Handguns, firearms that are used using one hand, were known across Europe starting in the 1380s. Yes, it has been here for centuries and it is not surprising why it is here to stay.
Arguably one of the most famous handguns, named after its designer, is the Glock. Gaston Glock, an engineer and manufacturer, made this semi-automatic gun from scratch. He was able to think outside the box after considering the challenges of handgun owners in the 1980s.
The rise to fame of the Glock handguns can be attributed to the ideal combination of reliability and accuracy. I will later tackle the individual features that make this pistol outperform other handguns and consequently that make it a popular choice for many firearm owners.
In was in the year 1988 that the Glock found its way to the United States. In his book, The Rise of America’s Gun, Paul Barrett said, “Police departments were amazed when they took their officers out to the range and found out not only could they learn to use the Glock pretty quickly, but the Glock also made them more accurate as marksmen.”
One strategy that the Glock used, according to Barrett, was to be showcased on the big screen. Glocks got airtime in the 1990s show Law and Order and even in Bruce Willis’ Die Hard 2 (Die Harder). In recent years, it was prominently featured as one of the go-to guns of Keanu Reeves, in the John Wick trilogy. In fact, it was the Glock 26 that was used in the iconic bathhouse action scene.
In the US, Glock pistols are manufactured by Glock Inc., a subsidiary division of the original Austrian company. The batches from this are identical to the Austrian-made version. The only difference are the words “USA” and “AUSTRIA” on the side, depending on their respective factory of origin.
The 1982 pioneer model was the Glock 17, the original 9x19mm Parabellum model, with its standard magazine capacity of 17 rounds. Glock has since introduced a number of variants in the market. Each Glock was aimed to satisfy the needs of particular clients. For instance, the Glock 34, similar to the Glock 17L, met the maximum size requirement for action pistol sporting events. Another type, the Glock 47, is the full-sized MOS version that was designed specifically for US Customs and Border Protection.
Now let us start with the features that make the Glock unique. Unlike its predecessors, it is constructed (frame, magazine body and some components) from high-strength, nylon-based polymer. Aptly named Polymer 2, it is a plastic invention of Gaston Glock that increases the durability of the classic handgun and has proven to be more resilient than carbon steel or even other steel alloys. Polymer 2 made the Glock a lighter, yet very reliable, weapon of choice.
Due to its high-tech engineering, the Glock is shock resistant and can withstand caustic liquids and extreme temperatures where traditional steel or alloy frames would succumb. The Glock can withstand the most unforgiving environments, which contributes to its reliability in real-world scenarios.
Furthermore, the Glock can be faster than other revolvers, with a high capacity for ammunition, that can easily be reloaded, and is capable of rapid fire. It ushered in a rise in the use of semi-automatic pistols. Significantly, the Glock has fewer components in comparison with other pistols that typically have twice as many parts, which makes it easy to assemble with fewer parts to maintain. The parts are also surprisingly interchangeable, which means components can be shuffled between models. Moreover, because the Glock is much lighter, people can comfortably wear it on their hips for 8 to 10 hours.
Among its many variants, the most popular is the 9mm Glock. It is arguably the most ubiquitous handgun caliber. Its versatility and affordability make it common among concealed carry and self-defense enthusiasts. The 9 mm caliber is ideal for beginners, due to its mild recoil and magazines with higher capacity. This makes it good for practice and training purposes as there is no need for constant reloading.
In terms of safety, the Glock does not have traditional external trigger safety. It only has the main trigger and the baby trigger. Unless you depress both, the gun will not fire. It was an innovation by Gaston Glock but this is also the reason why the Glock design receives heavy criticism as the gun is always on. Yet, this is more so seen by many as an advantage of the Glock in stressful situations as the user can focus more on the current threat instead of thinking of deactivating a safety lever.
In 2003, Glock introduced a safety feature called the Internal Locking System (ILS). According to Wikipedia, “The ILS is a manually activated lock located in the back of the pistol’s grip. It is cylindrical in design and, according to Glock, each key is unique. When activated, the lock causes a tab to protrude from the rear of the grip, giving both a visual and tactile indication as to whether the lock is engaged or not. When activated, the ILS renders the Glock unfireable, as well as making it impossible to disassemble. When disengaged, the ILS adds no further safety mechanisms to the Glock pistol. The ILS is available as an option on most Glock pistols. Glock pistols cannot be retrofitted to accommodate the ILS. The lock must be factory-built in Austria and shipped as a special order.”
Depending on the model and the generation, Glock handguns are typically priced between $350 to $1000.
The Glock line of handguns is here to stay for the foreseeable future. It is no wonder why the Glock, with its meticulous design, is a staple in the arsenal of military personnel and police departments, as well as many firearm enthusiasts.
Lastly, gun ownership should always be taken seriously. If you have a gun or planning to procure one, make sure you know how to legally acquire and carry a firearm in your home state.
To further know more about the Glock system, you may refer to the Glock Handbook that I have written with Mike Pannone. It serves as a quick reference and gives in-depth discussions on all you need to learn to efficiently handle the Glock. You may get a copy of the book here. https://shop.vig-sec.com/product/glock-handbook/
Also, if you are looking for a thorough course on handling firearms, we offer basic and advanced topics on the pistol of your choice under the Tactical Pistol Course. You may click the hyperlink for more details. https://erik-lawrence.com/tactical-pistol/