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January 26, 2015

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J. Patrick Coolican:

18 rounds in 5 seconds: How Glock became ‘America’s gun’


Leila Navidi

Paul Barrett shoots a Glock at Desert Hills Shooting Club in Boulder City on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012.


A revolver seen at Desert Hills Shooting Club in Boulder City on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012. Launch slideshow »

We’re at Desert Hills Shooting Club near Boulder City, and Paul Barrett steps up with a Glock 17. He fires the 9 mm semi-automatic pistol 18 times in about five seconds and hits the target every time.

In that five seconds, he demonstrates why the Glock is beloved by gun enthusiasts and police officers alike. It’s fast, reliable and offers a lot of stopping power, with three times the number of rounds as the old police favorite, the Smith & Wesson .38 revolver.

Barrett, in town this week for the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT), the big firearms convention, has just published “Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun,” an entertaining and informative history — even if you’re not a gun enthusiast — of the firearm company that redefined the American handgun market beginning in the 1980s.

Like many business success stories,Glock’s involves ingenuity, but also dumb luck.

Gaston Glock managed an auto parts factory, with a side business making brass fittings, field knives and bayonets. As the story goes, Glock was at the Austrian Ministry of Defense on bayonet business and overheard a conversation about the Army needing a new sidearm.

Glock, who had almost no experience with guns, acted as a general contractor, bringing together experts to design his weapon. Its genius is its simplicity — the Glock has half, and in some cases one-third, the number of parts of similar handguns. It has no external safety lever and, as Barrett puts it, a “light, steady trigger pull.” (As Barrett also notes, ease of use also means it’s easy to misuse.)

He compares the Austrian gun to the reliable, efficient foreign cars that Americans adopted en masse beginning in the 1970s, while American auto and gun makers floundered, mired in their own arrogance.

Here’s where luck comes in: Around the time Glock was developing his gun, American crime was spiking, and high-profile gun battles between police and criminals were common, with law enforcement often outgunned. Barrett points to a disastrous confrontation between the FBI and two criminals with massive firepower that ended with two dead agents, three permanently disabled and two more injured.

Glock was a great vendor for police departments because the company would take old revolvers in trade and offer free training on the new pistol.

Once police adopted the Glock, Hollywood followed. By now, as Barrett said, a Hollywood script will no longer say “semi-automatic pistol.” It will say merely “Glock.”

The Glock also captivated the hip-hop world. Tupac: “I chose droppin’ the cop. I got me a Glock.” It’s an easy rhyming word. And let’s face it, Glock is just a great name for a gun.

A final piece of good luck: Gun control advocates — when there was such a thing — called out the Glock by name. The journalist Jack Anderson wrote an apocryphal story about how the Glock was passing through airport X-rays undetected. As Barrett said, there’s no better way to juice sales of a firearm than to tell gun enthusiasts they can’t have it.

After losing Congress in 1994 and the White House in 2000, in part because of the gun control issue, Democrats dropped it, leading to a golden age of gun rights perfectly timed with the rise of Glock.

You may not believe this, but I’m not much of a gun person, not having shot a firearm in more than a decade. (Yes, I lose all right to call myself a Nevadan.)

Click to enlarge photo

Patrick Coolican shoots a Glock at Desert Hills Shooting Club in Boulder City on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012.

After some safety training, I took the Glock in hand and stepped up at Desert Hills Shooting Club. The trigger is so light the first shot is startling, though I hit the target. After that I settled down a bit, but there’s no question firing it sends adrenaline coursing through you like you just drank a pot of coffee. I got a sense of how difficult it is to hit a target, even at close range. Imagine the target shooting back.

Cameron Hopkins, a Henderson resident who is editorial director of Combat Tactics magazine and author of the NRA’s Industry Insider blog, explained the difference between the Glock and a Smith & Wesson .38 revolver, which is what 95 percent of police agencies used before the Glock.

