Monday, August 10, 2009

The Glock 30 in .45acp, a review and comparison


Here in Carteach0 land, carry pistols have varied little over the years. In fact, they amount to three choices, depending on various factors. A Colt Combat Commander in .45acp, a Taurus model 85 snubby in .38 special, and a Smith + Wesson M+P 9c compact 9mm. 95% of the time the M+P won the draw, and was in my holster as I left the house.

The M+P has features I approve of in a carry pistol. Ease of operation tops the list, as it has no external safeties to deal with. The only controls that need be learned are the trigger, the magazine release, and the slide release. The M+P is also as reliable as any autoloader, and better than most. It gobbles up just about any ammunition, both factory and hand loads, and shoots them straight. It’s an accurate pistol… very accurate considering its size.

One builder glaringly missing from the CCW list is Glock, a pistol chosen by a great many people as their carry and duty weapon. A lot of folks swear by the Glock, speaking of unending dependability and ease of service. A few people swear at the Glock, calling it a plastic brick, and giving it the nickname ‘The Block’.

For most of my shooting life I fell squarely in the second group. The Glock series of pistols felt odd in my hand, and didn’t point instinctively. When I was young, my friends did a group buy on model 17’s, way back when they first came out. I opted out of the buy… and stuck with my old Colt. I still have the Colt, but their Glocks were sold or traded long ago. It wasn’t that I had anything against the Glock pistols…. they just felt wrong to my hand, and rather toy like.

Perhaps it was the years of experience with the S+W M+P, but the last time I looked at a cabinet full of Glocks, I didn’t turn away. Asking to handle a few of them, I found the new ‘SF’ models have a redesigned frame, and suddenly the Glock didn’t feel quite so ‘wrong’. Looking further, I encountered the Glock Model 30. It’s a compact CCW or backup pistol with a double stack magazine holding ten rounds of…. Oh My! The one true caliber! My old favorite, the beloved .45 acp.

Comparing the Mdl 30 to the M+P 9c on my belt, I found them to be akin in size. The Glock is slightly stockier, and slightly thicker, but only just barely. For man with big hands, as I have, the chunkier grip is welcome. The M+P 9c holds 13 rounds of 9x19mm, while the Glock 30 holds 11 rounds of .45acp (ten in the magazine and one in the pipe). Both come with decent sights, and both are available with night sights. Crimson Trace makes lasers for both as well.

The triggers are also comparable, with a slight nod to the M+P in crispness. Still, the new model Glock has a decent trigger, and is quite controllable in let off.

Both pistols have a minimum of external controls. The M+P has a take down lever on the left side, while the Glock uses the miniscule tabs on both sides of the frame. Other than that, they offer the same manual of arms. Immediately noted was the firmness of the magazine release on the Glock, as compared to the S+W. The M+P compact has had issues with magazine drops due to the design of the magazine catch. Clearly that is not an issue for the Glock, as it takes a firm gesture to release the magazine. It does not feel like it could happen accidentally.

Speaking of magazines… the M+P uses a steel magazine with a plastic base, while the Glock uses an all plastic magazine with a steel inner liner. The M+P magazine is easy to load, but the Glock…. is not. The tenth round going into the Glock magazine can be a real struggle. On the other hand, the Glock 30 feeds that ammunition as surely as night follows day, so the spring tension must work out just fine.

Shooting on the range, I found the M+P to be a pleasure as always. Easy to shoot well, accurate, and almost eager to put the bullet right where the shooter intends. The Glock, on the other hand, turned out to be a real surprise to this old skeptic. I had expected fair accuracy, and fair shootability considering it’s a small sized pistol firing a fairly large bullet. What I found instead was astounding accuracy, rivaling the Colt Commander. The Glock 30 also manages to absorb the recoil pulse in such a way as to make repeat shots relatively easy. All in all, a very pleasant surprise was dished up by the little Glock.

