Herr Glock ist Tot. What now for GLOCK?

We hone in on Glock's journey and the recent passing of its founder. Where to now for GLOCK? More adherence to its original design ethos or the potential for change?

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Jan 2024

Glock pistols are not exciting, but they consistently work under just about any conditions. Probably the world’s most torture-tested handgun other than the Hi-Point C9, it has repeatedly proved itself to be indestructible except when found by a large breed dog with a proclivity for chewing on polymer.

This means that something like 65 percent of American police agencies as well as a huge slice of NATO’s armies (British, Dutch, Finnish, French, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, etc.) carry some version of the Glock.

Heck, the G19 also had a long run with the Green Berets and Marines, among others, despite the Pentagon having officially gone with other 9mm pistols. 

The thing is, Glocks have been painted into a corner over the past 40 years by looking at the original 1981 patent for Mr. Glock’s first handgun as “Perfection” which is the company’s motto. I mean, how do you improve on the perfect?

The only innovation was in changing the caliber offerings, lengthening/shrinking the dimensions, and in a variety of modest cosmetic and internal upgrades to produce their handguns. This has left Glock as a constant in the firearms market which was both good and bad.

On the good, you could pick up a Glock 17 Gen 1 made in the early 1980s and learn how to shoot it and clean it, then be given a brand-new Glock 49 Gen 5 made last week and find its operation and maintenance unchanged.

However, this left Glock with no answer to the “Micro 9” craze exemplified by the SIG P365 and Springfield Armory Hellcat other than the Glock 43X, which sells well but nonetheless lags when compared directly to the guns it is competing against.

The lack of innovation by Glock when it came to their pistols launched the Gucci Glock companies such as Shadow Systems, Zev Tec and Cline as well as the DIY Glock cloners like Polymer 80 and Lone Wolf.

For instance, Glock has not released a single pistol with a factory-threaded barrel included until the upcoming G44 TB hits the shelves later this year. This comes as the number of suppressors in the U.S. swelled from just 285,087 in 2010 to 2,664,774 in 2021.

If you sleep on the market, the market will move on without you.

So, with Mr. Glock passed away at the end of last December, will the company he left behind just continue to play the equivalent of classic rock, or will they move to actually innovate?

They submitted an AR-style rifle in 2022 for a British military tender and fake memes about Glock 1911s have circulated so hard over the years that they basically wish-casted the Stealth Arms Platypus into existence. Plus, the most popular PCC mag choice is Glock 9mm double stacks so why doesn’t Glock make a PCC?

Bill Ruger made it tough for customers to buy “high cap” mags for his well-liked Mini-14 and Mini-30 when he was alive and kept his company out of the “black rifle” market. After he passed in 2002, this changed, and Ruger now sells plenty of 20 and 30 rounder Mini mags and introduced both the SR556 AR-15 and SFAR AR10, which likewise sell very well.

The SFAR can even be thought of as innovative due to its combination of lightweight, adjustable gas system, and inexpensive (for an AR10) pricing.

Perhaps “perfection” will mean something different for Glock moving forward without its founder.

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