Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Glock 30 in .45acp, A Review and Comparison

Today's Guest Blogger is Carteach0. He's a teacher and, not surprisingly, his well written posts are incredibly informative. He claims that "He's just this guy," but we see a well spoken educator with a wealth of knowledge on firearms and reloading. Here, we present his review of the Glock 30 subcompact pistol chambered in .45ACP

Here in Carteach0 land, carry pistols have varied little over the years. In fact, they amount to three choices, depending on various factors. A Colt Combat Commander in .45acp, a Taurus model 85 snubby in .38 special, and a Smith + Wesson M+P 9c compact 9mm. 95% of the time the M+P won the draw, and was in my holster as I left the house.

The M+P has features I approve of in a carry pistol. Ease of operation tops the list, as it has no external safeties to deal with. The only controls that need be learned are the trigger, the magazine release, and the slide release. The M+P is also as reliable as any autoloader, and better than most. It gobbles up just about any ammunition, both factory and hand loads, and shoots them straight. It’s an accurate pistol… very accurate considering its size.

One builder glaringly missing from the CCW list is Glock, a pistol chosen by a great many people as their carry and duty weapon. A lot of folks swear by the Glock, speaking of unending dependability and ease of service. A few people swear at the Glock, calling it a plastic brick, and giving it the nickname ‘The Block’.

For most of my shooting life I fell squarely in the second group. The Glock series of pistols felt odd in my hand, and didn’t point instinctively. When I was young, my friends did a group buy on model 17’s, way back when they first came out. I opted out of the buy… and stuck with my old Colt. I still have the Colt, but their Glocks were sold or traded long ago. It wasn’t that I had anything against the Glock pistols…. they just felt wrong to my hand, and rather toy like.

Perhaps it was the years of experience with the S+W M+P, but the last time I looked at a cabinet full of Glocks, I didn’t turn away. Asking to handle a few of them, I found the new ‘SF’ models have a redesigned frame, and suddenly the Glock didn’t feel quite so ‘wrong’. Looking further, I encountered the Glock Model 30. It’s a compact CCW or backup pistol with a double stack magazine holding ten rounds of…. Oh My! The one true caliber! My old favorite, the beloved .45 acp.

Comparing the Mdl 30 to the M+P 9c on my belt, I found them to be akin in size. The Glock is slightly stockier, and slightly thicker, but only just barely. For man with big hands, as I have, the chunkier grip is welcome. The M+P 9c holds 13 rounds of 9x19mm, while the Glock 30 holds 11 rounds of .45acp (ten in the magazine and one in the pipe). Both come with decent sights, and both are available with night sights. Crimson Trace makes lasers for both as well.

The triggers are also comparable, with a slight nod to the M+P in crispness. Still, the new model Glock has a decent trigger, and is quite controllable in let off.

Both pistols have a minimum of external controls. The M+P has a take down lever on the left side, while the Glock uses the miniscule tabs on both sides of the frame. Other than that, they offer the same manual of arms. Immediately noted was the firmness of the magazine release on the Glock, as compared to the S+W. The M+P compact has had issues with magazine drops due to the design of the magazine catch. Clearly that is not an issue for the Glock, as it takes a firm gesture to release the magazine. It does not feel like it could happen accidentally.

Speaking of magazines… the M+P uses a steel magazine with a plastic base, while the Glock uses an all plastic magazine with a steel inner liner. The M+P magazine is easy to load, but the Glock…. is not. The tenth round going into the Glock magazine can be a real struggle. On the other hand, the Glock 30 feeds that ammunition as surely as night follows day, so the spring tension must work out just fine.

Shooting on the range, I found the M+P to be a pleasure as always. Easy to shoot well, accurate, and almost eager to put the bullet right where the shooter intends. The Glock, on the other hand, turned out to be a real surprise to this old skeptic. I had expected fair accuracy, and fair shootability considering it’s a small sized pistol firing a fairly large bullet. What I found instead was astounding accuracy, rivaling the Colt Commander. The Glock 30 also manages to absorb the recoil pulse in such a way as to make repeat shots relatively easy. All in all, a very pleasant surprise was dished up by the little Glock.

I managed to try two brands of factory ammunition in the Glock, and six different hand loads. It cycled all without a hitch. Even rather warm hand loads pushing Berries plated bullets turned out to be accurate, and that was a real surprise as well. The Glock uses polygonal rifling, and the company states categorically that only jacketed bullets are to be used. The Berries bullet is plated soft lead, and there was some doubt as whether they’d shoot in the Glock. Not only did they shoot well, but the bore looked pristine after fifty rounds of the snappy hand load.

In a blatant attempt to force a misfeed, I even shot a few dozen rounds loaded with the old Speer 200 grain hollow point. Dubbed ‘The Flying Ashtray’, these bullets had the largest

hollow point ever seen in a factory bullet. No longer available, Speer now sells the excellent line of ‘Gold Dot’ bullets instead.

The Glock digested the Speer ashtrays, and as if to sneer right back at me, spit the old style bullets into its tightest group yet. The bullet holes clumped together in a cluster just half the apparent width of the front sight from the fifty foot bench I was leaning on.

In roughly two hundred rounds of testing, the Glock 30 did not suffer one feeding or functional glitch. This was new from the box, as Glock delivers their pistols properly lubed and ready to go. I did nothing more than run a dry patch through the bore.

The Glock 30 is not without its detractors. Some owners of the SF (short frame) model have run into a problem with the slide rubbing on the trigger bar. I intentionally did not clean this example through several range sessions in order to let evidence accumulate. On stripping the pistol down, I did see a tiny shiny spot on the trigger bar where some have described it. It’s very slight indeed, and I doubt will be a problem so bad that a little polishing won’t cure it.

Cleaning is fairly easy with the Glock, and take down requires no tools. It does require brains, and a careful attention to detail. It's not that the procedure is complicated, but that it requires pulling the trigger to release the striker. Obviously, if this done with a round in the chamber bad things may happen. Not the least of which is embarrassment, and someone could easily be injured or killed. The answer? Just be smarter than a rock, and check to be sure the weapon is not loaded!

In holsters, a Dun Hume designed for the Glock is on order, but in the meantime I found it fits perfectly in the Galco JAK slide I used for both my M+P and my Commander. The pistol carries well, and does not drag down the belt at all. The chubby little spare magazine easily drops into a pocket, giving a total of twenty one rounds on hand. This compares well to the twenty five the M+P 9c offered, with a spare magazine. Given that it’s twenty one rounds of proven bad guy stopping .45acp…. that’s comforting indeed.

Regarding the subject of caliber and carry weapons, I refuse to enter the debate. My own thoughts are quite simple…. Any weapon is better than no weapon, any hit is better than any miss, and bigger bullets are always better. But… there is that old adage… “A 9mm might expand to .45, but a .45 will never shrink to 9mm”. I will say that the .45acp is one caliber that I don’t feel under-gunned with when carrying full metal jacket round nose slugs. Even these low tech bullets have a good stopping history in the .45acp.

To wrap the story up… the Glock 30 feels decent, shoots very straight, and if it lives up to the tradition of Glock dependability, it will join my list of regular carry pistols.

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