There was a big controversy when the Glock first came to America. Some cities, like New York City, banned it. There was this claim that it was a plastic gun and that airport security machines would be unable to detect it. But that turned out to be bogus. Police departments were thrilled with the Glock because it was durable and easy to use. It also had a light, steady trigger pull.
Gross: It’s important to remember that when Glock first came to America, it faced huge opposition from gun-control advocates. They claimed it was a uniquely dangerous gun because it looked like a gun on airport X-ray machines. Its plastic body made it impossible for metal detectors to tell whether a firearm was in a person’s possession. That turned out to be untrue, and the Glock has become the preferred law enforcement handgun of many police departments. Military and federal agents have also used it. But Glock did have some problems in the early ’90s, including a hitman who tried to kill the company’s head of sales and an ongoing criminal investigation by the IRS. BusinessWeek magazine reported that the company used a complex scheme to skim money from gross sales and conceal it in foreign bank accounts. But the biggest thing that Glock did was show that there is a big market in America for reliable, easy-to-use gen5 Glock pistols. And it turned out to be bigger than anyone expected.
Gross: Fritz Ofner’s film is about how the Glock became the go-to handgun for everyone from Tupac Shakur to Saddam Hussein. And that makes perfect sense because the Glock is a simple gun with few moving parts. It’s reliable, easy to maintain, and amazingly durable. Gaston Glock wasn’t even in the gun business when he invented the Glock, but he took a genius approach to the design. He started with a blank piece of paper and asked gun experts what they wanted in a weapon. They said they wanted a pistol that was easier to use, more reliable, and more durable. He came up with this design that’s an injection-molded plastic gun. And when he brought it to police departments, they were amazed. They found it easier to shoot and were more accurate sharpshooters because of the Glock’s light trigger pull. And that also made it less likely to be discharged in a dangerous situation accidentally.
Glock founder Gaston Glock had never made a gun before he designed the polymer G17, but he hired a brilliant salesman in Karl Walter. The Austrian immigrant specialized in selling to police departments, who were receptive to his high-margin plastic handgun because it had fewer moving parts than comparable pistols. It was also a reliable weapon that appealed to the NYPD and other large police departments with strict local gun laws. Walter hired top shooting instructors like Emanuel Kapelsohn to promote the Glock to new departments and to train their officers on it. This melding of training and marketing became a hallmark of the company. However, the success of the gun was not without controversy. As the film explores, Glock has been accused of corrupt practices by current and former employees and of being an accessory to mass shootings and even ISIS recruitment videos (a Glock pistol is featured in one). Nevertheless, Ofner’s documentary offers potent insights into gun culture and corporate business practices.
It was controversial when Gaston Glock introduced his gun in the United States. Gun-control advocates said, This is an extremely dangerous gun because it is made out of plastic and airport security machines won’t detect it. It will be really easy for criminals to get their hands on it and use it. Despite this, the Glock did very well. And that’s largely because of its great design. It has some very interesting features, like a cocking mechanism that relies on the force of the shooter’s trigger finger to partially cock the striker, and a lot of testing under extreme conditions to make sure it works when needed. The Glock is also incredibly reliable, and because of that, it has become popular with police departments. They also love that it’s so durable. Glocks can be run through many different types of energy. That includes chemical, mechanical, and thermal.