Hesitation towards locking your firearm up is understandable. Nobody wants to put a barrier between their tool of protection and themselves, but with the right safe, it’ll be just as reachable as if it weren’t locked up. Some of the fasted and most accessible gun safes are equipped with biometric locks, that is a lock that’s unlocked via your fingerprint.
Ensuring that only you and possibly other registered users have access to your gun cuts down on the possibility of it winding up in the wrong hands. Biometric gun safes keep your firearm from being accessed by children and intruders while also keeping it safe from the elements.
While shopping for biometric guns safes, there are a few things to keep in mind, which we’ll cover in the buyer’s guide portion at the bottom. For now, let’s take a look at the top 10 best biometric gun safes.
This small safe is convenient and will fit in many places, so it will always be on hand when you need it. Fast-access is what you’ll get with Gunvault’s mini safe, an essential trait of any good safe. Encased is a 16-gauge steel, your handgun is well protected from intruders and the elements.
- Program Multiple Users: Store fingerprints for up to 10 trusted users so your firearm can be accessed by those that need it while keeping unwanted hands out.
- Compact: The smaller size means you can store this safe under your bed, which keeps your pistol in reach in case of emergencies.
- Limited Battery Life: The lifetime of the batteries won’t last for long. It’s wise to keep spares on hand, especially since any programming done is lost if the unit dies entirely.
- Not Sensitive Enough: It could take two tries to get the safe open, which hinders your ability to access your firearm fast.
Up to four fingerprints can be stored but there’s also a backup mechanical lock and keypad in case your fingerprints aren’t being read. The biometric scanner reads your fingerprints quick, though more programmed prints will slow down the process a little.
- Silent Access: When there’s an intruder, complete silence is key and the SentrySafe Pistol Safe is whisper quiet.
- Multiple Entry Options: If the batteries die, you can use the key. If you need to give someone access in an emergency situation, you can provide them with a code for the keypad.
- More Complicated Than It Needs to Be: To activate the keypad, a button needs to be pressed before it registers any further inputs. This can slow down access time to your firearm if the scanner isn’t functional.
- Slower with Multiple Programmed Prints: The more prints are programmed, the slower it is to read yours. Provide access to other users via the keypad.
When it comes to programmable fingerprints, the MicroVault MVB1000 can store up to 120 different prints. This will allow everyone in your home to register their prints, ensuring that everyone has access to the contents in emergency situations. If the batteries happen to die, the spare set of keys will grant you access. With no other means of access, such as a keypad, there is no need to worry about unwanted people getting their hands on your handgun.
- 120 Different Prints: Offering the largest library of programmable prints, you can ensure everyone that needs access will have access.
- Spacious: The interior pockets provide ample space for ammunition and personal valuables while the base of the safe is perfect for one or two handguns.
- No Interior Light: Many safes have a small LED that lights up when the lid is opened. You’ll want to keep a flashlight handy or, if legal in your state/city, keep your firearm loaded for emergencies.
- Not Sensitive Enough: You may have to attempt to scan your finger multiple times as the scanner isn’t as sensitive as it could be. With space for 120 fingerprints, it may be worth scanning your finger from multiple angles.
When it comes to the biometric scanner, up to 30 different users can store their prints. This allows you to give everyone that you’re comfortable with access. Powered by four AA batteries, it’s inevitable that the batteries will run out, but the safe does have a mechanical lock hidden behind the nameplate. The unit is a bit temperamental as it will set off an alarm if the door remains open for more than 30 seconds.
- Store 30 Fingerprints: Store either multiple angles of your own fingers or provide access to a family member. Those 30 fingerprints are yours to use as you see fit.
- Silent Mode: Don’t worry about drawing the attention of the intruder with the safe’s “silent mode,” which keeps everything as quiet as possible.
- Extended Battery Life: The batteries will only provide when the fingerprint scanner is in use, prolonging their life.
- Unnecessary Alarm: Get in and out to avoid setting off the alarm, which sounds if the unit was left open for 30 seconds.
- Inconvenient Keyhole: Having a second option to unlock your safe is great, but the keyhole in this model is hidden behind a nameplate and can be inconvenient to get to.
The foam padded shelves provide an added layer of protection to the surface of your items while the pry-resistant door, concealed hinges, and steel locking bolts deliver on the utmost of security for your family. Though the main means of gaining access is via the biometric scanner, the safe comes with a backup key in case of emergencies.
- Backlit Lock: These locks are typically difficult to see in the dark, but Stack-On provided a backlit biometric lock to increase visibility.
- Solid and Pry Resistant: You, your family, and your firearm will remain safe due to the heavy build and sturdy construction.
- Non-Compartmentalized: Storing your items, including your handgun, on two flat surfaces with no added compartments can limit the amount of stuff stowed.
- Stiff Door: Once opened, the door can be difficult to pull open at times and may require a little force.
Barska Quick Access Biometric Rifle Safe
The steel construction will keep your firearms safe while the soft foam padding that keeps them in place prevents unwanted movement in storage. Should the batteries die when you need access, two backup keys are provided. As an added benefit, the safe is equipped with a “mute” feature, which allows you to silence the electronic beeps to prevent intruders from knowing where you are and that you have a gun safe.
