Manufacturer of the Week, Gaston Glock, Glock Ges.m.b.H., Glock USA, Glock FZE, Glock A.P.

How far is the jump of evolution from making curtain rods to the best selling handgun in the world? I don’t believe his theory but maybe Darwin was onto something. So goes the story of Gaston Glock and one of the greatest handguns ever designed. The neatly organized sock drawer of firearms manufacturing pulled from the dresser and dumped upside down on the floor.

Before we go to much further, I must come clean. I was the biggest anti-Glock person you would ever meet–was. I remember as a police officer when the Glocks made its appearance. I was not impressed and as I often do, I waited until it was proven by the hardest test of all–time. One of the most embarrassing things about my dislike for the Glock was its looks. I too became an Internet firearms aficionado. It does not matter what a tool looks like, it only matters how well it works-and how you the artist are capable of using that tool. Shame on me.

This weapons system has proven its worth over time. In 1980 the Austrian military called for a firearm with over 17 high-level standards. Just reading those requirements should give you the warm  fuzzies. If this, or any other gun, could do this it would be a force to reckon with. In 1982 an engineer making a considerable amount of money-producing curtain rings and knives-assembled a team of handgun experts. How long did the prototype for the next great handgun take? Years? Within three weeks, a working prototype was on the table. Less than a month to put a dent in the entrenched firearms industry.

A void existed due to the failure of the Austrian firearms company Steyr to come up with an adequate replacement for the aging Walther P-38. Legend has it that Mr. Glock overheard a conversation about this need. He had neither worked with or even owned a firearm. Furthermore, his curtain rings were not plastic they were metal along with his knives. His business was a metal fabrication shop.

Like many engineers, his mind started working on the problem. He was advised several times to abandon the idea as he was not a gun-guy. He has often said the fact that he was not a gun-guy may have been to his advantage; take that you range and Internet know-it-alls. He bought a Beretta 92F, CZ 75, Walther P-38 and an offering from H&K and Sig-Sauer and went to work.

One of those groundbreaking ideas was the use of plastics or polymers. This idea caused quite the uproar and I remember it well. The gun was known as the terrorist special as it was believed the plastics would be undetectable by metal detectors at the airport and other places using preventative security. This proved to be false as much of the gun was metal and is easily detectable. The other complaint was the plastic frame was weak and could break or bend if very cold or hot, respectively. Well that didn’t pan out in the slightest. In fact, this design became so durable in so many atmospheric conditions, I believe it is the best all-weather all-purpose sidearm. No only did it survive, find a firearms-related company that does not have a contribution in polymers these days.

The second innovation would stand the industry up on its end-no hammer or external safeties. While this had existed in revolvers for some time, the idea that a pistol would have no hammer or visible safety created a stir. For someone like me, this was a bit disturbing at first and I closely followed the Internet diatribes. It occurred to me at some point that for years I had carried a handgun everyday with no external safety-a revolver. I then realized with the internal safeties of a Glock it was possibly safer than a revolver, one just keeps the booger-hooker off the bang-switch unless you intended to make it go boom-old lesson.

When Gaston Glock arrived at his 17th production model he had his pistol and thus it was named the Glock 17. Ironically, it has a magazine capacity of 17 rounds as well but the name comes from the 17th design. The gun was released in the Austrian nation in 1985 later to most of the world. The United States failed to adopt this firearm when it transitioned from the venerable 1911 in favor of the Beretta 92F/M9. I believe that was a mistake even though I am a huge Beretta fan and proudly own a Beretta M9. The Glock is responsible for almost 70 percent of all law enforcement personnel every day in this country. Glock has a factory in the United States and it is produced here in this country as well as in the UAE, South America, Hong Kong and of course Austria. I believe it is the most utilized and important handgun in the world today. This coming from a guy who carries a 1911 .45 ACP every time my feet walk out the door of my home.

Gaston Glock was a genius. The firearms that bear his namesake are the finest example of ingenuity, practicality and endurance. They only keep getting better with each new generation. From a person who was the biggest Glock persecutor, the light on the road to Damascus has blinded me. I am a believer. I do not own one but I will correct that misstep this year by getting my very own Glock 23.

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Comments (7)

  1. If you like the 1911 in .45ACP then you must try a G21. They are much safer when you just KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER!!! I have seen what kind of accidents can happen with a 1911 carried with a round in the chamber, hammer cocked and the safety on (condition 1). That safety can get wiped off very easily and when that happens you are just a slight touch (or drop)away from shooting someone you might care for. The glock only requires one thing and that is don’t touch the trigger unless you mean business. What handgun maker has not copied the Glock to some extent? I can’t think of any.

