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Reviews : Arsenal

Glock 30S Subcompact Pistol

Glock's new slim .45 ACP holds 10 rounds, but it's comfortable to carry and shoot.

September 11, 2013  |  by A.J. George - Also by this author

Photo by Mark W. Clark.
Photo by Mark W. Clark.
Editor's note: View our "Glock's 30Sphoto gallery for detailed photos of the pistol.

Most people wouldn't put Glock in the category of firearms manufacturers known for their wide variety and constant stream of new products. Glock will make you any kind of pistol you want, as long as it is a polymer-framed, striker-fired semi-automatic, in black. I'm not saying Glock is boring, the company just sticks to what it does best. I admire this in any firearms manufacturer; especially one that has, in my humble opinion, perfected the combat pistol.

First Impressions

So when I walked up to the Glock table at the 2013 SHOT Show Range Day to speak with the company's reps, I wasn't expecting to see anything that would blow my mind, but I was curious what they had in the line-up for the new year.

The Glock representative answered my question by handing me the new 30S pistol. I have to say I raised an eyebrow.

Now it took me a few questions and a little close examination to figure out exactly what the Glock 30S was. It was a Glock, that much was obvious. It was in .45 ACP, and it was on the smaller side. But I couldn't squarely place it in the usual hierarchy of Glock sizes.

Glock has always made a standard, a compact, and a subcompact in almost every caliber it produces. The 30S was a hybrid of a few of these. The Glock rep must've seen this reaction more than a few times that morning because he quickly stepped in to bring an end to my head scratching. He broke it down for me this way.

The frame is borrowed from the 30SF; a subcompact .45 ACP with a capacity of 10 rounds. The benefit here is a larger frame allowing for 10-round capacity. The 30SF backstrap was reduced slightly to allow for shooters with smaller hands. The drawback was the size of the slide, which remained unchanged and very broad. The slide for the 30S was borrowed from the 36; one of the Glock "Slimline" pistols. The 36 is a great pistol that incorporates .45 ACP power in a slim and easily concealable package. Its biggest downfall is its capacity at only six rounds.

Glock recognized the strengths and weaknesses of each of these guns and combined the best (frame from a 30SF and slide from a 36) to create the 30S; an easy to shoot, comfortable in the hand, highly concealable .45 that holds 10 rounds. Does it fill a need? I would say so.

As we were talking, I was loading magazines in preparation to shoot this new little wonder. Once I had wrapped my head around what the 30S was, it was time for me to see if Glock's latest offering could perform. Let me preface this by giving you a little of my .45 ACP background. I primarily shoot a Glock in the .40 S&W cartridge. It is what I was issued when I became an officer almost a decade ago.

Anyone who has shot one will tell you the .40 is a violent, albeit well-performing little round. The .45 ACP is bigger but in my opinion produces surprisingly little felt recoil compared to the .40 S&W. I first experienced this when I purchased my first 1911 and my opinion hasn't changed after firing countless other .45s. So that was never a complaint of mine when shooting Glock's variety of .45 ACP pistols. My only real complaint was their size. I consider myself someone who has big hands and the .45s are too big for my taste.

Holding the 30S in my hand as I got comfortable with the dimensions and fine-tuned my firing grip I immediately noticed the difference. My secondary pistol is a Glock 23; a .40 compact. With the 30S' extended magazine baseplate and the slimmer slide my grip felt surprisingly similar. So if you've been yearning for a Glock 23 that fires 10 rounds of .45 ACP, this might be the answer to your prayers.

After fondling the 30S for probably far too long I charged up a fresh magazine and started popping rounds into the berm. As I suspected, the felt recoil was very pleasant and follow-up shots were almost easy. The dimensions of the 30S felt fantastic in my hand, and I quickly decided I could be happy with one of these concealed in my waistband.

After cycling through three magazines, I thanked the Glock reps and continued on with my day. I did, however, make a note to see this 30S again in the near future.

Out of the Box

My test sample 30S arrived a few months later, and I picked up right where I had left off at the SHOT Show. The 30S is textured in the Glock "Gen 3" configuration. I am a fan of the new "Gen 4" texture and would hope that is on the list of future 30S upgrades.

