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.

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