GLOCK Arms First EVER Factory Tour, After Action Report

By Fredy Riehl, Editor AmmoLand

GLOCK Factory Sign
GLOCK Factory Sign
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

Smyrna, Georgia – -(Ammoland.com)- So I have always been something of a Glockaholic. Not that I don’t love 1911’s as well but for some reason I have owned and shot more GLOCKs than other brands of firearms.

So where is Mecca for a fan of GLOCK?

It is the GLOCK factory, duh, and I wrangled myself an invitation to be one of the first media to ever get a tour of GLOCK’s U.S. Arms factory in Smyrna, GA. Pretty exciting right?

Well it is also something of a big step for GLOCK as well, since they have traditionally been very guarded (read secretive) about letting media go behind the scenes and my visit, along with two other colleagues, started off a little tense. Our first stop was the Guard Booth just outside a big metal gate that surrounds the factory.

Remember this place has a lots and lots of guns. In fact they ship on average 100,000 firearms from this facility, each month. This place would be a gold mine for some ambitious gun runners but GLOCK is serious about business and is taking no chances.

After a quick pat down, no personal side arms allowed, and a going over of the rules, like no cell phones / cameras, a few signatures on the NDA and we were in.

GLOCK Vice President Dr. Michael Jacquorie
GLOCK Executive Vice President Dr. Michael Jacquorie

Our tour guide for the main factory floor was GLOCK Executive Vice President Dr. Michael Jacquorie, he is one of the big dogs at GLOCK and reports directly to general management in GLOCK Austria. The Dr. has a great smile and was the only employee we saw dressed in a suit.

What a suit in a factory? When you see the factory is you will understand.

DR. Jacquorie, offered us a warm greeting and seemed generally excited to have “media” sticking their nose in the factory door.

GLOCK Factory First Impressions

GLOCK Factory Overview 2015
GLOCK Factory Overview 2015: The factory currently is running 2 shifts a day, but, based on consumer demand, could run a third or even run 247, if 100,000 guns a month for American patriots was not enough.

My first thoughts on entering the factory was “man this place is clean“, my wife would love it! No sweaty guys in overalls, no smoke and fumes, not even any really loud noises. The whole place is very organized, very orderly, very hi tech.

GLOCK Factory Floor 2015
GLOCK Factory Floor 2015, See the orange triangular sounds baffles hanging from the ceiling. They really seemed to work well.
GLOCK Slide Steel waiting to be milled into a working slide part.
GLOCK Slide Steel waiting to be milled into a working slide parts.

On the day we arrive,GLOCK was in the middle of a production run for G42’s pistols.

DR. Jacquorie couldn’t wait to show us the place and we jumped right in with a short detour… Yeah, he wanted us to know that the exacting quality of GLOCK products started 1000’s of miles away with a secret recipe for “GLOCK steel” that is exclusive to them and comes delivered on a newly built loading dock just outside the factory door. Actually the entire factory is brand new in the last few years and built, like every thing else GLOCK, to their exacting standards.

Speaking of quality to say that the engineers at GLOCK and a little anal-retentive would be an understatement. 25% of the work of building guns in the factory is spent checking tolerances on tools, machines, barrels, slides, parts, steel,  you name it they have a standard. They even have people checking the people doing the checking in a special isolated room, just for checking things.

He also made the point to explain in detail how GLOCK keeps enough raw materials, steel and small parts, on hand to run 6-9 months. Like any smart “Prepper” they can produce 600,000 guns, give or take, for half a year. Either to meet consumer demand or to weather an unforeseen supply line interruption.

The main manufacturing floor has well defined areas based on particular manufacturing jobs with specialized Austrian built CNC machines including one for steel slides and gun barrels (yeaup, they build their own machines and the tools that make them) . Another section has polymer extruders with robotic arms, another section is for heat treating, deburring, blueing, polishing and, you guest it, more testing. 

