A glance at gun storage

Historically, gun safes or security measures either leave a firearm where nobody can get to it or where everybody can get to it. Securing a home defense weapon so that it’s easily accessible is the Holy Grail of gun storage.

Wayne Crook, a businessman in Texas with a contradictory last name, was on a quest to find that elusive solution after a client in his electronic security system business was being stalked and needed a way to secure her three firearms at home. She wanted to have access to her weapons, should she need them, but also wanted to prevent them from being used against her. That challenge inspired Crook to invent what is now called the Pistol Pad, an approximately 9 by 6-inch resting place that interfaces with a home security system to alarm if the gun is picked up. The solution allowed the client to have immediate access to her weapon, as it rests atop a pad, but in one action would alert her alarm company and local police, and set off a siren (which is its own psychological weapon), Crook says.

But that’s just one inventive stop on the ideal-gun-storage quest. In addition to the Pistol Pad’s unique form, a handful of other gun storage devices are now available for both home defense or on-duty strongholds that enhance firearm security with technology, to afford a more defensive edge.


The unique 2.5-pound PistolPad is designed to fit in any nightstand drawer. The box-like platform sounds an alarm if the gun is handled by someone other than those who are authorized. Crook calls it the “panic button for handguns.” The pad does not guard against fire, but it does keep a weapon secure in a single place. “It evolved from a need in the field from a client,” says Crook, who’s been in the alarm industry and security since 1970, including time serving in the Marine Corps.

Crook says that combining firearm security and alarm systems is a natural pairing, and is simply a matter of figuring out how to combine them to effectively bridge the gap between unrestricted access to a home defense weapon while keeping the arm under guard. The system works by integrating a transmitter from the home security system into the box. The trigger guard is looped with a security cable that releases without resistance when picked up, but will trigger an alarm company (local law enforcement agency or both, depending on your home system) that there is a panic situation in the home and that a gun has been deployed. In addition to the pad-only version, there is a slightly altered version of the $125 system currently in production that doesn’t require a home security system, but will activate a siren to startle and distress intruders or thieves.


The ShotLock, made by TruckVault, was created to keep shotgun storage simple. The ShotLock Solo-Vault is made of heavy-duty 14-gauge steel, is designed to secure (in most cases) to the trigger-guard area of the firearm and can be mounted to a wall or in a vehicle. The compact 7.5 x 5.75 x 2.25-inch unit can be opened by its combination programmable push-button lock to free the gun.

For most deployments, the small locking device wraps around the trigger area to prevent a semi-auto, pump, over/under, pistol grip or side-by-side shotgun from being fired, which doesn’t require an entire locking gun safe or case. Don Fenton, sales and marketing director at TruckVault, says the device is unique in its size and simplicity, and offers a variety of mounting options. “We saw a need for a product … that could not easily be opened (by someone unauthorized) but you had to be able to open it fast and access your weapon,” Fenton, who has been with TruckVault since the inception of the ShotLock product, explains. “So your home defense shotgun is close, secure and ready in seconds; the door is open and your weapon is in hand.”

The company calls the “vault” universal and lists about 51 compatible shotguns. Fenton says about 95 percent of pump shot guns, 80 percent of semi autos and about half of the pistol grip shot guns available will fit with the ShotLock Solo-Vault, which retails for approximately $169. Fenton also says the company plans to have a version of the ShotLock for handguns available in early 2012.


A more traditional safe offers modernism in its shape and quick, quiet entry. The SentrySafe Home Defense Center is a 4.5-foot tower designed to hold a rifle and handgun in an at-the-ready position to maintain gun safety without compromising deployment time in urgent situations.

Using customer feedback and ergonomic design principles, the safe was designed to keep the rifle poised for pick-up inside. After entering a keypad code at the top of the safe, which is located at about waist-to-elbow level (depending on height), the safe is open and can be quickly deployed thanks to a special U-shaped barrel rest. Other notable features include optional, adjustable shelving that can store a handgun at about 45 degrees, again so it is placed for pick up.

Scott Alread has been the senior product manager responsible for gun safes at SentrySafe for two years, and has more than 12 years of experience in the shooting sports industry. Alread explains the Home Defense Center offers quick, quiet access in an innovative corner design.

Sentry Safe’s extensive line of storage safes feature pry-resistant designs for additional protection, bolt-down options and keypad quick-entry locks that can be tailored for quiet entry. The interior of the Home Defense center measures 46.8 x 8.8 x 8.8 inches to house tactical weapons and a hidden floor compartment for more storage. The company has been in the safe business for 81 years and has had time to perfect its products.

A smaller safe, the X041E, offers the company’s security and refined door and body manufacturing that can house a handgun. Electronic lock, key override, interior carpeting and an empty 16.4-pound weight are additional features of this affordable model.


A growing trend of interior shotgun mounting in patrol vehicles means increased demand in dependably locking supports. Pro-gard Products has been in the law enforcement industry for more than four decades and has a gun rack catalog of durable products with practical craftsmanship that serve both security and access challenges. Andrea Moore, brand manager for the Indianapolis-based company, says the technology that electronically secures Pro-gard gun racks has been consistent for several years, but the variety of ways law enforcement mounts the firearms has continually evolved, inspiring the company to do the same for its racks, which can be placed in the vehicle in many ways.

Pro-gard makes mounting its racks easy, which translates to easy installation and minimal down time. Adjustable brackets and gun locks with adjustable inserts accommodate multiple weapon and accessory configurations and prevent road rattle. The components themselves are durable, featuring a powder-coated steel construction that resists corrosion and impact. An 8-second delay timer is included with the gun locks. This gives users the industry-standard time window, 8 seconds, to remove the weapon before it locks again.

Several vertical mount offerings provide nearly universal fit for the firearm and adapt to partitions, varied seating and have updates that correlate to new patrol vehicle models coming down the line in the next year.

Chamber Check

While high-tech tools can sometimes steal the limelight, low-tech tools can be just as impressive in their simplicity and cost effectiveness. For $29.99, the easy-to-use Chamber Check safety product protects against firing, as well as aids in preventing some corrosion in stored guns when the small device is in place.

Installation is as easy as cleaning the weapon (in fact, it’s easier than a clean job): The orange cord is inserted the into the ejection port into the barrel so that the nickel-plated silica insert is in the chamber toward the rear, and the cord with the yellow visibility cap is extended beyond the “business end” of the gun. What’s less complicated than installation is that Chamber Check lets you know the gun is safe simply by looking at the arm and visualizing the yellow-orange unit jutting out. It is currently available in 9mm, .40, .45, 223/5.56 and .308 calibers. Chamber Check lets gun owners transport, train and safely store their firearms.

High & low-tech modern stowing

Firearms users now have choices in how they want to store their weapons. Technologies and design have evolved, and companies have created unique options that cater to a variety of storage demands and needs.

With modern, easy-to-use high (and low)-tech stowing, users need only to classify their usage needs and access desires, to get their solution on lockdown.