Saturday, February 1, 2014

FirearmSafe App Review

FirearmSafe App Review

This review will show various screen shots and describe features and usability of Firearm Safe compared to Gun Log SPC.

You should know that I am the creator of Gun Log SPC when you read this review. The familiarity I have with Gun Log SPC will certainly influence this review. Even though I try not to be biased it is probably not possible to give an unbiased comparison. You should consider that.

Product

FirearmSafe by Robert Reck

Version 2.6.1

Description from App Store

FirearmSafe is an app for responsible firearm owners.

FirearmSafe is designed for to safely store information about your guns, ammo, and visits to the shooting range.

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IMPORTANT:
Data stored in FirearmSafe is never transmitted off of your device automatically. The data you enter is stored inside a database on your device and only on your device unless you link the app to Dropbox and initiate an export. If you choose not to link to Dropbox, your data will never be able to leave your device.
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All owners should safely store important information (serial numbers, descriptions, value, etc) about their firearms in the unlikely event of theft or destruction. As an owner of firearms, YOU are responsible for reporting if your guns are stolen.

This app lets you easily record that important information and secure it with a PIN number.

Additionally, you can store information about your ammo inventory and your visits to the shooting range. Ammo inventories are updated as you record usage at the range. And now, it will alert you of a firearm that needs to be cleaned.

The app also allows you to store and view photos of your firearms, ammo and target shooting results.

** Touch the keypad on the safe door to login. **

- Secure your data with a PIN code.
- Your data is stored securely on your device in a SQL database.
- Store photos of your firearms, ammo, and targets from your range visits.
- Automatically update your ammo supply when you record a range visit to compensate for the ammo used.
- Store reloaded ammo info and record your results with that ammo including the conditions at the range.
- Visual notification of overdue cleaning of a gun.
- Link to your free or paid Dropbox account to export your data and pictures.
- Import your data and pictures from your linked Dropbox account into another copy of FirearmSafe.
- View and print your data by opening the exported CSV file from your linked Dropbox account.
- Need a free Dropbox account? Sign up for one directly from the app and get some additional free space.

Additional features in the works for future FREE updates.

Initial Impressions

FirearmSafe has three major focus areas:

  1. Firearm Information
  2. Ammunition
  3. Range Logs
FirearmSafe is an inventory and range log and therefore is very similar to Gun Log SPC.

Feature Set Comparison

As you browse the feature set comparison take note that Gun Log SPC has more functionality in capturing firing session data and generating reports from that data, such as "group size" reports organized by firearm or by ammunition, as well as failure reports. Failure reports are essential in tracking ammunition that doesn't feed well, magazines that give trouble, and even pistols that fail if you hold it in a particular manner.











Using FirearmSafe

Here are the "main" views of FirearmSafe.

When you launch the app you see this nicely rendered safe door.


You are asked if you want a PIN code. I choose "No".



Firearms are separated into "Pistols", "Rifles", and "Shot Guns".




Ammunition is listed by caliber.


Here is the "Range Log" tab.



At the top left there is a "settings" button. This is what it shows. As you can see you have lots of options.



Gun Log SPC doesn't have FFL Holder information, no does it have a method to "Delete All Data".




FirearmSafe can transfer data via Dropbox. Gun Log SPC does not use Dropbox.  Gun Log SPC uses iTunes to transfer the database. FirearmSafe does not allow the data to be transferred via iTunes.

Entering Data

 FirearmSafe categorizes your firearms much like the Gun Locker app.

 For my reviews I typically enter a Ruger 10/22 rifle. I didn't notice at first that I had entered the data under "Pistols". I have tried to figure out how to move this entry into "Rifles" but I have not figured out how to do so.

Entering a Firearm


Let's begin by adding a firearm. Remember, I didn't notice that I was in the Pistol category (which is my fault).



Tapping the "Manufacturer" field brings up a picker.


Scrolling through the list I find "Other" at the bottom.



What does "Other" do?




It allowed me to enter a custom value


Did that custom value show up in the picker so I can use it again? Nope. 


Well, let's enter in a Ruger 10/22.




Here is the data so far, we have entered a firearm with a serial number.


Scrolling down you can see other data you can enter.



We have four photos. Notice that the tab bar at the bottom partially covers some of the view. I noticed that on a few screens.

Tap the "i" (info) button by Photos.



Add a photo from the album.




Tap the photo.


Long tap on the photo.


FirearmSafe shares photos. Gun Log SPC saves and emails PDF reports with the firearm's photos and details.

So far we have...


I save the entry and then wonder, what would have happened if I hit close without saving first. So I make another entry to see what happens. FirearmSafe prompts to save the entry.

Gun Log SPC auto saves when you leave a screen.



Here are the results of entering a firearm.



