Unfortunately our concept of a gun lock has been guided by a national campaign for cable locks, but they are inferior to the Omega system. The Omega locks the chamber with a cartridge sized insert that has an expansion sleeve. The system locks and unlocks with a special key wrench, which looks like a female torx bit but isn’t a specific torx size. It is not an individually keyed system like the cable lock, but as a child deternent it is a lot more practical, and it gives you easier access to your gun.
This is the video for the pistol lock. You can watch the rest of the videos on the Omega website or on their YouTube Channel.
On auto pistols like this Springfield Range Officer, the chamber insert goes in like a dummy cartridge and is latched to the extractor. The action, once closed and the sleeve locked, will not open.
This T-handle has a caliber specific bore guide that lines up the locking torx-looking bit. The handle itself is also safety locked closed, and it takes some hand strength to even open it, by design.
The insert extracts after you unlock it like a dummy cartridge. The back where the primer is has a rubber pad like a high quality snap cap.
For revolvers you insert the whole thing down the barrel, the completely lock the cylinder and hammer. 1/4 turn locked and unlocked is all it takes.
It took me less than two minutes with this cheap linesman plier from Home Depot to cut through this cable lock that came with one of my pistols.
Gun locks may not be the most exciting topic in the firearm world, but it is one that many of us have to deal with on a daily basis. In states like Maryland, California, Massachusetts, and even Florida, there are now laws on the books that either require you to keep your guns locked, or (in the case of Florida), make you criminally liable if your unlocked gun gets into the wrong hands. Unfortunately, we as a gun community have been sold on what is most likely the worst method of locking a gun available, the cable lock.
Omega Safety Systems has been making an alternative to the cable lock for more than a decade, and it is a far superior product. Unfortunately however, though they are approved by the Department of Justice in California, Maryland, Massachusetts and all the other gun lock requirement states, they were left out of the industry-wide gunlock promotion put together by the National Shooting Sports Federation (NSSF) that distributed over 35 million gun locks by 2010. It took me a few minutes to understand the way the Omega gun locks work, but it is ingenious, and head and shoulders better than cable locks on many levels. It is a shame that the locks we have grown to know are the cable locks.
It could be that cable locks are just cheap and that is why they were used, but you would think in such a life or death issue, more than minor price issues would come into play for a far superior technology. Omega locks retail on their website price page at $24.95 for most calibers, and nearly all calibers, from .22LR up through .45-70 are represented, and shotguns are a little more. Right now they are clearing out some inventory that was packaged in older clamshell packaging and, while they last, the clearance page has them for over ten bucks less, as well as case prices at just over $10 per lock. If you are a gun dealer in one of the mandatory states it is probably a deal that won’t last long once this article comes out.
If you really look at the technology, Omega gun locks may be the best gun locks ever invented to prevent young hands from using firearms while leaving a firearm easily accessible for its intended purpose. And even though Omega has been making locks for Browning, Winchester and a few other major gun companies since 2002, they may be the best kept secret in the gun industry, simply because they weren’t included in ChildSafe program by NSSF. When all you see out there is cable lock after cable lock, it is easy to think that this i the only option for locking up your gun, but the Omega is far superior methodology, and it has a lifetime warranty.
The premise of the Omega lock is that it locks the gun from the inside, not the outside. Each caliber or gauge has a specific insert the size of a cartridge. For pistols you load the lock like a live round, then you insert the “key” wrench down the barrel to expand a ring around the dummy cartridge locking device, locking it into the chamber. The key wrench is a T-handle that has a hard to open clip on the handle, so you have to be of at least sufficient hand strength to make the handle operable. On the end of the “key” wrench is a like a female torx bit, but isn’t a torx size, and with a 1/4 turn, the gun is locked. To unlock the gun, it takes about 2-5 seconds, you stick the key wrench into the barrel and 1/4 turn unlock, then rack the slide to remove the locking device and chamber a round. Watch the videos it is truly amazing.
