Safe gun storage, it isn’t just about safety, it is about safety, security, reliability and in some cases, quick access ability.
Traditional safes are operated by either a key, a scrolling wheel lock or a PIN keypad. While these offer security and reliability they rarely provide “quick access”, as all of these means of unlocking take more time than might be allowed to quickly access your firearm.
Furthermore, common struggles like forgetting your PIN, or not wanting to share your PIN, or losing a key, can all cause significant impedance to the readiness and accessibility of your gun.
Thankfully, in an age where finger print scanners, retinal scanners and even 3D face scanning are built into such common devices as smartphones there are a new breed of gun safes that are incorporating biometric scanning functionality into their operation.
What Are Biometric Locks & Why Do They Reign Supreme?
Biometrics is the technological marriage of encryption, physical locking and human biology. That’s right, we are living in the dawn of “the Terminator age” where machines are able to read our biological stats to assign and track identities.
While in terms of big government and omnipresent security cameras this can be quite scary, for our use of securing our firearms it is actually quite neat.
Biometric vs. Pin & Tumbler Locks
Biometrics are at the forefront of encryption and locking technology. Key safes, some of the cheapest and oldest technology, are also some of the most unreliable as for every key lock created there is a locksmith or pick artist who is able to pick and crack that key lock. This is simply because the pin/tumbler lock system is antiquated.
Biometric vs. Combination Locks
The next most popular type of lock, the combination lock, this is the one generally on a wheel or containing revolving wheels are no better in terms of their ease of cracking. For securing your gym gear while working out or locking your bicycle this prehistoric tech is great because it is cheap and reliable.
However in terms of securing high value items and in terms of speed, they are far from ideal.
Poorly manufactured combination locks can be cracked just by feel alone (this editor has personally done it multiple times to prank gym friends) and the concept of fiddling with multiple wheels to align a perfect code in a moment of emergency such as home intrusion is not appealing at all.
Biometric vs Access Control Locks
Access control locks are usually a marriage of old mechanical locking tech and new digital encryption tech.
These safes feature solid metal construction and locking mechanisms that have been fused with a digital interface to help deter enthusiastic lock picks from cracking your safe.
These are the most current safes on the market and are ubiquitous in hotels and gun collectors houses alike because of their security, reliability and affordability.
While the digital interface greatly reduces instances of picking these locks aren’t with fault. First, anything with a button can be picked.
From invisible dyes which then get imprinted upon the buttons surface (giving away the password/PIN) to simply ripping away the soft button interface to brute force the mechanism these locks have their fair share of “work-arounds”.
For the novice, or the person looking to secure medium-worth items these are great, but for those looking for the most cutting edge technology that provides the highest levels of security there is currently no greater tech than biometric locks and safes.
Welcome To The 21st Century: Top Biometric Safes of 2018
Safes come in all sizes and shapes. 90% of the safes we review below are “pistol safes”, meaning they are just the right size to hold a pistol. If you are looking for a biometric rifle safe please scroll to the bottom of this post (or click that link) where we review our top choice.
We chose to focus on pistol safes first because, in terms of quick access, most of the time you are thinking pistol. Quick access means you need something small, light, and ready to use in an instant, for situations such as home burglary.
Rifles, generally speaking, are not thought of as quick access tools, safe tactical shotguns or AR-15 style firearms and even then for middle of the night quick access most would prefer reaching for a handgun.
Furthermore, all of the biometric handgun safes reviewed below can double as simple biometric safes to store anything from jewelry to sensitive documents and thus by focusing on this type of safe we can appeal to a greater readership.
So, without any more delay, let’s get into the “quick access” part of this guide and show you the top performing biometric-enabled safes of 2018!
Vaultek VT20i Pistol Safe with Auto-Open Lid
Vaultek is probably one of the most widely known makers of biometric safes on the market. This is because this is all that Vaultek does, they are not an old-school safe company that added a couple new models to their inventory line. Instead they are 100% dedicated to biometric safes and biometric safes only.
- UPGRADED ANTI-THEFT PROTECTION features anti-pry bars, two point anti-impact latches, interior mounted hinges, and NEW interior security brackets for the ultimate prevention against break-ins. Available with the entire Vaultek product line up including the new VT10i.
- TOUGH AND RUGGED heavy-duty 16-gauge carbon steel construction with a durable powdercoat finish preventing corrosion and ensures long lasting protection of your belongings for years to come.
- QUICK ACCESS to your valuables, documents, and firearm(s) from the automatic opening door. Get in quick when it matters most using the rapid fire backlit keypad or biometric fingerprint scanner.
- SMART SAFE TECHNOLOGY a highly interactive experience from your smartphone. You can easily toggled on/off using the available hotkeys if desired and still maintain all other safe functions. A RECHARGEABLE LITHIUM-ION battery provides power up to 4 months, and charges in 2.5 hours with the included micro-USB charging kit.
