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In the early days of shooting, or BG (Before Glock) as it is known, pistols were complex collections of fitted parts that made for a sometimes precarious balance of reliability and function. This became very evident when a shooter would attempt to go beyond a general field stripping of their pistol to replace a part or even explore the gun. Many a gunsmith would see customers walk into their shop with a shoe box full of parts that were previously a pistol.

While the craftsmanship involved in these weapons was admirable, the sometimes temperamental nature of some pistols was problematic. Then, one fine day in 1981, the revolutionary, semi-automatic Glock service pistol with polymer receiver and new Safe Action System was born. The gun world would never be the same again.

Glock’s reliability and simplicity make it a favorite of shooters today. Fred Mastison Photo

The entire idea behind the development of the Glock handgun was different than the paths chosen by earlier gun makers. In fact, Gaston Glock began his weapon development with no real experience with firearms design. He did, however, possess an extensive background in advanced synthetic polymers and a subtle genius for engineering. He worked to develop a pistol that met the Austrian military’s template for a new duty weapon. The parameters were demanding and very specific and proved to be the blueprint for modern service weapons around the world.

In short order, Glock won the contract by being the top performer on an exhaustive series of reliability and safety tests. From there, the word of Glock’s reliability and simplicity spread like wildfire. The name Glockwould not only be known inside the firearms world but in the general culture as well.

The heart of the Glock is a mix of simplicity, engineering and quality. The Glock pistol when completely broken down, consists of only 34 parts. This is in comparison to other semi-auto pistols that have 50-plus parts at a minimum. The gun can be field stripped with no tools and completely disassembled with only a couple of small tools. It is an armorer’s dream, to say the least.

The Glock pistol when completely broken down, consists of only 34 parts. Fred Mastison Photo

Gaston Glock’s experience with advanced polymers is evident in the lower portion of the gun. It is lightweight, yet strong enough to survive the abuse it is subjected to as a military and law enforcement duty weapon. The ability to produce a quality weapon with so few parts is a testament to masterful engineering. Every component of the Glock is well thought out and specifically designed for the gun.

The gun was designed from the ground up and the components reflect that. With this mindset, there was no need to compromise or adjust the design to fit a part that they would get from another source. Every part of the gun fits precisely into the weapon, which incidentally eliminates the rattle so commonly associated with other guns.

This well-designed fit is also a contributing factor to the accuracy of the gun. At the center of that accuracy is the unique barrel design created by Glock.

The well-designed fit of a Glock’s parts are also a contributing factor to the accuracy of the gun. Fred Mastison Photo

While other barrels have standard lands and grooves, the Glock barrel has a polygonal profile with a series of six or eight interconnected segments. The depressions in the barrel are like the grooves in a regular barrel.

The boiled down result of that engineering feat is a barrel that has a better gas seal around the bullet, which allows a more efficient use of gases. This in turn allows for slightly greater velocities and increased accuracy. This is but one of the large number of unique engineering features seen in a Glock handgun. It would take an encyclopedia-sized book to effectively describe everything about this design. A book that is undoubtedly in print to serve the mass number of Glock devotees.

It is hard to tell if Gaston Glock knew exactly what the effect of his new pistol design would be. While he was confident that he could win the Austrian military contract, it is hard to know if he understood he would be changing the handgun world with his design.

From that first single pistol design, Glock now manufactures 31 different guns. More profound than that is the effort by many in the firearms industry to copy and match the design set out by the late engineer. If it is true that imitation is the highest form of flattery, Glock is indeed a very flattered company.

While clichés about “plastic” guns still rattle around in run-down coffee shop conversations, Glock continues to be at the forefront of producing real-world fighting weapons. Their commitment to reliability and accuracy built on a foundation of simplicity and engineering genius has been and will continue to be the engine that drives them. This focus has served those who carry a Glock not only in the military and law enforcement worlds but in civilian life as well. It is this characteristic that gives us confidence in a gun that we may need to use in defense of our lives.

Fred Mastison Photo

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  1. How much did TTAG charge Glock for this glowing article? Don’t get me wrong, I own three Glocks and like them. But this should have been flagged as an advertisement.

    • If he had said at the end “Go out and buy a Glock” then it’s an ad. Otherwise it’s an historical treatise.

    • Mine always go bang! Have 2 of the very first Mod 23 .40’s ever sold in the us – they still go bang on demand after all these years and have burned out 2 pairs of tritium sights. The only other mod is a one piece, modern spring several years ago.

      And then…there is the current Blue Label program – what a saver. Have bought 4 Glocks in recent years and saved a bunch… sorta makes Glock competitive with other lower cost guns without Glock reliabability.

      Glock triggers, not happy and have replaced some but not the old 23’s – triggers there have worn down to faintly pleasant usefulness.

