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Hard-Hitting Hybrid: Glock G30S Review

by Patrick Sweeney   |  April 30th, 2013 13


For a few years now, enterprising shooters who happened to own both Glock G36s and G30s have been mixing and matching, mating their G36 slides to their G30 frames. Their goal was to create a more compact .45 ACP without sacrificing magazine capacity. Most of the resulting pistols worked just fine, but their owners were left with a slim G36 slide parked on a portly G30 frame. And short of being able to buy just the parts (not possible through Glock itself) or scoring salvaged parts from one source or another, there was no way to finish with just one completed, desired pistol—much less a gun with matching serial numbers.

Then, a year or so ago, I started hearing rumors of such a gun being requested by an unnamed police department. Well, unlike many of the other rumors concerning Glocks, this one actually turned out to be true. The company has just come out with the G30S: a G36 slide parked on top of a G30SF frame.

In short, the company has found a way to make lemonade out of black polymer lemons. The G30, while useful, was perhaps not well thought-out, with its porky G21-size slide. And the G36 was never the single-stack Glock many had hoped for. But by teaming that lighter G36 slide to the just-big-enough G30SF (SF is short for Short Frame) frame, I think Glock has a very attractive carry gun on its hands.

Notice the company decided to utilize the G30SF frame, not the G30 frame. The SF Glocks were an attempt to make the oversize, big-butt Glocks something that was more normal in use and function. While a minimal decrease, it has been enough for many shooters. For example, the previously too-big G20 and G21 models have become usable by many more shooters with the adoption of the SF versions.

The new G30S is chambered in .45 ACP, and it uses magazines compatible with the older G30 and the original G21. Magazine capacity for the 30S is 10 rounds, and the frame is relieved to handle the oversize base plate of the standard magazine. (Yes, you could rebuild the magazine with a flush base plate and reduce capacity to nine, which would produce an even more concealable gun. However, I think the G30 series is already compact enough to carry easily—and also difficult enough to shoot that you wouldn’t want to make it smaller and decrease capacity.)

All the rest of the G30S is normal Glock. It has the same polymer sights, Gen 3 frame with light rail, safeties external and internal, all operating the same way. Internally, the ejector block is not the regular one that you’d find on the G30 but rather an SF version.

While the G30 is now offered in both the Gen 3 and Gen 4 versions, Glock has not yet gotten around to making the G30S in a Gen 4 version. Hey, it just started making the G30S, and it is busy switching the various other models over to Gen 4, so give the company some time.

Overall, the G30S differs so slightly from the G30 that if you did not look at the model designation on the slide when you picked it up, I’m not sure you could tell there was anything different about it.

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