I know next to nothing about guns but I know about the Glock. Chances are you do too. It's become a part of the American fabric, as closely associated to the US of A as AK-47s are to terrorists, muskets were to colonials and light sabers to Jedis. But how did that happen? How did an Austrian gun become America's favorite weapon?
That's what author Paul Barrett wondered and tried to find out in his book, Glock: The Rise of America's Gun. Over at NPR, Barrett discusses the reasons why the Glock became the unofficial weapon of America and like anything else, it's a combination of factors. To start! It was a decent gun. The original Glock was lightweight, had a higher ammunition capacity, was extremely durable and dead accurate. But there were good guns like that, right?
Of course! The real reason why the Glock became the de facto standard was that Gaston Glock, who created the Glock in 1982, was cunning enough to give huge discounts to the police when they bought in bulk. That way, the Glock would be legitimized in the minds of civilians because the police was using it. Another prong in Glock's strategy was to showcase the gun in Hollywood—the Glock eventually got screen time in shows like Law & Order and Die Hard. And finally! Hip hop took it the rest of the way. Barrett tells the NPR:
"The Glock was adopted early on by some of the biggest names—Tupac, Dr. Dre. As soon as it appeared here, they began to embrace it for its dark, futuristic side. The fact that it looked tough, [had a] large magazine capacity, and, not incidentally, the fact that it rhymed so well with words you might want to use in rap lyrics. Within the space of a few years, you not only had the Glock showing up in lyrics - you had song titles with the name in it and people changing their stage names to incorporate Glock into them."
So the Glock became legitimate when police used it, became a star when Hollywood adopted it and became cool when rappers rapped about it. Even in 1994 when the government allowed guns to only have a magazine capacity of 10 rounds, Glock used that to their advantage by manufacturing an incredible stockpile of larger-capacity guns to sell after the law passed, creating even more demand for the gun. Read more about how the Glock took over America at the NPR. [NPR, Image Credit: Balefire/Shutterstock]