By Michael Theimer
Safety requirements for firearms increase tenfold when children are introduced into the equation. Unfortunately, many tragic accidents have resulted from children gaining unauthorized access to handguns. In fact, most states can press charges of criminal negligence against a gun owner if a minor gets access to a firearm, causing injury or death to another person. As responsible gun owners, we must ensure the security of our handguns, while not hindering our ability to access the weapon when we need it.
I have examined, purchased and used many different handgun safes and gun locks over the years. Although my personal requirements for securing a handgun are simple, they tend to limit my locking mechanism choices. My requirements for a handgun safe are: 1) must be secure and prevent unauthorized access, 2) must not require a key, because keys can be lost or duplicated, and they slow access, 3) must not require batteries, because batteries can lose their charge when you need them the most, 4) must be able to be unlocked in the dark by touch only, within a few seconds, and 5) must have versatile mounting options. These requirements effectively eliminate all except one type of locking mechanism – the Simplex lock.
V-Line Top Draw Safe.
I haven’t found anything to compare to the simplicity and versatility of this type of lock. Many different handgun safes are on the market, but only a few use the Simplex locking mechanism. They are simple, fast and easy-to-access, dependable and extremely secure–no batteries, no keys, no rolling tumblers. The Simplex lock is a manual five-button lock with a turn knob. The buttons can be pushed individually in any order and/or multiple buttons pushed at the same time, resulting in 2,200 possible combinations.
This secure handgun combination lock can be opened in the dark or in a mounted position for concealment or opening that makes it difficult to see the lock buttons (e.g. under the car seat). You can place the fingers of your hand over the lock and up against the lock turn-knob for quick, no-visual reference, pushing your own combination with your fingers. All of this can be done by feel, without having to see the actual buttons. I bolted one model to a wall (and wall stud) in my bedroom closet. I replaced the interior foam with a wood pegboard to hold two pistols, but the foam inserts could have been cut to fit and hold the handguns as well. Although you don’t have to bolt these safes to a solid unmovable surface, I highly recommend it in order to slow down a thief.
V-Line Quick Vault.
Another important location for a handgun safe is inside your vehicle. At times, while I’m carrying my handgun, certain facilities, buildings or establishments are legally off-limits for firearms. Since it’s obviously unsafe to leave your handgun in the glove compartment, console or loose under the seat, this safe fits the bill. Even if you lock the glove compartment or console, these locations are easily defeated by a determined thief and a good crow bar. Handguns left loose under a car seat are extreme hazards when children are involved, even momentarily. Little eyes watch your every move. You can’t afford to be complacent about securing your handgun in your vehicle.
I purchased a Versa Mount Security Box handgun safe that opens from the front and is just thin enough to fit under my car seat. Some cars do not have the space due to power seats and/or a low-mounting car seat. My 2002 Ford Explorer provided an almost perfect mount (bolted to the floor). I had to cut away part of the floor mat to allow the safe door to swing open, but I think of that as a small price to pay for security. For those less mechanically inclined, hire an auto mechanic to do the installation, as mounting the gun safe securely requires removing the seat to gain access to the floor for drilling the mounting holes. The Versa Mount handgun safes can be installed inside center consoles with some degree of modification as well.
V-Line Rifle Case with Strap.
If you can’t find a suitable front seat or console-mounting location, you may have to consider a backseat option. When you take into consideration the safety of unauthorized persons accessing a handgun left in the car even momentarily, the inconvenience of position is easily outweighed. Do not believe that your locked glove compartment or locked console is sufficient. They are simply not secure enough.
There are many handgun safes on the market, but I consider those made with the Simplex lock mechanism to be the best for security and fast access.
T & T Enterprises
Versa Mount Security Box
P.O. Box 2037
Weatherford, TX. 76086
370 Easy Street
Simi Valley 93065
9970 Mango St.
Phelan CA 92371
About the Author
Michael Theimer holds nine U.S. International Shooting Championship titles, 1976 Olympic Shooting Team member and awarded the United States Distinguished International Shooters Badge (#166). He is a civilian volunteer US Army Squad Designated Marksman Instructor and a CMP Master Camp Riflery Instructor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.