5 Best Gun Locks - Aug. 2022 - BestReviews (2022)

Every year, thousands of children are injured in accidental shootings. Sadly, hundreds of them die from their wounds. Figures for firearm suicides among teens are equally grim. Yet for many people, a gun is an integral part of home security, vital for protecting the family. An effective way to prevent unauthorized access to your weapon is with a gun lock.

Using a gun lock means you can still keep your pistol or rifle handy, but only those people allowed by you can use it. Gun locks are also useful for people who travel frequently. Should your gun fall into the wrong hands, it can prevent it from being used against you. There are lots of different models available, providing something for every type of gun and budget. How do you choose the right one for you?

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Cable gun locks can be effective and versatile but beware of cheap models with poor-quality steel that isn’t difficult to cut. Look for Department of Justice (DOJ) or police department approval.

Types of gun locks

We’ve identified four distinct types of gun lock: cable lock, trigger lock, chamber lock, and magazine lock. Let’s take a look at how each one operates, how secure it is, and how quickly you can have the firearm operational if you need it in a hurry.

Cable gun lock

This is one of the simplest, most versatile, and cheapest ways of securing a firearm. A flexible steel cable passes through any part of the chamber or magazine slot, preventing ammunition from being loaded or the gun being fired. The cable usually has a plastic coating to keep it from scratching your gun. The locking mechanism itself can be a simple key or three-digit combination. When not needed for your firearm, the cable can be used to secure anything that has a slot where it can be passed through, such as a bicycle.

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There aren’t too many downsides to a cable lock, although the cable can be attacked with bolt cutters or an angle grinder. There’s also the potential to lose the key (though a spare is provided). This also isn’t the quickest gun lock to fit or release.

Trigger gun lock

This is another security device that’s more or less universal, fitting most pistols, rifles, and shotguns. The principle is straightforward: two steel plates clamp on either side of the trigger guard so the trigger can’t be accessed and the gun can’t be fired. Usefully though, the gun can remain loaded. Closure is via a ratchet working on a central pin, so various widths can be accommodated. These locks usually have a simple push-button release. Rubber pads on the inner surfaces prevent scratching the weapon.

Like the cable lock, a simple key-operated or three-digit combination lock is common. However, there are also advanced biometric versions that read your fingerprint. This is perhaps the ultimate in personalized security. There is no key to lose, no combination to forget. Some can be programmed with up to ten different sets of prints, giving access to multiple individuals. An “admin” operator retains control over who is added, and people can be removed from the list just as easily. While these locks run off batteries, many can be recharged via USB, either with a mains adapter or plugged into your laptop.

Biometric gun locks aren’t cheap, but they do restrict use to actual individuals. While reaction times vary, they usually release in a second or less, so they are generally faster than mechanical devices (although both sides of the lock still have to be removed manually).

What’s particularly interesting here is that with battery power comes the potential for increased functions. One manufacturer developed a smart gun lock that could alert you via phone if it had been tampered with, but it didn’t last long. We suspect it won’t be long before similar models are available.

Chamber gun lock

This is a caliber-specific device that is inserted into the chamber and locked in place to prevent ammunition from being loaded. Once unlocked, it’s either withdrawn along the barrel or ejected as a spent round would be. As with trigger locks, the magazines can stay in place, and there’s nothing extra on the outside of the gun, which means a pistol fitted with a chamber lock can be holstered as normal.

The main concern people have with the chamber lock is that it could damage the inside of the gun, but the materials used are comparatively soft, so it’s very unlikely.

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Magazine gun lock

Also called a mag blocker, this is designed to be used with semiautomatic handguns and the AR15 assault rifle (it’s very popular with owners of this firearm). This lock slides in place of the standard magazine and is secured by a key-operated bolt. The body of the device blocks the magazine slot, so ammunition can’t be loaded, and on rifle versions it also blocks the barrel. It’s effective, though the locking is basic.

On the downside, removal isn’t the fastest, and there isn’t a great deal of choice.

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Did You Know?

If your gun lock needs a battery, it may not be the common AA or AAA that we all have in a drawer somewhere. It’s a good idea to check and then order the appropriate spares with your lock.

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Gun lock prices

Inexpensive

Fortunately, this kind of security doesn’t need to be expensive. You can buy a cheap cable lock for $7 or $8, and combination models cost around $10. In fact, it’s unlikely you’ll spend more than $20 on these devices unless you’re buying a pack of three or five.

Mid-range

Chamber locks for revolvers and semiautomatics cost a bit more, ranging from $30 to $50, mostly depending on caliber. The few magazine gun locks available fall into this bracket.

Expensive

If you want biometrics, there’s a considerable jump in price, starting at about $80 and rising to over $300.

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Manually operated trigger and cable locks are usually the cheapest option. If you have several guns, you can buy multipacks and save even more money.

