Part of responsible firearm ownership is keeping your guns out of the wrong hands. Most times when we think “wrong hands” we imagine a thief. More frequently, wrong hands belong to someone who doesn’t know how to handle a firearm safely. Unfortunately, some children (and adults, too) don’t know the basics of firearm safety:
- ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
- ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
- ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
Taken from the NRA’s Gun Safety Rules page.
Sometimes educating your friends and family about firearms isn’t enough. They might bring over some other blockhead whose parents didn’t do the wise thing and teach them about firearm safety. So it’s safest just to keep your firearms unloaded and locked up whenever possible. Some states have put legislation in place to hold gun owners responsible if someone is injured or killed due to an unsecured firearm. Don’t be that guy.
I keep all of my firearms in a very heavy, stand-up safe. I’ve had it for awhile, but have never reviewed it due to security reasons. Sometimes I need to put a pistol away for a short period of time, or want to secure it close to me, like on my bedroom nightstand. Some folks leave their handguns in their cars, and the glovebox isn’t a very good place to store a pistol. HOMAK makes a line of small, relatively secure lockboxes that fit the bill just fine.
Notice right off the bat I said “relatively secure.” The HOMAK HS10036684 electric gun safe is good enough to keep a handgun (or anything else that would fit inside) safe from idle hands, but I wouldn’t rely on it to keep my firearms safe from a determined thief. Yes, the safe is metal. Yes, the locking mechanism is secure. Yes, the hinges are on the inside of the safe so that it can’t be attacked. However, the safe is lightweight and no matter what you attach it to, someone could pry it off and carry it with them. It would be susceptible to all sorts of brute force attacks, from a big prybar to a cutting tool like a drill or torch.
The HOMAK safe is great for what I wanted it for: keep doofuses from taking my Rock Island 1911 off of my nightstand.
Opening / operation
The HS10036684 unlocks via a three-to-six key press code. As you can see in the picture, the keys spell out HOMAK. You can assign your own code, and you can also make a “key press” out of multiple keys. E.g., you can spell out “H-A-M” as three separate key presses, or “HAM” as one key press. A three-press code of “HAM” would be “HAMHAMHAM” which would be pretty damn funny to type in as someone is busting down your door.
“MOMMY MOMMY MAKE THE BAD MAN STOP!”
Here’s the crappy part, though: after typing in the correct code you have to push the lid down. This triggers a spring, which pops the door open. According to the manual, this is a safeguard against children.
If your kid can figure out HAMHAMHAM, don’t you think they can press down on the lid? That’s some weird logic right there, and it’s the number one thing I don’t like about the HOMAK HS10036684.
The other thing I don’t like is that my Rock Island 1911 Government model doesn’t fit easily into the opening.
I can put the pistol inside, but I have to be careful to tilt it at just the right angle. I wish the opening was just a half inch longer, that would make a huge difference.
Other random notes
There are mounting holes inside of the safe so that you can bolt it down to something sturdy. The bolts are included.
Due to the way the door is hinged, I can’t imagine bolting this to the floor of a car underneath a seat. Apparently there is another HOMAK model that opens from the “front,” but the unit is taller. I doubt that would fit underneath a typical car seat at all.
The unit is powered by four AA batteries. If the batteries go dead, you can open the unit by placing a 9V battery on two rubberized connections on the outside of the unit. Pretty sweet.
You can reprogram the unlock code, but doing so requires finding a button that is harder to locate than certain parts of the female anatomy. With a flashlight. And directions. I rate the code changing usability as “very poor.” Hopefully you won’t have to change the code very often.
Overall, I find the HOMAK HS10036684 to do what I wanted: it’s an inexpensive, relatively secure way to keep one or possibly two firearms out of casual reach. I plan on using mine to store my Rock Island 1911 Government model at night, or when I have company over. If you are looking for a primary way to securely store a handgun I would look at something more substantial, but for a temporary “drop box” I think it does the job.