When Gaston Glock, a small window fixture and knife manufacturer, first cracked the gun business with a new gun he had created to win a contract from the Austrian military, America still preferred the six cylinder revolver as its handgun of choice. When Karl Water, a firearm salesman based in the U.S. first saw a Glock in 1984, his reaction was,"jeez, that's ugly." But the advantages of the pistol soon became apparent.
The semiautomatic Glock could fire as many as 17 bullets from its magazine without reloading (it was a thirty cartridge magazine that was used in Tucson to shoot Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others). It was built with only 36 parts that were interchangeable with other models. You could leave it underwater, or drop it from a plane, or leave it out in the rain and snow for a month, and it would still fire. It was reliable, accurate, lightweight and cheaper to produce than Smith and Wessons' gun. Made in part of hardened plastic, it was claimed to be invisible to airport security screening.
Glock first introduced the gun to police departments who were finding themselves outgunned against street thugs and gang bangers. Hollywood soon celebrated it in such movies as Die Hard Two and U.S. Marshalls ("Get yourself a Glock, and lose that nickel-plated sissy pistol"). Before long, it became the gun the gun enthusiasts, and the bad guys had to have. Today, 65% of the American law enforcement market uses the Glock, and the Austrian gun manufacturer controls a healthy share of the annual $1 billion handgun market. Based on years of extensive interviews with Gaston Glock, Glock executives and former executives, law enforcement agencies and more, this is the first book to examine America's love affair with the world's deadliest, and most popular, gun.