It’s hard for new products to break through the noise of SHOT Show and attract much attention. Especially an item that’s considered as basic and boring as a gun lock. But that’s the feat that ZORE managed this year when they cut through the clutter with a design that’s anything but the same old thing.
ZORE’s X Core gun lock is unlike any other device we’ve seen for securing a handgun. Unlike cables that thread through the action or clamps that cover or block the trigger, the ZORE X Core gun lock is a caliber-specific combination-actuated unit with a cartridge-shaped extension that sits inside the chamber, preventing the gun from firing.
The Israeli-designed X Core (it’s assembled in the US) has a large combination wheel or RAPIDial, as they call it. There are no numbers on the dial as the idea is to count the detent clicks as you rotate it. That’s an advantage as it lets you operate the X Core in the dark. Also a plus: you can use the dial in either direction…you don’t always have to rotate the dial clockwise, for instance, to begin the sequence.
ZORE’s promo video does a good job of illustrating the idea:
You don’t have to be an IDF operator to use the ZORE X Core, but don’t expect to figure it out without reading the instructions. This isn’t a simple key or combination thingy.
The solid, almost jewel-like lock is impressively finished and has a feel of precision. It ships with a scratch-off backup unlocking code that you’ll need to use the lock the first time. While you can easily set your own combination, things happen and memories fade. You’ll want to keep the card in a safe place in case you ever need it.
The 9×19 X Core ships with a removable plastic cover over the chamber protrusion.
Once you reveal the backup code and enter it, you can remove the cover and mount the X Core in a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. ZORE lists the supported models here.
The X Core lock runs on a CR2 battery that will last for years under normal use. There’s a series of three LEDs on the top of the lock that let you know when the correct combination’s been entered, when the battery charge is getting low and help when you’re setting your own combination.
Once the unit is inserted in the chamber and the lock is activated, that extension expands, clamping itself inside the chamber and preventing the lock from being removed. The extension has a rim, just like a standard cartridge, that’s engaged by the extractor and lets you rack the slide and quickly eject the unlocked X Core (see the video above).
We tried the ZORE X Core in a GLOCK 43, a Beretta APX and an FN-S 9C and had no problems using it just as it was designed. It engaged surely and firmly.
There’s no such thing as a gun lock that can’t be picked or removed given enough time, tools and effort. That said, the ZORE Core X seems far more secure than any cable or trigger locks we’ve ever tried.
We attempted to remove it by disengaging the extractor, but…nothing. We couldn’t get it to back out of the chamber. The extension was still engaged and wouldn’t budge. ZORE claims that if a thief saws the main unit off of the extension when locked, the chamber unit will remain in place. We didn’t give that a try.
The only other consideration is speed of access. The idea of a lock like this is to let you keep a firearm close at hand while making sure that children or other unauthorized individuals can’t use it. But when you need the gun, you don’t want to fumble with it. You need it operational and available ASAP.
The process of unlocking the ZORE X Core is easy enough. Enter your combination, get a green LED confirmation, and press the yellow-rimmed release button on the back end. Then rack the pistol (which ejects the lock like an empty cartridge) and your GTG.
How long that takes is a function of your combination (you can make it as long or short as you’d like) and practice.
An owner of an X Core would do well to practice opening and ejecting the lock a number of times to ensure that they can unlock and remove it quickly and smoothly if and when the time comes. It isn’t difficult at all. But like all things, practice helps. There are a few steps in the process and it can be kludgy at first. Some repetition will ensure you can get it done when it counts. And yes, the X Core is California-compliant.
The ZORE X Core is an ingenious design that appears to be about the most secure option for keeping your pistol accessible outside of a safe. If you have kids and can’t or don’t want to keep your nine in a safe, you’ll sleep well at night with an X Core on your pistol.
SPECIFICATIONS: ZORE X Core Gun Lock
Caliber: 9mm (Zore says .40 and .45 models are on the way)
Battery: CR2 (2-3 years of normal use)
Weight: 4.8 oz.
Length: 2.77 inches
Width: 1.78 inches
Height: 1.32 inches
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Build Quality: * * * * *
The X Core is ingeniously designed and beautifully built. It oozes a feeling of quality and precision. It operated smoothly and surely every time (hundreds) we tried it.
Ease of Use: * * * *
At its heart, it’s a combination lock. An easy one to use that you don’t have to look at. But there are a few steps involved in accessing your gun. A little practice will ensure you’re able to unlock your pistol in a hurry if you need to.
Overall: * * * * 1/2
The ZORE X Core gun lock may be the most secure way to lock a handgun that’s stored outside a safe. We’ve tried other options that give you slightly quicker access in an emergency, but the X Core seems — by far — to be the hardest to defeat. And for a lot of gun owners, particularly those with children, that’s job one. It isn’t inexpensive, but the X Core is well worth the investment.