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30 Super Carry: Best New Concealed Carry Caliber?

Can .30 Super Carry upend 9mm as the concealed carry go-to, or is this new round just a fad? We take .30 Super Carry to the range to find out...

    At the beginning of 2022, Federal announced a new cartridge called .30 Super Carry.

    It promised to increase capacity without losing performance and looked to be a promising contender in the concealed carry market.

    We can all agree more capacity is a big advantage in a defensive encounter, but do the tradeoffs make this juice worth the squeeze?

    The new .30 Super Carry (left) and 9mm (right)

    Can this new round take on the mighty 9mm as the go-to CCW caliber of choice? We got our hands on some .30 Super Carry to see what this round can do.

    So, follow along as we walk you through the specs, talk about its pros/cons, and help you decide if you should invest in this new caliber.

    Table of Contents


    Pros & Cons


    • Increased capacity
    • Less recoil (subjective)
    • Comparable performance


    • Expensive
    • Limited firearm chamberings

    The Bottom Line

    Based on our non-scientific approach, the .30 Super Carry is a valid defensive round that provides a little bit more capacity while retaining performance characteristics very similar to the proven 9mm. In our experience, the recoil was a little bit softer too.

    Specs & Features

    • Caliber: .30 Super Carry
    • Weight: 100 grain
    • Penetration: 15.5”
    • Expansion: .530”
    • Energy: 347 ft-lbs
    • Velocity: 1250 fps
    • Approximately 20% capacity increase

    Source: Federal

    at Gunmag Warehouse

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons


    At the time of writing, I didn’t have a lot of background information on the actual development of this new round. That said, it’s clear from Federal’s website their intent was to create a round specifically designed for concealed carry.

    Sporting the Shield in a We The People Holster.

    In addition, the ammunition giant wanted to increase capacity without sacrificing performance — a lofty goal indeed, considering the standard tradeoffs usually involved.

    Who Is It For?

    Federal makes it clear…this round is intended for concealed carry and fills the gap between 9mm and .380. (Oh, and it’s not really intended for military or law enforcement…civvies only.)

    How Does It Shoot?

    Equipped with Remington 100-grain .30 Super Carry and 124 grain 9mm from Federal courtesy of Gunmag Warehouse and two identical guns from Smith & Wesson — the Shield Plus 9mm and .30 Super Carry — I loaded up the different magazines and made the first observation.

    at BattleHawk Armory

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    The 9mm Shield Plus had a capacity of 13+1 with an extended floorplate.

    By comparison, the Shield Plus chambered in .30 Super Carry was able to hold 16+1, also with the extended floorplate. The .30 Super Carry gun also felt a bit lighter when loaded.

    Prior to shooting, I dug into the internet to see what people were saying. Most of the feedback indicated there was no discernable difference in recoil between the two rounds.

    I didn’t find that to be true…

    I could tell a distinctly softer recoil in the .30 Super Carry. The muzzle flip was tamer. While I don’t have solid numbers on this, I estimate it was between 10% to 15% less.

    What Sets It Apart?

    We weren’t testing the terminal ballistics (performance after striking the target) of the .30 Super Carry. This type of trial requires ballistics gel, but it’s something we might come back to in the future.

    From the offset, the .30 Super Carry does exactly what it promises to do, and that’s to provide more rounds.

    13 rounds of 9mm vs 16 rounds of .30 Super Carry

    More rounds equates to more potential shots on target in a defensive scenario, and this is a big advantage.

    Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute recently approved the round, and other manufacturers are starting to produce it too.

    Currently, only Smith & Wesson and Nighthawk Custom are creating guns chambered in .30 Super Carry, but that may change if the round continues to receive support.

    Final Verdict

    Our test was very limited, but it is clear the .30 Super Carry accomplishes the goal of more capacity while appearing to provide performance similar to the 9mm.

    Federal’s own numbers seem to indicate the round is zipping along at 1,250 fps and expanding to .530 inches upon impact.

    Penetration appears to be a little better, coming in at 15.5 inches versus the 14.5 inches of the 124 grain 9mm.

    Since it seems most of the important metrics on performance are comparable to the 9mm, and you get increased capacity, it seems like Federal may have a hit on their hands.

