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  1. #1
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    GLOCK Pistol History & Evolution


    In 1980 Gaston Glock started development for his GLOCK pistol of which the finial prototype evolved into the GLOCK 17 9MM semi-automatic pistol. The GLOCK 17 was a revolutionary new design made from steel and a high strength, black polymer plastic called Nylon 6.

    The pistol was initially developed as an entry to compete in the Austrian Armed Forces pistol weapons trials. In a version that I read, Gaston Glock was among two Austrian Army colonels who said that there was not a pistol that existed which could meet or excide the Austrian Armed Forces side arm standards of operation. Gaston replied that he could. The two colonels basically said that no man who makes curtain rods for a living could make a pistol to compete. Deeply offended, Gaston Glock worked in his basement creating his pistol. For each new creation, he would test fire with his left hand so that if it blew up, he could still draw a blueprint with his right.

    The pistol, now called the GLOCK 17, so named after the 17th patent for which Gaston Glock filed for his pistol design was off and running. GLOCK was awarded a contract in 1982 from a land slide victory in the weapons trials, to supply the Austrian Armed Forces with GLOCK 17 pistols, dubbed the P80 by the Austrian military. Gaston Glock started in motion, a market dominating pistol manufacturing company and staked his name in the firearms history books.

    Below is the result of a little research project that I have been conducting on the history and evolution of GLOCK pistols. I have gathered this information from various online resources and from the GLOCK U.S. headquarters in Smyrna, GA. I cannot say if the entirety of this information is completely accurate, but I present it as a basic knowledge base for my fellow GLOCKERS. I hope that you enjoy the reading.

    The GLOCK U.S headquarters were established in Smyrna, GA in late 1985 and has its earliest recorded import from Austria in January, 1986. The following is a basic rundown of the history and evolutionary changes that GLOCK pistols have undergone. They are basically cataloged as GLOCK factory changes and ATF requirement changes.

    The First Generation
    The only models produced were the 17(1982) & 18(1986) 9MMs. They featured a 360 degree, smooth stippled/pebble textured grip frame. Guide rod assemblies utilized an un-captured spring assembly. GLOCK 17s had a thinner walled, pencil weigh barrel. Magazines were Non Full Metal Lined/Non-Drop Free. ATF required serial #s to be 7 digits long and at the time GLOCK was using a five digit number. So, to make a quick fix, GLOCK added the letters US to the end of the five digit serial number to meet the ATF regulation. The GLOCK 18 & 18C was developed for the Austrian counter-terrorist unit EKO Cobra. It is a select fire variant of the model 17, which is capable of semi-automatic fire or fully automatic fire at a rate of 1200 rounds per minute.

    Only a few dozen 1st generation 19s were made. These were prototypes made for the ATF as prerelease examination samples. They were made by placing a block in the dust cover area of a 17 mold to make the dust cover shorter. The magazine wells were hand cut at the factory from the 17 to 19 length. These pistols would have been marked with a 5 digit serial number with a “J” as the first digit which denotes a prototype.





    The Second Generation
    1988 brought the second generation of GLOCK pistol into production, with a few upgrades and new additions to the lineup. Introduced in 1988 were two new production models, the 19 & 17L (Long Slide). 1990 saw the introduction of the first ever GLOCK .40S&w caliber hand guns, the 22 & 23, and also the 20 in 10MM Auto and 21 in .45ACP. The 24 in 1994, which is a version of the 17L in .40S&W. A .380ACP version of the GLOCK 19 in 1995, but was not released in the U.S. due to ATF requirements. A type of serration/checkering was added to front and back straps of the grip, I have also heard it called RTF1 (Rough Texture Finish version 1). There were two versions of the second generation frame. The two pin, which had two pins (one for the trigger and the other for the trigger assembly in the grip) for all 9MMs and the 25. The 3 pin, which was a 2 pin frame with an added pin over the trigger pin, it is for added support of the locking block in larger caliber, higher power pistols, first introduced on the 22 & 23. The two rear frame rail tabs are longer than 1st & later generations. The guide rod was changed to a captured spring assembly sometime between 1988-1990. Magazines were modified to a Full Length Metal Lined/Drop-Free design. Redesigned followers, and better springs and base plates added as well. Model 17s got a thicker walled barrel. New ATF regulations required serial # plates to be added to the dust cover in front of the trigger guard, still using a seven digit serial number.

    In August of 1992 an upgrade was offered by GLOCK for 17, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23 model pistols manufactured before mid October of 1991, which consisted of a new upgraded design parts; firing pin, extractor, firing pin safety, spring loaded bearing and trigger bar.



    Continued Below
    Last edited by Boomer; 10-10-2012 at 11:40 PM.
    "Get yourself a Glock and lose that nickel plated sissy pistol." U.S. Marshals (1998)
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    "Sometimes you have to runaway from your life and take a "Walk About" to discover who you really are." (2012, Don C.)

  2. #2
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    GLOCK Pistol History & Evolution continued

    The Third Generation
    Beginning in 1996 the GLOCK pistol frames went through a few changes. Most significant are finger grooves and scalloped thumb rests on the grip. The GLOCK accessory rail was soon added after the introduction in 1996. Internal changes included beefier locking blocks and the rear slide tabs in the frame are smaller than in 2nd generation frames. The earlier production 3rd generation models are commonly referred to as 2.5 generation pistols. These so called 2.5 generation pistols are without the accessory rail, or the Loaded Chamber Indicator. The Loaded Chamber Indicator was added around 2006, due to ATF regulations. This addition also required a new design spring loaded bearing.

