Biometric Gun Safes Reviews
Biometric Gun Safes Reviews
Recently a video of a 3 year old toddler went viral, opening various well known popular safes easily. There have even been many deaths of kids reported, after they accidentally locked themselves in a safe. These incidents definitely raised questions on the quality of these gun safes and the security that they can provide. Safes with just a lock and key or an electronic lock can easily be tampered with. Biometric locks seem to provide a better solution. Biometric lock uses physical or a behavioral characteristic of a person to lock a safe. These could be fingerprint, retinal or iris structure, hand or face geometry and so on. While other safes could be opened by anyone who knows the combination, biometric locks need the unique identifying feature of the person who locked the safe.
Best Biometric Gun Safe Models
After considering the pros and cons of a biometric safe, if are considering buying one, here are some the popular models by well known brands.
- Barska Top Opening Biometric Safe – Stores upto 30 fingerprints, runs on 4 AA size batteries.
- Gunvault Speed Vault SVB500 – can store up to 120 fingerprints.
- Locksafe Biometric Pistol Safe – Has a fingerprint scanner that is far more sensitive than most other models and hence opens faster.
- Sentry Safe Biometric Quick Access Pistol Safe – This safe can record just 4 fingerprints. However, it is equipped with whisper quiet hardware, so that it makes no sounds while opening the safe door.
What to look for in a Biometric Gun Safe
Gun safes with biometric locking systems are easier to access in case of emergencies. You do not have to remember the combination number or fumble around with a lock. While buying a biometric safe, apart from looking at the regular characteristics, like dimensions, storage space and warranty, there are a few extra points to consider.
- Number of users – while gun safes are meant to keep people from accessing your firearms, it is a good idea to give access to all your family members. In case of emergencies, they should be able to access your safe. Secondly, in case you get locked out due to false negatives, your family member can open it for you. Or, you yourself can store fingerprints of all your fingers. Some Biometric gun safes have the capacity to store up to 120 fingerprints. You can choose your safe depending on the number of users you plan to give access to.
- Level of security – Depending on the kind of sensor you want, Biometric safes can be categorized into 3 types:
- Economy – These safes have sensors which are not very sensitive and cost less than a $100. The possibility of getting a false positive (giving access to unauthorized person) or a false negative (blocking an authorized user) is high.
- Commercial Quality – These systems are highly accurate and reliable. The sensors on these safes cost anywhere between $750 to $1000. These safes are good enough for household safes.
- Military grade – These safes are extremely costly at $5000 and above, but provide some military grade security. They have multiple biometric options like retina or iris scan, face geometry scan etc. Some of these safes need both a digital combination and a biometric entry to open the safe.
- Back up locking systems – In case you get locked out due to false negative attempts or in case the battery runs out, you need to have a backup locking system. The backup locking system could be a lock and key system, a combination dial or a digital lock (which requires battery again)
- Batteries or Power supply – All biometric locks need a power source. While some work on AA batteries, some need to be plugged into a regular power source.
Pros and Cons
Biometric gun safes come with various advantages:
- Quick access – In case of emergencies, swiping a finger to open a lock is faster than fumbling with a key or raking your brains for the lock combination.
- Technologically advanced – It scans a physical feature of the user to open the lock, thus eliminating the need to carry a key or to remember a combination.
- Easy to carry in case you want to carry your gun with you when you travel, biometric safes are the best choice.
- Kid proof – Since biometric features like fingerprints or retinas are unique to people, it would be difficult for kid to meddle with it and open the safe.
- Some companies like Sargent & Greenleaf provide commercial grade biometric keypads which can be used as a replacement for your digital keypad without having to actually changing your lock.
Though Biometric safes provide some features which can be considered as “cool” to have, there are many disadvantages:
- Burns, cuts and boils can alter your fingerprint and make it unrecognizable by the scanner. It is a good idea to test your registered fingerprint every 6 months and re scan if required.
- You need to remember to wipe the scanner glass clean after every use. Else they can been easily opened by using certain hacks available on the internet
- Biometric technology is still in its infancy and no standards have been put in place to check the quality of a biometric lock.
- Chances of false negatives and false positives are high on the cheaper safes
- Cost of a biometric scanner is so high that it makes the price of the safe to be costly. A safe with a biometric lock would be costlier than a safe of the same configuration but with a digital or a mechanical lock.
- Since the scanners need a power source, you need to keep changing the batteries or keep the safe plugged to a power source.
Though Biometric safes seem safer when compared to other safes, they come with their own drawbacks. They are definitely more convenient while travelling, safer when kids are around and provide quick access in case of emergencies. They are however more costlier when compared to regular safes with same configurations. It is therefore better to carefully evaluate your choices before buying a biometric safe.