Tag Archives: glock history

Happy Birthday, Herr Glock

Born 19 July 1929 in Vienna during the old Wilhelm Miklas days of the original Austrian Republic, Gaston Glock purportedly served as a teen in the German Wehrmacht late in WWII (although good luck finding exactly what he did, as he has long professed to have shot a gun before test-firing his own prototypes in the 1970s). Filing his first patent in 1953 at age 24 while the country was still under Allied occupation, he founded GLOCK Ges.m.b.H in 1963 in his Deutsch-Wagram garage workshop. Reportedly started out with a Russian surplus drill press, he took it from there, eventually moving into creating injection molding parts and components, specializing in household goods such as hinges, curtain rods, and brass fittings.

Early Austrian Federal Army contracts for grenade casings and machine-gun belt links built to spec led to a bigger one for a relatively innovative polymer-handled field knife in 1978. That contract set the stage to compete against Austrian firearms giant Steyr for a contract to replace the Bundesheer’s myriad of pistols with a single, universal design in 9x19mm.

Left with the flotsam of the Imperial-Royal era (Dreyse M1907, Roth–Steyr M1907, Frommer Stops, Broomhandle Mausers and Steyr M1912) the old Republic (Frommer FÉG M37s, Browning Babys), the German WWII days (Luger P08s, Walther P38s, Radom VIS, and CZ 27), a decade of Allied occupation (Tokarev TT33s, American M1911A1s) and interwar contracts (“OO” series Browning Hi-Powers, French Manurhin-made PPKs) the Austrians had a logistical nightmare when it came to pistols (chambered in no less than seven different calibers!) and the country was sandwiched between an increasingly chilly and muscular NATO and Warsaw Pact.

To make a long story short, Glock’s new prototype 9mm 17+1 capacity pistol pulled a stunner and beat out the favored Steyr GB18– which the Army had been flirting with since 1974– (as well as 20 other designs from around the world) for the win, being adopted as the Pistole 80 by the Austrian military, winning a tender for the gun that would become the Glock 17 in the summer of 1982.

The rest, as they say…

Happy 92nd birthday, Herr Glock

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.

Today’s Gen 5 Glock 17 MOS, now optics-ready, because this is the 2020s

If you ask me, 40 years from now it will probably still look the same.