Senior project, handgun safe or lock


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LTU
April 27, 2006, 10:18 PM
Hey everyone,

I am an Mechanical Engineering senior at Lawrence Tech University in Southfield Michigan (near Detroit). My group and I are working on our senior project. We want to design and build a better handgun safe or lock. We would like your guys help, what do you want in a handgun safe/lock? We want this handgun safe/lock ideal for all of you guys out there. If you would like to answer some or all of the fallowing questions it would help us out a lot, or if you just want to leave a question or comment that would be great. We are going to start our design in a few weeks (after finals are over with). We want to design a handgun safe or lock that more people will want to use. Your help will be MUCH appreciated!

Thanks!

1) Do you lock up your handgun? Why or why not?

2) Do you keep a handgun for home/work defense?

3) What is your biggest complaint about handgun safes/locks?

4) Where do you (or want to) keep your handgun? Is there anywhere you
want to keep it but cant?

5) Please rank the fallowing aspects from 1-5 (1 as the most important, 5
to the least).
a. Speed (time it takes to access the handgun)
b. Security (how hard it is for someone to break into it or steal it)
c. Protection (from fires or damage from the surrounding environment)
d. Weight (how much it weighs)
e. Mobility (ability to move from one place to another)

6) Would you be willing to buy a handgun safe/lock that's ideal to you?

7) What would you be willing to spend on your ideal handgun safe/lock?
a) $50-100
b) $100-200
c) $200-400
d) $400+

8) Would you be willing to buy a handgun safe/lock that uses biometrics
(like a fingerprint scanner)? Why or why not?

9) What do you like and dislike about your current handgun safe/lock or if
you donít have one what do you like and dislike about the handgun
safes/locks out on the market today?

10) Comments?

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Preacherman
April 27, 2006, 10:30 PM
Welcome to THR!

Interesting project, but you'll find a lot of opposition here - a gun lock that slows one's access to the weapon in emergency is Not A Good Thing from most gun-owners' perspective. If a bad guy has invaded your home and is coming for you, you need your gun Right Now, not In Five Minutes!

That said, let me tackle your questions.

1. Yes, when it's not on my person or next to my bed. However, when I'm at home, or out and about, I always have a handgun on my person or immediately accessible. I only lock them up when they're not in use - which means that another one is in use!

2. Yes to both.

3. They're too slow to operate, and don't really secure the weapon against theft. Sure, they'll slow down a curious kid, but they can all be removed with tools and effort - some of them very easily.

4. Mine live in a gun safe.

5. Given that I use a gun safe, my list of priorities is different from someone who doesn't. I've already taken care of the "security" aspect, so it's low on my list of "must-haves". Someone not using a safe might give it a higher priority. That said, my list would run as follows:
- 1 - Speed
- 2 - Mobility
- 3 - Weight
- 4 - Protection
- 5 - Security

6. Unlikely, given my gun-safe, but perhaps for travelling, if it was well made and functional, and adhered to my priorities as listed in 5 above.

7. (a) - $50-$100.

8. No, under no circumstances. Such biometric devices rely on electric power, either from the mains or from a battery. Such power sources can fail at the crucial moment. I might consider one if there was a rapid, foolproof manual backup method to get it off in emergency, but without that, there's no way I'll consider anything powered by electricity.

9. The current products are too slow, too flimsy, and don't offer the same degree of protection and security as a gun safe.

10. Good luck! :D

Brett Bellmore
April 27, 2006, 10:36 PM
My dream gunsafe is a platform bed, with regular drawers on the sides, and the secure storage right down the middle, where nobody would see it without removing the mattress. Add some counterballance mechanism to get the mattress out of the way without much effort, and one of those finger keyed handgun safes concealed in the headboard, and I'd be in heaven.

Jayb
April 28, 2006, 09:26 AM
1) Do you lock up your handgun? Why or why not?

My carry pistol is always on my person. My other hand guns are locked up.

2) Do you keep a handgun for home/work defense?

Yes

3) What is your biggest complaint about handgun safes/locks?

As posted above, self defense situations are not scheduled, and I will not allow a situation that I have to manipulate anything to access my pistol in an emergency.

4) Where do you (or want to) keep your handgun? Is there anywhere you
want to keep it but cant?

On my person, or within reach.

5) Please rank the fallowing aspects from 1-5 (1 as the most important, 5
to the least).
a. Speed (time it takes to access the handgun)
b. Security (how hard it is for someone to break into it or steal it)
c. Protection (from fires or damage from the surrounding environment)
d. Weight (how much it weighs)
e. Mobility (ability to move from one place to another)

a, e, d, c, b

6) Would you be willing to buy a handgun safe/lock that's ideal to you?