He shot the Glock 18 times in about 5.5 seconds. To do the same with the six-shooter, he took nearly 24 seconds because he had to reload. He hit the target every time with both.

Barrett’s book closes with intrigue and turmoil at Glock, which is privately held. Gaston Glock is 82 with a new wife half a century his junior, an angry ex-wife and adult children, and former senior management charged with financial improprieties.

After 7 million units sold, the future of the Glock is a bit uncertain, though its place in history is secure. As Barrett said: “It’s not the romantic idea of a gun. It’s the essence of a gun.”

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  1. Just the other day I got an invite to go shoot with a friend over at Desert Hills Shooting Club. Looks like I will wrap my fingers around that bad boy Glock, and give it a try! This is the kind of company a girl wants in the bedroom next to her (for protection). My Ruger might get jealous though. =)

    Blessings, Peace, and ViVa NRA!

  2. Other Glock models have a threaded barrel that allows the choice of a wide number of very useful accessories. If you can aim, you only need one round.

    Very interestingly, the Tucson shooter had a Glock 19 and the people who took him down were entirely unarmed. It takes more then a bore to win a war.

  3. Anyone can make or market an exact replica of a Glock (a toy replica) for children which has been done with other gun models over and over again.

    What than, would an officer do when confronted with this situation?
    They are taught to order the child to drop the weapon first, however, that's a judgement call on the child's part. And how many children use good sense especially if they were strung out on illegal drugs?

    The notion of defense or self-defense in ones home mandating a high powered weapon is simply folly at it's finest. And yes the NRA would argue otherwise per the constitution.

    And what defense could a parent present at the funeral when his six year old son finds a live weapon and pulls the trigger on his five year old sister.

    Indeed a responsible adult is taught to secure their weapon from children by either locking it up or separating the clip from it. But wouldn't that defeat your own purpose of having quick access to it?

    Too an intruder a family pet dog is more of a threat than any weapon could ever hope to convey.

  4. TomD1228, please state your source for "the statistics."

  5. It figures that a gun invented in Europe would become Americas gun. Now if we would adapt health care made in Europe we could pay for all the mayhem these high capacity pieces of junk cause.

  6. Gun violence which includes gun suicides have taken a million lives in the US over the last 30 years. More than all the wars since the civil war. In Vegas people get blown to hell almost daily.
    At least kill your loved one or neighbor with something designed and manufactured in the good old USA.

  7. The 1911 should be Americas gun after 100 years of killing Americans. But you can't kill enough people without reloading.
    God bless Gaston Glock and the Austrian empire. Millions of Glocks sold, thousands of people slaughtered, and the numbers just keep growing.

  8. In my opinion this is a poorly written (intentionally biased) article intended to reinforce wrong impressions and untruths, feeding the ignorance of the anti-gun community while claiming not to be ... anti-gun.

    Those with adequqate firearms experience and training can spot the gotchas and partisan code words without second thought. I could go through a lengthly list of misleading statements that are intended to suggest anti-gun points with some deniability. Most embarrassing for the author, although I suspect he thinks it's genius, is the use of the word "apocryphal" which means untrue, a falsehood that he knows most won't know the meaning of or take the time to look up, thereby reinforcing that which is untrue.

    Beware stories about firearms by liberals pretending to be something they are not.

  9. Dale...wake the Fox News page. A women high on meth slaughtered her entire family. Meth, Guns and $8000.00 in cash in the house. This happens every day in this country. A million dead in the last 30 years alone.
    I have 40 years of firearms experience, 22 years law enforcement experience and have been involved in several shootings.
    Every crack head has a house full of guns and they use them daily.

  10. TomD1228: US Bureau of Justice Statistics show that guns are the safest and most effective means of defense. Using a gun for protection results in fewer injuries to the defender than using any other means of defense and is safer than not resisting at all. The myth that guns are only used for killing and the myth that guns are dangerous when used for protection fade away when exposed to scientific examination and data.

