Glock 17 (from the March/April 1988 Issue)

The Infamous Plastic Pistol Exposed for What it Really Is
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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!

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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.