Some things about Glock, the man, that I did not know
Well I finally got mail in and the Mrs. had sent me a magazine "Surefire Combat Tactics". In the magazine was an extended review and excerpts from the new book, Glock: The Rise of America's Gun which told some interesting facts about Glock both the man and the gun.
Here are some things that I found interesting:
Glock's first military contract was to make field knives for the Austrian Military. His other business was making curtain rods and hinges in his garage shop and also owned a radiator business.
He got the idea for making handguns for the military after overhearing a hallway conversation between two Colonel's expressing their frustration over finding a new handgun to replace the ancient P-38's they were issued. He then simply asked for an audience with the Minister of Defense and asked him if he could design and submit a handgun. He was given the go ahead but with no support from the Government would be given.
He invited several gun gurus to his home including folks that had done research and design for Mauser and HK. During the meeting they gave him the rundown on what the military wanted. A handgun with more capacity than the P-38, a consistent and light trigger pull, no more than 28 ounces, and best of all no more than 40 parts.
The first prototype was simply two blocks of wood nailed together in order to get the grip angle right. One of the things they wanted was a wounded soldier to be able to fire the weapon accurately and instinctively even though he could not obtain a proper sight picture. The "experts" agreed on a 22 degree grip angle which he reduced slightly.
They also agreed that external safeties were more of a problem than a cure with many of the cops and soldiers actually had problems remembering if the safety was on or off when under stress which led to confusion and accidental discharges. Gaston Glock actually pocket carried a P-38 for two weeks to test this theory and he to found that he had to take a moment to think about whether the safety was on or off.
He test fired the first prototypes in his basement firing range shooting only with his left hand in case the gun blew up he would still have his right hand to complete the mechanical drawings.
The actual design took a year to complete and he applied for the patent on April 30, 1981. It was his 17th design so the gun was dubbed the "Glock 17".
He did serve in the German Army in WW 2 for two or three days then he feigned illness and was sent home. He was all of 16 years old. He constantly played down his association with the German Army.
His son Robert was appointed as the US rep for Glock but was replaced by his father after a series of mishaps including an accidental discharge while demonstrating one of the latest modifications to a Glock model in front of a room full of gun reps.
In a marketing brainstorm, Karl Walther, Glocks senior rep in the US sent his associates out on a special assignment to find a candidate to represent the company at the upcoming SHOT show. So where did they go? To one of Atlanta's best strip clubs of course. They looked at and interviewed over 300 candidates for the job.
A young lady named Sharon Dillon was chosen to unveil the new Glock 20, 10mm which she did to much media attention.
Ms. Dillon was sent to the 4 day Glock training reserved for LE and Government agencies. When reps were questioned about who she was they simply said "I can't tell you" which led to the rumor that she was employed by the CIA.
The Glock 20 and Ms. Dillon were the hit of the 1990 SHOT show which led to the forming of the Glock Gold Club which various young ladies were given the trademark black Glock t-shirts and encouraged to wear them at different clubs and events around Atlanta.
During the SHOT show the President's of both SIG and Smith and Wesson stopped by to visit with the girls to which Glock gained untold knowledge about each company through table talk with the girls.
As more and more police agencies adopted the Glock there were more and more AD's. One study found that in the decade following the adoption of the pistol in the 3800 man D.C. Police Department there were more than 120 AD's among the officers resulting in 19 serious injuries to officers. Nine D.C. citizens were injured and one killed resulting in millions being paid out in settlements.
Instead of blaming the gun they found there were three things that led to it all. First the department responding to a high turnover rate and rising crime hired 1500 new officers in just 18 months. Second they failed to train the officers. The new recruits often received only three days live fire with the new weapons instead of the usual 10 days. Finally they admitted they had made an error in putting the easy to fire Glocks in the hands of untrained officers. The pistol is designed to be a great first firearm due to it's simplicity and weight but without training it was found to be to easy to fire when you don't want it to.
Gaston Glock was the target of a hired assassin. After setting up a meeting with an employee whom he suspected of embezzling millions he and the employee traveled to an underground garage. The 70 year old Glock was attacked by a 67 year old former wrestler and member of the French Foreign Legion with a mallet. He was unarmed at the time but when the police arrived they found Glock pinned underneath his attacker who was unconscious from Glock's fight to defend himself. Both the attacker and the employee were later convicted.
The company has been rocked by scandal in that another employee in the US has been arrested for skimming millions from the company and then the ever popular fact that Gaston divorced his wife of 49 years to be with his much younger private caregiver after suffering a stroke. He has now virtually cut off his family from the empire he created. The new wife now runs the Glock Horse performance Center in Austria.
I will have to see if I can find the book it sounds like a great read.