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FAQ

Q. If I’ve got a gun lock, do I still need a gun safe?

A. A gun lock is great for preventing unauthorized use of a firearm at home or when traveling while still giving relatively rapid access for self-defense. It doesn’t stop a gun from being stolen, and the thief could then work on the lock at their leisure. A gun safe remains the best way to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, children, and anyone else who shouldn’t have access.

Q. Can I change the number on a combination gun lock?

A. Yes, but for security reasons only when it’s off the gun and unlocked. It’s usually done with a small screwdriver or paperclip. The procedure is the same as when you first receive the lock and need to choose your personal code (they come set to 000). If you forget the combination with the trigger or cable lock in place, you’ll need to contact a locksmith.

Q. How do I use a biometric gun lock if the battery goes flat?

A. Many have an external USB port that you simply connect to a power source to recharge the battery. If you don’t need immediate access, this will soon charge it enough for it to recognize your fingerprint again. In an emergency, there’s a small key that lets you unlock the gun manually.

Fingerprint gun locks are very clever but check the specifications carefully. Some fit a wide range of pistols and rifles, but others only work with a particular brand.

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FAQs

What is the best pistol lock? ›

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Do trigger locks fit all guns? ›

First, a trigger lock is an inexpensive start to gun safety. They are typically extremely affordable, and fit any weapon, no matter the type or size. In fact, many firearms come with a trigger lock as part of your purchase.

What is a trigger lock? ›

Trigger locks are two-piece locking mechanisms that fit over the trigger guard. There is a firm cylinder that fits behind the trigger, preventing the firearm from being fired. Trigger locks come with a push-button keypad, combination, or key that opens the lock.

How effective are trigger locks? ›

Trigger locks are not designed to be used on loaded guns—which makes them basically useless for preventing negligent discharges. In fact, a trigger lock might actually make a loaded gun more dangerous. Your basic trigger lock's locking mechanism involves a small bar or rod that slides through a gun's trigger guard.

What are the different types of gun locks? ›

There are two primary types of locks to protect handguns and rifles: trigger locks (top) that are supposed to prevent the trigger from being pulled, and cable locks (bottom) to prevent the firing of a weapon by blocking the barrel or the use of ammunition.

Are trigger guard holsters safe? ›

While a traditional holster attaches to your pants and securely holds your firearm in place, the trigger guard holster is susceptible to movement and more likely to become unsecured in a struggle. This movement of the firearm can also cause problems when it comes training with your firearm.

What is the purpose of a gun lock? ›

A gun lock is the least-expensive, most effective way to prevent a firearm from being used. If a child comes across a gun in their home, and it's locked, they're not going to be able to hurt themselves or anyone else with it.

Are rifle cartridges loaded with incendiary bullets legal in California? ›

Rifle cartridges loaded with incendiary bullets are legal in California. Shotgun shells loaded with flechettes are legal in California. An illegal firearm purchase (straw purchase) is a federal crime. You can safely assume your semiautomatic firearm is unloaded when its magazine has been removed.

What are the 4 rules of gun safety? ›

Only point a gun at an object you intend to shoot. Never point a gun toward yourself or another person. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Always keep your finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.

Is a trigger lock safe? ›

Cable locks may not prevent theft but they do prevent the firing or a firearm by an unauthorized user. Trigger locks are another inexpensive option for safer firearm storage. A trigger lock is another inexpensive safe firearm storage device.

What is a gun lock called? ›

Definition of gunlock

: a mechanism attached to or usually integral with a firearm by which the charge is ignited — compare flintlock, matchlock, percussion lock, wheel lock.

Do guns come with locks? ›

Today, most handguns are sold with a cable lock. “You can lock revolvers and semi-automatic pistols and rifles and so forth with this one particular kind of cable lock, because it's kind of universal,” said Bartozzi. But here's the catch: Some people don't feel that these cable locks are particularly effective.

What is a shotgun lock? ›

A gun lock is a device which is intended to prevent a weapon from discharging. There are several basic styles of gun lock available, designed for guns ranging from revolvers to heavy duty rifles.

What is a musket lock? ›

wheel lock, device for igniting the powder in a firearm such as a musket. It was developed in about 1515. The wheel lock struck a spark to ignite powder on the pan of a musket.

Why is it called a musket? ›

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, firearms were often named after animals, and the word musket derived from the French word mousquette, which is a male sparrowhawk.

What is a Glock P tap? ›

The P-TAP allows loading, unloading, and racking the pistol while protecting the trigger area from fingers. The P-TAP is perfect for nightstands, purses, and backpacks. The P-TAP keeps fingers from activating the trigger when used correctly. ​Order your P-TAP below.

What makes a good holster? ›

So that you're as safe as possible, it's best to have a holster that is made of a sturdy material that covers the trigger. You want to do all you can to prevent the possibility of a discharge. A good example of a sturdy material could be Kydex or leather. Both do an excellent job of protecting the trigger.

What is trigger guard in revolver? ›

Trigger Guard: a loop that surrounds the trigger of a firearm to help prevent an unintended pulling of the trigger. Trigger: a small curved lever that when pulled activates the firing mechanism of the gun to fire a cartridge.

