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Rise of the Glock
January 24, 2012 10:51 AM   Subscribe

How the Glock Became America's Weapon of Choice The Glock was created in 1982 by a curtain rod manufacturer named Gaston Glock. Glock didn't like the handguns available on the market and decided to manufacture a new gun from scratch.

The original Glock 17, the model adopted by the Austrian army, contained only 36 parts and could hold 17 bullets in its magazine. It didn't have an external safety like other semiautomatic handguns. It also didn't have a decocking mechanism. The result? A lightweight, interchangeable model that could be dropped, submerged and subjected to temperature extremes – and still accurately fire.

...

"Glock had seen [the ban on high capacity weapons] coming for years and had been running the factory non-stop – three shifts a day, seven days a week – building up the large capacity firearms and the large capacity magazines," he says. "When the law was enacted, it allowed for a loophole that grandfathered in pre-existing equipment before the ban went into effect. [And] Glock had this huge stockpile of the very equipment that many gun owners wanted to get because it was banned – and the value of that equipment skyrocketed."
posted by modernnomad (123 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
"The Glock was adopted early on by some of the biggest names – Tupac, Dr. Dre – as soon as it appeared here, they began to embrace it for its dark, futuristic side," he says. "The fact that it looked tough, [had a] large magazine capacity, and not incidentally, the fact that it rhymed so well with words you might want to use in rap lyrics.

such restraint
posted by nathancaswell at 10:58 AM on January 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


A shorter interview of the same author from a couple weeks ago, with full transcript: The Glock, From 'Handgun Tupperware' To Top Pistol
posted by Edogy at 10:59 AM on January 24, 2012


the very equipment that many gun owners wanted to get because it was banned

QFT
posted by DU at 11:01 AM on January 24, 2012


I'm a Crooklyn Dodger. Where's Rerun and Roger?
Wearin' Timberlands and runnin' down the block
Away from Dwayne who carries a Glock
'Cause he's sellin' rock to the Partridge Family
And Ruben Kincaid drives a 300E
'Cause he's pimpin' Chrissy from Three's Company.
posted by jonp72 at 11:02 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


So when did the interns get them?
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:03 AM on January 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


I actually held a glock not too long ago. It was surprisingly light.
posted by Atreides at 11:03 AM on January 24, 2012


the very equipment that many gun owners wanted to get because it was banned

And that is exactly the type of gun owner who I try to avoid. Target shooting is great fun, but there is a certain type of "gun guy" who just terrifies me. He's usually the same guy who enjoys paintball because it's the closest he can legally get to going out and killing people, rather than because it is a fun game.
posted by asnider at 11:05 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


A lightweight, interchangeable model that could be dropped, submerged and subjected to temperature extremes – and still accurately fire.

It's almost Russian.
posted by Artw at 11:07 AM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


They are fantastic guns, and pleasant to shoot. There are videos online of people putting them through ridiculous torture tests, and the pistols keep on functioning.
posted by Forktine at 11:11 AM on January 24, 2012


Artw, lose 'leightweight' and yeah, I agree. (Finnish assault rifles are based on the AK design and they are beautifully simple machines, but heavy and clunky.)
posted by slimepuppy at 11:12 AM on January 24, 2012


It's almost Russian.

"Almost" because you can't break it down and use it to build a field still.
posted by griphus at 11:13 AM on January 24, 2012 [17 favorites]


Finally, I understand the Cave Johnson / curtain rod references in Portal.
posted by rokusan at 11:13 AM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, never do the stupid thing where people put them underwater and fire them.
posted by resurrexit at 11:16 AM on January 24, 2012


Since Obama was elected:

There is a locally owned box store chain up here in the Northwest (Bi-Mart). Every Tuesday, at the store nearest me, new ammo gets delivered. By the end of the day, it's all sold out. Even now.

Once (before the mid-terms) I asked the guy at the ammo counter about this, and whether the Obama administration was visibly acting on gun control. He said, no, but "Biden and Pelosi" were working on it big time.

I seem to remember commenting on this before, but it still just astounds me, the weapon culture. It's like lots of people I live and work around are behaving like Somali warlords, or something.
posted by Danf at 11:17 AM on January 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


Pleasant to shoot is highly subjective. The trigger pull/integrated safety is a source of irritation to a non-trivial number of folks.
posted by k5.user at 11:17 AM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Uhhh... I thought Christopher Walken was the weapon of choice??
posted by spicynuts at 11:18 AM on January 24, 2012 [13 favorites]


If, after reading or listening to all this, you want to see someone and talking Glocks and shooting them, here's Hickok45's 8-Glock review.
posted by Edogy at 11:19 AM on January 24, 2012


"Over that time, gun laws in the United States are getting looser, not tighter. It is easier to carry a gun in many states. It is easier to get gun permits. And we have now had a Democratic President for three years and he's said barely a word about gun control one way or the other. I think it's very fair to say that the gun control debate has really been won for the moment by the NRA and by the industry that it cooperates with, and by those people who are in favor of widespread civilian ownership of guns."

But, but, but, Obama is coming to take my guns!! Jackbooted thugs!!
posted by narcoleptic at 11:19 AM on January 24, 2012


You know what Glock rhymes with? Cock. It rhymes with cock.
posted by swift at 11:22 AM on January 24, 2012 [12 favorites]


The ammo thing is a perfect example of why I stopped shooting. It's not much fun being a dirty stinking pinko commie liberal out on the range.

