You may know the wily engineer by the name of Gaston Glock best for his series of polymer-framed handguns, but did you know the he paved the way for these guns with a weapon that is a bit more basic?
We give you, the Glock knife.
Many who know about Glock knives think they came after the guns were popular-- but it's actually the opposite. You see Mr. Glock was in the 1970s a small-scale Austrian based fabricator of polymer-based household products such as curtain rods.
Austria in the second half of the 20th century was in a very hard place, surrounded by both NATO and Soviet-allied countries; she tried very hard to be neutral. As such, the small central European country tried to produce as much of its weapons as possible to avoid buying from one side or the other.
In 1976, the Bundesheer (Austrian Army) was asking for submissions to be considered for a replacement Feldmesser (field knife). This knife would replace blades carried by the Austrian soldier in the field and serve as a bayonet for the country's newly adopted Steyr AUG rifle. As such, it had to be strong, simple, and, above all, reliable.
Gaston's entry into this competition was a 7-ounce, 11-inch long, fixed blade knife with a light green polymer handle and sheath. The 3/16ths thick blade was a very hard (Rockwell 55+) phosphated spring steel and had the original round (not square like we know today) Glock logo stamped into the blade, sheath, and handle. A removable round buttcap covered the bayonet-mounting hole located inside the pommel.
(Note the old school round Glock logo. This very knife may have been handmade by Mr. Glock or his wife)
They were tough, thick knives meant for a soldier to pry open a can of ammo, or punch a hole in an oil drum, or scrape in the dirt probing for a landmine.
This knife won the competition and was adopted in 1978 as the Fieldmesser 78 (FMsr78). Legend has it that Mr. Glock and his wife took turns stamping more than 25,000 of these knives out in their garage, being the company's biggest contract at the time.
A simple redesign for that made the suitable for throwing (a requirement asked for by Jagdkommando special forces guys) as well as added a saw-back to the strait blade below produced the FMsr81 variant.
Paving the way
It was through the same connections made in designing the FMsr78/81 knife that Mr.Glock found out about the coming competition for the Austrian Army's new standard handgun in the late 1970s. The gun would replace the long-serving Steyr made pistols with something a little more modern. Glock's entry, his first gun design, won and was adopted by the Bundesheer as 'Pistole 80'-- but we know it better as the Glock 17.
Knife Variants today
Glock still produces these knives by the shipping container load today for about $30-ish new while used versions run just a few dollars less. They come in two basic variants: the Field Knife 78 (simply an updated Feldmesser 78), with a 6.5 inch blade, 11 inch overall length and 7.3-ounce weight.
A second version, billed as the Survival Knife 81 (Feldmesser 81), has the same overall dimensions as the FMsr78 but has saw-teeth on the back of the blade.
Survival on Purpose 17-minute review of the Glock survival knife
On these knives, they still have the old Steyr-AUG bayonet mount under the pommel, but many survivalists say is to mount the blade on a stick in the field for an expedient spear. The hooked hilt top, which was designed to rest under the flash hider of the Steyr without affecting the rifle's harmonics, is explained as a bottle-cap opener.
Still, no matter what you say the features are for, you would be hard pressed to find a better blade for the price of a couple large pizzas. Plus, it always gives you the chance to talk about the "Glock 78" or "Glock 81" you have.
The story alone is worth that.