Among Glock collectors and enthusiasts, the above pictured gun is thought to be part of the very first commemorative run of firearms. Initially offered to Washington DC police officers in 1989 as off duty weapons, the sales success led to many many more special issues and commemoratives in the ensuing 30+ years.
As you may be aware, the Metropolitan Police of the District of Columbia were one of the first major PDs to accept and issue the Glock firearm in the late 80s. They adopted the Glock 17 around 1986 which was early enough in production that they carried first gen 17s. Approximately 3,000 first generation model 17s were built for DC along with many many more second and third gen guns. Some of those initial 1st gens were with the department for over 25 years (I personally purchased a couple when they went on sale around 2015).
In order to say thank you to the department and also build up the brand loyalty, Glock offered commemorative model 17 or 19s to Fraternal Order of Police members in the district in 1989. These were engraved with “1989 Inaugural Model” as well as the FOP insignia. Production numbers, as is a common problem with Glock, are very hard to come by as they were only available for direct purchase by the individual officers so it’s unknown how many were sold. The model 17 seems to pop up for sale much more often than the 19, but that is just from my passive observation.
What is certain is that the company quickly realized that commemoratives were an un-tapped potential market and the list of special editions, anniversary models, and other commemoratives has been ballooning ever since. It’s a common marketing tactic for gun manufacturer’s and a maddening pursuit for the Pokemon-inclined collectors (gotta catch them all). In the case of Glock, there is no definitive list of what has been produced and because many special issues were made specifically for one company or department, there might not ever be one.
One other non-commemorative note: This gun was early enough in second generation production as to have the model number cartouche stamped on the trigger guard. There are 17s to match and likely there are later versions of both FOP guns made after the model number was removed… The depth of variation never stops 🙂