Thoughts on the 30 Super Carry In 2024

In 2022, a new round hit the ground running, calling itself the 30 Super Carry from Federal. At first glance, I was quite stoked to see the little cartridge. I like the idea of .32 caliber pistol rounds. They seem to be the just-right size for handguns and have an impressive lineage. Introducing a new caliber in 2022 was a risk, but Federal really seemed to be backing it. S&W released two handguns to go alongside the release, and Nighthawk tossed out a custom 1911 for the round as well.

Now that we are two years past the initial launch, I thought it would be interesting to do a pulse check on the cartridge. I started thinking about this in 2023, and I made sure to keep an eye out for the 30 Super Carry guns and ammo I saw in person. At SHOT 2024, I made sure to pay attention to any new guns released in 30 Super Carry. Has the 30 Super Carry lived up to its .32 ACP lineage?

The Promise of the 30 Super Carry

The idea behind the cartridge is simple. What are the benefits of 9mm? It offers excellent capacity, it’s mild in the recoil department, and modern projectiles allow for excellent penetration and expansion. The goal of the 30 SC was to take those features and make them better. The smaller rounds allowed for greater capacity without expanding the magazine. The round would have the same recoil characteristics as the 9mm and the same good penetration and expansion.

Just shrink it a bit to make room for extra rounds. We can’t deny that capacity rules. That’s the reason why the P365 spawned an entire genre of firearms. In P365-sized firearms, the flush-fitting magazine holds ten rounds, and with the 30 Super Carry, you could squeeze 12 rounds into the same space. That’s a pretty big benefit. At SHOT 2022, I fired the Shield Plus in 30 SC, and it felt just like the 9mm.

Gel tests confirmed the expansion and penetration were adequate, and ultimately, it’s proven to be a solid defensive cartridge. So, has the 30 SC taken over the self-defense market?

Sadly, No

I kept track of the number of times I saw 30 SC and firearms in stores. Throughout the entire year and all of my trips, I only saw three instances of 30 SC. Two were at the big box store Academy. They were selling the Federal FMJ ammo, and one of the Academy’s had the Shield Plus in 30 SC. The third time was some 30 SC self-defense ammo at a Bass Pro. I never saw the ammo or guns in local gun stores or at gun shows.

A lack of retail support can make it difficult to get a caliber off the ground. Sure, guys and gals like you and me know about these things because we are invested in the world of firearms. Your average Joe, who is the market you really want to tap, isn’t seeing the cartridge in stores. When I did see the cartridge in stores, the price was $30 for a box of 50. For comparison, 9mm was around $13 a box. At more than double the price, the 30 Super Carry is a tough sell.

Of course, you can order almost anything online, but that leads to even more cost in the form of shipping. Still, it’s considerably more expensive. Everyone and their mom make a 9mm load, which creates a higher level of competition that drives down the price significantly. It’s even easy to find websites with bulk ammo and free shipping when searching for 9mm.

What About Guns

The 30 Super Carry started strong with three guns from two companies. S&W released an EZ model and a Shield Plus option in 30 SC. Nighthawk even provided a 1911 model with an increased capacity. In May of 2023, Hi-Point released the 3095 carbine, which was the first PCC to chamber the cartridge. Since then, well, it’s been crickets.

The Roadblock

The roadblock that keeps me from moving to the 30 Super Carry is my investment in 9mm. I have a ton of ammo, guns, and magazines for the round. I love my P365, and I have tons of holsters, grip modules, optics, and even barrels for the gun. I’d be willing to consider the .30 SC if I could convert my P365 back and forth and still use 9mm to train.

Sadly, the lack of support ensures this isn’t possible. A new cartridge is a tough sale these days, and I think the 30 SC just got introduced at a bad time. Ammo is priced higher than ever before, and the inflation from the original COVID panic purchasing hasn’t really waned.

With that in mind, I do think the 30 Super Carry is a cool idea, but the current lack of availability, price, and general support makes it a tough round to adopt. As much as I hope it succeeds, I’m thinking it’s time in the sun is almost over.

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.