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The Innovative Glock in 1991

Today’s post was written by Miami_JBT from ARFCOM. He was kind enough to let me share it here.


Shooters coming of age today don’t understand how good they have it.

In 1991, the gun industry was to a degree a stagnant, faltering, lethargic beast that it couldn’t innovate its way out of a wet paper bag. Designs were moving forward on a snail’s pace. Yes, there was the jump from Revolvers to Semiautomatics but the layout and designs were still cemented in old ideas.

Metal Framed, DA/SA, Hammer Fired Guns. Sig Sauer, Beretta, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, CZ, etc all mirrored each other when it came to 9mm platforms. Make a gun that is basically a Hi-Power in size, with similar capacity, and make it double action capable. Even HK at the time was still pushing their amazingly expensive P7 series.

GLOCK was the outlier. We all know the story by know and why. Lightweight, Polymer Framed, Striker Fired, extremely High Capacity compared to the competitors at the time, etc, etc, etc.

Well, why did I mention 1991? Because in 1991, the .45 ACP was still a popular duty round and a number of agencies wanted it even though .40 S&W was released a year before. But the problem with .45 ACP was capacity. Always was an issue and that is one reason why .40 S&W did so well. Anyways, back to the main topic at hand. .45 ACP prior to 1991 was mostly relegated to single stack guns with 7rd or 8rd capacities. They were big, heavy beasts too.

But in 1991 two guns were released. One that clearly shows you the old mindset and one that showed you the innovation GLOCK had and was.

The Ruger P90 was released in 1991 and was a fine representation of how outdated a number of companies were. Here you have a gun as complicated as a 1911, as large as a 1911, with a 7rd capacity and a weight of 34oz. Yes, the P90 was a reliable gun but it was a beast of a gun. The ergos were shit and the gun was covered in sharp edges. But the most glaring issue is 7rd capacity in 1991. Trigger pull was average for the era, 9lbs to 10lbs in DA and 3lbs to 4lbs in SA.

By 1991, the market was screaming for higher capacity. It was the era of the Cocaine and Crack Epidemic, a rise in perceived violent crime, and a perception that cops were being outgunned by bad guys (which to a degree, they were). And what Ruger released for the .45 ACP duty makret was a 7rd, DA/SA, 1911 sized and weighted gun to compete with the other outdated designs like the S&W 4506, Sig Sauger P220, and of course the 1911 itself.

Amazingly, GLOCK released the G21 the same year.

Here, you have a .45 ACP chambered automatic that held 13rds of ammunition, and weighed 26.0oz. That’s almost a 1/2 pound lighter in weight than the P90. And it basically held twice the amount of ammunition. The gun was smooth for the most part. Not rough or sharp edges. A simplistic constant trigger pull that weighed in at 5.5lbs.

The overall design was simple, reduced in complexity, and worked extremely well. The G21 invalidated every .45 ACP on the market. The S&W 4506, Sig P220, Ruger P90, and especially the 1911 was dinosaur waiting to be killed off by the fallout from the asteroid strike. To put things in perspective, the G21 weighed less than a Beretta 92FS, Sig Sauer P226, S&W 5903, and all of it contemporaries Wonder Nine era guns.

It was that radically different.

Shooters coming of age today have no grasp or understanding how revolutionary this was. Honestly, the arrival of GLOCK in the 80s and early 90s completely changed the design layout and mindset of the handgun industry. New shooters today complain about a G21 being big or heavy. It they only knew…. and I say this as a fan of the DA/SA Wonder Nines and Boat Anchor DA/SA Single Stack .45 ACP guns. They’re all outdated and GLOCK is the reason why.

Whether you like or dislike GLOCK, the market wouldn’t be what it is today without them.

2 thoughts on “The Innovative Glock in 1991”

  1. I had a couple of Ruger nines I bought because they were super cheap. Yes, the guns were reliable, but like you said about the .45s, low capacity, so many sharp edges. I always call them the boat anchor. I traded mine away quickly and bought something else after about one range session.

  2. PS, I’m a fan of old gun mags too, I hunt them down and buy them whenever I can. So much fun to read and especially look at the ads.

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