As for pleasant, lump me in with k5. I hate Glocks. The trigger pull, angle, everything else about the things just don't work for my body/brain mechanics.
posted by drewbage1847 at 11:23 AM on January 24, 2012


rokusan: Finally, I understand the Cave Johnson / curtain rod references in Portal.

Actually shower curtains but it's an interesting parellel.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:24 AM on January 24, 2012


If, after reading or listening to all this, you want to see someone and talking Glocks and shooting them, here's Hickok45's 8-Glock review.

All that pinging on targets; now I get where the term "glockenspiel" comes from.
posted by chavenet at 11:24 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


There is a locally owned box store chain up here in the Northwest (Bi-Mart). Every Tuesday, at the store nearest me, new ammo gets delivered. By the end of the day, it's all sold out. Even now.

This has been explained to me thusly: "Preppers are survivalists without guns. Survivalists are armed preppers."
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:25 AM on January 24, 2012


The trigger pull, angle, everything else about the things just don't work for my body/brain mechanics.

That's because you need to hold it sideways, gangsta style.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:25 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


What the fuck's a prepper?
posted by spicynuts at 11:25 AM on January 24, 2012


Business model:

1. Invent new 12-inch handgun named "Bleenis."

2. Wait for rappers to write the songs.

3. $$$
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:26 AM on January 24, 2012 [48 favorites]


Every time Gaston fired one he turned to an imaginary camera, gave a half smile and said "I'm afraid it's curtains for you, Mr. Bond!"
posted by yoink at 11:26 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who learned what a Glock was from Heather B's song "All Glocks Down" from Season One of "The Real World?"

Crap. I bet I am.
posted by argonauta at 11:27 AM on January 24, 2012


I'd expect their investing for their future, Danf, maybe yours too, but probably not, hopefully not.
I'd agree that pronunciation might've played some role too, swift.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:27 AM on January 24, 2012


Celsius1414, don't get me started
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:27 AM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Heh, nice reference to Die Hard's introduction of the Glock to the American audience. Where they called it the "Glock 7", which doesn't exist, and described it as being constructed out of metal-detector-proof ceramics, which is entirely untrue.

Glocks are nice. They're reliable and ubiquitous in the semi-automatic handgun market. I hear the generation 4's are also alot slimmer through the grip.
posted by Mercaptan at 11:29 AM on January 24, 2012


You can strip away all the rap music and the cool factor. The reason Glocks are popular is because it's a very, very good weapon for the money. Only the AK-47 offers more bang for the buck.

If Glock made cars, they'd cost $3000 and last for twenty years. And you could throw one out of an airplane and drive it away.
posted by Nahum Tate at 11:30 AM on January 24, 2012 [11 favorites]


Speaking as a small woman, the Glock is popular with me because although large caliber (which means stopping power) it is light, has a low key recoil, is easy to aim due to the very clear sighting, has a big magazine that doesn't need constant reloading, and tends to jam a lot less than other semi-automatics.

It's a well made tool for its purpose, which for me is target shooting and last resort home self defense.
posted by bearwife at 11:33 AM on January 24, 2012


Can anyone think of a rap song where glock is rhymed with cock? Or with anything for that matter?
posted by Ad hominem at 11:33 AM on January 24, 2012


Soon after the '08 election, I overheard the owner of the company talking to his wife on the phone. "Make sure to buy *American-made* ammo!"

I have a couple friends who are gun nuts - but they're the "I like to shoot targets and make fun of people from Idaho" types. Every couple years we go down to the country place and I make sure I can still hit the targets. I don't shoot except at these sessions, but picking up that Glock it feels like it was made for my hand.

I can still put 13 out of 15 in the ten hole at fifteen yards in under fifteen seconds.
posted by notsnot at 11:36 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can anyone think of a rap song where glock is rhymed with cock? Or with anything for that matter?

Cypress Hill was the first that popped into my head:
Shoulda put the glock down
Now they got me in lockdown
From "Hand On The Glock"
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:39 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


The result? A lightweight, interchangeable model that could be dropped, submerged and subjected to temperature extremes – and still accurately fire

It's hard to express just how reliable the original Glock 17 was. It blew away every NATO reliability and durability test there was. Northern nations had another reason to like the polymer frame -- when it's really cold, you're not holding a large metal heat sink.

The reason they're so popular with law enforcement in the US is that Glock made a very concerted effort to market to US law enforcement -- even quickly building two models that fired the new FBI selected automatic pistol round, the .40 S&W, the full frame Glock 22 and compact frame Glock 23.

In general, they are very good pistols, though I don't like them in .45 ACP -- the Glock 21 is just too damn wide, and the Glock 36's grip is too damn short.

