Glock Switch Becomes a New Challenge For Law Enforcement

Author : alena alston | Published On : 09 Nov 2023


A tiny device that turns a semi-automatic handgun into a fully automatic weapon has become a big worry for law enforcement in Mobile and across the country. It's called a Glock switch, and it can fire off dozens of bullets in two seconds - more than three times faster than pulling the trigger. The FBI says it's becoming more common for officers to find Glock switches when they search crime scenes or arrest suspects. It also means the weapons can be harder to control and could squirt bullets into bystanders.

In the past, Glock switches were only available on the dark web or from overseas suppliers. But now, they can be 3D printed and sold online - including on Etsy. 1819 News found it only took a few minutes to locate and purchase one for $30. ATF investigators say most are being illegally imported, but they're finding some being made in the United States using 3D printers. It's still an illegal modification and if someone is caught, it can lead to 10 years in prison.

It's a new challenge for Indianapolis police, who first saw the devices show up on the streets about four years ago. Lt. Shane Foley tells NewsNation that they're now being found in the city and surrounding area, and IMPD has seen an increase in cases involving them.

Those cases are prosecuted under the National Firearms Act, which prohibits anyone without the proper license from possessing machine guns. Foley said the switch - which is about the size of a quarter - can turn a legal Glock into an illegal weapon that can shoot up to 15 rounds in a second. With an extended clip added to the gun, that can rise to 30 rounds in a second.

The FBI is working to educate officers about the switch and make sure they are trained to recognize them. They also want to make people aware of the dangers, and they're asking citizens to contact their local police agency if they see one.

For its part, the city of Mobile is seeking state legislation to ban the switches. Mayors from Birmingham, Huntsville, Madison and Tuscaloosa recently joined forces to ask for the measure, which is currently in committee.

In 2022, a Franklin man was arrested after he was caught trying to mail Glock switches from China to himself and others across the country. He was sentenced to almost a decade in federal prison.