When they were first introduced, Glock pistols were very controversial in the U.S., but they’re now one of the most common pistols used by law enforcement and civilians across the country. Read on to learn more about their history, how they were developed, and how they’ve changed over the years.
Background on Gaston Glock
Gaston Glock was an Austrian engineer who, in 1980, founded a company that would manufacture polymer-framed pistols. This company, named after its founder, is now known as Glock Ges.m.b.H. &K., then one of the world’s largest pistol manufacturers, sued Gaston and his company for infringing on their design patent. After four years in court, they finally settled out of court with H&K receiving a royalty from every pistol sold. The first Glock pistol became available to consumers in 1982 and quickly became popular among law enforcement agencies and shooting enthusiasts alike due to its simplicity and safety features that made it easier to shoot accurately while wearing gloves or other clothing (such as while wearing winter clothes).
Before the G17
The first handgun produced by Glock was in 1982 and it was called the Glock 17. This 9mm pistol is still used by police forces all over the world, including American agencies such as the FBI, DEA, Secret Service and U.S. Marshals Service. The G17 was designed to be used with a single hand, making it easier for officers to shoot while holding a rifle or trying to control an unruly suspect or resisting arrestee with their free hand.
First Generation – G17 & G18
The first generation of Glocks were released in 1982 and were chambered for 9x19mm. These models were 17s and 18s, which were sold as selective fire. The two models were only available with a 10- or 15-round magazine. The G17 is still sold today as a semi-automatic pistol, but is now available with a 17-round magazine instead.
Second Generation – G19 & G26
In 1988, Glock introduced their second-generation pistols. These handguns were chambered for the 9mm cartridge and became highly popular with law enforcement agencies in America. Models G19 and G26 are still popular to this day.
Third Generation – G17, G20, G21, G22, and G24
The Third Generation series of Glock pistols is their first line of polymer framed handguns. The G17 9mm model was introduced in 1988, followed by the G20 and G21 .45 ACP models in 1989, and then the G22 and G24 9mm models in 1990. These models are all striker fired with no manual safeties or decocking levers.
Fourth Generation – G26 Gen 4, G27, and Subcompact GLOCKs
The fourth generation Glock pistol was introduced in 1998 and is still in use today. The G26 is a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, designed for concealed carry. It’s compact and lightweight, weighing less than one kilogram (2.2 pounds). The G27 is a .40 caliber variant of the G26, also designed for concealed carry. The Subcompact GLOCKs are all smaller versions of the original 9mm GLOCKs.
Fifth Generation – The New GLOCK 43 and GLOCK 42
The newest additions to the GLOCK line, the G43 and G42 are slim, single stack subcompact 9mm pistols designed for concealed carry. The pistol has a standard magazine capacity of 6+1 rounds, with an overall length of 6.26. The grip has an integrated beavertail design to allow a higher grip than previous models and eliminate any type of printing in a concealed carry situation.
Sixth Generation – 17 Gen 5 and 19X Pro Series Models
In 2017, Glock introduced seventeen Gen 5 models and nineteen Gen 5X models. Seventeen of these Gen 5 models are chambered in 9mm while four are chambered in .45 GAP. These 17 9mm models include the G19 Gen5 MOS, G17 Gen5 MOS, G19X Gen5, and G34 Gen5.
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