The all-internal safety system is jarring when you first encounter it -- but it's not unsafe. It's built to make sure that the weapon fires *only* when the trigger is pulled, and that's what a safety is about. If you don't want to fire the weapon, why the fuck is your finger on the trigger?
posted by eriko at 11:40 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I like Glocks. If I were going to keep a general purpose weapon around, one of the early high capacity models would be my first choice.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:40 AM on January 24, 2012


Steve Zissou: Anne-Marie, do all the interns get Glocks?
Anne-Marie Sakowitz: No, they all share one.
posted by newdaddy at 11:41 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know what my weapon of choice is? My towering, gilt-edged, spleen-drenched scorn, that's what. It's always worked for me. Except for that one time when TK Christ kicked me in the nads. Bastard.
posted by Decani at 11:42 AM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


That song also has a nice bit of assonance in the chorus:
When I put away my shotgun
Borrow me a glock
Took a litle trip to the funky weed spot
Tried to jack me
But homie got got shot
La-la-la-la-lalalala
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:43 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can anyone think of a rap song where glock is rhymed with

Guess I gotta tell ya,
love my Glock
like cherries love syrup,
like Kirk loves Spock
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:44 AM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Can someone explain the safety to me?

I have shot rifles but not pistols, so I am accustomed to popping the safety button before settling in for the final aim & fire. Is the Glock's safety part of the trigger pull? How then do these not go off like all the time?
posted by wenestvedt at 11:47 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Always liked them, such a nice form/function melding.

If I ever wanted to greatly increase the chances of being shot I would likely get one for my home.
posted by Cosine at 11:48 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


There's also crack-rock and block (those rhymes have to have been used).
posted by idiopath at 11:49 AM on January 24, 2012


I have shot a variety of pistols, and aside from a .357 revolver that I shot .38 out of, the Glock 17 was really the only one I ever felt like I could actually hit something with (and did). My hands are kind of small, though. I should try a 1911.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:49 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I used to drive past their US headquarters on my regular commute. It's pretty obvious that they're anticipating something really bad happening there some day. I've been to military facilities with lower-profile perimeter security.
posted by deadmessenger at 11:49 AM on January 24, 2012


Can anyone think of a rap song where glock is rhymed with cock? Or with anything for that matter?

It seems the peak of Glock in hip-hop was in the early '90s; 93-95.

From a quick perusal, when Glock is used with cock, it's usually the verb (as in something you do with a Glock) as opposed to the noun (something that has a symbolic connection with a Glock).

This usage is actually rarer:
Mr. One Eight Seven on a motherfuckin cop
Tic toc never the glock just some nuts and a cock
Robbin motherfuckers then I kill dem blood claats
Then I step through the fog and I creep through the smog
Cuz I'm Snoop Doggy (who?) Doggy (what?) Doggy {Dogg}

Who am I (What's My Name?) - Snoop Doggy Dogg, 1993

As opposed to this usage:
The money stasher, gun blastin razor slasher
the human asthma breath taker
body dump waster
the glock cocker, block locker the rock chopper,
the shot popper, the jock cock glocker

Broken Language - Smoothe da Hustler ft. Trigger tha Gambler, 1996
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:50 AM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is the Glock's safety part of the trigger pull? How then do these not go off like all the time?

As I understand it, the trigger pull is particularly heavy.

How often to you pull the trigger without intending to shoot something?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:52 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wenestvedt: The Glock technically has three safeties, of which the trigger safety is just one. The firing pin safety and drop safety prevent the gun from firing except for when the trigger is being pulled back (like if you drop the gun or knock it hard).

The trigger safety has to be pulled directly from the front, so a push from the side will not disengage the trigger safety. If you keep your finger off the trigger and use a proper holster, the gun will not go off. The trigger pull isn't particularly heavy. Some do not prefer it, but it's pretty smooth.
posted by Mercaptan at 11:55 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


It seems the peak of Glock in hip-hop was in the early '90s; 93-95.

Oh wow, that tool is great. thanks.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:56 AM on January 24, 2012


What the fuck's a prepper?

These are people living with some degree of self-sufficiency, e.g., growing their own food, making their own clothes, stockpiling clean water, building cabins up in the hills. "Preparing" for any number of catastrophes, temporary or permanent, that might befall regionally or nationally. The quip that "survivalists are armed preppers" is a remark on the levels of dedication and apocalyptic vision possessed by the two groups.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:00 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Smooth trigger pull ? The first shot has a long/hard trigger pull (if firing somewhat rapidly, where the subsequent trigger pulls are far easier). You can compare that to SA/DA pistols though I find SA/DA more "reasonable" in the difference.
posted by k5.user at 12:03 PM on January 24, 2012


National Geographic Channel will tell you all about preppers in this doubtlessly reserved and objective new series. They've run a few specials on them so far as well. There's one where they observe the construction of a $20 million ark for some rich person and his family. It's really kind of fascinating in a terrible way.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:04 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


IIRC for a while the Tec 9 was popular in rap circles, a gun generally considered to be completely worthless (though used to great effect by Bai Ling at the end of Crank 2).
posted by Artw at 12:04 PM on January 24, 2012


Speaking as a small woman, the Glock is popular with me because although large caliber (which means stopping power) it is light, has a low key recoil, is easy to aim due to the very clear sighting, has a big magazine that doesn't need constant reloading, and tends to jam a lot less than other semi-automatics.

They have their virtues but I'm surprised their popular with women, especially one on the smaller side. I'm an average sized guy and I find the grip a little too wide for comfort.
posted by BigSky at 12:06 PM on January 24, 2012


IIRC for a while the Tec 9 was popular in rap circles, a gun generally considered to be completely worthless

Their draw was that they're big and cheap, not that they're any good.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:08 PM on January 24, 2012


+ look fancy!
posted by Artw at 12:10 PM on January 24, 2012


I'm an average sized guy and I find the grip a little too wide for comfort.

