One early advantage for police departments, says Barrett, was that Glock gave them large discounts when purchasing the gun for their departments.
“This was smart, because the point was to get the police departments to adopt the gun, and that would give the gun credibility in the much larger, much more lucrative civilian market, where you can charge full price and get your full profit margin,” says Barrett. “So this was … a very crafty strategy.”
Another strategy, says Barrett, was to get the Glock screen time in Hollywood. In 1990, the Glock began to appear in the hands of police officers in Law and Order and other police procedural shows. It was also used by Bruce Willis in the movie Die Hard 2. Willis’ character gave a long soliloquy touting the advantages of using a Glock.
Listened to the entire story on NPR last night. I can’t believe how brilliantly the Glock was marketed. Later in the piece, Barrett describes how the initial Glock was mostly plastic, which combined with its popularity led to fears of terrorists and criminals being able to sneak guns past metal detectors. This eventually caused a fuss in Congress, which ended up being a big embarrassment for gun control advocates because their fears were actually pretty stupid – the gun still had several metal parts, and any bullets a potential terrorist would need to shoot someone would be metal as well. In the end, all they did was give Glock attention at a national level, making it a household name.