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Chuck Norris, now the spokesman for Glock, gets a bit mobbed at SHOT Show 2020.
Chuck Norris, now the spokesman for Glock, gets a bit mobbed at SHOT Show 2020. David Maccar

Today, Chuck Norris has become the face of Glock, taking over from the late, great R. Lee Ermey. His appearances drew the longest lines during the 2020 SHOT Show, his first appearing as the gunmaker’s spokesperson.

Once upon a time, before the days of Walker, Texas Ranger on 90s TV and the endless Chuck Norris jokes and memes, when the 80s was pumping and martial arts was all the rage in the U.S., Norris was the biggest American in karate—and the biggest star of mediocre-budget action movies there was. He was the first to mix martial arts with gunplay, setting a standard for a sub-genre of action movies forever.

Norris was born Carlos Ray Norris in 1940. As a young man, he served in the U.S. Air Force as an Air Policeman. When he was stationed at Osan Air Base in South Korea in 1958, he acquired the nickname “Chuck” and began training in Tang Soo Do. He eventually attained a black belt in the discipline.

He left the Air Force in 1962 and opened a martial arts studio in California while waiting on an application to the Torrance police force. To promote the school, he did demonstrations and fights as part of a variety of events. He also began to participate in martial arts competitions.

It wasn’t until 1967 that he came into his own and started winning. That year, he defeated seven opponents at the 1967 Tournament of Karate, defeating Skipper Mullins to take the tournament. Later than year, he was declared champion at the S. Henry Cho’s All-American Karate Championship at Madison Square Garden. At the same time, Norris was working for the Northrop Corporation and his karate school had become a chain of schools with celebrity students of the day like Steve McQueen, Bob Barker, and Priscilla Presley.

Norris developed his own martial arts discipline, Chun Kuk Do, and went on to hold additional black belts in Brazilian jiu jitsu and Judo.

After he began training celebrities in Hollywood, Norris got a minor role in The Wrecking Crew (1969), also starring Sharon Tate and Dean Martin. Bruce Lee, who was Norris’ friend and did some training for the movie, asked him to play a villain in what would be Norris’ breakout role in Way of the Dragon (1972).

From there, he starred in a streak of bankable independent action and martial arts movies, sometimes throwing kicks, sometimes slinging lead, and usually both.

His second leading role in a movie called Good Guys Where Black (1978) was a hit and his film career rolled on from there.

Good Guys Wear Black (1978)

In Good Guys Wear Black, Norris plays a Vietnam veteran, a role he would reprise in one way or another for his whole acting career.

The plot is interesting…it’s about a group of CIA black ops soldiers who were sacrificed by a U.S. Senator at the end of the Vietnam war in exchange for the release of key POWs being held in Vietnam. Maj. John T. Booker (Norris) was the team’s leader, and despite being set up to be killed by his commanders, the team survives and Booker returns from the war.

Five years later, Booker is a poly sci professor at UCLA who likes to race cars as a hobby and give lectures on why the war should never have happened.

A mysterious student in one of his classes starts asking questions and reveals that someone has been killing members of his special forces team (wow, that doesn’t sound familiar at all).

The movie went on to make $18 million at the box office, partly due to a year-long publicity tour Norris undertook to promote it.

Of his acting, friend Steve McQueen told him, “In Good Guys, you talk too much. Too much dialogue. Let the character actors lay out the plot. Then, when there’s something important to say, you say it, and people will listen. Anyway, you’ll get better as an actor. You should have seen me in The Blob.

While Good Guys was meant to be the first in a series of movies, no other Booker flicks were made.

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During the Vietnam era sequence (the non-mustache years), Booker can be seen carrying a Smith & Wesson Model 29 revolver, which he carries in a shoulder holster, the gun first made popular by Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry (1971). We can see that Booker’s sidearm has finger grooves in its wooden grips.


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Good guys wear black
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Eye for an Eye (1981)



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Eye for an Eye
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Silent Rage (1982)



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Forced Vengeance (1982)

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Lone Wolf McQuade (1983)



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Missing in Action (1983)

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Missing in Action
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Missing in Action 2 (1985)

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Missing in Action 2
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Missing in Action 2
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Missing in Action 2
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Code of Silence (1985)

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Code of Silence
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Code of Silence
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Code of Silence
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Code of Silence
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Code of Silence
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Invasion USA (1985)

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Invasion USA
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Invasion USA
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Firewalker (1986)


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The Delta Force (1986)

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The Delta Force
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The Delta Force
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The Delta Force
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Braddock: Missing in Action 3 (1988)

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Missing in Action 3
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Hero and the Terror (1988)

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Hero and the Terror
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The Delta Force 2 (1990)

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The Hitman (1991)


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The Hitman
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Hellbound (1994)

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Top Dog (1995)

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Top Dog
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Forest Warrior (1996)

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Forest Warrior
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The Cutter (2005)


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The Expendables 2 (2012)

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Expendables 2
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