GLOCK Slide just after being milled and read for the next treatment.
GLOCK Slides just after being milled and read for the next treatment.
One of GLOCKS polymer extruders with the robotic arm at work.
One of GLOCKS polymer extruders with the robotic arm at work.
GLOCK Factory Tour 2015: Rows and rows of testing equipment.
GLOCK Factory Tour 2015: Rows and rows of testing equipment.
GLOCK Factory Tour 2015: Heat Treating Equipment
GLOCK Factory Tour 2015: Heat Treating Equipment
GLOCK Factory Tour 2015: Forging Equipment
GLOCK Factory Tour 2015: Forging Equipment

On To Assembly

After all the 1000’s of individual parts are completed on the main manufacturing floor. They are transferred to the assembly building. At this point we said good bye to DR. Jacquorie and met up with our other host from GLOCK, Josh Dorsey, VP of Sales/Marketing.

Josh is a big guy, which was probably handy in his first career of twenty years as a U.S. Marine. Talking with him you pick up on his military experience in his “Marine accent” (that pace of speech, that guys making tough choices all have, when you hear it you know what I mean) as well as in his point of reference to many things. At first Josh seemed uncomfortable, and fell back on his GLOCK training. Explaining the “GLOCK Ethos” that was later obvious among all the employees, he just put a name to it. As well as highlighting the key to GLOCK’s many success. Those being the Simplicity Of Design and the intense Quality Standard of Glock product and employees. By the afternoon he was all smiles and casually relayed many funny work and family stories that we were all able to relate to over lunch.

This firearms assembly work space and shipping area is just off the same loading dock where we began the tour. The small number of employees in this room is deceptive, because they “Do Work” in this room, cranking out completed and tested guns, up to 3000 a day. Completing all the tedious ATF paper work as well as shipping them to 10,000’s of FFLs, Police and Military units across the USA,Canada and beyond.

GLOCK Assembly, Testing and Shipping Overview
GLOCK Assembly, Testing and Shipping Overview
Bins of completed GLOCKs all awaiting final testing and packaging.
Bins of completed GLOCKs all awaiting final testing and packaging.
GLOCK pistols final assembly room.
GLOCK pistols final assembly room. Don’t be fooled by the low number of people here, they assembly a staggering number of guns each year.
GLOCK pistols parts getting some last touches before final assembly.
GLOCK pistols parts getting some last touches before final assembly.
Stacks and stacks of brand new GLOCK Magazines
Stacks and stacks of brand new GLOCK Magazines, unfortunately they did not let us fill our pockets.
One last check before they close the lid on your next GLOCK.
One last check before they close the lid on your next GLOCK.
Pallets of new GLOCK guns ready to ship.
Pallets of new GLOCK guns ready to ship.

New guns ready to ship, that is the final out come, but there is just one more stop on our tour.

So what is the end result of all this painstaking attention to detail over the smallest nuances of manufacturing, assembly and paperwork? Just five guys in a small office doing warranty and occasional trouble shooting or gun sight replacement. On a business that ships and average 1,200,000 guns a year!

But you could have asked any Glockaholic off the street and he would have told you that and saved you the long read.

End of Story, not yet… Just when we thought we has seen all we could see GLOCK executives want to show us something else… See “GLOCK G43 Single Stack 9mm Concealed Carry Pistol

21 Comments
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Ralph Quinn
Ralph Quinn
3 years ago

I need a contact number for Glock so that I can get an owners manual for the Gen23 Glock 40 cal .

John
John
3 years ago
Reply to  Ralph Quinn

770-432-1202

L B Wheat
L B Wheat
4 years ago

I started with a model 30 and added a model 36 later and a couple of days ago I bought a model 42. I can’t seem to get enough Glocks.

