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Gaston Glock, inventor of namesake gun that is almost everywhere, dies – Times of India


Gaston Glock, the Austrian engineer who invented the boxy Glock handgun, which has become a weapon of choice for national security forces, law enforcement officials, criminals and gun enthusiasts in America and around the world, died Wednesday. He was 94.
The Glock is almost everywhere: fired in massacres and shootouts, glamourised in Hollywood films, worn by two-thirds of America’s police officers and the security forces of at least 48 countries. Its praises are sung by gangsta rappers, its silhouette is posted at airports, and it is a focus of gun-control debates.
Its creator was almost nowhere: a reclusive billionaire who owned his company and lived on a lakefront estate in Austria. He was in the news rarely – in 1999, when a business associate tried to have him killed (Glock knocked his assailant unconscious); in 2011, when at 82 he divorced his wife and married a 31-year-old woman; and in 2012, when “Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun”. by Paul Barrett, was published. In 2017, Forbes estimated worldwide Glock sales at over $500 million, with a 65% market share of handguns sold in the US. In 2021, Forbes estimated Glock’s fortune at $1.1 billion.
Before his gun became a global phenomenon, Glock managed a car-radiator factory near Vienna. He had not handled a gun since he was a teenage conscript in Hitler’s Wehrmacht at the end of WWII. But one day in 1980, he overheard two Austrian army officers talking about a prospective new military contract for a pistol. He spoke to the officers, and later to handgun experts. He then designed and patented a lightweight 9 mm semi-automatic, partly made of tough plastic, that could rapidly fire 18 rounds and be reloaded easily with a clip in the handle. In 1982, the Austrian army ordered 20,000 Glock handguns. The Glock became a phenomenal seller, especially in the US. Despite the Glock’s popular depiction as a criminal’s weapon, Barrett, the author of “Glock”, said the gun had not commonly been traced to crime scenes. “Glock isn’t a particular villain,” he wrote. “Nor is he a hero regardless of what Hollywood tells us.” In summation, he said, “Glock is one of the giants in handgun history, deserving of mention alongside Colt, Browning, Smith and Wesson.”


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