Whether one looks at comic books, fiction or film, firearms play a huge part in geek culture. In fact, there’s an entire web site dedicated to document who carried what.
This feature takes a look at some of these weapons – focusing on their real-world performance rather than in-universe function. If there’s something you want to know more about, be sure to mention it in the comments.
This week we’re once more looking at a set of guns rather than a single specimen: John Wick’s Glocks.
One Weapon Among Many
John Wick will famously use whatever weapon is at hand, but given the choice he consistently returns to Glocks, specifically the Models 19, 26 and 34.
Wick’s logic is impeccable: the Glock is lightweight, accurate, reliable and has truly enormous magazine capacity – which Wick sorely needs. Even with high-capacity mags, it’s even money that he’ll be reduced to scrounging fallen weapons or magazines in any gunfight, and here again using a Glock is a bonus since most of the guys sent to kill him use them as well.
I’m not a fan of Keanu Reeves (I think his best role remains Ted “Theodore” Logan), but he totally inhabits the role of John Wick and the producers seem fanatically devoted to providing quality and realistic gunplay whenever he’s given the opportunity. The plot is less plausible than the Bogus Journey, but still entertaining, and much of that comes from Reeves’ clear comfort with firearms.
It’s an open secret that Hollywood often shrouds actors’ eyes with sunglasses during gunfights to disguise their eyes blinking and flinching from the muzzle flash. Reeves has the eyes of a pro.
The Great Fake Plastic Gun Scare
When the Glock first burst onto the scene four decades ago, it was an overnight sensation. It was one of the new “wonder nines,” lightweight, ergonomic, high-capacity pistols that destroyed the dominance of ageing WW II surplus pistols and equally venerable revolver designs.
Unlike John McClane’s Beretta 92, the Glock featured advance materials and a polymer frame. This was immediately sensationalized by anti-gun politicians and the press (but I repeat myself) to be “plastic” and therefore a threat that cut to the heart of society’s safety. Plastic guns would be x-ray proof! Impossible to detect! And they would carry infinite bullets with no recoil, just like in those Rambo movies.
The truth of course is that the Glock is chock full of metal bits, (most obviously the barrel), but Congress nevertheless swung into action and passed a law banning such imaginary constructs. Since then, 3-D printing has come up with interesting concepts, but mostly they make parts (especially lower assemblies) because even the toughest polymer can’t stand up to the heat and pressure of modern ammunition.
A Revolutionary Weapon
As for the Glock itself, while it is a revolutionary design, most of them were used elsewhere. Gaston Glock’s genius was combining them in a new way by using more advanced materials. The Glock is striker-fired, which sounds like the new hotness, but the technology goes back to at least 1907. High-capacity magazines were introduced by the Browning Hi Power in 1935 and Armalite pioneered polymer use in frames back in the 1960s.
What Glock did was combine these with a funky trigger safety to provide a rugged, safe design that was unlike anything on the market. The other Wonder Nines often featured double-single action capability, de-cockers, slide safeties and takedown levers as well as a magazine release and slide lock. All very slick and tacti-cool, but a bit overwhelming for many shooters.
Glock’s trigger famously both cocks and releases the firing pin, giving it a long but not inordinately heavy pull. It is also consistent, unlike the transition from double action to single action in McClane’s Beretta.
This gives it a sleek, simple design at an affordable price. It has been widely adopted by military, police and private citizens, who all sing its praise.
Object of Affection – and Loathing
For all of its advantages, the Glock does suffer some drawbacks.
The trigger is a big one, being quite different from those used by other handguns. It takes some getting used to, and this is probably why people who like Glocks tend to keep buying them while others are less enthusiastic.
The grips are another point of contention, and the overall shape is – to some eyes – hideous. Glocks are often described as the “Butterface” pistol. Others claim that Glock is an Austrian word for Hi Point.
As for the vaunted trigger safety, there is (or was) a notorious Youtube video of an idiot law enforcement officer shooting himself in the foot with a Glock (naturally he was doing a gun safety presentation).
I’m not a fan, but there is no denying their success and affordability. All of the John Wick guns have extensive documentation and some of them have been on public display, so it’s relatively easy to obtain an exact copy of one of his weapons.
Availability may sometimes be an issue, but they’re still out there for those who want them. A more intractable issue is the ongoing ammo shortage, so your John Wick-style mag dumps may take some extra time to arrange.
Of course, you could always just use a pencil.
John Wick Chapter 2 (2017) - Pencil Kill Scene
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