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  • The Glock.

  • One of the most famous names in firearm history.

  • But this iconic handgun has a lot of secrets in its past.

  • Here are twenty things you never knew about the Glock pistol.

  • #20.

  • It Didn't Start With Guns

  • The company's namesake, Gaston Glock, was born in 1929 in the First Austrian Republic,

  • and worked as an engineer.

  • He started his corporation in the years after the second World War and set out to become

  • the world's most successful manufacturer of...curtain rods.

  • I suppose they could be used as weapons.

  • He got a little closer to his iconic invention in the 1970s, when Glock got into the manufacture

  • of knives for the Austrian military.

  • But he never designed any kind of firearm until he was in his fifties.

  • #19.

  • Military Makings

  • Glock got its start in housewares, but it quickly gained a reputation as one of the

  • best manufacturers for military supplies.

  • Not only were its knives top quality, but it got into developing training grenades,

  • casings, and machine gun belt links that would hold up in the field.

  • That created a need for mass production, as the rebuilding Austrian military wanted supplies.

  • So in 1980, Gaston Glock bought an injection-molding machine to quickly produce polymer components

  • for the equipment.

  • And that was the beginning of a sea change

  • #18.

  • A VERY Meaningful Year

  • Gaston Glock worked out of his garage workshop, and only started designing his first pistol

  • in 1980, He worked with employees who came from the camera industry and were experienced

  • in working with polymers, and it took less than a year from design to production.

  • And in April 1981, he filed for an Austrian patent for the handgun that would change the

  • world - the Glock 17, a lightweight and low-cost gun that would become one of the hallmarks

  • of the firearm industry.

  • And once Glock found his new field, he would never look back.

  • #17.

  • Makings of a Legend

  • What makes Glock guns stand out from the competition?

  • For one thing, they're almost shockingly lightweight.

  • Without a magazine, the Glock 17 is only twenty-two ounces, With a full magazine, it barely doubles

  • the weight of the gun in most cases.

  • This makes them easy to carry and aim, no matter whether someone's an experienced

  • marksman or has never picked up a gun before.

  • So exactly how does it get away with being that light?

  • While the inner makings of the gun are primarily steel, almost all exterior parts are made

  • from a lightweight and durable polymer that gives it a distinct plastic feel.

  • #16.

  • Ready...Set...Assemble!

  • Most machines have countless parts that can be nearly impossible for an untrained person

  • to disassemble and put back together.

  • But the Glock proves that sometimes, simple is better.

  • The Glock 17, and every model that came after it, have only 34 parts.

  • Diagrams are available online that show exactly how to strip a gun and put it back together.

  • So why is the Glock designed as such a simple machine?

  • Well, the Austrian military wanted it that way.

  • The initial contract wanted a simple gun with no more than fifty-eight parts - and Gaston

  • Glock did them one better.

  • Simpler than expected and under budget - a rarity for design projects!

  • Our next fact shows that Glock was not just willing to place his reputation on his firearm

  • design, but his fingers!

  • #15.

  • Safety First

  • Gaston Glock tested his new, unique guns himself, and those who watched him shoot the lightweight

  • pistols noticed something interesting - he would always shoot them with his non-dominant

  • left hand.

  • This showed that the gun was easy to use with any hand, but there was also a darker reason

  • behind this unconventional stance.

  • There's a risk with trying any new gun design - and a catastrophic failure could easily

  • blow off some fingers on the tester's hand.

  • Well, Glock figured he could spare those fingers more on his left than his right - but his

  • design was sound and he came out of testing with all ten intact.

  • #14.

  • Gun Runners?

  • The polymer exterior of Glock handguns is made of the mysterious-named Polymer 2 today.

  • The company keeps its trade secrets close to its chest, and many business investigators

  • have tried to figure out its secrets.

  • While the company isn't talking, the mystery of the exterior of the Glock 19 may have been

  • cracked - with analysts believing it could be Zytel Nylon, one of the most wear-and-tear-resistant

  • polymers out there.

  • It's best known as the material used to make highly-resistant track shoes worn by

  • Olympic sprinters - meaning fast bullets and fast runners could have something in common.

  • #13.

