Glock 30S Review

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The new .45ACP Glock 30S was born from a “hack” where Glock shooters tinkered a bit and married a 30SF frame with a 36 slide. These hackers felt that the 30SF was too bulky for concealed carry and that the 36, with its 6+1 capacity, did not hold enough rounds.

Glock officially solved the problem with the 30S, a slimmer slide to improve conceal carry comfort, and an increase to 10+1 capacity. I first fired the 30S at SHOT Show one month ago, and in the limited time I had with the gun I noted the (perceived) reduced recoil (Note: Perceived recoil in this case is a subjective measure of how much recoil is perceived by the author, relative to similar pistols.). I requested a test gun from Glock so I could have more trigger time to better evaluate it.


The 10-round double-stack magazine has a pinky extension which allows the 30S to fit well in the author’s average size hand.

Looking into the recoil piece, upon further research comparing the 30S to Glock’s other .45ACP subcompact models, I noticed that the Glock 30S “barrel height” (sometimes referred to as “bore axis” – Glock measures the barrel height the from the center of the bore to the forward most point of the pistol’s backstrap) is only 0.79″, compared to the 1.26″ height of the 30, 30SF, and 36.

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Diagram from the Glock 30S website.


The lower barrel height of the 30S could be one explanation for the (again, perceived) reduced recoil. For further insight, I consulted Andrew Tuohy over at the Vuurwapen Blog who noted that:

Bore axis can play a role in how a handgun behaves in the hand of the shooter. Ideally, the axis of recoil would be in line with the shooter’s arm. However, it is one small part of the equation. The mass and velocity of the projectile, as well as the mass and velocity of the slide, the distance traveled by the slide, and the weight/strength of the recoil spring, have a greater physical effect. That being said, if the shooter believes his firearm is designed in a way that reduces recoil, he will probably think it is easier to shoot than it would otherwise be.

TFB readers with a physics background are encouraged to delight us with more detail.

Using 230gr .45ACP Remington UMC ammo, I took the Glock 30S for a spin. I performed the following tests at 5 and 15 yards:

Accuracy (Untimed): 3-shot groups at my leisure, in the sun.

Speed (Timed): At the low ready, 3-shot groups with pac timer set to a random start tone with a 1.5 second follow up beep- the 3 shots were completed within the 1.5 second time frame.

For the accuracy test, I was able to produce .75″ and 1.25″ inch groups, at 5 and 15 yards, respectively. For the speed test, I produced 4.75″ inch and 5.75″ inch groups at 5 and 15 yards, respectively.

Final Grouping pic

Groupings were shot at standard IDPA targets.

For me, the gun was accurate and fast out of the box. If I were to use the 30S for conceal carry, I would personally opt to change out the sights for night sights (such as Trijicon 3 dot tritium) or other low light sighting system, swap in a lighter recoil spring, and put in a crisper trigger (such as The Glock Store’s Fulcrum trigger) to bring the trigger pull down from its stock 5.5lbs down to around 4lbs, a common conceal carry weight.

All in all, I really like the Glock 30S and it’ll be interesting to see if it’s successful.

Chris Cheng is History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 champion. A self-taught amateur turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career. He is a professional marksman for Bass Pro Shops who shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community.

Chris Cheng

Chris Cheng is History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 champion, author of “Shoot to Win,” and an NRA News Commentator. A self-taught amateur (and former Googler) turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career.

He is a professional marksman for Bass Pro Shops who shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community.


  • Ares4991

    ”TFB readers with a physics background are encouraged to delight us with more detail”

    Simple, moment of momentum is composed as follows: r x m x v
    So, the length of the arm(aka the bore axis), times the mass(aka the slide and asssorted stuff) times the velocity of the slide, makes the felt recoil. Since you can’t reduce slide velocity and mass without changing your calibre/ammo, you can only change the bore axis as a gun designer, so it’s one of the easiest ways to reduce felt recoil as long as your basic design can take the changes. One of the best examples of this is the Chiappa Rhino and various Mateba’s: they don’t fire from the top chamber, but from the bottom, severely reducing felt recoil.

  • AJ

    I cannot wait for the complaints that Glock paid you off now, just like Froglube. 😉

  • Travis Jennings

    I would be a little skeptical of that bore height. How can this model be so different than all the other glocks? That would be a serious geometry change. And since the glock 30/36 hybrid has been around for years– was that model geometry the same or no? And if not, then WTF?

  • Marlin

    I have a glock 30 sf and to drop almost a half inch in bore axis on a gun that shoots almost a half in cartridge does not seem believable to me, especially if the same barrel is used in both the 30sf and the 30s. I believe it uses the same dual recoil spring in both models so with a lighter slide it may stand to reason that the felt recoil should be greater.
    If you subscribe to Ayoob’s method of thinking it would also be less accurate as the slide thickness to length ratio is decreased.

  • Ryan

    Why on earth did they build this thing on the Gen3 platform?

    • kbmoe

      Maybe Glock knows the gen 3’s are better

  • Kent S

    Barrel height on the 30s has to be a misprint.

    Both the 30sf and the 30s are listed as 4.8″ overall height. Frame is the same. So that means that the height of the slide is also the same (or the OAH would be different). So that nearly half-inch barrel drop means that the 30s barrel sits almost a half-inch lower in the slide???

    I think that would mean the barrel is sharing space with the RSA. Clearly, from the front view, you can see that the barrel muzzle appears to be a similar distance from the RSA as a 30sf or 36.

    Conclusion: misprint in bbl height on the 30S.

  • Dan Daru

    What marketing brilliance on Glock’s part. Take a slide, already in production, marry it to a receiver in production as well, and voila! A brand new model that has everybody salivating. I’ve owned both the G30S and the G30SF, and find the latter simply shoots better, with measurably less “felt recoil”. I’ve carried both concealed, and while the G30S is 4 ounces lighter, the part of the gun that sticks out of my IWB holster is THE SAME SIZE as the G30SF! You want slim? Get a G36 with a 7 round battery. If you’re LE and lighter is better, I get it. If you’re Joe Citizen, like me, save a couple hundred dollars and go with the G30SF, (short frame). I call this the Tickle Me Elmo phenomenon, everybody wants a G30S because they are in LIMITED PRODUCTION, (hmmm, by design, perhaps?), and everybody else wants one, (perception). This is no criticism of Glock, but they are in the business of selling pistols. And they have created quite a buzz over the G30S. I wonder how many G30S’s they would sell if they were as readily available as their other pistols?

    • kbmoe

      The only reason I want the 30S is that is fits in my 19 holster. No need for another new holster when I already have 3 for my one 19 is a big plus!