While the SafeShell is not brand new to the firearms safety world, it has showed up in a few bloggers advertisements recently. I would be at least suspect of someone who claims to know about firearms and firearms safety, yet still promotes the SafeShell locking safety mechanism. Let me explain.
Every so often a revolutionary product comes along that becomes a gun safety “must have”! For most of us, the option of a walk-in vault complete with eye scanner is out of the question. Yet gun safety, child protection, and self-defense are very real considerations.
Gun manufacturers have drastically improved the internal safety features in their firearms! So much so that they are willing to ship previous models without the safety features back to the factory and add the safety components for free. That’s a no brainer! It makes absolutely no sense to avoid safety features, especially when they don’t affect gun performance.
But what about external safety features, those different choices that go beyond the factory basics? How should you keep your home defense pistol secure? Trigger lock? Cable lock? Small keypad safe? Locked, cocked, and ready to rock? (shameless 1911 plug)
Well, one external safety option is the SafeShell locking safety mechanism. You can see how it works here in the video below:
The SafeShell is a creative concept and solid design boasting that it can be used “hundreds of times” without failing. However my top concerns have nothing to do with function. Here are the top 3 reasons I believe you should never use the SafeShell.
1. One less round
Now before you start your rebuttal about shot placement versus round count, hear me out. The SafeShell is chambered in .357 mag / .38 special. There are tons of snub nosed revolvers on the market in that caliber, and many of them are 5 rounders like the Ruger SP101. Do you really want to walk around with only 4 shots? Round count may be a weaker point when it comes to magazine fed pistols, but the principle remains.
2. Assumptions, Assumptions
Under stress fine motor skills are significantly reduced unless you have put in lots of training hours to perform them when the adrenalin hits and the shots start banging. Yet, SafeShell marketers assume that under stress I can remember to cock, de-cock and re-cock a revolver without accidentally locking the gun. Doable? Sure! But you better start practicing – a lot.
Another conundrum is the chess match of what an intruder might do if he gets your semi auto pistol. Will he pick it up and squeeze the trigger? Well then you better have the SafeShell chambered! But what if he racks the slide? That would call for a SafeShell in the magazine! Or maybe you should put one in the chamber and a second one in the magazine. Just remember to rack the slide twice before you fire. All of these guessing games to be played against an erratic intruder? No thanks!
3. Safety violations
To use the SafeShell, especially in a revolver, is a dangerous move. The SafeShell locks the revolver so that the cylinder cannot turn or be opened. So as soon as you disengage the SafeShell, the revolver is in live fire mode with live ammunition. “Never point your gun at anything you do not intend to destroy.” I dare say that would include my hand! Maybe less of a hazard if you can drop a magazine out while disengaging the SafeShell, but as the father of a 6 & 4 year old, I never want them to see Daddy handling a gun that way. Monkey see monkey do.
Then there is the issue of sticking objects down the barrel. Maybe it won’t scratch the barrel, and maybe you can perform these actions without ammo in the gun, but what happens if you break off part of the stick in the barrel, or leave debris? Impossible you say? I have seen people do much dumber stuff even without being under duress!
In conclusion, even if I could find out how to use the SafeShell in ways that didn’t violate fundamental gun handling principles, the device is no more safe than leaving the gun unloaded with the magazine next to it. “But the SafeShell locks the gun!” you say. That point may be valid if there were some sort of key needed to unlock the SafeShell system, but the fact is any blunt object can disengage the SafeShell.