  2. Glocks are indeed reliable and a suitable duty gun. I have one that I carry in my truck.
    They are also about as exciting as a screw driver and less ergonomic.

    • True, but I find cost-effective reliability reliably exciting. Only thing I can’t get used to is the sound it makes when you dry fire it.

      • Listen up…That sound that irritates you also indicates whether or not the striker is functioning properly. It’s a hit and bounce sound that is distinct. If it sounds limp then the striker assembly needs to be removed and checked. The slide’s striker bore needs to be clean as a whistle with no signs of case drag brass accumulation inside the breach face. If there is brass accumulation the outside breach face opening will need to be polished with 600 grit…Sound matters grasshopper.

    • What I appreciate of the Glock is not it’s simplicity or it’s use of polymers (not that I do not find them amazing) because my Beretta 34, just to make an example, is itself a fine specimen of engineering essentiality. There are also some weird other handguns that tickle my curiosity, like the Rhino.
      The most attractive feature of the Glock for me is it’s simplicity and safety of use.

  3. Too much anger and other feelz around the glock. It is a gun. It is a gun that will do its job straight out of the factory box.

    If you only ever own one gun you would do well with a glock. Or a S&W. Or a Ruger. Or a……

    Panty wearers argue these points. Men just get on with their lives.

    • Well my newest lowly Taurus G3x is pretty much a glock clone. Internally kinda identical except for no polygonal rifling. No safety,glock compatible sights and a trigger dingus. A better 18° grip angle & a slightly better trigger than a stock GLOCK© brand Glock. Yeah I’ve handled a glock. But thanks anyway Gaston. We all have plastic floating around in us😀

  4. Glock is like an old Toyota truck, just reliable and built to do the job. I have a few and every one is rock solid reliable, however I agree that they are boring looking, I like boring.

  5. I have an original, Austrian Military Glock. Simple, solid, reliable. I also have an original Belgian Military Browning. Again, simple, solid, reliable.
    Plain Jane, none too sexy, working class weapons. As designed.
    I like both, but, neither is my first choice as a sidearm. Either would be a good choice as a combat or service weapon.

  6. Please tell me that the check at least cleared before you posted this silly ass advertisement (that is factually incorrect in several points) that’s pretending to be an article.

  7. Gaston also must have had extensive knowledge of porcelain, as shown in the Glock 7, a porcelain gun that can’t be detected by metal detectors and costs more than you make in a month.

  8. Get back to me when a Glock has been around for 113 years, in 2 world wars, countless other combat engagements, and in common civilian use to this very day.

    • Right on! Glocks and their polymer frames might as well be stamped “Made in Chy-Nah”, disposable, throw-away crap. There has been more than one report of Glock frames warping, the last instance was a woman in Florida, her son-in-law discovered the problem while she was hospitalized, he was securing the firearm she kept in her car, it was deformed so badly he couldn’t rack the slide.

      If it ain’t steel it ain’t real.

  9. Yes, it is simple, reliable, and affordable.
    So is a base model Toyota Carola.
    Nothing to get excited about.
    Nothing that would make you pause to get a better look.

  10. a pal was unloading assets during a deevorce; .40cal glck was offered for $250.
    hard pass. probably should have mechteched it.

  11. They set the industry standard and a very high standard at that. Not many other pistols at the price point proven to fire 25,000 rounds without maintenance.

  12. quote—————-Then, one fine day in 1981, the revolutionary, semi-automatic Glock service pistol with polymer receiver and new Safe Action System was born. The gun world would never be the same again.———-quote

    The author is obviously a paid shill for Glock as the Glock is perhaps the most unsafe pistol ever designed. More on this lower in my post.

    quote——-The gun was designed from the ground up and the components reflect that.———quote

    Falsehood. There was nothing unique at all about the Glock at all except for its cheap plasticky frame that was used to reduce production costs. In reality the trigger mechanics of the Glock are a copy of the ancient 1908 Roth-Steyr pistol which also used a partially pre-cocked trigger mechanism. Like the plasticky Glock, the Roth–Steyr_M1907 also had no manual safety.

    The mechanics of the Glock pistol were done by engineers hired by Glock who came up with a Frankenstein modification of the Roth Steyr pistol. Let me make clear though that the barrel lock up of the Glock is quite different from the Roth Steyr. The Steyr uses a rotating barrel while the Glock used the Browning/Colt lock up.

    It is clearly evident that none of these engineers that Glock hired had ever been firearms experts as the system they developed turned out to be one of the most unsafe semi-auto pistols to ever become unfortunately a commercial success. The take down system is entirely unsafe due to the fact that the trigger must be pulled with the slide forward during take down and the Glock’s lack of a manual safety is an accident waiting to happen and happen it often does.