For storage of non-carry firearms, yes. For my carry gun, no.

7) What would you be willing to spend on your ideal handgun safe/lock?
a) $50-100
b) $100-200
c) $200-400
d) $400+

a

8) Would you be willing to buy a handgun safe/lock that uses biometrics
(like a fingerprint scanner)? Why or why not?

No. As mentioned, reliability of power

9) What do you like and dislike about your current handgun safe/lock or if
you don’t have one what do you like and dislike about the handgun
safes/locks out on the market today?

I built dividers for my safe that keep my hand guns vertical, (as if they were being held) as I have seen hand guns whose finish was damaged by long periods of time laying on their sides.

10) Comments?

I'd suggest that you make a crystal clear distinction between personal defense hand guns, and those shot occasionally. My personal defense hand gun has never been in a safe or locked for reasons stated above.

Good luck with your project. Let us know how it turns out.

iamkris
April 28, 2006, 09:58 AM
1) Do you lock up your handgun? Why or why not?

Yes. I have 3 small children (all under 9 years old) and while I've hammered the 4 rules and Eddie Eagle stuff into them, it is still my responsibility to make sure they don't have ready access.

2) Do you keep a handgun for home/work defense?

Yes. I have a sizable collection that I keep in a basement gun room but I keep one of my handguns separate for personal defense

3) What is your biggest complaint about handgun safes/locks?

1) Fast and easy access
2) Large enough opening to get the handgun out easily
3) Ability to see unlocking mechanism

4) Where do you (or want to) keep your handgun? Is there anywhere you
want to keep it but cant?

In bedroom, close to the bed

5) Please rank the fallowing aspects from 1-5 (1 as the most important, 5
to the least).
a. Speed (time it takes to access the handgun)
b. Security (how hard it is for someone to break into it or steal it)
c. Protection (from fires or damage from the surrounding environment)
d. Weight (how much it weighs)
e. Mobility (ability to move from one place to another)

1. Speed
2. Protection
3. Security
4. Weight
5. Mobility

6) Would you be willing to buy a handgun safe/lock that's ideal to you?

Yes

7) What would you be willing to spend on your ideal handgun safe/lock?
a) $50-100
b) $100-200
c) $200-400
d) $400+

$100-200

8) Would you be willing to buy a handgun safe/lock that uses biometrics
(like a fingerprint scanner)? Why or why not?

Yes mostly because it appears to be a fast way to access and you don't have to remember a combination or find a key under stress. There must be a backup unlocking mechanism however because batteries/power systems can fail. Also need to prove that this technology is accurate and reliable

9) What do you like and dislike about your current handgun safe/lock or if
you donít have one what do you like and dislike about the handgun
safes/locks out on the market today?

Dislikes:

Big door on front but still a relatively small opening to get the handgun out without scratching it or making noise
Must remember a combination (will I remember it under stress?)-- keypad based
Not a lighted keypad -- must use flashlight to see in dark

Likes:

Inexpensive -- only cost me $50 on sale
Can be secured to wall or floor
Back up unlocking with key


10) Comments?

HankB
April 28, 2006, 10:09 AM
1) Do you lock up your handgun? Why or why not?

There are no little children or irresponsible adults in my home, so my only concern is burglars breaking in when I'm away. I have a big safe for that.

2) Do you keep a handgun for home/work defense?

Yes

3) What is your biggest complaint about handgun safes/locks?

Locks are IMHO worthless. Safes usually LOOK too much like safes. Too obvious.

4) Where do you (or want to) keep your handgun? Is there anywhere you want to keep it but cant?

I would LOVE a concealed but readily-accessible means of keeping a handgun in my vehicle.

5) Please rank the fallowing aspects from 1-5 (1 as the most important, 5
to the least).
a. Speed (time it takes to access the handgun)

1

b. Security (how hard it is for someone to break into it or steal it)

2

c. Protection (from fires or damage from the surrounding environment)

3

d. Weight (how much it weighs)

5

e. Mobility (ability to move from one place to another)

4

6) Would you be willing to buy a handgun safe/lock that's ideal to you?

Yes - for my car and/or truck.

7) What would you be willing to spend on your ideal handgun safe/lock?
a) $50-100
b) $100-200
c) $200-400

If it met my needs


d) $400+

8) Would you be willing to buy a handgun safe/lock that uses biometrics
(like a fingerprint scanner)? Why or why not?