    Will you be making the switch to .30 Super Carry? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to check out Best Ammo Brands for Plinking, Accuracy, & Self-Defense.

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    68 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar

      I recently got a S&W EZ in 30 Super Carry. I’m very pleased with it and hope more manufacturers produce firearms chambered in this caliber. I would really like to see it catch on.

      September 15, 2023 9:28 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Edmund Calvin

      The .30 Super Carry will bill okay in compact concealed carry, but will absolutely shine in an 8" PDW. The 52,000 psi of the .30 SC will put a 100 grain bullet over 1,700 fps and 700 ft pounds. Put that something like a CZ Scorpion where the standard 20 round mag will now hold 25 with lighter recoil? Oh yeah. Plus, the higher pressure rating means that it will handle very heavy bullets at a subsonic rating that will cycle and you have a suppressor friendly round as well.

      January 30, 2023 9:51 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Joseph Daugert

      If Sig made the P365 in 30SC I would carry it. Not a fan of any of the guns presently chambered in the new round but a pocket gun with 15 or 16 rounds of standard pressure 9mm equivalent would be fantastic.

      January 26, 2023 4:52 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Lewis A. Walser

      I like what I've seen & read. I do like the S&W shield but I would feel better if/when other manufacturers start producing pistols in this interesting cartridge.

      November 16, 2022 9:11 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      John Robinson

      Ordered my M&P Shield Plus 30 sc Saturday. Currently carry a Hellcat, love it but I believe the new 30 sc is here to stay. Hope Glock comes out with its own 30 sc.

      October 9, 2022 5:05 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      James Pettigrew

      This round is 32 caliber and almost duplicates the performance of the 327 federal magnum used in revolvers. At present the only 32 for auto
      Hand gun is 32 auto (7.65 Browning) which is anemic by todays standard. This new round gives new life to 32 caliber

      September 28, 2022 11:26 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      A bunch of fudds are making comments in here. I bought the 9mm Shield Plus right after it released and have been carrying 147gr HST's in it. I also bought the 30sc Shield Plus right after it arrived at my LGS. I've been carrying the 30sc Shield+ loaded with 30sc HST's. Here is some math straight from the HST boxes of 9mm and 30sc.

      The 30sc HST has 21ft/lbs MORE ENERGY than the 9mm 147gr HST. That 147gr HST is a round that cops across America have been carrying for many years now, so why exactly would I think that Federal somehow produced a faulty 30sc HST?

      I'm absolutely not concerned about being outgunned while carrying my Shield+ loaded with 17rds of 30sc HST. Nobody I would be forced to shoot would ever know the difference between getting hit with the 30sc HST or 9mm HST, and no surgeon or medical examiner would be able to tell the difference either.

      If 3 more rounds in the same size gun doesn't matter, then why did Sig dominate the market when they dropped the 365 on us? It was only 3 more rounds than the first Shield or the first Ruger LC9, yet the 365 forced every other gun company to come out with their own "stack and a half" versions of the Sig 365. Capacity is the major selling point for guns nowadays, and new gun buyers are a key to the market. Giving them an option of higher capacity in the same size guns, less recoil than 9mm, and just as effective ballistic performance as 9mm, is a winning formula in my opinion.

      August 6, 2022 7:44 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        No one is trying to be fudd'ish...Its just basically mostly if it justifies switching from 9mm and buying a new gun.

        August 8, 2022 2:25 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        George you make some great points here, particularly on capacity. Sig clearly identified that as a key selling point and many other companies have been chasing them since. Be sure to stop in here this Thursday for something cool.

        Regarding "Fudds", I think there's room for everyone at the table. But I can also see how some people may not want to re-tool their whole carry system for a slight increase in capacity.

        August 9, 2022 7:31 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Just bought a Shield plus and retired my Sig 938. Very happy and confident in the change.

      August 5, 2022 4:53 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Awesome Chris, glad you're happy with it.

        August 9, 2022 7:32 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Allan Lewiston

      I am also 82 and favor my old reliable always go bang, 1911A1 .45. Along with other handguns I have the S&W MP Shield in 9mm. Putting the question aside as to caliber and number of rounds, why would you place yourself in a position where there could be a gun fight, bad decision? I was always taught awareness of your situation and if you need to end a confutation, if it took more than three taps, you were the idiot!

