One point you’ll see reinforced in this Glock 30 review, is the fact that it is (rightly) pigeonholed into the realm of the “perfect concealed carry gun” segment of the market. The market trends are there for a reason. You don’t see guns become popular in this price range because they aren’t good. Plainly, let it be known, the Glock 30 is one of the best handguns in the concealment space, in history.
That might seem an excessive commentary to some, about a gun that is so simple and doesn’t command the spotlight in the industry, given the yearly innovations that come along in that market segment (compact carry guns). But the legacy of the Glock 30 and the relative performance of the pistol makes it a standout in the space. Especially for those who want a larger caliber offering.
At the time it came out, there was speculation that it was too hot to handle for mainstream shooters, but the generally mild muzzle flip and the realistically controllable recoil have made it a favorite for concealed carriers over the years.
Glock didn’t ever let on if they had hesitation about the release, and their commitment to the product drives home the point that they realize what a win the Glock 30 has been. Some have called it the most versatile Glock ever. (See the section below titled “Modularity” for some insights on that point).
The Glock 30S
While this isn’t specifically a review of the Glock 30S, one might do well to explore that variant if they are shopping for this type of gun.
The Glock 30S was a gun that Glock made in 2013 officially, but one which could have been made with factory components for some time before that. The 1997 debuted G30 was already being played with at its debut by a ton of buyers.
The Glock 30 is slightly smaller than the 23/19 sized pistols but also slightly larger than the typical subcompact pistols (26/27).
The model 30S is NOT a firearm that is built to the same robust standards as the 30. You SHOULD NOT mix and match more potent cartridges or components in the 30S, even if you can physically manipulate the parts to fit the gun. The slide is lighter weight and the reinforcement is not there.
Even though that is the case, the 30S is a legitimately good carry gun. It is lighter and slimmer than the 30, and it carries much better thanks to the specifications. It is equally reliable and has some good creature comforts built in, like enhanced new generation additions.
The Glock 30 is Proven, even in an already proven lineup of Glock Pistols
It’s been around since the late nineties, and it has had zero of the problems that any factory Glock has had associated with them in the last 20+ years. It’s got sizing that is smaller than the 19/23/similar and just a bit larger than the 26/27/similar. For a gun that size, in a heavy recoiling cartridge, this is about as reliable a gun as is made.
Compare it to scores of 1911 clones that have had issues feeding and extracting the .45ACP for many years. Note: the 1911 is famous for reliability in most formats of the gun; but in the “sub-compact” format it is not as predictable. Considering this was the heads-up competition for the first 10+ years after the release of the G30, relatively speaking, the G30 is a superior gun reliability-wise.
Comparatively to the Glock lineup, the fact that it inherits the DNA that basically secures it’s reliability because it is a Glock; paired with the fact that it has a track record that includes no egregious concerns with safety or reliability (some Glock models have in the past – generally at their debut or right after a generational changeset), it is among the most reliable Glocks in history.
.45ACP ammunition is widely available and generally regarded as very reliable in mainstream guns.
The .45 ACP is a truly mainstream cartridge
The .45 Auto cartridge is a favorite in the United States and has always been considered to be a very reliable cartridge in action.
First and foremost, the cartridge has always been accepted as a potent threat stopper. It’s gotten better over the past 12-15 years and got a great boost over the past 5 or so years with some beneficial ballistic improvements, like better powders and innovative engineered projectile designs.
You can achieve exceptional ballistics considering that the recoil is relatively easy to handle thanks to the slow, rolling recoil, and less muzzle flip than most other contemporary cartridges. That isn’t to say that the recoil is mild, but that it’s consistent and the lack of significant muzzle rise makes it manageable.
A gun that can be handled by a broader spectrum of shooters
Sizing is only one reason why the Glock 30 appeals to so many shooters; especially those who want a concealable firearm with a hard-hitting chambering.
