Gear review: Identilock biometric gun lock
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You want to keep a firearm close by at night to respond to that dreaded bump in the night. But you also have children; the small, curious kind. There’s no shortage of options for bedside firearms security, from simple trigger locks, to nightstand drawer-sized lock boxes, to under-bed safes. The biggest issue with all of those “solutions” is time. When you need your pistol, you need your pistol now.

Biometric access gun boxes and vaults appeal to gun owners who worry about sourcing a key or remembering a combo in the heat of the moment. Unfortunately, biometric devices can be a bit . . . finicky. Some take two or three “presses” of a finger to recognize an authorized user. Identilock thinks they’ve solved these problems with their new line of electronic biometric gun locks, suitable for bedside duty.

Identilock locking FNS FN9C (courtesy

The Identilock electronic clamshell-design trigger lock accepts up to three different users to program in their fingerprints for instant access. Identilock currently makes five models to accommodate various GLOCK, Smith & Wesson, SIG SAUER and 1911 pistols.

We tested their GLK-A1 model built for G17, G19, G20, G21 G22, G23, G26, G27, G29, G37,G38, G34, G39, G40 models. We were strangely GLOCK-less on test day. As luck would have it, the GLK-A1 also accommodates one of my EDC’s: the five-star-rated FN FNS-9C.

Clamp view of Identilock biometric trigger guard (courtesy

The unit’s two hinged halves clamp through the pistol’s trigger guard, covering the entire trigger area. The housing is made of polycarbonate. The two tabs that secure the Identilock to to the trigger guard are made of metal. With the Identilock in place, the trigger is secure.

That said, no safety device is foolproof.

The Identilock isn’t an anti-theft device; it restricts immediate access to authorized users. A determined thief or anyone with with some time and crowbar will be able to pry an Identilock off of a gun.

Identilock finger actuation (courtesy

Simply place an authorized digit over the iPhone-like pad and the Identilock signals that you’re authorized with a display of green LEDs and pops right open.

The most important question: how quickly and reliably can you get to your gun in an emergency? As you can see in the video below, the unit pops open almost as fast as I could place my finger on the electronic pad.


I tested the Identilock through 200 actuations — the advertised number on a full battery charge — with a dry finger. In two instances, it didn’t open the first time. Both times, a second try released the unit from pistol. [Note: the company claims the battery will last six months or 200 actuations.]

Identilock with USB charger and keys (courtesy

Each Identilock ships with a set of backup double-sided dimple keys (not something you’ll be able to duplicate easily) and a USB cable to charge the unit.

Identilock with key inserted (courtesy

If you forget to charge your Identilock and your battery drains, you can easily remove the cap covering the key lock under the USB port and open the unit to free your pistol.

The Identilock’s biggest drawback: price. At $239, it’s anything but inexpensive. The big bucks pay for portability, multi-user capability and rapid access. We haven’t seen another biometric gun lock that performs as well. How much is peace of mind worth? You make the call.

Specifications: Identilock Biometric Gun Lock

Size: 3.75″ high x 4.4″ long x 1.375″ wide
Weight: 11.3 oz.
Price: $239

Rating (Out of Five Stars):

Ease of programming and use: * * * *
Instructions are clear and programming the Identilock is simple, allowing up to three people to access the unit.

Reliability * * * * 1/2
After hundreds of actuations, I only experienced two failures to open with a dry finger. Water gives the finger pad more problems, but I haven’t seen any fingerprint recognition system where that isn’t true

Speed of Access * * * * *
We can’t verify Identilock’s claim of 300 millisecond recognition, but this is clearly the fastest-access biometric device we’ve tried

Overall: * * * *
The Identilock system gives you the peace of mind restricted access you want combined with the confidence that you’ll be able to get to and use your gun quickly if you have to. The fact that it’s small enough to keep the gun portable is a nice plus. The only real drawback is that $239 price tag.

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  1. This is much more acceptable as a solution – to the extent that the problem exists – of unauthorized housemates gaining access to the gun than a so-called “smart” gun would be.

    I still don’t want one, but I have no ideological or political objections to it being marketed.

  2. Biometric safes are a terrible idea for self defense guns. They won’t read if your finger is wet, dirty, greasy, bloody, scraped or cut

    • Note that this can be programmed for three different fingers, not necessarily for three different users. You could set it to recognize a finger on your non-dominant hand.

  3. Just remember that it’s a trigger lock and using it on a loaded weapon is unsafe. That’s also mentioned in the owner’s manual.
    That means you quickly unlock it and then load it.

    • Lawyers being lawyers,

      Highly unlikely ANYONE, even those lawyers, will use this on an unloaded pistol.

  4. An expensive gimmick. For $90, MidwayUSA will sell you a steel box with a 5-button combination lock. No worries about failure of a biometric lock and, with buttons, you can open it by feel in the dark. As is, it will keep the rug rats out. Sunk into the floor with no room to get a pry bar under the lid, it would be pretty burglar proof.

    • Can you unlock it in 300 milliseconds? Is it portable once sunk into your floor?

