Many new products from the 2022 SHOT Show were pleasantly surprising. Federal Ammunition introduced a brand-new self-defense pistol cartridge — the 30 Super Carry — along with Smith & Wesson handguns to camber the rounds.
Micro-compact 9mm handguns have peaked in terms of development. You can only stuff so many 9mm rounds into a magazine before a micro-compact firearm is no longer compact. The new 30 Super Carry offers two additional rounds over 9mm or .380 ACP magazines of the same size. Working with S&W, Federal was able to create a relatively low-recoiling cartridge. The .30 won’t beat you up when fired from micro-compacts and still possesses great terminal effects and accuracy potential.
About 30 Super Carry from Federal Ammunition
The .30 Super Carry is currently available in two loads from Federal, both capped with 100-grain bullets. The FMJ FP Practice load under the American Eagle Banner is loaded in a polished brass case. And Federal’s dedicated self-defense version is loaded with an HST bullet in a nickel-plated case for ultra-reliable feeding and ejection.
Factory published velocity and energy statistics for both versions are 1,250 feet per second and 347 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. While the Super Carry is not an “atom-smasher,” it outperforms the .380 ACP and most .38 Special loads. Plus, it runs right up there with standard pressure 124-grain 9mm loads. Federal supplied me with quantities of both options for testing.
Smith & Wesson’s M&P Shields
Currently, S&W offers two compact pistols chambered for .30 Super Carry: the M&P Shield Plus and M&P Shield EZ. I requested the Shield EZ due to its longer 3.6-inch barrel. The Shield Plus barrel is only 3.1 inches. I wanted to wring the most velocity potential out of the .30 Super Carry as possible. (I also really liked the EZ design.)
The EZ’s single-column magazine normally holds eight rounds when chambered in 9mm or .380. The .30 Super Carry chambering boosts that capacity to 10 rounds without any dimensional changes! The Shield EZ came with two 10-round single-stack magazines, complete with loading tabs on each side to assist in reaching full capacity.
Testing the 30 Super Carry in the S&W Shield EZ
I first did a quick test of accuracy and function at a friend’s range prior to carrying the Shield. I loaded up the magazines with the American Eagle FMJ practice ammo and the Federal HST ammo.
My initial impression was that the .30 Super Carry cartridge performed just as advertised. Because the bullet weight is 100 grains as opposed to 115 or 124-grains the felt recoil was distinctly reduced. Accuracy was excellent for a pistol of this size, with 20-foot groups running in the 2.5-inch range. The EZ functioned without failure.
After carrying the EZ for a couple of weeks, I can report that carrying a lightweight pistol holding a total of 11 rounds of ammo felt nice. The slim 1.05-inch-wide frame and slide reduced print, reminding me there is still an advantage to single-stack pistols.
In about another week, I managed to get the .30 Super Carry EZ Combo out to the Briar Rabbit Range to test on steel plates. I first ran the American Eagle ammo across the chronograph to see how much velocity would be lost from the 3.6-inch Shield EZ barrel versus a 4-inch test barrel. The average velocity was 1,193 feet per second. That’s a loss of 57 from the published velocity but still keeps the .30 Super Carry well within the 9mm power envelope.
I found the 100-grain 30 Super Carry rounds to be as effective as standard-pressure 115- and 124-grain 9mm rounds in knocking over the standard round steel plates.
Final Testing and Thoughts
I finished testing with a shot fired into the 25-pound clay block using the Federal HST hollow-point. The performance was impressive. Fragments of the bullet penetrated the 10-inch length of the block and left behind a whopping 6-inch cavity, as measured from top to bottom at its widest point. I had only expected a 4- to 4.5-inch cavity. This kind of explosive performance is mostly due to the design of the Federal HST projectile, which is definitely a round to consider for self-defense in any handgun caliber.
The new .30 Super Carry isn’t hype. It performs as advertised and then some. It is a great chambering for the S&W Shield pistols. I would love to see Smith & Wesson chamber the large M&P M2.0 Compact for it. The extra 9 ounces of weight and increased size should make this a phenomenal tack driver, while delivering the .30 Super Carry’s full 1,250 feet per second velocity potential. I hope other manufacturers and consumers jump on the bandwagon as well.