At only 8.6” x 9.8”, there’s not a ton of storage space, but the slim build will fit in closets and other tight spaces.
- Ample Fingerprint Storage: Store up to 120 fingerprints for ease-of-access. Store multiples of your own fingers with storage left over for your family.
- Slim Design: Though it reduces storage space, the slim design allows for convenient storage in closets, garages, and bedrooms.
- Not the Largest: The slim build is convenient for placement in the home, but does reduce the number of rifles that can be stored.
- No Room for Accessories: Whether attached to detached from your rifles, accessories won’t fit in the small design of this safe.
Two 20mm deadbolts lock tight an interior of three fully adjustable shelves, which are perfect for storing handguns, ammunition, and your valuable personal items. A built-in LED light will ensure you can see what you’re grabbing for without alerting an intruder to your location by giving off too much light.
Two anti-pry insertion slots keep unwanted hands from getting ahold of your stuff. There’s also an audible alarm that beeps if the door is left unlocked. This can be problematic if you’re trying to keep an intruder from knowing where you are and forget to relock the safe.
- Feature-Rich: Multiple entry methods (Keypad and Fingerprinting), an LCD screen that displays operations and battery status, and a mute function give you plenty of options for the best user experience.
- Fully Carpeted Interior: Keep your personal items and your handguns safe and unscathed thanks to the carpeted shelving.
- Anti-Pry Slots: Intruders won’t be able to pry open this sturdy safe thanks to two anti-pry slots that the 20mm deadbolts slide into.
- Audible Alarm: If you forget to lock the safe, it will alert you with an audible alarm that can attract unwanted attention.
Store up to 40 fingerprints – either multiples of your own or family members – for immediate access to the safe’s contents. Multiple handguns, ammunition, and personal items like passports and spare car keys will fit perfectly in this simple safe. For even more storage, a separate handgun rack can be purchased.
Curious as to who’s been accessing the safe? An event log provides you with a report of whose fingerprints were used to unlock it. Added features like a stealth mode and SelfCheck, which runs a self-diagnostic to check battery power and other possible defaults, only further enhance the functionality of this safe.
- Auto-Lock: Once the door closes, it automatically locks without the need for manual locking.
- Sensitive Fingerprint Sensor: The fingerprint sensor is the fastest there is, providing access to your firearm within seconds for up to 40 different users.
- Tamper Alert: When your child gets curious, or an intruder gets their hand on your safe, a tamper alarm sounds. It’s triggered by backup key access, unauthorized fingerprints, and failed resets.
- Costly: All of this security comes at a higher cost than what you’d spend on an average, but effective biometric safe.
Keeping everything secure within is a sensitive and reliable fingerprint scanner that’s capable of holding 20 individual fingerprints. Either scan your fingers from multiple angles to guarantee the fasted access or store family fingerprints so that they can be protected if you’re not around.
The SVB500 is intended to be mounted and will fit under desks thought you’re more-than-able to slide it under the bed for maximum convenience in case of intruders. Though the exterior is a solid steel capable of preventing prying, a foam interior provides a layer of protection for your firearm while stowed.
- Quick-Draw Storage: Your handgun will be available for you immediately once the safe is open and thanks to how it’s stored, the grip will always be facing you.
- 18–Gauge, Pry-proof Steel: Protecting your firearm is an outer shell of 18-gauge steel that can withstand a beating. Even with the solid construction, it’s still portable and can be stored in many different locations.
- Limited Space: There’s really only room for your handgun and maybe ammunition, meaning you’ll need another safe for other firearms or personal items.
- Expensive: Listed at over $300, the SVB500 is a little expensive, especially considering its interior size.
Vaultek VT20i Handgun Safe
While not dealing with your smartphone, though, you’ll be marveling at the durability of this technologically advanced gun safe. While it’s often true that technology can break easily, the Vaultek is built to last. Once inside the 16-gauge carbon steel case, you’ll find more-than-enough room for the handgun and ammo you’re looking to store.
Enjoy four months of battery life with the rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which is recharged via an included micro-USB cable. LED lighting provides low-light visibility and can be customized to your liking. It’s compact and easy to move, so Vaultek provided the option to mount this firearm safe for extra protection and security.
- Well-Connected: With smartphone connectivity, you can view the status of your safe, see who’s accessing it, and if anyone has tried to pry it open.
- Anti-Impact Latches: Vaultek’s design ensures no one will be able to break into your safe, even if they attempt excessive force.
- Backup Access: It may run entirely on batteries, but the Vaultek also comes with a backup set of keys should that battery die.
- Well-Connected: A pro and con, being too connected can make your safe susceptible to unwanted access via your smartphone.
- Cost: All of this technology comes at a higher cost, making this inaccessible to more casual firearm owners.
Biometric Gun Safe Buyer’s Guide
As you can see, biometric safes, like any other kind of safe, can be a versatile option when it comes to gun safety and household protection. The use of fingerprint ID technology provides you quick access to your firearm while the heavy-duty construction of the safe delivers on ample security.
