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Going Postal / January 13, 2011


A huge number of “going postal” rampage massacres that I’ve studied feature Glocks, including last Saturday’s assassination-rampage in Tucson. What is it about the Austrian-made handgun that makes it such a favorite of rampage killers, not to mention narco-gang-bangers and anyone looking to rack up a newsworthy kill count?

I asked some of my gun-enthusiast friends, and thought I’d share with you the two most interesting responses. Both asked to remain anonymous for obvious reasons—this isn’t a popular time to talk honestly about the pros and cons of Glocks.

The first gun-enthusiast is a former serviceman and war veteran who owns a Glock himself, and has had extensive professional experience with a variety of weapons; the second is an old friend of mine from Texas (meaning he was born with a gun in his crib) who has always had impeccable taste in guns, more of a gun connoisseur than mere enthusiast.


Q: Why the Glock?

Ex-Serviceman: Yeah I know a lot about them. I have one.

It’s a phenomenally well-made weapon and is, ceteris paribus, more reliable than Berettas and S&W. The action is a lot simpler and thus easier and faster to clean. The safety is actually in the trigger, it’s basically a trigger on the trigger, so accidental discharges from dropping it or jarring it are virtually impossible. Unlike many/most semiautomatic handguns the hammer is not exposed and all shots are double-action, which makes it more predictable to handle in stressful situations when fine motor skills decrease. For a Beretta, the first shot requires a fair amount of pressure to pull the trigger because the hammer has to be cocked (“double action”) while for subsequent shots the hammer remains cocked so there is what’s commonly referred to as a “hair trigger” (single action). If you are a rookie cop in his first gunfight, the rapid discrepancy between the amounts of trigger pressure required for the first and second shots is not necessarily a good thing and can lead to inadvertent discharges, poor marksmanship, etc. By contrast, on the Glock you have to cock the hammer via the trigger pull in every shot, i.e. every shot is double action and requires the same amount of pressure. This makes the weapon inherently safer to handle and is probably the main reason we bought it for the Iraqis.

As mentioned before, it’s also a beautifully made weapon and is very light due to the use of plastics for the pistol grip. No matter what the caliber it generally holds a few more rounds in its magazine than other types of handgun, again due to efficient design. And they’re very reasonably priced given the high quality.

The reason that it has its place in popular culture and whatnot would be a great research paper topic. My guess is that, per Occam’s razor, the cops, gangbangers, and psychos of the world just figured they might as well use a high quality handgun.

Of course, to the Upper-West-Side pussy liberal armchair policy analyst, the fact that a Glock was used in this shooting jars something in their consciousness about the fact that Glocks are mentioned frequently in the rap music that they listened to while trying to be cool back when they were a freshman at Wesleyan, and they are outraged that such a heinous weapon can be legally bought and owned like any other, equally deadly comparable weapon. Why not just do away with the Second Amendment altogether? Sigh….

glock shoulder fired automatic exiledonline

Q: Why the Glock?

Texas Gun-Enthusiast: I’m not sure. I think it is just the brand name. Personally, I don’t like the Glock. It doesn’t sit well in my hand, and I don’t the like the feel when I shoot it. I much prefer the Sig-Sauer. That’s what I own. It sits comfortably in my hand, and after a few magazines my wrist still feels ok, too.

In summary, I think these high profile killers are just amateurs. Much like all the Muslim terrorists. The only professional killers left in the world are American or European Special Forces.

A little web searching seems to show that the US armed forces choose SIG, Baretta, or H&K for their side arms.

*    *    *

Mark Ames is the author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion: From Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine and Beyond.

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Add your own

  • 1. Mike C.  |  January 17th, 2011 at 11:18 am


    Also note that the “legitimate concern” I mentioned was directed toward the US, not the UK. Given its violent history, and the existing prevalence of guns, disarming the mainstream populace wouldn’t help matters with regard to criminals.

