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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

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Pros & Cons

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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

25
at Gunmag Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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Background

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.

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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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65 Leave a Reply

  • 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
    George

    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
      John

      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
    Chris

    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
    Mark

    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
    John

    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
      John

      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
      John

      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
    Yogi

    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
      Alfie

      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
        Fondo

        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
      Sam

      Yep!

      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
      George

      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
    M

    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
    ED

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

    August 4, 2022 5:17 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      M

      AMEN!!

      August 4, 2022 5:48 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      BillFerd

      Absolutely right!

      August 4, 2022 6:34 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Ralph

    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
  • Commenter Avatar
    Ray Gonzales

    I love my 30 super carry.

    August 4, 2022 4:13 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      Ray, it's definitely a cool round. Did you find the recoil to be a little less than 9mm?

      August 4, 2022 4:20 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Ray

        Sean, yes I did. I took 4 weapons to the range that day. Four different brands 3 were 9mm and the one 30 super carry. The 30 super carry to me had less recoil impulse and much more accurate.

        August 4, 2022 4:45 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          Sean Curtis

          Okay good to know. I'd seen some other outlets say it was similar to 9mm but I could easily tell the difference.

          August 5, 2022 1:34 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Manuel Ramos

        Is the recoil of the 30 super carry the same as the 9x18 makarov

        August 4, 2022 7:27 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          Sean Curtis

          Sorry Manuel, I didn't have Makarov to compare it with. It's softer than 9mm for sure. I've seen other outlets say it was comparable to 9mm but I had Jonny Fantastic hand me a random gun from behind. I pulled it up, fired it, and instantly knew it was 30SC. It's that significant.

          August 5, 2022 1:25 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Joezilla

    I will not be joining the owners and users of the 30 super carry. 13+1 is plenty and it takes just a second or two to put in a fresh 13 rounds.

    August 4, 2022 4:13 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      I don't disagree Joe.

      August 4, 2022 4:21 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Travis H

    To be quite honest, I think until the availability increases dramatically, and the price of ammo drops closer to what 9mm market pricing is, it's an uphill battle to convince the masses to make the switch. I like the ballistics numbers and of course the idea of increased capacity is nice, but to me it's not worth the additional cost.

    August 4, 2022 4:12 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      Good position Travis, the numbers are there, but we'll have to see if it even stands the test of time. I've seen a few calibers come and go over the years.

      August 4, 2022 4:22 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Tom

    This is an old trick to boost firearm sales. Come up with a "new" caliber because the established line-up is lagging in sales.

    August 4, 2022 4:06 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      I don't know Tom, ammo sales have been through the roof the last few years. But even with that, 30SC will have to survive the time it takes for other manufacturers to make more guns and more shooters to develop interest.

      August 4, 2022 4:24 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Rob

    It's the .327 Federal cartridge adapted to a semiautomatic.

    August 4, 2022 3:58 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      Nothing "new" under the sun.

      August 4, 2022 4:25 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      LazrBeam

      Rob, the .327 Fed Mag is one of my personal favorites. And, while the bullet weights of .30 SC and .327 are comparable the .327 has way more velocity. Having said that, I’d like to see one of the manufacturers come out with a model that shoots the 7.62x25 Tokarev round. NOW, we’re REALLY talking increased velocity.

      August 5, 2022 12:08 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Pan

    I’m of the opinion that this is another case of a solution looking for a problem. JMHO.

    August 4, 2022 3:30 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      Yeah there is that. It's a narrow gap to fill between .380 and 9mm. I am impressed with the numbers (velocity and penetration) they produced though.

      August 4, 2022 4:27 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Herman Meister

    I think I will stick with my Tarus 9 mm. I have home defense shells for use in my home. Other wise happy with my S&W EZ Shield 380 for carry.

    August 4, 2022 3:28 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      Outstanding Herman, if it isn't broke, don't fix it.

      August 4, 2022 4:27 pm
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