The Glock 30S is a hybrid gun between the Glock 30 and the subcompact G36. It gives you a thinner, sleeker 10+1 G30.
By Brian Jensen
For years there has been something of a Glock Unicorn. It’s been called a hybrid Glock .45 ACP pistol made from the thin slide of a Glock 36 and the wide body frame of a Glock 30. According to the Internet forum mavens, you end up with a high capacity Glock (10 rounds) with the thinner slide of a the subcompact (and only 6 round) G36, making it lighter and easier to carry. But unlike Unicorns, this wasn’t a myth. People actually did it. They bought two guns and cobbled them together since, just because they could. Glock fanatics have wailed and begged for such a gun to be made in production, but Glock seemed to not hear the call.
Then, at the 2013 SHOT Show, I saw a Unicorn, uh, I mean a Glock 30S – the very gun that consumers wanted. I wanted to know the “why” behind this, and after talking to LAPD Staff, Glock Representatives, and people in the industry I found out how an internet forum phenomenon became a regular production pistol.
Enter LAPD’s Special Investigations Section, or SIS, a unit who is well known for dealing with lots of dangerous bad guys, and who did so in undercover roles. They were looking for a smaller .45 ACP with more capacity than the standard compact 1911. They chose the .45 ACP because they wanted something potent to get through intermediate barriers, and they wanted 10 rounds to minimize reloads in a gunfight. Some members carried the Glock 30 already which matched their issued Glock 21’s, but it was still pretty thick and not as light as they wanted.
Then, SIS staff read the internet message boards and saw the reports of the G30/G36 hybrid people were making. Special Investigations staff checked out a few of the department-owned Glock 36 and 30 pistols, to create a few of the hybrids. When they tested them, they asked the representatives from Glock to come by, and see what happened. What they found was a small .45 that performed reliably, and was exceptionally accurate for its size.
One problem stood in their way. Due to the litigious society police departments find themselves in, they can’t go and use weapons cobbled together from parts and pieces – they need a production gun. So LAPD SIS staff with Glock Representatives in tow went to Glock Inc. and basically said, this is a great weapon, if you build it, we’ll buy it.
Glock is no dummy when it comes to marketing. (They do control some 60% of the police firearms market and sell out in most local gun stores.) They saw a gun with customers ready to buy it, needed minimal R&D to work out, and used parts already on the shelf. I can only guess seeing the up side of this equation wasn’t hard, and made the creation of the 30S an easy decision.
So, come SHOT Show 2013, I met with Glock Representative Dave Larson, who let me see and shoot the G30S for Guns America on media day. Initially, I was not all that excited, I already owned a Glock 30SF and was skeptical that the 30S was all that different. I wondered if the lighter slide would make recoil unpleasant, or if it would make finding holsters difficult.
The first time behind the trigger of the Glock 30S showed me that I was definitely wrong on the first count. Recoil was more than manageable, and accuracy was outstanding for such a small .45. I soon found I was very wrong on count two as well. All my holsters for my Glock 19 fit the 30S perfectly.
What really sets this gun apart, is that Glock took their compact .45 that was pretty thick and put it into a 9mm/.40 sized envelope, while still giving you 10+1 rounds of .45 ACP capacity. While the frame is somewhat thicker, it is still easy to get a grip on. To be clear though, this is definitely not a subcompact like the Glock 27 or 26, but it carries smaller than a mid size Glock. If you can find the 9-round flush fit magazines the 30S becomes exceptionally compact with a total of 10 rounds. (Glock has discontinued this item, but there are plenty out there still – you just have to look.
The size difference between the 30S and the 30 is mostly in width and weight. The width difference is 1/8 an inch thinner, which doesn’t sound like a lot. That being said, it’s amazing how important each fraction you shave off can be. Thickness makes a big deal on a CCW weapon; it just conceals better on your side. The Glock 30S weighs in at least 3 ounces lighter fully loaded than the G30 standard or SF version. Again, weight counts as well when it comes to the comfort of carrying.
Well, if anyone has read my columns, they know I love my Glocks. In the recent downturn, many of mine fell victim to the economy, but I soon found myself with enough funds to purchase a G30S. I then learned that wanting the 30S and finding one are two very different things. Gone are the days of just walking to a local gun store and finding the very Glock you want (or most guns for that matter). The gun purchase madness brought on by politicians beating the gun control drum made a very huge dent in the supply of new firearms. Guns fly off the shelves faster than stores can order them. Today it is often the case you need to find one you want, order it, then be prepared to wait.
I searched high and low for a G30S, and was told that waits ranged from 3-6 months. The Glock 30S was even more rare, as it’s a new model, and are not out readily in the market. (Glock builds guns in waves, so you may have to wait until the next batch of your pistol is made.) Finally, I got lucky and found a local gun store who had one.
The Glock 30S comes with the usual dual 10-round magazines. The frame for all current G30S pistols use the Third Generation “SF” or short frame version. (Supposedly the Gen 4 version is coming.) Mine was also supplied with the Glock factory night sights. My best bet is that they use Meprolights made for Glock, as that what they look like, but I could be wrong. The sights were very bright in low/dark light, with excellent white outlines for daylight so they were easy to pickup either way. The frame also has a rail for a light or laser, but I really can’t see using one for this gun. This pistol is for concealment.
Of course, you know I can’t say yea or nay on a pistol until it goes to the range. I took my G30S to the range and had at it. The first shot out of the barrel was like a laser, punching a hole right where I pointed. The next shot’s hole was touching the first. The range for this was 7 yards, two handed. The third shot made it about a 2 inch group. Overall, I’ve shot a couple of hundred rounds through the gun by now, without a single hiccup.
The handling was a little snappier than my 30SF I used to own, but not nearly as jumpy as my Springfield XDs. Ammo was either American Eagle 230 gr FMJ or Federal 230 grain HST’s. Velocity lost from the Glock 30S’s 3.78 inch barrel compared to a 5″ 1911 was a mere 48 FPS at most using the Federal HST. (See chart). +P Loads could be more of a difference, but as I didn’t have access to any at the time.
I have carried the 30S now for about a month. It’s been easy to carry, even in shorts and T-Shirt weather in Southern California. It is not, however, much of an option for pocket carry – that needs to one BIG pocket. Holster selection is still very important with this gun, and really will make or break the comfort level of this 10-round .45 ACP. I still have to give a nod to my Springfield XDs, as it still wins in the CCW category overall due to the thin body of that pistol. It is still viable for pocket carry and is easy to IWB.
However, sometimes the 5+1 capacity of the little Springfield isn’t enough. In that role the Glock 30S is far superior to any other compact .45. You have 10+1 capacity in .45 ACP in a highly concealable package – about the overall size of Colt Officer’s model. So to be clear, this gun may not be for everyone, but it is a far cry of an improvement from the standard Glock 30 from a concealment standpoint.
Some aftermarket suggestions for the G30S are in order. The standard Glock floorplates still pinch your little finger if you’re not careful so a quick fix is a small “O” ring or the Pearce floorplates. I would also hunt for a Glock factory 9-round magazine for concealment. Like mentioned earlier, a good holster is just plain mandatory with any carry pistol. Fortunately, most Glock 19 or 23 holsters will fit the G30S. There are a lot of them out there.
The G30S is an example of what happens when the industry listens to what the consumer wants. When it does, you will likely come out with a better product, and likely with a built in buyer base. I carry the G30S a majority of the time, and I feel well protected with 11 rounds of .45 ACP.