- RESPONSIVE LED LIGHTING in low light situations so you can locate your safe with the backlit keypad and easily view your safe contents with an adjustable interior LED light.
The VT20i is their best selling unit and comes with full-locking hinges (impact resistant), anti-pry bars to prevent forced entry, padded foam interior to protect contents, internally-mounted hinges, again so the pins cannot be popped out in a brute-force open attempt, and a quick-release cable mount for safe legal mounting inside vehicles.
The body is constructed of solid 16-guage steel, making it heavy, but tough. There are pre-drilled shallow holes on the external shell that allow the box to be mounted either under a table or on a wall or even inside a vehicle.
Within the safe itself is a rechargeable lithium-ion power supply that lasts for months on end and an LED light, which bath your firearm in sexy ambient lightning. Oohhh ambient lightning…
The crown jewel however is the fingerprint scanner, which can be programmed to read and accept either 1 user or up to 20 users, depending on your needs. The safe also comes with a Vaultek App so you can track your safes location from your phone, control the sound, adjust the interior LED lightning, remotely unlock the safe, view the batteries health, and also check for tampering.
With a sub $300 price range you’ll be hard pressed to find a safe as equally equipped as this one for the price.
SentrySafe Pistol Safe (QAP1BE model) with Quick Access
If the above Vaultek is the Ford of biometric safes then the SentrySafe QAP1BE Pistol Safe is the GM. This safe is slightly smaller than the Vaulek but only just so and can still store most standard sized handguns (interior dimensions of 9.7in x 6.7in x 2.2in).
The QAP1BE isn’t quite as fully spec’d out as the Vaultek, but the reason we list it here on this list is because it is the best bargain for a biometric fast-access gun safe.
This specific model can be had at just over $100, which is a steal, no pun intended. The unit also has internally mounted gas springs that cause the cover to automatically open once the correct biometric information has been read.
If you are willing to spend just a little extra money you can jump up to the QAPEL, which is the top-of-the-range in SentrySafe’s biometric handgun safe line.
- Gun safe provides secure storage for two standard handguns or one larger pistol and extra ammunition; pistol safe with digital keypad for advanced protection
- Pistol safe features a gas strut to instantly and quietly open safe door for single-handed access to your handgun and interior light for increased visibility; ideal for use as a bedside gun safe
- Handgun safe is constructed with solid steel and a pry resistant door for strength and handgun security; manual keypad and override key for back up entry; California DOJ certified gun safe
- Exterior: 16.4 in. W x 9.8 in. D. x 3.2 in. H; Interior 14 in. W x 6.5 in. D x 2.2 in. H; weighs 16 pounds; four AA batteries required (not included)
- For optimal performance, SentrySafe recommends the use of four high-quality, name branded, alkaline AA batteries with an expiration date of 8-10 years from the current year. Generic and rechargeable batteries often do not have the lifespan needed to support long term usage
For your extra money you get more storage room (enough for two pistols), a compressed gas strut for quick opening, an internally placed blue LED light for that ambient sexiness, and general quality construction SentrySafe is known for.
This is evidenced in the fact that the QAP2EL model is fully certified by the California Department of Justice, meaning this safe is all business.
GunVault SVB500 Speedvault Biometric
When quick access and speed is the name of your game then there is no better pistol safe than the SVB500 Speedvault.
While all the other safes in this list are the traditional box shape, as it is time-tested and reliable (not to mention multifunctional), the SVB500 was designed for one thing and one thing only: deploying your firearm as quickly as mechanically possible while simultaneously maintaining the highest safety when not in use.
- Biometric Fingerprint Scanner and Activation button. Holds up to 20 individual Fingerprints
- Fast Activation drop down drawer, for quick access and interior product dimensions is 2.25 inch x 5.75 inch x 8.5 inch
- 18-Gauge steel construction, with protective foam-lined interior
- Precise fittings are virtually impossible to pry open with hand tools
- Mounts almost anywhere, in any direction
The Speedvault has a unique hinged design that allows your firearm to be dispensed to you similar to how a vending machine dispenses a bottle of soda. This means all you have to do is scan you finger, no buttons required, and the door drops open with the grip of your pistol at the ready.
The scanner itself can be programmed from 1 to 20 individual users. The unit itself, while not a traditional shape, still manages to use full 18-guage steel for it’s outer shell construction, making it one of the thickest in this roundup.
Discreet, compact, and coming with it’s very own mounting system this is the perfect safe to be mounted under desks, tables, to the sides of nightstands or even within vehicles.
If quick access to your sidearm is of utmost priority to you, and you desire a low-profile, small form factor that can be hidden out of sight just about anywhere that allows you to screw in a mounting bracket, then this is the safe for you.
