After recently posting an heads-up “informational” about an interesting looking product called “Armory Racks” (on another forum) I was contacted and offered a chance to review the product more closely. Because I thought that the design concept was innovative and unique, I agreed.
Soon, I was looking at a brown cardboard box delivered to my doorstep.
Having read other reviews of the product I recalled one reviewer stating that his example of the product had been damaged in shipping and had recommended a more sturdy box. The shipping box I received seemed just fine and the product was in good condition. I suppose if a man were to literally sit on the box it could be crushed and potentially damage the product, but the packaging is similar to cardboard packaging used in every other shipping box and should be sufficient to protect the product under any reasonable delivery circumstances. If the product is damaged by the time of delivery to your door, then it is most likely the result of abusive mishandling by the carrier and you should look to them for resolution.
Besides the product and a warranty/registration card, there was the predictable “guns can shoot people – keep out of reach of children” warning. I really hate the combination of mind-numbing stupidity and hyper-litigious nature of the modern consumer which forces manufactures and merchants to include silly notices not to use their hair-dryers while in the act of showering and to not insert fingers into the business end of a running blender in order to protect themselves from moronic law-suits, but such is the world we live in.
The actual product idea of Armory Racks is an innovative combination ideas. Most existing display racks which allow a handgun to sit butt back and down, barrel forward, offer a wire-frame cradle for the firearm to sit in. This works really well but can take up a lot of room and creates a lot of contact points on the firearm. In contrast, the Armory Racks solution is a rod which slides down the barrel, supporting the firearm and allowing it to hang free. I’ve seen similar ideas used to extend the length of a rifle barrel on a display rack. A wood dowel is inserted in the barrel so that it will fit the cradles designed for much longer rifle barrels. Combining these two ideas really is an innovative solution.
The wire frame is a sturdy all-steel construction.
This fact leads the first, primary, and often sole concern potential users have in regards to Armory Racks. They are, understandably, hesitant to insert a steel rod down the barrel of their handgun. Wood, aluminum, even brass are one thing. STEEL is something else. There is a very natural concern that a steel rod could wear or otherwise damage the crown, rifling, or other components of the barrel.
This concern is address in three ways. First, the entire wire frame is coated in a tough black Powdercoat. This alone is normally enough to prevent steel-to-steel wear. While Powdercoat is very durable, it is significantly less so than the properly heat treated steel of a gun barrel. Second, the tip of the rod is capped with a heavy duty plastic cap. There is enough plastic material in this cap that if it is worn down, one would notice the wear long before the edge of the rod were exposed. Finally, there is a strong neoprene rubber jacket available as an option during or after purchase. Armory Racks will install these for you on a new, un-delivered, rack, if so desired. There is precious little chance of all three of these wearing away and damaging a barrel without notice.
The rods themselves are about 0.19 or 0.20 inches in diameter (I admit that I haven’t miked them) and will fit the barrel of a .22 cal handgun. However, the plastic cap and neoprene jacket are well in excess of .22”. If one wants to store .22 caliber handguns on a Armory Rack it will be necessary to order without the neoprene jacket or to cut it off if you have already installed. This would still leave the protective Powdercoat coating in place and thus will still be safe for the barrel but, honestly, I think that most needs will be met with the neoprene jacket in place. Even with the jacket the diameter is still less than .3” and thus fits 7.62mm and .32” handguns.
This review example came with the optional plastic under-tray. This is well designed. It fits the space well, has reinforcements in the right places, and is (dare I use the word again?) sturdy. While unpacking the rack, I left the tray sitting, face up, and caught myself leaning on it, hand planted square in the center. This put undue pressure on the tray, crossing the reinforcements. When I realized what I was doing, I pulled back in horror, afraid that I had accidentally broken the tray before I’d even managed one photo of it. Fortunately for me, and as a testament to the design, the tray was undamaged. While I am not suggesting that the tray is made for standing on or that it would survive the “Samsonite Gorilla” (OK, it was really the American Tourister Gorilla-costumed man, but we all remember it as the Samsonite Gorilla), it is clearly equal to normal use. It is handy for storing spare magazines, extra (small) firearms, lose ammunition, safety lockout keys, owner’s manuals, purchase receipts, or whatever else you might wish.
The rack is sufficiently long and wide that full sized service handguns, handguns with double-stack magazines, and large revolvers all fit with no issues. The rack held my CZ52, .45LC SAA, and .357 Mag. with no complaints.
Some few revolver owners like to store their revolvers with the cylinder open. There is simply not enough room to accommodate this practice without leaving an empty space. Because no other wire frame rack can accomplish this task either, and because the desire is uncommon, I really can’t count this as a negative.
In conclusion, the product is exactly as described and performs the tasks advertised with aplomb (yes, I said “aplomb” – I’m pretentious!). Armory Racks uncluttered the storage area, offer more square inches of usable space, and present the handguns in an attractive, natural appearing, manner.
Armory Racks can be found online at: http://www.armoryracks.com/
Peace favor your sword,