Other than adding new calibers and barrel lengths every few years, Glock has largely avoided any revolutionary changes to a basic design that has remained largely unchanged since the original Glock 17 was introduced to military and police markets in 1982, 34 years ago.
While the company’s pistols have now evolved through 4 generations of pistols, they haven’t kept up with advances in human combat factors engineering, and their feature changes have primarily remained cosmetic. That trend appears to be continuing, as the company is rumored to be considering another skin-deep change, potentially offering the pistols in different colors:
On July 7 an American website, thefirearmblog.com, ran a picture of a “Tiffany blue” Glock under the headline: “Is Glock considering new colours?”
It reported that Glock had sent out a survey a few weeks earlier asking participants if they’d consider purchasing a Glock in different frame colours.
More, Glock asked customers: “If you were to purchase a pistol as a gift for a female family member or friend, which frame colour would you choose?”
Illustrated choices that followed were black, pink, purple, Tiffany blue, flat dark earth, desert sand, OD green, or sniper (that’s more like it) gray.
However, some Austrians aren’t so sure they want their most famous bit of military kit to go Barbie.
Austria’s Der Standard newspaper in particular is not happy with the prospect.
Next to a photograph of a Glock in a “proper” colour – braun-oliver, an army drab – the paper said that self-defence was a “valid purpose” for a firearm, but now Glock was offering a lifestyle object or fashion statement.
It questioned whether pink and purple pistols could be mistaken for toy guns. “Police officers are trained to make the distinction [between real firearms and toys] even in an emergency.” This would be “undermined by real guns in bright colours.”
Der Standard made an attempt to find out whether the survey was produced by Glock’s Austrian headquarters or by one of their international offices but was unsuccessful when Glock declined to make a statement.
Olive drab, flat dark earth, desert sand and “sniper” gray appear to be targeted towards those buyers interested in matching their Glock pistols to hunting and military kit typically offered in these colors, while the pink, purple, and Tiffany blue colors are thought to be an attempt to cater to the female market.
While there may be a market for firearms in these colors—Glock has offered the olive drab and flat dark earth frames as a factory option in the past—I suspect that the novelty colors won’t create a new market for the pistols, simply based upon the lack of significant market reach for other guns “targeted towards women” by offering no more than a color.
Crafting a firearm in “patronizing pink” may result in a few sales, but it would be far wiser to build a firearm with the grip and controls designed for the hands of the 5th-to-95th percentile of users, which requires reduced strength to cycle the slide, and which is optimized with a low-bore axis to reduce felt recoil (while still using effective self-defense calibers, preferably with the 9mm as the minimum).
Of course, I could be wrong. Do you think something as simple as a color change might be enough to significant boost sales for Glock?