Federal Ammunition Announces an All-New Handgun Cartridge: 30 Super Carry


30 Super Carry: Compact Goes Big

Federal’s new high-performance 30 Super Carry handgun cartridge delivers 9mm Luger terminal performance using a smaller case to provide big benefits for concealed carry.

Every day, a large percentage of those who conceal and carry opt for a 9mm Luger or 380 Auto. The former is due to its effective power and terminal performance, and the latter for its compact size and ease of concealment. However, both have limitations. The 380 Auto has always been criticized for its limited power and terminal performance. And any 9mm Luger shooter would like to have more rounds in their magazine, or a smaller frame gun for easier carry.

So, what if there was a new option that blended the strengths and eliminated the weaknesses? A cartridge that utilizes a smaller case than 9mm but has the same power and performance? That solution is now a reality. Enter the new 30 Super Carry cartridge, designed and manufactured by the experts at Federal Ammunition.

Size & Performance

The new cartridge uses a .312-inch bullet. This narrower diameter allows for additional 30 Super Carry rounds in the magazine—two more in initially available handguns. Pistols chambered in 30 Super Carry and built using cartridge-specific frames (as opposed to existing 9mm Luger frames) will maximize capacity while maintaining a narrower and shorter grip than 9mm pistols for easier concealability.

When fired with a 3.5-inch barrel through FBI bare gel protocol, the .312-inch-diameter, 100-grain 30 Super Carry HST expands to .590 inch and penetrates 12 inches, while the 124-grain 9mm Luger HST expands to .650 inch and penetrates 13.1 inches. In the FBI’s heavy clothing protocol, the same 30 Super Carry HST expands to .530 inch and penetrates 15.5 inches; the 9mm Luger expands to .571 inch and penetrates 14.5 inches. You get a full inch better penetration than the average 9mm and more than 2 inches better penetration than the average 380 Auto defensive ammo. This penetration is partially due to the 30 Super Carry’s increased velocity and smaller frontal area that reduces drag. 

In terms of energy, 30 Super Carry generates between 336 and 347 foot-pounds of at the muzzle, which is like the 9mm Luger, which averages 347 foot-pounds, and handily exceeds the 380 Auto’s 202 foot-pounds.

Beyond power concerns, the cartridge is comfortable to shoot. Recoil is on par to similar weight 9mm Luger pistols, and muzzle flash is comparable with both rounds. Pistols chambered in 30 Super Carry have a slightly faster report, but volume is almost the same as a 9mm. In short, it’s a fast-cycling, fun-to-shoot cartridge that’s also very accurate.    

Current & Future Designs

Pistols currently chambered in Federal 30 Super Carry include Nighthawk Custom’s President and GRP 1911 pistols and Smith & Wesson’s M&P Shield Plus and M&P Shield EZ. Both Smith & Wesson Shield pistols increase magazine capacity by two rounds compared to their 9mm counterparts (although the M&P is based on a 9mm frame at the moment and, as such, guns chambered in both cartridges are the same size). Both Nighthawk Custom 30 Super Carry pistol models are equipped with 12-round magazines, two more than their 9mm counterparts. Look for additional brands to offer new 30 Super Carry pistols in 2022. Eventually models with 30 Super Carry specific frames will arrive, which will reduce the pistol’s footprint.

In the future, expect more target ammunition offerings priced roughly the same as comparable 380 Auto loads as competitive shooters embrace the cartridge. As a side note, 30 Super Carry’s design makes it ideal for pistol caliber carbines.

Why Now?

Amid a historic surge in ammo demand, the question is the elephant in the room: Why release an altogether new cartridge now?

For starters, much of the demand that’s fueled ammunition scarcity is coming from America’s more than 12 million new gun owners, with 2020 and 2021 being the top years for gun sales on record. Many of those newcomers are looking for a self-defense pistol and the 30 Super Carry is an ideal choice, especially since it could be built on smaller, lighter pistol frames than 9mm without generating recoil or muzzle blast at levels that might intimidate new shooters.

Next, 30 Super Carry’s introduction is truly unique. While most new cartridges initially struggle with availability before production catches up with growing demand, 30 Super Carry will hit the ground running with not only loads from Federal but also sister brands Speer, Blazer and Remington. In fact, it’s the first time in history so many manufacturers have offered loads for a new cartridge on Day 1.

Federal American Eagle and Remington UMC will both offer 100-grain FMJ target ammunition with a muzzle velocity of 1,250 fps, while Blazer Brass is offering a 115-grain FMJ 30 Super Carry target load with a muzzle velocity of 1,150 fps. For self-defense applications, Federal is offering a 100-grain HST HP 30 Super Carry load at 1,250 fps, and Remington is offering a 100-grain HTP JHP at 1,230 fps. Speer will offer 30 Super Carry in its Gold Dot line, and that load will fire a 115-grain bullet at 1,150 feet per second (all velocities accomplished through 3.5-inch barrel).

