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Updated Feb 16, 2023 9:47 AM
As gun owners, we know it is our responsibility to keep our guns safe and secure. There are many different ways to do this, and they can be as elaborate as building an actual vault in your home to as simple as attaching a trigger lock.
I’m not here to tell you the best way to secure your guns and deter unauthorized persons from getting access to them; that decision is up to you. I am here to tell you that one of the simplest ways to secure your gun is with a trigger lock. There are a wide variety of options and models to choose from based on your firearm and needs. Either way, the best trigger locks will keep your guns safe and secure.
How We Picked The Best Trigger Locks
Before owning a gun safe, I used trigger and cable locks. Admittedly, I went this route because they either came free with the purchase of a new gun, or I got them for free through NSSF’s Project ChildSafe. As a result, I’ve seen, and used, a wide variety of different locks over the years, and they’re not all created equal. Similar, yes. Equal, no. Were I in a position where I needed to buy a trigger lock, I would use the following criteria that were also used to put together this list:
- Construction: Is this lock built from durable materials like steel, zinc, etc? You want to be sure that it is made from a durable material that will last for years.
- Lock Quality: Is the lock mechanism itself of high quality? If not, then it doesn’t matter how well constructed it is if the lock is easily defeated.
- Cost: Does this lock provide good value? Am I getting my money’s worth out of it, or is it overpriced for what it is?
The Best Trigger Locks: Reviews & Recommendations
Best Overall: IDENTILOCK
Why It Made the Cut: The IDENTILOCK is a sturdy, adaptive fingerprint lock that works in the blink of an eye.
- Locking mechanism: fingerprint
- 90-day risk-free trial
- Other features: Rechargeable battery
- Compatible with 30 different firearm makes and models
- Can store fingerprints of up to three people
- Dimple key override in case battery dies
- Make and model specific
- Expensive: $199 each
The IDENTILOCK is a clamshell design lock that covers the entire trigger area while still leaving the grip exposed. This key design, when combined with the natural location of the fingerprint sensor, allows you to unlock your gun in 300 milliseconds in the normal gripping process. Unlike other units that are limited to one fingerprint, the IDENTILOCK can store up to three people’s prints so the gun can be unlocked by you and a spouse or another trusted person. Outfitted with a rechargeable lithium ion battery, there’s also a simple key override in case the battery runs out. It’s not the cheapest option out there, but it’s definitely the most advanced and offers the most visual deterrent of them all. With a 90-day risk-free trial, you’ve got nothing to lose.
Best Fingerprint/Biometric: BISON L2 Fingerprint Trigger Lock
Why It Made the Cut: The BISON L2 Fingerprint Lock provides lightning-fast access to your gun.
- Locking mechanism: fingerprint
- Security features: pick and drill resistant tumble key lock
- Other features: 0.3 second release time, backup key included
- California DOJ approved firearm safety device
- Fits a variety of pistols, rifles, revolvers, and shotguns with trigger dimensions of 2.67Lx1.37Hx0.70W
- If for some reason, the fingerprint tech fails, there’s a secure tumble key lock for backup
- Expensive: List price is $125; street price is $99
The BISON L2 Fingerprint Trigger Lock was designed with two core goals—safety and accessibility. The aluminum casing houses a top-of-the-line capacitive sensor that reads your fingerprint profile at any orientation with 99.9 percent accuracy. With a touch of your finger, the lock pushes apart, releasing the trigger in just 0.3 seconds. This new, redesigned model also comes with a pick and drill resistant “butterfly” tumble key lock, increased tensile strength, and improved programming—adding extra security to your firearm.
Best Combination: Master Lock No. 94DSPT Combination Lock
Why It Made the Cut: The Master Lock 94DSPT Combination Trigger Lock lets you set your own combination for fast, keyless access.
- Locking mechanism: combination
- Security features: positive locking adjustable ratchet mechanism
- Other features: keyless entry
- Can be bought in multiples to save money
- Durable steel and zinc construction
- Rubber pads protect your gun’s finish
Master Lock is trusted all over the world for making quality locks. The 94DSPT Lock lets you set your own 3-digit numeric combination for keyless convenience. This lock’s four-pin tumbler is designed to resist lock picking. It is made of steel and zinc with a positive locking adjustable ratchet mechanism for even greater security. The rubber pads will help protect your gun’s finish by preventing any scraping or unwanted bumps. These locks can be bought in bulk to save money, and they’re backed by Master Lock’s lifetime limited warranty.