I managed to try two brands of factory ammunition in the Glock, and six different hand loads. It cycled all without a hitch. Even rather warm hand loads pushing Berries plated bullets turned out to be accurate, and that was a real surprise as well. The Glock uses polygonal rifling, and the company states categorically that only jacketed bullets are to be used. The Berries bullet is plated soft lead, and there was some doubt as whether they’d shoot in the Glock. Not only did they shoot well, but the bore looked pristine after fifty rounds of the snappy hand load.

In a blatant attempt to force a misfeed, I even shot a few dozen rounds loaded with the old Speer 200 grain hollow point. Dubbed ‘The Flying Ashtray’, these bullets had the largest

hollow point ever seen in a factory bullet. No longer available, Speer now sells the excellent line of ‘Gold Dot’ bullets instead.

The Glock digested the Speer ashtrays, and as if to sneer right back at me, spit the old style bullets into its tightest group yet. The bullet holes clumped together in a cluster just half the apparent width of the front sight from the fifty foot bench I was leaning on.

In roughly two hundred rounds of testing, the Glock 30 did not suffer one feeding or functional glitch. This was new from the box, as Glock delivers their pistols properly lubed and ready to go. I did nothing more than run a dry patch through the bore.

The Glock 30 is not without its detractors. Some owners of the SF (short frame) model have run into a problem with the slide rubbing on the trigger bar. I intentionally did not clean this example through several range sessions in order to let evidence accumulate. On stripping the pistol down, I did see a tiny shiny spot on the trigger bar where some have described it. It’s very slight indeed, and I doubt will be a problem so bad that a little polishing won’t cure it.

Cleaning is fairly easy with the Glock, and take down requires no tools. It does require brains, and a careful attention to detail. It's not that the procedure is complicated, but that it requires pulling the trigger to release the striker. Obviously, if this done with a round in the chamber bad things may happen. Not the least of which is embarrassment, and someone could easily be injured or killed. The answer? Just be smarter than a rock, and check to be sure the weapon is not loaded!

In holsters, a Dun Hume designed for the Glock is on order, but in the meantime I found it fits perfectly in the Galco JAK slide I used for both my M+P and my Commander. The pistol carries well, and does not drag down the belt at all. The chubby little spare magazine easily drops into a pocket, giving a total of twenty one rounds on hand. This compares well to the twenty five the M+P 9c offered, with a spare magazine. Given that it’s twenty one rounds of proven bad guy stopping .45acp…. that’s comforting indeed.

Regarding the subject of caliber and carry weapons, I refuse to enter the debate. My own thoughts are quite simple…. Any weapon is better than no weapon, any hit is better than any miss, and bigger bullets are always better. But… there is that old adage… “A 9mm might expand to .45, but a .45 will never shrink to 9mm”. I will say that the .45acp is one caliber that I don’t feel under-gunned with when carrying full metal jacket round nose slugs. Even these low tech bullets have a good stopping history in the .45acp.

To wrap the story up… the Glock 30 feels decent, shoots very straight, and if it lives up to the tradition of Glock dependability, it will join my list of regular carry pistols.


Kevin Delaney said...

Good post. However, i still think they look like bricks....glock can do more with their guns. But hey! They did change the slide a bit with their serrations!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review - I too think the Glocks are blocky and fairly unattractive guns. But they are very reliable and that makes up a lot for those deficits - my G21 is a keeper. I wouldn't mind having one of those as a backup, as the magazines for the G21 will fit, only extend beyond the grip.

Speaking of which, having larger hands does help with these fat gripped Glocks. I seem to remember the Border Patrol having some issues with the early models of the Glocks with some of their recruits.

Gaston Glock picked a winner right out of the gate.

Sport Pilot said...

Good review, I've carred Glock's as a service pistol for many year's now without any problem's. If I were to carry a compact Glock 45 ACP as a off duty or second gun it wouldn't be the G-30 though, instead I'd go with the G-36. I've shot both, a lot, and own a G-36, it just feel's and handle's better to me because of the slimmer grip profile. In use it's as if I'm shooting a G-23 with a heavier bullet, very controlable and accurate.


aczarnowski said...

