How Glock Became America's Favorite Legal Handgun

"Die Hard" fans might recall Bruce Willis' little speech about the handgun in "Die Hard 2."

"That punk pulled a Glock 7 on me," said Willis' character, Officer John McClane. "You know what that is? It's a porcelain gun made in Germany. It doesn't show up on your airport x-ray machines, and it cost more than you make here in a month."

Almost every part of that monologue was factually wrong. But when lawmakers in Washington began voicing real fear that an undetectable "super gun" was hitting America's streets, Glock sales skyrocketed. And even when a 1991 shooting spree in Texas led to the assault weapons ban, Glock saw an opportunity.

"When the law was enacted, it was enacted with a grandfathering clause, meaning that everything that existed before the day it was enacted, was still legal. This left Glock with this huge supply of pre-banned equipment that was still legal to sell," Barrett said. "The dark glamour of the Glock went up because gun aficionados resented the restrictions and said well that's the gun they don't want me to have, I want two of them."

Thanks to a legal trade-in program, Glock is able to re-sell used police guns and magazines on the open market, even at a time when cops are desperate to get semiautomatic handguns off the streets.

"In L.A., they make a big deal of taking the guns to melt them down, but a lot of departments are cash-strapped, looking for money," Bratton said. "It's a way of ensuring that their officers are equipped with the best and latest weapons. It's certainly a tool of the trade."

In a statement to ABC News, Glock pointed out that, "Allowing law enforcement agencies to trade in firearms toward the purchase of new duty weapons is a standard practice by all major firearms manufacturers."

But it creates the possibility that police officers could have their old guns used against them.

"That is why I've never been in favor of that type of program," Bratton said. "But oftentimes, it's not in the hand of the chief of police, if you will, it's in the hands of the procurement entity or the city municipality, and it really is a devil's dilemma, if you will, whether you do it or you don't do it."

As with other gun control proposals, Bratton believes that outlawing trade-in programs or mandating the destruction of used guns would be political impossibilities. And much to the frustration of gun control advocates, just the talk of another slaughter and tougher laws puts more guns into circulation. So whichever way the political winds blow, Glock is imported proof that it is always a good time to be in the American gun business.

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