Huh, that's bizarre. As I said above, I think I have smallish hands, and the other pistols I've tried (ex. USP, Brigadier) have all been too large for me to operate comfortably.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:15 PM on January 24, 2012


They have their virtues but I'm surprised their popular with women, especially one on the smaller side. I'm an average sized guy and I find the grip a little too wide for comfort.

This is exactly why I prefer Kahr's single-stack pistols -- I have tiny hands, and a narrow grip just works better for me. I like the double-action-only trigger over the Glock trigger, also.

That said, the advantage of the Glock is really obvious when you're on the range and you have to reload three times for everyone else's two (and that's assuming they don't have an extended mag, which most Glock owners do).
posted by vorfeed at 12:22 PM on January 24, 2012


Courtesy of a friend's Living Social deal, I fired a Glock 17 a week ago. First time I'd fired a real pistol, and first real gun in 30 years, though I'm a pretty good shot with a bb gun. It was at an indoor range, one clip at 21 feet, one at 42, after about 30 minutes of no-nonsense, hands-off instruction. About a 6 inch group on the first clip, about 8 on the second, the one at 42 feet, never having shot a pistol before. I loaded the clips myself, got it right the first time, had no jams or anything. I firmly believe I could improve a lot with just a little practice, but those results weren't embarassing.

Now, I have no basis of comparison. I don't know that other guns wouldn't work as well, and I don't particularly feel like doing any more shooting. But that gun worked just great, you know?
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:25 PM on January 24, 2012


I have tiny hands

But are you "small and scampery"?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 12:26 PM on January 24, 2012


Oh, and just as a data point, I'm a big guy with big hands.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:27 PM on January 24, 2012


The quip that "survivalists are armed preppers" is a remark on the levels of dedication and apocalyptic vision possessed by the two groups.

I'm kinda glad "preppers" got their own term. I know a couple of people who fit the term and it strikes me as a quirk/hobby that they take pleasure in and may some day make use of.

Apocalypse types scare me though. I always worry they're going to lose patience with waiting around for it to come.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:29 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you don't want to fire the weapon, why the fuck is your finger on the trigger?

My wife and I stopped going to a particular practice range around here because there were so many instances of poor trigger discipline.

The one we go to now is better, but jesus, the level of political discourse is frightening. They have a form you fill out, and you can put your political affiliation : "Right thinking American" or "Socialist Demotard".

Guess I'm a Demotard.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:37 PM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


This is exactly why I prefer Kahr's single-stack pistols -- I have tiny hands, and a narrow grip just works better for me. I like the double-action-only trigger over the Glock trigger, also.

My hands are maybe a little on the small side for my height, tiny would be a stretch. I much prefer a single stack. My fingers can wrap around just fine, it's right at the web between my thumb and index where it feels uncomfortable.

As far as Kahr goes, pretty much everyone says good things about their guns, and their fairly priced as well, but I just refuse to do trade with an affiliate of the Unification Church.
posted by BigSky at 12:41 PM on January 24, 2012


"Right thinking American" or "Socialist Demotard".

You should scratch out "Right" and put in "Correct".
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:42 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Target shooting is great fun, but there is a certain type of "gun guy" who just terrifies me. He's usually the same guy who enjoys paintball because it's the closest he can legally get to going out and killing people, rather than because it is a fun game.

Yeah. You know what? I like tools. For me, a gun is a tool. It performs a highly-specific job, granted, but a good tool will do that. See also: Snap-On torque Wrenches, Adobe Photoshop (once upon a time, anyway), a Rolleiflex, a Shimpo cermaics wheel, a third-gen iPod, a Marantz amplifier, or a Glock handgun. They do one thing and do it well, and I own and use them all.

But here's the thing: no one wears a torque wench on their belt. If someone had a car covered in ASE propaganda and voted on the sole basis of where a candidate stood on Newton/meters vs foot/pounds, or claimed his wrench was all that stood between him and fascistic invasion by machine manufacturers he'd be deemed a right raving loony.

I'm all about good tools, but when people promote a simple, well-made tool (of any sort) to an object of fetishism, then I usually keep my distance. I'm a motorcyclist, not a 1% biker gang member. I'm a gun owner, not a gun nut.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:48 PM on January 24, 2012 [17 favorites]


The ammo thing is a perfect example of why I stopped shooting. It's not much fun being a dirty stinking pinko commie liberal out on the range.

The thing for me is that all but one (the indoor, expensive one) range in my area requires NRA membership to shoot.
This is just not something I can do.
posted by madajb at 12:49 PM on January 24, 2012


Pogo: The political discourse drives me crazy. Gun stores/ranges with that crusty old man vibe are classic echo chambers for that kind of thought. I'd mark "socialist demotard who likes guns" every time.