Thanks for the writeup.

A quick followup in six months or so, noting which item has seen the most holster time, would be great. Specs are a starting point, but what actually gets carried over the longer haul means a lot more to me.

Carteach0 said...

A followup will be in the works as time passes.... good idea.

Mr. Fixit said...

I am a Glock fan, if you could call it that. Although I deny that I ever drank the kool aid. My carry pistol is a Glock 26, the sub compact 9mm.

From the start, it has been rugged, accurate, and easy to shoot. Everything a growing boy needs in a defensive pistol. For the record, I have small hands and still like the Glock.

Johnnyreb™ said...

Bought my first Glock (G26) the day before going to New Orleans for the Katrina cleanup. It has been a constant companion ever since. My only regret was not getting the G30 instead, I've since shot and come to admire them. I would like to try a G36 some day to see how my hands can control one. Nice Review!

Crucis said...

Very nice writeup. There is a discussion on an e-mail list about the G30. I'll send them here for a look.

BTW, I like my S&W M&P 9C. It has no safeties either, just like yours. My was new last year and I've found no issues with the mag release. I think that has been fixed on recent production pistols.

Boat Guy said...

Carried a Glock briefly as an issue piece. Don't particularly care for them but not "anti-Glock" by any means.
Still, if you like the Glock - or if you don't - the Springfield XD would be a good comparison, particularly in .45 ACP. I got two for my Bride (a lefty) on advice from folks I trust and have appropriated the 4" as a daily carry piece. The addition of a grip safety is a nice touch and the Springfield has by far the best trigger of any striker-fired pistol I've shot. I much prefer the XD to either of the pistols mentioned.

Les Jones said...

The Glock 30 is my fave. For me at least it shoots distinctly better than any other Glock. Dunno why.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. My favorite Glock is usually the last one I shot. I have been considering a Glock 21SF lately, as I do not own a .45 ACP. They can handle the new 50GI conversion as well.


Joe Merchant24 said...

My G30 stills get carried on occasion, but for the most part my 5" XD45 or 4" XD4 5 (both compact grips) get the call.

The G30 is more manageable than the 21 in my smallish hands, but the XD fits juuuuuust right.

Added bonus! If you like the 1911 grip angle, then you'll love the XD's matching.

Still, for emergency preparation, having a GLOCK or two is not a bad idea.

tony said...

Great write-up! I totally agree with you on caring 45 - just feels right. With the others who have mentioned it, I'd also like to see your take on the XD45. I love mine - it's boxy too, but a very natural pointer.

Vote For David said...

Thanks for another informative article. You mentioned that you don't foresee any problems with accidental magazine release with the Glock. From personal experience I can tell you that a holster makes all the difference. One holster of mine lets me sit on the pistol just-so and it releases the magazine unpredictably. . . I don't use that holster much!

Kevin Delaney said...

Ok now you have me looking at the Glock 36. Even if they looks like bricks, i shot a 26 this weekend and i really liked it. Not the most attractive things but very nice to shoot!

good post!

Hartley said...

Gee, I'm always late to the good threads..
I've carried a G30 for the last two years - I own a number of Glocks - started with a G17 back in the 80's, recently added a 19, a 23 and a very high-mileage 21 (police trade-in). I find that the 45s are as easy to shoot well as any of them (and distinctly easier than the .40, which has very "sharp" recoil).
The ONLY malfunctions I've ever had in any of my Glocks outside of dud ammo was a few smokestacks with the 21, which was traced to VERY dirty grooves in the slide. I normally shoot cheep Wolf ammo for training, which is filthy stuff, and I've never had any problems.

Anonymous said...

I was first handed a Glock 30 by Jack Furr at Gunsite while I was prone at 50yards. I fired and hit 10 out 10 on a steel plate. I immediately bought 2 and have had one at my side or on my shoulder for the past so many years. A great, dependable firearm for a moderate price. I trust my life to it.

