Overcoming legal hurdles and benefiting from promotional campaigns, the Glock became a phenomenal seller, especially in the United States. It arrived in the mid-1980s, when crime rates were soaring and police officers felt outgunned. New models and calibers with extended magazines were introduced. Two-thirds of America’s police forces, including New York City’s, adopted the Glock, as did many federal, state and county agencies.
Mr. Glock established manufacturing plants in the U.S., Europe and Asia and amassed a large personal fortune. He bought jet planes and a yacht, built an equestrian center to indulge his passion for horses, and turned his vacation retreat at Velden, Austria, into a mansion on a guarded estate. He traveled and entertained associates, including the right-wing extremist Jörg Haider. But he avoided publicity and valued his privacy.
He was vilified by gun-control advocates and hailed by gun aficionados. Despite the Glock’s popular depiction as a criminal’s weapon and its use in some of America’s most spectacular mass shootings, Mr. Barrett, the author of “Glock,” said the gun had not commonly been traced to crime scenes — indeed, far less so than other firearm brands.
“Glock, then, is not a particular villain within the fraternity of firearms,” Mr. Barrett wrote. “Nor is he a hero — regardless of what Hollywood tells us on both scores.” In summation, he added, “Gaston Glock is one of the giants in handgun history, deserving of mention alongside Colt, Browning, Smith and Wesson.”
Gaston Glock was born in Vienna on July 19, 1929, the son of an Austrian railroad worker. He attended public schools and, after his brief military service, graduated from a technical institute. Trained as an engineer, he joined a company that made hand drills, worked his way up to management and held a series of supervisory jobs.
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