When the gun is closed, you can’t even tell the Omega lock is in there, and from a safety perspective, this is a huge advantage over cable locks. If a kid, say a teenager, has had his eye on Mommy or Daddy’s gun sitting in the nightstand, and that gun has a cable lock through the action, the kid knows that he needs either a)the key, or b) a pair of linesman’s pliers or a garden clipper, which many homes have. The defeat method on the lock is so simple and obvious, a child, literally, can do it.
With the Omega lock, you would never know that the gun is locked until you actually try to use it. It is “stuck,” at first try, and even after you discover that the gun is locked with a device, if you have not seen an Omega locked removed (recently), you would ever even be able to figure out how on earth to open it. Even in the same drawer, most likely, a kid wouldn’t ever be able to connect the dots and make the gun operable.
With revolvers you insert a plug down the barrel and it locks the cylinder and hammer with the same kind of expansion ring. On rifles and shotguns you insert it like a cartridge and tighten the 1/4 turn from the back. Though the Omega locks are caliber specific, the T-handles cover a range of calibers each, so the same wrench that locks and unlocks your 9mm pistol will lock and unlock your .357 Magnum revolver.
The behavior of the gun, when someone tries to work the action, is that it is “stuck” or broken for lack of a better term. On pistols and revolvers, you can’t even open the action. For an impulse or opportunity kind of thing with a teenager, they will most likely just put the “broken” gun back in the drawer and hope you don’t notice that they touched it. On a rifle or shotgun, they will see the insert when they open the gun, if they look hard enough, but they won’t understand what they are looking at, or how on earth to get that thing out of there. For child safety, I have not seen a better gun locking system.
The same goes for a thief to some degree. A cable lock is like a free pass on a stolen gun. Yes, they are individually keyed somewhat, unlike the Omega that is a like a single sized torx bit, but everyone knows how easy cable locks are to cut. Even if your lock is too thick for linesmans pliers (most aren’t), Wal-Mart sells bolt cutters for $12. With the Omega lock, the thief will meet the same “broken gun” result as did the young person. And because the “key” on an Omega isn’t a key, and you would never know what it is or that it is related to the gun, the thief will most likely will leave it in the drawer, while absconding with their “broken” gun. At some point you might see a savvy villain who knows they can open the Omega with that wrench, but if you hide the wrench, it is something else for them to have to find. Ultimately if someone is determined, few locks will stop them, but the Omega is pretty effective as locks go.
A lot of people are totally against gun locks. If you need your gun, you generally need your gun right now. But in states where gun locks are required, you just don’t have a choice. The law is the law. Also take into consideration that a lot of first time gun owners came into the gun owning world these past few years, and a lot of them don’t know any other way but to lock their guns with a gun lock, a cable lock, as the ChildSafe program has taught them. As far as access to an operational firearm goes, I haven’t seen a more effective system than the Omega. With cable locks, they are usually rubberized, and they hang up when you try to get them out of the gun. The key is also tiny and there is a spinning cover over the keyhole. And what if you don’t have room for a safe and you have a whole bunch of guns with cable locks? All those little keys look the same. With the Omega you have one or a couple keys that will open all the same calibers in that range. It is a much more effective and common sense approach, and it should have been the product used for ChildSafe.
Some guns have internal locks and come with their own key. The Taurus guns mostly come this way, and we looked at a Judge Polymer that utilized this approach. Legislatively, the states that are in control of the anti-gunners tend to be moving toward the “internal lock” approach, because they can then exclude whole classes of firearms from the market, or so they think. The Omega lock is approved as an internal gun lock in Maryland, California and Massachusetts already, so no matter how the legislation falls, you are covered.
Often times the best safety device is the one you don’t see. Just ask the polymer striker gun companies that have dominated the pistol market for years. The Omega lock is a similar kind of idea. It is one step before an external lock, leaving it less vulnerable to defeat, and much more fault tolerant of using it incorrectly. It also comes off easy, yet complies with legislation, which is a huge plus. If you lock your firearm, or you are a dealer who is compelled by your state to give away locks with all of your used gun sales, the Omega lock is a product worth your time to look at. Check out the pictures and videos here, and if you are a dealer, take the time to sign up for a dealer or distributor pricing account. Omega gun locks are a great service to the gun owner, and probably the best gun lock technology on the market.