Gaston Glock, the Austrian firearms inventor who changed the face of polymer-framed semi-auto handguns, marks his 92nd birthday this week.

Born in Vienna on July 19, 1929, Glock founded GLOCK Ges.m.b.H. in 1963 from his Deutsch-Wagram garage workshop, where he specialized in creating injection molding parts and components. Early Austrian military contracts for grenade casings and machine gun belt links led to a bigger one for an innovative field knife in 1978, which Glock designed in-house.

That contract set the stage for the growing workshop to compete against European firearms giant Steyr and others for the Pistole 80 contract to replace the Austrian army's myriad of pistols with a single, universal design in 9x19mm. 

GLOCK P80 Pistole 80 Gen 1 Classic 9mm
Immortalized in today's Glock P80 commemorative, the original Pistole 80 was the company's first generation pistol that later became the Glock 17

Edging out Steyr's GB to win the Austrian military tender, Glock would patent his winning design as the G17 in April 1981, making the series now 40 years old. 

Today, Glocks have evolved from full-sized standard models (G17, G20, G21, G22, G31, and G37) to compact (G19, G23, G32, G38, G44, G45, and G48), and subcompact (G26, G27, G29, G30, G33, G36, G39, G42, and G43) while incorporating long-slide competition practical/tactical models (G24, G34, G35, G40, and G41) as well as specialized sub-variants (Mariner, anyone?). 

Banner image: Gen 4.5 Glock 19X, Gen 5 Glock 44, Glock 19 Gen 3 (Photo: Chris Eger/

revolver barrel loading graphic