Do police officers carry revolvers? ›

Police service revolvers hold 6 rounds; semi-automatic pistols can hold more than 12 rounds of ammunition. This argument, however, is countered by a Department regulation that allows officers to carry a back-up revolver with 5 additional rounds of ammunition.

What kind of gun do police have? ›

By far the most popular police service pistol in the United States, the GLOCK 22 fires the potent 40 S&W cartridge and holds more rounds for its size and weight than most other full-sized handgun in its class.

Where is the safety on a 9mm? ›

Move the safety in to the safe position. Make sure the letter S and the white dot are fully visible. The safety lever can be operated from both the left and right sides of the gun. on most Ruger 9mm guns the safety is found on the slide, near the hammer.

How much ammo can I legally own in California? ›

There are no restrictions on the quantity (how much) ammunition you can buy or what caliber (what you buy does not have to match the caliber of any gun you have registered). This does not apply to reloading supplies; powder, bullets, primers, cases, etc.

Can you carry a gun and ammo in the car in California? ›

Pursuant to California Penal Code section 25610, a United States citizen over 18 years of age who is not prohibited from firearm possession, and who resides or is temporarily in California, may transport by motor vehicle any handgun provided it is unloaded and locked in the vehicle's trunk or in a locked container.

Can I give ammo to my friend in California? ›

California prohibits people from supplying ammunition to any person they know or reasonably should know is prohibited from possessing ammunition.21 California law also make it illegal for a person to supply ammunition to a straw purchaser with knowledge or cause to believe that the straw purchaser would subsequently ...

How many locks does TSA require on a gun case? ›

4 Padlock holes provide the security that the TSA requires.

Are biometric gun safes reliable? ›

A: Biometric scanners are just as secure as traditional or digital locking mechanisms, but a gun safe is only as secure as the materials it's made out of.

Where are RPNB safes made? ›

RPNB is one of the leading companies in the production of gun safes. It's located in San Gabriel, California, and proves to be very popular among its customers.

What does a gun lock do? ›

There are various designs, but basically, the device includes a locking cable that can be threaded through the barrel — or other opening, depending on the particular firearm — to block the action of the gun so it cannot be loaded or fired.

Can TSA open my gun case without me? ›

If TSA needs the case opened for some reason or has questions, you must be present. At most airports you can stand in an area that provides you with a visual of the space where TSA checks special baggage.

Does ammo need to be locked TSA? ›

You may transport unloaded firearms in a locked hard-sided container as checked baggage only. Declare the firearm and/or ammunition to the airline when checking your bag at the ticket counter. The container must completely secure the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can be easily opened are not permitted.

What kind of locks are TSA approved for gun cases? ›

Heavy-Duty TSA Approved Gun Case Lock for firearms, luggage, rifles ...

Can you break into a biometric safe? ›

Essentially, there is no way to break into a biometric safe without dismembering the safe. If you are locked out of your biometric safe, and you are trying to find a way back in, the best thing to do is to take the safe to a local locksmith.

How safe are biometric locks? ›

If a biometric lock is easy to physically defeat, then it doesn't offer any greater security than a traditional lock. Additionally, if the software built into a digital lock has a defect, hackers might be able to take advantage of that error to unlock your door as if they were you.

What does biometric gun safe mean? ›

Simply put, a biometric safe is a gun safe that scans and reads your fingerprint for access to the contents. So rather than entering a combination or needing a physical key to unlock the safe, you just put your fingers in the biometric scan grooves and quick access is granted.

What brand of safe is made in USA? ›

Liberty is America's #1 manufacturer of heavy-duty home, commercial and gun safes.

What gun safes are manufactured in the USA? ›

If you are shopping in particular for a USA made gun safe, then these are the ones I would recommend, and why!
...
  • Liberty Fatboy.
  • Fort Knox Protector.
  • Browning Medallion Series.
  • Champion Safes GR Series.
  • Rhino Ironworks CIWD Series.
  • Vault Pro Golden Eagle Series.
  • American Security BF Series.
  • Ironman Safes Model 3000.

Is stack on Made in USA? ›

Most Stack-On Safes are imported. There are a few that are made in Illinois, but most of them come from overseas.

Does a Glock 17 have a safety? ›

The Glock 17 lacks a manual safety which the shooter disengages with their thumb. This has greatly added to their acceptance in the shooting world and for good reason. A loaded Glock pistol is designed to shoot every time the trigger is pulled. It has no mechanical safety device.

Is the red dot safety on or off? ›

Your firearm should have a safety that locks the firearm from being able to fire. When the safety is on you cannot see the red dot. When the safety is taken off there is a red dot, which means the firearm is now ready to fire.

Does a Glock have a safety lock? ›

The GLOCK safety lock is located conveniently in the back of the pistol grip. When engaged it prevents firing and disassembling of the GLOCK pistol. The Safety Lock developed by GLOCK is the first safety cylinder lock for pistols worldwide.

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