Steffan Pascall
Steffan Pascall
5 years ago

just love my glock period!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jerrel Brown
Jerrel Brown
5 years ago

The only issue I experienced was inserting the mags, they seem to hang up on the mag release if not inserted perfectly straight. The fix for this was to remove the mag release and bevel the lower edge (a small utility knife worked just fine), if you do this keep in mind you do not need to remove much material, just a slight bevel. Once I beveled the mag release I had no further issues with mag insertion.

Larry Plourde
Larry Plourde
5 years ago

I just bought a glock 30s 45cal. I would like to get a extra mag for it were can I get one and at what price.
Thank you Larry Plourde.

Johnny Nightrider
Johnny Nightrider
5 years ago

I wanted to become super efficient with just one pistol.I have owned S&W .357 magnum revolvers and S&W .45 acp pistols and ,22lr Buckmark pistols and Ruger revolvers.I have owned a GEN 3 Glock 19 for many years.I sold all my handguns but the Glock 19.I have aftermarket barrels and USA steel guide rods and springs for it.I own a lot of Glock 19 magazines.I just practice with this firearm so I can be really good.Beware of the man that owns one handgun.I have put thousands of rounds thru the aftermarket barrels and kept the stock barrel fresh and new… Read more »

Matt
Matt
5 years ago

I own 2 glocks a 34 and a 19 they have proven to be reliable, and very fun. And a great purchase price!

Eric
Eric
5 years ago

Can’t carry in a gun factory? How Un-American

Give all the workers a gun, and stand behind the Constitution…

Jacob Chandler
Jacob Chandler
2 years ago
Reply to  Eric

Yeah, they have armed guards…It’s The safest place in Atlanta…Gaurds posted with ARs and shotguns at all entrances and insides factory… They can’t let the public for liability issues and the armorors do carry…Stop being a trolling cockbag

Christian
Christian
5 years ago

Ive always had aluminum cases in my factory test envelopes.

Bill Hoy
Bill Hoy
5 years ago

When Glock test fires each gun what brand / manufacturer ammo do they use?

Jim
Jim
5 years ago

Agreed. I’ve had a similar experience…no interest initially then realizing just how good they are. Especially after shooting them.

Matt
Matt
6 years ago

I love glocks. Years ago after seeing my first glock I had no interest but after becoming wiser over the years I’ve come to realize the beauty in their simplicity and reliability. First I got a 27 which has had around 3,000 rds through it without a bobble, then I got it’s big brother the 22. Next came a 17 Gen 2 from 1997 which shows lots of use but never has failed me yet. Last but not least (well, least in stature I suppose) the glock 43 which I now carry everywhere I go. Just can’t beat a glock… Read more »

Walter tarno
Walter tarno
6 years ago

can i buy a new glock from the factroy if i where to go ??

gary holmes
gary holmes
4 years ago
Reply to  Walter tarno

how do you get your gun rebuilt at the factory and how much does it cost?. thanks

Paul C.
Paul C.
6 years ago

I have taken my Glock 27 to the factory for a repair.I was met by a person who took time to find out my concerns.I waited in the customer lounge while my pistol was worked on.I have never had anyone be so helpful .My Glock was ready in less 30 mminutes.Thank you ! I will only purchase a Glock .

Mark Dent
Mark Dent
6 years ago

As a Armory Sgt. for a state law enforcement division. We are using Gen 4 G22’s. The most reliable pistols we have ever had

Rick Johnson
Rick Johnson
6 years ago

ExcEllent firearm

Fed Up
Fed Up
6 years ago

Still waiting for Glock to replace the locking block on my G23. Even sending them a message on Facebook was ignored.

Vanns40
Vanns40
6 years ago
Reply to  Fed Up

Just curious, how many rounds did you have through your 23? I put more than 200,000 rounds, each, through my 19 & 23 and had a part start to wear on the 23 so I just rebuilt both of them at the same time from the ground up, except for slide & frame and then kept right on shooting. Took me less than 25 min. start to finish for each gun. I have three Glocks and love them.