Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun

Paul M. Barrett, Author
Paul M. Barrett. Crown, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-0-307-71993-5
Reviewed on: 10/31/2011
Release date: 01/10/2012
Open Ebook - 175 pages - 978-0-307-71994-2
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-449-00990-1
Paperback - 300 pages
Open Ebook - 188 pages - 978-1-299-02751-0
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At age 50, Gaston Glock was manufacturing knives and bayonets for the Austrian army in his garage, when in 1980 he learned the army wanted a replacement for its antiquated pistol. With an okay from the minister of defense, he took on the project: “That I knew nothing was my advantage.” After consulting with experts, he hired technicians and in 1982 launched his lightweight Glock 17, sometimes called the “plastic pistol” because of its polymer frame. American police officials wanted a new handgun, and civilians gravitate toward what the professionals carry, so Glock scored a bonanza. Die Hard 2 gave the Glock tremendous public exposure in 1990, and it was featured in films throughout that decade and embraced by hip-hop stars. U.S. gun makers, who had once scoffed at the Glock, now felt threatened. When Smith & Wesson copied the gun’s design, Glock sued. Taking aim with a full arsenal of such anecdotes, Barrett traces the events that made Gaston Glock a billionaire. Assistant managing editor of Bloomberg Businessweek, Barrett (American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion) is right on target, delivering a well-oiled, fact-packed, and fast-paced history of the Glock, surveying its crafty marketing and its huge impact on the American gun industry. (Jan. 10)
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