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December 31, 2016

Top 5 Biometric Gun Safe Reviews 

Gun safes are meant to keep your weapons concealed and secure from any kind of harm, until the need arises to use them – in that respect, traditional electronic / mechanical safes work great – but often at the expense of making them hard to access at a moment’s notice, even by the rightful owner.

If you’ve got an establishment in a bad neighborhood, or are travelling on the road by yourself, you’ll appreciate the importance of fast access to your firearm – and for this purpose, there isn’t a better solution (at least in theory) than a biometrically engaged gun safe. The problem is that the market is full of cheap products claiming to provide swift and ‘reliable’ biometric access to your weapons - in reality these are only somewhat dependable at best.

It’s easy to fall victim to such marketing ploys for someone without market knowledge (even experienced gun owners have been conned, as in the case of yours truly!). After doing extensive research, I’ve put together a guide that will help you sift through the market and choose the best biometric gun safe for yourself.

Best Biometric Gun Safe Comparisons

Model

Weight

Dimension

Warranty

Our Ratings

BARSKA Mini Biometric Safe

BARSKA Mini Biometric Safe

31 lbs

7.8” x 11.8” x 7.8”

1 year limited

Sentry Safe Biometric

Sentry Safe Biometric

12 lbs

3.2’’ x 12’’ x 9.9’’

1 year

Verifi Smart.Safe

Verifi Smart.Safe.

n/a

7.3” x 13” x 9.5”

1 year limited

GunVault MicroVault

Gunvault MicroVault

8 lbs

8’’ x 5’’ x 12’’

5 years

Liberty 9G HDX-250

Liberty 9G HDX-250

17.7 lbs

12.5’’ x 11.25’’ x 7’

5 years

Why get a Biometric Safe?

  • Fast access
  • Secure access token
  • Secure access sharing
Using Fingerprint Sensor

This one is obvious – instead of having to fumble with a dial lock, or punch in a key code, biometric safes are unlocked by scanning your fingerprint against the sensor – this takes but a few seconds, and works fine even in the dark (as opposed to conventional keypad / dial systems): perfect for users who want their weapon readily accessible for self-defense at all times.

Limitations of Biometric Safes

Fingerprint scanning doesn’t work for everyone

The sensor relies on identifying key patterns on your fingerprint, and for that to happen, the prints must be fairly visible. This means that people who suffer from skin altering medical conditions / whose prints have worn out will have a hard time having their prints recognized (if they are able to at all).

The sensor relies on identifying key patterns on your fingerprint, and for that to happen, the prints must be fairly visible. This means that people who suffer from skin altering medical conditions / whose prints have worn out will have a hard time having their prints recognized (if they are able to at all).

Maintenance overhead

The optical sensor which scans your prints has to be kept free of dirt / grease in order for it to obtain a clear image – this requires using a soft, lint-free cloth and acetone / alcohol, or repeatedly sticking / unsticking it with cellophane tape, so there’s an extra overhead with these safes.

Electronic components can fail randomly / eventually

Biometric gun safes rely on intricate electronic circuitry at their core – and these tiny components always carry a risk of failure with them.

Besides this, the scanning mechanism tends to drink more juice from the battery – so those who get a battery power solution should be prepared to change the battery every month or so, with frequent use.

What to look for in a Biometric Safe

Dependable electronics

BARSKA Mini Biometric Safe

As mentioned before, the core electronics used in these weapon safes has been known to fail – sometimes even at critical moments – which is why you’ll need to get a product that does not have a history of such happenings.

For starters, try not to go for ultra-cheap products, since there’s a greater likelihood that they use low quality electronics. Even when buying an expensive biometric weapon safe, be sure to go through the consumer reviews, since they will portray a more accurate picture of how the product performs as compared to the marketing jargon used by the manufacturer.

Contingency access methods

Back Up Key Provided

Even a good biometric gun safe could succumb to failure due to a random glitch, and unless it’s got a backup unlock mechanism in place, you’ll be locked out of the safe for good unless you break it open, or have a gunsmith fix it for you.

Backup access options can be an electronic key code, or a mechanical key – it’s better to go for the latter since the electronic fault that crippled the biometric system could also have fried the keypad!

Parallel user support

user support

This is important if you plan on giving access to multiple individuals e.g. at a commercial venue where there are multiple security shifts / personnel. There are affordable biometric safes available that let you register over a dozen users simultaneously – these will be your best bet.

If you plan on using a safe at home though, even a product that allows for saving just a couple of fingerprints will do fine.

Warranty

Certified

Go for a product that comes with at least a one year warranty – this is what most manufacturers nowadays offer, and what is deemed a reasonable period for testing out the reliability of an electronic gun safe.

Anything lower than that indicates a lack of faith in the safe’s workmanship on part of the manufacturer – and considering the fact this is biometric safes we’re talking about, unreliability should be avoided as much as possible.

Core strength

Inside GunVault Safe

Keep in mind that these factors should be considered on top of the basic requirement of structural strength from a decent weapon safe. Since we’re talking about safes designed to hold handguns, you don’t have to go for thick, low-gauge steel bodies – even 18 GA will do fine depending on the kind of hazards the safe could be exposed to.