Yes - if I were a) convinced it were reliable, b) offered very fast access and c) had a mechanical backup so a fried chip or dead battery wouldn't lock me out

9) What do you like and dislike about your current handgun safe/lock or if
you donít have one what do you like and dislike about the handgun
safes/locks out on the market today?

Nothing fast, secure, and discreet for my car

10) Comments?

Mongo the Mutterer
April 28, 2006, 10:37 AM
1) Do you lock up your handgun? Why or why not?All are either in a safe, on my person, or in a bag going to the range. The bag is used for transport only, not storage of any kind.

2) Do you keep a handgun for home/work defense? Yes

3) What is your biggest complaint about handgun safes/locks? Speed of access. Locks should be replaced with safes as you accumulate firearms.

4) Where do you (or want to) keep your handgun? With me or in the safe.

Is there anywhere you want to keep it but cant? There are areas which are proscribed by law where you cannot legally take your weapon.


5) Please rank the fallowing aspects from 1-5 (1 as the most important, 5
to the least). Security is handled by the safe, so it is last. A professional thief will defeat any safe with time, however. Safes should be considered primarily useful to keep children and third parties away from guns

1. Speed (time it takes to access the handgun)
2. Weight (how much it weighs)
3. Mobility (ability to move from one place to another)
4. Protection (from fires or damage from the surrounding environment)
5. Security (how hard it is for someone to break into it or steal it)

6) Would you be willing to buy a handgun safe/lock that's ideal to you? I already have, but if you come up with a better mousetrap you can have some of my cheese...

7) What would you be willing to spend on your ideal handgun safe/lock?

c) $200-400

8) Would you be willing to buy a handgun safe/lock that uses biometrics
(like a fingerprint scanner)? Why or why not?No way. Ask yourself a question... would you bet your life on it?

9) What do you like and dislike about your current handgun safe/lock or if
you don’t have one what do you like and dislike about the handgun
safes/locks out on the market today?Safes are available at reasonable prices. Locks for the most part are a waste of time, unless you cannot afford a safe.

10) Comments? Good luck on your research. Welcome to The High Road.

Bravo11
April 28, 2006, 10:41 AM
I won't answer all the questions but I will throw out an idea. I think a holster type device, similar to a Fobus holster, that would incorporate a fingerprint scanner along the trigger finger side would be a really neat project. I don't know how the holster would clamp/hold the weapon enough to secure it but it's a direction.
Does your project require a working prototype model or just a design plan?
I've seen this type holster with brkt's for mounting to car centers.
All that said, I also like to keep my weapon handy and unlocked even though I have small children. All your guns need to be secured except for the one your carrying and your carry gun needs to be for your hands only. You wouldn't leave a pot of boiling water hanging off the edge of the stove and you don't leave your handgun lying around the house.
Good luck on your project. If you don't mind, post your final design out here for us to see what you came up with.

benEzra
April 28, 2006, 01:08 PM
1) Do you lock up your handgun? Why or why not?
Yes, when it's not in use. I have a full-size safe, and also a small, cheap ($20) pistol strongbox on the headboard of the bed that is only used for securing a handgun from the kids.

2) Do you keep a handgun for home/work defense?
Yes (and often a rifle, in the full-size safe, chamber empty/magazine loaded, when we're home).

3) What is your biggest complaint about handgun safes/locks?
--Slow access.
--None of them are very burglar-proof.

4) Where do you (or want to) keep your handgun? Is there anywhere you
want to keep it but cant?
I'd love to have a lockable but readily accessible pistol safe for the car. If I could dream one up, it would be a very secure safe that replaces my car's center console and looks pretty stock. A trunk safe with some sort of mounting system that would be very secure, but relatively easy to install, would also be nice. Two completely different avenues there.

5) Please rank the fallowing aspects from 1-5 (1 as the most important, 5
to the least).
a. Speed (time it takes to access the handgun)
b. Security (how hard it is for someone to break into it or steal it)
c. Protection (from fires or damage from the surrounding environment)
d. Weight (how much it weighs)
e. Mobility (ability to move from one place to another)

1-speed
2-security
(both very high priority)
3-protection
4-mobility
5-weight
(all fairly low priority, though if it's a car safe then some sort of external insulation to keep the peak internal temps down might be a good idea--a handgun doesn't have much thermal mass, though)

6) Would you be willing to buy a handgun safe/lock that's ideal to you?
Yes (already have, in fact)

7) What would you be willing to spend on your ideal handgun safe/lock?
a) $50-100
b) $100-200
c) $200-400
d) $400+
$100-200, probably.

8) Would you be willing to buy a handgun safe/lock that uses biometrics
(like a fingerprint scanner)? Why or why not?
I'm not necessarily against the concept, but it would have to be fast, absolutely reliable, and would have to have some sort of fail-safe mechanism that would allow you to access it in the event of an electronics failure.

