Increasingly, various model Glocks are showing up overseas in the hands of the country's elite forces, which could have interesting implications for the upcoming Army handgun contract.
(U.S. Army photo)
Widespread adoption around the world
Its should be mentioned that the entire reason Glock handguns exist is that in the late 1970s Gaston Glock went vying for the Austrian Army contract to replace their 1950s era Steyr pistols with something more modern. The result, adopted as the Pistole 80 in Austria, was modified ever so slightly and sold on the world market as the first generation G17.
Since then the company has gone on to win contracts to supply the militaries of some of our closest allies to include France, Israel, Holland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden with various model Glocks.
In 2013, the British Army announced they were replacing their standard sidearm, the John Browning-designed Hi Power with the Glock 17. In all, the Queen has decided to purchase some 25,000 new fourth Generation Glock 17s at a price of $14.5-million. This breaks down to about $580 per new pistol, which is slightly less than the MSRP of a new Glock 17. However, you can be sure that Gaston is probably throwing in a few extra magazines and spare parts as value added.
For law enforcement use in the U.S., the Glock is the weapon of choice more often than not.
A recent survey of some 6,000 law enforcement officers from across the country conducted by a police website found that some 68 percent of all respondents carried Glocks and, further, an impressive 61 percent would choose the gun if given an option. This validates the company's often-cited claim that approximately "65 percent of police departments in America already put a Glock police pistol in between them and the problem."
Further, the Federal government loves Glocks, with most of the Department of Justice (FBI, DEA, ATF, etc.) issuing the .40S&W Glock 22 in various models over the past decades.
This likely led to the decision by the U.S. to buy over 100,000 Glocks for the new police forces of Afghanistan and Iraq in recent years.
Use by the Uncle
Unofficially, Glocks to include G22 and G19 series have been used by individual soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines deploying downrange since 9/11.
Joseph Trevithick in a great article over at War Is Boring earlier this week detailed an extensive move by special operations elements inside the military to acquire Glocks by any means necessary.
This included the transfer of 2,500 Glocks from the Dept. of Homeland Security to the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in 2010.
"The transfer allowed DHS to divest itself of excess weapons and fill a USSOCOM requirement," a public affairs officer at SOCOM told War Is Boring in an email. "USSOCOM incurred no obligation to DHS in return."
This was followed up this year by authorization from the Marines of Gen. 3 and 4 Glock 19s for certain units of MARSOC, the Leatherneck's special operations command.
Trevithick did the digging on the fact that the Army has ordered 1,600 G19s of their own and (wait for it) three select-fire Model 18s. There is also a contract believed to be worth some $12 million for even more Glocks for Big Green.
In short, the commandos and raiders who make up the sharpest end of the spear dig the Glock.
So will Glock get the big Army win?
Sadly, with the U.S. Army's XM17 Modular Handgun System pistol project, which is slated to replace the Sig P228 (M11) and Beretta 92F (M9) in service use, they have a list of demands that are not Glock standard (like fully ambidextrous controls, a suppressor kit including taller sites and a threaded barrel, plus conversion slide/barrels to accept M1041 dye marking rounds and blanks) which would either see the company jump through a lot of hoops to compete or like some big name players such as Ruger have already announced, not worry with it.
But hey, the contract would be for upwards of 550,000 standard guns (with 193,500 suppressor kits!) and 9,000 swagged out General Officer Pistols, so who knows.
Until then, it's likely the small-scale sales will continue quietly in the background.
Which could be a reason why the company has a military section on their U.S. website.