We all know that twinge of fear that creeps over us when we park our car in public knowing we have firearms inside. I know the people that have had that window broken out, and lost pistols and computers while stopping at a Walmart on the way to a morning match. It was broad daylight, busy parking lot, didn’t matter, the gear was gone before the glass had settled on the asphalt. Far too often I find myself deciding not to stop and run an errand or have a nice meal when coming home from the range because my prized guns and gear are in my car. That same concern washes over me when I go out for a day of hunting and I have other firearms or equipment in my vehicle. Fortunately, Hornady offers a product that solves this dilemma.
Hornady has been quietly expanding their line of security products for the last several years. Their focus is on providing owners a way to keep their firearms safe and secure while still having relatively quick access. These security products support both home storage and access as well as vehicle usage. The emphasis has been on handguns, though several products are designed for long gun security.
One point to make up front, I am a Pro Shooter for Hornady, I think they make great bullets and ammunition. I was using Hornady bullets for 20 years before I was lucky enough to get an introduction that led to my sponsorship, but this was my first experience with the new security line.
Originally, I intended to mount the AR Gunlocker in an older Land Cruiser that is sorely lacking any form of security for valuables left unattended. Unfortunately, the 42 inch overall length of the locker was one inch too long to support my preferred mounting location in the old FJ40. However, as luck would have it, the Gunlocker fit perfectly in the rear cargo area of my current vehicle — a 2012 FJ Cruiser that is a blast to drive around town and has everything I need for a day on the range.
My initial impression when opening the box was that this thing is stout for a vehicle mounted safe, it’s not just a thin tin box. The Gunlocker is made of 16 gauge steel, which is only about 1/16th of an inch thick, but with the folding, doubling, boxing, and reinforcement it weighs in at close to 50 pounds. It’s definitely strong enough to deter and delay most casual criminals from getting to your valuables without making some serious noise.
The locker door fits tightly against the box frame and leaves little room for prying as a means to gain access. The full length hinge and multiple latches ensure that the door can’t be flexed as well. It’s a sturdy, solid design and you know it from the look.
- Dimensions- 42”x15”x7”
- Opening Size- 40 ½”
- Weight- 50 lbs
- Power- 4 AA batteries or AC adapter
- Capacity- 2 carbines
- MSRP- $349
The AR Gunlocker is designed so that it can be mounted in any orientation that still allows the full-length hinged door to be opened. It can be mounted standing on its end, with its narrow side door facing up, or lying flat. It has several pre-drilled mounting holes to make installation simple for the owner.
In the home, the AR Gunlocker can be mounted securely in closets, under the bed, above cabinets, wherever you can find something secure to screw it to and still provide the access you need. A cable lock is also provided to anchor it if screwing in place is not an option. The same cable lock could also be utilized in a vehicle by securing around seat framing or frame supports.
In the back of the FJ, I mounted it flat with the door facing the rear of the vehicle. The factory D rings mounted in the cargo area were located under where I wanted to mount the Gunlocker provided a perfect place to bolt it down. It took no time at all to drill a couple quick holes and install the product with longer bolts in the D ring holes- rock solid mounting.
The RAPID access of the Hornady products is one of the best features. The AR Gunlocker can be opened using several different methods. The lock can be programmed for up to 4 RFID devices (provided) and a 4-6 digit manual push button code. The unit comes with an RFID keychain pendant, 2 adhesive decals, and a bracelet. I keep the keychain pendant on my vehicle keychain and one of the stickers on the back of my phone, which means I typically have one of the devices to open it handy in my pocket. In addition, 2 backup keys are provided in event of power failure. I keep one of those on my keychain as well.
Programming the RFID devices and my personal combination was easy, and I am not a techy kind of guy. Simply install the batteries, you have one button to push and place the RFID items near the reader and it stores them one at a time, program as few as one or up to four devices. The locking mechanism can be powered by either an AC adapter (provided) for home use or 4 AA batteries for vehicle use. Touching the outside of the lock area activates the power and putting one of the RFID devices in close proximity to it releases the latches allowing the door to open.
The door is locked shut by 4 hardened steel latches spread across its width. A small gas strut opens the door when the latches are released. To secure the door, simply push it shut and turn the recessed knob counterclockwise to engage the latches.