    Also, consider that FBI crime statics show that all crime has been steadily falling while, at the same time, gun ownership has been steadily increasing. Do you suppose, perhaps, that criminals are getting the idea that any potential victim may be armed? And, that in 2011, Arlington, VA had zero homicides, an all-time low, while Washington, DC adjacent to Arlington had 109. Arlington has very liberal gun laws; D.C. has very restrictive gun laws.

    In addition, anyone intent on killing themselves when a gun is not available will find other means of suicide.

    Be armed, be trained, and be prepared. No one is immune to a mugging or a home invasion.

  11. Ion...crime has been falling because of the 3 strike laws passed many years ago. We were able to throw hard core recidivist felons in prison and keep them their. Forget the gun bull and look at prison populations. Many are busting at the seams.
    Keeping career criminals in jail has reduced crime.
    2.5 million in prison or jail.

    Be prepared for what???Your mom to get high and blow your head off.

  13. Patrick, what kind of "experts" provided you with "safety training" and then let you out on the firing line without eye protection?!

  14. <<First, I believe at this point all toy guns are required to have some orange in them, to allow them to be ID easily by law enforcement, just to deal with the problem you state.>>

    You must not have had any male children. I just read an article in the newspaper about this mom with two boys (it may have even been in the Sun even) ages 9 and 11 or thereabouts. The boys had BB guns that resembled Glocks. What the boys did was PAINT over the orange markings so the guns looked real!!! They had other BB guns that resembled real guns and the boys painted over the orange marking on all of those.

    So don't assume that orange marking is going to be permanent - if 9 and 11 year olds think of painting the orange, some gangbanger punk has already thought of it. We don't know how many "BB guns minus the orange markings" have fooled people and were part of robberies.

  15. Guns are an industry. The gun lobby protects that industry. Americans love guns and violence. Gang violence, drug violence, domestic violence...guns facilitate all of it.
    That's life in the USA. Go Gaston Glock!

  16. zippert1 (gerry hageman): Regarding throwing hardcore recidivist felons in prison and keeping them there: From the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, Office of Justice Programs, Department of Justice, specifically, regarding incarceration, or as DOJ calls it, incapacitation, "[T]here are many unresolved questions that make the effectiveness of this strategy questionable."

  17. zippert1 (gerry hageman): Re: "Be prepared for what???Your mom to get high and blow your head off."

    Did she have that gun legally?

  18. In a perfect world...

    All gun owners would be responsible, law-abiding citizens, with a love of fine craftsmanship and a sport-shooting or a hunting hobby...they might even keep one around for 'protection against bad guys'...

    What a terribly imperfect world we live in.

    Gun story of the week;
    "Rectum??? Darn near killed him!!!" hahahaha!!!

    Just don't pretend...that statistics don't bear out some ugly truths about your weapon of choice.

  19. Gmag39: The Legal Community Against Violence (LCAV) is a known highly biased against guns organization that resorts to misinformation, distortions, and lies in its efforts to keep guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens; hardly a credible source for unbiased gun information and statistics.

  20. Get informed with real stats to refute the childish gun control trolls!

    Use the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information); see below for some facts that the nasty gun control Fascists hate.

    Someone here added up 30 (THIRTY!) years of ALL gun deaths above in a VERY lame effort to get a large number of deaths (Million) for ALL guns. One million divided by 30 is just under 34,000 for ALL supposed gun deaths per year (being generous and using their own inflated figures). Of course, their number includes ALL criminals shot by each other AND criminals killed by citizens and by police. Without the criminals killed the actual number of accidental gun deaths per year (or 30 years) would be relatively TINY.

    The CDC reported that in 2007 there were 2,423,712 (100%) total deaths from ALL sources including disease.

    A total of 18,361 homicides (0.8% of all death less than 1 percent) in the US FROM ALL SOURCES included use of knives, hands, vehicles, and guns etc.


    A total of 34,598 (1.4% of all death under 2 percent) people killed themselves using all means pills, knives, hands, vehicles, and guns etc.

