GLOCK: The Rise of America’s Gun

Before becoming the gun owner I am now, a gun was: a hand-held block, colored black that made a big sound and made people shake violently when you point and pull the trigger. I was probably six then. Good and bad guys used them – occasionally you would see an older “cowboy” gun. I hand drawn these guns as a child (Ask me how I wasn’t referred to shrink then, I couldn’t tell you.), but only the black, blocky ones – because they were easier.

Growing up, black and blocky was the image of the typical handgun I was familiar with. My parents weren’t gun people, so I give credit to movies, music, literature and peers for this preconceived idea of what a handgun looked like. It wasn’t until my uncle who handed me a black and blocky gun, only heavy. I held a firearm for the first time when I was eight, a GLOCK.

"Get yourself a Glock and lose that nickel plated sissy pistol." - Samuel Gerard, US Marshals (1998)

As a current owner of a GLOCK 19 and GLOCK 29SF, I never thought twice about how the Austrian manufacture came about. To me, GLOCK is just another firearm manufacture that manufactured ugly, but very reliable, popular, pistols.

When Mr. Paul Barrett provided me an uncorrected proof of GLOCK: The Rise of America’s Gun, I was eager to learn more about the origins of the famous firearm manufacture and how it became an icon in American popular culture.

Casually speaking with others about the book, most folks were put off with the subtitle of the book. Don’t judge this book by the cover, and certainly not by its’ title. Barrett focuses not on the firearm, but on Gaston Glock, and the company he founded that convinced United States law enforcement, movie directors, and civilians to adopt the GLOCK, and ultimately “changing the game” concerning firearms and marketing.

arnold schwarzenegger

“Between your faith, and my GLOCK 9 millimeter; I take my GLOCK.” - Jericho, End of Days (1999)

Based on firsthand accounts from those who worked for Glock and elsewhere in the firearm industry, Barrett wrote about Glock’s transformation from a reserved individual to become an epitome of arrogance, who truly believed in the company slogan, “Glock Perfection.” The stories about Glock, related in Barrett’s book, weren’t flattering.

ashton kutcher

"Honey, get my Glock 45 out the drawer!" - Spencer, Killers (2010)

Designing firearms wasn’t Glock’s primary experience; it was in hand drill manufacturing. Overhearing a frustrated Austrian Army waiting for a modern military pistol in 1980, it was only then Glock began building his empire. With little knowledge concerning firearms, Glock researched, comparing existing firearms and collaborating with specialists. On April 30, 1981, Glock filed his 17th Austrian patent, the GLOCK 17. In 1983, Austria’s Ministry of Defense ordered twenty thousand GLOCK 17s, beating out several established firearm manufactures for the contract.

bruce willis

"That punk pulled a Glock 7 on me, you know what that is? It's a porcelain gun made in Germany. It doesn't show up on your airport metal detectors and probably costs more than what you make in a month." - John McClane, Die Hard: Die Harder (1995)

Barrett’s book tells us that Glock came up with something original and did so at the right moment. For the United States, Glock’s invention became America’s handgun of choice for law enforcement, Hollywood and civilians, eventually becoming synonymous with “gun.”

Barrett also reveals how GLOCK survived countless controversies and events: The Hijacker’s Special, congressional attention, city bans, lawsuits, tragedies, internal corporate corruption, etc. All of which didn’t appear to slow down GLOCK, including an assassination attempt on Glock’s life.

"No exceptions. Everyone gets one. Anne-Marie! Do the interns get glocks?" - Steve Zissou, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

"No exceptions. Everyone gets one. Anne-Marie! Do the interns get Glocks?" - Steve Zissou, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

If anything, “team GLOCK” was a thriving opportunist and Glock profited accordingly. Others in his circle weren’t so fortunate.

Despite what appears to be advocation for limited magazine capacity and ballistic fingerprinting, the book, as a whole, was well written, and researched. I think many folks who otherwise wouldn’t read this book because of his employer would be surprised.

It’s a book about a hyper-successful company, that happens to manufacture firearms.

As a gun owner, I can tell you there will be parts many will not agree with; however, I learned quite a bit and enjoyed reading Barrett’s book, immensely.  I highly recommend Barrett’s book.  I wouldn’t be the only one.

Joe Huffman

Ry Jones

The Truth About Guns

The Outdoor Wire



GLOCK:  The Rise of America’s Gun is due for release on January 10, 2012.  Preorder it at Amazon or Barnes & Nobel
for a huge discount.

What’s your favorite GLOCK appearance in popular culture?

"I'm the only one in this room professional enough, that I know of, to carry this GLOCK 40." - Lee Paige, DEA Agent (2004)

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Categories: Firearms, Guns, Just Me


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6 Comments on “GLOCK: The Rise of America’s Gun”

  1. November 7, 2011 at 7:51 am #

    Derek — Thanks for this thoughtful and funny review. All the best, Paul Barrett

  2. Eric
    November 8, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    Great blog

  3. November 15, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    Good news: The Military and History Book Clubs are picking up GLOCK: The Rise of America’s Gun for their January catalogs.

  4. November 18, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    Excellent review.


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