If you carry, your firearm and cartridge need to do two seemingly contrary things: Be small enough to conceal and yet deliver enough power to protect you. For decades, this fact has steered a huge percentage of shooters to the 9mm Luger and 380 Auto, and both cartridges have come through in countless self-defense situations. However, both have limitations. The 380 has always fallen on the low end of the acceptable range for power, and any 9mm shooter would like to have more rounds in their magazine.
That performance gap was the inspiration for an all new cartridge—one with the power of 9mm with a smaller case that gives shooters more magazine capacity: new 30 Super Carry. Let’s learn more about what sets the cartridge apart from other carry calibers and see how Speer is extracting peak performance from it.
The 30 Super Carry uses a .312-inch bullet. This narrower diameter compared to 9mm allows for as many as three more rounds in the magazine of initially available handguns. Pistols chambered in 30 Super Carry and built using cartridge-specific frames (as opposed to existing 9mm Luger frames) maximize capacity while maintaining a narrower and shorter grip than 9mm pistols for easier concealability.
When fired with a 3.5-inch barrel, 30 Super Carry loads generate between 336 and 347 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. This puts it right up there with 9mm Luger, which averages 347 foot-pounds, and handily exceeds the 380 Auto’s 202 foot-pounds.
To harness this power, Speer offers 30 Super Carry in the Gold Dot line, and that load will fire a 115-grain bullet at 1,150 feet per second through 3.5-inch barrel. The bullet design is uniquely qualified to get the most from the cartridge, thanks to its extremely uniform jacket that’s bonded to the core. The process keeps the components together on impact, maintaining wight and pushing the bullet to critical penetration depths.
Beyond power concerns, the cartridge is comfortable to shoot. Recoil is less than 9mm Luger pistols of comparable weight, and although pistols chambered in 30 Super Carry have a slightly faster report, volume is almost the same as a 9mm.
The Guns & Impact
Pistols currently chambered in 30 Super Carry include Nighthawk Custom’s President and GRP 1911 pistols and Smith & Wesson’s M&P Shield Plus and M&P Shield EZ. The Smith & Wesson Shield EZ offers two more rounds per magazine, while the Shield Plus holds an additional three compared to 9mm counterparts (although the M&P is based on a 9mm frame at the moment and, as such, guns chambered in both cartridges are the same size). Both Nighthawk Custom 30 Super Carry pistol models are equipped with 12-round magazines, two more than their 9mm counterparts.
The 30 Super Carry cartridge carries like a 380 and hits like a 9mm, which means shooters can reduce their pistol’s footprint and increase capacity without sacrificing performance. Sized right for concealment under light clothing, 30 Super Carry pistols and are ready to carry year-round. Add it all up, and it’s no wonder why more and more shooters are putting this cartridge to use.