Gaston Glock, the renowned Austrian engineer and businessman, passed away on December 27, 2023, at the age of 94. Born on July 19, 1929, in Vienna, Glock’s early career was marked by his conscription into the Wehrmacht towards the end of World War II. Following the war, he graduated as an engineer and entered the manufacturing industry, initially focusing on curtain rods in the 1960s and knives for the Austrian military in the 1970s.
Glock’s most significant contribution to the firearms industry came relatively late in his career. At the age of 52, he ventured into firearms manufacturing, leveraging his experience with polymers from previous business ventures. In 1980, Glock bought an injection-moulding machine to manufacture handles and sheaths for field knives, which he was producing for the Austrian army in his garage workshop. This led to the creation of his first pistol, the Glock 17, in 1981, which became a phenomenal success, especially in the United States.
Glock’s pistol gained widespread adoption by two-thirds of America’s police forces, including New York City’s, as well as many federal, state, and county agencies. Despite its popularity and use in high-profile incidents, the Glock pistol was less commonly associated with crime scenes than other firearm brands.
Beyond his professional achievements, Glock’s personal life was marked by his marriage to Helga Glock in 1958, with whom he co-founded the family business in 1963. Their divorce in 2011 led to legal disputes, but these were eventually resolved. Glock was known for his philanthropy, donating over one million euros to Austrian charities and contributing to the Freedom Party of Austria. Despite his significant inventions and contributions, Glock remained a reclusive figure, valuing his privacy and avoiding public attention.