9) What do you like and dislike about your current handgun safe/lock or if
you donít have one what do you like and dislike about the handgun
safes/locks out on the market today?

10) Comments?

Henry Bowman
April 28, 2006, 01:46 PM
I currently use one of these: http://thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=39092&stc=1&d=1146242580I paid about $100 for it (the smaller one). It fits my needs perfectly, except that it eats 8 AA about twice a year:cuss:

Soybomb
April 28, 2006, 04:05 PM
Everyone does biometrics, but I'm not as big into fingerprint scanners and the like. I'd like a reasonable sized steel box that I can bolt to my huge desk, wall, or other strong part of the house. Along with the handgun vault I get a rf-if key fob to put on my keychain. When I come home I drop the keychain on top of the vault (maybe make it a 3ft range so you could mount it under a desk or someplace hidden) and it unlocks. When I leave or want to lock the box I just take my keys and go. This would let me leave the house with every gun locked up and not have to lock/unlock something manually every time I get home. Make it a/c powered with a manual simplex lock override. I'd pay $150.

engineer151515
April 28, 2006, 04:32 PM
Just a few thoughts - worth every penny you paid for them. :)


I pick gun safe.

I recommend a "flexable" gunsafe design - something that:

1. Is made out of Kevlar (more like a gun "pouch" but with the security against theft and unauthorized access like a gun safe).
2. Secure (and just as secure as a metal safe) to the center console/compartment of a passenger vehicle. (Cabled into place?)
3. Quick but secure access. Some locking combination dials, key, keypad (electronic), palm reader, whatever - such that the gun is easily accessable for me - but not easily accessable by others (potential thieves).
4. Large enough (at a minimum) for one full sized 1911 + 1 mag. (Perhaps two compartments within the "pouch".
5. Being a "kevlar pouch", this gun safe is flexable, plyable (to some degree) and is less likely to scratch me on every corner (like a metal safe).
6. Some degree of fire resistance and/or water resistance would be desirable.
7. When removed, can be carried with the person much like a conventional gun pouch or purse (for the ladies).


There ya go. A cross between a metal console gunsafe and a Wilderness Safepacker. Good luck.

Soybomb
April 28, 2006, 04:37 PM
Wouldn't a giant kevlar back with a lock on it just succumb to a pocket knife? :evil:

engineer151515
April 28, 2006, 04:46 PM
I don't know. Does a bullet proof vest succumb to a pocket knife? (Really, I don't know if you can knife your way through)

Perhaps I should have said "a material like perhaps Kevlar, or engineering equal).

TMM
April 28, 2006, 04:57 PM
Hey! welcome to THR. firstly i should say that i DO NOT own any guns yet (too young) but i'll throw in my 2 cents.

1) Do you lock up your handgun? Why or why not?
Depending on laws, i'd leave mine accessable if i need it (like a shotgun by my side. i'd keep my CCW on me until i go to bed probably). as for the rest of my collection, i'd have them locked in a safe.


2) Do you keep a handgun for home/work defense?
I will.


3) What is your biggest complaint about handgun safes/locks?
Time. however, if i'm getting a rifle for a hunting trip, i don't care if it takes a minute to open the safe, but if i need it NOW, i need it NOW. ideally i'd not have it locked (like a CCW)


4) Where do you (or want to) keep your handgun? Is there anywhere you
want to keep it but cant?
under the tabletop of my bedside table during sleeping, shotgun above doorway in the closet for sleeping aswell, and on my waist during the day. for non-SD guns, or just for storage, i'd wand to keep it in a good safe, preferrably nondescript/hideable (no "Remington" engraving on the front, for example)


5) Please rank the fallowing aspects from 1-5 (1 as the most important, 5
to the least).
1 Speed (time it takes to access the handgun)
2 Security (how hard it is for someone to break into it or steal it)
3 Protection (from fires or damage from the surrounding environment)
4 Weight (how much it weighs)
5 Mobility (ability to move from one place to another)

6) Would you be willing to buy a handgun safe/lock that's ideal to you?
If i needed one, yes.


7) What would you be willing to spend on your ideal handgun safe/lock?
a) $50-100
for a small safe like that, i don't want to plop down too much $$...

8) Would you be willing to buy a handgun safe/lock that uses biometrics
(like a fingerprint scanner)? Why or why not?
Allow me to sum up my answer in an easy-to-answer rethorical question: would you rather have your key or combination stolen, or have your finger or eye "stolen"? Thought so.