      Did you even read the purpose of this gizmo?

      • It’s a biometric trigger lock.

        I have a lock box similar to the one MidwayUSA sells. It takes me about 3 seconds to open it. That’s not a disadvantage for two reasons. The first is that I can safely keep a fully loaded gun inside. Safe use of the Identilock requires you to load the gun only after removing the lock. That cancels any advantage in access time. The other reason is that it takes me far longer to run through the house to the box’s location.

        Portability isn’t as important to me as security. A trigger lock can’t stop a burglar from stealing a gun and prying off the lock at his leisure. My $100 lock box, buried where a burglar can’t pry open the lid, is nearly as secure as a $1,000 pistol safe bolted to a concrete floor.

        • Everything I’ve read or heard about safes and locks and all such paraphernalia ALWAYS says that you should store the firearms unloaded and the ammunition in a separate safe place.

          I wonder how many people read that and say, “Yeah, right.” and ignore the advice. I’m sure all the readers of TTAG have safes full of unloaded firearms, especially the ones next to their beds. And closets or basements full of unsecured ammunition.

          The question in the real world is, how secure is the safe from unauthorized access and in the case of this particular device, is it drop-safe? Is there any possible way to get that pistol to go BANG without getting the Identilock released first? If not then I would most certainly ignore the advice of some corporate liability lawyer and at a minimum keep it in Israeli carry condition, but most likely cocked and locked.

        • Perhaps the dropsie boys in Omaha will attach one to a SIG and throw it on the floor until it goes bang.

          I’ll stick to the shelf by bed and desk drawer. Loaded.

  5. “In two instances, it didn’t open the first time”

    It only needs to fail one time to cost you or someone else their life…no thanx…

    • That’s two out of 200 or 1%. That’s not unreasonable. There are an awful lot of guns that people rely on for personal defense that don’t perform better than that.

      • Try telling that to the 2% that it will eventually fail for costing them their lives. The only and best way to keep a self defense weapon ready but out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have access to it is to keep it “on your person” and ready for possible use. If it’s not currently in use, lock it up in a safe or lock box. Otherwise, my weapon is “always” on my person and ready for immediate use if needed.

        • Everything is a tradeoff, and there are few absolutes.

          Some people will rely on this to keep their children safe, and it is far more likely to work reliably at that than in a surprise self-defense case. Everyone has to make their own decision on which way their scales are weighted.

          How many times will this keep a curious child safe in the 10 years where a child is most likely to be curious without judgement?

          How many times in that same ten years is the owner likely to have a self-defense case? And if 1% or 2% or even 10% of those times, this fails to open, how does that compare to how many times it protected children?

        • “Try telling that to the 2% that it will eventually fail for costing them their lives”

          Hear, hear…

        • TRAIN THE KID. Old enough for – not in the electrical outlet, don’t touch the stove, run with scissors, stay out of moms purse then the varmint can learn don’t touch guns.

          Do you people raise idiots or just assume everyone else has such and you need to nanny them? That’s progtardism.

      • “There are an awful lot of guns that people rely on for personal defense that don’t perform better than that.”

        And that’s why I carry a B/U…

    • Dan’s right.
      It’s not the right choice for me for only two reasons: A skin problem I’ve developed that makes my fingerprints hard to read due to constant peeling and regrowth, and my only kid is too old to be a concern anymore.
      If this price could come down a bit I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to customers, rich-seeming ones will be shown it daily.

  6. Having spent 1,1/2 hours trying to get my fingerprints to register at a county jail, I wouldn’t trust any fingerprint reading device, cuts, oil, calluses, finger misalignment, too many variables when I want that gun and I need it now. Hells bells in a panic, GDamn, situation it’s hard enough to grab the damned gun

  7. when this comes down in price i will most likely get one and mount the gun lock to the side of the night stand, which would make for an easy grab. looks like it might take some practice to get the finger placement right.

  8. Prepare to have your lives f*cked with; The next logical step is to build this technology into holsters, and we’ll all be required by government fiat to keep our EDC firearms locked up. I can just see that idea sloshing around in that NJ politician’s mind who originally mandated the electro-pistol as the only option.

  9. Fuck that!
    If it becomes common- a jammer will be available online in 2 months,
    not to mention my favorite phrase:
    “When the battery dies, so do you!”

  10. I feel like a lot of people here don’t have children; I imagine this product has little to no interest to someone whose household stuff stays where and how they put it. But for the rest of us – I am certainly interested in a product like this. It’s not that it would replace the bedside table; It would replace the lockbox. And that’s a big speed *improvement* relative to the alternative.

  11. It looks like a great solution for anyone who has very young children, for people who travel, for keeping a gun safe and available in a car, etc. Anyone who points out that it may fail better recognize that the same goes for their gun, no matter what kind it is. The truth is, power failures, electronic failures, and mechanical failures are facts of life. That’s why critical systems require backup systems. Nothing performs at 100%, 100% of the time, especially the people who use these devices. I would like to know how the Identilock holds up to a four foot drop onto a hard surface, but other than that, it’s nice to have this option available.

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