How to Use a Gun Lock: A 5-Step Guide

AR-15 semi-auto assault rifle gun on a wooden background unloaded and with a secure child lock going through the chamber | How to Use a Gun Lock | Featured

January 18, 2022 / Comments (0)

Gun Safety

Many state laws need you to know how to use a gun lock to keep the people around you safe. Learn the do’s and don’t of gun locks in this handy guide.

RELATED: How To Use Different Gun Safety Locks

How to Use a Gun Lock: Gun Safety in a Pinch

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Handgun with Chamber Lock Showing Gun Safety | How to Use a Gun Lock

1. Check Your State Laws

Before going out to buy a gun lock, make sure to check your state laws. It might be a case where simply having a gun lock won’t be enough.

You could be charged with a crime in some states if a child ends up with access to your gun regardless of if it’s bolted down with a gun lock.

2. Inspect Your Gun Lock

Before learning how to use a gun lock, ensure that the lock’s in good working order. The locking mechanism should be working properly and the cable must have a protective coating all over it (otherwise, it could damage your gun’s loading port).

3. Unload Your Firearm

Before inserting your gun lock, unload the weapon first. Gun locks only work if your weapons are not loaded.

For automatic pistols:

  1. Eject the magazine, then pull back the gun slide to take out any ammunition from the chamber.
  2. Lock the slide rearward and check the chamber again to make sure it’s clear from any rounds.
  3. If your pistol needs an empty magazine loaded for the slide to lock, insert an empty magazine after clearing out your weapon, before ejecting it again.

For revolvers:

  1. Press the cylinder release button, then tilt back the gun and press the ejector rod.
  2. Make sure each chamber in the revolver is not loaded.

RELATED: Advanced Safety | Thinking Beyond the 4 Firearm Safety Rules [PODCAST]

4. Unlock Your Gun Lock and Thread It Into the Handgun

For automatic pistols:

  1. Once your gun’s cleared out, use the key provided to unlock the gun lock, then thread the cable end into the open action and through the magazine well. You can also thread the cable through the barrel and out towards the muzzle.
  2. After threading the lock into the handgun, insert the gun lock’s free end into the lock and engage the lock with a twist of the key before removing it. The trigger shouldn’t engage if you’ve locked the gun properly

For revolvers:

  1. Check how your revolver rotates from the back – If it rotates clockwise, position the lock on the left side. Otherwise, position it on the right.
  2. Next, thread the free end through the top exposed cylinder and into the bottom cylinder to prevent it from rotating.
  3. You can also thread the lock through the barrel just like with an automatic, but it’s riskier than the first method.

5. Store Your Firearm Properly and Securely

With the slide still locked, store your handgun in a safe, secure location. Leave the recoil spring compressed while the lock’s engaged to protect the gun slide from damage.

Here's an infographic guide that you can use. Feel free to download, save and share it with your loved ones:
How To Use A Gun Lock


Know the reasons not to use a trigger lock from NRA-certified instructor Nicole Hamilton:

Gun locks aren’t (and shouldn’t be) your primary means of securing your guns – it’s not a substitute for a well-built gun safe. These locks also don’t prevent curious children from getting their hands on your gun the way a safe does.

Learning how to use a gun lock adds another safety tool in your arsenal to protect yourself and the people around you.

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