Bruce Willis rhapsodized about them in Die Hard 2. Tupac rapped about them, and was killed by one.
Between cops and hip-hop stars and actual gangstas and everyday gun nuts, the reliably deadly Glock has become a generic term for all semi-automatic pistols.
“The Google or the Kleenex of firearms,” says Paul Barrett, author of The Rise of America’s Gun.
Glock is baked into the American consciousness thanks to Hollywood and lyrics that take advantage of the name’s rhymability. There is a rapper by the name of Key Glock.
A cheap device that can illegally convert a semi-automatic pistol into a fully automatic machine gun is known as a Glock switch even though the company apparently had nothing to do with its development or production.
Given Glock’s remarkable success in marketing its handguns, there has long been talk in the firearms world that the company was going to branch out into long guns, specifically into the booming market for AR-15-style semi-automatic rifles.
“For at least seven or eight or nine, maybe 10 years, these rumors have persisted,” said Ryan Busse, a former firearms company executive who is now a senior policy analyst with the Giffords Law Center and author of Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America. “The real question was why hadn’t they?”
Earlier this month, a multi-platform social media account called mrgunsngear posted what is described as a “leaked” photo of an AR-15-type rifle bearing the familiar Glock logo. HAS mrgunsngear YouTube video reports that features of the weapon as seen in the photo match a slew of patents that Glock secured in 2019. And the patents correspond to specifications listed in a British military solicitation for a new weapon for its special forces.
Glock has essentially confirmed that the photo of the military prototype is genuine, but added that there are no present plans to produce a civilian version.
“Glock is always in development of future products and technologies through the pursuit of perfection,” read a statement from the company to The Daily Beast last week. “The image shared is of a product developed for select solicitations and it is not available for the general market at this time.”
The statement has a high-brow tone indicative of an attitude that Busse suspects is the reason Glock has held off making an AR-15 for so long.
“Glock has always been very, very egotistical, kind of hoity-toity about everything they do,” Busse said. “You know, they’re the smart Europeans. They don’t have to build American-style guns. They do it their way. They kind of give the finger to everybody.”
But however classy, the production of military weapons is relatively low in profits and high in maddening requirements. Busse guesses that Glock will follow the same successful marketing strategy it took back in the 1980s.
“They love to use police/military biz to drive consumer sales,” Busse said in a text. “That’s been their gig for 35 years.”
If Glock decided to parlay a military contract into a consumer product, Busse feels sure the AR-15 would be a success even though there are, by his count, more than 500 companies making such assault weapons.
“I think Glock would instantly have a sizable portion of the market,” Busse said. “Glock would be an instant player with a sizable market share.”
It could become the hot new accessory in the street.
“Maybe it would increase the popularity of the guns in that sort of urban environment where we see a lot of Glocks used these days,” Busse said.
But with that popularity could come public condemnation.
Glocks have been used to horrific effect in numerous mass shootings, including one in 2011 at a “Congress on Your Corner” event in Tucson where a gunman killed six and disabled Rep. Gabby Giffords, who went on to found the gun control law center where Busse now works. A man with two Glocks killed 32 at Virginia State in 2007.
But handgun attacks with adult victims have not sparked the same outrage toward the manufacturer as makers of assault weapons have faced after their weapons were used to kill youngsters in their classrooms
Should Glock go into the AR-15 business, it would be only one mass school shooting away from finding itself widely condemned, as was Daniel Defense after one of its products was used to kill 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, in May .
Even so, Busse hears that Glock is poised to cash in on the gun boom and produce more of the last thing we need.
“My folks inside the industry think Glock is in fact finally going to launch the AR,” Busse told The Daily Beast.
Read more at The Daily Beast.
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