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Test Report From U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

"Smart Lock"
Technology for Colt 1911
BY R.K. CAM PBELL 
(From S.W.A.T. Magazine, January 1999)


    During the past few months there has been a great deal of discussion regarding smart guns or gun locks. Guns safety is between the ears-mechanical inventions are less important. A fool will be able to harm himself and an intelligent child will be able to short-circuit most gun locks.

    In some cases, however, gun locks are a good thing. My son likes the idea of keeping his Ruger.22 locked in its hard plastic case. Peace officers like the idea of a user-proprietary weapon. Weapons carried on safe give a greater margin of safety during gun grabs, but there are many felons familiar with auto-pistol safeties.

    There have been special devices fitted to revolvers that prevent the weapon from firing unless the user grasps the weapon while wearing a special magnetic ring. These devices seem to work reliably, and although they are expensive, in many circumstances this is money well spent.

    In 1992, the Canadian government passed a law requiring that all guns be locked or lockable. The definition of a secure locking device follows: "Can only be opened by the use of an electronic, magnetic or mechanical key, or by setting the device in accordance with an alphabetical or numerical combination, and when applied to a firearm, prevents the firearm from being discharged."

    Even though the Canadian law does not stipulate the minimum number of seconds which may be required to open the lock, there is a need for a quick-opening that allows the weapon to be accessed immediately. Magloc is a patented conversion unit that can be applied to an existing pistol. No modification to the weapon is necessary, and the unit installs in about ten minutes. (Magloc technology is being adapted to firearms, briefcase, carts and even doorknobs with success.)

    The device works via a moving magnet that is activated by a magnetic trigger ring. When the gun is not in our hand, the gun is locked. Once activated, the user may disconnect the device by means of an on/off switch, turning the switch on when the weapon is stored. This switch also allows another user to fire the weapon without the ring, if desired.

    I tested one of these devices on my personal 1911, and I was surprised by the easy fit and close tolerances of the device. I am used to aftermarket parts not fitting correctly, but the Magloc is an exception. The basic parts of the unit include a grip lever that transfers hand energy to the reactivating mechanism---a magnetic-activated blocking device and a magnetic ring. The system works by magnetic energy; batteries are not required. (We shouldn't rely upon system that require batteries anyway.)

    We installed the Magloc and used it at some length. We found it's necessary to adjust the magnet carefully for proper contact with the finger ring, or the device through grip panel is provided for this purpose, but the adjustment takes longer than installing the device.

    My main complaint with the Magloc is that it adds bulk to my Colt. An advantage of the 1911 is a slim, single column grip frame that fits most hands well.  The Magloc device gave me the impression I was firing a much larger weapon. It was manageable, but barely so. Some study should go into downsizing the unit, and I have no doubt this will be done in time. As it is, the Magloc works nicely and is well-made, using quality material. Those with larger hands may have no complaints about the grip. I can see that a smaller version  could be incorporated into a pistol's design, but not for the $89.50 price of the Magloc. We have not personally tested the Beretta unit, but illustrations seem to indicate this device does not increase the bulk of the Beretta pistol.

    I was able to conduct firing tests with the unit installed, and since I was testing the durability of the unit, over 100 rounds of full-power ammunition and an additional 50 rounds of +Ps were fired. Ammunition used was Remington Golden Saber in 230-grain weight and +Ps 185 grain Golden Saber. There were no problems during rapid fire and that times were slower due to the increased bulk of the handle.

    The Colt 1911 has grip safety, side-lock safety and positive firing -pin block. I am happy with these safety features, but the Magloc adds more possibilities to this design.

    The Magloc works as advertised; it is up to the user to decide if it fits his or her needs.

     Magloc offers selective deployment by means of an on/off switch on the left grip panel.

Stub in front of right-hand grip panel is ready-to-fire indicator.

The Magloc installed.

The actuating magnet is very strong.

 

     

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