Closing Thoughts

Federal’s 30 Super Carry cartridge carries like a 380 and hits like a 9mm, which means shooters can reduce their pistol’s footprint and increase capacity without sacrificing performance. As with the 380 Auto, 30 Super Carry pistols can be concealed under light clothing and are suitable for year-round carry. However, with ballistics that mirror the 9mm, there’s no doubt regarding the 30 Super Carry’s effectiveness for self-defense.

With a higher capacity and smaller frame size than the 9mm but with similar muzzle blast, recoil and terminal performance, 30 Super Carry offers a decided advantage over the older cartridge. Federal Ammunition has 100 years of experience producing ammunition and is the ideal company to develop a better concealed carry cartridge for the next generation of self-defense pistols, and that’s exactly what the company has accomplished with this introduction. With so many advantages over existing cartridges, 30 Super Carry stands to revolutionize self-defense

Quotes from Federal Ammunition Handgun Ammunition Product Director Mike Holm:

“We’re looking at that self-defense marketplace and we’re saying what do those people want?

What are they really asking for from the marketplace?”

“We knew that being able to carry more ammunition in your firearm was important.”

“Concealability was very important. If a firearm isn’t uncomfortable to carry or it’s not very easy to conceal you might not have it with you. And if it’s not with you, it’s not doing you any good.”

“The popular smaller guns are 380s. You can go up to 40, 45 but then you’re into the bigger frame guns.”

“There’s a pretty big performance gap between the 9mm and the .380 Auto.”

“One of the things that we had done in previous years was look at how we could make the 380 a more effective self-defense round.”

“We were trying to make 380 as effective as we can. So, what if we could do something that was in the middle, right? Between 380 and 9mm? And could you do something that would be effective from a terminal performance standpoint, good for defense and easy to carry? What happened is we got the 30 Super Carry design.”

“What we found was we didn’t have to go in the middle. We can actually get ballistics and terminal performance that match 9mm performance with a smaller form factor. That allows us to increase magazine capacity in standard size guns. We can also develop guns for the round where you can get a smaller frame that offer 9mm performance.”

“We’re getting near 50,000 PSI from this cartridge. People have asked how it was to shoot, and it’s pleasant, it’s like a 9mm. I can’t really tell the difference.”

“More rounds, more convenience, and more concealability are the hallmarks of the 30 Super Carry.”

“This round carries like a .380 and hits like a 9mm. We’re getting 1.9 times expansion for the 30 Super Carry and 1.95 for 9mm.”

“It’s not even fair to talk about the 30 Super Carry against 380. It’s just so far past what 380 does.”


Q: How do 30 Super Carry’s velocity and energy compare to 9mm Luger?

A: They are extremely similar. The 100-grain 30 Super Carry HST carries 347 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle and has a velocity of 1250 fps; the 124-grain 9mm Luger HST has 364 foot-pounds of energy and a muzzle velocity of 1150 fps.

Q: How does 30 Super Carry terminal performance compare to that of 9mm Luger?

A: Through FBI bare gel protocol, the .312-inch-diameter, 100-grain 30 Super Carry HST expands to .590 inch and penetrates 12 inches, while the 124-grain 9mm Luger HST expands to .650 inch and penetrates 13.1 inches. In the FBI’s heavy clothing protocol, the same 30 Super Carry HST expands to .530 inch and penetrates 15 ½ inches; the 9mm Luger expands to .570 inch and penetrates 14.5 inches.

Q: How does 30 Super Carry differ from cartridges like the 7.65×21 Parabellum, 7.65×20mm Longue, 32 Auto and others?

A: While there might be some coincidental similarities, 30 Super Carry was fully developed from the ground up with no parent cartridge. Utilizing modern materials and designs, it provides vastly superior performance to seemingly similar historic cartridges.

Q: What gun manufacturers are offering pistols chambered in 30 Super Carry?

A: At the time of cartridge introduction, Smith & Wesson and Nighthawk Custom will offer multiple models. They are the first of many options expected in the coming years.

Q: What is the magazine capacity benefit of 30 Super Carry over 9mm Luger?

A: In all initially available handguns from Smith & Wesson and Nighthawk Custom, 30 Super Carry offers two additional rounds per magazine over comparable 9mm Luger models.

Q: How does felt recoil compare to 9mm Luger?

A: Recoil, flash and sound report provide a very similar shooting experience to 9mm Luger

Q: How will 30 Super Carry loads be priced?

A: Pricing will be about the same as 380 Auto loaded with the same bullet type.

Q: What kind of accuracy can I expect from 30 Super Carry?

A: The cartridge has proven to be an exceptionally accurate round, typically exceeding the accuracy of other popular carry cartridges.

The contents of this article were produced by Federal and are supplied by the company. Permission is granted to copy, reformat and/or publish this article in whole or in part.


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