9) What do you like and dislike about your current handgun safe/lock or if
you donít have one what do you like and dislike about the handgun
safes/locks out on the market today?
Weight, for the bigger floor safes
time to access, for the smaller ones.
perhaps the smaller ones could be made to look like a breifcase, but have a lock and armor.


10) Comments?

None that i can think of.

~tmm

creitzel
April 28, 2006, 08:05 PM
Welcome to THR from an LTU alumni (BSCS 98) :)

Well, I'm just starting out with guns, but I'll take a stab at it :)

1) Do you lock up your handgun? Why or why not?
Yes, I have children in the house, and I do not want them handling firearms unsupervised by me or my wife.

2) Do you keep a handgun for home/work defense?
I currently own only one handgun. It's a .22 caliber target pistol. I will eventually be purchasing a gun for home defense as well.

3) What is your biggest complaint about handgun safes/locks?
I don't feel qualified to answer this one, as I've only had experience with my current safe. It suits my purposes for now, but I can see problems when I want to start keeping a loaded handgun that is readily available for home defense. There is no way I could keep it in my current safe, as I'd be dead long before I could get the dang thing open if I needed it.

4) Where do you (or want to) keep your handgun? Is there anywhere you
want to keep it but cant?
I currently keep it in a small office type safe that I have secured into a closet.

5) Please rank the fallowing aspects from 1-5 (1 as the most important, 5
to the least).
a. Speed (time it takes to access the handgun)
b. Security (how hard it is for someone to break into it or steal it)
c. Protection (from fires or damage from the surrounding environment)
d. Weight (how much it weighs)
e. Mobility (ability to move from one place to another)

This depends on what the handgun's purpose is, and could probably be answered differently by the same person, depending on which of his/her guns you were talking about. For a defensive weapon for me it would be something like:
Speed 1
Security 2
Protection 3
Mobility 4
Weight 5

If on the other hand we were talking about a collector's piece, I might reply with something like:
Security 1
Protection 2
Mobility 3
Weight 4
Speed 5

6) Would you be willing to buy a handgun safe/lock that's ideal to you?
Yes

7) What would you be willing to spend on your ideal handgun safe/lock?
between $50-$200 for a handgun safe, more for a larger longgun/handgun safe.

8) Would you be willing to buy a handgun safe/lock that uses biometrics
(like a fingerprint scanner)? Why or why not?
Probably not. For a defensive gun, it doesn't make any sense, as others have stated, because of the possibility of power failure at the wrong time. And for other guns, a combination/key lock works fine.

9) What do you like and dislike about your current handgun safe/lock or if
you don’t have one what do you like and dislike about the handgun
safes/locks out on the market today?
The thing I disliked most about the safes I was looking at was that all of the smaller safes (I was just looking to secure one handgun at the time) seemed rather flimsy in construction.


Best of luck on your senior project :)

Edited to add: If you like guns, stick around! This is one of (if not the) best sites I've found regarding all things gun :)

Chris

LTU
April 28, 2006, 08:10 PM
Thanks for all of your guyís advice. Every little bit helps. We are looking at several different designs. I have been shooting since I was 8 (I am 23 now), and keep a handgun in my room. My friends asked me why I didnít keep it locked up, I told him that everyone in the house was old enough and knew how to handle guns responsibly so there was no big concern about miss handling and I wanted access to it very quickly when needed. Also there was no design out there that I liked, all too slow or big, ect... So I started thinking about how to make them better. My group and I started tossing some ideas around and we came up with a couple. We really wanted to know what you guys (and gals) wanted in a safe. One design has a fingerprint scanner incorporated in it. It would have a back up lock and a low batter signal, but it would raise the cost of the safe/lock up to like $300-400. if we didnít have it in, the price would be much lower, $75-150 (scanners cost a lot). A lot of the design is up in the air your. We really want a safe or lock that people would feel they could put there handgun in it and still have access to it extremely quickly. We are still in the design process so you input will dictate what will go into the design. We are looking to patent it so until we get the final design and get the patent lawyer I cant say too much about it, but once we do that I will post everything we do here if you guys want and you guys can help critique our product. Once again thank you very much for all or your input, it is much appreciated. You guys are great. :D

LTU

MillCreek
April 28, 2006, 11:38 PM
Wow, it is as if Engineer151515 has been reading my mind. I would buy something like that as quick as a wink, if the pouch was made of a material that would resist cutting. Perhaps a woven metal mesh or chain mail material? I have seen woven chain mail gloves and gauntlets used by butchers and meatcutters to protect them from knife and saw cuts. I have also seen similar material used by divers to protect against shark attack.

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