There is a inherent tension, sometimes obvious only to those who have utilized seven years of their life to destroy all rational thought, otherwise known as attorneys. keeping a firearm secure and safe from unauthorized users, while at the same time allowing it be presented for as close to immediate access as possible to be utilized as self defense.
Our old buddy, President Clinton, was able to leverage most domestic handgun manufacturers into supplying trigger locks (or other, similar inexpensive locks) along with most every handgun which has been sold in the United States for the last 5 years or so. My experience is that these locks is, to put it mildly, dismal. Most of these locks are made out of plastic and or zinc and could be defeated in 15 or 20 seconds by a determined 8 year old with a butter knife. Not to mention, it makes no sense to put one of these locks on an unloaded gun. and to precariously utilize your “third hand” to attach these locks inside the trigger guard against the trigger of a loaded firearm is to invite obvious disaster. Firearm safety rule #3 (keep your finger out the trigger guard until you are ready shoot) can be just easily violated with a piece of steel as with flesh and bone. After all, an accidental discharge is an accidental discharge.
If one wants to utilize an inexpensive “trigger lock”, my experience is that the best way to do this is with a $6.00 master lock available at any hardware store. Simply place the hasp of the lock behind the trigger of nearly any double action firearm and it will render the gun inoperable until the hasp or the trigger of the gun is cut away. This is usually cheaper and far safer, not to mention, more secure than the so called “provided locks” courtesy of Uncle Bill and his former anti-gun administration.
What is a far better option to providing security for your firearm is a safe. Safe’s range from relatively inexpensive units made from the same materials as your good old high school locker all the way up to the behemoth multi ton objects that will support an entire family of Haitians refugee’s for approximately I week, Hopefully, those of us who are gun collectors have a unit that falls somewhere between the two. There is really no substitute for the long term storage of empty firearms than a full size safe, securely bolted to the floor, with fire proofing and, alarm, etc. This is truly the “state of the art” way to store your firearms unloaded and away from your family.
If you are like me, however, and your electric paranoid gland seems to work overtime on those dark and cloudless nights, you have at least one loaded and ready firearm somewhere in your home on the relatively insignificant chance that your required to us it to defend your home from unwanted intruders. If you are hopping around on one foot, searching for a slipper with one hand while trying to find ammunition to load your gun with the other, you have already lost the battle. Instead, what is really needed is a relatively portable gun safe, preferably with some sort of quick access devise, to allow you to get to a loaded firearm which has been kept safe from unwanted users. One of the best units on the market, in my experience, is the quick access electronic safes provided by GunVault, of Phoenix, Arizona. I like this unit because of its good value as well as the ability to be utilized in complete darkness. There is a tactile, rubbery hand print shaped access panel on the top of the vault unit which provides a 4 digit electronic combination to be programmed into the unit and then punched in with just one hand even in absolute darkness. Once the 4 digit combination is entered, the unit pops open under spring tension, presenting your loaded handgun ready for use.
Some of you die hard former Marines out there are probably saying “that takes too long”. “I sleep with a gun under my pillow because I want to be able to get to it fast.” Please do us a favor and write your letters to the editor, care of this column, and tell us what zip codes you live in so that we can give it wide birth the next time we traverse the valley. In short, if you are able to access a loaded handgun before you have the sleep wiped out of your eye and the dream wiped out of your brain, you may find that the 7 ft. tall invading monster that you think that you are shooting turns out to be your dog, or worse. Having to pause long enough to enter a 3 or 4 digit electronic code before you can have a loaded gun in your hand.