GunVault GVB2000 Multi-Vault Safe
Another more traditional offering from GunVault is the GVB2000. This is a rectangular box constructed unit that has multi-use functionality as it’s large internal diameter can store sidearms, currency, gold, electronics or sensitive documents.
- Unique No-Eyes. Keypad for quick access
- Heavy gauge steel housing with tamper proof spring loaded door
- Fingerprint recognition with a high performance algorithm to achieve speedy identification and a very low False Reject Rate (FRR)
- Accepts up to 20 Fingerprints and updates slight changes that may occur over time to an enrolled fingerprint
- Foam lining inside to protect the firearm or other valuables
Called the “Multi-Vault” it truly is designed for both firearms and other valuables, making it a great addition to a family closet where both husband and wife can store their most cherished valuables.
Unlike other smaller safes reviewed in this roundup the Multi-Vault also has built in AC/DC power input, meaning you don’t have to worry about an internal rechargeable battery running low as you can plug it directly into your wall.
Don’t worry though, the GVB2000 also has a built-in battery slot that holds 1 9-volt battery which means it can function without direct AC/DC power as well.
As with all GunVault products, both this and the Speedvault come with full 5-year warranty directly from the manufacturer.
Verifi Smart.Safe Biometric General Purpose Safe with FBI Fingerprint Scanner
Next up on the list is a verified heavy-hitter in the form of the FBI-certified Fast Access safe from Verifi.
That’s right, this safe features a fingerprint scanning unit that is so high tech it is certified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and used across America by special agents to secure their personal documents, firearms and other confidential materials.
- Fast Access with a Finger Touch: No Weak PIN Code Access. Achieve Higher Security without a Keypad.
- F.B.I. Certified Fingerprint Sensor with 3D Imaging: For Everyone & Everytime Unlike Cheap Sensors.
- AutoLock, NiteLite, Tamper Alerts, LCD Display, SelfCheck, Stealth Mode.
- Add / Delete Individual Users, Add Fingers up to 40, Access log, Event log, Built-in Tutorials.
- Ext Size: (W)17.4" X (D)16.1" X (H)7.9". Solid Steel Construction. Works for Several Years on 4 AA Batt.
This safe doesn’t joke around. There are zero keypads or over-ride locks to help you access the contents of the unit, just one very high-tech, very cool fingerprint scanner and digital display.
With a large internal size, you can fit multiple firearms in this safe with ease. There are three variants of this safe, the S4000, S5000, and S6000. The larger the number the larger the size.
Intelligence matters with digital safes and this is one of the smartest on the market. First off, the fingerprint scanner is federal-government grade, unlike other biometric safes which only feature consumer-grade fingerprint scanning technology.
The Verifi safe uses silicon-based sensors which use a complicated 3D imaging technology to ascertain a high resolution map of your fingerprint.
This is similar to the technology used at the U.S Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, State Department and airport immigration control points and police stations around the world.
The LCD screen does more than just display the locked status of the safe. There are also built-in self-diagnostics so you always know your battery level.
The unit also self-locks if the door is closed and can emit tamper alerts if someone tries to open the safe without authorization. All unauthorized attempts to open the safe are logged in the internal memory of the safe itself.
With it’s intuitive design, professional pedigree, smart CPU and fingerprint scanning technology this is one of the best investments you can make in a completely keypad-less biometric safe for serious business.
Stack-On PDS-1500-B Personal Drawer Safe
If the above safes are a bit more than what you really need then you should consider the Stack-On PDS 1500B, a personal drawer safe that is just big enough to hold your piece yet small enough to fit in almost any standard desk drawer.
- AA Batteries Required (best with Polaroid AA batteries)
- The solid steel, pry-resistant door has concealed hinges and 2 steel live action locking bolts
- The one-touch Biometric lock can be programmed to accept up to twenty different fingerprints
- Silent entry mode
- A low battery warning system, 2 back-up keys, and all mounting hardware is included
This is a small safe, perfect for a small pistol, although you better look elsewhere if you’re looking for a cozy new home for your .45 magnum.
Simplicity is the name of the game here, with two solid locking bolts, solid steel construction and pry-proof internal protection. Sure, this unit lacks some of the luxuries of the above models such as LEDs or self-opening assistance, but for well under $100 this is all about value.
The biometric scanner is one-touch and controls the opening and locking of the safe, no keypads here. There is a polished metal knob used to manually open the top lid, so this isn’t exactly a “fast access” or even single-handed operation.
Still, for a simple desk safe that features top grade biometric access ports in the form of a fingerprint sensor then this is a great affordable option.
Barska Large Biometric Safe (AX11650)
Barska is a well-known value brand that makes everything a tactical-oriented professional could ever need including scopes, binoculars and other optics, saves, vaults, key cabinets, tactical vests, lasers and even metal detectors.