Thankfully, someone opened up a range down the street from Emory University that's a lot more chill. Staffed by college age kids and touting an art loft atmosphere. Plus the ventilation is fantastic, agressive even.
posted by Mercaptan at 12:49 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I forget if I saw the video or the pictures of a torture test, but what impressed me (knowing not much about guns other than shooting a few 9mm revolvers and a shotgun) is how they can go to hell and back and still work without being cleaned/disassembled.
posted by wcfields at 12:50 PM on January 24, 2012


This guy abuses his Glock 21 by soaking it in rock salt and other things overnight. That didn't cause it to stop functioning correctly, so then he took it out and shot it. By which I mean he used the pistol as a target. It still worked, so he set out to determine exactly what it does take to cause it to reliably malfunction...

I think most people are worried about things besides durability when thinking about pistols, but it's nice to know that the chemical process they use to harden the parts makes them so comically durable that you don't have to worry about it.

I prefer a 1911 for other reasons, but every time I have to screw with the sear on one I do find myself thinking that I could get used to the Glock 30's higher grip angle with a little bit of practice.

That being said, I hate a lot of things about firearms in general. Like not being able to hear anything after firing them without protection. It's also tough not having any intermediate options between A) run away and B) someone's probably going to die. The most important function of such a device is to kill another human being at short range, and I think it's less than gentlemanly to do so without thinking about other ways you can defuse the situation so the attacker can have a chance to rethink his approach to life.

My solution was to get a Taurus Judge and some flechette rounds. They don't sound like a pistol when they go off, and I'm told they don't cause the internal organ damage that regular pistol rounds do. More importantly, the consequences for missing are fewer but you can still stop an attacker with one. Yes, any pistol will stop an attacker if used properly by someone with a level head. When picking apart the events in court, it's a lot less likely to turn into a witchhunt if the stopping power came from pain rather than death.
posted by thalakan at 12:56 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


For some reason I read that as "Glen Beck"...
posted by qwejibo at 1:03 PM on January 24, 2012


My solution was to get a Taurus Judge and some flechette rounds

I had no idea what this was. A pistol that fires shotgun rounds, basically.

Looking up fletchette rounds led me here. They sell them, along with 'bolo' rounds described thusly: "Nothing says 'I love you,' like a four inch wide entry wound."

I support gun rights, but jeez it's like the industry is determined to live up to their worst caricatures.
posted by bitmage at 1:09 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Flechette rounds: limited by the Geneva Convention, but totally cool if its a criminal or a Palestinian.
posted by narcoleptic at 1:18 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm with the people whose hands don't fit glocks very well, and who don't like the feel of the trigger action. But it seems to be entirely a matter of taste and physical fits, not the "goodness" of the gun. I find myself having remarkably more accuracy and comfort with a Sig, but to each their own.
posted by flaterik at 1:24 PM on January 24, 2012


This is exactly why I prefer Kahr's single-stack pistols

I like them as well (compared to Glocks, which I don't mind at all, but think are pretty thick) but was put off by the pricetag.

Luckily, Kel-Tec makes a polymer-frame 9mm that is almost the same form factor as the Kahr PM9. And it's like half the price. And I'm pretty sure that they're not funding the Moonies. My friends and I refer to Kel-Tec as the "Ikea of guns." The president and chief engineer of the company is a Swede, and there does seem to be a certain ...Swedishness to their products. Well-designed, inexpensive, functionalist. They even come with little Allen wrenches (for sight adjustment)!

Anyway, I think you can say pretty confidently that the Kahr and Kel-Tec owe a large part of their heritage to Mr. Glock. To be honest, why Glock hasn't gotten in on the single-stack subcompact market is beyond me.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:25 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Flechette rounds: limited by the Geneva Convention, but totally cool if its a criminal or a Palestinian.

Really? I was under the impression that the Geneva Conventions related to the treatment of persons, not the limitations of the weapons of war. Could provide a link to the relevant part?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:27 PM on January 24, 2012


I've never cared for actually shooting glocks. They feel top heavy, and for some reason the shell ejection mechanism seems to be aimed right at my face. I do rather like my Sig 9mm though. I guess I don't have much to add except the usual "it's people not guns that cause problems". That said, I target shoot for recreation so I mostly just shoot 9mm and .22 FMJs. I suppose if I really felt like it was necessary I would keep some JHP's in a magazine in my house, but I don't buy the "home protection" idea as valid for every homeowner. Granted, I'm fortunate enough to live in a pretty nice area. To each their own though. /ramble
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 1:27 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


hell and back and still work

That is an impressively silly video.
posted by cortex at 1:28 PM on January 24, 2012


Ad hominem: "Can anyone think of a rap song where glock is rhymed with cock? Or with anything for that matter?"
"Got a VCR, in the back of my car
that I ganked from the Slauson Swap Meet
And motherfuckers better not try to stop me
Cause they will see that I can't be stopped
cause I'ma cock my Glock and pop til they all drop"
posted by symbioid at 1:52 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The man of twists and turns: Hague convention, not Geneva. And if you want to get finicky, the St, Petersburg Declaration before the Hague convention outlawed hollow point bullets. And honestly, looking at the Hague convention, I'm not totally sure flechette ammunition is banned by it. It's fuzzier than you'd think.
posted by Hactar at 2:04 PM on January 24, 2012


@rokusan,
Don't forget the curtain rod reference from Twin Peaks,
Nadine Hurley: [Nadine opens the front door of her house and yells] Ed! You waiting for those drapes to hang themselves?
Big Ed Hurley: Yo, okay!
--
Don't shoot!
hahaha
posted by xtian at 2:07 PM on January 24, 2012