    As you can see the gun control advocates number is inferring a false INFLATED statistic as it simply lists ALL supposed gun deaths. Also I use the CDC because it is generally anti firearm. The CDC seems to shy away from separating out defensive gun death lists as it weakens their gun control stance vastly.

    The CDC states that an average of 180,000 people A YEAR die in the US from ALL causes of injury NOT JUST GUN DEATHS (cars, falls etc). ALL injuries in the US killed approximately 5.4 million people in 30 years and this dwarfs the above number for ALL gun deaths. Source:

    Does having a gun help households?

    How many estimated instances of actual self defense were used by LEGAL gun owners go to:

    to see per year:

    "...497,646 (95% CI = 266,060-729,231) incidents occurred in which the intruder was seen and reportedly scared away by the firearm. Estimates of the protective use of firearms are sensitive to the definitions used. Researchers should carefully consider both how these events are defined and the study methods used."

  21. Guns are making the country SAFE. People get shot every few minutes. Who is safe???
    In terms of whether or not keeping people incarcerated is worth while and reduces crime. Most violent criminals repeat. It's kind of hard to repeat when they are sitting behind bars.
    Criminals look for guns. They are a sought after commodity and can be sold in a minute. Millions have been stolen. Criminals don't now who has a gun and that reduces crime...says who. Millions have guns and crime still exists in spades.

  22. I do not see the gun control folks raving about cars and trucks BUT, per the CDC, motor vehicles killed:

    "During 1999--2005, approximately 300,000 deaths in the United States were related to motor vehicle crashes..."

    In these 6 years motor vehicles killed an average of 50,000 people a year in the US.

    Also you may want to look carefully at your doctors:

    And according to ATLA (American Association for Justice) "98,000" people are killed every year by "Preventable Medical errors". This is not a figure the the gun control groups want see as they talk about the need for gun control.

    Where is your outrage America? These two causes dwarf the number of ALL people killed by ALL firearms and it makes the accidental death rate by firearms tiny number in comparison.

  23. ooh, bad spell check

  24. And my percentages for deaths above are off I dropped the percentage in error YMMV so do your own percentages on the posts above....sorry....

  25. Gun control is being able to hit your target.

  26. Yeah, we all know that providing medical care and driving to work is the same thing as murdering someone with a gun. Most doctors don't intentionally kill people. People that drive don't intentionally kill. People that shoot others do it with gusto. Many have no regrets.
    In believe in Vietnam there were over 50,000 shots fired for every enemy soldier that was hit. Of the millions that own guns only a few actually know how to use them. Read about the endless gun accidents.

  27. I've read about the "endless gun accidents" but only by those making things up. Either in highly uninformed anti-gun press or from uninformed or mendacious gun control activists. I am also sure the HUGE number who die for the MANY other reasons than firearms are NOT comforted that a person with a gun did not kill accidentally them.

    I went to the CDC again to get ACTUAL statistics on the REAL top ten reasons for unintentional deaths due to ALL TYPES of injuries for ALL ages from 1999 thru 2009.

    Firearms were NOT found in ANY those top ten reasons for all unintentional (accidental) deaths when summing up ALL ages. The report is VERY specific and there is not a top ten reason for ALL age categories that "might" list firearms. They are not there at all in the summary of ALL ages.

    The unintentional death list for ALL ages and ALL of the "top ten" causes are in descending order (some are pretty large you will note):

    Motor vehicles 458,071
    poisoning 240,847
    Fall 205,711
    Unspecified 70,627
    Suffocation 63,566
    Drowning 38,022
    fire/burn 38,022
    natural environment 17,561
    Other land transport 16,155
    unclassifiable other 15,469

    But wait! I did find niches where firearms were among the top ten reasons for accidental death in three age groups!

    NOTE: Accidental death is a sickening subject. One accidental firearm death is too many anywhere. These three isolated age categories total a whopping 2,615 (two thousand six hundred and fifteen) over the ten years. This is not the total list of accidental deaths by firearms. BUT the remainder of fire arms accidental deaths are not large enough to fit anywhere into the CDC report of any age group EXCEPT these three.