      August 5, 2022 1:56 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Allan, I really appreciate a couple of octogenarians weighing in with all that experience. And you are absolutely right of course, awareness and avoidance first, only defend if forced.

        August 9, 2022 7:34 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Wmg tgo

      I'll be watching this. Have a p365x and lcp. I like the lcp fit in my pocket, the 365 round capacity and a solid quality side arm. Curios about .30 models with a safety and concealability.

      August 5, 2022 9:59 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      The videos I’ve seen of terminal ballistics for this round indicate that hollow point expansion is sub-optimal. (Depth is good.) I don’t know if that’s an inherent quality of the round, or something that can be improved. If it’s something with the round, then this is more a possible replacement for .380 than a challenger to 9mm.

      August 5, 2022 7:21 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      The 30 Super Carry is loaded to 45,000 psi which is 28% more pressure than the 9mm Luger or the .357 Magnum. But despite the higher pressure the 30 Super Carry lighter weight bullet has decent terminal performance and less recoil overall.

      But, is it really worth it to choose it over 9mm?

      I tend to think that as a 'new toy' type of thing for those really into simply having a gun chambered in the 'latest and greatest whiz bang' 'something', its OK. But as a carry/defensive round I don't see any real advantage over 9mm in actual physical use end results.

      A few more rounds? Sure, that's a good idea but in reality if you get down to where those few more rounds would be actually needed then your gonna need to probably start thinking about about a magazine change anyway. So carry an extra 9mm mag (or move to extended 9mm mags if you can).

      But do the math too. 13 rounds 9mm vs 16 rounds 9mm but really is it worth it? If your mags are `13 rounds then load 13 in the mag and 1 chambered = 14 rounds, or carry an extra mag, for 9mm so for two more rounds is it worth it to buy a new gun?

      Sure, also, we talk about penetration. 15.5 inches for the 30 super versus the 14.5 inches for 9mm 124 grain (from the article). But the Federal 9mm 124 grain HST HP has a better and more consistent expansion with penetration of over 15 inches, so switch to Federal 9mm 124 grain HST HP if its absolute numbers you crave and its been around since 2002. So its not like there is not an equal or better round in 9mm in absolute numbers in terms of penetration. But on average a 9mm round has ~13.6" of penetration which also happens to be the average for the 30 super carry.

      August 5, 2022 4:30 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        A small correctio........

        But do the math too. 13 rounds 9mm vs 16 rounds 9mm

        Was suppose to be....
        But do the math too. 13 rounds 9mm vs 16 rounds 30 super carry

        August 5, 2022 5:07 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        And also not to forget the stupid 10 rounds mag limits in some states. Sure, the SCOTUS Bruen decision will/may do away with that stupid thing .... but in the mean while in those states ot doesn't matter if 30 super carry allows more in the mag than 9mm as both are limited to 10 rounds.

        August 5, 2022 5:23 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Well laid out argument John.

        August 5, 2022 1:18 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sam Wiede

      No thank you. I do not need another and pricey caliber for my CCW needs. My 9 mm options more than fit the proverbial holster. Keep up the good work and giving us all the info that you do!

      August 5, 2022 2:28 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Thanks Sam, and my pleasure. We're all about informing folks and helping them find the best solution for themselves. I suspect a lot of people are going to weigh the 30SC against well established platforms (9mm, guns, ammo types, holsters, etc.) and find it not worth a change the the whole constellation that should be considered for concealed carry. And that's okay!

        August 5, 2022 1:20 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Another mouse gun/caliber. I hear all of the time how people complain about recoil, muzzle flip, round capacity etc. I am 82 years old and shoot a Glock G30 in .45 A.C.P.. It took a few sessions to solve all of those issues. I carry IWB and it doesn't print. I Iive in the DPRC (Democratic Republic of California) So capacity is not an issue. Besides it doesn't matter the caliber. They all pretty much have the same effect on a human target. So, if you have what you like and can shoot it why switch?

      August 4, 2022 9:49 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Exactly! If it ain't broke don't fix it. Like all industries they keep coming out with new stuff to get you to spend more money.

