When it comes to the modern pistol, few brands are as widely known and commercially successful as the Glock. Credited for pioneering the use of synthetic polymers in the firearm industry, as well as introducing ferritic nitrocarburizing, Gaston Glock is a living legend when it comes to firearm development. However, the Austrian engineer started on his first pistol with no experience in designing or manufacturing handguns. So how did he do it? Glock recently uploaded a short, documentary-style video to YouTube that succinctly details the early history of the company, and its legendary foray into building pistols.

It all began in 1980. That year, Glock saw an opportunity when the Austrian government announced that it would seek a modern pistol to succeed their Walther P38 pistols. Glock already had connections to the Austrian military through contracts for curtain rods and field knives. However, those items were far from what would later become a revolutionary new pistol. Glock was 52 years old before he started on his first pistol design, and what he lacked in experience, he made up for with an extensive knowledge on synthetic polymers.

The same year that Austria announced its search for a new handgun, Glock had just purchased an injection-molding machine to produce parts for the knives he was manufacturing. At the time, his early employees were from the camera-making industry and were also trained in the production of polymer parts. After nailing down his first design, it took just 1 year for Glock to get his pistol into production. By 1981, he had already applied for an Austrian patent. That pistol was the Glock 17, named so because it was the 17th patent applied for by Glock’s company. Another year later, the pistol soundly beat all other contenders for the Austrian government’s new modern pistol, and was shortly after adopted into the country’s military and police forces. Judging the competition’s results for themselves, other governments soon expressed an interest in the Glock 17 as well, and so started Gaston Glock’s legacy.

You can learn more about Glock’s history below:

 

Image screenshot of video by Glock, Inc on YouTube

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13 thoughts on “Video: The History of Glock

  1. They maybe credited for pioneering use of synthetics but it certainly isn’t true. The HK VP70 was the first polymer framed handgun.

    1. As with all history we tend to forget the truth. Being first to develop or use something is often not as important as being first to achieve great success with it. The ability to capitalize a technology is often beyond the inventor’s ability. HK’s VP70z, while being an important evolution in pistol design, failed to achieve the success of the Glock(s) – and to the victor go the spoils… and the credit!

      1. The world needs inventors to have and demonstrate the idea. Inventors should be honored and respected.

        The world also needs successful products.
        Successful companies should enjoy their well earned spoils. When they infringe, ignore or malign the inventors they need to give up a substantial portion of their invention related wealth.

    2. As with all history we tend to forget the truth. Being first to develop or use something is often not as important as being first to achieve great success with it. The ability to capitalize a technology is often beyond the inventor’s ability. HK’s VP70z, while being an important evolution in pistol design, failed to achieve the success of the Glock(s) – and to the victor go the spoils… and the credit!

    3. As with all history we tend to forget the truth. Being first to develop or use something is often not as important as being first to achieve great success with it. The ability to capitalize a technology is often beyond the inventor’s ability. HK’s VP70z, while being an important evolution in pistol design, failed to achieve the success of the Glock(s) – and to the victor go the spoils… and the credit!

  2. They maybe credited for pioneering use of synthetics but it certainly isn’t true. The HK VP70 was the first polymer framed handgun.

  3. They maybe credited for pioneering use of synthetics but it certainly isn’t true. The HK VP70 was the first polymer framed handgun.

  4. A friend told me the design was actually based on the Steyr Mannlicher…. Glock had more money for advertising but the actual design was based on the Mannlicher. All reviews I’ve read said the Mannlicher is the better pistol.

    1. Having carried Glocks for near 23 years it’s hard for me to say anything is as good or better.

      I’d carry nothing else

    2. Steyr Mannlicher was well established as a manufacturing company (trucks, firearms etc.) when Glock came around. They has plenty of money for advertising. Their pistols competed against Glocks in the Austrian army trials of the early 80s. Glock pistols won hands down to the shock of their well established competition. (Steyr, Sig, H&K) In the United States Glock put far more effort into marketing than Steyr did. Glocks clever marketing effort to American law enforcement is legendary. Steyr’s efforts to market their pistols in America were feeble at best.

  5. A friend told me the design was actually based on the Steyr Mannlicher…. Glock had more money for advertising but the actual design was based on the Mannlicher. All reviews I’ve read said the Mannlicher is the better pistol.

  6. I have to agree with Aaron, Heckler and Koch produced and sold a functioning polymer frame pistol in 1970, the design dates to 1968, 10 years before the Glock 17. Not a prototype, not a few test pistols, in production, sold to civilians and the military from 1970 to 1989.

    Not to detract from the Glock. Probably the most robust auto on the market, the gold standard for combat tupperware. If Mr. Glock ever goes into the auto business and builds a car that works as well and takes the abuse and continues to run tlike his pistols do, automakers need to look out.

  7. None of the elements were new but combination appealed and met the needs of it’s target market.

    Why a successful designer needs to be lionized as a “pioneer” has more to do with cash under the table then literary integrity.

    All early Glock patents have expired so we should be looking for serious copycats. So far near serious has not met the goal.

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