Handguns > Semi-Auto

The Glock G30S .45 ACP Pistol

Glock has developed what it considers to be the best of the .45 sub-compact pistols.


Glock pistols have plenty of fans in the United States, and I admit to being one of them. The easy to operate design and reliability of the Glock has resulted in the pistol's adoption by military, law enforcement and personal protection folks around the world. But most folks who've found a place for a Glock in their shooting line up will agree that Glock's journey toward perfection is ongoing, and there is still room for improvement. A new Glock pistol scheduled to hit the market this year has a blend of features that draws on the company’s past efforts to meet its customer’s demands. It's the new G30S sub-compact chambered in .45 ACP.

In the late 1980s, Glock released the G30 based on the double-stack G29 sub-compact pistol. The G29 was designed to handle the relatively high pressures generated by the 10 mm cartridge (37,500 psi Max), so re-chambering the pistol to fire the lower-pressure .45 ACP (21,000 psi Max) was not a problem. The result was a tough, compact, .45 ACP with 10+1 capacity and a grip frame that would accept the full-size 13-round magazines of the G21. The down side of the original G30 was its blocky, short grip. For those with smaller hands, the G30 is just not a good fit. Some customers also complained that it was a little too thick and heavy for daily carry.

In 2000, Glock released its next sub-compact .45 ACP, the G36 Slimline, which was designed to address the concerns shooters had with the G30. The G36 featured the narrowest, reduced-weight slide in the Glock line up and a slim single-stack grip frame. From a weight and shape perspective, it was a perfect-packin' pistol. The G36 is still one of the most interesting pistols offered in the Glock catalogue. Unlike other Glock pistols, which share a good deal of component and magazine compatibility, the G36 requires model-specific parts that are not always easy to find. The single-stack magazine is incompatible with other models, and shooters have historically been less than enthusiastic about the 6+1 ammunition capacity. To top it off, Glock has yet to upgrade the G36 to include an accessory rail for lights and lasers.

In 2007, Glock introduced a new full-size pistol frame to compete in the U.S. military Joint Combat Pistol trials for a new .45 ACP handgun to replace the M9 9 mm pistols in use at the time. The Short Frames, designated with an SF suffix, featured a reduced backstrap to provide a better one-size-fits-all grip shape. The SF frame was also made available for the G30. Since that time, Glock has moved on to the Gen 4 grip frames with interchangeable backstraps, and made a few internal changes as well. 

So how does all of this history add up to the new G30S? Recently, Glock was contacted by an agency looking for a pistol with a specific set of features to fit its needs. As the engineers and agency reps worked together, it became clear that Glock had everything needed to fill the request, but not all in one place. The pistol needed to be compact and chambered for .45 ACP. The G30 SF frame offered the compact size, good hand fit and 10+1 capacity the agency was looking for. It needed to be relatively slim and light. The G36 slide is only 1.1 inches wide, and shaves nearly 4 ounces off of the unloaded weight of the gun. Having hammered out the kinks, a Gen 4 recoil assembly was installed and the pistol was complete. After looking it over, and naming it the G30S, the Glock team agreed they had the "best of" the sub-compact .45 ACP that the market has been waiting for.

On the range, the G30S handled just the way a Glock should. It reliably digested a variety of practice grade, defense grade and +P .45 ACP ammunition using four different factory magazines. It's not unusual to have a couple of malfunctions with a new pistol during the first 200-round break in period, but the G30S didn't produce any hiccups at all. The factory white-outline rear/white-dot front sights are certainly adequate, but the shooting experience is enhanced when they are replaced with a good set of three-dot night sights.

The G30S trigger arrives with the standard 5.5 pound connector installed, but the trigger tripped the digital gauge at 6 pounds, 5 ounces. Most factory triggers are about a pound heavier than advertised, which does not readily detract from the out-of-the-box shooting qualities of the pistol. If you prefer a lighter trigger, the weight can be easily reduced by installing an inexpensive 3.5 pound connector.

The Gen-3 SF grip felt good in my hands and was comfortable to shoot with. The light G36 slide gave the pistol a nice balance. A sub-compact .45 ACP pistol that weighs less than 21 ounces is going to be exciting to shoot, especially when it's stocked with +P loads. But the felt recoil of the G30S was manageable thanks to the grip shape and the polymer frame flexing a little when the action cycled. Formal accuracy testing was conducted with standard pressure defensive hollow points. The best single off-the-bench 25-yard, five-shot group was 2.75 inches, with no single group exceeding 3.5 inches.

The G30S proved to be a comfortable carry gun. Although it may not fit into every G36 holster on the market, it did fit into the Crossbreed and Springtac holsters I've used for the G36 in the past. The 3 ounces or so of extra of weight produced by four additional rounds of ammunition in the magazine were certainly nothing to complain about.

