Glock 30 SF


by R.K. Campbell

photography by R.K. Campbell

August 24th, 2010




My primary defense hunting and competition handguns are 1911s. I adhere to all previous statements regarding the superiority of the type. Just the same, as my friend Eddie often says, it is good to have a Glock. Glocks seem to have made inroads as a second favorite among 1911 types. While the Browning High Power was once the second line so to speak of late the Glock seems more common. The Glock is simple durable and works. I have extensive experience with the Glock types including the long slide, compacts and the 10mm. I have been involved in a critical incident while issued the .40 caliber Glock. I keep a Glock or two on hand for use in training. The Glock is too big to be ignored. A major problem with the author and the Glock is hand size. While the .40 is just fine the large frame 10mm and .45 are just too much of a stretch for my normal size hand. Firing on the range is one thing but maintaining retention in a combat environment is another. I strongly prefer the low pressure high wound potential .45 ACP cartridge. But the Glock M21 and M30 are too large for my hands. Keeping a Glock for training is one thing but practical use demanded my Glock be a .45 ACP. Glock has taken a look at polymer technology and successfully modified the double column magazine Model 30 enough to open the doors for a number of those with normal sized digits. The difference in trigger reach is 3mm. As it turns out this modest change really does the trick.

The new Short Frame (SF) is just enough smaller to work well with my hand size. Coupled with the new finger groove frame and appropriate stippling and checkering the SF variations appear to be an improvement. Polymer frames have been around long enough to prove their worth. Some have cracked and others appear to have been damaged by chemicals but the combination of economy and light weight seems to have worked out. At this point a recap of the Glock action may be in order. The pistol is hammerless. The Glock uses a striker type firing pin. As the slide is racked the striker is partially cocked or prepped against trigger pressure. As the trigger is pressed the trigger safety in the middle of the trigger is depressed. The trigger presses the striker against spring pressure as the firing pin block falls away, and the trigger breaks and the pistol fires. While some see the Glock as a single action it isnít. The trigger performs two tasks, both cocking the striker and releasing it. Therefore the Glock is a double action only handgun. The Glock trigger breaks at 5.5 pounds by specification. Trigger reset is rapid, on the par with a 1911. The Glock trigger requires concentration. The trick is to apply compression and reset in the same rhythm. Fire, reset, fire, reset. With practice the Glock trigger is manageable.

The Glock dispenses with locking lugs but uses the SIG type lockup with the barrel hood butting into the ejection port. This is less expensive but and provides good lockup and accuracy but results in a blocky slide. The sights are OK for up close and personal but limit the use of the handgun at longer ranges. I strongly recommend the optional night sights. The rest of the Glock is unremarkable, with an external extractor and plastic recoil rod with captive spring.

The Glock 30 SF is a ten shooter with a 3.8 inch barrel. The barrel features polygonal rifling. I am ambivalent concerning polygonal rifling, I can take it or leave it. It is ok in an occasional use pistol for the author but my high volume handguns use lead bullets for economy. Lead is not recommended for polygonal rifling. The rifling is shallow and lead deposits have nowhere to go, there are no defined grooves. As such the deposits lay in the barrel and build up resulting in high pressure rather quickly. Another concern is the lack of a fully supported feed ramp. The Glock feed ramp is throated like mad. It will always feed but I would shun +P loads or enthusiastic hand loads. In short, use FMJ bullets in factory ammunition for practice and standard pressure hollow point loads for personal defense.

In range testing the M30SF felt more comfortable than the M30 in side by side comparison. But in firing tests the difference was more pronounced than the measurements would have led us to believe. I am able to handle and fire the M30SF much better than the M30. As I reported some time ago the M 30 is the only Glock that I sometimes missed the trigger safety lever in taking a rapid first shot, simply because of the girth of the grip limiting my trigger reach. The usual concerns with a short slide short grip pistol remain but the M30SF is remarkably easy to use well. The short sight radius allows the shooter to quickly focus on man sized targets at close range and make center hits.