    I have often stated there is little difference between carrying a loaded revolver with the hammer cocked back or carrying the Glock with a round in the chamber. The only difference is people cannot see the danger in a Glock because it has no visible hammer. As a matter of fact the original prototype Glock design “did” have a visible hammer but Glock was told no one in their right mind would carry such an unsafe weapon so they had to redesign it as a striker fired weapon to conceal the danger when carrying this suicide machine.

    Another big myth is that polygonal rifling being of the shallow groove type is unsafe to shoot when using lead bullets as it will cause the gun to immediately self-destruct in a near atomic blast that will cause the shooter to disappear in a red puff of mist. If that were true I would have ceased to exist decades ago. I have shot thousands of lead bullets through both rifles and pistols with polygonal rifling with no ill effects and often with outstanding accuracy busting yet another myth about shooting lead out of polygonal type rifling.

    Any type of rifling that gets clogged up with lead deposits can cause a weapon to explode but the question is “will the polygonal barrel blow up sooner”? That I cannot answer and lacking an unlimited bank account to blow up a series of weapons and the large amount of ammo needed its unfortunately an experiment I cannot carry out but would love to do.

    I would hazard to guess the polygonal barrel would indeed blow up sooner as with conventional old fashioned deep groove rifling the bullet often rides above the grooves. Few people know that there is no perfectly uniform bore as rifle bores have loose and tight spots in them, especially the low grade econoline barrels put on the bargain basement hunting rifles often pandered to the “beared pickup truck crowd” at places like Walmart. Even hand lapped barrels will often have some minor loose and tight spots. Pushing a very tight patch through the bore one can often feel the patch start and then hesitate as it is pushed down through the bore showing one the loose and tight spots.

    I will state that I have fired extremely good groups when using lead bullets in polygonal bores providing the bullet was not undersize in relation to the bore of the gun and I have often picked up “less” leading with the polygonal bore than with conventionally rifled bores. Never the less I religiously clean my weapons barrels after shooting lead out of them. It’s called “taking no chances” a concept completely foreign to the far right bearded pickup truck person’s mind.

    Glocks have never been noted for outstanding accuracy either as their chambers are generous which leads to a misalignment of the bullet to the bore axis. The positive side of this is that they will function with some ammo that will not even chamber in more highly refined and more accurate pistols. I have had tight chambered Walther pistols absolutely refuse to chamber some poorly made ammo as opposed the Glocks I have used that will chamber just about everything.

    I might say Glocks blow up more quickly than some other pistols because the Glock will also fire out of battery. On some Glocks I have used I deliberately fired them out of batter using only a primed case and could clearly see a light striker mark on the primer on those that did not fire the primer off. Primers often vary considerably in their sensitivity and when one goes off when the gun is out of battery this can blow a Glock sky high.

    The Glock has an open striker channel and coupled with the huge hole in the bottom of the grip which is a superhighway for dust and debris to find its way into the striker channel the Glock reliability myth goes right out the window as opposed to most hammer fired pistols that have enclosed firing pin channels sealing out dirt and debris. Letting a Glock accumulate to much fouling in the striker channel or over lubing the Glocks striker channel can cause reliability problems especially in very cold weather. So much for the mythical Glock perfection.

    Glock standard plasticky factory sights are pure trash as well and will often wear away with a poorly fitted holster. Most Glock-o-philes will simply trash the plasticky junk factory sights and have steel tritium sights put on the pistol.

    Glock frame rails carbide inserts went through at least 3 design changes as Glocks at one time had inserts too short that let the slide fall of the frame if the pistol was dropped hard. Later longer inserts caused the slide to jam up. Finally Glock chose to use an intermediate length set of inserts.

    Glock extractors went through several changes.

    Glock trigger return springs often broke on early model Glock 19 guns.

    Early model Glock Long Slides that had ported barrels often had the barrels break in to at the porting juncture.

    And Glock never ceased to call their pistol “Perfection”. Well I guess we all need a good laugh some of the time.

    Glock “recalls” were labeled as “upgrades” because Glock new the average American Hilljack was too dumb to know they were one and the same.

    Glock trigger pulls have never been known to endear them to their users. They are often quite creepy and never have a 1911 crisp let off as found on target grade 1911 guns.

    quote———–At the center of that accuracy is the unique barrel design created by Glock.——————-quote

    Hilarious Falsehood: The concept of the polygonal barrel is nothing new or had anything to do with Glock and polygonal rifling goes way back to 1853 when a British designer by the name of Joseph Whitworth proposed this new type of shallow groove rifling for the British military muzzleloaders. It was rejected.

    Another British man by the name of Metford further modified the concept and his rifling was used in the British Military rifles known as the Lee-Metford rifles.

    Later in time the Germans further developed the polygonal barrel for their WWII MG42 machine gun that had a hammer forged polygonal barrel.

