For my first firearm purchase, I wanted ensure I had a gun safe that provided solid security with reliable, convenient access to facilitate regular trips to the range and to be ready in the event of an exigent home-defense scenario.
I needed a gun safe that was fully mechanical, using a combination system that didn’t require batteries or electrical power of any sort, and did not require keys which could be misplaced.
While I currently own both electronic and mechanical safes, I only secure firearms in safes that employ a mechanical access system. I still own electronic access safes (IE keypads, RFID, biometrics) but only to store ammunition. This is partly due to mild skepticism about electronic safes, but it is also due to the availability of quality all-mechanical safes which are faster and more reliable than electronic safes.
I ultimately selected the Shotlock 200M Solo Vault: An all-steel quick-access combination safe designed to secure and store a duty-sized handgun (IE Glock 17, M1911, Smith & Wesson M&P, etc.) with additional magazines.
It locks and unlocks using an 8-button mechanical push-button interface capable of creating 1500+ 4-digit safe combinations.
After 3 years of unlocking, locking, opening, closing, storing, and accessing my firearm, the Shotlock 200M Solo-Vault has proven itself to be reliable, well-made, and perfect for simple, secure storage and quick access of a regularly used handgun.
The Shotlock 200M Solo-Vault sits on my nightstand, giving me ready access and secure storage for my range/carry gun. Throughout 3 years of regular access and storage, the safe has proven itself to be the perfect storage solutions for regular access and storage of my firearm.
While not the ultimate do-it-all gun safe, the Shotlock 200M Solo-Vault excels at its designated purpose with its straightforward design, quality construction and versatility.
Because of its portability, it can be easily stowed out of sight when friends and family (and their kids) visit. Having a large, solid gun vault is great, but there is value in the ability to stow my firearms from intruders while also knowing they are securely locked in place.
The locking system is simple, fast, and reliable, and the quality of materials, fit, and finish far exceed other quick access safes sold at the same price. After 3 years, the unit still looks brand new with no rust, external scuffs or scratches.
The interior liner shows wear with some digging marks, but that’s from careless transport of the safe with a steel firearm bouncing around inside of it. The unit is advertised as being portable, but a firearm with jagged edges (IE steel sights, takedown levers, etc.) will scratch the felt-like interior unless extra padding is used to secure a firearm from moving around.
The large, clear interface allows me to unlock and positively lock the safe without having to visually see what I am pressing.
What Can It Store?
Interior dimensions of the Shotlock 200M Solo-Vault measure 9 x 7 x 2 inches (22.8 x 17.7 x 5.1 cm) providing ample room for a full-sized duty pistol (IE Glock 17, Beretta 92, M1911) with 2-3 spare magazines. The interior is felt-lined to provide mutual protection between the safe and its contents.
While primarily designed to store a single handgun, the safe can easily be pressed into storing two compact-sized handguns albeit without spare magazines.
Please note, using the Shotlock 200M Solo-Vault to store more than one handgun might exceed its designed purpose (quick access for one handgun), and a person should always be mindful which direction their firearms are pointing even when placed into secure storage.
Exterior Dimension & Weight
The Shotlock 200M Solo-Vault hits a sweet spot between durability, size, and weight that makes it ideal for securing a handgun on a nightstand, in a drawer, in a closet, or on a shelf. It also features mounting holes allowing it to be secured to a wall.
The exterior dimensions measure 11.25 x 7.75 x 2.5 inches (28.5 x 19.6 x 6.3 cm); it weighs 6.8 lbs (3.05 kg) empty. For comparison, it is roughly the same size and weight as an original Playstation 2 (though a tad heavier).
For quick access, be sure the push-button controls, turnkey latch, and lid have adequate clearance. You do not want the steel lid accidentally slapping down on your hand while accessing your safe from a cramped compartment, in a drawer, or on a shelf.
It uses a hinged lid secured by a turnkey latch. When unlocked, the latch can remain engaged keeping the lid secured and closed. To open, simply turn the unlocked latch clockwise, and the latching mechanism will release a pair of steel tabs welded to the interior of the lid.
Security, Combination, and Locking Mechanism
Built using 14 gauge steel (typically used for framing small buildings), the Shotlock 200M Solo-Vault is solidly constructed despite being portable and small enough to conceal or store on a shelf or drawer.
Whether opened or closed, there is no wiggle or play between the main housing and moving parts (lid, the combination buttons, turn-key latch). To prevent jimmying or prying of the lid, the lid features a steel overhang that encases the seam between the lid and main housing.
