The .30 Super Carry – All Hype or a Breakthrough?

Is the new .30 Super Carry anything all that special?

New calibers come and go, but they are often aimed at the AR 15 market. Every year we get some new wonder cartridges for the AR, but this year we got a new handgun cartridge. Specifically, we got a new handgun cartridge aimed at concealed carry use. The .30 Super Carry came from Federal, and out the gate, it had a lot of support. We are seeing Federal, Speer, and Remington produce ammunition and Smith and Wesson and Nighthawk produce guns for the caliber.

The .30 Super Carry popped up at SHOT Show 2022, and some of us got our hands on the caliber for the very first time. I fired the new cartridge through the S&W Shield Plus, and the gun felt just like a 9mm. Maybe a little less snappy, but the .30 SC proved to be light recoiling and easy to control.

Why .30 Super Carry

What’s better than a 10 round magazine in a weapon like the S&W Shield Plus or the P365? Well, how about 12 rounds in the same space it takes to fit ten rounds? That’s what the .30 Super Carry does. You can pack two more rounds in most 9mm guns and do a fantastic job of increasing your overall capacity.

Not only do you get two more rounds, but you get 9mm-like performance. It penetrates to FBI established standards, and jacketed hollow points are expanding to almost the same size as expanded 9mm projectiles. There isn’t a major downside in the ballistic capabilities of the .30 Super Carry compared to the 9mm.

Well, at least compared to most standard 9mm rounds. You can’t get 147 grain .30 Super Carry rounds. The 9mm does maintain some advantage over the Super Carry. That being said, the new round isn’t aiming to necessarily replace the 9mm.

Where the .30 Super Carry Fits

The .30 Super Carry seems poised to knock the ole 380 ACP right off its micro pistol throne. If you had to pick between the 380 and the new .30 SC round, it makes no sense to choose 380 ACP. The Super Carry won’t necessarily replace full-sized or compact 9mms but could stand to gain some ground 9mm subcompacts, single stacks, and micro compacts.

If you want to chamber 115-grain JHPs in your small 9mm, then the new cartridge provides a few extra rounds and the same penetration and expansion as a 9mm. The .30 Super Carry would be great in a SIG P365 sized firearm.

How New Calibers Can Succeed

First, we need more guns or even conversion kits. I own a P365, and I don’t plan to switch just yet. However, if a barrel and magazine conversion could work, I would be tempted to make the jump.

Second, ammo price is going to matter a ton. If the new round can’t be priced competitively with 9mm, then it likely won’t take off. Much like the older .327 Federal Magnum, the .30 Super Carry might be a niche round with a cult following if it’s too expensive to train with.

It’d also be nice to see the .30 SCuper Carry succeed, but it won’t if it can’t have mass appeal to the gun-buying public. Ballistic nerds and capacity meisters will only sell so much ammo.

But the Ammo Drought!

A lot of people whined at the reveal of the .30 Super Carry. A lot of people ran to the internet to whine and winge about Federal releasing a new round during an ammo drought. At first glance, it seems silly. However, when you apply some critical thinking, this complaint dissolves.

Federal didn’t just dream up, prototype, and test this round this year. They’ve likely been doing so for many years now. While an ammo drought isn’t the best time to release anything gun-related, how long should Federal have waited? They’ve likely been sitting on it for some time, and with SHOT Show being the place to premier new products, it only made sense to get the info and caliber out there.

Packing a Punch

I want the .30 SC to succeed. It seems like a genuinely cool round that fills a nice niche. Heck, I want an 8 round LCP in .30 SC for pocket carry awesomeness. Ballistically it seems promising, and I’m always down to see advancement in the concealed carry world. What say you? Is .30 Super Carry for you?

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Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.

He serves as an NRA-certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms-based hobbies.


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11 thoughts on “The .30 Super Carry – All Hype or a Breakthrough?”

  1. I agree with those who say that ammo companies should first catch up with current demand. If a company can’t produce enough existing caliber ammo to meet needs, why make the problem worse by taking up manufacturing time with a new cartridge? And to the author: you see this complaint as whining. I see it as a simple fact.

