Sunday, January 27, 2013

Safety First: Choosing a handgun safe

A big concern for people considering buying a handgun is balancing safety and accessibility. The top dresser drawer is not a good idea, especially if you have kids, but a good combination safe used for documents and whatnot is sometimes a pain to have in your bedroom, and not the fastest thing to open.

The solution I’ve found is to get one of these specially designed electronic pistol safes. It’s called a MiniVault and it opens upon entering a combination of rubber buttons which you can set and program. There are four buttons and the sequence can include multiple buttons at a time. There’s also a key entry if you forget the combination, or if you let the battery die, etc. It’s very ergonomic and your hand, right or left, fits nicely on the keys.

It takes about 2 or 3 seconds to punch in the combination and pull out my Glock. I keep it with a magazine in it, but no chambered round. It’s on the way to my bedroom door, so in about 2 more seconds, I’m in between the staircase and the entrance to all the kids’ bedrooms with a round in the pipe and 8 more in the magazine. So it passes the speed test from my point of view.

Don’t let the manufacturer’s list price of $159.99 freak you out. You can usually pick up this model for around $99.00 at a place like Meijer, for example. I think I saw one somewhere for even a little less. There are even cheaper models, and obviously key safes are cheaper, but then there is the whole "where is the key?" issue which I confess I have a problem with at least once a week for my other keys. I got my safe at Gander Mountain for a little over $100.00. They are built very durably and I think purchasing a used one would probably be acceptable. Maybe not sight-unseen, though; the electronics should obviously be tested. You just need to practice with it just like everything else, and test the batteries once a month.

I should also mention that you can bolt this safe down. There are 6 mounting holes on the bottom, and it comes with four or so large wood screws. That’s a good idea; with gun prices so high currently, handguns have become commonly stolen items.

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