With as many cartridge choices as exist today, you would think that companies would get tired of constantly trying to reinvent the wheel. But they don’t. There are new cartridges being developed all the time to fit various niches, some of which have ended up being successful, while others have faded away. One on which the jury is still out is the .30 Super Carry.
First introduced this year, the .30 Super Carry is the latest introduction to the market for concealed carry cartridges. Just as it seemed that the .40 S&W was starting to fade away and the 9mm was reasserting itself as the concealed carry cartridge of choice, Federal stepped in to introduce the .30 Super Carry.
The .30 Super Carry has taken the opposite approach to concealed carry cartridge design by introducing a cartridge that is smaller than what most people carry. But according to Federal’s claims, the cartridge offers the same energy as 9mm Luger.
It does that by operating at higher pressures, 45,000 to 52,000 PSI, versus the 35,000 of the 9mm. That’s operating at the ragged edge of what autoloading handguns can tolerate. But Federal claims that it can be done.
Factory ammunition is supposed to push a 100-grain bullet at 1,250 feet per second and a 115-grain bullet at 1,150 feet per second, for about 350 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. Handloading data indicates that the cartridge can push an 85-grain bullet to over 1,450 feet per second, for over 400 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. That rivals 9mm +P performance.
Where the cartridge could end up really shining is in pushing 50- to 75-grain solid copper bullets to velocities of 1,500 to 1,600 feet per second or more. That kind of performance even begins to rival the bigger 7.62×25 Tokarev cartridge.
The advantage of the .30 Super Carry is that because the cartridge is narrower than the 9mm Luger, firearms chambered in .30 Super Carry can carry up to 30% more ammunition. Imagine a Glock 17-type firearm with 22-round magazines, or a Glock 19 with 19-20 rounds.
One of the major downsides to the .30 Super Carry is that it is being introduced in the middle of an ammunition and handloading supply shortage. Manufacturers are up to their eyeballs in orders for 9mm, .223 Remington, .45 ACP, and .308 Winchester ammo. Backlogs are immense, primers and powder are in short supply, and ammunition availability risks killing this cartridge if shooters can’t get their hands on enough to use their guns. Right now ammunition seems to be reasonably well available, although at 40 cents per round the .30 Super Carry is significantly more expensive than 9mm, which can be found at 26-28 cents per round right now.
There also aren’t a lot of handguns chambered in .30 Super Carry yet. The few that are available aren’t the most popular on the market. Unless a Glock, SIG, or Springfield ends up being chambered in .30 Super Carry, the cartridge could remain an interesting niche cartridge that never picks up much mainstream adoption.
Still, the .30 Super Carry is an interesting study in what can be done in handgun cartridge design. And it certainly seems like it could end up sticking around for a while if enough shooters adopt it. While it’s too early to declare for certain if it is a useful survival cartridge, it certainly has the potential to become one.