Needless to say these people have their head in the right place and are just as passionate about quality yet affordable gun safety as they come.
- CHILDPROOF BIOMETRICS - Foolproof fingerprint security lets you save up to 120 fingerprints and safeguard all handguns away from your kids!
- INSTANT HOME DEFENSE - The advanced fingerprint lock grants fast, 2-second access even in the dark or during critical moments
- THEFT DETERRENCE - Fortified with steel and state-of-the-art biometrics, the home safe resists tampering, prying, and lock picking
- ROOM TO SPARE - Sized for optimal compact storage, the Security Safe mounts nearly anywhere and boasts 1.45 ft³ of space for all your valuables
- RELIABLE BACKUP - Use the hidden keyhole and included keys or plug in the emergency battery pack for easy, manual access anytime
Barska manufactures a wide variety of safes and vaults of all sizes, but it is their biometric line which are some of the newest and most state-of-the art in their lineup. The “Barska Large Biometric Safe” is big ole son-of-a-gun and perfect for someone who isn’t afraid to have their safe out on display.
Sure, there are smaller models like the AX12842, AX12428, and AX11224 (desk drawer type), but the AX11650 is the best selling of the lot and we can see why.
Unlike the above reviewed desk-mountable safes, this is very much a shelf-standing safe that is proud to stand out in the open. And why not? from the solid steel construction , sexy chrome fingerprint scanner unit and classic twist latch handle this is almost as much a work of art as it is a functional bit of personal security.
Featuring 3 solid steel locking bolts, anti-pry design features, and an industry leading “2-second access” this behemoth is no slouch! The biometric scanner unit is one of the fastest in the industry and can read your finger from the vertical, horizontal and everywhere in between angle.
This is clutch as in an emergency or stressful circumstance the last thing you want to do is be sweating about getting your finger at just the right angle to access your firearm. Speed and reliability are two fo the most important characteristics of a quality gun safe and Barska’s got them in spades with their large safe.
This is perfect for a homeowner, small business, security force or even small-town police force as the unit can be programmed to remember up to 120 unique fingerprints, which is over 100x more than the other biometric vaults in this roundup.
Barska Quick Access (AX11652 model) Biometric Rifle Safe
Last, but certainly not least, is the . While most of this list focuses on drawer and vehicle-mountable units for single or double sidearm storage, most gun owners have a combination of pistols and rifles so it only makes sense to have a biometric rifle safe as well.
- ADVANCED BIOMETRICS – Smart biometric technology retains 120 fingerprints, secures firearms away from kids, and deters theft
- INSTANT HOME DEFENSE – For quick firearm access during emergencies, instantly unlock the safe with a reliable 2.5 sec biometric scan
- DOJ-APPROVED SECURITY – Built with solid steel, 3 steel deadbolts, and protective edges, this biometric device resists tampering and prying ; Exterior Dimensions (inch):9.75 x 8.63 x 52.13 ; Interior Dimensions (inch):9.7 x 7.63 x 52
- COMPACT & MOUNTABLE – The Biometric Fingerprint Safe fits practically anywhere for unrivaled convenience and stores handguns and up to 4 rifles
- BACKUP ACCESS – Unlock the safe with the included keys and hidden keyhole or plug in the emergency battery pack when battery runs low.Depth/Thickness:2 mm
The Barska AX11652 is a full sized rifle safe that sports all of the handy quick-access biometric access features of smaller speed-engineered units. This bad boy can hold up to 4 rifles comfortably along with ammunition and other essentials via a top-mounted internal storage rack.
The internal height is up to 52 inches, so it will hold most common tactical and hunting type rifles with ease. Similar to the Barska AX11650 above this rifle safe can store up to 120 unique fingerprints internally which makes it great for medium to large sized groups.
This is testament to the quality of the safe and the reliability of Barska’s industry-leading 2-second biometric ulocking/locking mechanism.
The AX rifle safe line goes from this simple 4-rifle unit all the way up to a 16-rifle unit (AX11780) if you need to supply a small army.
For most home owners though this tidy little 4-rifle unit gets the job done and is a steal at under $300 all said and done.
Conclusion and De-Briefing
Family safes are much like fine watches; they are something worth spending a little more for top quality because it is very much a possession that will b passed down to further generations.
When you look at your safe as a member of your family, something that will be used for 100 years or more, then it only makes sense to invest in the best and most current technologies to stay relevant for decades to come.
For the time being, biometric scanners are at the top of the industry in terms of reliability, quick access and affordability. Sure, within 100 years we may have more reliable and affordable retinal scanners or voice scanners but as stands fingerprint scanning is more than effective enough for most private applications.
If we missed a safe that you like or are curious to learn more about please let us know in the comments and we’ll consider adding it to our roundup guide here if it meets the correct criteria.
Last update on 2019-02-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API