Glock hits the Bull’s-Eye with U.S. Cops

The Austrian manufacturer signs a lucrative new contract with Atlanta’s police, its latest deal that has Smith & Wesson on the outs.

From By Bruce Kennedy, July 25, 2013

In another sales coup for Glock, the Austrian gun manufacturer just signed a new contract to supply the Atlanta Police Department with 2,300 semiautomatic pistols. Glock’s win is also a loss for Smith & Wesson (SWHC -0.09%), which had supplied the APD for the past 70 years.

Glock wouldn’t say how much its contract is worth. But a company spokeswoman told The Marietta Daily Journal that the fourth-generation Glock pistols, the type involved in the contract, retail to the public for between $599 and $734, although law enforcement receives a discounted purchase rate.

Glock says about 65% of U.S. law-enforcement departments now use its pistols, a remarkable accomplishment for a company that started manufacturing firearms only in the 1980s.

Glock took the gun world by storm when founder Gaston Glock came up with an innovative design for a semiautomatic pistol using lightweight plastics and other synthetics.

The Glock is also easy to fire and maintain. And while an old-school revolver typically holds six shots, a Glock — depending on the magazine used — can handle up to 19 rounds, giving police the additional firepower they were looking for.

The gun also caught on with the American public. It was seen in TV cop shows and movies. In “Die Hard 2,” Bruce Willis’ character gives a short speech about the advantages of the Glock. References to the guns also kept popping up in rap lyrics, and by the mid-1990s Glock sold more than a million of its guns in the U.S. alone, according to this 2011 report.

According to an extensive 2009 article on the company by Bloomberg Businessweek, Glock’s estimated profit margin on its pistols runs around 68%, and it has sales of about $100 million annually in the U.S.

While supplying law enforcement, Glock has had some brushes with the law also. The Businessweek article noted the company has long dealt with allegations of widespread corruption, as well as a failed contract assassination attempt on Gaston Glock by a former business associate.

But controversies aside, it doesn’t appear Glock will be relinquishing its hold on its place in U.S. law enforcement.

“We believe Gliock offers a trusted, superior firearm for our officers,” Atlanta Police Chief George Turner said in a company press release. “They are industry leaders.”


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