Glock 30S – SF, by Pat Cascio

I’m a Glockaholic. I love their guns! However, over the years, there have been a few Glocks that I just didn’t like, or take to for one reason or another. I love the Glock 21, and it feels great in my hand and balances nicely. On the other hand, we have the Glock 20, which is a 10mm pistol – and it’s the same size as the Glock 21. However, the 20 never balanced as well in my hand – I believe the “problem” was that the barrel was thicker causing the gun to balance a bit on the top side. As much as I like the 10mm round, and the power behind it, I elected to stay with the 21 in .45 ACP. And anymore, so many factory 10mm loads are watered down, and not a lot more powerful than a .45 ACP +P load, unless you go to Buffalo Bore Ammunition or Double Tap Ammo – and both companies produce the original hotter 10mm loads.

When the Glock 30 first came out, I was hot to have one – a compact .45 ACP with a 9-round magazine and one in the chamber – hard to beat. However, in short order, I traded it for something else, because the gun was just too chunky in my hand. It didn’t feel right or balance right. My review of the standard Glock 30 was posted in SurvivalBlog back in 2016. Today, we’re looking at the Glock 30S, SF (Short Frame) and this is a whole different animal than the original Model 30 was.

The Glock 30S, SF has a slide that is taken from the Glock 36, and it is thinner and trimmer. The nickname used by Jim Rawles for the Glock 30S is the “Glock 30-Skinny”, and it is his preferred carry gun–often with a 13-round Model 21 magazine and a “filler” ring.

The 30S barrel is still the same length, at 3.8-inches. The SF  “Short-Frame” is sort of misnamed. It is not shortened in height. Rather, it has reduced grip dimensions. The SF frame makes all the difference in the world. The frame is much trimmer – not chunky at all, and hence the trigger reach is actually a little shorter – not much – but enough to make it feel all that much better than the original Glock 30 trigger reach was. The frame has “SF” marked on the right side, and the slide is marked 30S. These guns come standard with two 10-round magazines – the original 30 had 9-round magazines. The factory magazine floor plate is slightly extended on the 30S, SF but I elected to put an aftermarket floor plate on, that is checkered and just a little longer – so I can get all my fingers on it – feels great, too. I don’t recall what brand they are, but I found them on Amazon – and they were inexpensive, as I recall.

I Bought It Used

My 30S – SF came to me used and abused – and I mean totally abused – it took me two hours to break it down and clean it – maybe he was never cleaned by the previous owner – could be. It has night sights – a real plus. It had a slide rear plate, that came with a clip – so you could carry the gun inside your waist band, without a holster. NEVER do this – with any striker-fired handgun – too easy for the gun to have a negligent discrage. I removed that plate and clip, and replaced it with the factory original – took 5-minutes to do. After the gun was totally torn down, and cleaned – it looks 98% as-new. The little tab in the slide for taking the gun apart for regular cleaning had been replaced, with one a little bit longer – love it – easy to pull down on it with my two fingers. I added some Talon Grip Tape to the right and left side of the grip – didn’t put it all the way around the grip – didn’t need it, and this added another new feel to how the gun feels in my hand – great!

This 30S, SF is considered a Gen 3 model, and these days its hard to keep up with all the new models and generations of the Glock family. There isn’t a lot of difference between some of the Generations for the most part. This has the finger grooves on the front strap – I don’t especially like them, but not a deal-breaker. The Gen 5 Glocks did away with these finger grooves, and went back to a smooth front strap, just like on the original models – most shooters prefer this set-up. I have a couple Glock 19X – my end of the world guns – and they don’t have those finger grooves. I love that.

Depending on which website you check, the Glock 30S – SF, weighs in around 23-ounces with an empty magazine – that’s really light for a compact .45 ACP pistol. However, recoil isn’t a problem at all, the gun is a little bit “snappy” under recoil, but not bad – not bad at all. Oh, before I forget, the night sights were so dirty on this gun, you couldn’t hardly see the glow in the dark – a good cleaning got the gunk or whatever it was off the sights and they are like-new now. My used 30S, SF came with three 10-rd magazines – nice start, but I ordered several more – these days, you can’t have too many magazines with the pending and future anti-gun bills that are coming our way.

The 30S, SF, is very close in size to the Glock 19 – another one of my favorite models. It is a little thicker in the grip, but not by much. However, the 30 won’t fit in the standard Glock plastic sport holster, you need the bigger version and it’s only a buck or two more – very inexpensive. However, I have other holsters that this pistol will fit into, for concealed carry.

My Shooting Tests

Since we are currently, in what may be a never-ending ammo drought – my two cents worth, I limited the number of rounds I put through this Model 30S, SF in my testing. I still managed to run about 150-rounds through it just the same – just a lot of fun shooting this little powerhouse. All of the ammo was from Black Hills Ammunition. I had their 230-gr FMJ, 200 GR JHP +P a snappy round, to get sure, 185-gr Barnes, Tac-XP, 135-gr HoneyBadger. I didn’t shoot any of the 200-gr Lead SWC loads because it isn’t advisable to fire lead bullets in the older Glocks because of the older Glocks have a polygonal barrel, and they are easily leaded up with all-lead bullets.

I had zero malfunctions of any kind, and I mean, this little beast didn’t stutter once on any of the ammo, and I did mix the various types of ammo in the same magazine – this will cause some guns to choke when you do this. I set my target out at just 20-yards instead of 25-yards, because of the shorter barrel length – thought about shooting at 15-yards, but this gun really wanted to show-off what it could do. My shooting was done over a rolled-up jacker, over the hood of my Dodge Ram pickup, and if I did my part, I was getting most groups just right at 3.5-inches – and one load, the 230-gr FMJ gave me a group right at 3-inches. I wanted to repeat my accuracy testing, but with ammo in VERY short supply, I only fired one group with each of the above ammo types I had.

I managed some shooting at 50-yards, hitting all manner of targets of opportunity, like rocks and tree branches – and never missed any of them. Many believe that the .45 ACP round drops fast – well, it does and it doesn’t it. Out at 100-yards, a FMJ will only drop a couple inches – that’s good enough for a torso shot on a human body – if it came down to that.

This isn’t my number one CCW pistol these days, but I carried it on/off for about a month, and never knew it was on my hip – it rides high and comfortable in the Glock sport holster, with a spare 10-round magazine on my offside.

The Glock 21 is an outstanding .45 ACP with a 13+1 round capacity – and that round will get the job done. However, the 21 is a lot bigger than the 30S, SF is – while it can be concealed, with the right holster and clothing – its still a big handgun to carry and with the added rounds and weight, it is heavy to carry by the end of the day. The little 30S, SF takes the lead when it comes to comparing the two guns. And, it sure beats the 1911 with 7 or 8 rounds on-tap, and it is much lighter and easy to conceal. Now, I’m not about to give up my 1911s – that’s not going to happen, I shoot them faster and more accurately than any other handguns – period!

This used Glock 30s, SF was marked at only $425 – and I got it in a trade, don’t even remember what I traded to get it – but I KNOW that I came out ahead in the deal – by a lot, too! I’m seeing the same exact guns on for almost twice what I paid for mine. You can do a lot worse in a compact .45 ACP than the Glock 30S, SF if you ask me. I’m not about to let go of this any time soon – probably never – I love it that much. Check one out – if you can find one. Today, guns are in very short supply, one FFL I know, only has 6-handguns in his display cases…and a report from a friend, in Colorado, told me that several small gun shops he used to haunt, have closed their doors, because they can’t get any guns and ammo to sell. Don’t wait, if you’re in the market for a new handgun. Now is the time to get one.