In the mid-1970s Glock Kg was a very small Austrian company, specialized in the production of molded plastic and sheet metal objects. Among its most popular products there were everyday objects such as curtain rods. But Gaston Glock, its founder, was always looking for new commercial outlets and when in 1976 he learned that the Austrian army had announced a competition to adopt a new knife-bayonet that could be fixed on the Steyr AUG assault rifle, he decided to submit his tender.
Details of the military Glock knives
The Glock knife presented for the tender was a masterpiece of essentiality, featuring a 165 mm long and 5 mm thick steel blade tempered to 55 HRC and phosphated, with a polymer grip and sheath.
A simple plug on the pommel hid a socket in which the AUG bayonet lug could be inserted.
The upper crossguard was bent at right angles so as not to interfere with the AUG flash hider and it was discovered that it could also be used as a bottle opener. The simplicity of the Glock prototype was a success: one the most strict requirements of the Austrian army was that the knife could be effectively launched, and it seems that in this respect it had no rivals, thanks to its excellent balance.
The Glock knife, renamed M78, was officially adopted by the Austrian army that immediately ordered 25,000 knives. It seems that Gaston Glock and his wife, unprepared for the logistical dimensions of their victory, spent sleepless nights injection molding handles just to comply with the order deadlines.
The adoption of the M78 knife was fundamental to the fate of the Glock brand. Once he set foot in the world of military procurement, the clever Gaston also won tenders for the production of machine gun belts and training grenades. The definitive turning point came in 1981 with the presentation of the Model 19 pistol that would turn the small family-owned company into a gun giant.
In 1981 there was the first and only major variation in the design of the Glock knife with the presentation of the M81 that compared to its predecessor had a saw back blade.
Initially, Glock knives were made with olive and black sheaths and handles, with black blades and a phosphated finish. Recently, models with gray and "dark flat earth" plastic parts have been added to the catalog, while for the blade finish an electrophoretic painting which guarantees excellent resistance to corrosion and wear has been introduced.
One of the strengths of the Glock knife is its sheath, injection molded in a single piece of plastic. It is a masterpiece of rationality: the belt loop and the retention tab of the knife are made from the same material as the sheath and exploit its elasticity.
There are no metallic elements, springs or loops. Once inserted into the sheath, the knife is firmly locked and to extract it the retention system must be lifted to release the tab from an indentation on the handle, just below the guard.
Also in this case the solution is elegant, simple and – something particularly appreciated by the military – at no cost.
The handle is very simple, with five grooves to aid in purchase. On the pommel is a lanyard hole, while the end of the handle is closed by a plug that gives access to the socket designed for attachment to the AUG rifle.
This socket has also been maintained on civil models and allows, in case of need, to attach the knife to a stick to make an improvised spear.
The blade is very plain and simple, typical of a knife designed for industrial production in large quantities. On the blade there are the manufacturer's brand, the model and the "Made in Austria" markings.
The logo is also printed on the sheath and handle. You will notice that in the two photographed knives the logo is different: the rounded one is typical of the early production and has recently been changed to the one with a squared shape. Even if it's hard to believe, the knife with the green handle was produced almost forty years ago, while the other one is current production.
The differences are minimal and essentially concern the finish of the blade. Everything else is the same.
Weighing at 205 grams, the Glock knife is relatively light but it can carry out many heavy tasks without any problem. There is plenty of videos on Youtube where M78s or 81s are subjected to test-torture, doing just fine. Last detail, a very low retail price: they can be found at less than 50 euro and considering that they are a "Made in Austria" product we can only describe the price/quality ratio as excellent.