"two rules to a gunfight, CHEAT, WIN"---Clint Smith

Anonymous said...

Do folks (other than collectors) really care about the appearance of their firearms? I mean really, it's a serious question.

Criminals aren't going to critique the appearance of your firearm while staring down the barrel. Function over form. That's the only thing that matters when the time comes to use it.

Anonymous said...

Glocks have been bashed by many and loved by many. I do not feel it is a firearms "duty" to be pretty. If I wanted pretty, I'd buy a Korth (although I don't have the $25,000 *TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND* for one). But I would NOT carry it for protection. I feel that people expect too much from certain firearms. A firearm's primary goal is to defend and protect the end user, as well as provide food and give endless hours of enjoyment (if you can afford to keep feeding it, haha!). Looks don't mean Jack. As long as it goes "BANG!" EVERY time, is accurate enough to hit vitals and durable enough to function and not break, then it is a winner. And Glock has that covered (as do many other manufacturers). They DO have limitations. Every firearm does. But if you work within their perimeters then they WILL be as FAITHFUL to you as you are to them. And even if you do neglect certain firearms at times, there are few that WILL STILL be FAITHFUL to you. And Glock also has that covered. .45 ACP? Outstanding choice, friend. I like Glocks. And the .45 ACP.

Kevin Delaney said...

I sold my 36 and am buying a 30 from the same person. When i first commented on this post i had never owned a Glock. The 30 i'm getting will be my third. They are the best as far as i'm concerned.

dustydog said...

Weren't we promised a follow-up to this post? looks at calendar...

Carteach0 said...

Dusty, Good point!

Anonymous said...

Is your "&" key broken? It is not a S+W M+P. It is a S&W M&P. That was getting on my nerves.

asully29 said...

Very late post on this thread, but I recently bougt the glock 30. The fourth clip in I hung the box that the ammuition came in and placed the target at 15 yds which is the maximum range at this particular shooting range. Having never shot a .45 prior to this experience, I hit the box 7 out of 10 while standing prone. Fantastic gun and my 5'4'' 130 lb fiance managed just fine. Ill be a glock owner for life.

Anonymous said...

-How DARE you own one of these plastic guns designed to beat airport metal detectors!! For shame!!
-Remember that hysteria?
-I, too, came into a Glock (my first) 30SF, so I was curious to read your comments and agree with them. I won't get into the "this gun or that" either except to say I love my old slabside and its nephew, the Browning HP.
-Roger the loading problems, but mine came with a mag loading tool that helps quite a bit.
-Good report; factual & unbiased.
-Again, "anonymous" because I don't fir your categories.

Silah Modelleri said...

A quick followup in six months or so, noting which item has seen the most holster time, would be great. Specs are a starting point, but what actually gets carried over the longer haul means a lot more to me.

RegT said...

My first Glock was a G21, which I got when they first became available. I liked the Glock 17, but preferred the .45ACP, so I waited. Carried that off-duty (we were required to carry a 9MM on-duty, so I used my Ruger P-85 for that) for years.

BTW, that G21 has had around 25,000 rounds through it with zero issues, and about 10,000 of those were lead reloads. No leading, no problems.

When the G30 came out, I bought one (sold an H&K P9S in .45ACP to fund the purchase), and found I am even more accurate with it than my G21. Don't know why, maybe the double-sprung recoil rod, for a wild guess.

My G30 is my EDC gun. I tried the G36, but in my hands it feels like holding a deck of cards. Tried the Springfield XD line, too, but I hate grip safeties, almost as much as I hate magazine safeties.

The G30 fills my hand, shoots great, and conceals well. And, as someone else mentioned, it will take those G21 mags in a pinch. If your hands are large enough to be comfortable with it, what's not to like?

gary said...

i traded a G36 for a G30.i shot over 200rds. t5he first day.hand loads and factory.idid not have one hand loads X-treme copper clad lead,and the bore looked good at cleaning time.this is now my EDC!