Glock 17 (from the March/April 1988 Issue)

The Infamous Plastic Pistol Exposed for What it Really Is

Remember when the Glock 17 first arrived on the scene? It was, according to some, the infamous plastic gun that could defeat metal detectors. Except it couldn’t. Here’s a throwback to 1988 — specifically the March/April issue where Charles Petty addressed the matter factually. Enjoy!


Here’s the media’s latest cause celebre, the next awful thing the gun manufacturers have propagated to endanger us. It’s the plas­tic gun, the one that can be carried with impunity through airport metal detectors­ — the greatest thing for terrorists since Kalishnikovs!

The cause for all the alarm is the fact that the Glock 17 does have a plastic frame — an ingenious thing, and much more a tribute to polymer chemistry than a threat to safe skies. What was ignored, or at least minimized, was the fact that the top half — that part where the gun things happen — is good old steel. According to my calculations, the total weight of the gun (less magazine) is 22 ounces. The frame weighs 5 ounces; so this means that there are some 17 ounces of steel in the slide and barrel. Airport metal detectors light up like a Christmas tree over that much steel.

Read the rest of Charles Petty’s article below. Or, check out the entire March/April 1988 issue.