Tapping the entry gives you a "read only" view of the firearm.



Tap edit if you want to change the information.
 

I have looked in the "Edit" view for a way to move this firearm from "Pistols" to "Rifles" but I have not figured out how to do it.


Entering Ammunition

Tap the "+" to add an ammo entry.


Here is the "edit" view for ammo.


Tap the "Brand" field...


Enter a name.


Skipping down enter the bullet weight.


Let's enter some rounds. Tap the blue "+" button.
We are prompted to save the data thus far.


Entering rounds...



I tried to save with the above data and got this message:


Well I don't like entering in place holder data, but I guess I have to.


Back to the ammo view.


Scroll down.



You can add up to four photos of your ammo. Gun Log SPC doesn't have photos of ammunition.


Entering Range Log Data

Let's enter a new Range Log entry.

Tap the "+" button.




Tap the range field.


Brings up a picker.

Here is the "New Range" view.


Enter some data.



Hmm... and "Indoors" field.


I try to save at this point and get a "Validation Failed" message. I personally don't like fields to be mandatory.


So, I enter a city and try to save.


Now it wants a state.


It has a state picker. Let's see, what state is Washington DC actually in? None really. Well, I guess I can pick Virginia or Maryland.


The range is entered so now lets log an entry.


Have to save it first. Lots of saving going on in this app.



Okay, now we can enter a "Range Visit".



Entering some data...




So far we have...


Add a firearm and ammo... but wait, a save is required.


For the range visit you enter a gun and ammo.


FirearmSafe allows you to pick from your entries.


Here is what you have after entering all of the data so far.


You can save two photos in this record.



If you tap a photo it goes to a view so you can see it better.


FirearmSafe tracks ammunition usage if you say to do so. Gun Log SPC automatically tracks ammunition usage.


Go back to the "Range Visit" and you see an entry in "Firearms & Ammo Used".


You can enter notes if you want.



Here is the Range Log entry.


Reporting

After entering a firearm, ammo, and a range log entry FirearmSafe can show ammunition usage.

Below I go to the ammo entry and tap "edit" and you see this view. Notice the "Purchased and Shot" report.


You can see when you shot the ammo and the total rounds that remain.


If you go into the "shot" entry you can see the following details.


Close the view and go back to the ammo details and tap the purchase entry.


You can see the purchase details.



Review of Feature Claims

Following are some of the feature claims of FirearmSafe from the App Store.

FirearmSafe is designed for to safely store information about your guns, ammo, and visits to the shooting range.

True. The app does store information about guns, ammo, and range visits.


All owners should safely store important information (serial numbers, descriptions, value, etc) about their firearms in the unlikely event of theft or destruction. As an owner of firearms, YOU are responsible for reporting if your guns are stolen.

The app stores the information however the app does not have a way to generate a report to give to an insurance agent or store in another location.

Gun Log SPC can generate a text report of your entire inventory or a PDF report of an individual firearm with its photos and details. Either report can be printed or emailed from Gun Log SPC.

This app lets you easily record that important information and secure it with a PIN number.

True.

Additionally, you can store information about your ammo inventory and your visits to the shooting range. Ammo inventories are updated as you record usage at the range. And now, it will alert you of a firearm that needs to be cleaned.

True. This is the area in which I was able to crash the app and also not update ammo usage correctly.

However it does not record group sizes, malfunctions, adjustments, and other details like Gun Log SPC.

The app also allows you to store and view photos of your firearms, ammo and target shooting results.

True.


Store reloaded ammo info and record your results with that ammo including the conditions at the range.

You can mark an ammo entry as "Reloaded" or "Purchased". Technically a reload uses fired brass, a hand load may be new brass.

Gun Log SPC  can store ammo with a custom type of hand load, reload, or whatever you want and it stores information useful to hand loaders such as:


  • Ballistic Coefficient
  • Muzzle Velocity
  • Bullet Make
  • Bullet Type
  • Powder
  • Grains of Powder
  • Primer Type
  • Case
  • Overall Length
  • Brass Usage Count
 


Link to your free or paid Dropbox account to export your data and pictures.
Import your data and pictures from your linked Dropbox account into another copy of FirearmSafe.
View and print your data by opening the exported CSV file from your linked Dropbox account.
Need a free Dropbox account? Sign up for one directly from the app and get some additional free space.

FirearmSafe needs Dropbox in order to provide you with backup and printing. In order to print your data you have to upload your data to Dropbox.


Application Information

I noticed that FirearmSafe's size is 21.9 Mb. I thought this was pretty large for such an app, especially when Gun Log SPC is only 3.9 Mb. This caused me to do a little digging into how FirearmSafe is developed.

From what I can gather, FirearmSafe is developed in C# using Xamarin Studio.

