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Gaston Glock, inventor of the namesake pistol, dies at 94

By Ramishah Maruf, CNN

New York (CNN) — Gaston Glock, the inventor of the ubiquitous gun bearing his name, died on Wednesday. He was 94.

The Glock company announced his death on its website, without giving a cause or other details.

The Glock is universal in mainstream culture, from use in over 65% of US federal, state and local agencies, according to the company, to a staple reference in media, movies, books and songs.

Glock had his start in Austria as an engineer. He founded the Glock company in 1963, according to the company’s website. He had limited experience with guns, inventing the pistol in a metalworking shop in his garage where he manufactured knives and curtain rods.

He developed the semi-automatic Glock service pistol for the Austrian military in the early 1980s. The Glock was lightweight, made of a nylon-based polymer frame instead of traditional steel, while also carrying up to 17 rounds of ammunition.

But its most controversial aspect was perhaps its “safe-action” feature, designed to be ready to fire at moment’s notice. That also meant the gun was more prone to accidental and rash shootings, gun safety advocates claimed.

“Mr. Glock designed his pistol with three internal safeties — the trigger, firing pin and drop safeties — to ensure that the pistol would perform consistently while providing the best protection against accidental discharge,” the site said.

By the mid 1980s, Glock pistols were introduced to the US market.

“Gaston Glock charted the strategic direction of the Glock Group throughout his life and prepared it for the future. His life’s work will continue in his spirit,” a statement on Glock’s site said.

Along with being the weapon of choice for many law enforcement officials, the Glock is a staple in many hip-hop songs. Tupac referenced grabbing a Glock in his famous song “Hit ‘Em Up.” The Wu-Tang Clan titled one of their songs “Da Glock.”

The gun’s image seemingly spans the breadth of America, from the glitziness of action movie heroes to heart-rending tragedies.

The 2007 Virginia Tech shooter used two guns, one of which was a Glock. Dylann Roof, who shot nine people to death at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina, used the pistol during the murders.

Glock and his first wife, Helga, married in 1962 and divorced in 2011, according to a lawsuit filed by Helga. The lawsuit said they had three children, Brigitte, Gaston Jr., and Robert.

The more than 350-page lawsuit documented the acrimony between the two, comparing the inventor to Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” but was dismissed by an Atlanta judge in 2017.

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