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How cops can secure their firearms

Products from Estes AWS, Hornady and Zore X Core offer many options for securing firearms


Hornady’s RAPiD safe is unlocked with RFID technology, similar to the way a cardkey can let you into a building.

Photo/Ron LaPedis

In this article, I said that everyone in your agency needs to be trained on how to secure their firearm when it isn’t on their person. One of the best ways to secure a firearm is in a safe – but you also need to be able to deploy your firearm when it is needed. The first step is to open the safe, and sometimes that can be a problem.

You can authenticate yourself (for example, login to a computer, or open a safe) with one or more of three types of things:

  • Something you have (a physical key or access card);
  • Something you are (biometric such as a fingerprint);
  • Something you know (password or combination).

Remote Access

The excellent Estes AWS rapid access weapon lockers use something you have – a remote, which means your firearms are ready to grab by the time you get to the vault.

While these units can be mounted almost anywhere, like in a shopping mall, school, or courthouse ready for authorized access, they shine when they are mounted in the trunk or rear cargo area of an agency-issued vehicle.

RFID safes

But what about an officer’s own vehicle or home? Until now, most safes have used a physical key, finger swipe, or a combination of some kind. At the 2018 SHOT Show, Hornady showcased its line of RAPiD safes. According to the company, the patented RFID technology allows for the quickest, most dependable access to your firearm.

I’m sure everyone has seen a movie where the hero or heroine needs to get through a door and is desperately trying to get a key into a lock while their hands are shaking so much they keep missing the keyhole.

It is a proven fact that fine motor control disappears when you are under stress. It is also true that you fall to your lowest level of training, and you could forget the combination to get into your safe.

The RAPiD safe is unlocked with RFID technology, similar to the way a cardkey can let you into a building. Tap the token on the safe, and a spring pops it open so you can grab your firearm and get into the fight.

The photo shows their two-handgun safe with three types of tokens. From the left, they are a keychain fob, a bracelet and two decals. The decals are designed to be attached to most anything, like the back of a cellphone or maybe your ID card. Hornady may also introduce a smaller keychain fob, about the same size as the stickers but with a pre-punched hole.

Each safe is programmed by the user to accept specific tokens, up to four of them, and the same token can be used on multiple safes. A combination and barrel key can be used as backups. By using RFID technology, there’s no need to find a key, register a fingerprint, or remember a combination. The line also includes mounted safes for shotguns and scoped patrol rifles.

Hornady is a strong supporter of Project ChildSafe, a nonprofit charitable organization committed to promoting firearms safety.

When a Safe Won’t Do

While a bolted-down safe or rack is the best way to secure a firearm, sometimes that is not an option. A group of Israeli IDF Special Forces and elite technology unit veterans came up with another option, called the Zore X Core.


While the Zore X cannot prevent your firearm from being stolen, it can prevent it from being used by an unauthorized individual.

Photo/Zore X

The Zore X cannot prevent your firearm from being stolen, but it can prevent it from being used by an unauthorized individual. The two-piece device is a caliber-specific, electro-mechanical lock. The lock cartridge and the control module are connected via a metal shaft. The cartridge is inserted into the chamber of a semi- or fully- automatic firearm, and normally does not apply pressure to the firearm.

To release the cartridge from the chamber, you dial in your combination then rack the slide to eject it and feed a live round from the magazine. Since the battery is in the external control module, it is simple to replace it if it dies even if the cartridge is inserted.

Any attempt to remove the cartridge or charge the gun causes the cartridge to expand with 10 times the force being applied to it. It prevents motion and immediately locks the gun – all without scratching the barrel or damaging it. If the control is broken off by a really determined thief, your firearm is still protected because only a gunsmith can get the cartridge out of the chamber.

Unlike any combination lock I have ever seen, the Zore X dial doesn’t have numbers on the dial, so it can be used in zero visibility. You don’t need to start from a specific point and even the direction (clockwise or counterclockwise) that you begin to turn the dial doesn’t matter. The dial counts the number and direction of “clicks” and quickly recognizes the correct sequence.

You might set up this combination: 3, 6, 9, 2, 4, 6. To open the lock, you can start turning the dial clockwise or counterclockwise and you reverse direction after every set of clicks. You can choose a combination of up to 20 sets, with each set being up to 9 clicks.

The Zore X is assembled and tested in the USA and is California DOJ approved. A demo video is here.

For more information about firearms storage for cops, visit the Police1 product category page here.

Stay safe and read more reports on our 2018 SHOT show special coverage page.

Ron LaPedis is an NRA-certified Chief Range Safety Officer, NRA, USCCA and California DOJ-certified instructor, is a uniformed first responder, and frequently writes and speaks on law enforcement, business continuity, cybersecurity, physical security and public/private partnerships.