The Rise of America's Gun

Book - 2012
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Based on fifteen years of research, Glock is the riveting story of the weapon that has become known as American's gun. Today the Glock pistol has been embraced by two-thirds of all U.S. police departments, glamorized in countless Hollywood movies, and featured as a ubiquitous presence on prime-time TV. It has been rhapsodized by hip-hop artists, and coveted by cops and crooks alike.

Created in 1982 by Gaston Glock, an obscure Austrian curtain-rod manufacturer, and swiftly adopted by the Austrian army, the Glock pistol, with its lightweight plastic frame and large-capacity spring-action magazine, arrived in America at a fortuitous time. Law enforcement agencies had concluded that their agents and officers, armed with standard six-round revolvers, were getting "outgunned" by drug dealers with semi-automatic pistols. They needed a new gun.

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 standard semi-automatic Glock could fire as many as 17 bullets from its magazine without reloading (one equipped with an extended thirty-three cartridge magazine was used in Tucson to shoot Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others). It was built with only 36 parts that were interchangeable with those of other models. You could drop it underwater, toss it from a helicopter, or leave it out in the snow, and it would still fire. It was reliable, accurate, lightweight, and cheaper to produce than Smith and Wesson's revolver. Made in part of hardened plastic, it was even rumored (incorrectly) to be invisible to airport security screening.

Filled with corporate intrigue, political maneuvering, Hollywood glitz, bloody shoot-outs--and an attempt on Gaston Glock's life by a former lieutenant-- Glock is at once the inside account of how Glock the company went about marketing its pistol to police agencies and later the public, as well as a compelling chronicle of the evolution of gun culture in America.
Publisher: New York : Crown, c2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307719935
Branch Call Number: 338.768343 BARRETT
Characteristics: 291 p. : ill. ; 25 cm


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Sep 26, 2016

A truly balanced book. I expected it to be a history of the Glock, from an anti-gun view. Instead, its a fairly balanced book that explains how a man stumbled into the gun-making business, and excelled because he learned from everyone elses mistakes. It explains the history of modern gun control, and how it actually fed into the desire for the Glock. It touches on the sordid marketing techniques that use alcohol and women to attract buyers - as with any business - that Glock's salespeople took one step further. Finally, it touches on the appeal of a gun with more rounds in its magazine. And this is the only part where the book falters. Instead of explaining how historically, the winner of any battle has been the one who has more ammo... it tends to focus on the idea that you really don't need that many rounds. (This is antithetical to everything that you'll ever be taught in any shooting class, ever.)
Otherwise, a surprisingly balanced book. The final chapters that talk about Mr. Glock's dumb rules for his workers, and his attempts to escape taxes by hiring people who were dodgy wraps up a fine read. It made me wonder if Edison were alive today, if we would treat him with the same reverence that he was treated with at the time? Or would we properly call him out for being a jerk?

Sep 17, 2015

Stunning story about an Austrian who made curtain rods and knives for his country's army - then got the chance of a lifetime when he used his factory's polymer manufacturing capabilities to come up with a new class of 9 mm gun and in so doing changed law enforcement, and street warfare, forever. Contrary to what some believe, it cannot escape detection by airport security machines. But its light weight and low jam rate has made it the civilian's weapon of choice for self-defense. It's an instructive story of how a bright idea can become a nightmare, and how a simple man can wind up with a lifestyle he doesn't know how to deal with.

Jan 31, 2013

This EXTREMELY well written book chronicles in a very engaging fashion Glock's rise to popularity through the 80's, 90's and 2000's. It begins with the true story of a small Austrian knife maker who by good luck and perfect timing, replaced the revolvers of the FBI following the Miami shootout. This led to a domino effect with the rest of U.S. law enforcement as they rushed to adopt this rugged, dependable, "plastic" handgun.

A must read if you're into guns, and a definite read if you're just curious, as I was.


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Jan 31, 2013

maximu5 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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Jul 05, 2016

The story of the creation of the Glock pistol and it's rise to become the most popular handgun in America.

Introduced to the US in 1982 amid controversy, the Glock pistol eventually won the hearts of American shooters, and become the default side arm for American law enforcement officers, being adopted by over 70% of US police departments.

If you are interested in Glocks, and in the arms business in the US, this is an excellent, accessible account of how the Glock became "America's Gun."

Please note, this is not a book about gun control, it takes no position whatsoever. It does address some of the gun control issues that affected the Glock, but only as far as their impact on the company.


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