With new shooters coming to the lifestyle by the droves, let’s take a look at some easy and safe handgun storage solutions.
Now, the easy and lazy answer is to keep the handgun unloaded and locked in a safe that’s bolted to the floor. Obviously, that makes the gun virtually useless in the event that you quickly need to use it. What we’re really looking for is a balance between accessibility and safety. Luckily, there’s several good solutions available.
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Hiding the gun in a closet in a sock drawer or a closet is not a good solution. According to a USA Today investigation, children accidentally killed themselves with firearms 73 times in 2018. I tend to believe this number more than others, because they made an effort to separate possible homicides and suicides. Those homicides and suicides are tragic as well, but I really want to emphasize the accidental deaths, as they are one hundred percent preventable. Children are nosy by nature, no matter how well you might think you’ve hidden it, they will find it. If there is no other option, then using an inexpensive cable type gun lock (included in many purchases) in conjunction with hiding it away from children is better than nothing. When you’re at home and can maintain positive control of it, you can load it up.
So with security and accessibility being at odds with each other, I believe that the best solution is a small, bedside pistol safe. While it does slow down access to the pistol somewhat, it can still be very fast. An upside to this delay is that it can allow a sleepy or groggy person to gather their wits about them in the event that something startled them out of their sleep. Although this article is focused more on the means of storage, I also want to emphasize that you need a light source along with your pistol. Safety Rule Number 4, Be Sure of Your Target still applies.
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I’m going to talk about two different bedside safes that I have experience with for handgun storage, the Shotlock Solo 200M and the SnapSafe TrekLite. Both boxes are tough and durable, but they also fit different niches. The Shotlock Solo 200M is 7.6 inches wide X 11 inches long X 2.5 inches on the outside, giving an internal space of 7 X 9 X 2. It’s large enough for even full sized 1911 pistols. It’s manufactured from 14-gauge steel and features a programmable 8 button mechanical lock. The lock is not electricity dependent and can be programmed mechanically for up to 1,500 different combinations. This is the sort of lock box I used when my children were young, but it’s made much better than boxes of that era. It can be bolted to a nightstand for extra security or attached via a security cable (not included). The Solo is not inexpensive at $159.00 MSRP, but it is tank tough and will last a lifetime.
The SnapSafe TrekLite is lighter, being manufactured from a tough polycarbonate and reinforced at the locking areas with steel. It’s not as tough as theShotlock, but at 1/3 the weight and about 25% percent of the cost at $30.99, it’s a solid option. It’s available in a keyed version or with a TSA approved combination mechanism. If airline travel is a possibility for you, then the TrekLite really shines. The TrekLite doesn’t have provisions to be bolted down, but it comes with a security cable that fits securely into a steel reinforced notch, allowing the box to be secured almost anywhere. With several states making laws dictating the securing of the firearm in a locked container within a locked car, this is cheap and easy insurance with the cable already included. At 10 X 7 X 2 inches, it will also fit a full sized 1911 easily. While not as secure or fast as the Shotlock, it’s very affordable and its ability to be used as a TSA approved lockbox in its combination version is a definite benefit.
Hopefully this little article got you thinking about safety. In most jurisdictions, there are legal penalties for allowing criminals or children access to an unsecured firearm, both in your home and in your vehicle. Be aware of these laws for sure, but don’t lock your guns up because of the laws. Lock up or maintain control of your guns because it’s the right thing to do.
Jeremy Stafford, GetZone.com Contributor