Just make sure that the hinge mechanism is fine, and there is no play between the lid and the body while the safe is locked.

Top Rated Biometric Gun Safe Reviews

BARSKA Mini Biometric Safe

  • Steel Thickness: 1/16”
  • Power Source: 4x AA
  • Backup access options: Mechanical override key
BARSKA Mini Biometric Safe

Those in need of an easily accessible, sturdily built safe for storing compact handguns should consider the Barska Mini Biometric Safe.

Sporting a 7.8” x 11.8” x 7.8” steel body, this safe can easily be fitted inside a smaller vehicle or the interior of a store shelf, to provide discreet access to your pistol. In spite of its small size, it packs a decent 1/6” thick body thickness, which is sufficient to withstand most tool based attempts at breaking it.

The fingerprint lock performs quite reliably, going by user ratings – even when you place your thumb at a slightly different angle than how it was originally registered. A maximum of 30 parallel fingerprint registrations are supported. The silent unlocking mechanism drives a motorized two point deadbolt locking system meant to withstand prolonged crowbar attacks.

In case the primary biometric system fails, you can easily regain access to your weapons by means of the two mechanical keys provided with the safe. Also included is mounted hardware for securing the safe to a surface by means of pre-drilled holes, and 4x AA batteries for powering the electronics.

While the biometric functionality and core strength of the safe are quite satisfactory for the most part, there have been a few complaints pertaining to broken mechanical components, damaged electrical connections and randomly failing biometrics, which imply poor quality assurance practices. Nonetheless, the safe comes with a 1 year limited warranty that can be availed in these circumstances, and everything considered, is the best small biometric gun safe around in my opinion.

What We Liked

  • Compact form factor allows for fitting in cramped spots.
  • Strong, burglary proof mechanical construction.
  • Generally reliable biometrics, allow for storing a healthy 30 unique prints.
  • 1 year limited warranty.

What We Didn't

  • Quality control related problems.


Sentry Safe Biometric Quick Access Pistol Safe Model # QAP1BE

  • Steel Thickness: 12 GA
  • Power Source: 4x AA
  • Backup access options: Mechanical override key
Sentry Safe Biometric

Designed to provide serious theft protection and quick biometric access at an affordable price point, the Sentry Safe is a good choice for securing your pistol at home.

The safe is made from 12 gauge steel, comparable to what you’ll find in good long gun safes and more than enough to stopper both manual and drill based attacks on the safe’s structure. The biometric mechanism, while it performs quite reliably for a safe this cheap, is severely restricted in the number of users it allows: only two – so this safe is unsuitable for sharing among several individuals.

A compression gas strut mechanism makes it easier to open the lid, which happens to be pry-resistant to deter lever-based attacks; the actuation method is silent – so you’re able to access your weapon discreetly without alerting the intruder, in the event of an emergency.

A mechanical override key is provided with the safe in case the locking mechanism fails. Quite surprisingly, most of the complaints have been directed at poor quality of the buttons as opposed to biometric recognition issues. Several users have also had issues with the rapid battery drainage – which means you’ll have to go for pricier Lithium AA batteries if you don’t want to be changing them frequently.

A 1 year warranty is included with the safe – which is smart, considering the button-related problems some users have experienced.

What We Liked

  • Remarkably strong steel build.
  • Functional biometric mechanism.
  • Silent, gas strut assisted unlock system.
  • Affordably priced.
  • One year warranty.

What We Didn't

  • Only allows you to save two users.
  • Button quality is considerably lacking.
  • Drains power quickly.


Verifi Smart.Safe Fast Access Biometric Safe with FBI Fingerprint Sensor

  • Steel Thickness: n/a
  • Power Source: 4x AA
  • Backup access options: Mechanical override key
Verifi Smart.Safe

Utilizing a high end, FBI certified 3-D imaging system to obtain detailed fingerprint scans, and packing some seriously sophisticated electronic technology to boot, the Smart.Safe is one of the most reliable biometric gun safes in the market at present.

The strong biometric scanner claims to work for individuals who are unable to use mainstream, cheaper biometric safes due to worn out prints – and this is indeed reflected in the glowing feedback from consumers.

The safe comes with a handy auto-lock feature which automatically activates the motorized dual bolt locking mechanism as soon as the lid is closed. Furthermore, an anti-tamper feature alerts you audibly to unauthorized reset attempts, and access logs ensure accountability for all registered users (up to 40 are allowed).

It is also worth noting that while this safe uses standard DC AA batteries to operate, it incorporates voltage boosting circuitry which ensures steady performance even as the batteries themselves get depleted substantially. Furthermore, the safe utilizes an advanced energy efficient microprocessor at its core to extend battery life substantially.

Regular automatic diagnostic operations are performed by the safe, and posted on the LCD screen to keep you up to speed about the battery life, sensor functionality and so on. Even the included mechanical key has been made cross-cut as opposed to barrel, to defeat safe cracking methods suitable for the latter.