The 30S has a rail section forward of the trigger guard for mounting a light and the standard Glock polymer sights. I actually like Glock's standard sights. My only complaint would be their lack of night visibility. Glock offers a few others, including factory night sights for those of you who prefer something else.

And the trigger? Glock's standard coiled trigger spring gives the 30S a crisp brake at about 5.5 pounds, the same as almost every Glock rolling off the assembly line.

Punching Paper

I had no doubt about the reliability of this gun; it's a Glock. I also had no unanswered questions about the grip or feel of the gun when firing. I had checked these off at SHOT and was impressed with both. I was a little curious about accuracy though so I picked up a variety of .45 ACP and hit the range to see what the 30S could do.

Let's set some ground rules before we go down this road. My testing is anything but scientific. I picked the ammo because it was the best variety of practice and duty grade rounds on hand at my local sporting goods store, not because there is some distinct difference between them. And I chose my "methods" based solely on how I felt like shooting that day, not to produce data I could put on a chart.

Generally, I don't think most cops care too much about the ballistic stats of a gun. We want to know if the gun can perform in a deadly force encounter, function reliably, and hit what we intend it to.

My four ammo choices were: Remington Golden Sabre 185-grain Brass Jacketed Hollow Point, Winchester 230-grain Full-Metal Jacket Practice Rounds, Federal Premium Hydra-Shok 165-gr Low-Recoil Jacketed Hollow Point, and Hornady Zombie Max 185-grain Z-MAX. (I couldn't resist that Zombie ammo, but I don't recommend you carry it in any duty or self-defense gun. It could be a problem in court.)

I set my target at 15 yards. This is what I would consider the high average distance of most police shootings and where accuracy would be paramount. I shot five five-round groups, unsupported, with no time limit. I then shot the same groups from a supported position, similar to lying prone over the hood of a patrol vehicle. At the end I mixed up the variety of rounds and shot them at a rapid pace to check cycling reliability. As I suspected there were no issues here.

Checking my groups I was able to keep almost all of them under two inches, with the occasional flyer here and there, which I attribute to the monkey, not the machine. Considering the 30S is a subcompact designed primarily as a back-up combat weapon and not a competition gun, I was pretty impressed. Glock's barrels have always been known for their accuracy and this was no exception.

My next test was to put the 30S to work as it was intended, as a concealed back-up gun. I have a simple Kydex holster that rides inside my waistband and the 30S was able to snap into it nicely. I carried it around for a few days in this configuration and was pleasantly surprised at how manageable it was. My usual concealed-carry pistol is a subcompact and very slim 9mm so the 30S was a big step up in size. After a couple of days of having it follow me to the grocery store, post office, and gym, I was convinced this was a gun I could see myself carrying all the time. A .45 ACP that holds 10 rounds you can carry concealed all the time and not drive you crazy? Yeah, it surprised me, too.

The Big Questions

The Glock 30S comes from the factory with the standard Glock sights, a cleaning rod and brush, speed-loader and a couple of magazines packed neatly in a hard plastic case. If you throw down your LE credentials you can pick one up through Glock's "Blue Label" program for a steal.

So here are the real questions you have to answer before you decide the 30S is a gun for you. Do you carry a .45 ACP as a primary weapon and want the continuity with your secondary pistol? Or are you convinced the .45 ACP is the best round out there and wouldn't think of carrying anything else? If the answer to either is yes, you need to check out the new Glock 30S. All of the gripes I had about previous Glock .45s have been remedied with this one and I'm certain it'll be a winner.

A.J. George is an officer with the Scottsdale (Ariz.) Police Department currently assigned to the advanced training unit as a firearms and tactics instructor.

Glock 30S Subcompact Pistol Specs:

Caliber: .45 ACP

Capacity: 10 Rounds

Weight (empty): 20.28 Ounces

Width: 1.28 inches

Height: 4.8 inches

Overall Length: 6.97 inches

Barrel Length: 3.78 inches

Finish: Polymer with Tenifer Coated Slide

Trigger: Safe-Action, 5.5-pound pull

Sights: Fixed, standard Glock polymer Sights

Price: $598

Tags: Glock, Firearms Reviews, Duty Pistols, Subcompact Pistols, .45 ACP

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Comments (27)

Displaying 1 - 27 of 27

kmwilliams670 @ 9/11/2013 5:51 AM

I had a 30SF before. It was a great weapon. Extremely accurate, easy to carry & conceal, and a whole lot of firepower in a little package. I use to own a Kimber Pro Carry. I ended up selling it and kept the Glock 30 because I preferred the Glock over the Kimber. Obviously, if you're a 1911 fan then you would chose the Kimber; however, I just didn't see any sense in spending all the money on a weapon that held less round, and was harder on the hand when shooting.