Hactar, thank you.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:11 PM on January 24, 2012


cock my Glock

Uh, I've only shot a Glock once, so I'm no expert. But I don't think you can cock a Glock.
posted by ryanrs at 2:12 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I like the look of this weird ass thing.
posted by Artw at 2:13 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


It must be very gratifying to have a National Gun.
posted by tumid dahlia at 2:51 PM on January 24, 2012


And while I'm on the subject of Dr. Dre's lyrics, besides the technical inaccuracies, armed theft of a second-hand video cassette recorder—also not cool.
posted by ryanrs at 3:21 PM on January 24, 2012


No one's mentioned that time Gaston Glock fought off a hit-man yet? Not by firing (or even brandishing) one of his eponymous pistols but by punching the ever-loving fuck out of his assailant with his 73-year-old fists. Granted, the hit-man was 67 years old and had the brilliant idea of using a rubber (?!) mallet to do the job, but still.
posted by mhum at 3:22 PM on January 24, 2012


A much longer version of this story was the BusinessWeek cover story a short while ago: Glock: America's Gun.
posted by unmake at 3:22 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


ryanrs: "Uh, I've only shot a Glock once, so I'm no expert. But I don't think you can cock a Glock."

The Glock lacks an external hammer, but I think a gun you couldn't cock is a gun that you couldn't fire?
posted by danny the boy at 3:57 PM on January 24, 2012


> But I don't think you can cock a Glock.

This is both true and not true.

"Cocking" a pistol is a term carried over from a simpler firearm era, when all pistols were revolvers. Initially, the shooter had to manually pull back the hammer (cock it) before each shot. Later, more advanced mechanisms allowed for triggers that would pull the hammer back as part of the trigger pull. The former were called "single action" and the latter were called "double action."

Some automatic (clip-fed) pistols still have either obvious external hammers than must be cocked (Beretta 92, Colt 1911), so the term got carried over. These simpler auto designs rely on the motion of the slide to (a) chamber a new round and (b) cock the hammer after each shot, but neither will fire at all if the hammer is not cocked.

The next step was to make automatic pistols that allowed for a double-action pull on the first shot, which assumes a round is in the chamber but the hammer isn't cocked. Subsequent shots could be taken with a shorter trigger pull. (Example: Walther PPK.) Some guns with hidden or internal hammers adopted the notion of being "double action only," meaning all trigger pulls are long and push the hammer back before releasing it, on the theory that this is a safer design.

Many more modern designs, and the Glock is one, don't use the same sorts of innards and firing mechanisms at all. In strictly technical terms, a Glock is neither single action nor double action, because of how it works. It is frequently CALLED double-action-only (meaning there's no provision for pre-cocking and then having a short, quick trigger pull for the next shot), but it's a little bit of a misnomer. Basically, they say DAO because that's the closest thing they understand, or the form doesn't have enough boxes to categorize the gun correctly.

That's gun geek stuff, though. If the pistol (any auto pistol, Glock or otherwise) is in a "resting" state, and has no magazine in it, it does not magically become ready to fire when the mag is inserted. The user must pull the slide back and release it, which chambers a round from the magazine.

In a 1911, that also cocks the hammer. In a Glock, the pistol is ready to fire even though the striker is not in a "held back and ready to be dropped onto the primer" position. So by analogy, people still say "cocked" even if it's not technically right.

Also, it rhymes.
posted by uberchet at 4:00 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I shot a Glock a few weeks ago. It was fun.
posted by chillmost at 4:37 PM on January 24, 2012


The way Glocks operate is distinctive enough that it is easy to spot novelists who are phoning it in and haven't actually done any research, much less gone and shot any actual guns. The minute you read a sentence like "He carefully eased back the hammer on the Glock 19 with his thumb," you know you are in luck.

There are a number of good cut-away animations of how Glocks operate on youtube, like this one.
posted by Forktine at 4:38 PM on January 24, 2012


Is there a scenario where you would ease back the hammer prior to use in a modern pistol anyway? I understand why you might need to do this with a revolver, but in my (very limited) experience with pistols it wasn't actually necessary. I see this move almost weekly on cop shows, and while I haven't bothered to look it up on TV tropes, I interpret it as a "no, for real, I'll kill you if you don't confess/give me the codes/etc" move.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:49 PM on January 24, 2012


and while I haven't bothered to look it up on TV tropes

Dramatic Gun Cock
posted by cortex at 4:56 PM on January 24, 2012


Hah, I knew there'd be one. Thanks, but also, damn you, because I avoid that place like an alcoholic avoids a pub crawl.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:59 PM on January 24, 2012


The minute you read a sentence like "He carefully eased back the hammer on the Glock 19 with his thumb," you know you are in luck.

If I remember correctly, one of Stephen King's Dark Tower novels had a line about "the safety on Roland's revolver." Suspension of disbelief was really difficult on that one.
posted by vorfeed at 5:02 PM on January 24, 2012


If I remember correctly, one of Stephen King's Dark Tower novels had a line about "the safety on Roland's revolver."

Maybe he had added a Murabito safety?
posted by Forktine at 5:09 PM on January 24, 2012


On his fast-draw guns which were literally forged from the steel of Excalibur?

