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.
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.
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.
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.]
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.
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.
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.