    It’s interesting to note that some foreign countries outlawed the Glock for importation unless it had a factory manual safety installed and Glock complied with a factory installed manual safety but Glcok never made this manual safety available to the American consumer. One can get a Glock approved manual safety installed and no, you cheap Far Right people it’s not cheap but then again how much is your life worth? Obviously not much as most of you will not spend the money to get it done.

        • He got kicked off the pantifa forums for being too extreme, or honest in his intentions, for their moderators.

          They don’t want to scare the new recruits with their real goals.

    • Behold the magnificence of our expert on everything!

      Really, TLDR. I knew you would spew a massive verbal diarrhea on this topic.

    • He is generally a leftist foookktard. But he is more than 98% right this time. Even a broken clock is right twice per day.

      • And he admits to owning or using the same guns we wants (or needs) to execute a third of the population of the country for owning.

        A good little lackey, until his usefulness has ended.

    • All those people whose innovative inventions cited by Mr Word Salad? Those patents have expired. Then that dastardly Gaston Glock came along and made all that money on the labor of others. What a rat bastard. I suppose that all those americans who were conned into buying such a unsafe handgun like the Glock deserve the death by explosion that is soon to happen to them.
      My Glock 17 gen 2 was a police trade in and it is still soldiering on as my service weapon. I do clean it semi annually to keep the dust bunnies from getting too big.

    • If you know your equipment and train the manual safety is a non factor. I have 7 glocks and bought my first one in 1995. I shoot twice a month and reload. I’ve had no issues or have never worried about an accidental discharge which is not accidental if it’s your finger pulling the trigger. If you’re pulling the trigger on a 1911 for example and the safety is on that’s from lack of training. Same as a revolver no safety. Train train train. I also retired from the army after 22 years and we shot a lot for Iraq pre-deployment training. Again know your equipment. And to the comment on glocks not being attractive, who cares. I bought a Glock to shoot. Not be a safe queen.

  13. And on the second day invented Koolaid. On the third day bicycles with training wheels, on the third day sliced bread……And

  14. Glocks are reliable, durable, accurate firearms. They’re also about as interesting as a stick of firewood. I say that having been through Glock’s LE armorer school three times and the owner of several. They’re also great if you spend a lot of time around salt water. I do.

  15. In the 80’s I worked at a defense contractor and had a subscription to International Combat Arms, a defense technology magazine. While they normally covered things like stealth aircraft, one month there was an article about this new handgun called a Glock. After reading it I decided to buy one and see if it was worthy of the hype, it was.

  16. Yes glocks are reliable guns. In fact from what I have read they are extremely reliable guns.
    But that does not make a glock the best gun for an individual. The glock was made for the military and the police.

    And most civilians don’t need a gun that large.. Most civilians are not going to get the training necessary to operate a glock safely.

    But they certainly have the freedom to buy a glock if they want to.

    I don’t own a Glock and was not interested in buying one. Until I found out there is a binary trigger made for them now.

    • “And most civilians don’t need a gun that large”

      I sampled a friend’s 26 when we were at the range, probably 8 or 10 years ago. Nice size, good grip, pointed well, and I was shooting 2 inch groups at 7 yards after a magazine. I found it similar to my .38 snub; maybe that’s why it worked well for me.

      • If you’re paid to carry a gun either as a government agent or a private agent. Then yes you’re gonna carry a big gun with plenty of ammo.

        But the private citizen , is not gonna carry that large heavy gun, and extra ammunition with them. I own two snubbies , one in 32HR magnum. Ans one in 38 special.
        And both of them are so much more easier to carry all day long.

  17. The story of the Glock pistol is a close analogy to Donald J. Trump and politics. Both came from outside their fields of expertise. Both thought outside-the-box to accomplish their goals. Both had an unconventional way of doing things and rubbed some people the wrong way. Both were immediately attacked, ridiculed and suffered false claims from established competitors. And in the end, both of their concepts were proven right and enormously beneficial to a large percentage of the World’s population — even if those detractors still won’t acknowledge that fact. Like ’em or not, they both changed the World.

  18. They’re so ubiquitous, it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to have one. There will always be parts available for them. Mags are easy to find. Everyone makes a holster for them. There’s a huge aftermarket.

  19. It is obviously a failure due to the lack of commercial sales the lack law enforcement and defense sales. Obviously with the literally tens of thousands of lawsuits suing them for selling a piece of crap it can’t be any good. Very obviously a failure with production numbers as high as 20,000,000 made in less than 45 years.

  20. I super enjoy taking my Glocks apart occasionally for a deep clean. It is very relaxing to me having all the parts spread out, cleaned and reinstalled. When I retire, I am thinking about becoming a Glock Armorer.

  21. Didn’t they get rid of the polygonal rifling for more traditional rifling in the “new” marksman barrel?

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