    What I mean is, violence in the US would continue; but I think they’re linked to the marginalization and financial oppression of many who feel powerless and persecuted by society. They have a point; education, welfare, unemployment, and other social programs have been gutted. Prosperity would reduce violence more than altering the availability of a convenient means for violence.

  • 2. *duh*  |  January 17th, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    GUN NOTES: Glocks are made in Austria, NOT the USA. Also, CZ75/CZ85 for the win (although a full auto Stetchkin or .380 Skorpion would be REAL nice, too)

    1. Euro gun whiners: shut up! you bitches can’t even have small blade knives or non-shatter resistant pint glasses where you come from, ha ha ha ha ha!!! Your civilian gun-free countries are drifting to the far-right just like everywhere else in the world. What are YOU going to do when it gets bad enough to actually revolt against your puppet masters?

    2. As long as the rich are stomping down the working poor with the heel of their jack boots and not even throwing the poor rabble crumbs like some basic health care (especially mental health treatment) there will be gun rampages in this country. Unfortunately, it will be disorganized and just one nutter at a time picking senseless and shameful targets.

    3. The ball-less “left”* will continue to present an aura of out of touch effete elitism while continuing to bend over to endless conciliation with their reich wing dom masters and shill for ANY corporate donor that has the ca$h. Thus, there is only ONE true political party in the US, $$$$$$$$$

    (* called such in the US but considered center right, everywhere else)

    6. ? ? ?

    7. PROFIT! (if you are the rich power elite)

    Good Times!

  • 3. Leif Oldhart  |  January 18th, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Glock. A decent firearm, with name recognition and recommended by the late Don Smith, for what it’s worth. Not a work of art. Not the best, but certainly not the worst. The “Volksvagon” of handguns, if you will. But for the going postal sort, it’s probably all about name recognition. Q-tip. Kleenex. Xerox. Glock.

    As for Americano gun aficionados, sadly, too many love to pretend they are free. And brave! Many wouldn’t know real freedom if it came up and gnawed on their great toe. Few would desire to actually live free if given the chance. Few are brave enough to speak their true minds, to support what they know is right, or to publically scorn what they know is wrong (unless it’s popular, of course). So what good does the second amendment do them? Gun haters are only a tad worse, as both sides deny reality in their own way. For such people, what is the point of living, besides moving roughage through the bowel, etc?

  • 4. my talkative ringpiece  |  January 19th, 2011 at 1:00 am

    I’ll agree, “Grocks” can’t totally suck, they do indeed seem to be the Toyota of the gun world. A Sig in .40 is awfully nice, though, so’s the ol’ M1911 “farty-five”. I also like the Walther PPK, the gun you have with you is better than the one you leave at home…

    I’m all for buying guns. Buy yourself another gun, everyone! Knee-deep in the things? Then buy one or a few for friends! Help out at a range! Educate kids! Educate adults (if it’s possible!) Right now in the news, I’m hearing a kid took a gun to school in his backpack, set the backpack down with a thud, and the damn gun went off, hitting 2 other kids. Fucking shameful. If that kid were more educated about gun handling that accident would not have happened. I blame the parents. Should have taken the kid out to the range and taught him gun handling. As far as that goes, WHY did the kid feel he had to take a gun to school? We’ve got a lot of little Columbines simmering away and it’s not the fault of guns.

    Ames I’ll go shooting with you any time.

  • 5. FOARP  |  January 19th, 2011 at 9:54 am

    “Why not just do away with the Second Amendment altogether?”

    Good idea.

  • 6. Derp  |  January 19th, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    “the only good killers are american and europeans, them chinks n’ niggers n’ Ay-rabs can’t shoot fer’ sheet PRAISE JESUS”.


  • 7. Brad  |  January 20th, 2011 at 3:44 am

    ‘The only professional killers left in the world are American or European Special Forces.’

    The Australian SAS would have something to say about that.

