’t a good time to spend money on something new and expensive. Even though .30 Super Carry has been in development for years, the release timeline is far from ideal.
It seems like .30 Super Carry matches the performance of 9×19, but doesn’t beat it by a wide margin. More capacity is good, but not a golden ticket for many shooters. Most of us already own a 9mm handgun, so why would we switch to something harder to get, and more expensive in these unprecedented times? If the market doesn’t provide, shooters may turn a cold shoulder to .30 Super Carry.
Currently only a handful of pistols are being offered in .30 Super Carry. These include the Shield Plus and Shield EZ from Smith & Wesson, and the GRP from Nighthawk Custom. Of course the Shield Plus is a great handgun, and is a perfect option for this caliber, they don’t exactly sell like hotcakes. The Shield EZ is a fairly popular gun, but its user base probably isn’t going to spring for an untested round that costs more and is harder to find. If you’re spending Nighthawk money, then you can afford the ammunition to feed it, but not many people are doing that.
If more manufacturers don’t get onboard and start offering guns in .30 Super Carry, it could die from a lack of market support. Glock, SIG Sauer, Ruger, and more need to get their wheels turning and start cranking out guns for this round. I’d love a G19 with a flush fit 17 round mag. The pistol caliber carbine market would also be a solid avenue for support. Imagine a Ruger PC Carbine zipping hot-rodded .30 Super Carry across the range like a modern M1 Carbine.
Closed Minded Shooters
I see tons of hate for .30 Super Carry online and none of the guns or ammunition is even available yet. We’re still learning about its capabilities and how it compares to other calibers, so any judgement isn’t fully sound at this moment. Most of these folks can’t imagine someone carrying anything other than a 2011 or Roland Special in a Sidecar holster. Just because the round doesn’t work for you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value. Unfortunately, these voices are loud and can influence people who might actually benefit from adopting .30 Super Carry.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen attitudes like this. People want change but fight rabidly against everything that doesn’t meet the current meta. When .327 Federal Magnum was released it was nearly dead on arrival. People stuck with their .38’s and .357’s, saying .327 offered nothing except one more round in the gun. Years later, people are clamoring for guns in .32H&R or .327FED, begging for more rounds at comparable performance in their wheelgun, but most are unobtanium now after years of hate. I fear the same thing may happen to .30 Super Carry. For me, this is more promising than anything we saw with .357SIG, .32NAA, .45GAP, and more.
Other Considerations for 30 Super Carry
The competitive shooting scene is a massive driver of guns and gear. Currently, USPSA and IDPA both require a minimum caliber of either 9×19 or .38 Special in most divisions. This automatically eliminates .30 Super from consideration at any match. The one caveat could potentially be in Back-Up Gun in IDPA, which allows .380ACP as a minimum, but even that would be debatable based upon the diameter of .30 Super Carry, and is capacity limited anyway.
Competitive shooters are no strangers to unconventional rounds, just look at the past popularity of .38 Super, 9×21, and others. The added capacity of .30 Super Carry is a perfect partner for gun games, but will the leadership and competitors welcome it? Without the support of major competitive shooting bodies, .30 Super Carry will be missing out on a massive segment of the market.
Law Enforcement Adoption
The law enforcement market is a huge opportunity for .30 Super Carry to gain a foothold in the market. Cops are no strangers to adopting new or unconventional rounds, trying to maximize performance. In the past 40 years we’ve seen major agencies move from revolvers in several calibers to autoloaders in 10mm, .40S&W, 9×19, .45GAP, .357SIG, and more. While .45GAP is incredibly hard to find in most places, there have been several new cartridges that are still popular today.
If .30 Super Carry could manage enough popularity as even .357SIG, it’ll likely be here to stay. With comparable performance and recoil to 9×19 with improved capacity, I believe it offers more than its predecessors, checking several boxes deemed important to our boys and girls in blue. However if law enforcement turns their nose up to the new round, it will face an up hill battle for even marginal acceptance by the public.
Comparing 30 Super Carry to 380ACP and Mouse Guns
Most online debates I see compare .30 Super Carry to the typical 9×19 duty gun, with no consideration of other calibers or frame sizes. I think this is shortsighted. Where .30 Super Carry may shine is as an alternative to .380ACP and other micro 9’s. These little mouse guns offer little in terms of capacity and a lot in terms of recoil.
Over the past several years we’ve also seen people jamming 9mm into these guns trying to get better wound ballistics in tiny guns. Some of the worst offenders here are the SIG P938, Beretta Nano, and Kahr CM9. These provide no more capacity than a typical J-Frame, and assault the hands with every trigger press. While .30 Super Carry may not solve the recoil problem, it does significantly improve capacity. Now you’ve gone from 6 rounds in your magazine to 8, adding significant capacity to your tiny gun. More bullets are more better.
The .380ACP fares only slightly better in the recoil department, with equal capacity, and worse terminal performance compared with 9mm. With .30 Super Carry you’ll throw two more rounds in your Ruger LCP, while actually achieving FBI specifications for performance. With a little room to wiggle, we may even see lighter loads meant for mouse guns in .30 Super Carry to reduce recoil while still providing the aforementioned benefits. Everyone hates .380ACP, so why not give .30 Super Carry a chance to shine in its place?
Final Thoughts on 30 Super Carry
If you can’t tell, I want this round to succeed. I think .30 Super Carry offers some unique benefits over what is currently available to shooters. With some love and development, it could be even greater than most imagine now. However, there are still some significant hurdles to overcome for it to succeed.
What do you think about .30 Super Carry? Would it fit in with your lifestyle, or does it seem like another Good Idea Fairy gone wrong? Let your voice be heard in the comments!
About Dan Reedy
Dan is an Air Force veteran, avid shooter, and dog dad. With a passion for teaching, he holds instructor certifications from Rangemaster, Agile Training & Consulting, and the NRA. He has trained with Darryl Bolke, Mike Pannone, Craig Douglas, among several other instructors, amassing over 400 hours of professional instruction thus far. In his spare time you’ll find him teaching handgun, shotgun, and less lethal classes.