When it comes to self-defense, many people feel safer and more secure having something available with a bit more firepower, or a bit more spread, than a handgun. The old defensive mainstay of the home, a shotgun, is perhaps a more viable option for home defense, especially with today’s modern shotshells designed for the task. Many AR configurations are perfect for close-quarters defense situations, allowing people to utilize tools like tac lights, modern optics, and high-capacity magazines.
But there’s an inherent problem when it comes to having a long gun as a defensive firearm: How do you secure it from thieves or from individuals who shouldn’t have access? A handgun can be put in a quick-access safe requiring only the push of a couple buttons, the wave of an RFID card, or a biometric scan to unlock it and have it ready for use, a process that takes a few seconds. Opening a larger gun safe or removing a trigger or cable lock isn’t nearly as smooth or quick of a process.
Enter the BoomDock from Boomstix Home Defense. It’s designed specifically to remedy the problem of securing a long-gun for home defense use in a way that makes it quickly accessible in an emergency, when it’s needed most.
Mark Dunn is the CEO of the New Mexico based BoomStix, a company that specializes in selling tactical shotguns from various manufacturers that are accessorized and customized for home-defense. Dunn said the difficulty of quickly accessing a secured shotgun became extremely apparent, and was a problem begging for a solution.
The BoomDock isn’t a complicated device, which is perhaps its greatest strength. From the outside it looks like a black steel box with a number pad on it, which is pretty much what it is. The front of the 10-inch-wide apparatus is a steel door with a full-height hinge running along the left side. Entering a 4-digit pin on the number pad, or holding an RFID card in front of it, will open the electronic lock and allow access to the inside. There you find an aluminum track with a couple brackets and a row of pegs beneath it, which will hold a gun.
Here’s how it works. First, you mount the unit to a wall or a door. I made sure to set the screws into studs in the wall, as all the doors in my house are hollow and I wasn’t sure they would be able to handle the weight of the BoomDock and a fully loaded Mossberg 590.
Once it’s mounted and level, you can configure the inside to fit the gun you intend to secure in it. You use the row of pegs to secure two metal bars, one that rests against the front of the trigger guard or the back of the receiver, and another behind the trigger, within the trigger guard. These serve two purposes: to hold most of the weight of the firearm, and to prevent the potential activation of the trigger while accessing a gun that’s in the BoomDock.
Next, adjust the two brackets along the top track to sandwich and secure the fore end of the firearm (the gun will be stored muzzle up). Once everything is locked down, the unit is ready to use. When a long gun is secured, none of the controls can be accessed from the outside, including the magazine release on an AR, the slide release on a pump gun, and triggers, allowing the gun to left in a secure state, out in the open, where it can be readily accessed.
To open, simply punch in the PIN or use the RFID card, the door pops open, and the gun is ready to grab and use immediately. Also included is a motion-activated LED light that can be mounted to the door, illuminating the keypad so it can be used in the dark.
It’s a simple, elegant solution to a nagging problem that eliminates the need to sacrifice security for firepower, or vice versa.
At first I was a little reticent to have so much of a firearm exposed and out in the open, even with all the controls totally secured. This is something meant to be mounted on bedroom wall deep in the home, not on a living room wall (unless that’s the kind of decor you’ve got) because it’s not discreet. However, it would be perfectly at home mounted on the inside of a closet or the back of a sturdy closet door.
There are a couple of drawbacks to the 10-inch BoomDock model. You have to be conscious of the height of your firearm, from the bottom of the pistol grip or magazine to the top of the optics, because it will all have to fit inside the box. Dunn freely admits that some atypically shaped guns like the Kel-Tec KSG won’t fit, and some ARs with magazines inserted won’t have enough room if they’re topped with any kind of optic or even a high rear iron sight.
The video above shows how quickly I can open it with the RFID card. It takes me exactly five seconds. Will this time increase when I’m half asleep, in total darkness, with a sudden adrenaline spike? I actually tried it, sort of. I set an alarm I’m not familiar with for an ungodly time like 3:45 a.m. (yes, my wife is still unhappy) and sprang out of bed to get my shotgun. It occurred just as it looks in the video, and there were no snafus, so I’d say confidently it took me 7 seconds, with an extra second needed to grab the card from its hiding spot.
The only criticism I have of the unit is the keypad itself. The buttons and the numbers on those buttons are a little on the small side, something that would be mitigated if they were arranged in a typical, familiar number-pad pattern, but they’re not, instead arranged in a rectangle with one button at the top and bottom alone, to fit the shape of the lock. A lock with a bigger keypad that actually lights up itself instead of relying on a separate motion-activated light would be a welcome addition.
However, these problems are soon to be eliminated, as Dunn was showing off a new BoomDock model at this year’s SHOT Show, the updated Boomdock 2. The new 14-gauge steel box is wider to accommodate a larger range of firearms, and also replaces the pegs inside with tracks, making it even easier to fit to various guns of different shapes and sizes. ARs, the KSG, high optics or 30-round mags can all be made to fit. Customers will be able to choose between an RFID card or a bracelet for access, in addition to the keypad, which will now come with a red or white light option.
The original BoomDock is currently available with a price tag of $289. Dunn says the BoomDock 2 is expected to be ship in June 2016.