Thirty years ago, I took my first job in the gunwriting business. As an avid shooter during my U.S. Marine and law enforcement years, I was convinced that I had found paradise. After all, the editor and publisher of a well-known gun magazine was going to pay me an almost living wage to play with guns all day and then write stories about them. He even provided the ammunition—what could possibly be better? Apparently, not much, because I am now three full decades into the business and haven't slowed down. But I recall quite vividly working on the production of an article the magazine had purchased from J.B. Wood. As I recall the incident, I wrote the captions for Mr. Wood's fine pictures. It was a long time ago.
All of the forgoing is a sort of nostalgic reflection about what has happened in the world of handguns in the last 30 years. For one thing, the medium service revolver is no longer the king of the hill in law enforcement; light guns are light because of polymer and not aluminum; and we not only have several new cartridges, but also have a lot more rounds in our guns. And that long-ago article was on a pistol that's the unquestioned benchmark of the late 20th century, continuing strongly into the 21st. The very first mention of the Glock pistol in American gun magazines came in Pete Kokalis's Soldier of Fortune piece, but Wood's was a month or so behind that. The gun was developed in Austria and saw first use there in 1982.
Glocks were not imported into America until that fateful year of 1985, but almost as soon as the first ones came in, they were accepted. This year is the 30th anniversary of that event. Every major—and some minor—maker of service and defensive pistols now builds a gun with the features the Glock had 30 years ago. They all have polymer receivers, double-column magazines and some form of simplified trigger action. More elements of change in auto pistol design turned on the features of the Glock pistol than any other design. I am not contending that everyone copied the Glock (although it was tried), but rather that they were influenced by what the Austrian import had. The Glock is the Kalashnikov of the pistol world.