It would be extremely difficult for anyone, especially a child, to force their way into the safe with small tools or implements. Even using heavy tools, it would be difficult to force access into the safe without attempting to demolish the entire unit (not an easy task on its own).
There are six pre-drilled mounting holes located on the bottom of the safe. These holes are polished and finished, and they become inaccessible once the safe is secured to a solid surface. There is an additional pair of catty-cornered cable slots to seucre the Shotlock 200M Solo-Vault using a cable lock.
The 4-digit code is set using an 8-button interface, and combinations are limited to roughly 1500 unique configurations (sequentially repeated numbers such as 1-1-1-1 or 1-2-2-1 or 1-2-3-1 are not allowed).
The locking, latching, and combination mechanism are entirely mechanical with zero need for batteries or electrical power of any kind: A plus for anyone worried about the reliability of cheap consumer electronics for securing and accessing a firearm.
The combination buttons are large and tactile. Each button generates positive mechanical feedback when pressed, and the turn-key latch generates audible and tactile feedback when latching or unlatching the lid. If you know your combination, access to the safe is speedy and can be performed in the dark with efficiency and speed.
If the wrong combination is punched into the keypad, the latch will not turn, and the door latch will remain engaged and locked. If the wrong combination is partly entered, the turn-key latch can be turned counter-clockwise a few degrees to reset the combination entry sequence.
To change the combination, the safe needs to be unlocked and opened and a screwdriver is used to remove a pair of external screws. This allows access to the combination mechanism, and the combination can be positively set using clearly marked tabs corresponding with each combination button. These screws can be undone while the safe is closed and locked, but it will be impossible to tamper or alter the combination mechanism without properly accessing the internals of the safe.
The Shotlock 200M Solo-Vault also features a manual override function using an included pair of keys. Like all key-driven overrides, this feature can be a double-edged sword. On the upside, if someone forgets their combination, they can simply gain access using the override key and change the combination. On the downside, if the keys fall into the wrong hands, that person can gain access to the safe and its contents.
Please note, almost every electronic safe on the market features a similar manual override function that uses keys, so keep this considered when researching gun safes to buy.
The Shotlock 200M Solo-Vault is designed to be portable and features a rubber-coated carry strap secured to the safe using a pair of steel brackets and reinforced screws.
Compared to most portable gun safes, the Shotlock 200M Solo-Vault provides a considerably higher level of security and construction, and the unit can be secured to the inside of a vehicle or suitcase using a cable lock.
Storing a pistol with 2-3 spare magazines, the safe weighs roughly 10 lbs (4.55 kg) allowing for easy and convenient relocation if the safe needs to be stowed or hidden from guests and children. If needed, the entire safe can be stored inside a larger safe for long-term storage.
Due to its compact size and overall portability, the Shotlock 200M Solo-Vault also functions as a convenient and discreet travel safe. It will fit into a suitcase, and it has been approved for travel by the TSA (always contact your airline about travel requirements for firearms beforehand). Using the cable lock holes, the unit can be tethered to the interior of a suitcase or to furniture at your destination.
|+ Fully mechanical, no batteries required.|
|+ 14 gauge steel construction.|
|+ Flanged pry-resistant lid.|
|+ Pre-drilled, finished holes for mounting and cable locks.|
|+ Dual purpose home and travel safe.|
|+ California DOJ compliant.|
|– Unsealed design: Not waterproof or fireproof, not designed for long-term storage.|
|– Override key feature has limited usefulness; protect your keys.|
Where to Buy and Pricing
I purchased the Shotlock 200M Solo-Vault in 2016 for $132.42 ($124.92 + $7.50 tax) from Amazon, and the same item is currently listed for sale at $115 before tax.
You can purchase the Shotlock 200M Solo-Vault from Amazon here.
There are a dizzying array of handgun safes on the market, but the Shotlock 200M Solo-Vault is one of the few purely mechanical safes designed for quick access without spending $250 for a For Knox PB1 Handgun Safe.
The Fort Knox PB1 is heavier, bigger, and stronger (built using 10 gauge steel), but it does not feature the same portability and costs twice as much. Omission of the key-override feature is a plus for some and a minus for others; the Fort Knox PB1 relies solely on the Simplex combination lock system. If you have older children who can pick locks or might steal your safe keys, the Fort Knox would be a better option.
You can purchase the Fort Knox PB1 from Amazon here.
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