Does the Glock 7 Exist? Only in the Movies: Gun maker Glock is in the news again, as rumors have circulated that the Austrian-based company could be branching out into the world of modern sporting rifles, introducing its own AR-15-style rifle. And it does look as if that will, in fact, happen. Not surprisingly, some in the media weren’t all that pleased by the news.
Last year, The Daily Beast took very much a glass-half-empty view reporting, “Glock AR-15 Rumors Run Rampant. That Would Be a Nightmare.” The article’s simple argument was that Glock has distinguished itself as a major force in the world of firearms, revolutionizing the handgun market. Should it produce long guns like an AR, more people might buy one!
The suggestion seems simply “anti-American” – as it goes against the core tenet of capitalism: make a great product that sells well. Yet, when it involves firearms, few on the left are ever likely to cheer such success.
That fact also explains why more than 40 years since the first Glock 9mm handgun was introduced on the market, there remains such misinformation and even disinformation about it. This has been especially true since 1990 when the film Die Hard 2 was released, spewing some “facts” about the firearm that still makes the rounds.
The film was actually based on the Robert Thorp crime novel Nothing Lasts Forever, a sequel to his hit thriller The Detective – and it introduced some of the worst myths and misconceptions about the Glock handguns. According to John McClane, who was played on the big screen by Bruce Willis but could have been played by Frank Sinatra, who starred in the film version of The Detective; the “Glock 7″ was a porcelain gun made in Germany. McClane will further have you believe that it doesn’t show up on airport X-ray machines and that it would somehow cost more than what the Washington D.C. Airport’s chief of security makes in a month.
Glock 7: What Is That?
The problems with the particular piece of dialog actually begin as soon as McClane said the firearm in question was a Glock 7. There is no such firearm and never has been. That is because Gaston Glock, who founded the company that bears his name, was a prolific inventor and the first handgun he designed was his 17th patent filing. To date, there is no confirmation on what the seventh patent may have been but it certainly wasn’t for a handgun.
The unique handgun received its U.S. patent on September 10, 1985 – although it had been filed on April 30, 1981. Yet, to confuse the issue further was the fact that the handgun could hold 17 rounds, which led some to believe that was why it was dubbed the Glock 17. That was certainly not the case, however.
Moreover, when he filed the patent in Europe, Mr. Glock had already become a noted tinkerer/inventor who had filed his first patent in 1953 and founded his company in 1963. In the years that followed he invented field knives and a folding shovel among other products. However, in 1981 he developed the polymer-framed striker-fired pistol and the rest is history. At least sort of … because it took a few years before the handgun maker found success outside of his native Austria. In fact, it wasn’t until the Glock 17 was adopted by his country’s army that it became a global success.
As for being German, that’s simply wrong as well.
Glock Ges.m.b.H. was and still is an Austrian company, headquartered in Deutsch-Wagram, Austria, so perhaps the name of the town threw off McClane or at least the film’s screenwriters.
To recap, there is no Glock 7. The gun seen in the movie is actually the Glock 17. Why was the change made? Even after three decades, it remains entirely unclear, yet apparently, it could be due to the fact that the bad guys needed to be able to get through airport security with their firearms.
Airport X-Ray Machines?
That brings us to the next point; does the Glock 17 show up on airport X-ray machines? Well, the first problem with this bit of dialog is that it would suggest that the rogue soldiers are going through the X-ray machines – and in 1990, it was a metal detector that was at issue anyway.
To another point – no Glock has ever been made of porcelain (a material not even ideal for firearms) or ceramic, while nearly 84 percent of the handgun’s weight is actually in its steel barrel and slide; and its “plastic” parts are actually “Polymer 2.” Should the gun be placed in a carry-on bag it would most certainly show up on an X-ray machine, which detects solid mass, not metals. A Glock 17 would also set off the airport metal detector for much of the same reasons – not to mention the metal in the bullets.
Another film, In the Line of Fire, actually addresses those issues as John Malkovich’s character goes to great lengths to create a “zip gun” made of composite material, while merely two rounds of ammunition are smuggled past an X-ray machine. Die Hard 2 took an easier path by adding erroneous details as facts.
Films require a certain level of what is called “suspension of disbelief” and this is certainly the case with the Glock 7 in the movie. The film’s armorer Mike Papac, whose company Cinema Weaponry supplied the firearms used in the film, has said, “I remember when we did that scene, I tried to talk them out of it. There’s no such thing as a gun invisible to metal detectors, and there shouldn’t be, but they wouldn’t budge. They had it written into the script and that was that.”
One point from Die Hard 2 that Papac and somehow no one else brought up however was the cost cited – a basic Glock at the time was only around $400 to $600. One can only hope that the head of security at a Washington, D.C. airport would have been paid more than that each month.
There is a simple explanation of course – McClane is talking out of his ass. Despite being gruff, he’s a police detective who is quite good at his job, but he’s not a firearms expert. He may have misspoken or perhaps was trying to see if the Dulles police commander countered his “BS” argument. He didn’t, and perhaps McClane was able to glean that they’re not exactly up for the task of stopping what he believes is coming.
Just a Movie, But People Believed It
It is also easy to dismiss what occurred in the film as typical “movie myths” – but when it came to the Glock 7, people actually believed it. The misinformation had already been spreading for years. Warnings even came from The Washington Post in January 1986 that Libyan agents were trying covert methods to obtain the weapons, which the paper of record warned could bypass x-ray machines. It actually took testimony from Phillip McGuire on behalf of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) to Congress to set the record straight – and it is worth noting this was the same McGuire who went on to lead Handgun Control, Inc.
Yet, imagine if someone in the media reported that a villain’s plot from a James Bond movie was possible, or that being bitten by a radioactive spider could give you superpowers. That may seem farfetched, but essentially that’s what happened with the Glock 17 – only to be made worse by misinformation around the Glock 7.
Glock’s products have become wildly successful, and to supporters of gun control that’s a serious problem. So expect the misinformation to continue. Yippie Ki-Kay.
A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.