Also, FirearmSafe uses BTProgressHud component. This is a third party component installed into the app.

FirearmSafe uses SQLiteNet instead of native SQLite libraries or Apple's CoreData framework.

Gun Log SPC is an Objective C app developed in XCode and only uses iOS frameworks and libraries such as CoreData for database access. There are no third party components in Gun Log SPC.

I suspect that FirearmSafe should be able to make an Android version of the app fairly easily.

 

Conclusion

FirearmSafe is a firearm and ammo inventory app with range log features.

FirearmSafe does what it claims to do and is a nice looking app.

I was able to crash the app. I am not able to clear the erroneous data and the app continues to crash.

I did find some other bugs. Picking a firearm for a range log gave a list with the same firearm repeated twice where I have entered two different firearms.

While the app does what it claims it lacks several features of Gun Log SPC (see the tables at the top of the review for a quick feature to feature comparison) at the time of this review FirearmSafe costs more than Gun Log SPC, therefore I conclude that Gun Log SPC is a better value.

I will have to "mark" this app as a "wait and see" meaning I would wait and see if the application matures and becomes more usable and reliable with more features. It is a good start, but I know far too well how difficult it is to change the architecture of an app that is shipped, updating the database schema, and such is difficult and risky, so I wish the developer the best and look forward to improvements.


Gun Log SPC

Following are screen shots and descriptions of using Gun Log SPC to store the same data as was entered for FirearmSafe.

Both Gun Log SPC and FirearmSafe were the current versions as of the date of this review.

This review is based on Gun Log SPC version 7.1.0 on February 1, 2014.

Main views of Gun Log SPC


Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Entering a new Firearm

Tap the "+" button at the top right.

Gun Log SPC

Tap the "Make" button...

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Entering more data...

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Back at the top use the buttons to go to Configurations, Maintenance, and other associated data.

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Notice that a Configuration can have multiple photos and associate accessories.

Gun Log SPC

Scrolling down through the Configuration fields...

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Maintenance details...

Gun Log SPC

Notice the "quick fields" for indicating common maintenance activities.

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Entering ammunition...

Gun Log SPC

Tap the "Make" button...

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Enter in more information...

Gun Log SPC

Round count, Price, and more information...

Gun Log SPC

For ballistics calculations make sure you enter muzzle velocity and ballistic coefficient. Often these values are on the ammo box.

Gun Log SPC

More ammo fields...

Gun Log SPC

Back to the top after entering data...

Gun Log SPC
Tap Increase/Decrease to go to this view...

Gun Log SPC

Entering a new Firing Session. Firing sessions are the heart of Gun Log SPC.

Gun Log SPC

Entering information...

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC
A Firing Session can have multiple Firing Sets. Tap "Go to Firing Sets..."

Gun Log SPC
Add a Firing Set...

Gun Log SPC

Pick the Firearm you are using, the configuration, and the ammunition.

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

The details thus far...

Gun Log SPC
Tap the "Camera" button to take a picture of the target or choose one from your photo album...

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC


Make sure you enter the rounds fired and group size...

Gun Log SPC

You can save many more details in a firing set...

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Going back to the list of Firing Sets...

Gun Log SPC

Go back into the firing set and enter "failure" details...

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Back out to Firing Sessions...

Gun Log SPC

Go to Reports to calculate a ballistics drop table.

Gun Log SPC

You can save the drop tables...

Gun Log SPC

Here is a newly created drop table, just enter your data...

Add caption
Pick a firearm, the configuration, and the ammo...

Gun Log SPC



Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

After you have picked the firearm, config, and ammo, scroll down further...

Gun Log SPC

After scrolling down tap the calculate button, the button on the left...

Gun Log SPC
Scroll through the drop table...

Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC

Firearms can have multiple photos too. These photos can be used in reports.

Gun Log SPC

Here is a firing set report using the firearm photo and the target photo.


Gun Log SPC



Here we are, back at the main view after entering some data.

Gun Log SPC

Reporting

Gun Log SPC excels in reporting. Almost every view can generate some type of report. You can generate expense reports, range reports, group size reports, failure reports, and many more.

Here are two real world reports from my own data. This is not "made up" data, but actual data from two years of range reports.

Here is a group size report for a CZ 85B.


Here is a failures report sorted by ammunition maker.




Summary of Gun Log SPC

Gun Log SPC is a range log and inventory application that has an accurate G1 ballistics drop calculator.

Gun Log SPC flows from entering firearm information, to ammo, to firing sets, and finally to reports. You can generate reports that show which ammunition is most accurate, or show the types of failures a firearm has experienced.

The reporting abilities of Gun Log SPC make this more than a range log, but an analytic app so that you can improve your shooting skills and remove faulty equipment and less reliable ammunition from your inventory.

You can print or email the reports too.





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