  2. My first experience with the Glock was the 26 and to this day I find it to be one of the top 2-3 choices for small-compact hi-cap CCW 9mm’s. I use a P11 for that very same small-compact hi-cap 9mm only because I bought it ten years back when money was very tight right out of school (no regrets on the P11, however, as it’s been more than I expected). Yet if money were not a key variable I would opt for the 26 though it’s a bit bulkier no doubt (only because I “think” it would be more durable in the “long-run” say 10K+ rounds–then again, a small-compact pistol isn’t rally meant to be a hi-volume range gun). But to me the real selling point of a Glock is their mags are the most reliable of all manufactures I have personally used. I have a couple of Kel-Tec Sub-2000’s and they’ll run all day long just swapping one Glock mag after another…

  3. Glock? Glock? of course. I own two 23’s and if I had a reason to I’d own 3. It is so easy to clean and care for it it’s like an AK. I bought a Ruger and noticed how much like the Glock design it is. While talking to the factory guy one day I mentioned my Ruger and it’s similarity. The Glock guy said, “ya, seems others are comming over to our design”. I can see why.
    As far as safety, I never have had a problen and pray I never will with this or any gun. We have to be very careful with all guns of course. I had a uncle that shot himself with a 30-30 Winchester in the fore arm. To this day we can’t figure out how he did that. There is risks with all machinery.
    I applaud Mr. Glock.

  4. Let me be the first to say that, I LOVE my GLOCK 21sf. This fine weapon has been my primary sidearm for about 4 1/2yrs. This gun is beautiful in its design, and simplicity. I have added so many custom parts, and been able to so easily understand the design and mechanics of it. Everyone should own a GLOCK. Oh and you cant beat the reliability and good looks.

  5. I still have my first Gen Glock 19. Its a joy to shoot and reliable. However, I’d never use it as conceal carry and would never recommend one for a first time pistol owner. The trigger safety (or drop safety) is just not “safe” for most people.

    A pistol is useless if you dont have one in the pipe ready to go so with a Glock you have to constaintly exercise good gun safety and keep your finger out of the trigger well until you are ready to shoot. Most people can’t seem to do that so the design is inherently unsafe.

    Last summer a guy working on industrial AC units in Ohio moved his conceal carry Glock over as it was getting in his way. Somehow it went off and blew off most of his manhood. That aint happening with a 1911 or Sig. A few years back at a local gun club a guy who taught gun safety accidentally shot his daughter and her best friend with a Glock when he got complacent and failed to keep his barrel pointed down range as he pulled the slide back. He also had his figer in the trigger well. The pistol discharged. True, both are examples of stupidity but you can only be vigilant for short periods of time. Better to have a gun with a hammer.

    1. @DB Cooper – with all due respect, your comment has so many things wrong about it. In a nutshell, it makes me concerned that you are carrying any gun at all.

      I do agree with you that a Glock isn’t a gun for a first time shooter, but that’s where we end. I completely disagree that it is not safe for “most” shooters. B.S. There are probably millions of Glocks in this country, many of them carried by the owners ever day, and how many accidental discharges are there?

      Then you say that you have to constantly exercise good gun safety and keep your finger off the trigger, and since most people can’t to this, the Glock is unsafe. So you’re saying it’s OK to exercise poor gun safety and put your finger on the trigger, if it’s another gun besides Glock. That’s terrible, and THAT’S the first thing that makes me think you shouldn’t carry a gun at all.

      Then next you imply that poor weapons handling won’t cause a discharge on a 1911 or Sig (and yes, this is exactly what you imply). Again, this is B.S., and if this is what you think, then you shouldn’t be carrying a gun.

      Then you’re going to blame a Glock because an idiot was pointing his loaded gun at his daughter and friend? WOW. That’s completely the Glock’s fault, right? I don’t care what gun you have, that is the BASIS of gun safety, you NEVER point a gun at something you don’t wish to destroy. Just for doing this, it marks the guy as an imbecile and discredits any other action he would take. It makes no difference what gun he has, he was going to kill someone.

      Finally, your comment, “You can only be vigilant for short periods of time.” That’s the biggest bunch of BS. Are you kidding me? You can only be vigilant in keeping your finger off the trigger for so long. WOW. This is the final and biggest reason you should not be owning or carrying a gun. If you believe these things that you type, I feel sorry for your family, friends and anyone around you, because you are an accident waiting to happen. I urge you to find another hobby, for the sake of those around you.

      Finally, your last line is way out in left field. How does a hammer prevent idiots from pointing a loaded gun at someone, mishandling a firearm, or putting their finger on the trigger?

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