History is in many respects the story of humanity’s quest for transcendence: to control life and death, time and space, loss and memory. When inventors or companies effectively tap into these needs products emerge that help define their times. The Kodak ‘Brownie’ allowed average consumers – without the knowledge of chemistry or math of a Matthew Brady – to capture powerful images. Ford’s Model T gave the ‘working man’ the ability to travel further and faster than wealthy aristocrats of previous generations. The Timex watch made time accessible to anyone with a few bucks, whether they had interest in philosophical debates about the meaning of time or not. The Glock handgun is on this list of iconic products and while it did not democratize deadly force like the AK-47 it has made its own mark on the American psyche.
The Glock has become the standard bearer for American handguns, placing it at the center of some of the most important conflicts of our times from gun control to globalization. It was initially invented for the Austrian army, but its many innovations and the growing belief that American cops were outgunned by criminals made it first popular with law enforcement, and then later with gun enthusiasts of all types. Tupac Shakur praised the Glock and was later murdered with one. Municipalities railed against the Glock then later helped flood the streets with them. Paul Barrett’s Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun (Broadway, 2013) is the story of a gun, but in a nation of 300 million guns, it tells a much larger story.
Paul was kind enough to speak with us. I hope you enjoy.