What is a Gun Lock?
There are two main type of gun locks. One type has two pieces and covers the trigger and trigger guard while the other type of lock looks like a small bike cable lock that the gun owner runs through an empty camber on a revolver or down the barrel on a semi-automatic, and out through where the bolt rams home. Of course you have to open up the barrel on a revolver or pull back the bolt on a semi-automatic to use this type of lock.
Other guns also have a built in lock that can be activated with a key.
My Glock locked down
Having a gun for personal protection at home poses other challenges, especially if there are children in the household. Having a lock on a gun defies the purpose of keeping a weapon for self defense at home. I would recommend in this case, buying a small gun safe that can be opened quickly using a keypad to enter the code you specify. Newer gun safes can be opened by using a fingerprint.
With kids in the household, I would also consider the placement of the gun safe. I would also strongly consider sitting down with the kids and laying down the law about what they should do if a gun is ever found.
If the gun isn't to be used for home defense then I prefer a combination of measures to keep the gun from falling into the wrong hands and being fired. Someone living alone or with out children can get complacent about having a gun around the house. When children do visit (such as grand kids) a devastating accident can then occur.
I was in the Marine Corps and was stationed at the rifle range on my last tour. Gun safety was hammered into us yet mishaps still happened. I also was in a company that guarded Naval buildings. Each day before we went out to post we had to go to “class.” A twenty minute instruction period on when we could take our pistol out of the holster and when deadly force was authorized. The way we handled a weapon safely was ingrained in our minds out of habit.
The intent on recalling my military experience is to stress that getting into a habit makes things become second nature. Many people though habit, don't leave the house in the morning unless they brush their teeth for instance. Making a gun safe should become second nature through habit. Many guns come with some sort of lock but they are useless setting on a shelf.
Gun Safes For Pistols
If the gun owner knows children will be present or visiting, then I can't stress using at least two methods to keep the gun falling into wrong hands and being accidentally discharged. Any gun lock can fail for a variety of reasons which is why I like to use more then one fail safe option for securing my weapons.
For instance, with a a bolt action rifle I would break the rifle open, take the bolt out and keep the gun out of sight. An extra step would be to use a trigger lock. With semi-automatic pistols, use a gun lock and keep the magazines in a different location.
I know much of what I'm saying is common sense but I think there are quite a few gun owners that know how to keep a gun safe but are not in the habit of doing so.
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I hate cliches but I have to say, when you least expect an accident that's when that accident will take place.
I have read more then my share of bizarre gun accidents. There is one that happened pretty close to where I live. A grandmother had grand kids visiting so she took a loaded pistol and hid it in the oven. She forgot about the gun and heated the over. What are the chances? Astronomical would be my guess, but the gun fired and struck and killed her grandchild.
Gun locks are the first line of gun safety but they are no substitute for plain common sense.