    The 21SF was introduced in 2007. It was developed to compete in U.S. Military weapons trials, in an attempt to bring the .45ACP back as the U.S. Military side arm. 2009 saw the addition of 20,29&30SF models. The "SF" stands for "Short-Frame". They have a 2.5 mm (.10 inch) shorter trigger travel and the heel of the pistol is narrowed by 4 mm. The reason these modifications to the grip were done to more closely match the Beretta 92FS grip size. SF magazines have a cut out on the front of the body for the ambidextrous release as well as the regular release cutout. Some of the 21SFs had a 1913 style picatinny rail instead of the traditional GLOCK accessory rail.

    Early 3rd generation 9MMs used the two pin frame, except for 26, until roughly 2006 when all remaining two pin frame 9MM models went to the 3 pin frame. GLOCK 29 & 30 received the accessory rail, and they are the only subcompacts to have accessory rails. There was also a 28 .380ACP added in 1997. I was a subcompact, three pin frame, but this one like the 25 is not for sale in the U.S. due to ATF regulations.

    The last GLOCK pistol imported by GLOCK in Smyrna using the seven digit, US ending serial number was in November of 2002. The first imported six digit serial numbered GLOCK was serial number FDEOO1.

    The first two baby GLOCKs, the 26 9MM and 27 .40S&W were introduced in 1996.

    The GLOCK .45GAP was introduced with the 37 in 2003 with the 38 & 39 soon following. The .45GAP and accompanying pistols were developed for U.S. Law Enforce Agencies to bring .45ACP power to the smaller 17,19 and 26 pistol frame family. The round is loaded to .45ACP+P pressures.

    The last of the 3rd generation GLOCKS, that could be considered a 3.5 generation pistol, were the RTF2s, the first of which, the model 22 was released in November of 2009. The RTF2s have a modified grip texture that uses lots of little raised dots set in a grid pattern. It is called the Ruff Texture Frame 2, being that it is the second version of GLOCKS ruff textured grips. The only other change made were the slide serrations being changed from the normal straight design to a curved gill serration. The gill serrations were produced on the slides of .40S&W (22 announced January of 2009 & 23 announced November of 2009) and 9mm (17 announced May of 2009 & 19 announced November of 2009), although, later productions of GLOCK 17, 19, 22 & 23 are produced with normal straight slide serrations. There is also a 21SF RTF2, which is the only model of RTF2 that has straight serrations for production run guns. Also, the 21SF RTF2 was a limited production run for law enforcement and those that are out there on the civilian market are over run quantity of the original limited production numbers.





    The Fourth Generation
    The most recent evolution for GLOCK pistols arose in the beginning of 2010. A newly designed grip texture, referred to as RTF or RTF3 is GLOCKS 3rd version of the Rough Textured Grip design. It differs from the RTF2 style in that the small dots are replaced with slightly larger squared dots in a tighter grid pattern. A new dual spring guide rod assembly replaced the old captured spring assembly. Later production 4th generation pistols have an updated spring set. The dust cover is larger to accommodate the new recoil spring assembly. There were also some various internal component changes. The magazine release is a reversible unit, which is now standard. Earlier generation magazines can be used in 4th generation pistols, but only when the release button is mounted on the left side of the grip, meaning released by right hand thumb when the right hand is the firing hand. 4th generation magazines can also be used in previous generation models. The most notable changeable to the grip are the addition of a changeable back strap package, which allows for 3 different customizable lengths between the front and back straps.



    Extra Information
    Models by frame pin variation. Two pin early 17, 17L, 18, early 19, 25 and early 34. Three pin 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 35 and 36. Approximately 2006 and up 17, 19 and 34 received three pin frames.
    Subcompact and Compact models have serrated triggers. The .45ACP models have octagonal rifled barrel compared to hexagonal rifling on other models.

    From 1982 to 1991 G17s were assembled & test fired in Austria. (Later pistols were assembled and test fired at GLOCK Inc. in Smyrna, GA.) These early production pistols are marked with an eagle and "NPv". The markings are proof marks and inspectors marks as required on Austrian pistols. The NPv mark means "Nitro Powder proofed", which is given to the pistol when it was test fired with 130% power proving loads.

    I did not add the compensated or OD frame models because they were too hard to track.
    Last edited by Boomer; 01-06-2011 at 01:22 AM.
    "Get yourself a Glock and lose that nickel plated sissy pistol." U.S. Marshals (1998)
    - Tommy Lee Jones

    "Sometimes you have to runaway from your life and take a "Walk About" to discover who you really are." (2012, Don C.)

  3. #3
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    Awesome write-up Boomer! I learned a lot!

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    Nice thread. Some good info here.
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  5. #5
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    Very interesting, Boomer... Good job!

    I always assumed they named the 17 because it contained 17 rounds in the magazine... How are the other models named? Seems to be pretty random. Do they use patent numbers, too?
    "While the anti-gunners seem very concerned about the "one life" that your firearm might take -- they are not very concerned about the lives it will save." Jon H. Gutmacher, Florida Firearms - Law, Use & Ownership

  6. #6
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    Thanks guys. __jb, Im not sure how the rest were names. I tried to find that out but no luck. It could have been from following patents or just that for each successively released model just got the next sequential number.
    "Get yourself a Glock and lose that nickel plated sissy pistol." U.S. Marshals (1998)
    - Tommy Lee Jones

    "Sometimes you have to runaway from your life and take a "Walk About" to discover who you really are." (2012, Don C.)

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    this is a very nice post.
    but i dont see a picture of g46 up there.

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    good historical synopsis!

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    Great information....

    I like the pics to go along with them... Never knew about the 1913 rail.
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    Sweet Thread Boomer! the gen3 Glock 22 RTF2 is my glock.

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