Bloomberg Businessweek: How the Austrian Glock Became America's Gun

Bloomberg Businessweek has a fascinating look at how Glock firearms came to dominate the U.S. law enforcement market -- and why they are so deadly in the hands of psychopaths:

The gun control debate has vanished from American politics.... Since Loughner's attack, liberal pundits, gun control advocates, and congressional backbenchers have been talking about instituting new controls. The voices that count, however, including President Barack Obama and the congressional leaders in both parties, have had nothing to say on the subject.

Their silence is just one measure of how thoroughly Gaston Glock--a former curtain-rod maker from Austria whose company manufactured the pistols used in Tucson and Killeen--has managed to dominate not just the American handgun market, but America's gun consciousness. Before Glock arrived on the scene in the mid-1980s, the U.S. was a revolver culture, a place where most handguns fired five or six shots at a measured pace, then needed to be reloaded one bullet at a time. With its large ammunition capacity, quick reloading, light trigger pull, and utter reliability, the Glock was hugely innovative--and an instant hit with police and civilians alike. Headquartered in Deutsch-Wagram, Austria, the company says it now commands 65 percent of the American law enforcement market, including the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration. It also controls a healthy share of the overall $1 billion U.S. handgun market, according to analysis of production and excise tax data. (Precise figures aren't available because Glock and several large rivals, including Beretta and Sig Sauer, are privately held.)

With all those customers and that visibility, it's no surprise that the Glock has also been the gun of choice for some prolific psychopaths.

Read the full story at Bloomberg Businessweek.

Presented by

Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Politics

Just In