In the firearms community, people are either Glock haters or Glock lovers. Whichever camp you belong to, the popularity and reputation of the Glock platform cannot be denied. Since its adoption by the Austrian Army as the P80 in 1982, Glock pistols have been issued to the armed forces, security agencies and law enforcement organizations of over 48 countries, including the FBI and U.S. Navy SEALs. Today, you can now buy a reissue of the Glock that started it all: the P80.
An FBI Special Agent takes aim with a Glock 19M (FBI)
Since WWII, the Austrian Army's standard-issue sidearm has been the Walther P38. Though it was an important pistol from an engineering standpoint, having introduced technical features that ended up in the Beretta 92/M9, antiquated features like its 8-round magazine led the Austrian Army to solicit a new pistol in 1980. Among the Army's 17 criteria, they required that the new pistol be self-loading, chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum, secure from accidental discharge, and use magazines that did not require any means of assistance for loading.
Engineer and company founder, Gaston Glock, had extensive experience with advanced synthetic polymers, but no experience with firearm design or manufacturing. When he heard about the Army's planned procurement in 1982, he assembled a team of leading handgun experts including military, police, and civilian shooters from around Europe to develop a revolutionary new handgun. Less than three months later, Glock had a working prototype. Incorporating Glock's expertise in synthetic polymers, the new pistol made extensive use of synthetic materials and modern manufacturing processes that made it very cost-effective.
Austrian soldiers train with modern Glock pistols (Bundesheer)
Though the pistol held 17 rounds and conformed to the Army's 17 criteria, it was called the Glock 17 because it was the 17th patent procured by the company. Several samples were submitted to the Austrian Army for testing. After an intense and abusive assessment, Glock was declared to be the winner of the competition, beating out pistols like the Heckler & Koch P7, Sig Sauer P226, Beretta 92, and the FN Browning Hi-Power. The Glock 17 would be a new sidearm for both the Austrian military and police. It was designated as the P80 and an initial order of 25,000 pistols was placed.
Today, these initial Glock 17/P80 models are known as Gen 1 Glocks. They are most easily recognized by their pebble finish grips which wrap all the way around. The first Glock 17s were imported into the United States in 1986 and were shipped and sold in plastic boxes which are often referred to as "Tupperware" boxes.
The P80 reissue in the iconic "Tupperware" box (Lipsey's Guns)
Original Gen 1 Glocks are few and far between on the used market and fetch top dollar; priced more like collectibles than shooter guns. In order to satisfy consumers, companies have released aftermarket P80 kits that allow shooters to build replicas of the original Glock that they can take to the range without fear of ruining their investment. Noticing this demand in the market, firearms distributor Lipsey's Guns reached out to Glock to do a collaboration and bring the original P80 back to the market.
This reissue of the venerable P80 incorporates both original features and styling along with modern shooting luxuries to provide consumers with an authentic and shootable pistol. Like the original P80, the reissue utilizes a non-railed frame free of finger grooves. It also features the iconic pebble grain texturing that wraps all the way around the grip. Lipsey's worked with Glock to recreate the Gen 1 single pin frame, smooth trigger, and original flat extractor. Though the reissue incorporates the original P80 markings in the same font from 1982, they were unable to acquire the licensing to apply the Austrian Army markings to the pistol. Also unlike the original P80, the reissue comes with a magazine that drops free from the gun, a feature that makes the reissue more shootable than the original. The pistol also comes in the classic "Tupperware" box which sits in a commemorative overbox along with a certificate of authenticity from Glock.
The commemorative overbox that holds the "Tupperware" box (Lipsey's Guns)
"I have always wanted to do a retro Glock pistol," said Lipsey's Project Development Manager Jason Cloessner. "Glock took painstaking measures to recreate the original frames and packaging to make this P80 edition as close to the original as we could get. Not only is this edition a great shooter, but it also helps tell the amazing story of how Glock came to be." The P80 reissue carries an MSRP of $669. Compared to the MSRP of $659 for a modern Glock 17 Gen 5, the reissue allows shooters to own a P80 at the cost of a regular Glock. Though production of the first wave of P80 reissues is limited, Lipsey's has announced that the P80 itself will not be a limited edition and that more waves of stock will follow in the future.