I eventually sold the Glock too. I hated selling it, but at the time I needed the $$$ more than the gun. I'd buy one again today if I had the cash to do so. If you like Glocks, and are a fan of the .45, then you won't be disappointed in this for a first choice. Of course this is all just my humble opinion.

George Hays @ 9/11/2013 5:48 PM

Sounds great. I want one.

John Carp @ 9/12/2013 3:40 PM

I carry a Colt's Stainless XSE Government Model now, because....well it's a Colt's and I have really

House @ 9/14/2013 3:50 AM

GREAT REVIEW AND ARTICLE THANK YOU AUTHOR...THESE GUNS HAVE BEEN SOLD OUT DOWN HERE IN THE TAMPA BAY

Det. Zack @ 9/28/2013 1:08 PM

I highly recommend this platform to anyone who loved the size of the 23. I now carry my 30S on duty and would not have any other weapon, especially with the interchangeability of the higher capacity 21 magazines.

Dan Daru @ 12/1/2013 6:25 AM

The G30s is the Tickle Me Elmo of guns. Everybody wants one because, well, everybody wants one. I get it, the slide is narrower and lighter, but the frame is THE SAME WIDTH! And since the slide is the part tucked in your IWB holster, it's the FRAME that sticks out, and that hasn't changed. So really, all this excitement over a 4 ounce lighter pistol? I like the G30SF. The recoil is less "snappy" than the G30S. Save for the slide, the dimensions are identical. And you can buy one for just over $500.00, on GunBroker. or you can get the G30SF GEN 4 for just under $600.00. If you really think that "thin in in", pick up a G36. At least the frame is a thin as the slide. 6 rounds in the mag and one in the pipe makes for a formidable defensive package. Every year toy makers create a hype on the toy "everybody wants", and it works. Glock followed suit with the G30S. Have you read ONE negative review by the "gun gurus"? Of course not, they won't bite the hand that feeds them.

Michael @ 12/9/2013 8:14 PM

The 30SF is not currently offered in Gen 4

Andy @ 12/11/2013 5:50 PM

The Glock 30 S is a fantastic addition to the Glock line up, and I am not employed by Glock or any other gun manufacturer, LOL. I have owned mine for about 3 months now and have over 1500 rounds through it. Over 100 rounds of the Federal +P HST 230 grain bullet, the rest mostly 230 FMJ rounds. No problems, no malfunctions, nothing but a good shooter. Recoil is not a problem but then I also shoot a Glock 20. I paid $575 plus tax for mine and could not be happier.

scott @ 12/20/2013 8:24 PM

I wish the 30s had the grip length of the compacts or came with the 9 round mag that is so hard to find. also they should have made a new unique frame like the 36 with no rail.

bubba john @ 1/21/2014 5:23 AM

The only people not thrilled with this gun and its concept arethose that shelled out bucks for the
Bigger
Thicker
Heavier
Glock 30

Greg Swift @ 2/9/2014 6:35 PM

The Glock 30S is the best 45 acp platform currently available.
A more reliable firearm cannot be found

Jeff Pauly @ 2/21/2014 4:47 PM

Good article. As civilians we don't have the daily concerns of LE. I like though knowing what LE think and are using because they hold to a high standard and are more concerned with their lives and others than making the a gun maker happy. They also handle a lot of different handguns and come with a keen knowledge of real street time knowledge.