The Gunlocker has two inserts for supporting firearms; one end is precut for a single firearm, the other for holding two. The inserts are held in place by friction and can be moved and adjusted as required or removed entirely if desired. The inserts seem to be cut for holding a barrel and the tubular part of an AR buttstock. If you’re primarily using it for holding a more typical stock design, it may require deepening the precut grooves in the foam inserts to provide a better fit.
Once mounted, it was time to see exactly which firearms I would be able to fit and carry in the AR Gunlocker. First up was my primary 3 gun rifle, an 18”, 223 AR with a fixed stock and a 3” muzzle brake — it fit perfectly. Next up, a Ruger 10/22 with a Marlin 45/70 next to it, also fit easy as can be.
Full-sized bolt guns didn’t go quite so well though, none of my fixed stock bolts would fit, but in fairness that isn’t what it was designed or advertised to support, but I had to try. Doing a little measuring it appears that something around a 21” barreled fixed stock, short action bolt gun would fit. Quite a few variables to consider though, action, LOP, muzzle device and recoil pads.
Fortunately, the two folding stock bolt guns I tried did fit. The 24” barreled Accuracy International folding stock rifle, with a Surefire muzzle brake had about 3” length to spare. Due to the width of AI with the stock folded, it was much easier to get in and out of the door opening with the bolt lifted or removed.
The 22” barreled folding stock gun with a shorter brake had even more room. Though I didn’t have one to test, a 20” barreled folder may even be able to go in if it has a short suppressor.
Part of the beauty of the Gunlocker is the ability to configure the inserts. Removing the foam rifle supports readily allowed a 32” O/U shotgun hard case to slide inside for safe keeping. Moving the pads closer together comfortably cradled an AR pistol and allowed plenty of extra room for a laptop and some camera gear. The locker can hold more than just guns.
Running through all the methods and devices to open the AR Gunlocker was a snap and everything worked as advertised. There were no problems at all with the key fob, the decal stuck on my phone, the backup key, or my programmed personal combination. I particularly liked the flexibility of the stick on adhesive decals. The options for those are limitless. The 6 digit combination and the backup key, though not as fast, still provided reliable access.
The Hornady AR Gunlocker worked great and fit far more than just a couple AR style guns. At an MSRP of $350 I would say it was cheap insurance but since it can be found online for considerably less (saw it for under $300), why don’t you have yours yet? You can have a lifetime of security for all your valuables at the cost of a case of 223 ammo.
I would recommend that if you are going to regularly store firearms in the Gunlocker, throw in some desiccant packs and keep them wiped down with a light coat of oil to head off humidity and rust issues.
With the AR Gunlocker securely mounted, I have no reservations about leaving my assets locked inside when away from the vehicle. The only worry now is someone stealing the whole vehicle, rather than someone having the tools, time, and determination to get in the AR Gunlocker. It may just be a steel box on the outside but it’s got brawn and brains to keep out the bad guys and gives me peace of mind.
For more info on Hornady Security Products click Here.
To find a new AR to put in your new Locker click Here
To find an Accuracy International rifle to put in your new Locker click Here
About the Author – Jeff Cramblit is a world-class competitive shooter having won medals at both the 2012 IPSC World Shotgun Championship in Hungary and more recently the 2017 IPSC World Rifle Championship in Russia. He is passionate about shooting sports and the outdoors. He has followed that passion for over 30 years, hunting and competing in practical pistol, 3gun, precision rifle and sporting clays matches. Jeff is intimately familiar with the shooting industry – competitor, instructor, RO, range master, match director. Among his training credits include NRA Instructor, AR-15 armorer, FBI Rifle Instructor, and Officer Low Light Survival Instructor. As a sponsored shooter, Jeff has represented notable industry names such as: Benelli, 5.11 Tactical, Bushnell, Blackhawk, DoubleStar, and Hornady. He has been featured on several of Outdoor Channel’s Shooting Gallery episodes and on a Downrange TV series. Jeff’s current endeavors cover a broad spectrum and he can be found anywhere from local matches helping and encouraging new shooters as they develop their own love of the sport, to the dove field with his friends, a charity sporting clays shoot, backpack hunting public land in Montana, or the winners podium of a major championship.