GLOCK Is An Inspiration

The GLOCK 30 .45 ACP pistol.

2020 is looking to be a pretty innovative and interesting year for firearms industry and scene as whole. We’re going to need some inspiration - and one need look no further than GLOCK. From a certain point of view, Gaston Glock could be regarded as the Elon Musk of the gun industry…

Glock Was An Outsider

In 2020, GLOCK pistols are everywhere. They’re on the hip of most of the police officers in the known world. If someone in our nation owns a handgun, there’s a fair chance it’s a GLOCK. The pistols are cultural touchstones, with GLOCK finding it’s way into all manner of song lyrics. Bestselling books have been written about Gaston Glock and his invention. GLOCKs feature heavily in just about every major action movie.

It wasn’t always that way though. Gaston Glock wasn’t involved in anything even close to the firearms industry at first. His company manufactured curtain rods and other plastic products. The 1970s saw Glock get into the defense industry per se by producing field knives for the Austrian military, the Bundesheer.

A chance encounter with some Austrian military officers led to Gaston Glock throwing his hat into the ring as the Bundesheer was seeking a new service pistol at the dawn of the 1980s.

Prior to this, Glock had no major experience with firearms. He was a regular guy (zing!) who got into guns.

The GLOCK 17 9mm Pistol

In 1982, Gaston Glock assembled a team of Europe’s leading handgun experts from military, police, and civilian sport-shooting circles to define the most desirable characteristics in a combat pistol. Within three months, Glock developed a working prototype that combined proven mechanisms and traits from previous pistol designs.

In an Elon Musk-like twist, he chose to make the frame and other components of the pistol out of advanced synthetic polymers, owing to his existing experience in the field. The outsider sought to disrupt the industry. Musk put a high-performance electric drive system in a sedan that will blow the doors off of most fossil-fueled cars. Gaston Glock developed a plastic handgun, going up against a world of heavy metal service pistols. Much like Musk is today, Glock had no preconceived notions of how a gun “had” to be. He just wanted to make one that worked, and worked well for everyone.

And what a pistol it was. The GLOCK 17 9mm Pistol, with it’s unusual styling and aforementioned heavy use of plastics, passed the Bundesheer’s acceptance trials with ease. Lightweight, ergonomic, and speedy - due to it’s lack of manual safeties, the 17 took the world by storm. By the end of 1982, the GLOCK was in service with Austrian government forces as the “Pistole 80”, the P80.

The rest, as they say, is history.

GLOCK Goes Georgia

Soon after, GLOCK, as the company became known (yes, all caps), set it sights on our nation. Face it, with our Constitutionally-guaranteed right to keep and bear arms, what gunmaker wouldn’t market to us? In the mid-80s, GLOCK opened up it’s famous US subsidiary in Smyrna, Georgia - right in the heart of one of our states most known for it’s affinity for firearms.

With GLOCK on US soil, the nearly four-decade American love affair with the boxy Austrian blaster began in earnest. GLOCKs found their way into the holsters of the majority of US police forces by the end of the century, and tens of millions of GLOCKs of all varieties found, and continue to find their way into the safes and vaults of armed and independent American citizens across our nation.

Inspired - Definitely

2020 promises to be an interesting year for the firearms industry and scene here in the US, both technologically and politically. We have to take inspiration from someone like Gaston Glock, and think outside of the box. We can’t just go with the same shopworn conventions. New systems, new techniques, and most importantly, new people and ideas need to make into what we’re doing. Yes, the firearms industry and gun-owning population in our nation is already huge - but a more rich and wider base is always better. By reaching outside the box and bringing more people and concepts into the scene, we’ll survive and thrive.

Just like a curtain-rod maker from a small town in Austria did.

Thanks, Gaston.

And here’s to a great 2020 to all my readers and supporters!

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