Rowdy @ 3/5/2014 5:00 PM

Just purchased one with a lone wolf 4.38" threaded barrel, SWEETTTTTTT. All I can say after 20 years military and 10 plus yrs federal leo and along with my other tools ie..1911, g27 and now the 30s; heaven has come to earth. Ive shot and trained with them all and this is the way to go. Shoots where you point, outstanding groups from 15 to 3, couldnt be happier. Enjoy yours. Be safe, g-d bless. :)

Wyguy @ 3/18/2014 9:38 AM

I find that I can not get a full 10 round magazine to fit in my 30S with a round in the chamber. Therefore it's not a 10+1. I do love this gun though.

rjf415 @ 3/25/2014 11:54 PM

I own and carry a G-30SF, I've also shot the G-30S...in the end I saw no real advantage in owning a G-30S. For me, the G-30SF shoots softer (4oz extra helps), just as easy to carry or conceal, accurate, reliable, and I think more practical.

Jim Stark @ 4/16/2014 8:03 PM

Excellent read, enjoyed it, thanks

John @ 4/26/2014 8:26 PM

Just bought mine last week and have put about 500 rounds through it already without a single failure. Typical Glock in that regard. If you are considering this pistol I can recommend it without a single reservation. Very accurate for a compact firearm, and you really can't be 11 rounds of .45 firepower when your life is on the line. From 15 yards I'm getting groups of 2 inches. From 25 yards I'm still well within the 5 ring. Haven't shot it from further than that, but I can't imagine being in a situation where the average person would be shooting from distances greater than 15 yards with a handgun, let alone 25 yards. That's what they give me the M4 for...

Side note: The ONLY complaint I have so far about this weapon is the lack of holsters for it. I am not a fan of leather holsters because they wear quickly and tend to lose their shape (IWB holsters) when the gun is deployed. I had to order a kydex holster on the Internet. 6 week wait until it is completed.

John @ 5/15/2014 3:51 PM

Thanks for the article.
Question; why would the Zombie ammo be a problem in court?
Thank you.

Danny Couch @ 5/18/2014 4:15 AM

Try Winthrop Holsters.com. They have a great selection of holsters for the glock 30s. Rapid shipping. Great holster.

Kingston @ 6/21/2014 8:05 AM

Why the no zombie rounds. Cuz if they survive and are needed in court zombies fall apart and are horrible wits. Judges hate them and counsel won't deal with them period!

JR @ 6/21/2014 8:18 AM

Just modified my Glock. Had a Glock 36 and made a Glock 30sf in a 30 by the simple slide change of the 36 onto the 30sf frame. The 36 slides into place on the 36 and looks stout. Two gun Glock again all with night sights along with a Glock Duty 21.
A quick desert Test fire before conceal and carry for Adam Henry's.
5 King 65 Clear.

JH @ 7/2/2014 5:54 PM

I just purchased one of these. Never have been a big fan of Glock's line of 45's, but this one is dead on and quickly became my primary off duty weapon. Great gun design. I agree with the author about the zombie ammo being a big problem in court. You are giving an attorney an open invitation to paint you in a negative way. I would not have a problem with it if I was on a jury, but jury's are rarly filled with logical thinking gun enthusiast.

B. Biggs @ 7/5/2014 4:36 PM

The perfect 45 acp platform bar none

steve @ 7/20/2014 8:54 PM

Looking into the glock30s. Seems like a perfect carry gun for self defence. This is fling to be my first pistol. i like to target shoot no hunting . But the way things are going on in this world a side arm is the way to go. i have a couple of rifels but walking around in public with one wouldet be smart. So i think the glock30s has the punch that iam looking for.

Danimal @ 8/19/2014 5:55 AM

I have the Glock 41 but wanted a smaller .45. After reading this artical and the comments by such knowlegable shooters, I'm convinced on the G30S

Steve @ 8/27/2014 1:50 PM

As a retired US Marshall the Glock 30S is now my daily carry gun. I never go out of the house unarmed and this glock will shoot an inch or less at 25 yards with a solid rest. I carry it with Hornady 185 gr FTX bullets and this is a great
combo.

Kevin C. @ 9/2/2014 7:24 PM

I just purchased this firearm. I'm not LE , just a firearms and CCL instructor in Illinois. Love this gun! It carry's concealed well and puts rounds wherever you point it! My only problem is that my 21 y/o daughter wants it when she moves out. Lol
As far as holsters, it can be a challenge to find one. Ironically my XDM 3.8 45 holsters accommodate the 30s perfectly!

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