Hiding your Handgun

If you keep firearms, especially handguns, for home protection, you need a safe but accessible place to keep them. The bad guys know about your nightstand, and the kids can find it under the mattress. So what’s a person to do?

The answer, of course, is to check out the variety of pistol safe options at GunSafes.com!

We have small safes that can function as end tables; boxes that can be bolted to floors, walls, or under shelves; biometric vaults that open with the touch of your fingers, or safes that open with a simple touch-combination. There are even stand-type devices that keep your pistol in the ready position, key-locking safes, digital locking safes, and dial-locking safes. We have safes that look like refrigerators, and safes that look like electrical panels. We even have safes that fit inside your vehicle’s console.

No matter what type of pistol you are using for home defense, or what type of method you prefer for accessing it, we can help. See what we have to offer at http://www.gunsafes.com/Pistol-and-Handgun-Safes.html

You’re sure to find something that will work for you!

Dial or Electronic Lock?

One of the most common questions we hear at the GunSafes.com office is “Should I get a manual dial or an electronic lock?”

The choice of lock is largely personal, and both options have their pros and cons.

The old-fashioned manual tumbler lock is typically less expensive than an electric lock. A dial will never wear out or need to be replaced, and it will not automatically lock you out from repeated failed efforts to access. We have also had people who prefer this option because it is virtually silent, a big plus if you find yourself in a dangerous situation where you need to access a firearm quickly and quietly.

Dial locks, however, are difficult to read in low light situations, and take a little more time to access than electronic locks. You not only have to remember the numbers of the combination, but also the pattern and direction to turn the dial. If you miss the mark, you have to start over. Dial locks also require you to spin the dial after closing the safe in order to ensure it locks. If you ever want to change your combination, you will have to contact the manufacturer or a locksmith.

Electronic locks are quick; just punch in the numbers and you’re in. You don’t have to do anything extra to lock the safe, just close it. They are much easier to access in dimly lit areas, even if they aren’t illuminated, because of the simple grid layout of the numbers on the keypad. Electronic locks are easier to change the combinations on, as they don’t require any special tools. Many electronic locks have an automatic lock out feature, so if someone tries three or four incorrect combinations, they will be locked out for 15 to 20 minutes. This can be a desirable or undesirable feature depending on your point of view.

However, electronic locks make noise (some of these have an option to turn off the “beep”). You also need to change your combination occasionally on an electronic lock, as the keypad will eventually show wear marks that reveal the numbers in your combination. Though a thief would still need to figure out the right order, this does make his job a little easier. E-locks can suffer electronic failure, though this is very rare. In case of an electromagnetic surge, such as a severe solar flare or nuclear explosion, an e-lock would not be able to function. They do require a battery change at least once a year, though this is external and quick to do.

As far as security, both locks are equally good. Neither is easy to bypass, and both are going to be inoperable after a major fire.

Ultimately, the buyer needs to weigh speed, convenience, and ease of access, and decide which option is right.

Gun Safe Buyers Guide, Part 1 : LOCKS

Time for a little Q & A with the Gun-Safe-Guru.  We’ll break up this gun safe buyers guide into several parts.  Feel free to post questions at the bottom of this article or email me:  josh(at)gunsafesblogger.com

Q: Should I choose an electronic lock or combination dial lock?

A:  This is a personal preference, but I will list the pros and cons for both the electronic lock and the manual dial lock.  Most safe companies offer a choice of a dial or e-lock, but a few manufacturers like Winchester and Mesa only offer the safe with an electronic lock.  As far as security is concerned, often times both the electronic lock and combination lock carry the same Group II or Group I security rating.

Pros for the electronic lock:  Quick and easy access.  Change the combination at any time.  Easier to see under dim light. Door automatically locks when it is closed

Cons:  Possibility of electronic failure (although very rare).  Having to change the batteries (at least once a year).  Shorter life span (typically 10-15 years)

Pros for the combination lock:  No electronic parts, no batteries to replace.  More durable & longer lasting

Cons:  Turning the dial back and forth can be time consuming, especially if don’t land exactly on the right numbers.  Harder to see the numbers under dim light.  Door doesn’t automatically lock when closed, you need to spin the dial.  Be sure to spin the dial every time you close your safe door!

One thing to keep in mind about the e-lock:  Be sure to change your combination every once in a while otherwise the keypad will wear down, showing the numbers that you use most.

Q: If I buy a safe with an electronic lock and the battery dies, how do I get into the safe?

A:  You don’t need to get into the safe to change the battery.  Simply replace the battery located inside the keypad and your safe will be ready to open.  Most electronic locks feature a low battery alert that will notify you that the battery needs to be changed so you can avoid this problem all together. 

Q:  Can I determine the combination on a manual dial lock?

A:  The combination dial locks come with a predetermined code from the factory.  In some instances the combination can be changed, but that will need to be done by a certified locksmith.  This can be one advantage to choosing an electronic lock.

Q:  Can you explain the “lockout” feature on electronic locks?

A:   Most quality electronic locks have an automatic lock-out feature.  This feature disables the lock for a period of time (usually 15 to 20 minutes) if someone enters three or four incorrect combinations consecutively.  This safeguard keeps thiefs from trying several different combinations in a short period of time.

Q:  Do any of these full size gun safes have a key backup?

A:  Surprisingly enough, most full size gun safes do NOT have a key backup.  There are a few exceptions.  Rather than list them all here, just give me a call at 800-540-1695 ext 208 or email me:   josh (at) gunsafesblogger.com

How do I get into my safe if the battery dies?

I’m asked this question all the time:  “How do I change the battery on an electronic lock?”.  With electronic locks becoming more and more popular, this question often comes up when people are researching which style of lock to buy.  Electronic locks offer a much quicker method of getting into a safe and also give you the ability to easily change your combination at any time.  However, in order to supply the e-lock with power you’ll need to supply a battery.  When the battery dies, how do you get into the safe?  Many small home/office safes and handgun safes offer a backup key that allows you to get inside to change the batteries.  So what about getting into a full size gun safe that doesn’t have a key backup?

The great thing about electronic locks is that you don’t have to get into the safe to change the batteries.  The battery compartment is located inside the keypad on a full size gun safe.  Another nice feature is that the lock will warn you when your battery is low, either with an audible alert or a low battery light. 

While there are many other reasons for choosing an electronic lock or a manual dial lock, the battery issue shouldn’t be one of them.  As long as you replace the battery when you are alerted to do so, a dead battery won’t keep you from your valuables.