Sometimes, I like the do-it-yourself solution, and when I was faced with the somewhat annoying prospect of having my carry firearms rattling around in a dresser drawer, I went and solved that problem myself. However, sometimes, you can find a commercial-off-the-shelf solution that will work far better than anything I can whip up myself.
In this case, my little pegboard construct was a wonderful fix… until we bought a new bedroom set, complete with a new dresser for me, with different dimensions for the top drawer. Darn.
Enter the Armory Racks Two Gun.
Rather than having the firearms laying down in the drawer, the rack inserts a powder-coated, neoprene-coated (an optional add-on I requested) rod down the barrel of the firearms, and suspends them by it. Alright, I know what you are thinking – shoving metal rods down the barrel of a firearm is one of those things that we just Do Not Do, but the truth is that the powder-coating is softer than the metal inside the barrel, and the little red hanger tip will prevent you from jamming the hanger up against the rifling, or, worse, the all-important crown. With the added layer of neoprene, there is pretty much no chance of damaging your barrel.
So, that little bit of understandable concern dispensed with, time for the specifics. Without your firearms hanging off it, the two-gun variant is 4.75 inches tall, 4.125 inches wide, and 8.75 inches deep, and weighs all of 12.625 ounces. The rods – hangers – are 0.1875 inches in diameter, and the neoprene adds a bit to that, though it is squishy, of course. Without the neoprene or red hanger tip, the rack can safely handle .22 and .25 caliber handguns, and with both of those, it can handle pretty much anything else.
And speaking of firearms, I tested the Armory Rack with my full-metal, full-size Baby Eagle 9mm, Walther PPS, and Smith and Wesson 686 SSR. Those range from 1 pound 3.5 ounces in weight (my PPS, of course) to 2 pounds 11.125 ounces (the Baby Eagle), with barrels stretching from 3.2” to 4.52” (gain, the PPS and Baby Eagle). Furthermore, the 686 is about 1.56” wide, which should give us a good idea as to whether or not the firearms can hang out with each other and not hit one another.
As you can tell from the top ribs of the PPS and Baby Eagle, over doubling the mass of the handguns does not significantly increase the deflection of the hangers, indicating that the metal rods should be capable of supporting pretty much anything for extended periods of time. I would imagine that if you put a long-barreled BFR or some other ludicrousness on the rack, it might not like that, but for most pistol purposes, the rods are more than strong enough. Those rods are about 3” long after the elbow bend, with means only snubbies and other short-barreled handguns will have their chamber faces up against the red plastic nubs.
The >4” of width on the Armory Racks gives you more than enough space to hang even wide-body revolvers up against full-size, double-stack handguns. Sadly, I do not have two revolvers to suspend next to each other, but it looks like there is enough space for them, and, at the very least, you would just hang one revolver and one semi-automatic on this rack.
[Update]The folks at Armory Racks wanted to assuage my super-large-fram revolver concerns with two pictures – one of a Ruger Super Redhawk dangling happily from a Two Gun rack, and another of a whole family of revolvers hanging out. Yeah, that looks pretty stable to me. [/Update]
So now I guess it is time for the moment of truth… When I contacted the folks at Armory Racks about the possibility of doing a review, I warned him ahead of time that I was planning on trying to use the rack in my dresser drawer. I provided him the general dimensions, and he gave me a very tentative confirmation that the rack should work in the situation I proposed. Well, did it?
Yup, but just barely. And only with the 686, which is just as well, since those are the only two carry sidearms I have (sadly, holsters for the Baby Eagle are somewhat hard to come by, though they do seem to be catching on).
Unfortunately, the dimensional changes and sight height differences between the Baby Eagle and the 686 allow one to work, and the other not so much. The top edge of the drawer is about 6.5” above the bottom, so bear that in mind if you plan on a similar application in your house.
The place where the Armory Racks really shine through, though, is in confined spaces like this one. As you can see in the picture to the left, not only does the Rack keep your firearms off the bottom of the drawer where they will knock around and present an unsafe, or at least potentially finish-marring environment, but it also frees up the space under the firearms for such things as speedloaders, magazines, and whatever else you can fit under there. Optimization is always a good thing.
And speaking of drawers, if you look in the pictures, you will see a cute little white thing attached to the front edge; this did not come with the rack, but is instead a 3M Command Cord Clip. Thanks to the design of the rack, the wrap-around nature of the clip, and the adhesive, that rack is not going anywhere, no matter how hard I open or close the drawer, and when it is time to move, one firm tug and it comes off clean.
In addition to the rack itself (which came remarkably well packed in a very snug and well-padded cardboard box), I received two bumper stickers, an explanation of the warranties on the rack and a rather comprehensive disclaimer.
That disclaimer is as good a place as any to start on the negatives of the Armory Rack, and, unfortunately, there are a few. Note the third bullet-point: “Never place a loaded firearm on the Armory Rack.” On the one hand, for firearms with short barrels (such as my Walther PPS), this makes perfect sense – I experimented, and the tip of the hanger rod definitely hit the bullet of the round in the chamber before the barrel crown rested against the rod elbow. Over time, this could force the bullet back into its casing, which could cause Very Bad Things when that particular round was fired, or, in the worst possible case, the whole cartridge could potentially be forced back in the chamber just enough to impact a floating firing pin and discharge.
Obviously, we do not want this. On the other hand, though, longer-barreled pistols do not have any such problems, and then it simply becomes a matter of keeping your finger off the trigger and exercising safe firearm handling habits. The question of whether or not to keep stored firearms loaded is, of course, yours to answer, but given that these are my carry firearms, and some of my go-to firearms for the bedroom in case of emergencies, well, I may end up ignoring the suggestion for some of them, while having to deal with loading and downloading the PPS every time I rack it. This is, of course, a small inconvenience, but as the saying goes, “Stop touching it!” (i.e. the more you handle a firearm, the more you have a chance to have a negligent discharge).
And, finally, while the finish on the powder-coating was pretty much seamless, and all of the joints were welded/bonded together quite well, the base was not quite level. I did not really notice this unless I put the Rack on a perfectly level, hard surface, so in a safe or a drawer it is not likely to be a problem, but it is worth noting here.
Overall, I am quite impressed with the Armory Racks – they are sturdily built, can handle just about any firearm you care to suspend off them (barring some exceptional exceptions), and save you that which is always at a premium in safes or drawers… storage space. Better yet, the addition of the Two Gun rack to the lineup (which already includes a Four Gun and Eight Gun) allows you greater flexibility to store handguns in tighter/smaller spaces, and I understand yet another option is in the works as we speak. Once I finally manage to procure an actual safe for my firearms, I will be snagging an Armory Racks 8 Gun, just to keep everything organized and happy, and using my own money to purchase a product that I already have… well, I cannot think of a better recommendation to give for it.
(Obligatory Up-Yours to the FTC: As you can see, this post is in the “for hire” category, meaning this site’s disclaimer-and-disclosure is in full effect. The Armory Rack Two Gun was provided to me free of charge with the understanding that I would write an honest review about it, which shows I have a stronger sense of integrity than a mindless governmental agency who has nothing better to do with their time (apparently) than hassle webloggers.)