Best Keyed: Master Lock No. 90TRISPT Keyed Trigger Lock
Why It Made the Cut: Nobody does keyed locks better than Master Lock, and the No. 90TRISPT Keyed Trigger Lock is no exception.
- Locking mechanism: Key
- Security features: durable steel and zinc construction
- Other features: three locks, rubber protective pads
- Can be bought in multiples to save some money
- Durable steel and zinc body
- Rubber pads protect your gun’s finish
- Key locks are most prone to lock picking
Master Lock’s 90TRISPT Keyed Trigger Lock is ideal if you’ve got multiple guns that you need to secure. They can be bought in sets with your choice of using the same or different keys. Made of steel and zinc with a design that can fit handguns, rifles, and shotguns, this lock’s four-pin tumbler is made to resist lock picking. Rubber pads will protect your gun’s finish and they’re backed by Master Lock’s lifetime limited warranty.
Best Commercial Grade: Noble Guard NG-900 Dual Protection Lock
Why It Made the Cut: The Noble Guard NG-900 combines a traditional trigger lock with a steel cable for extra protection.
- Locking mechanism: key and cable
- Security features: hybrid design allows for double security
- Other features: can be used with or without the cable
- Ideal for travel situations
- Safety post blocks trigger movement
- 4-foot rubber-coated, heavy-duty steel cable deters theft
- The steel cable is only as sturdy as the item you attach it to
At gun shows, you’ll often see guns that are cabled to a table in addition to a trigger lock. There’s a good reason for that, and it doesn’t just have commercial applications. To use the Noble Guard NG-900, just run the bolted end of the cable around whatever you would like to secure your gun to, then through the loop and pull to your desired fit. Next, place the cable bolt into the bolt holder on the bottom of the locking mechanism and insert your firearm into the trigger lock. No assembly is required and everything is ready to go straight from the box. This is a great option to deter not only unauthorized access, but also unauthorized removal.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Trigger Lock
A trigger lock allows for easy and simple firearm security. Although, different types of guns, models, and brands may impact the type of lock you purchase. Here are some things to consider before buying the best trigger lock:
Method of Entry
The three most common methods of entry to a trigger lock are with a key, a combination, or biometric recognition. They’ve all got their pros and cons, so weigh your options first and then start looking at models with your preferred method of entry.
You May Already Have One
If you bought your gun brand new, you might already have a trigger lock. Many, but not all, gun companies include some kind of gun lock in the box. Sometimes it’s a cable lock, but sometimes it’s a trigger lock. If you haven’t thrown away your box, dig around and see if the manufacturer included one.
How do you intend to use the gun after you unlock it? If your answer is self-defense or home protection, then a trigger lock is not the right safety device for you. Trigger locks should never be used on a loaded gun. For almost all trigger locks, the actual locking mechanism is too close to the trigger. The trigger can be engaged while putting the lock on or taking the lock off. Dropping, jostling, or even just applying too much pressure while the gun lock is on the gun can result in an accidental (negligent) discharge.
Q: Do trigger locks fit all guns?
No, not all trigger locks fit all guns. However, there are a variety of trigger locks available, so there’s bound to be at least one trigger lock that fits your gun.
Q: Is a trigger lock enough in California?
Some trigger locks are considered enough in California, while others are not. In order for a trigger lock to be listed as a California DOJ Approved Firearm Safety device, it must meet Penal Code 23655 regulations. Don’t worry—you don’t have to learn the code. A trigger lock will usually say on the packaging if it is approved by the California DOJ.
Q: What locking device for firearms is safest?
The safest locking device for firearms is the one you are most comfortable using, and you feel that it offers the safest level of protection for you and your individual needs. Depending on your living condition and location, people will have different ideas about requirements for gun safety. The most important thing is to make sure you abide by the law and feel comfortable and secure with your locking device.
Final Thoughts on the Best Trigger Locks
All firearm security devices are fallible. It doesn’t matter if it’s a free cable lock, a $200 biometric trigger lock, a high-end gun safe, or even a gun vault built into your house. The fact of the matter is that if someone wants to gain access to your guns bad enough and they have enough time, they’ll find a way to get to them.
I’m not saying this to be all doom-and-gloom. Instead, I’m saying this to drive home the fact that no type of firearm security is absolute, but that something is certainly better than nothing. You don’t need a concrete vault poured into the foundation of your home to deter unauthorized usage of your guns. Simple locks like the ones on this list thwart gun theft and misuse every day across the country. Firearm safety and security is the number one responsibility of every gun owner, and the best trigger locks are an easy way to meet that responsibility.