  • 8. CensusLouie  |  January 21st, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    One gun question I’ve always wondered:

    Why would you need anything more than a double barrel shotgun or revolver for home defense?

    Is an entire chapter of Crips going to rob your house? Are you going to fend off the entire ATF with your AR-15? The Illuminati One World Government? Stocking up for the zombie apocalypse?

    What possible use does more firepower than that serve other than allow lone nuts to rack up a higher rampage body count?

  • 9. the dodd  |  January 22nd, 2011 at 1:56 pm


    y’all owning a gun at the moment anyway. so why don’t you use it against the very people that turn your life into hell? (politics, wall street etc.)

    you wanna know why? because y’all with a gun are only fucking big mouths. you said you’re free and you would defend yourself against the government or any linked organisation.

    a whole nation is armed already and america is goin’ down in every aspect – but where’s the revolution?

    before you can start any kind of revolution or rebellion, you’re going to need any form of media. but the current media in america is full of cock- and clitsuckers. they wouldn’t even report about large protests and such things.

    “There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party…and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt—until recently… and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.” (gore vidal)

  • 10. Gerias III  |  January 23rd, 2011 at 10:11 am

    “Glocks = The Kalashnikov of the US.”

    Please embark on a journey to discover why you are wrong.

  • 11. Fissile  |  January 23rd, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    @Gerias III #60, Ooh,ooh! I know the answer! See, like I own a Glock, and I also graduated from the 8th grade, and like on the Glock it says “Made in Austria”. I also heard that this Austria place had some critters called “Kangaroos”, and they was good eatin. Well, anyway, I was walking home yesterday because my Camaro threw a rod, and it was like real cold, and then I seen a place called a lieberry, and I went in to get warm. Don’t you know that this lieberry place has lots of books, and you could look at them for free! So I was looking at this book called “Atlas”, and this book has lots of pictures of places that ain’t America. One of these places that ain’t America was called “Yourope”. And in the middle of this place was this kangaroo-land called “Austria”. So I asked the lieberry lady, and she said it was true, Kangaroos don’t come from America, and if Glocks come from the same place as the kangaroos, Glocks can’t be American AK-47’s because AK-47’s come from Irania.

  • 12. adolph hitler  |  January 24th, 2011 at 8:44 am

    @58….ask david koresh or randy weaver, they can tell you why.

  • 13. WTF  |  January 24th, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    You call this an article?

  • 14. Larry Campbell  |  January 25th, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    These guns (Glocks) are incredibly reliable. They offer reliability, high-capacity, light weight, affordability, user friendly. There are many stories of Glocks that literally have hundreds of thousands of rounds through them and they continue to not only function, but they continue to be exceptionally accurate. The Glock pretty much has it all and on top of all of that it is a very inexpensive pistol. Glock has more than 60% of all the U.S. Law Enforcement market and many countries issue it as their standard sidearm. It may not look as pretty as a 1911, but it will feed ammo that would make a 1911 malfunction. They come in 9 mm, .40 S&W, .357 SIG, 10 mm, .45 GAP and .45 ACP. The Glock is the standard sidearm of NATO as well as numerous federal agencies. To the poster who thinks that americans need to be disarmed…I ‘ll say this, you can have my guns all right, but I’ll give you the ammo first. It is said that those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat those same mistakes. When was was evident in Great Britain, that country literally begged american gun owners. GB asked americans to loan them their guns with a promise that they would return them after the war. Try googling the Lend/Lease Act.

  • 15. mgerot  |  January 28th, 2011 at 10:03 am

    YA USE IT IF NOT DONT TOUCH ANY GUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 16. par4  |  January 30th, 2011 at 4:04 am

    Don’t fall for the corporate media’s caricature of ‘liberal’. The terms, conservative,liberal and centrist, describing our narrow political spectrum have been made useless except to create a knee-jerk reaction.

