Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun is not the work of a Glock fanboy like many of these gun books are.
It is the gun version of Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World. Of course it is an historically-accurate representation of the life and times of Gaston Glock and everything GLOCK, Inc., and its line of handguns.
Some accounts claim that Glock developed his gun in just six months, or perhaps even three. Glock himself said the process lasted a year—still a startlingly short period of time for a novice firearm designer to produce a prototype. He filed for an Austrian patent on April 30, 1981. It was his seventeenth invention, so he called his gun the Glock 17. Coincidentally, his creation could store an impressive seventeen rounds in its magazine, with an eighteenth in the chamber, if the user so desired.
It is also a complete history of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, a history of gun-related politics and policies, and also a very accurate and sober portrayal of America’s love for and of guns.
For the first time, in 2008, the US Supreme Court stated clearly that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to private possession of handguns in the home, as opposed to a right related to the maintenance of a civil militia or other armed force. The court by a 5–4 vote struck down a Washington, DC, law that effectively prohibited private handgun ownership. In 2010, the high court extended its ruling to other municipalities and states, invalidating a similar law in Chicago.
In the same way you read Cod even though you’re not into fish or fishing, you really should read Glock even if you’re not into sports shooting.
If you’re anti-gun, you’ll learn both about the culture of firearms in America and how powerful and intelligent — savvy — a force your enemy really is.
If you’re pro-gun, the Glock revolution will blow your mind, especially in contrast with how pathetically every gun manufacturer in the world performed against GLOCK, especially poor Smith & Wesson, a company that watched as GLOCK came in and single-handedly replaced every .38 Special revolver in every police station in America with not only a high-capacity, semi-automatic, magazine-fed pistol, but with a Glock 17.
The Glock, introduced in the 1980s, inherited all aspects of the American firearm heritage: It was seen as an instrument of law and security, but also menace, danger, and fear. It became the handgun of choice for cops and a favorite of some demented mass killers. Its black plastic-and- metal construction set it apart from everything else on the market, suggesting modernism and efficiency. The handgun is the weapon Americans really care about, and within a decade of arriving here, the Glock had become the ultimate American handgun.
I can keep on going. Each story is more amazing than the next. The chutzpah of Gaston Glock is only bettered by the cajones of his right hand man during the early days in Atlanta, Mr. Karl Walter, a man who turned the conservative and serious world of arms sales and arms dealing in America into a discotheque, into a circus, into a strip club, into a world of Hollywood action flicks, rap music videos, and an army of Glock devotees that is only bettered by those mad men and women who are obsessed with their antiquated 1911s.
Let me explain why I know so much about this book and it’s not even out yet. Well, I read an advanced Galley copy of the book.
On November 4th, Paul Barrett contacted me to review his upcoming book, Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun. He chose me because I guess I am pretty open about both my gun ownership and my attraction to Glocks.
Though I have only been shooting for a year, I already have a pretty nice collection of three Glock handguns: a Generation 3 Glock 23 in .40 S&W, a 9mm First Generation Glock 17 — the original — a retiree from the DC police department, and my Generation 4 Glock 26, my Baby Glock, in 9mm.
So, in an exemplary blogger outreach campaign, Mr, Barrett sent me a Galley copy to read. And I read it. I consumed it and was mesmerized. I was mesmerized by how much I didn’t know about these United States, about gun legislation, about gun bans and bans on high-capacity magazines.
I was flabbergasted by the loopholes in these bans that were so big you could taxi a 747 through them.
I was not mesmerized by the typical fanboy depiction of their favorite gun and gun maker, I was mesmerized by a book written by an investigative journalist who dug deeply into the GLOCK empire and its ripple effects on not just Law Enforcement but popular culture, rap music, politics, television, and hundreds of movies.
I really didn’t know anything about the history of firearms in America or how they’re sourced and have been banned; how they’re imported — or, rather, sourced and then assembled — and how they’re marketed and sold.
Glock built a veritable cash machine, with margins in the neighborhood of 70 percent—the kind of performance that would warrant a Harvard Business School case study were Glock not so secretive about his decision making. Few outsiders knew how he had accomplished what he had done.
And that’s not even scratching the surface of all that is GLOCK, Inc, and its illustrious founder, Gaston Glock, an Austrian nerd who ended up developing, designing, and producing the most iconic pistol since the Colt 1911.
Glock asked the colonels to describe the Army’s requirements for a new handgun, which they did. “Mr. Glock, in his credulousness, said it shouldn’t be difficult to make such an item,” according to an official company account published years later. “To him, the handgun was simply another accoutrement that attached to a soldier’s belt, similar to the knife he already produced.” Or, as Gaston Glock himself put it in an interview: “That I knew nothing was my advantage.”
If you liked Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World, Salt: A World History, The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell, Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World, or Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, you’ll love Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun by Paul M. Barrett.