|The Glock 17 - "America's Handgun"|
It was created in the 1980s by Gaston Glock - a manufacturer who had no previous experience in the arms industry - for the Austrian police. That's great but what made it take off was it was created at a time when American law enforcement recognized the criminals had become better armed. So Glock's innovative improvements - 17 rounds v. the traditional 6 of a revolver; a 5-pound trigger pull v. a 12-pound trigger pull; and a plastic casing that cut the weight of the handgun significantly - were exactly the kinds of things they were looking for.
The most controversial feature was no safety. This had gun the control lobby up in arms - well I might not have said that right. There actually was a second lever built into the trigger that had to be pressed to activate the trigger - but basically the gun was and is always "on". Before anyone reading this who is against handguns gets too worked up, Glock has added several components through the years for a system they call "safe action."
Popular Mechanics interviewed Paul Barrett of Business Week and did a much more thorough article on the subject, Why the Glock Became America's Handgun, if you'd like to read more.
Me? I have a conceal-and-carry permit and keep a number of handguns in a safe in my office and another safe in my bedroom, including a Glock 19. I carry a HK USP Elite (.45) on my person. Has anyone found a more accurate handgun?