As you start your shopping journey in the world of biometric gun safes, begin by reading through this buyer’s guide. We’ll go over the essentials of biometric gun safes, why you want to own one, the benefit of biometric over mechanical/manual safes, and some of the features you should look for while narrowing down options.
Biometric vs. Mechanical vs. Manual
You’ve heard quite a bit about mechanical safes, but what, exactly, does that mean in relation to biometric safes. The answer is as simple as one world: keys. Mechanical safes require a physical means of unlocking, one that doesn’t involve keypads and fingerprint scans.
While most biometric safes have a mechanical backup option should the electronics fail or the batteries die, mechanical safes only have one means of entry. If you lose your keys or they break, you’ll need to find a way to break into the safe or pick the lock. The more options you have to open your own safe, the better it is for home use and protection.
A manual safe, like a mechanical safe, requires heavy user involvement. Unlike biometric safes, where users can just place their finger on a scanner, manual safes are controlled via keypads. Like biometric safes, manual safes run off of batteries and have all the qualms about fingerprint-based security without many of the pros. For instance, manual safes take longer to open than fingerprint safes.
Why a Biometric Safe?
It’s a viable question to ask yourself, especially before you shell out upwards of hundreds of dollars. With the different types of safes out there, why should you want to go with a biometric safe? If you’re a technophobe, chances are you love dealing with keys and leaving the worries about batteries behind; but there is something to be said about the efficiency of a biometric safe.
So you know what you’re getting yourself into, we’ve listed the pros and cons of biometric safes. You may find that the pros outweigh the cons by quite a bit.
- Quick-Access: Rather than have to fuss with keys or remember a combination, biometric safes only require the press of a finger. Once registered, which is instantaneous in most biometric safes, the lock releases and the door opens. Many biometric safes don’t even require you to lift the lid, allowing you to focus all of your energy on grabbing your firearm for protection. The whole process takes mere seconds compared to mechanical and combination locks, which can take upwards of 30 seconds. In high-stress situations, that kind of time can’t be afforded.
- Nobody Else Can Access Your Firearm: If you live with young children, they will have no means of accessing your safe without your fingers. This cuts down on home firearm accidents and intruders being able to break in and steal your gun. Most models are designed to be pry-proof and resistant to bludgeoning, so your firearm will be entirely secure in its biometric safe.
- Multiple Users: Firearm owners that have families old enough and trained in firing a gun will be able to register those fingerprints to the safe. In case you’re not home during an emergency, you’d want your family to have immediate access to protect themselves from intruders.
- More Secure: In general, biometric safes are far more secure than mechanical and combination safes. Limited access to anyone but you and other registered users amplifies security, ensuring you and yours are safe while still granting you immediate access to your firearm.
- Battery Powered: Though some biometric safes are powered by a rechargeable lithium battery, many run off of AA and AAAs. This could become problematic as time wears on and the batteries start to die. You’ll be replacing them every few months, which could put you at risk of an intruder breaking in the one night you forgot to change the batteries. To some, having to deal with a mechanical lock is too much of an inconvenience, especially intense, emergency situations.
- Cost: Since it’s electronic and runs state-of-the-art technology for fingerprint recognition, a biometric safe is bound to be a bit more expensive than your average mechanical safe. In the long run, though, you wind up with a reliable protective means of keeping your handguns and long rifles out of unwanted hands.
It’s clear that there’s a big difference between mechanical and biometric safes, with biometric versions delivering a higher level of security without hindering your ability to access your gun.
What You Want Out of Your Biometric Safe
As you’re shopping around for a safe, you want to guarantee that the one you purchase is best for you. To do that, you’ll need to know what you want to get out of your biometric safe. Here are a few things you’ll want to pay attention to in order to ensure you’re pleased with your purchase.
Size: You know what you’re trying to stow away, so you’re the only one that can determine what size safe you need. If you’re storing just a handgun and some ammo, you can get away with a smaller handgun safe. The more guns you add, the larger the safe you’ll need. Be sure you have the space for a larger safe before diving in and purchasing.
Convenience / User-Friendly: A safe shouldn’t require hours of setup. Even more complex safes that hold more than 100 fingerprints aren’t that difficult to figure out. There are models, however, that have too many features that can send casual owners for a loop. Biometric safes with Bluetooth functionality may have more features than you’re looking for if simplicity is key.
Easily Accessible: Meaning, when it’s the middle of the night and you need to get to your safe, will you even be able to see it? With a biometric safe, you can look at options with a built-in LED light for late-night visibility. Most options with a light-up keypad will also have an interior LED light to see your firearms.
Battery Type: Chances are the biometric safe you’re looking at will run off of batteries, so now it’s just a matter of finding out what kind of batteries it runs off of. Many use AAs but you will find some with a rechargeable battery. These tend to be more expensive, but also incredibly convenient and prevent frequent battery purchases.
Secure: Most importantly, you want to make sure your safe secures what’s inside. This has less to do with biometric safes in general and pertains more to any safe out there. Check the gauge level of the steel. The higher the number, the less likely it is that someone can find a way into your safe via force.