The 30 Super Carry — Filling the void between the .380 and 9mm at Last

A Hot New CCW Cartridge from Vista Outdoors!
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Federal, Remington, CCI and Speer will all be offering 30 Super Carry loads.

There’s a delicate dance played by those who carry a .380 ACP for defense. On the one hand, the guns are light, handy and compact. But on the other, many of us fret — even just a little bit — if our choice is the best one.

Is a .380 adequate for personal protection?

We’ll leave that debate for another time. Many solve this dilemma by stepping “up” to a 9mm. Most of us would agree a good quality 9mm bullet does the protection job fine. But if you’re like me, you might find yourself wishing for “something” in between the classic .380 ACP (a 100+ year old design) and the reliable 9mm (another 100+ year old design). Surely, we can come up with something — anything — newer?

Cue the heavens parting and choir singing video as Vista Outdoors — the parent company of Federal Cartridge, Speer, CCI and now Remington ammunition — have just introduced the exciting new “30 Super Carry.”

Falling smack-dab in between the .380 and 9mm, the 30 Super Carry offers higher capacity than a 9mm (up to two or three cartridges in some gun designs) yet can be chambered in most 9mm size handguns. As of press time, Nighthawk Custom offers two 1911 models chambered for this new round, and S&W is offering their Shield and the EZ Models in 30 Super Carry.

What’s all the hype about?

Plenty.

Nighthawk Custom will be initially offering two models for the 30 Super Carry chambering. The GRP (L) and the President.

Ballistics

Essentially, we’re talking a .30 caliber (.311″) 100 to 115 gr. bullet at velocities between 1,100 and 1,250 fps. Bullets can be FMJ “practice” rounds to high performance bullets like the Federal HST and Speer Gold Dot, both famous for reliable performance in the real world. Testing in gel shows the Gold Dot and HST 30 Super Carry loads perform close to, or exceed, comparable 9mm loads. Keep in mind you get “extra” ammunition capacity in a 9mm “sized” semi-auto pistol when it’s chambered for the 30 Super Carry.

In testing, I found the recoil to be a bit more than a hot .380 in a tiny gun, but in the medium sized CCW guns normally chambered in 9mm, the 30 Super Carry recoils like a standard 9mm load. The slide runs fast and stays a bit flatter during recoil than a similar “hot” 9mm load.

 

Cartridge bases are labeled “30 Super Carry.”

And hot the 30 Super Carry is! Most premium defensive 9mm loads run at about 35,000 psi (plus or minus). Even the much-vaunted .38 Super and .357 Magnum are in the 36,000 psi range. The 30 Super Carry spikes the pressure needle at 50,000 psi and that, my friends, is in the .308 rifle cartridge range. This elegant combination of modern powder technology, pressure regulation, high performance bullets and cutting-edge firearm design keeps all this perfectly safe and manageable. And frankly, you’d never know what was going on when shooting it if you didn’t already know. Press the trigger, it goes bang and there are no surprises.

Revolver shooters have had similar performance in the guise of the .32 H&R Magnum for decades, but things are restricted to six shots there. Now, concerned shooters who favor semi-autos can opt for the same performance (that 115 gr. bullet at 1,200+ fps) in a semi-auto sized to fit a 9mm. Suddenly, ten or 12 very effective rounds can be put into a pocket-sized gun.

(L-R) The 9mm Luger, 30 Super Carry, .380 ACP and .38 Special all compete in carry guns. The Super fills the gap between the 9mm and the .380.

Final Thoughts

I think the 30 Super Carry opens the door for firearm manufacturers to tailor-make a new generation of small, concealable semi-autos, without compromising on firearm size or ammunition performance. That magical spot between the .380 and the 9mm is now properly filled — and the future bodes well for this new technology.

I also think once competition shooters get wind of the 30 Super Carry, we’ll be seeing wide-body 1911 style competition guns holding 25 or even 30 rounds which, I’m told, might actually make “major” in some loads. Be prepared for a near-revolution there.

If it were my idea? I’d have named it the “30 Magnum Carry” since it really is “magnum” performance, power and velocity. We’ll have to see what happens down the road, won’t we? As with all things new, innovation keeps the wheels turning and what develops around and from the 30 Super Carry might just be interesting, indeed.

For more info: www.vistaoutdoor.com (Remington, Speer, CCI, Federal); www.nighthawkcustom.com; www.smith-wesson.com