I mentioned in last week’s Guns In Movies feature that the Beretta 92FS was ubiquitous. However, its presence in popular media is surpassed by this week’s Guns In Movies firearm: the Glock 17 9mm pistol.
Because of the popularity of this handgun, much of its history is already familiar. But, for those less well-versed in Glock lore, I’ll share an abbreviated history of Gaston Glock’s famous firearm. Although the manufacturer is now a household name, Gaston Glock didn’t start designing firearms until he was 52. In 1963, Gaston founded Glock KG and chiefly manufactured plastic and steel parts. In the 70s, however, Glock began producing military products, including knives, ammunition belt links, and grenade shells, for the Austrian military.
As the story goes, in 1980, Glock overheard a pair of military officials complaining about how none of the pistols being developed for the Austrian military contract were up to their specifications. Glock was intrigued and asked if he could submit his own designs. The two officials agreed that he could participate, and Glock received a formal invitation. He began researching extensively. He purchased several pistols available at that time, learned to take them apart and reassemble them, reviewed patents for other firearm designs, and assembled a team of military, police, and sport shooters to consult to help him in his design process. By 1981, he had developed a prototype polymer-frame pistol. The gun came to be called the Glock 17, named so because it was Glock’s 17th patent. The Glock 17 was submitted to the Austrian military’s testing in 1982, winning Glock the contract. Glock delivered their first order of Glock 17 pistols to the Austrian army the following year.
Since 1983, the Glock 17 design has seen a few changes. The second generation pistols were produced starting in 1988. The updated design included embedding a steel plate, bearing the gun’s serial number, into the pistol’s frame. Around 1991, the design was further revised, improving a few internal components. In 1996, a third generation of Glock 17s were introduced. One of the most distinguishable changes for this iteration of Glock 17s was the frame. The polymer frame for the Gen3 pistols included scalloping on the front of the grip, and thumb rests, to better accommodate the shape of the hand. The fourth generation of Glock 17 was first announced in 2010. The most notable upgrades to the design include using a dual recoil spring, which reduces perceived recoil, and modifying the grip to allow for interchangeable backstraps so individuals could easily customize grip size.
Weight: approx 1.6lbs
Frame material: Polymer 2 (Glock’s proprietary nylon-based polymer)
Slide material: steel
Barrel length: 4.48in
Price range: $500-$600
Where You’ve Seen It
The list of movies, television shows, and video games in which the Glock 17 pistol makes an appearance is staggering. In hopes that I won’t bore you to tears, I’ll mention a few of my favorites over the years. Actress Julianne Moore (who took up the role of Clarice Starling in this Silence of the Lambs sequel) wields a Glock 17 in Hannibal. Jason Bourne (played by Matt Damon) also uses a Glock 17 in the movie The Bourne Ultimatum. The Glock 17 shows up in the hands of several characters in the movie Law Abiding Citizen, including Detectives Dunnigan and Garza, as well as Clyde Shelton and Darby (played by Colm Meaney, Micheal Irby, Gerard Butler, and Christian Stolte, respectively). Both John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) opt for Glock 17 pistols in the movie The Dark Knight Rises.
Tv shows have displayed their fair share of Glock 17 pistols, as well. Supernatural, Firefly, 24, and CSI: Las Vegas are only a few examples. Not surprisingly, there are a plethora of video games that include versions of the Glock 17, as well. It has been included in several Counter Strike games, both Battlefield 2 and 3, and even my favorites Half-Life and Hitman: Contracts have reasonable Glock 17 facsimilies.
Featured image courtesy of wikimedia.org