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A quarter of a century ago if you mentioned the name Glock, all you got was a blank stare—unless you were living in Austria. Today, after 25 years in the U.S. market, the Glock name is as familiar to Americans as Colt or Smith & Wesson… quite an achievement for a company that had never even manufactured a handgun prior to 1982.

There was a time when the very notion of a gun with a “plastic” frame was regarded as impossible, Buck Rogers fiction. Plastic was, well…it was plastic—for toys, and radio knobs, or Chevy Corvette bodies. The 1953 Corvette, however, was a pretty good indication that what was commonly made from steel could, if the technology allowed, also be made of fiber-reinforced plastics. The distinction between a fiberglass car body and a composite gun frame isn’t all that different when you get down to the molecular level, and Gaston Glock had that figured out more than a quarter of a century ago when his company was manufacturing injection-molded polymer products. The frame for a gun was merely an extension of technology with which the Austrian industrialist was already familiar.

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One of the newest additions to the popular Glock platform is the Gen4 enhancement, incorporating modular backstraps and redesigned recoil spring systems, to name a few. Shown (from bottom) are the Glock 17 Gen4 9mm, Glock 22 Gen4 .40 and Glock 37 Gen4 .45 GAP.

What got Glock into the arms making business was an invitation from the Austrian Government to develop a new semi-automatic handgun to replace the military’s aging Walther P-38s. In 1982 Glock presented his first model, the Glock 17—an innovative semi-automatic built around an injection-molded polymer frame. The rest, as they say, is history, but the evolution from that first Glock 9mm, adopted by the Austrian armed forces almost 30 years ago, to the latest Glock Gen4 models is as much about perseverance as technology. Outside of Austria, the Glock was looked upon with great skepticism in the early 1980s.

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