BY STEVE COMUS
Gaston Glock, the Austrian inventor of the now ubiquitous Glock pistols, passed away Dec. 27, 2023, at age 94.
I remember vividly the chat Gaston and I had at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades (SHOT) Show in 1982 where he unveiled the then-revolutionary Model 17 semi-auto pistol, which launched his career in the gun business.
We talked for the better part of 15 minutes (which is forever on the floor of the SHOT Show) or so because no one else was stopping by the booth and I took some printed information he had in the booth. Gaston and I crossed paths a couple more times in the interim and he always was as sincere as the first time we met.
He was a soft-spoken gentleman whose vision and business acumen made him a billionaire. But I will always remember him as that nice, quiet guy all alone in his booth. I had no idea at the time that it was from there that he would launch his gunmaking empire.
But the world wasn’t beating a pathway to his doorstep, at least not right away. I was cruising the SHOT Show and in a small 10×10 booth along a far wall stood this guy, with a couple of pistols and various parts on the plain table in front of him – no fanfare, no glitzy graphics.
There was no one else around as I slowed to take a look at the rather blocky handgun on his table. He introduced himself as Gaston Glock and proudly explained what made his gun different from anything before.
By the time the show was over, the aisle in front of his booth was packed and there was all kind of talk about the “plastic pistol” and how folks feared it would defeat airport security checks and that sort of thing.
Since then, Glock pistols have become some of the most prolific on the market and are used by civilians, law enforcement and militaries around the world.
It was nice knowing you, Gaston. May you rest in peace. -Steve Comus