Austrian engineer Gaston Glock, whose Glock pistol achieved global cult status, died on Wednesday, according to the company. “In Memoriam Gaston Glock 07/19/1929 – 12/27/2023,” read the company’s site, showing a photo of Glock — standing arms crossed in a dark suit with a maroon tie — against a black background. Though Glock may not have been world famous, his invention, wielded by police and outlaws alike, certainly made its mark, matched worldwide by few other weapons. Despite being intensely media-shy, Glock hit the headlines several times — notably in 1999 when he survived a murder attempt and years later for his acrimonious divorce from his first wife Helga. Born in 1929, Glock studied mechanical engineering at a college in Vienna. In 1963 he founded his own consumer goods firm in the town of Deutsch-Wagram, 20 kilometres (12 miles) outside Vienna. By the early 1980s Glock had branched into military supplies and decided to answer a call for tenders put out by the Austrian army, which wanted to update its pistols. He devised the Glock, a firearm that revolutionised the field: made largely of non-metal components, lighter, easier to take apart, more reliable, able to carry more bullets than other brands. Once the contract with the Austrian army was finalised, the company’s fortunes soared when it entered the American and then the global market. Between 2014 and 2017 alone, the company’s worth is estimated to have risen by almost 50 percent. American pop culture in particular helped Glock attain its iconic status. “At the end of the 1990s, Glock was the most mentioned brand” in the American Top 50 singles chart, Fritz Ofner, one of the directors of a film about the Glock, told AFP in 2018.