  • 17. Whatever  |  February 7th, 2011 at 3:35 am

    >>The only professional killers left in the world are American or European Special Forces.

    He just had to throw some american brainwashing patriotism in, didn’t he.

  • 18. Barbara Rowen  |  February 10th, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I’m an idiot. Saw you bashing of Reagan and got very upset because I blame all of my problems on unions and the government I can’t take responsibility for my own actions plus I’m an Ayn Rand baloneyhead who thinks it’s smart to be a selfish bimbo. Gosh I hate unions. Oo, grrr, gosh they make me so angry!

  • 19. Keith  |  February 10th, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    I own a Glock 30 and love it. It truly is a pocket pistol. I initially did not like Glocks, the look is very sterile, so is the feel, but… the quality is excellent, highly reliable (this could vary on caliber) The Glock was designed for 9mm, but the gun manufacturers are catering to 31 flavors concept. I live in CA, so I have parameters. Yes, I do feel they’re getting a little out of control with firearm policy here, I can’t buy ammo online now, and that sucks! The Glock 30 -Ten rounds, compact, tac rail, .45ACP, extremely reliable and easy to break down, and aggressively priced! If I had more options then: Sig Sauer P226 Tactical Op (.357SIG) & LWRC PSD 6.8 SPC

  • 20. Keith  |  February 10th, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Oh btw, I’m a liberal, live in San Francisco, grew up in NYC, I’m as liberal as they come, and yes I love my guns! I meant to say pocket rocket, not pocket pistol above -oops!
    Glocks Rule!

  • 21. Aamir  |  April 4th, 2011 at 11:16 am

    welll i realy like dhe model…its intrusting

  • 22. richard pajarillo  |  August 15th, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    i never fired a gunbut now i wanted to have one for security reasons. what would you recommend a glock19 or sig?

  • 23. TT  |  November 16th, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Look, I think Glock makes a fine gun. I also think that H&K, Beretta, Smith, and a few others also make fine guns.

    Many glock lovers love ONLY glock and repeatedly tell you that glock is miles and miles beyond all other guns, and that all other manufactures should just stop making their guns and leave the world for Glock. That is what some specific gun enthusiasts find it annoying and made a Glock hatred side. That is also why you wont find Sigs Beretta H&K hatred sides that much.

  • 24. Forever Independent  |  December 23rd, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Mike C is the perfect example of the dangerous underbelly of neo-liberalism. Self-righteously claiming higher ground, liberation and higher intelligence out of one side of his mouth while hypocritically negatively stereotyping those who don’t subscribe to his cause.

    “I am smarter, I am right, if you don’t agree you are lowlife riff raff, so I will tell you what you should think and make your world better for your own good because you obviously can’t take care of yourself.”

    It’s closely related to the type of deluded egomania that we often see in totalitarian leftist dictatorships.

    Liberal used to connote tolerance and liberty. Now it’s just self-righteous. Sad.

  • 25. tom  |  September 14th, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    We should be leaders of democracy, not the damn followers of socialism . When they bowed before their kings, we voted for our leaders. We were the first to developed a democracy that worked with checks and balances. Now the liberals want us to follow Europe’s example. Social Obama Care. Our forefathers would be ashamed of us.

  • 26. Kevin  |  November 19th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I have never read so much misinformation/ignorant opinions in one article. The first individual said that the glock had a hammer for christs sake. Interview some people who actually know what they are talking about. 60% of our nations police officers carry Glock, and the Glock 19 is the most popular pistol in the WORLD.

  • 27. Kevin  |  November 19th, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    As a so-called gun enthusiast, how do you misspell Burata? And as a writer/editor, how do you overlook something like that? Don’t quit your day job.

  • 28. Jim  |  July 18th, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Glocks are not the gang banger’s choice, around my neck of the woods they favor the Taurus line.

  • 29. brad  |  February 4th, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Just wanted to point out glocks are single action striker fire. They cock on cycling not on trigger pull

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