Monday, July 07, 2008

Mossberg Loc-Box Review

I recently decided to switch to a shotgun for my primary home defense piece. To that end, I picked up a Mossberg 500A Mariner in 12 gauge. Once the gun was proven at the range, I needed a way to secure it from curious kids.

I ordered a Loc-Box directly from Mossberg. It consists of two primary parts: the Loc-Box itself and a hook that goes into the muzzle of the gun.

Here's a pic of the main unit, with my shotgun in it:

The main reason for the hook is to stabilize the gun. The locking part of the unit is what secures it. Here's a pic of the muzzle:

Per the instructions, you are supposed to mount both parts to the wall by screwing them into a stud. Mossberg supplies three long wood screws for doing so. I did it slightly differently, attaching them to pieces of wood which are attached to the wall; one piece of wood was already in my closet, while the one for the muzzle hook is a scrap I attached to the sheetrock using Gorilla Glue and 8 drywall screws.

To use the Loc-Box, you unlock and open it. Then, slide the gun's muzzle up onto the hook, and then hang it on the hook through the open ejection port (the gun's action has to be open to put it in the Loc-Box). Then close and lock the unit. Here is a pic of the unit unlocked and open. You can see the hanging hook in the middle.

By hanging the gun on a hook through the open ejection port, there is no way to bring the gun into battery with the gun in the lock. Also, nothing goes inside the trigger guard. I specifically did not want a trigger lock because they can cause accidental discharges with loaded firearms.

As you may be able to tell, the hook that you hang the gun upon, and also the muzzle hook, are vinyl coated to protect your gun from scratches. The inside of the Loc-Box is padded, but the inside lip on the right is not. I covered the lip with electrical tape to prevent my shotgun from getting scratched.

The Loc-Box comes with two keys. I have one on a keychain on a hook hidden in the closet, with the other on the keychain I keep in my pocket. I can see fumbling for the keys in an emergency, especially in the dark, so I'll probably unlock the unit at night, then lock it in the morning. As shown in the picture, the Mossberg Mariner has the safety on, action open, one round of Remington OO buckshot on the carrier, and four in the magazine. A full reload rides in an Allen butt cuff.

Cost with shipping from Mossberg was around $40, which I consider reasonable. I do not believe that this will stop a determined thief. However, for those of you who need a device to secure a shotgun against curious children*, this is a good option. Aside from Mossberg's own shotguns, it will fit a Remington 870, and probably most other slide action gun, and many autos as well.

* I have two small children. I am firm believer in gun-proofing kids, rather than trying to child-proof guns. They know to not touch my guns without me there. But until they are older I wanted a second line of defense against curious hands.


Anonymous said...

"...I specifically did not want a trigger lock because they can cause accidental discharges with loaded firearms..."

...why would you even THINK of trigger locking a loaded firearm?

You trigger lock a firearm at no time other than when it's UNLOADED. When used properly, a trigger lock is perfectly safe (and with the combination lock variety, there's no key to lose or fumble for).

As for the idea of storing a shotgun in your home that's loaded in the first place, how wise that is (regardless of the type of lock you use) is debatable. Don't kid yourself, a key that hangs on a hook that you think is 'hidden' can be found by a curious child.

Mark Baur said...

Dear anonymous,

Please note that one of the three powerful rules of safe gun handling is that you always treat a gun as if it were loaded, particularly until you have personally verified that it is not. As soon as the gun leaves your direct control (you set it down, etc) you must immediately assume that it is loaded again.

Precisely how does a trigger lock prevent the gremlins that plague those shot by "unloaded" guns everywhere from loading the gun? If the trigger lock does not prevent the loading of the firearm (which it does not) how do you ensure that the firearm does not get loaded while out of your immediate control?

Assuming that you would not be putting a trigger lock on a gun if it were not intended to leave your immediate control, one must assume that a trigger lock will be installed on a loaded gun, which is a bad idea. Therefore, implicitly, trigger locks are a bad idea.

Nothing more than a symbolic fig leaf to make the ignorant feel safer (and by doing so placing them or their loved ones in more peril)

--not anonymous

Absinthe On The Net said...

"I have two small children. I am firm believer in gun-proofing kids, rather than trying to child-proof guns."

One of the most intelligent comments I have yet read on any blog! Good job GGL

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

I too have a 590 and LocBox. I think it is a good system. It may NOT "stop a determined thief", but if installed properly, it will take major effort to remove from the wall-- and even then the gun will inoperable until the locking collar is removed from the weapon.

I do have some feedback for you based on your photos and description of your setup.

My initial observation is that the muzzle hook is intended to, as you say, stabilize the gun; i.e., to prevent the barrel from being used as a lever to wrench the Loc-Box loose from its mounting. TO THAT END, THE UPPER HOOK SHOULD ENTER THE MUZZLE AS FAR AS POSSIBLE WHILE STILL PERMITTING THE EJECTION PORT TO BE SEATED OVER THE HANGING HOOK. As shown in your picture, I don't think the muzzle hook enters the muzzle enough to prevent the barrel being used as a lever.

My second observation is that the three long screws (I remember them as about 2 1/2 to 3") give a total thread bite of 7 1/2 to 9inches. As you have them mounted through a piece of wood that is only 3/4 inch thick, unless they also are screwed into the backing stud, your total thread bite (the sheetrock doesn't count) is only 2 1/4 inches. That certainly makes it easier for "a determined thief" to remove your shotgun from your premises.

Thank you for indulging me in this unsolicited opinion.


Anonymous said...

I appreciate the information in your writing as well as the replies that I wread. They enlightened me as how to secure a shotgun Thanks to all of you.Best regards. David