Glock

The Rise of America's Gun

By Paul M. Barrett
(Crown Publishing Group (NY), Hardcover, 9780307719935, 304pp.)

Publication Date: January 10, 2012

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Description

Based on fifteen years of research, Glock is the riveting story of the weapon that has become known as American’s gun.  Today the Glock pistol has been embraced by two-thirds of all U.S. police departments, glamorized in countless Hollywood movies, and featured as a ubiquitous presence on prime-time TV. It has been rhapsodized by hip-hop artists, and coveted by cops and crooks alike. 
 
Created in 1982 by Gaston Glock, an obscure Austrian curtain-rod manufacturer, and swiftly adopted by the Austrian army, the Glock pistol, with its lightweight plastic frame and large-capacity spring-action magazine, arrived in America at a fortuitous time.  Law enforcement agencies had concluded that their agents and officers, armed with standard six-round revolvers, were getting "outgunned" by drug dealers with semi-automatic pistols. They needed a new gun.
 
When Karl Water, a firearm salesman based in the U.S. first saw a Glock in 1984, his reaction was, “Jeez, that’s ugly.” But the advantages of the pistol soon became apparent. The standard semi-automatic Glock could fire as many as 17 bullets from its magazine without reloading (one equipped with an extended thirty-three cartridge magazine was used in Tucson to shoot Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others). It was built with only 36 parts that were interchangeable with those of other models. You could drop it underwater, toss it from a helicopter, or leave it out in the snow, and it would still fire. It was reliable, accurate, lightweight, and cheaper to produce than Smith and Wesson’s revolver. Made in part of hardened plastic, it was even rumored (incorrectly) to be invisible to airport security screening.
 
Filled with corporate intrigue, political maneuvering, Hollywood glitz, bloody shoot-outs—and an attempt on Gaston Glock’s life by a former lieutenant—Glock is at once the inside account of how Glock the company went about marketing its pistol to police agencies and later the public, as well as a compelling chronicle of the evolution of gun culture in America.




About the Author
Paul M. Barrett, for eighteen years a reporter and editor at "The Wall Street Journal", where this book originated, currently directs the investigative reporting team at "Business Week". He is the author of "The Good Black: A True Story of Race in America".


NPR
Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012

In his book Glock: The Rise of America's Gun, Paul Barrett traces how the sleek, high-capacity Austrian weapon found its way into Hollywood films and rap lyrics, not to mention two-thirds of all U.S. police departments. More at NPR.org

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NPR
Wednesday, Jan 11, 2012

The Glock is rapped about in hip-hop songs and carried by heroes in action films. It was once touted as the gun of the future, but also derided as a terrorist's best friend. Host Michel Martin and Paul Barrett, author of Glock, discuss how an obscure Austrian manufacturer of door hinges and knives ended up making America's top-selling handgun. More at NPR.org

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