  • Growing Fast

  • The Glock 17 was the biggest hit in the company's history, as the semi-automatic polymer pistols

  • started taking over the market.

  • But that didn't mean they became exclusively a gun manufacturer.

  • The company later filed patents for all sorts of high-quality field equipment, including

  • a folding spade that could fit in an equipment kit, and a method for removing heavy metals

  • from water to make it drinkable.

  • The Glock medical sciences division even patented a safe method of treating vaginal bacterial

  • infections - which has likely caused some shocked expressions at gynecologists' offices.

  • (Note to animators, for that previous bit show bacteria on human skin and then show

  • 'good' bacteria charging in from opposite side of screen, each one firing a gun in each

  • hand wildly in the air)

  • #12.

  • A Secret Weapon

  • The Glock 17 is the original model, and the Glock 19 is the modern upgrade.

  • So what happened to the Glock 18?

  • Well, it's very similar to the others, with one big difference - it can shift between

  • semi-automatic mode, and fully automatic mode.

  • And in fully automatic mode, it can shoot as fast as it can be reloaded - with a maximum

  • capacity of a stunning 1,200 rounds a minute.

  • There's only one problem - the danger of a fully automatic handgun in the hands of

  • criminals would be massive, and most countries including the United States have banned their

  • sale.

  • So the Glock 18 remains a highly rare piece of contraband in most places - except where

  • it's used as a military weapon.

  • #11.

  • The Choice of Police

  • It was the 1980s, and the Glock was just starting to gain in popularity.

  • But it was about to get the biggest client possible - the majority of American police

  • forces.

  • Until that point, police were mostly armed with a classic Smith & Wesson .38 revolver,

  • but they were quickly being outmatched by criminals.

  • There were multiple incidents where they either lost officers or had to retreat simply because

  • they couldn't match the criminals' fire.

  • Gaston Glock saw this opportunity and marketed his lightweight, fast-firing, easy-to-produce

  • handguns to police forces - and they responded, with most major American cities contracting

  • with him eventually, along with governments around the world.

  • But if something's good for the cops, then it's bound to be just as good for committing

  • crimes

  • #10.

  • ...And of Criminals?

  • With any arms race, the bad guys are going to get into the game eventually too.

  • As the Glock became popular with police officers, criminals armed up as well - and a rumor started

  • to spread.

  • Because of the Glock's polymer exterior, many people believed it was actually a plastic

  • or porcelain gun that would be invisible to metal detectors.

  • You could smuggle it into a bank or an airplane without being detected - perfect for a robbery

  • or hijacking.

  • There was just one problem - it wasn't actually true.

  • The Glock has a polymer exterior, but it's actually over eighty percent steel in total

  • weight - to say nothing about ammunition.

  • It would be picked up by all but the weakest metal detectors, likely resulting in a lot

  • of surprised criminals.

  • #9.

  • Hollywood Superstar

  • It wasn't long before movies and TV got into the act of promoting the hottest gun

  • around.

  • It made one of its earliest appearances in the forgotten action movie Freejack, where

  • it played opposite Mick Jagger.

  • It would later be wielded by TV heroes including Agent Fox Mulder of The X-Files, and the Best

  • Picture-winning heroes of The Hurt Locker.

  • But its most iconic appearance would be in Die Hard 2: Die Harder - where Bruce Willis'

  • John McClane would claim it was an undetectable porcelain gun.

  • Hey, John McClane kicked asses, not taught science classes.

  • #8.

  • Shooting Lyrics

  • Movies and TV weren't the only area where the Glock became famous.

  • In the 1990s, there was no faster-growing music market than rap, and top rappers like

  • Dr. Dre and Tupac Shakur frequently rapped about violence and gang warfare.

  • Their weapon of choice in many of those lyrics?

  • You guessed it - the Glock.

  • Not only did it have a reputation as a powerful and deadly weapon ideal for shootouts, but

  • its name just sounds good for lyrics.

  • Smith and Wesson doesn't quite roll off the tongue the same way.

  • Of course, as the East Coast vs. West Coast wars heated up, some got more up-close-and-personal

  • with the gun than they wanted - it was a Glock that killed Tupac in a still-unsolved murder.

  • #7.

  • Are You In the Club?

