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First Look: Federal .30 Super Carry Pistol Cartridge

Federal's new.30 Super Carry pistol cartridge offers the equivalent of 9mm Luger performance with recoil and muzzle blast comparable with 9mm. Here's a first look. 

First Look: Federal .30 Super Carry Pistol Cartridge

Federal’s new .30 Super Carry cartridge promises performance on par with the 9mm Luger but with an increase in capacity. Six loads—three defense and three training practice—are available right out of the gate.

Federal has just announced a brand-new pistol cartridge, the .30 Super Carry. It’s built to deliver performance equal to the 9mm Luger, but since it’s dimensionally smaller it will be able to fit in smaller handguns while, the company promises, producing recoil and muzzle blast on par with the 9mm—but with an increase in capacity.

In terms of energy, Federal says the .30 Super Carry runs right with the 9mm but offers considerably more than the .380 ACP, the choice of many who want to carry a small handgun but don’t want the recoil of the 9mm. The .30 Super Carry generates between 336 and 347 foot-pounds of energy, that upper figure matching the average 9mm load but besting the .380’s typical 202 foot-pounds.

Following are data comparisons the company put out to accompany the cartridge’s launch. Federal’s 100-grain .30 Super Carry HST expands to .590 inch and penetrates 12 inches, while the 124-grain 9mm Luger HST expands to .650 inch and penetrates 13.1 inches. In the FBI’s heavy clothing protocol, the 3.0 Super Carry HST expands to .530 inch and penetrates 15.5 inches; the 9mm Luger expands to .571 inch and penetrates 14.5 inches.


I’m sure you could split hairs on these differences between the .30 Super Carry and the current king of handgun rounds, the 9mm, but it seems the real advantage might be capacity. When it comes to defensive situations, more rounds is always better, and the demand for that can be seen in the current crop of micro-compact 9mm guns offering 11, 12, 13 and even 14 rounds with factory-supplied mags.


With the .30 Super Carry, Federal says handguns designed for it will offer two additional rounds. Right now Nighthawk Custom is offering two 1911s in the cartridge, the President and GRP, and these feature 12-round magazines instead of 10.

Smith & Wesson will also chamber the cartridge in the Shield Plus and Shield EZ, although the first models will still be 9mm size. The Shield EZ has been announced and its magazines will have a 10-round capacity. If the two-round increase holds true for the Shield Plus , it would come with 12- and 15-round magazines.

Interestingly, the .30 Super Carry shoots a .312 bullet. If that rings a bell it might be because it’s the same bullet diameter used by the .32 Auto, .32 H&R and .327 Federal Mag. That means handloaders will have plenty to choose from, although depending on how things go, you shouldn’t have to reload for the .30 Super Carry unless you want to.

Federal Introduces .30 Super Carry Ammunition: First Look
The .30 Super Carry uses a .312-inch bullet, the same as the .32 Auto and .327 Federal Mag., and since it’s smaller it will allow two additional cartridges in a a smaller-frame pistol.

Federal and its sister brands are offering several loads out of the gate. Defensive options will include the aforementioned 100-grain HST hollowpoint (1,250 fps), 100-grain Remington HTP hollowpoint (1,230) and 115-grain Speer Gold Dot hollowpoint (1,150).


For training ammo, both Federal American Eagle and UMC will bring out 100-grain full-metal-jacket loads at 1,250 while Blazer Brass will have a 115-grainer at 1,150.

New handgun cartridges don’t come along every day. An upcoming issue of Handguns will have a more expanded look at the cartridge—as well as at one of the Nighthawk pistols—and we will certainly be keeping an eye on how it progresses.

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