While the exact thickness of the steel body is not mentioned, it is fairly thick and on par with most safes of its size. In any case, the interior is sufficient to securely hold a moderately large handgun – and even has lights that subtly turn on when you open the safe in the dark (this feature can be disabled for stealth).

All in all, the manufacturer seems to have covered everything with this offering, and the only issue you may have with it is the somewhat exorbitant $250 plus price tag. A 1 year limited warranty is included, but there have been virtually no complaints from consumers so you probably won’t even need it.

What We Liked

  • Thoroughly reliable fingerprint scanning mechanism.
  • Intuitive feedback through LCD screen.
  • Advanced user access controls.
  • Robust mechanical construction.
  • Secure mechanical override keys.
  • Energy efficient.
  • 1 year limited warranty.

What We Didn't

  • Expensive.


GunVault MicroVault XL MVB1000 Gun Safe Biometric Fingerprint

  • Steel Thickness: 18 GA
  • Power Source: 9V DC
  • Backup access options: Mechanical override key
GunVault MicroVault XL MVB1000

Sporting a humongous 120 fingerprint storage memory, this inexpensive offering from GunVault is expressly suited to securing pistols at a security desk with several staff rotations over the course of a week.

It may not be made from the thickest steel – at 18GA – nonetheless, for mainstream commercial weapon storage this is ample security against brute force attacks. The safe minimizes the chances of success for a pry attack by using an extra strong lock and precision fittings to eliminate play.

Furthermore, it is designed to be setup in any orientation, and has a built in security cord (tested to bear stresses up to 1500 lbs.), so it can serve equally well as a travel safe for your handguns – its slim width means you can stow it away in a corner of your motel room / under your car seat for discretion.

As far as the biometrics are concerned, they are what you would expect from a safe in this price segment – generally reliable, but with a few interspersed complaints about detection failures; as mentioned before, low-cost biometric solutions are only good for those with clear fingerprint marks, so some detection problems are to be expected.

Users have also reported general QC issues such as touchpad failure and the lid spring not engaging etc., fortunately it comes with a 5 year warranty from the manufacturer (much higher than the industry average) that can be availed in these situations.

What We Liked

  • Cheap.
  • Huge user memory.
  • Reasonably strong mechanical construction.
  • Included security cord for portable security.
  • Long-term 5 year warranty.

What We Didn't

  • Some complaints of biometric unreliability.
  • Poor quality control.


Liberty 9G HDX-250 Smart Vault Biometric Safe

  • Steel Thickness: 14 GA
  • Power Source: AC Adapter / 9V DC
  • Backup access options: Mechanical override key
Liberty 9G HDX-250

Sporting a sturdy 14 GA steel body alongside a 5th gen biometric scanner, the Liberty 9G HDX-250 Smart Vault offers an excellent combination of mechanical strength and reliable operation – albeit at a somewhat higher cost.

The safe’s high end biometric technology results in incredibly low fail rates – something that has been attested by many satisfied consumers – it takes two seconds to read your prints and grant you access when operating on the 9V DC battery, and on the AC adapter, it takes only one! The dual power options let you can enjoy reliable operation at home without having to worry about replacing the battery and take it with you on your journeys to keep your weapon secured on the go.

This compels me to recommend this product to those who want their pistol accessible at a moment’s notice for self-defense scenarios. Note that that while the unlocking mechanism is swift, it isn’t silent: the solenoid does make some noise (not really a racket) when engaging.

The 14 GA steel construction, alongside the reinforced latching and anti-pry tabs, defeats the majority of brute force breaking attempts, and a mechanical barrel key grants you access in case the biometrics fail for any reason.

There have been a few complaints pertaining to random biometric failures with this safe, but these are likely a result of quality control lapses (unusual for a product with so much positive feedback) – the 5 year warranty which come with this safe has you covered in any case.

What We Liked

  • Reliable biometric operation.
  • Strong anti-theft features.
  • Can operate on mains power as well as DC battery.
  • Grants access very quickly.
  • 5 year warranty.

What We Didn't

  • Expensive.
  • Very limited QC concerns.


Conclusion

Mechanical strength and anti-theft features are always necessary, but in the case of a biometric safe, the true determinant of performance is the reliability of its fingerprint scanning mechanism: after all, the primary motivation for getting a biometric gun safe is to have a swiftly accessible storage solution for your firearm, which can only be ensured if the biometrics work flawlessly and consistently.

Having gone through the guide as well as the fingerprint gun safe reviews accompanying it, you may have already guessed my pick for the best fingerprint gun safe: the Verifi Smart.Safe. Fast Access Biometric Safe with FBI Fingerprint Sensor – this safe justifies its higher price point with its thoroughly dependable 3D biometric recognition system, user friendly LCD display, energy efficient operation, and solid anti-theft features.

Verifi Smart.Safe

There have been no regrets from users who have purchased this product – in fact, the higher than average price-tag is the only problem it has. Personally, I would strongly advise you to spend the extra $100 for this safe, if you want a biometric solution that can be counted on to work in an emergency time and time again.

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