The Buzz

Glock: The World's Greatest Handguns?

In the intervening thirty-five years, the Glock has become the dominant handgun in a crowded field of competitors. Despite stiff competition from countries emulating his polymer design, Glock 17 handguns serve with such diverse forces as the British Armed Forces, the Swedish Armed Forces, Indian special forces, the Iraqi military, the Israeli Defense Forces and the Yemeni military. The Glock 17 outfits dozens of armies and hundreds of police forces worldwide. U.S. Army Rangers and Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command use the compact version, the Glock 19, and U.S. Special Forces—including the shadowy Delta Force—carry the .40 Smith & Wesson–caliber Glock 22.

Gaston Glock credits his success in handgun design to his lack of knowledge about handguns. That gave him no preconceived notions about what a handgun should be, and allowed him to focus on just a handful of requirements: ease of use, simplicity and reliability. Glock didn’t try to invent a pistol that would take over the world, just win a contract for the Austrian army. The rest of the world simply decided it wanted what he was selling. Somewhere in there is a lesson for defense contractors everywhere.

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the DiplomatForeign PolicyWar is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009, he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami.

This first appeared earlier in 2017.

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