    Totals from 1999-2009:

    Age group 5-9 years 172 incidents (the 10th reason for that group)
    Age group 10-14 years old 385 incidents (the 7th reason fopr that group)
    Age group 15-24 years old 2,058 incidents (the 6th reason for that group)

    So out of a total of 1,162,144 (check my math please, if you wish, one million one hundred and sixty two thousand and fifteen) unintentional deaths in the report for all ages there were a total of 2,615 unintentional gun deaths that were part of three age categories. Nowhere was accidental gun death in the top five reasons for accidental death in any age group for the US. Sorry if this disappoints the gun control people.

  28. Another grammar problem I am going to bed night I meant one million one hundred and sixty two thousand and one hundred and forty four...duh

  29. As usual...
    People will believe exactly what they want to believe, and offer 'statistics' to prove it.

  30. Yep, thank goodness my statistics are real-time from the CDC site and not made up to make a dubious point like so many anti gun stats are....

  31. To cozybop, your post contained enough myth that I thought I would carry it over to the trusted side for a quote and reply.

    Bop's post is not on the trusted list and may have expired. Bop said: (quote) "When are people gonna start growing balls and start fighting hand to hand? I would rather fight hand to hand and survive another day to fight again than shoot a gun. Grow some balls Dennis. I bet you can't last five minute in a fist fight. Guns can keep you safe but what about innocent bystanders who can get shot? Seriously think about it. If I carried a concealed weapon and somebody tried to rob me I would shoot them, but what if I sucked at shooting a gun and hit somebody else? That is why I think its better to just fight it out using fists because there are no innocent bystanders with fist fights. People should start learning more martial arts and getting fit to fight. No wonder gun lovers are so damn fat." (end quote)


    If you think CCW or armed self defense is about "balls" you are ill informed. If you think there are innocent bystanders around a fist fight; you are begging to be sucker punched by one of your opponent's friends. There is no such thing a just a fist fight. A former relative of mine bit off someone's nose while in a "fist fight" at a bar in east Las Vegas. His opponent loved to fight, up until that night anyway, and he thought it was just a fist fight when it started. Guess not huh?

    Bop, when I was 30 years younger; I was in a unexpected hand to hand fight with a sucker punching idiot who had threatened to kill me and then actually tried to kill me. He outweighed me by 40 pounds and about 6 inches in height. He was one roundhouse punch ahead when my part of the fight started. I had to break his wrist and instep to get him to back off but, he seriously continued to try to kill me. The police showed up to stop the fight (thank God), but his broken bones did not stop the fight till they stopped it.

    Any person who is untrained enough to "love" guns is probably not fit to carry. To carry properly you should be properly trained and mentally prepared to do so.

    Most actual recorded stats of actual incidents of concealed carry do NOT result in drawing the weapon or shots fired. A trained CCW individual (like most police) is trained to be careful and wary of drawing; let alone brandishing or shooting in or near a crowd.

    I, like many older or smaller people, (as opposed to fit martial artists or macho people) can not fight hand to hand due to age and/or disability etc. Ask a disabled or older person, say your grandmother or grandfather perhaps, how they would feel about going hand to hand with a home invader (or group of them).

    Arming yourself is about being properly prepared to defend yourself when attacked by a criminal and increasing the odds of surviving the attack.

    Fist fight indeed....grow up.

  32. Is what I'm reading here is that I need a gun to feel safe? I understand sporting weapons, however, handguns, carried on a daily basis for "protection?" It just perplexes me. And, no, I don't have an answer for this debate. But I can say, it does concern me that there are so many out there for reasons I just don't understand.

  33. Murray, no, you do not need a gun to feel safe. Feeling safe is your own affair. If you choose to carry a gun you SHOULD be absolutely sure to be properly trained, by a professional, and you should follow that training in a calm and sober way.