I'm guessing not.
posted by vorfeed at 5:22 PM on January 24, 2012


Not that King's exactly blunder proof on background facts in his writing, but I don't recall any safetied revolvers and with those being Roland's fundamental character props it'd be an odd detail to conspicuously fudge. Can you find any sort of reference for this?

There was a portion of the second book in which at least one contemporary real-world semiautomatic pistols was in play (as I recall, Roland really didn't like it as a machine), maybe this was something from that segment?
posted by cortex at 5:48 PM on January 24, 2012


"Nothing says 'I love you,' like a four inch wide entry wound."

They're just needles, they're not some kind of diabolical fist-sized hole punching round. I was skeptical when I first found out about them, so I fired a few into some pork shoulder and the results looked a lot more like someone had tripped over a box of hypodermic needles than anything that looked like a bullet wound.
posted by thalakan at 5:52 PM on January 24, 2012


On guns without a decocking mechanism, to get to the point where you'd even be able to do a dramatic gun cock means you'd have to do a manual decocking, which means you're holding onto the hammer with your thumb while you release the trigger and then slowly letting the hammer down. This is a great way to negligently discharge a weapon.

On double action guns with a decocking mechanism, you're meant to carry the weapon decocked--and this is actually the whole point of the double action. You can fire the gun without cocking first, but the first trigger pull is longer/harder than the subsequent ones will be. This is a safety mechanism.

So the trope is mechanically accurate, in that manually cocking a D/A gun makes it easier to fire and thus more threatening, but I can't think of any real life scenario where it is actually desirable? Unless you like accidentally shooting the people you're threatening?
posted by danny the boy at 6:18 PM on January 24, 2012


Oh I guess if you're in a shooting competition, cocking your D/A gun before shooting is helpful.
posted by danny the boy at 6:19 PM on January 24, 2012


Thalakan, that was referring to the 'bolo' round, which seems to have been made to warrant your 'diabolical' description.
posted by bitmage at 7:03 PM on January 24, 2012


Glock's Secret Path to Profits (2009 Businessweek, by the same author)
posted by gen at 7:17 PM on January 24, 2012


I've had a 40 S&W Glock 22 for several years now and have always been very happy with it. It's fun to shoot and I like the trigger pull. It's easy to clean, easy to field strip, and I've never had a misfeed with it.
One other thing I liked was the fact that Glock has awesome customer service. Friendly folks that have a human answering the phone on by the third ring. It may seem silly, but I like that. I like being able to call someone and get pretty much any question that I have about the product answered. It just seems to be something that's more and more uncommon these days.
posted by drstein at 7:42 PM on January 24, 2012


Not that King's exactly blunder proof on background facts in his writing, but I don't recall any safetied revolvers and with those being Roland's fundamental character props it'd be an odd detail to conspicuously fudge. Can you find any sort of reference for this?

There was a portion of the second book in which at least one contemporary real-world semiautomatic pistols was in play (as I recall, Roland really didn't like it as a machine), maybe this was something from that segment?


It could have been, I guess, but I doubt I'd have noticed it if it was. Maybe I misread it...?
posted by vorfeed at 7:42 PM on January 24, 2012


They're just needles

The flechettes are needles. The four-inch wound text was describing the bolo rounds, which are shot pellets connected by wire.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:48 PM on January 24, 2012


miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss
posted by Artw at 8:28 PM on January 24, 2012


Obviously no one here's heard of the mishaps that occur when you fire rounds with short brass. The effect is commonly referred to as the glocknade.
posted by clarknova at 8:36 PM on January 24, 2012


One other thing I liked was the fact that Glock has awesome customer service

On a related note, for all you Glock owners here in Atlanta. Glock's headquarters is just up I-75 in Symrna. You can drop your Glock off for service and even accessory installation for little or no cost. And often in just an hour or two.
posted by Mercaptan at 6:12 AM on January 25, 2012


What on earth is that bolo round supposed to be for? That looks like an accident waiting to happen.
posted by thalakan at 7:24 AM on January 25, 2012


artw: this is why we can't have nice things.

clarknova: what does short brass mean?
posted by gjc at 7:25 AM on January 25, 2012


>Is there a scenario where you would ease back the hammer prior to use in a modern pistol anyway?

No.
posted by uberchet at 8:38 AM on January 25, 2012


no one wears a torque wench on their belt.

Torque wenches are why men need durable glocks in the first place.
posted by srboisvert at 8:42 AM on January 25, 2012


It was also used by Bruce Willis in the movie Die Hard 2. Willis' character gave a long soliloquy touting the advantages of using a Glock.

I haven't seen Die Hard 2 in a long time, but isn't this statement incorrect? In the movie Willis complains that he pulled a Glock off a terrorist ("a porcelain gun"), not that he used the gun himself or gave any kind of "soliloquy". Am I remembering that right?

Seems like the author in the article is referring to Tommy Lee Jones in the movie U.S. Marshals, where Jones is often quoted as saying:

"Get yourself a Glock and lose that nickel plated sissy pistol."