  • For many people, Glock isn't just a handgun - it's a way of life.

  • Not only do they collect the firearms, but they're members of the Glock Sport Shooting

  • Foundation.

  • Aiming to raise awareness of target shooting at a sport, it has over twenty-two thousand

  • members and organizes over a hundred shooting events every year.

  • All you need to do to join is compete with a Glock pistol and pay a membership fee - which

  • is included in the purchase of a Glock gun.

  • While there's some controversy over the foundation's family-friendly shooting events,

  • Glock defends the group as a good way to teach firearms safety.

  • #6.

  • Exponential Growth?

  • When Glock was founded in 1963, it was a tiny company of only three employees, meaning Gaston

  • Glock had to do much of the work himself.

  • Since then, it's become an international sensation - but is still a small company by

  • comparison to many international brands.

  • It's still privately held and can't be invested in on the stock market like other

  • major gun brands such as Sturm Ruger.

  • While much of its manufacturing is handled outside the company, the actual Glock Ges.m.b.H

  • corporation only has just under twelve hundred employees as of 2013 - a fraction of what

  • other weapons manufacturers do, and a testament to its humble beginnings.

  • But the Glock corporation may be facing some serious interior problems

  • #5.

  • Financial Troubles?

  • Glock has been targeted by multiple embezzlement schemes over the years - and it wasn't low-level

  • employees looking to get rich.

  • High-ranking members of the company have been indicted and convicted for racketeering, including

  • the former CEO of the US subsidiary Glock Inc.

  • So what makes this company so vulnerable to financial crimes?

  • Well, it probably doesn't help that the company's structure is more than a little complicated.

  • The company uses shell companies around the world to run its business, helping it avoid

  • high taxes in developed countries by operating in tax havens,

  • #4.

  • More Dangerous Than the Average Gun?

  • Glock pistols lack one feature common to your average handgun - a safety.

  • While this is common in handguns to prevent them from accidentally going off at home,

  • Glocks instead use a more complicatedSafe Actionsystem that disengages automatically

  • when the trigger is squeezed.

  • This means the gun is less likely to go off accidentally - but is still dangerous should

  • it wind up in the hand of someone who shouldn't be holding it.

  • The reason for this change?

  • Glock wasn't designed for civilian use, but for military and police use - and they

  • would want the ability to fire to be as accessible as possible.

  • More dangerous?

  • That depends on who's holding it.

  • #3.

  • Lots of Choice

  • What do gun aficionados have in common with Pokemon players?

  • For some, you've got to catch them all.

  • That's why Glock releases a lot of varieties to its standard models.

  • While the Glock 17 and Glock 19 are the most common models, there are many variations of

  • each with slightly different sights, frames, and other features.

  • They've also introduced new smaller models ideal for concealed carry, which means they

  • have a shorter and slimmer build designed for slipping into a pocket.

  • #2.

  • Still Kicking

  • Gaston Glock was born in 1929, lived through the Second World War, founded his company

  • fifty-eight years ago - and is still going strong at almost 92 years old.

  • He is still the majority owner of his company, although that may be pending - he and his

  • wife of fifty-three years divorced in 2011, and legal battles are still ongoing.

  • With a net worth of just over a billion dollars, he remains active in both charity and politics

  • in his native Austria.

  • But that long life hasn't been without close calls.

  • #1.

  • Still Kicking...Barely!

  • For a man whose life's work has centered around guns, Gaston Glock's closest call

  • came in an unexpected way.

  • It was 1999, and he had just uncovered that one of his most trusted advisors, Charles

  • Everett, had been embezzling from the company.

  • Glock confronted the man personally - but Everett had come prepared.

  • He had hired a French mercenary to assassinate Glock, and the hired goon attacked - with

  • a large mallet.

  • It may not have been the best choice of weapon, as the 70-year-old Glock was able to fight

  • back, and both Everett and his henchmen were eventually convicted of attempted murder.

  • For more on the world's deadliest weapons, check outMost Successful Weapons Ever

  • Invented”, or watchEvolution of AK-47 Riflefor the story of the military's

  • greatest weapon of war.

The Glock.

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20 Things You Didn't Know About the Glock

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    Summer posted on 2021/07/23
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