Ammunition selection is important, as poor ammunition can confuse a test program. I began my test program with a good quantity of Fiocchi 230 grain ball ammunition. This is reliable ammunition that is often very accurate. I grooved in by firing a ten round string at ten yards as quickly as I could pull the front post back into the rear notch. I was rewarded by a nicely centered group of about four inches. When I began this drill the magazines were too stiff to allow more than nine rounds to be loaded, but with the Glock loading tool and some break in we were able to stuff ten of the pumpkin balls into the polymer magazine. For my use I will load nine rounds and save considerable spring pressure. With a round in the chamber, ten rounds in a defensive .45 is just fine.

I most often test a new .45 ACP with lead bullet hand loads, full metal jacket loads, factory JHP loads, and the +P. Considering the Glock's preferences and reputation I used only ball and JHP loads. Lead and +P types are proscribed. I used Fiocchi and Wolf ball ammunition and the Fiocchi 200 grain XTP load as well as Federal's 230 grain Hydra Shock. I concentrated on defense drills including double and triple taps and the hostage rescue drill. The level of control possible with this pistol surprised me. It is a mild handgun to fire and use compared to some. You have to concentrate upon the trigger on recoil control, but this is not a beast that needs taming. My results, and particularly my runs on steel plates, were pleasing. As for absolute accuracy at moderate range the pistol proved capable of good accuracy. It was no mean feat to fire ten rounds into four inches, off hand, at ten yards. As for absolute accuracy I used a solid bench rest and a good barricade rest to evaluate the Glock 30. I do not own a machine rest as I prefer to stay in touch with reality. I used the Fiocchi ammunition primarily, and also used a quantity of Blazer practice loads in 230 grain weight. I fired several three inch five shot groups at fifteen yards and a number slightly smaller. The record group was a two and one quarter inch effort with the Fiocchi 200 grain XTP load. 

I have carried the piece on a daily basis for weeks in the DeSantis Inner Piece holster. This inside the waistband holster features a reinforced welt as it must to allow holstering the handgun without dropping the trousers. There are dual belt loops, a good feature, and a special reinforced foot that grows form the spine to keep the relatively short M 30SF in line. This reinforcement is a good feature that keeps the holster in place. This is a relatively new design from one of our most respected makers and a good choice for any handgun.

I also tested a belt slide holster from a new maker, Tagua. This leather is affordable and the belt slide is just right for range use. I stretched the belt slide slightly to conform to the Glock 30 (the slide was probably intended for the Glock M 22, etc) and the belt slide offered a comfortable platform for range work. It is affordable and does the business.

I also tested the Surefire X 300 rail light with the Glock 30. While it looks a bit odd as it extends well past the muzzle, the light gave good results and remained secure during a modest firing trail. Overall, this is a good light that should appeal to those who like to illuminate.

Before you begin to quickly draw a Glock from concealed carry, be certain you know what you are about. I proceeded slowly but in a relatively short period I found I could exhibit real speed with the Glock. It came on target quickly and the probability of a first shot hit is high. With standard velocity practice ammunition long range sessions are not tiring. If you have long fingers or a large hand then the original Model 30 is just fine. If like most of us you have average size hands the Model 30SF is just what you have been looking for.

R.K. Campbell

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Click pictures for a larger version.


At moderate range the Glock 30SF is practically as accurate as most service pistols. The Glock .45 is not tiring to use in long range sessions.



The new Glock is subtly reconfigured, with a 3mm shorter trigger reach than the Glock 30.



The Glock Short Frame is a good addition to the Glock line, showing Glock is willing to accommodate Ďdigitally challengedí shooters.



The Glock compacts are subtly redesigned with a barrel that tilts a little more than the larger handgun to accommodate the shorter recoil stroke.



The Glock take down system is not the authorís favorite but works well enough. Here, the Glock is field stripped into the major components.



The Glock recoil spring assembly offers a kind of shock buffer that no doubt adds to the pistolís efficiency.



The Glock is fat! Compared to a 1911 .45 the difference in slide width is obvious.



Tagua Leatherís belt slide is affordable and well done. It came to our rescue in range work.



The DeSantis Inner Piece is among the best designed and executed inside the waistband holsters the author has tested in some time. This is good kit.



Drawing from the DeSantis Inner Piece was sharp for an IWB but practice is a requirement.



The Surefire X 300, Surefireís newest, is a good addition to the Glock, giving 24 hour utility.