At first glance, the .30 Super Carry cartridge from Federal Ammunition is a logical round for those wanting performance similar to a 9mm—along with the benefit of additional rounds in the same magazine space, due to the .30 Super Carry’s smaller size.
And that begs the question: Why have so few firearm manufacturers embraced it?
A LITTLE HISTORY
The .30 Super Carry was released in early 2022 for semi-automatic handguns. Directly tailored for the average citizen and self-defense, rather than military or police use, it boasts performance akin to the 9mm or .380, in less space. And, that offers the opportunity for more rounds per magazine in the same amount of magazine space.
Here’s how Federal Ammunition presents the performance of the .30 Super Carry against the competition—in foot-pounds, grains, and feet per second.
.30 Super Carry
As you can see, the .30 Super Carry has a superior foot-pound and feet-per-second statistic at nearly the same grain as the .380. Although 24 grains less than the 9mm round used in the manufacturer’s testing, (perhaps used for ease of comparison, perhaps for a more advantageous comparison than to the also commonly carried 147 grain round) it has a superior feet-per-second performance, and a competitive, albeit lesser, foot-pounds stat.
ABOUT THE SIZE OF IT
The size of the .30 Super Carry is what allows for the benefit of more rounds per magazine. So, let’s compare.
.30 Super Carry
Cartridge Overall Length: 29.7mm (1.169 in.)
Bullet Diameter: 7.95mm (0.313 in.)
Base Diameter: 8.70mm (0.342 in.)
Cartridge Overall Length: 29.69mm (1.169 in.)
Bullet Diameter: 9.01mm (0.355 in.)
Base Diameter: 9.93mm (0.391 in.)
Cartridge Overall Length: 25.0mm (0.984 in.)
Bullet Diameter: 9mm (0.355 in.)
Base Diameter: 9.5mm (0.374 in.)
Although being 4.7 millimeters longer than the .380, it’s over a millimeter smaller in bullet diameter than either the 9mm or the .380. And, its base diameter is over a millimeter smaller than the 9mm, and .8mm smaller than the .380.
MORE ROUNDS IN THE SAME MAG SPACE IS THE BIG SELLING POINT
So, the .30 Super Carry is somewhat living in a world in between the 9mm and the .380 in terms of performance. A comparable round, but necessarily dominating in performance.
The decided advantage of the round is more rounds per magazine due to the smaller size of round. Federal claims that in a magazine occupying the same space as that of a standard 9mm Luger, you’ll get 3 more .30 Super Carry rounds.
But how much of an advantage is that when defending yourself?
Obviously, being a smaller round, it has to be more precisely aimed, and will make an obviously smaller impact when hitting the target.
There are some who feel a 9mm isn’t large or powerful enough. Is a smaller, equally or less powerful round an improvement, even with a few more in the mag?
A LIMITED NUMBER OF PISTOLS WILL FIRE IT
Currently, only four pistols on the market will fire the .30 Super Carry. And, they range from “wow, that’s pricey!” to “very affordable”.
Nighthawk Custom makes two pistols that fire the round. The Nighthawk Custom President, listed by the manufacturer at $4,599, and the GRP (Global Response Pistol), listed at $3,499. Each offers a 12-round magazine for the .30 Super Carry. That’s compared to 10 rounds for the 9mm version of the President, and 8 rounds for the 9mm GRP.
For those wanting something a little more in their price range, Smith & Wesson has two pistols available. The M&P Shield Plus (with or without thumb safety) listed by the manufacturer at $549, or the M&P Shield EZ (with or without thumb safety) at $521.
It’s worth mentioning that the .30 Super Carry version of the Shield Plus will get you 3 more rounds in either of the magazines offered, as compared to the 9mm version. With the Shield EZ, you’ll get 2 more rounds in mag than the 9mm version.
If none of these suits you, well, you’re out of luck. They’re the only handguns currently on the market for the .30 Super Carry.
IT’S NOT EXTENSIVELY AVAILABLE
The .30 Super Carry may champion its performance characteristics vs. the 9mm and .380, but the inescapable fact is that it’s just not nearly as available as those rounds. Even with an ammo shortage.
That means if you’re looking to take advantage of those precious few additional rounds in your magazine, you’re not going to have nearly as easy a time finding this new, less-prevalent round.
HANDLOADING YOUR OWN WON’T BE EASY, EITHER
The .30 Super Carry makes use of the exact same primers and powders as the 9mm, so you may think you’re on your way to handloading your own.
But not so fast.
Whereas 9mm bullets and recycled cases are in plentiful supply, recycled .30 Super Carry cases? Those just aren’t really available. In the past, new or uncommon or boutique cartridges gained a foothold toward success because of their ease of adoption by handloaders.
Right now, that’s simply not on the horizon for the .30 Super Carry.
IT’S MORE EXPENSIVE
We all know that, theoretically, a more mass-produced round costs less than a lesser-produced round. And, that’s the case with the .30 Super Carry as compared to the 9mm and .380.
It stands to reason that until it gains more widespread popularity and use, it’s going to remain a more expensive round. So, those precious extra rounds in your magazine are going to cost you more.
WHAT’S THE VERDICT?
After nearing a year since its release, the .30 Super Carry hasn’t managed to make inroads toward expansion in terms of additional manufacturers—or even more models of handguns from the SAME manufacturers.
So, the selection of guns available that fire it remains limited. Until that situation changes, it would stand to reason that expansion and adoption of the .30 Super Carry is going to remain as it is.
However, for those who want those extra rounds, and who don’t mind less availability, and who are willing to pay more for their ammo, the .30 Super Carry IS an option.
It’s just not an option that seems destined to be truly adopted by a substantial number of firearm owners, and might just be a round that is more a solution in search of a problem.