Why The World’s Militaries Love The Glock
For much of the mid-twentieth century, handgun development was in a period of stagnation. The development of the semiautomatic pistol had ushered in a new weapon that, although more complex than a revolver, had a higher ammunition capacity. Quickly adopted by armies around the world, the steel-framed semiautomatic reigned for decades. Then, in the 1980s, something came along that disrupted the firearms industry: the Glock pistol. Today it’s carried by armies worldwide, from the U.S. Army Rangers to the British Armed Forces.
The story of the Glock began in February 1980, when the Austrian army was looking to replace antiquated, World War II–era Walther P-38 handguns with something new. Gaston Glock, an Austrian citizen who ran a small business producing field knives and blades for the Austrian Army, overheard a conversation between two Austrian Army colonels and learned the Army was in the process of searching for a new pistol.
According to Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun, Glock asked the minister of defense whether or not his shop could compete, and the answer was, “Yes, why not?”
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Glock knew nothing about handguns. He had spent two or three days in World War II as a conscript teenager in the Wehrmacht, but that had had no practical benefit for him. The machine shop owner went out and purchased a number of competing pistols, including the Italian Beretta 92F, the Swiss-German Sig Sauer P220, the Czech CZ75 and a modern version of the Walther P-38, the P-1. Glock took the weapons home and studied them, how they worked and how they were constructed. He also consulted firearms specialists, soliciting them for ideas on what they would like to see …read more
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