Firearms Marketing: What’s in a name? The Best Example! “Glock”

By John Farnam

Glock 26 Gen 4 Pistol
Glock 26 Gen 4 Pistol
Defense Training International, Inc
Defense Training International, Inc

Ft Collins, CO –-( Put another way: What image appears in the minds of your customers at the mention of your name?

As a marketing amateur, it strikes me that reputations are invariably tied to product and company names, and at least in the gun business, confusion is the rule, rather than the exception. And, much confusion is avoided when gunmakers are understandable and consistent with product titles, and unfailingly follow-up with dynamite customer service.

Glock is the best example! “Glock” means only one thing. Glock makes only pistols. No Glock pistol has ever had a manual safety, nor a manual decocking lever/button, nor a magazine safety, nor has been hammer-fired.

All Glock pistols, no matter the size, are striker-fired, polymer-framed, and have pretty much the same profile.

Thus, when someone says “Glock,” you won’t hear “Which style?,” nor “Is that the variant with the decocking button?” etc. Everyone knows what “Glock” means! While Glock has been criticized for never offering “variants,” the reward has been that the name “Glock” is seldom a source of confusion in the minds of consumers.

Remington RP9 Full-Size Polymer Pistol
Remington RP9 Full-Size Polymer Pistol

Envying Glock’s spectacular marketing success over the past thirty years, nearly every other gunmaker in the world is currently producing “Glock-like” pistols. The foregoing is no secret! All are striker-fired, polymer-framed, and have no manual decocking lever/button. Nearly all (including Glock) now feature VGG (variable grip geometry). And, they’re all doing their best to capitalize on what they see as ways in which the Glock pattern can be improved. From positioning of controls, to profile, to take-down procedure, sights, accessories, additional “features,” etc, manufacturers are doing their best to produce worthy competitors to the Glock pattern.

The SA/XD and XD/M, S&W M&P, Walther PPQ, FNS, Kahr, Ruger All American, SIG/320, H&K VP9, and now the Century Arms Canik (TP9SF), and the CZ P10C are all worthy and acceptable examples. I just heard of a new one, from Europe, called the BBTech. Remington’s candidate, the RP9, has also just hit the market (and, by all reports, is getting off to Remington’s customary rocky start). Beretta’s long-awaited “APX” has yet to rear its head! Colt apparently has no plans, and no clue!

As an Operator, the addition of “features” like manual safeties, magazine safeties, “ambidextrous controls,” extended/enlarged levers and buttons, ad nauseam, represents going backwards! Serious Operators have scant use for all that junk, and Glock, to their everlasting credit, has steadfastly refused to put any of that trash on their guns. Magazine safeties, for example, are far worse that a mere annoyance. Magazine safeties are a death-trap and thus not recommended on any serious pistol.

Not all agree, however.

In my view, all this is healthy (albeit confusing), both in terms of the viability of our gunmaking industry, and in terms of the advancement of our Art. Good competition makes good products. It’s yet another miracle of capitalism!

Getting back to the point:

In this business, names are important. Reputations are even more important. Gunmakers need to know what they represent in the minds of their customers.

For example:

BB Tech GMBH Pistol
BB Tech GMBH Pistol
  • “BBTech” pistols, in the American market, will be immediately confused with “BB guns.” Potential gun buyers will quickly pass them by and look no closer!
  • Canik” pistols are what? Do they work like a Glock, or do they have a decocking button? The term, “Canik” has been applied by Century Arms to several different variants. That’s a mistake! The Canik TP9SF/Elite is what you want, but that’s a lot of letters and numbers to remember!

My advice to gunmaker’s marketing departments is to come up with a name that is simple to pronounce and easy to remember, and then stick with it, so that over time we all become accustomed to what that name means. Don’t give it a “number.” Give it a name!

Be reluctant to load-up your otherwise excellent weapon with glib, trendy, glamorous junk, designed only to appeal only to the fearful, careless, shallow and self-centered.

We aging Operators, and the next generation of young Operators we’re training-up, are depending on you to provide us with superior weapons – simple, quick, slick, fast, reliable, durable, and lethal.

Don’t fail us!

“I felt as only a man can feel who is roaming over prairies of the far West, well armed, and mounted on a fleet and gallant steed.” ~ Bill Cody


About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent and unlawful lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance, if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit:

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That’s why the army picking the SIG M17 with the extra safety lever didn’t make sense. They coulda’ picked a Glock and had it all – all that was needed.

Matt in Oklahoma

Replacing training with a lever shows the lack of real leadership in regular army units because Rangers, SF and Delta all carry them.


I most often fire CAST BULLETS in handguns, mostly pistols. Glock pistols feature polygonal, rather than convential rifling, which is not comparable with cast bullets. Replacement barrels are available, however they add to the cost of the pistol. Problems, wherever one looks, or so,it seems.


Bells and whistles Glock don’t have them, that’s why I love them I own several.


John, not bad for a non-marketing person.
Although you confuse your love of Glock with marketing, they are a good example for the simple reason of “focus and consistency”.
That simplicity makes it easy for people that want that, the choice is simple.
What many people forget is that “Operators” are a small part if the market.
And what applies to “Operators” is not necessarily the right product for general public.


Lou is right, in that companies cater to what sells, not what works or simple whims of company. Another perfect example of this is the SUV market. The group, such as myself, that actually need the use of four wheel drive and design items associsted with a good 4×4 vehicle is rather small. So instead auto manufacturers cater to the flatlanding soccer mom types that will never see a fire road or a foot of snow in their life. So we get low clearnce unibody cross over SUV’s that are worthless to people like myself. I few my guns much… Read more »

Rich in MO

Why in the world would “Smith & Wesson” change their name? Makes no sense at all to me.

Old 1811

My understanding is, the name change applies to the holding company only. The gun manufacturer will still be called Smith & Wesson.

WV Fred

I own 6 Glocks………..and 15 or 16 other brands of pistols. I travel with my Glock 19, I carry my Glock 43 and I sleep with my other Glock 19 suppressed. The only Glock I have ever sold was the 27, sub compact 40. the snap to my wrist was not enjoyable so I knew I would not shoot it or want to carry it. Glocks are pretty much bullet proof and to date I have never had one jamb or misfire in any manner. that being said I do understand that you either love them or hate them, not… Read more »

Clark Kent

Your Glock has never experienced a ‘jamb’? Well I certainly hope so; unless you keep it near a door.

Pa John

“All that is complex is not useful and all that is useful is simple.” – Mikhail Kalashnikov

Patrick Sperry

Glocks, people seem to love them or hate them. But, they do follow the Keep It Simple Stupid rule. Mine have always gone bang, and are accurate. Don’t misunderstand me I love my 1911’s. But too many makers are just piling on gadget after gadget these days thinking that will make them stand out from the crowd.


Strikes me that altogether to many people and manufacturers have forgotten, or perhaps never understood the virtues of The Kiss Principle, Keep It Simple Stupid, as you noted. It’s a shame too.

Matt in Oklahoma

The article is spot on but the companies are stuck on stupid. They don’t listen nor care what we have to say. They just want to do what they want to do.
You don’t even have to be an operator to understand that something that works, is reasonably priced and is simple over complex and costly.
And seriously test your products thoroughly before selling them. We are far too advanced in technology and manufacturing not to.

Clark Kent

‘All the modern inconveniences’ – Mark Twain.