Many gun owners want to keep a gun readily accessible in the home in the event of a break in or other incident that requires the protection a firearm provides. However, there are also considerations for safety and theft. We have small children in our home, and they are getting to the age where they are able to reach up on top of shelves and get into trouble. We had to start thinking about keeping our guns secure in order to ensure they did not end up in the hands of our children. In many states and localities there are laws requiring guns be secure from children, while others have no laws, but will hold the adults responsible if a child does end up in possession of a firearm.
We have a large gun safe in the basement for our firearms, but accessing that is not practical in an emergency because it would require a lot of time to get to it, and access to it might be cut off by an intruder. We needed something we could keep within a few steps of our couch and our bed. Call it “the 5-second rule.” We needed to be able to have a gun in our hands in 5 seconds, no matter where we are in the house, but we also needed to make certain our kids couldn’t get it. We didn’t want to have to depend on using a key, because we didn’t want to have to have a key on us at all times, and we didn’t want our kids to find the key and attempt to open the safe. This left a passcode option and a biometric (fingerprint) option. We looked at several of these single-pistol gun safes and after reading lots of reviews on Amazon and shopping around for reliability, convenience, safety and cost, we decided on the Sentry Safe Biometric Quick Access Pistol Safe.
It shipped quickly and we had it in two days. Packaged well, it arrived in pristine condition. Once we got it loaded with 4 AA batteries and set it up, we realized we liked it enough to get a second one for the night stand gun as well. We both now have our fingerprints and a passcode combination to open these, plus keys as backups in case the batteries die. One plus of having multiple units is that we can program the same passcode in both of them so we’ll never have to try to remember which safe has which passcode. We both have two fingertips scanned in as well. So accessing either unit is exactly the same process. The keys are stored away out of reach of the kids, and the keys have a code on them that matches a code on the lock so we won’t be confused about which key is for which safe.
These safes hold our compact 40 caliber pistols plus 3-4 spare magazines. For those interested, one safe has a Sig 229 and the other a Ruger SR40c equipped with a Streamlight TLR-4. Both fit in there just right, plus spare magazines and have enough room left to make sure a hand can reach in and grab it without looking or thinking about it. The safes have a piston that opens the top automatically as soon as the lock disengages, saving you precious seconds in an emergency. It has a foam-rubbery type of bottom to keep the gun from clanking around or getting scratched up in there. The safe is heavy, about 15-20 pounds empty (admittedly – I haven’t weighed it). It comes with hardware to secure it to a horizontal surface from the inside to discourage thieves and children from relocating the safe. However, this is most likely not effective as an “anti-theft” safe, and a determined thief WILL find a way to get to your gun with the right tools and enough time. The primary function of this safe is to keep your gun out of the hands of kids and others who might be interested in playing with your gun.
Then the question about what to do with our quick-access long gun came up. We would like to have a long gun accessible in our bedroom as well, and began looking for quick access options for that. We found the “Shot Lock” solo vault to be a good option.
We have a Mossberg 930 SPX, which the folks at Shot Lock tell us would not fit into their shotgun safe. He said the semi-auto shotguns with pistol grip don’t usually fit well with the design. However, he said their AR solo vault will hold our shotgun just fine, and it gives us the ability to keep an AR if we change our mind about what we want to keep in there. If you would like to call the Shot Lock or learn more about their products check out their website.
So now we have 5 second access to a pistol from our couch and our bed, and also access to a long gun. All of these are ready for immediate action, while also being safe from our kids. No, they aren’t safe from a determined thief, but keeping our kids safe is our primary concern.
So there you have it. If you have experience with any of these, especially the long gun solo-vault safes, leave a comment.
Below is a YouTube review of the Shot Lock: