40 Years O’Glock
On April 30, 1981, Gaston Glock filed for his 17th patent, a forward-looking pistol with a host of innovations. The gun at its heart is today’s Glock 17.
While Mr. Glock has over 50 patents to his name, with some filed as far back as 1953, he was 51 years old when he filed the original patent in Austria for his G17 handgun, which would be adopted first by his country’s Army before going on to what could best be described as a wild global success across the consumer, law enforcement and military markets.
Filed from a Vienna address, (Siebenbürgerstraße 16-12, A-1220) the final patent application included almost 40 drawings, making nearly a dozen separate claims.
The new handgun had largely been designed and prototyped by Glock, working out of his workshop next to his home garage in the small town of Deutsch-Wagram, just North of Vienna, where he first founded his company in 1963.
Before his handgun, the engineer had patented and sold an entrenching tool and field knife to the Austrian Army as well as lending his talent to design grenade casings and machine-gun belt links.
As detailed by GLOCK:
Mr. Glock was building the pistol for the Austrian military and law enforcement, which meant it had to be ready to fire at a moment’s notice in life-threatening situations. To address this critical need, Mr. Glock designed his pistol with three internal safeties – the trigger, firing pin and drop safeties – to ensure that the pistol would perform consistently while providing the best protection against accidental discharge.
Mr. Glock met additional requirements of the Austrian government by including a high-capacity magazine, lightweight materials, consistent trigger pull, and a hammer-forged barrel. Mr. Glock understood that reliability resides in simplicity, and therefore, he designed his pistol with as few parts as possible, minimizing its complexity. Today, the GLOCK pistol is made from an average of only 35 parts, which is significantly fewer than any other pistol on the market and makes it more durable, reliable, and easier to maintain.
On this side of the pond, the original G17 patent was approved on Sept. 10, 1985, and issued Patent Number 4,539,889.
In 1986, GLOCK opened its U.S. headquarters in Smyrna, Georgia, with what we would call today 1st Generation G17s showing up in ads in national gun magazines that July with the tagline, “Put the Future in the Palm of Your Hand.”
Today, the G17 Gen 5 is the current version of the gun in production. They come standard with a Marksman Barrel, recessed barrel crown, nDLC finish on the barrel and slide, an ambidextrous slide stop, and the same 17+1 capacity that the original did. Moreover, the profile is unmistakable from the original guns.
If you ask me, 40 years from now it will probably still look the same.