Welcome 30 Super Carry: a new caliber for 2022

The pre-SHOT frenzy of new releases has seen the announcement of a brand new pistol caliber — the “30 Super Carry”. The announcement of the new cartridge stirred up all sorts of discussion on forums, Reddit threads, and all the other usual places.

BLUF: the 30 Super Carry cartridge was designed to be more compact than 9mm NATO and more effective than .380 ACP. Manufacturers say the new round performs as well as the 9mm while providing substantially greater magazine capacity — usually an increase of +2 rounds in a typical/standard magazine.

30 Super Carry provides a 12-round capacity in a standard, single-stack 1911 magazine.

This isn’t a review. This is a report on what we know. No one in the “media world” could actually be reviewing it yet, though some savvy people with the right background certainly can (and have been) offering well-founded opinions based on their experience and education. I’m not one of them. I’ll make an informed decision once I see what independent ballistic tests, SAAMI, and maybe some real-life defensive uses tell us. 

30 Super Carry magazine for Nighthawk 1911
30 Super Carry magazine for Nighthawk 1911.

The 30 Super Carry Cartridge

So what is 30 Super Carry? First off, it should not be confused with the old Kimber Super Carry. This is a cartridge, not a specific weapon.

Nighthawk's upcoming 30 Super Carry model pistol, courtesy of Wichita Gun Club.
Nighthawk’s upcoming 30 Super Carry model pistol, courtesy of Wichita Gun Club. It’s not Super Duty, which I somehow keep managing to type or say, nor is it 38 Super (with which a few folks on the internet have it conflated). This is an all-new mass production caliber. 

In fact, there was initially more information on the cartridge(s) available than there was on the guns that will be using it, though we did know relatively quickly of a Nighthawk 1911 model (above) and Smith & Wesson Shield EZ model (below). 

The new cartridge, which purportedly displays the ballistic potential of a 9mm round in a smaller size, will require its own magazines. Initial offerings are from Vista-owned companies (Speer, Remington, Federal), though obviously, this would change if 30SC becomes popular. 

A 30 Super Carry magazine for a Nighthawk model.
A 30 Super Carry magazine for a Nighthawk model (above); loading it up on the range (below). 

loading a 30 super carry magazine

As might be expected, the new cartridge has been met with a combination of derision and glee by many thousands of ballistic experts on the internet. More of the former than the latter, but SMI opinions (that’s Subject Matter Internetologist) are notoriously unreliable. 

…He said, as the ghosts of past 45 GAP and 327 Magnum champions gathered to watch…

30 Super Carry magazine showing mag capacity.
30 Super Carry magazine showing mag capacity.

Jim Gilliland explains the rationale (or at least Federal’s rationale) behind the new caliber in the video below. A video alone won’t allay concerns about the new caliber’s effectiveness, particularly given that it’s a marketing video, but it does give us a place to start. 

It will be hard for many people to get past the notion that a cartridge utilizing less energy and a smaller hollow point cavity to put smaller holes in bad guys (than a 9mm) is, in fact, better than 9mm. There will also be the obvious, even partially justified, complaints about the release of a new caliber during an ongoing ammunition shortage (real or perceived) continues. 

That’s not to say the new cartridge isn’t worthwhile. I’m just acknowledging ahead of time what the two biggest pushback issues will be. 

30SC Shield EZ

30 Super Carry Shield EZ from Smith & Wesson.
A Shield EZ chambered in the new 30SC cartridge.
SW 30SC pistol
These images of a SW 30SC appeared on various forums, often with the following text: Smith & Wesson is excited to introduce their S&W® Shield™ EZ® in a new caliber! Offering the Shield EZ chambered in Federal® 30 Super Carry™ the Shield EZ pistol features an 10+1 round capacity and a 3.675” barrel, ships with two 10 round magazines that feature a load assist tab for quick, easy loading, as well as a picatinny-style equipment rail to accommodate accessories. The pistol also features an optimal M&P pistol 18-degree grip angle for a natural point of aim, white-dot front and adjustable white-dot rear sights, and a light, crisp trigger!

30SC Ammunition

A number of ammunition companies will be producing 30 Super Carry ammunition, including Federal, Remington, CCI, and Speer.

Speer Gold Dot in 30 Super Carry.
A Speer Gold Dot in 30 Super Carry; a 115gr Hollow Point. 

Here’s the initial Federal Premium announcement…which unfortunately announces very little at all. 

One version of the new cartridge offered by Federal Premium.
One version of the new cartridge, this one offered by Federal Premium.
30SC ammo specs from Federal
30SC ammo specs from Federal.
Another Remington variant, this one a 100 grain Jacketed Hollow Point.
Another Remington variant, this one a 100 grain Jacketed Hollow Point.
115gr Full Metal Jacket 30SC ammunition from CCI.
115gr Full Metal Jacket 30SC ammunition from CCI.

30 Super Carry Shield EZ Specs

  • Safety: Thumb and Grip Safety
  • Chamber Length: 0 in.
  • Frame Finish: Black
  • Front Sight: White Dot
  • Rear Sight: 2 Dot
  • Grips: Aggressive Texture
  • Finish: Black
  • Firing System: Internal Hammer
  • Frame Material: Polymer
  • Trigger: Tactile & Audible Reset
  • Magazine Type: Double Stack Magazine
  • Barrel Configuration: Single
  • Rifled Barrel: Yes
  • Minimum Pull Length: 0 in.
Additional Features
  • Easy to rack slide.
  • Crisp, light trigger with tactile and audible reset.
  • Includes 2 easy-to-load magazines.
  • Grip safety.
  • Magazine offers 10+1 round capacity.
  • Windage adjustable, White Dot Rear Sight.
  • Disassembles without pulling trigger.
  • Grip texture optimized to size and recoil.
  • Tactile Loaded Chamber Indicator (TLCI).
  • Picatinny-Style Rail.
  • Perfect size for nightstand, carry or a day at the range.
  • Reversible magazine release.
  • Optimal 18-degree grip angle for natural point of aim.
  • Armornite® – Durable, Corrosion Resistant Finish.
  • Backed by Smith & Wesson’s Lifetime Service Policy

Nighthawk 1911s chambered in 30 Super Carry

Nighthawk 30 Super Carry 1911

We currently know very little about this gun’s specifics, though the basics aren’t difficult to deduce.

It’s a high end (expensive), well-crafted, 1911 chambered in 30 Super Carry.

Jim Gilliland and 30 Super Carry Nighthawk 1911

David Reeder's Wu Tang name is Lucky Prophet. He is a retired AF veteran, former Peace Officer, and current Tier 2.5 writer-operator. Over the course of his career, he has worked a variety of military and lE billets, served as an Observer-Controller at the National Homeland Security Training Center, a MOUT instructor, and an MTT tracking instructor - all of which sounds much cooler than it really was. Although he only updates his website once in a very great while, he can absolutely be relied upon to post to social media (@reederwrites) at least once a month. -Ish.


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