In 1963, Gaston Glock founded a plastics company near Vienna Austria. His moderately successful company primarily manufactured plastic curtain rod rings along with various other plastic products. Soon, Mr. Glock realized the strength and durability that could be realized by combining plastic and steel for particular military products and he began supplying the Austrian military with various tools and components. When two military Colonels were visiting in 1981 to oversee the manufacturing of plastic grenade components, Mr Glock overheard the military officials lamenting the fact that no one could manufacture military pistols that would meet their specifications.
Mr. Glock interjected, saying that he could produce the pistols. The military men laughed at him. But Gaston Glock is not someone who tolerates being laughed at. He immediately set to work in his basement designing a pistol that would not only meet but exceed the requirements of the Austrian military.
Glock had no experience building pistols before. If you ask him, that was an advantage. Despite Glock’s inexperience in manufacturing small arms, they were nevertheless invited to participate in the bidding process. Glock’s revolutionary design so impressed the military evaluators, that in 1983, the Austrian army ordered 25,000 Glock pistols.
In 1985, Glock established a factory in Smyrna, Georgia so that they could better serve the United States firearm market. The Glock 17 became enormously popular in the United States and was readily adopted by law enforcement agencies.
Around the same time, GLOCK developed their second model handgun, the G18 machinepistol. The G18 was based off of the G17, but had a selector switch on the back of the slide that allowed the firearm to fire in semi- or full-auto. Because of its small size and extremely high cyclic rate (1,200 RPM) the G18 was never widely used.
Glock’s popularity increased demands from consumers for a compact model that could be easily concealed. In 1988 Glock released the G19, a compact 9mm. Despite the smaller frame of the G19, it still had a 15 round capacity. It was around this time that Glock also built a plant in Hong Kong to meet demand from Southeast Asia, as well as a second factory in Austria.
Soon, Glock released their big bore models, the G20 and G21 in 10mm and .45 ACP, respectively. These large pistols gained a huge following from American consumers who valued them for their large caliber stopping power. When the FBI developed their .40 caliber round with Smith and Wesson, Glock answered in 1990 with the G22 and G23. The G22 was a full sized .40 caliber handgun, and the G23 was the compact model. Later that year a fourth Glock factory was opened in South America to better serve markets in Brazil and the rest of Latin America.
In 1995, Glock released their G25 handgun chambered in .380 Auto. The G25 was about the same size as the G19 but utilized a blowback design for increased reliability. Later, in 1996, the subcompact G26 in 9mm and the G27 in .40 S&W were both released due to increased demands from the American market where concealed carry led to the need for small easily concealable firearms. Glock released a .380 subcompact in 1997, the G28. That same year, Glock continued the development of their subcompact line with the release of the G29 10mm and G30 chambered in .45 ACP. This helped further appease the US market where demands for big bore subcompact handguns had been growing.
Glock has not been without some mystery and controversy throughout the history of the company. On July 27th, 1999, Gaston Glock was brutally attacked by a hitman, contracted by Glock’s onetime business consultant Charles Ewert. Glock fought back, powered by his indomitable will and years of exercise, overpowering the would be assassin and knocking him unconcsious.
Gaston Glock immediately suspected who his betrayer was, and while being treated at the hospital contacted his bankers and immediately started transferring tens of millions of dollars out of the reach of Ewert. Glock succeeded in safeguarding $40 million in this fashion before Ewert could block the transfer of another $30 million. Ewert was eventually convited of attempted murder, along with his hired gun Pêcheur.
To say that Ewert’s betrayal was an enormous hit to Glock would be an understatement. Glock, already known as an untrusting and secretive man, became even more paranoid according to some insiders. Ewert had been Glock’s right hand man for over 15 years, helping to propel Glock from a small military arms manufacturer in Austria to becoming one of the largest suppliers of side arms for law enforcement agencies throughout the world.
Further investigations both in Austria and the United States resulted in fraud and embezzlement charges being brought against Ewert. Allegations state that Ewert funneled more than $100 million to himself and attempted to fraudulently take over Unipatent, Glock’s holding company. For himself, Gaston Glock has continued to oversee the meteoric growth of his company.
When the Glock pistols were initially released, they rumors ran rampant about the guns, including one rumor they could pass undetected through airport metal detectors. These rumors proved totally fictional.
While the Glock Safe Action Pistol consists of over a pound of steel, the “Combat Tupperware” nickname comes from the almost completely made of polymer frame.
The Glock Model 17 was adopted into service with the Austrian police and military forces in 1982 as the P80 and has since captured the world’s and the United State’s attention as the premier duty sidearm.
The Glock has had many evolutionary changes over the past 28 years, with the major model changes identified as “Generations”. Glock is currently releasing its fourth generation pistols all along its model line.
The 1st Generation Glock, as it came to be known, was introduced to the US market in 1984. The Glock pistols continued their rise in status and production with very few changes.
Glock did switch to a captive recoil spring fairly early in the pistols life and at one point the serial number became stamped on imbedded steel plates in the pistol’s dustcover.
In 1988 Glock added checkering on the front and back straps on all its models. In 1990, the locking block was enlarged and an additional cross pin was added on the non 9mm caliber models.
In 1998 Glock changed the frame substantially. An accessory rail was added, officially known as the “Universal Glock Rail”. Thumb rests and finger grooves were added, the extractor was changed to also function as a loaded chamber indicator and the OD color was added to the lineup.
In 2002 all 17, 19 and 34 models started using the larger locking block and additional cross pin to simplify production.
In 2009 at SHOT Glock introduced the Model 22 RTF2 with a pyramid grip texture and scalloped slide serrations. It is still considered a 3rd generation gun. Glock produced the RTF2 in models 17, 19, 22, 23 and 23C. Around mid-2010 Glock dropped the crescent shaped slide serrations and started using the standard slide serrations on the RTF2 models. As of January 2011 the RTF2 Model Glocks were available only to Law Enforcement.
In January 2010 Glock debuted the latest and greatest version of the Glock Safe Action Pistol. The big changes are a smaller grip circumference with add on backstraps, a captive dual spring recoil assembly, a truncated pyramid grip texture and a larger, reversible magazine release.
These changes are accompanied by smaller changes in the barrel, slide, trigger bar, trigger housing, the deletion of cutout on the front of the grip for magazine removal, and the additional notch on the magazines for left-handed magazine release.
Glock continues to maintain their presence as one of the world’s handgun manufacturers with their continuing innovation and cutting edge technology. Though often imitated and copied, Glock continues to outperform and remains one of the most popular brands of handguns today.The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!’s blog, “The Shooter’s Log,” is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!