  2. .30 super carry… same bullet as .327 Fed Mag & .32HR Mag(Both great defense carry rounds)… seems like it’s a .32ACP on steroids?… if the price of.30SC ammo isn’t through the roof, welcome the new round… it may be your new “go to”

  3. A .30 cartridge for a semi – auto handgun already exists, it the .30 (7.65mm) Luger. Of course being the same size case head as its younger brother the 9mm Parabellum wont give you any additional mag capacity. Enter the .30 Super Carry a name chosen because it has more sales appeal than the .327 Federal magnum Rimless or.. maybe the .30 Carbine Short. Not a bad idea but also not something that will boost anybody’s bottom line or fill any holes . It is not a must have by any means . The problem(s) with this new cartridge is like everything else in life TIMING. We are in the middle of a recession , out of control inflation, a “supply chain issue causing a scarcity of raw materials a Russian Invasion of Ukraine and an unprecedented violent crime epidemic. All of the above has resulted, one way or another in ridiculously high prices of all ammo, insane production demands on ammo manufacturers and tremendous demand on producers for guns. Now, almost 6 months after this cartridge made its debut there are just 2 makers that made a handgun for the 30 Super Carry. Smith & Wesson and Nighthawk. Actually lets call it 1 maker because Nighthawk doesn’t count. Unquestionably Nighthawk makes a fine 1911, At close to $4000 a pop they had better. But how many $4000 .30 Super Carry’s will they make
    and sell ? .. Maybe 100 . S&W’s offering makes more sense at under $600 but the ammo! at $37 .00 for a box of 20 ? IF you can find any . Thats $1.85 per round ! That’s nuts and that’s a deal killer. I’m all for a jillion calibers and fun guns galore.. I have an original .30 Luger Browning Hi Power and a 1911 9mm with a Bar Sto .30 Luger Drop in barrel. Great guns great fun.. I wish them success but until the ammo costs LESS than 9mm this baby isn’t going anywhere. BTW Glock thought the .45 Glock was the end all and the .357 SIG was to be the new .357. Right Dream on.

  4. The sole reason the .380 is lacking in favor for many concealed carry persons is. few companies offer modern ammunition with modern pressure loadings. When loaded to “modern” pressures approaching proof-loads for the .380 ACP, the round takes on an entirely new dimension in performance.
    We often hear that if people want more power – “get a bigger gun”. That is simply not practical for anyone not possessing good hand/wrist strength. Small hands also often work better with the smaller grip of the micro .380 frames – due to the shorter cartridge.
    The .30 Super Carry is a definite improvement over the majority of .380 loadings, but if the industry were to step up to the plate like they have with the 9mm, and offer +P+ loads, person wanting .380 pistols with a bit more defensive energy can have it without resorting to stout handloads. The material strength of almost all modern .380 ACP pistols is right in there with the 9mm. Nothing like some antique, black powder rig that will bust a cylinder wide open.
    There is one avenue of design I have not yet seen – the construction of a pistol developed entirely around the .30 Super Carry. It could be a very slim pistol, comfortable and concealable in very tight places.

  5. Would very much like this in a PPK-S configuration, they make a .380 a .32 an a .22 that would work. A PPK -S could carry 11 rounds and would nearly have the power of some .45 loads. Couple it with Lehigh defence bullets and you’d have it all or close to it, A 70 year proven design by the master, John Browning.

  6. As far as a round for a carry pistol I don’t think I’d carry it as I am plenty happy with my 9mm’s. The only real savings with the 30sc is a couple extra rounds. However in a time of SHTF, good luck finding 30sc, when 9mm is and has been everywhere, all across the world. I also like the hundreds of offerings as well as if it came down to it, brass availability. Now the one thing that I wouldn’t mind seeing it’s how the 30sc performs out of SMG’s and even AR patterned pistols and rifles. I think the capacity savings would start to make a real difference and in a full auto configuration could have potential! I find most modern ammunition is 6 of one, half dozen of the other. The pros and cons of each usually balance each other out in the end. Most modern loads larger than a . 380 will get the job done. I find more important than the particular round or caliber is TRAINING, because no round will save a life if you do not know how to operate your firearms or are able to hit your target under pressure under every imaginable situation… You can buy the latest and greatest guns and ammo all you want but it will not do you any good if you’ve only fired a box thru your gun at camp or the range when you bought it.

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