Sunday, October 14, 2012

Review: Glock: The Rise of Americas Gun by Paul M Barrett

You can argue semantics over various firearms debates until the end of time but one thing that cannot be argued by anybody is the fact that Glock pistols are carried by well over half of all law enforcement officers in the United States. Here in my own country of Canada the Glock 22 pistol is carried by easily the same ratio of half of all police departments nationwide. Here on the east coast the four maritime provinces seem to favor the Sig 226 in 9mm but almost exclusively west of New Brunswick the carry pistol of choice (Save for federal level LE like RCMP and Military Police) is the Glock 22 in .40.

Now debates on calibre can be made I personally do not like high pressure rounds like .40 and feel that 9mm is more then efficient to mess somebodies day up though I am not opposed to a .40 calibre pistol either. I believe that you take the tools you are given and you go to work.

The Glock has a really interesting story behind its rise to the top of handgun excellence. You have a man who made a living making door hinges and curtain rods, a man who knew nothing of firearms, their proper use, design, or mechanics. A common man who approaches an Austrian Army general and says "Im going to build your new service pistol"

A pistol which he in fact builds in not even a year, a pistol that then goes on to defeat Sig, Steyer, Beretta and Walther by a landslide? That my friends is extraordinary. I was recently passed a copy of Glock: The Rise of Americas Gun by Paul M Barrett. I had known of this book for a while now but had just never gotten around to grabbing a copy.

The book covers not just the history of Glock as a company but also allows a look at gun culture in America from all angles.As an example the head of pentagon counter terrorism in the 80's fought to have the glock 17 banned from being imported or sold in the US based off of speculative information regarding the ability to smuggle the disassembled "plastic gun" through airport security screening systems. The book implys that this evidence came from a faulty test. Now lets remember that that the pistol has about nineteen ounces of steel plus about 4 ozs. of lead, if it has a full magazine. The book later imply's that this same high ranking terrorism expert went on to purchase a Glock 17 some time alter and claims that he found it to be one of the best auto pistols he had ever fired.

There are a few interesting things I have taken away from this book (And I have yet to finish it)  

Glock had a very aggressive business approach to tackling the US. He found that if he could get the feds and the cops to carry them then the gun community (Billions of dollars) would come running with cash in hand.

He had a very celebrity approach to tackling police management, private dinners, free training classes tons of free samples and bonus incentives he made these coppers feel like rockstars and it worked. Couple that with the fact that when the pistol came on the market it was cheap, effective and held a ton of ammunition compared to the stuff cops were used to. Remember this was dropped onto the table basically right at the tail end of the wheel gun days and only a few auto pistols were seeing police use. 

The pistol since that time has remained almost unchanged save for some minor changes in the design. Some of which have not been received so well by the community as others. But nobody can deny the Glock's affect on both civilian firearms culture and the policing and LE communities. 

I am really enjoying this book and encourage anybody interested in the glock pistol or even the US gun culture to pick up a copy at your local book store. Glock: The rise of Americas gun is available at most any book store and is running an average of 15.00-20.00 CAD for a hardcover copy


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