Even if you don’t need a last minute gift, buy this book because it’s a must-read for anyone with an interest in the inside story of the most fascinating firearm since Eugene Stoner invented the AR180, which became the AR15/M16 family. What gun could as dramatic in its impact as the M16? What else? The Glock.
"Glock: The Rise Of America’s Gun" is written by Paul M. Barrett, an investigative journalist (formerly with The Wall Street Journal, now with BusinessWeek) who examines Gaston Glock’s eponymous pistol through a variety of filters. First, Barrett reveals how the Glock has become an icon of pop culture, named specifically in rap lyrics, used on movie posters and celebrated in the “gansta” lifestyle.
And, if an inside look at Glock is not compelling enough, the book is available on pre-sale only at Amazon for 40 percent off retail ($15.95 versus $26) for delivery Jan. 10, 2012.
The mere fact of how an Austrian handgun can become embedded in American pop culture icon is just the entry point into what follows, a detailed, meticulous account of the rise of the Glock, which Barrett terms “America’s Gun” in an intentional (I assume) double entendre. Obviously the Glock is Austrian, not American, yet it has become the quintessential American pistol, Barrett argues, by leading a wholesale movement in American law enforcement from revolvers to semi-automatic pistols.
The reason to buy this book is to learn the fascinating true story behind the popular myth, not so much the “what” of Glock’s meteoric rise in the handgun industry but the “how.”
Barrett grabs the reader by the lapels and hauls him along on a non-stop eye-opener of a ride down a Glock road never before travelled. You’ll learn the true story of how Gaston Glock, by pure luck, not by artifice, eavesdropped on a conversation in a hallway of the Austrian version of the Pentagon in which he heard two generals talk about their desire to buy a new pistol, but of course it had to be Austrian-made. That meant only one thing: it must come from Steyr-Daimler-Pugh, Austria's only commercial gun manufacturer (better known as Steyr-Mannlicher).
From that “tip,” Glock hired two arms experts to design a pistol that would meet the still-secret new specifications for the equally confidential pistol project. It was no small coincidence that one of the experts Glock hired, a certain Col. Dehcant, was in charge of the pistol selection process. Author Barrett then lays out how Glock manipulated his political ties to the Socialist Party (the ruling party in Austria at the time) to position himself favorably to win the pistol contract with the handgun that bore his name, yet was designed by his two hired hands.
As an example of how thoroughly the author researched this fascinating book, he locates and interviews an aide to Col. Dechant at the time, Ingo Weiser, who was then a lieutenant. It was from Weiser’s information that the author unraveled how the Glock pistol’s design was really created.
Designing a piece of “plastic perfection,” as one American gun writer called the Glock, is only the beginning of the story, however. From there, author Barrett traces how the Glock fell upon lucky stroke after lucky stroke, from columnist Jack Anderson raving about how the gun was made as a “terrorist’s pistol” to evade airport X-rays, instantly bestowing national notoriety on the fledging company.
And it just keeps getting better and better as the author reveals more and more shocking details about the rise of Glock, from entertaining police chiefs in a strip club in Atlanta to a pathetic-yet-hilarious assassination attempt on Gaston Glock by his business partner, it’s all there.
From a guy who has written as the Industry Insider for over 25 years, trust me—If you buy nothing else for Christmas, buy "Glock: The Rise Of America’s Gun." You deserve a stocking stuffer yourself.