More Americans are relying on AR-15s for home defense than ever. Unfortunately, an AR locked in a traditional closet safe may not qualify as "within reach" when you desperately need it. Thankfully, Hornady, one of the most trusted names in ammunition, has expanded its product line to include safe AR-15 storage solutions, making your carbine more accessible without forfeiting security.
There are many reasons for the AR's growing popularity for home defense. Not only is an AR easier to shoot more accurately than a handgun — thanks to its additional points of contact with the body (cheek weld, shoulder mount and two hands) — an AR-type rifle chambered in .223 Rem./5.56 NATO produces superior terminal performance and penetrates less when compared to the typical handgun. And felt recoil is virtually nil.
Unless you live in a state where AR-15 ownership is heavily regulated, you'll have access to more rounds (compared to most handguns) with which to protect yourself and your family in the event of a home invasion. Ten rounds seem sufficient until you consider the likelihood of multiple intruders and the fact that it may take several rounds to stop each of them — especially with a handgun.
The key is having your AR close, safe and easily retrievable. Hornady's new RAPiD Safe AR Wall Lock solves that problem.
RAPiD Safe AR Wall Lock
The RAPiD Safe AR Wall Lock is part of Hornady's new line of RAPiD Safe products. It is a uniquely designed radio-frequency identification (RFID)-enabled security solution designed for a carbine-length AR or a shotgun. The Wall Lock is constructed of 14-gauge steel and can be mounted to a wall horizontally or vertically. Although it can be opened with one of the two supplied circular barrel keys, locating a key, inserting it into the lock, then turning it to access your firearm can be surprisingly difficult when your heart rate is elevated, you're working in low-to-no light and feel like you're in a race against time. As such, the keys should be considered more of a backup in the event that you forget your programmable code or misplace your RFID-enabled fob, wristband or adhesive decal.
Each unit is powered by either an AC power source or four AA batteries. When using a personalized four- to six-digit code (any combination of the buttons labeled 1 to 4), the AR Wall Lock opens, affording you quick access to your firearm. Entering a code is much easier than fiddling with a key, but my preference is the touch-free RFID technology, which is even simpler and faster.
Once programmed, up to five RFID tags can be used to open the AR Wall Lock. The adjustable RFID-enabled wristband forms to your wrist like a watch. There is a subdued Hornady logo atop the wristband, but it is a sensor in the bottom portion of the wristband that, when held within an inch off the keypad, triggers the mechanism that opens the lock. The slim, lightweight wristband can be comfortably worn so that it's always with you.
The fob works like the wristband, but it can be conveniently attached to your keys. (If you're the guy or gal who's always hunting for your keys, this probably isn't your best option). The RFID decals are my favorite and are designed to adhere to an object like the back of a cellular phone, which is almost always within reach for most people nowadays.
The AR Wall Lock grip block locks the firearm in place and a supplied muzzle ring houses the muzzle for a secure wall mount. The unit can be adjusted to accommodate a wide array of AR-15s and shotguns, including those with mounted scopes or red dot optics. Since the barrel and stock protrude from the AR Wall Lock, it does little to hide the fact that it secures a long gun. Therefore, it's a good idea to mount it in an inconspicuous location. With an MSRP of $200, the AR Wall Lock is an affordable, versatile storage solution for your AR-15 or shotgun.
RAPiD Safe AR Gunlocker
The AR Gunlocker works similarly to the AR Wall Lock except that it fully encases one or two carbine-length AR-15s, shotguns or a combination thereof. The firearms are held in place with adjustable foam inserts.
Constructed of 16-gauge steel, the AR Gunlocker weighs 55 pounds and its exterior dimensions are 42 inches by 15 1/4 inches by 6 3/4 inches. Just like the AR Wall Lock, the AR Gunlocker is powered either by an AC power source or four AA batteries. The unit can be mounted to a wall for security or tethered to a stationary object using the supplied 1,500-pound-rated cable.
Whether stored upright (door on top), under a bed, in a vehicle or secured to a wall either horizontally or vertically, the AR Gunlocker's spring-loaded door opens quickly with the proper keypad code entry or with any of the supplied RFID tags. You can even program the AR Gunlocker and AR Wall Lock to accept the same RFID tag, which is a convenient option.
A door dampener helps control the descent of the door when it opens downward, preventing the door from slamming against the ground causing unnecessary noise that can compromise your location and potentially leave you vulnerable. When mounted vertically or upright, removing the door dampener allows the door to open with less resistance. (When mounted upright, the door will need to be opened manually.)
To lock the AR Gunlocker, rotate the lock knob on the front of the unit counterclockwise to the locked position. A green light activates when the door is locked. With an MSRP of $350, the AR Gunlocker is an affordable alternative to a traditional safe and could be far faster to access your firearm.
Getting It Ready
Programming either unit is a snap. For RFID tags, you'll need to first open the safe with the supplied barrel key or an RFID tag that you already programmed. With the safe open, press and release the red program button. Next, hold the RFID tag within an inch of the illuminated RFID reader on the door. Two audible beeps followed by the red light transitioning from blinking to solid indicate that the RFID tag was successfully programmed. It is incredibly easy.
Both units have pre-drilled mounting holes for a smooth installation. Each exceeds the highest safety standards from ASTM International. Of course, as indicated in their respective owner's manual, these safes, like all others, are only as secure as the control of the keys that could be used to unlock them. Be sure to store any programmed RFID tags and barrel keys in a safe location to prevent unauthorized access of your firearms.
Battery Power Mode
One caveat when using battery power with either unit: You must first press the keypad before entering your access code or using RFID technology to open the lock. Pressing the button causes the system to switch from battery saving mode to a ready status. It is recommended that you change the batteries every year.
To test the battery strength, first disconnect the unit from the AC power source. Press and release the "H" button on the lid. If the LED light on the "H" button flashes green, the batteries are good. Flashing yellow indicates a low battery. Flashing red means it's time to replace the batteries.
Hornady's AR Wall Lock and AR Gunlocker are a great combination of security and accessibility. Rather than assuming you will be able to access the AR-15 stored elsewhere in a moment of crisis, see to it! After all, when it comes to defending your family during a home invasion, it's in your best interest to possess every advantage.