The G30S was just the right size to test drive with the new Urban Express iBag from Woolstenhulme Design Bags. Many of the dedicated off-the-body carry bags currently on the market are designed for use in tactical, sporting or casual dress situations. This means they often look out of place when men need to dress up for business or formal events. The iBag blends leather, heavy-duty polyester fabric and antique brass hardware to create a handsome appearance, while containing a series of pockets and features designed specifically for concealed carry. The holster pocket is located on the back of the bag with dual-lockable zippers for right- or left-handed access. Both sides of this pocket are lined with Cosmolon loops to securely attach a removable, fully adjustable holster. Its appearance and functionality make it ideal for those situations when dressing "tactically" is not an option.

At first blush, Glock's new G30S may sound a bit like a Franken-gun, and for some gun manufacturers it would be. But Glock pistols are based on a modular design with several guns sharing the same frames, slides and components. This new blend of existing parts is a successful one. It's just as rugged, reliable and accurate as the two long-standing Glock sub-compact .45s in their catalogue, but with the best features of both. 

Manufacturer: Glock; us.glock.com
Model: G30S
Action: Safe Action System
Caliber: .45 ACP
Finish: Black Hardened Slide
Frame: Black Polymer
Sights: Fixed, Factory Night Sights Available
Barrel Length: 3.78”
Overall Length: 6.8”
Height: 4.76”
Width: 1.28”
Weight: 20.28 ozs.
Trigger Pull: 5.5 lbs
Capacity: 10+1 Rounds
Twist: 1:15.75” RH
Suggested Retail Price: $637

Glock G30S Shooting Results

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13 Responses to The Glock G30S .45 ACP Pistol

Caligula wrote:
January 06, 2014

I shot a friend's G30S after shooting my G27. I found the recoil at least as manageable as the G27 and not quite as snappy. For CCW, I don't know how one can go wrong with this pistol, unless you're recoil sensitive. The only problem is actually finding one for sales.

Rick Shoeman wrote:
December 21, 2013


KC wrote:
November 25, 2013

I actually agree with Doug on his point. Not being a grammar nazi allows his point to be made clearly that Glock could strive a bit harder for 'Perfection'. They could easily take a page out of H&K or M&P's book to make a frame that is, at least, an attempt to meet the demands of the market. Consistently producing a 'toaster' grip doesn't make them cool or competitive, it makes them complacent. I recognize they outsell competitors 2 to 1... but for goodness sake, they have EVERYTHING else right!!! Why not make a grip that comfortably fits more shooters and not only increase market share but also drive competitors to raise the bar on their products?!?

Vince wrote:
October 07, 2013

Hi Doug, The phrase is, 'intents and purposes'... not 'intensive' anything. Lighter, Thinner, Short, doublestack, 10+1, not for the small-of hand. I like mine. My first Glock. NRA Life member.

James Taylor wrote:
September 27, 2013

hahahaaaa look at this Doug guy. You clearly have no idea what your talking about. The 30s is slimmer that the glock 30 and 30 Sf. I laughed so hard when I read that. I know I'm a little late but man, the ignorance of some people is just amusing, and the facts are staring you right in the face.

RD wrote:
June 22, 2013

Whatever, my 30 is awesome!! Very accurate straight out if the box. I have several and that was my favorite. You can change the grip on it. I like every glock I have shot, but the 30 gen4 is my favorite, I'm glad I bought it.

seo service wrote:
May 27, 2013

JWcRxg Really informative blog article.Thanks Again. Will read on...

slr lenses wrote:
May 14, 2013

txiKZQ Im thankful for the article.Really thank you! Keep writing.

rose wrote:
February 24, 2013

Thanks for your comments guy's.They helped me.

scott wrote:
February 04, 2013

save your $ and keep your 36 or get a 36 to begin with. btw Doug , a 36 gen 4 is around the corner! I would buy a g27 b4 I would mess with the 30s

Doug wrote:
January 28, 2013

New Glock G30S best subcompact? Thank you for your well written article. I am a Glock lover. I carry the G26, and all my friends know I love Glocks! As for the new 30S I think Glock failed miserably to meet the needs of what consumers are screaming for in a .45 sub-compact pistol today (smaller, thinner, lighter). For all intensive purposes it is actually the bulkiest of any Glock on the roster today! It's both wider and longer than its already bulky G30 sibling, with no added magazine capacity. The ONLY improvement is shedding 3.8 oz. of weight. How does building it bigger make it a better SUB-compact? If they really wanted to improve the .45 subcompact, they would offer the G36 in a G36SF. Thinner, shorter, lighter and better grip for smaller hands, all while maintaining 6+1 hard hitting .45 rounds. Offering a +2 magazine extender would be nice (hint). That would actually compete with other .45 subcompact carry guns of today that offer 6+1 rounds. I have heard countless people say that they just wish Glocks were thinner. I am still a Glock lover and strong supporter, just a bit disappointed to learn that this was what all the buzz was about coming from the Glock world. Thanks again for the article, keep up the good work, you are appreciated!

Stephen wrote:
January 19, 2013

Very informative article. The iBag is an interesting find too.

Steve wrote:
January 14, 2013

Shame it doesn't have the ambidextrous magazine release. That is all I wanted , that durn G4 release.