It seems almost incomprehensible that someone might find find a pistol lock interesting (or even unique) these days. Well, ZORE certainly achieved that — and more — in a completely unexpected way. The way they accomplish their goal is much different than we are used to seeing.
The ZORE-X Core 9×19 is a pistol lock for a pile of 9mm guns (compatibility can be found here). Instead of disabling the trigger or running a cable lock through the chamber into the magwell like we are used to, the ZORE-X uses your barrel and extractor to secure the firearm.
It does this with a 9×19 shaped protrusion that slides into the chamber of the firearm. At the rear of this protrusion is an ejector groove like a normal casing would have. This allows the ejector to hook onto the protrusion.
Now if you successfully enter the user set locking combo using the RAPIDial on the side of the unit, a green led will flash at the top front of the unit. This allows you to know you set the code correctly and the unit is ready to be locked. Once you get this indicator, the poppet at the rear of the unit with the visible yellow band can be pressed in.
Once you have done this, the magic happens The protrusion will expand, locking it inside the chamber of the firearm. This does no damage to the inside of the barrel, but any force applied to the slide attempting to cock it is met with 10x the force inside the chamber, thus keeping the lock in place.
This leaves your pistol about 1/4″ open and unable to be cocked back. As those who have met me in person will attest, I’m not a small Canadian. However, I wasn’t able to pull the lock out of the chamber, and that’s even when using my Aimpoint T1 to get a better grip. I was able to get it to move but was unable to pull it free of the chamber for fear of tearing off the optic.
This means that neither your child nor your terribly smart but less than hygienic macaque (assuming in your family you can tell the difference) will be able to remove it from the pistol. Well, unless you are feeding them HGH and steroids from birth, that is, and perhaps not even then.
If you live in a house with children and live in a state that allows you to have a loaded pistol around the house for self defense, the next feature of the ZORE-X becomes fairly interesting. Biometric safes are cool and certainly make you feel like James Bond (it’s cool to stab them with your thumb watch them open, but they’re a tad on the bulky side. They also don’t typically fit inside your bedside table drawer, and arguably look tacky sitting on top.
The ZORE-X allows the pistol to be placed in your drawer (or wherever) with a loaded magazine. Once the pistol is pulled out you enter the code and go to work. As for the number of potential codes, as they advice, you can choose a up to 20 digits, with up to 9 clicks each digit. That makes for a wide range of possibilities (too much for us to math with certainty here!).
The RAPIDial doesn’t care which direction you start to input the code, so whatever feels better for you (*snicker*). When rotating the dial you are met with extremely tactile clicks, letting you know once digit has been passed. So, if the first number is a 4, you just roll through 4 of these detents.
Now you just need to change direction for the next number, and when you reach the final number of your code you can roll directly past it. As soon as it hits the final digit of the code you programmed, it will unlock the pistol.
This means a code of 1-2-5 or 6-9-6-9, for example, would be relatively simple to accomplish under stress. Unlike many safes, the last number just needs to be met. It doesn’t require you stop on it or risk ruining the code and forcing you to start over.
If your code is accomplished correctly the green you-did-it-right light comes on and the locked indicator poppet comes back out of the pistol. This indicates you are now good to go.
Remember how we said it uses the extractor to hold onto the rear of the lock? This is an important feature of the lock, because with a magazine in you cock the pistol and it actually ejects the lock, thus loading a round from the magazine leaving you ready to deal with whatever threat you are facing.
I spoke with the ZORE crew at length during SHOT Show about the design that went into this thing. My first question to them was about battery life, and of course what happens when you run out of juice.
As it turns out, the LED indicator light in the front has yellow and red friends designed to act as warnings. When you get to orange, you only have a couple hundred cycles of the lock left of the original roughly 3,500. This means, “don’t be a dumbshit.” Go order a new battery. That said, if you get it done promptly, you’ll remain good while awaiting its arrival from Amazon.
However, when the red LED lights up, you done messed up AA-Ron!
The only significant thing I would like to see changed on future iterations of the ZORE-X would be a movement of the electronic bits to a position about half an inch further back. I prefer to cock a pistol from the front (you hear me Glock, give us the damn cocking serrations already).
However, grabbing it from the rear (or in my case the Aimpoint) you’re good to go.
Do not, however, cover the ejection area, or the lock won’t leave your pistol.
Other than that relatively minor quibble, for $119.99 USD this is a pretty damn awesome lock. It’ll let you leave your pistol accessible without worrying your young ones (or your monkeys and parrots) are being stupid.
For those of you who shoot .40 or .45, you can rejoice. They are working on your locks also. If you’re shooting .460 Rowland or 6.5 Bergmann…wtf dude?
Oh, one last thing to mention with your pistol lock you get a little card with a scratch area like a lotto ticket. You can’t risk losing this, so put it somewhere safe because. It’s the code that will always work with your lock. This is in case you need to reset the code. They cannot give you this code over the phone or interwebz. You are the only one who has it. So if you lose the code and somehow reset your code to something you don’t know, you’re hooped.
Bud Boomer was a war criminal!
And now, a note from the beancounters. If you decide you’re gonna buy a ZORE-X, and that’s entirely up to you, we’d appreciate you considering doing so through Brownells to do it (Item #100-0270290). Why? Because we have an affiliate relationship with ’em, and we’ll get a small commission…that fact didn’t affect this review, mind you, Brownells has over a hundred thousand SKUs, and some of those things are right pieces of shit. But if you do pick one up, use our portal, would ya eh?