But the fact that the grip frame can be made “longer” with magazine adaptation and that the gun isn’t so recoil heavy as to preclude many smaller shooters from using it, the pistol has a special place of versatility in the market. In fact, even though it is slightly fatter than most small hands can reasonably comfortably hold it, it is still very manageable.
It is this versatility that sees it appeal to such a wide range of shooter types. For that smaller framed, smaller handed shooter, this can be an ideal “one gun” or even a backup. With the adequate practice, any shooter can handle the Glock 30 easily.
Comparative reliability to other .45 ACP platforms
As long as you don’t try to feed it exposed lead projectiles or partially exposed projectiles (like semi wadcutters, etc.) you really cannot defeat the Glock 30 from a reliability perspective. It’s a champion for all those wide-ranging loads from factory that vary from super slow to quite peppy for the .45 ACP.
As a side note, the lead will stick awkwardly and can cause significant safety concerns in the polygonal barrel rifling; and the lockup of the Glock can get lead residue that causes problems after a while with feeding if you insist on using exposed lead cartridges. Just avoid them for all Glocks.
Early issues with the firing pin hit and the extractor had been worked out within weeks for the .45’s in Glocks product portfolio; it never seemed to be a big problem the Glock 30 model.
Given the right source parts and mindset, you can add longer barrels, shorter slides, longer magazines; modified magazines, etc. to the Glock 30 or other Glock models.
You can even put something interesting like a .460 Rowland or a 10mm Auto conversion into the gun. Why would you want to? Because you can. And because it’s safe to do in the robust Glock .45 ACP range, including the Glock 30 (not the 30S).
The beauty of the modern modular pistol that Glock is, is that you can custom tune your mainstream gun to do things that the mainstream doesn’t normally do. It can truly be “yours”.
It’s safe to do this type of conversion on this gun, because the .45 and 10mm were built to the same specifications at factory, which includes a slightly heavier lug lockup area on the Glock slide and guide rods that can handle the recoil, as well as some small reinforcements throughout the pistol in key stress areas relative to most of the smaller caliber Glock models.
Of course, you can put the 9mm and 40S&W components into the gun and feel good about their ability to deliver performance out of a gun that wasn’t originally made for the parts.
The front rail offers good accessorizing, and the newer generations have an important “beavertail” style backstrap that keeps slide bite away from the web of your hand.
The newest generations 4 and 5 offer the customization of the backstrap at the bottom of the hand grip to further improve the fitment (NOTE: Gen 5 doesn't yet sport the Model 30 or even the model 21). It is this modularity that continues to be innovative on a gun that hasn’t changed a whole lot in decades of being on the market (speaking of the Glock pistols in general – though the Glock 30 debuted in 1997 more than 2 decades ago).
Is the Glock 30 the perfect backup pistol?
Yes. Nothing more to say. The Glock 30 is among the best carry guns for a backup pistol if you can conceal it adequately. If you list the characteristics of the ultimate carry gun, the G30 ticks every box. It really is that simple.
Glock 30 Review: Conclusion
You can go with the standard 10 round magazine or you can move into the larger 13 round mags and fit them with a small modification to add grip length. This single, cheap modification makes it one of the most versatile large caliber concealment handguns in history and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
The capabilities of this gun in a life or death situation are in the top tier of all defensive handguns. True, it’s not a full size duty weapon, and there are better specialized options for different tasks out there, but you cannot go wrong with a pistol as proven, as available, or as reliable as the Glock 30.
- Compact, powerful but still manageable
- Thousands of aftermarket options for accessorizing and as add-on accompaniments
- Impressive reliability record
- Comfortable for a wide range of users
- No real cons
This is best for
Users who will be able to benefit from the type of versatility that a gun like the Glock 30 can offer. It can be small and concealable; strong and confident, modified easily and it fits just about everyone’s hands with a few small tweaks. It’s priced very well.
Watch a Glock 30 review from hickok45