I did a write-up on my new ShotLock shotgun safe the other day; it’s a slick new toy, and I had some good things to say about it.  One thing I didn’t include, however, was my experience assembling and installing the product.  All-in-all, it’s pretty straightforward, but there are a few points I should address in case you, my reader, are stuck anywhere trying to setup your ShotLock, or you just want to know a little bit more about how it works.

First off, you’ll need a manual.  If you lost your copy or bought the unit used, you can find it here:

ShotLock manual

The manual has a nice presentation, and generally speaking, covers the assembly process comprehensively, however, it sort of takes idiots for granted; idiots like myself, who frankly, need more pictures and elaboration.

First off, I wouldn’t recommended following the manual page-by-page.  Though nothing about the installation process is irreversible, you may save yourself 10 minutes and the mutter of an expletive if you follow my lead:

Parts Assessment

Unlock the Safe

Foam Padding and the Ejection Port Block “Hangy” Thing

Change the Combination

Mount the ShotLock to Your Wall


Parts Assessment:

Shotlock parts spread

Among the parts that come with the unit, you’ll notice two felt-covered squarish blocks, and one block consisting of multi-layered leather strips, which are held together by two screws.

There are two ways to hang your shotgun within the unit’s enclosure:

– Use the two blocks if you have a semi-auto or over-under shotgun (you’ll need the 4 smaller screws for this).  This method hangs the gun by keeping it in place around the trigger.

– Use the leather-layered block if you have a pump-action shotgun (you’ll need the two small screws which are currently holding the block together).  This method hangs the gun from the shell ejection port.

Use one method or the other – NOT BOTH.

One nice thing about the ShotLock is that they give you plenty of spare parts.  If you decide you want to change your configuration down the road, you should have all that you need to do it – foam padding included (we’ll get to that in a minute).

Unlock the Safe:

Next, you’ll want to unlock the safe – it’s pretty simple – just follow the instructions in the manual.  The default code is:

1, 3, 5, then twist the knob to “unlock”
It’s not included in my revision of the manual, but your default code may also be:

2 + 4 simultaneously, then 3, then twist to “unlock”.

Lock it and unlock it a few times to make sure the action works before changing the combo (we’ll get to that).

Another quick thing I’ll note is that, in my manual it gives instructions to:

Make sure the lock is in the LOCK position so the ShotLock is in the open position to receive the door

I don’t know about your’s, but mine has to be in the “unlock” position to receive the door.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with my vault – it’s probably just a typo in the manual.

Foam Padding and the Ejection Port Block “Hangy” Thing:

I don’t know why, but this next part confused the heck out of me.  I’m a special brand of idiot, who, unlike most idiots, who think sparingly, I tend to over-think myself into utter confusion…this next step (Page 6 in the manual) is actually very easy.

The gun I’m using is pump-action Mossberg 500.  If you’re assembling the ShotLock for a semi-auto or over-under, the instructions are essentially the same, only you’ll just use the two squarish things around the trigger guard.

Open the vault, and lay it down on its back in the same configuration that you want to ultimately hang it.

Next, decide where you want to install the hanger.  The key is to remember that the ejection port will be facing the bed of the ShotLock (the metal backing with all the holes in it).  Chances are, you’re either going to install the hanger on the upper right or upper left, depending on which way the door is opening.

Once you’ve decided where you want to install the hanger, place the leather-layered black hangy piece (the hanger) vertically on the “Foam Bed Liner Template” (that piece of paper), and match it to up the drawings of the screws, which are a to-scale representation of where they are on the bed of the Shotlock.

With a pencil, simply trace the hanger onto the template.

trace the shotlock hanger

Match the template up with the foam liner, and using a pair of scissors or a razor knife, cut a hole out along the line where you traced.  It doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect.

Cut out the hanger foam padding

Step 5 in the manual says to insert the foam liners…if you plan to mount the ShotLock to your wall, don’t do this yet – you’ll have to take it out again (like I did), and you’ll risk tearing up the foam (like I did).  Just put the foam piece off to the side for now.

Now you can screw the hanger to the bed of the ShotLock.  The manual doesn’t mention it, but you’re to use the screws that are currently holding the piece together.

Pinching the leather layers together tightly (nothing will be holding them together when you take the screws out), remove the two screws.

remove the two screws of the shotlock hanger

From the back of the ShotLock, install the hanger to the bed (while still pinching it tightly) by screwing the two holes in the back…just look at the picture… 😉

screw the hanger to the shotlock bed

Before moving to the next section, I’d recommend gently placing your shotgun into the ShotLock and closing it to make sure it fits.

** One thing I noticed with the Mossberg 500 (and I’m assuming other pump-action guns as well) is that, when hanging it loaded from the ejection port, the pump action can’t be fully retracted.  When it’s fully retracted, the shell springs out of the magazine tube, and sits in the receiver, not allowing enough space for the hanger.  This is an easy fix – “pump” the gun just enough (right before it “clicks” into place) so that the ejection port is completely open, but the shell hasn’t popped out of the magazine tube.

Change the Combination

This is surprisingly very easy – just follow the manual.

The only thing I’ll note is that removing the lock cover takes a little bit of work.  It removes straight out – not at an angle.  It’s in there very tightly, so you may have to slowly pry it up around the perimeter with a knife or a flat-head screwdriver.  It’s 14 gauge steel…you won’t hurt it if you take your time.

remove the lock cover

Mount the ShotLock to Your Wall

This is the final step.  You may need a drill, but it’s about as easy as hanging a heavy picture frame.  I’m not taking responsibility for any damage you do to your wall, but you shouldn’t have to bother finding the studs.  I just followed the mounting chart below (which for some reason, isn’t in the manual), and completed job without any trouble:

Mounting pattern

mount the shotlock to the wall

Once you’ve successfully mounted your ShotLock, you can finally insert that foam padding that you cut up earlier, and proudly display your shotgun on the wall.

insert foam padding

Place shotgun in the shotlock

That’s about it.  If you have any pictures of your ShotLock (or any other gun storage items for that matter), send them my way and I’ll post them on the site.

Stay Safe!