GLOCK 30SF 45 ACP
The G30SF is one of the easiest-to-shoot 45 caliber pistols we’ve found, and considering the presence of night sights and accessory rail, one of the cheapest, too.
In the January 2007 issue we tested a Glock 30. The suffix SF indicates just a few changes from the original G30 model. Glock told us that there were some internal changes, but we think only one or two of them will be important to the shooter, depending on whether you have a model G30SF or the larger G21SF fit with the optional ambidextrous magazine release. (The G21SF with ambidextrous release requires a different magazine.)
Glock night sights were an inexpensive upgrade well worth the extra money. Total suggested retail price over the base model was about $50, including the extended slide release.
In our earlier test of the G30 we wished it had an extended slide release and night sights. For this test we ordered a pistol with all options in tow, including the aforementioned extended magazine release.
Our G30SF had an extended magazine release on the left side only. So, anyone changing from the standard model to the SF frame can continue to use the original-issue magazines. The most significant difference between the G30 and the G30SF was that each of the SF pistols is fit with what the manufacturer calls a "short" grip. The difference to our hands was the way it socked into the hollow of the shooter’s palm. Between the standard model G30 and SF variation we measured an identical trigger span. But due to the 0.20-inch reduction in grip circumference measured at the palm swell, we think our shooters had an easier time addressing the trigger. By this we mean it was easier to hold the gun with a firm grip yet isolate the trigger finger and maintain a free, relaxed stroke.
The primary difference between the G30 and G30SF pistols was the short frame that settled deeper into the shooter’s palm, making it easier to maintain a solid grip on the pistol. This also helped the shooter isolate and better control the trigger finger.
Field stripping the Glock 30SF required no extra pins or tools, but a little dexterity was required. At the same time we moved the slide rearward about one-quarter inch, we had to pull down on the dual latches located on both sides of the frame above the trigger guard. Then we had to press the trigger and pull the slide forward off the frame. It required a little practice.
Underneath was a dual spring-plunger guide-rod assembly. But unlike the assemblies found in our two 1911s, both springs were captured and we could remove the unit easily by compressing it slightly from its rearward edge. During reassembly you have to make sure the rear of the guide rod assembly is seated all the way down against the barrel lug. The slide locked it self into place automatically when slid on to the frame.
In its unloaded condition the G30SF was the lightest gun in the test by about 6 ounces. Loaded with the eleven 165-grain Federal ammunition (to produce the lightest payload), the Glock weighed in at 33.3 ounces. This was still lighter than its competitors. The Springfield Armory pistol was 37.5 ounces with seven rounds (6+1) aboard and 38.3 ounces using a seven-round magazine, or 7+1). The Kimber weighed 37.5 ounces fully loaded with 7+1 rounds. Despite its boxy profile, the Glock was also the narrowest of our three pistols. How is that possible? The reason: How we measure maximum width, which includes the ambidextrous thumb safeties that protrude from the sides of the 1911s. In terms of width that more directly affects concealment, slide width alone of our two 1911s was about 0.90 inches across. The Glock’s top end was a little more than 1.1 inches wide.
If there is any key benefit to the square profile of the Glock slide, it was apparent in close quarters. Somewhere between pure point-shooting and sighted fire, the profile of the rear of the slide can be used to aim the gun effectively. One additional feature found only on the Glock pistol was the presence of a short accessory rail forward of the trigger guard.
Besides the polymer frame, the biggest difference was the Glock’s striker-fire system. The SafAction trigger provides drop-safe operation and locks out the firing mechanism until the lever on the face of the trigger is compressed. The key to safe operation of the Glock pistol is to leave the index finger outside the trigger guard until you have sights on a verified target. Only those operators with the very largest hands will have difficulty racing their finger past the trigger guard in an emergency, in our view.
One danger shared by every pistol is ignition caused by an obstruction, such as a shirttail, getting pulled inside the trigger guard while holstering. Danger for the 1911 operator can be avoided by activating the thumb safety. The operator of a double action gun can detect the problem by covering the hammer while pushing the gun down into the holster. If the hammer moves you’ve got a problem. Unfortunately, striker-fired pistols offer no such warning.
At the range we found the sights to be clear and the gun eager to shoot. It didn’t matter if we fired offhand or from a rest. No malfunctions of any kind occurred throughout our test of the G30SF. Firing from the sandbags we discovered a principle that was related to the hinged trigger. The tendency to relax the hands when shooting from support was naturally offset by the need to maintain a solid grip throughout the process of steering the front sight over the duration of the long trigger pull. This served to prevent any type of malfunction related to a weak grip.
Whether we were actually in danger of jamming the gun, we’ll never know but we did manage to print five-shot groups that varied in size from 1.1 inches to 2.3 inches across for all shots fired. The Winchester USA 230-grain FMJ rounds showed the least variation in group size, and the 185-grain Winchester Silvertip hollowpoints produced the smallest single group of the test.
Fired standing unsupported from 15 yards, our test shooter landed all seven shots on the 8.5-inch by 11-inch paper target with four shots in the black including two shots in the X-ring.
Originally Published In August 2008.