Join Date: August 22, 2012
a question no one asked (G29/G30)
With all the panic buying going on, it was hard to find sales, but the occasional find made its way through. In this case it was a NIB 29SF I scored because no one wanted a compact 10mm.
I had a G29 regular frame a few years back, the SF was interesting enough to see if the ergo of the short/small/slim frame big baby Glocks was any better. I also compared it to my EDC G30.
For those of you uninitiated to the Blocks, the G29/G30 are two very similar G3.5 guns that are somewhere in size between the "baby" G26 and the "compact" G19. I say G3.5 because they already had the new G4 recoil springs. Totally new G4 models are now available of both, but that's another story.
Both are about 7'' long and about 5'' tall. The G30 comes with a factory grip extension that adds about 3/4'' to the flush G29. The slides on both are very fat, tho, close to 1.3''. There's a new G30S that uses the thinner G36 slide. The real issue isn't with the slide, it's the grip that needs to accommodate the double stack. For EDC, both are concealable, if not fat. You will feel them compared to a single stack XDs or G36.
You love or hate Blocks. Typical squared off striker fired gun. Some complain about low bore axis, the uncomfortable ergo, the angle the grip makes with the gun. I don't have any of those problems. Grip and control is fine with both gen 3s. The SF design is excellent, though. While it was designed for small hands, the "waist" of the gun is slimmer all around, as is the grip backstrap, allowing all manner of shooters go get a better grip around it. The regular frame feels like holding onto a rectangle, and bulges in all the wrong areas. If you have small hands get the SF, if you have big hands... still try the SF.
The biggest thing about any subcompact Glocks is that the grip is designed so that your pinky flaps in the breeze. Since the 29 and 30 both hold 10 rounds, and 10mm and 45 ACP are different in size, the 30 comes with a factory grip extension for your pinky--while the 29 mag fits flush and you will need an extension. Pearce makes variants which add +1 capacity or keep the stock 10 round cap, they also look OEM. Some folk complain that these extensions have a sharp "lip" to them that can pinch your finger. This can be beveled off with a dremmel or a bastard file, but I never encountered this problem.
5 pounds-ish safety trigger. Takes some getting used to, but engages smoothly and is predictable. There are better triggers out there, and DAO may not be your thing.
Both guns have 3.77'' barrels and are as accurate as anything in a similar size and design I've shot. I typically got 4'' groupings at 10-15 yards, which is comparable to Shields and XDm's. The G30 was also similarly accurate to my P245 and 3.5'' 1911s.
With standard 10mm and 45 ACP factory loads, the felt recoil is the same. The SF G29 seems easier to control and follow up. There's no serious muzzle flip as with 40 cal. Hotter buffalo bore 155 gr loads and 200 gr hard cast rounds made for big game, on the other hand, turn the G29 into a fire-breather and felt recoil becomes very noticeable, but still tolerable.
Plastic U-shaped combat sights. Great in daylight. Suck at everything else. Replace them with either Ameriglo (Glock), Meprolight, or Trijicon. Trijicon I've found to be the brightest.
-It's REALLY hard to fit all ten rounds into the G30 magazine. Even with the provided loader assist do-hickey Glock includes with the gun. The 10 round magazine is then really hard to stuff into the gun, and get it to lock, and even harder to manually chamber a round. If you plan on carrying it unchambered, I recommend using 9 rounds. (I never had a problem with the +1 chambered round cycling the slide and loading the gun from a full mag, tho). Otherwise my G30 never had a single problem with 500 rounds of all kinds of ammo (reloads, +P, JHP, FMJ).
-Trigger pull doesn't seem to require the same amount of force every time. Sometimes it feels lighter. I don't have this issue with the G29. Might be in my brain.
-One of the plastic pins in the trigger was backed out halfway when the gun was new. Pushed it in with a pen cap, and nothing happened to it after then.
-Had two jams with pricey AE ammo I got at Gander Mountain. 10mm is harder to find, but Buffalo bore, Blazer, Remington, and Winchester had no issues, so I'll attribute it to ammo and not the gun
-At one point the G29 refused to reassemble. I could not get the slide all the way back to lock it into place. My best guess is that the plastic frame had an imperfection on it that had broken off and was blocking the slide rails. A little force, and then this never happened again. Visual inspection never found a good explanation as to why this happened.
Would I get another one?
The G30 is a cheap, reliable 45 that's not any more special than anything comparable. I like the grip safety of the XDms more and the grips of the Shields.
The G29 is a very unique gun (the only widely available compact, cheap 10mm I can think of) and in SF is very accurate and easy to control. 10mm is harder to find, but exists in a wide variety of flavors that can truly bring out this gun's true potential.