        August 5, 2022 5:44 am
        • Commenter Avatar

          America, land of opportunity…

          August 5, 2022 11:18 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Yogi, thanks for weighing in. The wisdom is appreciated!

        August 5, 2022 2:20 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jason Klug

      The .30 sc isn't new. Musser made the 7.65x53 over 100 years ago. Damn near the same thing. It did survive the test of time. Well see if Federal can keep it alive...

      August 4, 2022 9:10 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Scott J

      Great. Just what I need. Yet another caliber. Just to gain a couple of rounds? I will continue to carry another mag or two close by. I just don’t really see this as an advantage. You would be better off learning what you have and how to do a mag swap efficiently.

      August 4, 2022 8:40 pm
      • Commenter Avatar


        August 5, 2022 8:21 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Scott I always preach skills over gear, great point.

        August 5, 2022 1:21 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      H. Giles

      I don’t see the need to change what I carry. I was a big bore person for years now I am older I did the 40 S&W now I carry a P365XL in 9mm. It shoots like a dream so why change.

      August 4, 2022 7:43 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Mr. Giles, be sure to tune in next Thursday!

        August 5, 2022 1:22 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Patrick Peyton

      It seems that the most prescient argument for this new round is increased capacity. I don't see that as a particularly compelling argument in the current political climate.

      August 4, 2022 7:33 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Interesting perspective Patrick, definitely salient as it will be superfluous to states with limitations. Also, thanks for using "prescient".

        August 5, 2022 1:23 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jimmy Williams

      If I were just entering the CCW market, I'd probably be interested. As a handloader with half a dozen .32 ACP & .32 S&W handguns, I'm even OK adding it to my arsenal and developing my own loads because I have 3/4's of the components already on hand. BUT-and for those of us with a carry gun or four, this is a big but- there needs to be a platform that gives the concealability of say an LCP. I have subcompact 9mm's, why buy a new caliber with more expensive and less available ammo if it does not do anything what I already have can do?

      August 4, 2022 6:27 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Good points all Jimmy.

        August 5, 2022 1:25 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        30 super carry is not applicable to the smaller size handguns like an LCP Max since the rounds is basically the same length as the 9mm. Whatever 9mm handguns are currently available, then the 30sc would be a magazine and barrel swap away from a 30sc version of that gun.

        What's the smallest 9mm handgun currently on the market? That would also be the smallest 30sc I'd imagine. Otherwise a company would have made another 9mm even smaller.

        August 6, 2022 7:56 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      John amos

      Can a walther ppk/s be chambered in 30 sc and gain +1 capacity plus better terminal performance?

      August 4, 2022 6:03 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        I imagine it's possible John.

        August 5, 2022 1:26 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Instead of seeking a "softer shooting round" which costs more, perhaps a bit more range time to control the "yips" with the tried and true 9mm is a better investment.

      August 4, 2022 5:53 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Can't agree more here!

        August 5, 2022 1:26 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Do we really need another uncommon round? 9mm is easier to find,and cheaper.

      August 4, 2022 5:17 pm
      • Commenter Avatar


        August 4, 2022 5:48 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Absolutely right!

        August 4, 2022 6:34 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Rather than enter the 30sc vs 9mm debate, I just want to comment on Sean’s video. I’ll use my words: professional, succinct, engaging, likeable, concise and engaging. I know… I said it twice. Nice job!

      August 4, 2022 5:07 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Hey Ralph, thanks so much, I appreciate the feedback and (the check is in the mail!)

        August 5, 2022 1:33 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Cheryl D Maggi

      Love my super carry EZ. It's great for my hands and has comparable ballistics if not better to a 9mm. It's my edc after my mouse gun EZ.

      August 4, 2022 4:26 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        The penetration is pretty impressive for the smaller and fast round. Glad this is working for you Cheryl! How do you like the recoil on the 30SC?

        August 5, 2022 1:36 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          Cheryl D Maggi

          It's not unbearable because the grip safety forces me to hold on tight. My 5 yard groupings were comparable, considering I'd never shot either one, and indeed, hadn't shot at all in 25 years. I had no problem controlling rise, dip or left-right drift. Thanks for asking.

          August 5, 2022 2:31 pm
          • Commenter Avatar
            Sean Curtis

            Outstanding, I love to hear this.

            August 9, 2022 7:32 am