Thursday, December 6, 2012

Keeping Home Defense Guns Ready And Secure: The Sentry Safe Home Defense Center

How to keep defensive weapons ready but secure from small dangerous children is something we have put a bit of thought into. The answer that guns need to be in the physical control of an adult or secured is pretty obvious. Normal cabinets and safes are good for security (to keep guns  away from small kids anyway) but leave a lot to be desired in terms of access. If you honestly think that getting into a combo safe and rummaging through it's contents to find a gun is something you can do quickly in the dark I wish you the best. Key safes have their own issues that you either need to keep a key in the room, kind of a security no no, have it on your neck which is a hassle or on your key ring that will inevitably be forgotten in the living room just that one time.

There are a lot of good options for securing a handgun or two in a quickly accessible way with numerous many key pad and finger print type safes out. These are a fine option if you are only concerned about accessing a pistol. However if you want ready access to a secure long gun options haven't been great.

Enter the Sentry Safe Home Defense Center.  These things are designed to hold a shotgun or rifle and a pistol in a secure but readily accessible way. They are to the best of my knowledge a pretty unique safe if not the only such safe on the market today. The safe is opened by a 4 button punch code which is nothing novel. It really just takes existing technology used in pistol safes and brings it to a safe that can hold a long gun. Aside from being the only (to the best of my knowledge) such product on the market there are some cool features. The corner door is a really novel idea. It gives wide open access without having a big door that requires a lot of space to open. There is a recessed shelf with a grippy foam insert that would be perfect to hold a few key defensive items or some EDC stuff. The long gun is held in place by a couple foam covered rollers so it is secure but can be pulled out easily. The pistol shelf has a nice angled tray that holds a pistol at the ready. There is room for another handgun in there on the opposite side of the tray, not quite as fast as the first one but the space is there. Now that we have the basic stats it is time for some discussion.

These things are definitely a niche item. They are very useful for folks who are concerned about preventing unwanted firearms access but none the less want their weapons readily accessible. Typically this is folks with young children. Also since these things cost $400 and only hold 2-3 guns you have to be willing to spend a few bucks. I'm not saying they are for everybody but for the right folks these seem like a great option.

Inside are my EDC Glock 19 and Wifey's .38 on the pistol tray and my BCM 14.5in Middy AKA Project AR Upgrade for the long gun. Some folks would debate the need for a long gun for home defense. Personally the inherent accuracy (much longer sight radius and multiple points of contact) of long guns combined with their capacity and lethality makes the long gun a logical choice for home defense. Some folks would say a short barreled shotgun with OO Buck is the way to go. While they are a fine weapon personally I think in terms of defense anything a shotgun can do a capable semi automatic magazine fed rifle can do better. A modern semi automatic rifle like an AR or AK (or I suppose a Mini 14) holds 30ish rounds and is effective out to a a few hundred yards or further while a shotgun holds 5-8 rounds and is effective to 25-40ish yards. Also common affordable (which means pump) shotguns require manipulation between shots while rifles do not. Not saying a pump shotgun isn't a fine home defense weapon, just that if legal and financial considerations are not entered into the equation a semi auto mag fed rifle dominated any semi realistic scenario I can think of.

[For anybody dumb enough to question the effectiveness of 5.56/.223 as an anti personnel round I offer two things. 1) Small arms (let's say anything under .50 cal/ 14.5mm) are iffy stoppers with less than perfect shot placement. Imagine a dinner plate centered on the sternum and a saucer centered between the eyes. Hit these and somebody will be out of the fight in a hurry. Miss them and results will vary. Believe it or not everybody shot in Korea and WWII as well as prior when pretty much everybody carried .30 cal "battle rifles" in rounds like 7.62x54R did not die immediately. Lots of people got shot in the arm, leg or less essential parts of the torso and did not die. Heck a lot of them kept right on fighting. 2) As a civilian I can use hollow point ammunition. If you are so stupid as to argue that 5.56 JHP is not an effective man stopper then I have little interest in talking with you.]

So far I am pretty psyched about this product. It has seriously improved our defensive readiness. Certainly not cheap but for us I think worth the money. Will do more of a formal review once I have some more experience with it.

Are your defensive weapons readily accessible at a moments notice? To anybody or just you? Something to think about.


TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf said...

Very cool. Really like the design, generally.

Looks like it's sold out at Cabela's. Do you know if it's sold anywhere else?

TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf said...

Never mind - looks like it is sold elsewhere. Google fail for me. For $400, not bad.

I'd like a full size safe, but a) we've historically moved quite a bit and b) would still need something fast access for a carbine. I've got a quick access handgun safe (Fort Knox, quite nice and spacious, too), but a carbine provides that extra peace of mind.

Ryan said...

Alexander Wolfe, Yeah the bummer is that if you own more than 1-2 pistols and 1 long gun this product is in addition to whatever other cabinet or safe you use.

Having the carbine available was pretty important to me. Hence going this way instead of a little pistol safe.

Anonymous said...

Kudos on the security solution. Once little guy is of an age, a frank and open discussion of guns is in order. But even then, absent proper security, all little boys find guns given the opportunity. It's just how we're wired. A good ready locker thwarts temptation and tragedy.

Also, obviously there are trade-offs with everything. The main reason I think people go with shotguns over MBRs for home defense, is that that .223 does a lot of things better than shottys or pistols, to include flying through subdivision walls and punching Mrs. Abernathy's ticket two yards over, should a sudden dump of adrenaline into your system adversely affect your aim.

There's no perfect answer, it's just someting to put into the scales to weigh choices. And all things being equal, a serving soldier using what is essentially the most familiar weapon is probably the best choice.

Here's hoping you never have to find out either way.

Best Regards,

Anonymous said...

No no no. Why does this myth persist? .223 is *less* likely to over-penetrate as it will tend to fragment through one or two sheets of drywall. The Box o' Truth is a must read in this case. Small caliber, high velocity ammo is perfect for situations where over-pentration is a valid concern.

Lee from La said...

"secure from small dangerous children"
That one made me laugh

Anonymous said...

Pretty neat concept - thanks for making us aware of it. The choice of rifle vs. shotgun will be dictated by your immediate neighborhood. If you live in an urban environment where long range shots aren't possible, then the rifle's long range pluses becomes a moot point.

I've kept a pistol hung on a nail above a closet door header (immediately above the door) before, it was very fast to access and no one ever knew it was there.

Ryan said...

Aesop, I do agree and will train kiddo about safety and weapons handling to the best of my ability. However the age before I am comfortable with him having ready unsupervised access to guns is a long time off.

If its path is not impeded .23 will fly much further than buckshot. However as that fellow noted the myth that it will keep going through normal construction walls forever is false. Conversely the myth that a shotgun will kill a sumo wrestler on PCP with 1 shot but will not go through a single wall is false.

@6:20, To me the big benefits of a rifle over a shotgun are that 1) it holds many more bullets than a shotgun 2) it is self loading vs pump action 3) faster second shot acquisition and 4) I have a lot of muscle memory in the platform.

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