Jones later gives a "soliloquy" about his love of the Glock that becomes a major plot point at the end of the movie. (He repeats the myth that the Glock can fire underwater.)
posted by jca at 9:24 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


How often to you pull the trigger without intending to shoot something?

ask Plaxico Burress
posted by nathancaswell at 9:55 AM on January 25, 2012


jca: Well, he touts the advantages (incorrectly), but you are right that he's not romanticizing the gun.
posted by Mercaptan at 10:54 AM on January 25, 2012


(He repeats the myth that the Glock can fire underwater.)

I've never tried it myself, but there are a bunch of videos of people shooting Glocks underwater on youtube; this one, of a guy using a trash can full of water in his backyard, is my favorite. And it was tested on Mythbusters, too, apparently.
posted by Forktine at 4:39 PM on January 25, 2012


I wouldn't be surprised if it would shoot underwater, but water is so much thicker than air that effective range becomes negligible, apparently.

>ask Plaxico Burress

I wrote extensively on my own site about how spectacularly stupid he was being. The problem wasn't the pistol's design. The problem was that he, a poorly trained amateur, decided to carry a gun, and to carry a gun where he had no business carrying a gun, and to do so with the gun in a ready-to-go mode, and to do all this without bothering to use a proper carry rig. Sticking a pistol in your pants only works in the movies. Sticking a loaded pistol in the waistband of your sweatpants (ie, with no belt at all) is seriously Darwin Award territory.

If Plax had done any of the following, nothing would have happened.

* Hire legally armed security instead of carrying an unlicensed gun. For someone like him, this is the best option.

* Failing that, carry his illegal-in-NY Glock with one in the pipe using a proper concealed carry rig, so it would be secure and unlikely to fall.

* Failing that, carry his illegal-in-NY Glock in his waistband like a chump, but without one in the chamber, so when it falls and he clamors for it there's no danger of accidental discharge.

* Failing that, carry his illegal-in-NY Glock in his waistband with one in the chamber, but let it fall to the floor without grabbing at it. The gun won't go off when you drop it (most won't); grabbing for it as it fell was intensely stupid.

* Failing that, switch to a gun with an affirmative safety mechanism (e.g., a PPK) so that ham-handed grabbing for the gun won't result in an AD even if you're stupid enough to carry it in your waistband.

Remember, the real sin he committed was the discharge into his own fucking leg. If he had just managed not to drop it or pull the trigger, nobody would've cared.
posted by uberchet at 9:28 AM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I own a S&W Model 459 which, while thick, is more rounded; it's pretty, and fits into my hand well.

And I love the 1911 Colt and can shoot the hell out it but it's like lugging a Buick around — they weigh a ton. Plus they don't have but seven rounds. Plus they're single action. Plus they cost a ton. They're no bargain.

I have big hands but regardless that I never liked how the Glock felt in my hands, and I didn't like how they look, like big blocks, all squared off and bulky.

Of course, all the prejudices against Glocks were *before* I shot one.

And then I shot one.

The Glock Model 19 weighs in almost one third less than the S&W, yet it doesn't have near the recoil, doesn't jump around near as much as that S&W. It's not near the job to re-acquire the target after each shot, because I'm still right in the neighborhood. Since they don't jump around as much I have much less tendency to fight as I pull the trigger, thus I'm able to shoot it with much more accuracy; I shoot every bit as accurately as a 1911.

They're just great pistols. And they're inexpensive. What's not to love?
posted by dancestoblue at 10:29 PM on January 26, 2012


>Is there a scenario where you would ease back the hammer prior to use in a modern pistol anyway?

Modern pistol designs, yes and no; modern pistols, yes. There are lots and lots of guns manufactured that are not new designs. (And there are new designs that feature external hammers that can be manually cocked.)

The 1911 is almost certainly in the top 5 most popular handguns in the U.S., and there are lots of people who use variants of the design as a carry gun, and companies whose sole business is producing them for that use. You can -- although it's not a good idea -- manually de-cock the hammer on a 1911, which would mean you'd have to re-cock it before it could fire.

There are lots of people carrying and using revolvers, and most revolvers let you cock the hammer manually if you want to (although some have the hammer spur removed, or the hammer totally enclosed, so it doesn't catch on stuff, and on those it would be hard to do). With a modern DA/SA revolver the "dramatic cocking" action sort of makes sense; it lightens the trigger pull and might prevent your adversary from seeing you start to pull the trigger, and in that sense is threatening and represents an escalation.

And there are lots of modern semiautomatic pistols, including the Beretta M9 and SiG P226 (both of which are common military and police sidearms), feature an explicit "decocking" lever that safely drops the hammer with a round in the chamber. You could, if desired, manually recock the hammer in order to lessen the trigger pull before firing. So there it makes sense, sorta.

Striker-fired pistols like the Glock and revolvers with shrouded or internal hammers are basically the only type of handguns where you can say with absolute confidence that it doesn't make sense to talk of cocking it before firing.

The interesting thing about the "dramatic gun cock" in movies is that the act of cocking the gun implies, if it's a 1911-style single action or older single-action revolver, that the gun wasn't in a fireable condition just previously. So the hero/heroine's reaction to the villian cocking the gun ought to be "oh fuck, I just totally missed out on the fact that the bad guy was basically waving a metal brick around just now...but too bad, because now it's a loaded gun pointed at my face. oops." There is a really cringe-worthy example of this in The Interpreter, so bad that it's about the only thing that I remember from the movie.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:36 PM on January 26, 2012


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