Have you ever wondered what kind of guns most law enforcement officers, of all walks, carry in the U.S.? There are a few models that you might assume are the most common, but with every municipal, county, state, and federal LEO agency choosing their own firearms, it could be almost anything.
But there is a favorite, and it’s not that surprising.
According to a press release from OutdoorWire.com, 65 percent of all law enforcement agencies in the country carry Glock handguns, and that number is on the uptick.
During the first quarter of this year, Glock added more than a dozen new agencies to its client roster, meaning they switched from a different manufacturer’s handgun platform.
Among the agencies are the South Carolina Highway Patrol and the West Virginia State Police.
Why are agencies switching to a firearms platform that has remained largely unchanged (aside from different calibers and frame sizes) since the 1970s?
In West Virginia, it’s simply because Glock pistols bested the rest.
“The Clock out-performed any other manufacturer tested” which has led to the selection and ordering of 850 Glock 17 Gen5 pistols, according to Lt. Robert Perry of the West Virginia State Police. “The WV State Police has always prided itself in providing the best available equipment to its members and that is why we have chosen Glock.”
Back in 1979, in response to the Austrian army’s search for a new handgun to replace the WWII-era Walther P38, the Glock 17 was created by Gaston Glock, a man who wasn’t even a gun maker or designer.
His sphere of knowledge was in government contracts, having had fulfilled them for knives, ammo bless, and other products in the past.
He assembled a group of gun experts to come up with a wish-list of characteristics and features for a combat handgun. After thee months of work paired with Glock’s knowledge of polymers and manufacturing resulted in a prototype of the 9mm Glock 17 handgun with a polymer frame, striker-fired action, and a 17-round magazine.
It was comparatively simple, using only 34 parts compared to the 70 components of the Beretta M9 pistol, and was quick and easy to break down without tools. Additionally, the polymer frame made it much lighter than comparable all-steel or aluminum framed handguns of the day.
It was quickly adopted by the Austrian military in 1982, followed by the Norwegian and Swedish armed forces soon after. After that, it’s popularity bloomed around the world through the 80s and 90s to the present day after building a reputation for being an ultra-reliable, hard to destroy firearm. It has since survived a number of torture tests, like this Glock 43 that was submerged, frozen, dragged, and never cleaned before it fired 150 rounds without a malfunction.
Today, Glock supplies national armed forces, security agencies, and police forces in at least 48 countries around the world.
Of course, all of the design’s attributes mean Glocks became a natural choice for civilians for home defense and concealed carry, along with certain models like the G17L and the Glock 36 becoming popular for competition.
Since the introduction of the G17, Glock models have been produced in a wide variety of frame sizes and barrel and slide lengths in six calibers in addition to 9mm including 10mm Auto, .45 ACP, .40 S&W, .380 ACP, .357 SIG, and .45 GAP.
For more on the history of Glock handguns, go here.