Inventor of Glock handgun dies

The Austrian inventor and namesake of the ubiquitous Glock handgun, Gaston Glock, died Wednesday. He was 94 years old.

Firearms company Glock, Inc., announced the founder and inventor’s death, but did not provide further details.

The Glock handgun, boxy and made of black plastic, has been one of the most popular firearms in the world since it reached the public in the mid 1980s. It has since become a staple among American law enforcement, private security and personal gun owners.

The firearm was initially built for the Austrian military and law enforcement and was accepted as the Austrian Army’s service pistol in 1983 due to its cheap and easy-to-manufacture plastic construction, as well as its innovative safety system, according to the company’s site.

Gaston Glock mostly forged knives, ammunition clips and other small, miscellaneous military plastic parts for the Austrian military before the inception of the famous handgun.

Glock pistols went to U.S. market in 1985. In the 38 years since the Glock reached American shores, an estimated two-thirds of U.S. police departments have adopted the firearm company’s product, and Forbes estimated in 2017 that 65 percent of all handgun sales in the U.S. are Glocks.

Glock rarely made the news in life, notably surviving an assassination attempt in 1999 involving a business partner and making headlines again in the mid-2010s over a messy divorce with his first wife, Helga, according to The New York Times.

The Glock company remembered its founder in a post Wednesday.

“Following this guiding principle, our founder, Gaston Glock not only revolutionized the world of small arms in the 1980s, but also succeeded in establishing the GLOCK brand as the global leader in the handgun industry. His internationally renowned GLOCK Perfection stands for uncompromising quality and maximum customer satisfaction,” the company wrote.

“Gaston Glock charted the strategic direction of the GLOCK Group throughout his life and prepared it for the future. His life’s work will continue in his spirit,” the statement continued.

Glock was the 99 percent owner of the company, with the last percent held by his first wife. Forbes estimated the company to be worth $1.5 billion in 2017.

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