The 1911 Isn’t The Only Pistol To Celebrate A Milestone This Year
In all the hullabaloo about the 100th anniversary of the 1911 pistol, we shouldn’t forget that another, more modern classic is having a milestone year in 2011, too. It’s the 25th anniversary of the Glock pistol in the United States. The original Glock 17 was introduced in 1986.
The Glock has since become ubiquitous. Some 70 percent of police departments use Glocks. Glock didn’t make the first polymer-frame autoloaders—that was HK, with their VP70Z and the P9 series—but they most certainly popularized the concept, laying the groundwork for today’s Springfield Armory XDs, S&W M&Ps and many more.
The 1911 wasn’t commercially available in any caliber but .45 ACP until Colt’s introduction of the .38 Super in 1929, nor in any but its original size until the Commander of 1949/50. Within five years of the Glock’s introduction in the USA, it could be had in standard size, compact, longslide or even large frame; in calibers .40 S&W, 10mm Auto and .45 ACP, in addition to its original 9mm Parabellum chambering. The hugely popular “baby Glocks” would follow in 1996. Today, they are also available in .357 SIG and .45 GAP, with .22 conversion units readily available. Some countries can buy Glocks in .380, though they’re not imported into the US in that caliber for general consumption.
The first Glock 17, now known as Gen 1, was distinguished by a smooth grip-frame with subtle cobblestone surfacing. Some found it a little too slick in wet hands, so within those first five years we had Gen 2. Its frontstrap was still straight, but it had a molded-in coarse checkering that fit many hands better. Soon, Gen 3 was introduced, with fingergrooves on the frontstrap, but its frame still displayed the sleekly tapered dust cover of the first two generations. Next, it was time for a gun-mounted light and Glock went with a molded-in light rail.
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