June 16, 2015
Having a firearm is a crucial aspect to any good home defense strategy, but as most people are aware, simply owning a firearm doesn't guarantee your safety. It has to be readily accessible, and preferably loaded, in order to be of much use.
While easy access is essential, most gun owners also recognize the need to keep their firearms safely stored when not in use. Whether to prevent children from accessing them or to keep them secure from theft, gun safes are usually necessary tools for gun owners.
Unfortunately, large gun safes aren't always the easiest to get into during a home defense scenario. For those who prefer using handguns for home defense, manufacturers have created a number of different bedside gun safes designed for easy access. Gun owners who aren't comfortable with handguns or who prefer using long guns for defense have generally had fewer options.
Often, these individuals are forced to decide between locking the firearm in a gun safe or simply leaving it out. Locking the long gun in a safe makes it more secure but less accessible, while leaving the firearm out makes it more accessible but less secure. Neither solution offers a good balance of both.
A product recently developed by BoomStix Home Defense (HD) called the BoomDock aims to change this trend. Essentially a locking device that secures the parts of the gun responsible for firing, the BoomDock attempts to fill the gap in the home defense market between easy-to-open bedside gun safes for handguns and full size gun safes that accommodate long guns but take more time to access.
To clarify, the BoomDock is not a gun safe, and the folks at BoomStix HD make this very obvious in all their materials regarding the product. Instead, the BoomDock is simply a device that renders your gun safe from prying hands while remaining easily accessible to those who need it.
Fast Access Anywhere
Taking a cue from many of the easy-access safes on the market, the BoomDock allows users to open the device with either a four-digit PIN number or an included radio-frequency identification (RFID) card. These options ensure quick entry in the stress of a defensive situation.
The keypad is easily programmable with a three-step process, but after repeated opening of the BoomDock, I found the RFID card to be the easiest and quickest method of entry. The user simply presses the main button on the keypad, places the card against it and waits until the device beeps, which signals that the lock is disengaged and that the user can now open the BoomDock to access their firearm. This all occurs within about two or three seconds, saving the user much needed time in a defensive scenario.
I did notice in my time with the BoomDock that if I was rushing to open it and didn't force myself to wait for the beep indicating the lock opening, I would fumble with the door and lose an extra second or two removing my firearm. This was still a very quick process, just not as smooth as when I waited to hear the signal.
In addition to the keypad and RFID card, the BoomDock also comes with a motion-activated light that illuminates the device's keypad. This helps eliminate disorientation and time spent fumbling for a light switch and makes opening the BoomDock in the dark very easy. The light snaps onto a pre-installed base plate on the door with an audible click, ensuring that it is attached correctly and securely.
As for mounting, the BoomDock can be placed almost anywhere in the home. Any flat surface is fair game. This includes walls, doors, floors, bed frames and a host of other locations. The device can be mounted vertically or horizontally and comes with all the necessary screws and anchors for placement.
While mounting the BoomDock vertically on a wall seems to be the most efficient for the user, unlocking and opening the device from a horizontal position or even from the floor isn't difficult. I chose to place the BoomDock on the floor in my bedroom and had no trouble finding and opening it, even in virtually no light. The point being, the BoomDock affords users plenty of flexibility in terms of where they choose to mount the device.
A Configurable System
Without a doubt the most intriguing and useful aspect of the BoomDock is its versatility. Using various adjustments, the device can be configured to fit a wide assortment of long guns as well as some mounted accessories, including side saddles, optics, magazines and more.
A trigger guard pin near the bottom of the BoomDock does most of the heavy lifting, supporting the majority of the firearm's weight, while a pair of padded arms on a sliding upper tract help prevent long guns from pivoting while in the BoomDock. Additionally, a trigger safety pin slides between the trigger and the rear portion of the trigger guard. These devices offer ample support without holding the firearm so tightly that it becomes difficult to remove when needed.
All of these supports are fully adjustable with a nut driver or socket and a 1/8-inch Allen wrench, allowing the BoomDock to fit an array of firearms. The entire trigger guard assembly can be moved along a horizontal axis, while the trigger safety pin can be moved vertically so the pin lands behind the trigger with the firearm resting on the trigger guard pin. The whole upper support track can likewise be adjusted to fit the specific firearm.
Other accessories that come with the BoomDock include magnetic-backed and peel-and-stick foam blocks and felt strips that protect firearms from the device's metal parts. Also, upper and lower plastic access restrictors, which can be cut with scissors to fit a particular firearm, are included to keep out dust and prevent access. However, the BoomDock still remains safe and functional without these optional accessories.
Of the different long guns I possess, I found only one that didn't work with the BoomDock: a Benelli M2 Field Shotgun. The issue was not with the entire BoomDock system but rather with the size of the trigger safety pin and the lack of necessary space on the shotgun between the trigger and the rear of the trigger guard. I could force the firearm to slide into position within the BoomDock, but removing it quickly was a different story.
The BoomDock performed flawlessly with my other long guns, which each had more available space between the trigger and rear of the trigger guard. For this reason, I feel the BoomDock is not to blame for the issue but rather the M2's trigger design, which leaves too little space behind the trigger to accommodate the trigger safety pin.
With my AR-style rifle, the BoomDock did very well. After making the necessary adjustments to the supports, I found myself trying to see how fast I could unlock the BoomDock, remove the firearm and get on target using the attached reflex sight. Even if I fumbled with the lock a little, this never took more than a few seconds at most.
Due to the relatively small size of the BoomDock, shooters using an AR-15 will only be able to use a 20-round magazine with this device. However, according to BoomStix HD, there is also a "Stretch" version of the BoomDock in the works that will accommodate 30-round AR-15 magazines. Despite this limitation, the BoomDock remains an effective tool for safely storing an AR-platform, or any type of long gun when not in use.
The BoomDock may seem simple in appearance, but what it lacks in that department, it more than makes up for in terms of functionality — all for a fairly reasonable price of $289. Unlike most of the rapid-access safes available for home defense, this one is purposefully engineered for long guns, and more than just fitting a few select models, adjusts to work with most that are available.
Accessing the BoomDock with the included RFID card or via the keypad using a PIN number is quicker and easier than dealing with a full-size gun safe yet keeps the firearm secure from children and other unwanted users. The motion-activated light also makes finding the keypad easy for entry in low-light situations, which are quite likely in the event of a home invasion.
While not as subtle in looks as many of the bedside gun safes popular for self-defense, the BoomDock offers incredibly fast access to long guns for those who prefer rifles and shotguns to handguns for their home defense needs. The BoomDock mounts to any flat surface, is easy to install and reconfigure and — most importantly — keeps long guns secure yet almost immediately accessible.
The BoomStix BoomDock
offers shooters a secure storage device that still allows for quick and easy access to long guns.
The BoomDock's internals are fully adjustable to fit a number of long guns. The entire trigger guard pin housing can be moved along the bottom, while the device's padded arms can slide along a track at the top.
The BoomStix HD
BoomDock can accept a host of different long guns because of its fully configurable design.
The device prevents unwanted users, such as children, from accessing the parts of the firearm responsible for firing.
Both of these firearms are secure, but readily accessible with the included RFID card or by inputting a 4-digit PIN.
Although it uses a very open design, the firearm is completely secure within the BoomDock's locked door.
The current version of the BoomDock only allows for 20-round magazines when storing an AR-style rifle, but the company plans to introduce a "Stretch" model that will accommodate 30-round magazines.
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