If you ended up here, it likely means you are considering a safe and keep seeing ‘biometric’ everywhere. What is a biometric safe? What does it do? How is it better than any other locking mechanism? All good questions that we’ll address below.
Do I need a gun safe?
Yes. We could end that statement right there.
It is the responsibility of every gun owner to ensure that their firearms are protected from things like theft and fire, as well as kept out of the hands of children. Additionally, many states have legislated that firearms must be secured in a particular fashion and impose criminal penalties against those who do not comply.
Firearms can also be expensive, and provided they are properly cared for, will last for generations. An essential part of properly caring for your firearms is to keep them secured and protected.
Every gun owner should also be a safe owner.
What is a ‘biometric safe’?
The word ‘biometric’ is a fancy term for measurements of human body characteristics. When applied to consumer gun safes, biometrics generally means ‘fingerprints’.
Consumer-grade biometric safes are designed with fingerprint readers as a part of their locking mechanism. Once the proper users are enrolled in the safe’s memory system, only those fingerprints can be used to unlock the safe. These locking mechanisms can be a mix of a combination lock and fingerprint reader or just a fingerprint reader.
As you’ve likely guessed, these fingerprint readers run on electricity. Most of the safes covered further down run on batteries concealed inside the secure portion of the safe. To prevent the safe from being inadvertently locked forever by dead batteries, most safes come equipped with warning devices to alert the user to failing batteries. Oversights happen, however, so the final failsafe is usually a physical key that unlocks a dead safe.
Pros and Cons of Biometric Gun Safes
Let’s break down the ups and downs for biometric gun safes.
Quick access: Biometric gun safes allow a gun owner to very quickly and easily access their firearms. All it takes is pressing a finger against the reader and ‘viola’ access is granted.
Don’t have to remember a combination: if you happen to purchase a safe equipped only with a fingerprint reader, then the only combination you need is the one attached to your finger.
Enroll multiple people: Instead of passing out the combination to multiple family members you want to have access to the safe, all you have to do is enroll their finger.
Power: Biometric safes run on electricity, supplied by either an internal battery or, for larger safes, plugged into the wall. Without power, the mechanism does not work.
Faults: Like any computer-based system, the mechanism can have an unknown fault preventing it from opening, despite the presence of an enrolled fingerprint.
Easier to bypass: unfortunately, the basic design of an electronically operated lock makes it susceptible to being bypassed by someone with the correct knowledge and a powerful magnet.
Best Biometric Gun Safes
Now, for the whole reason, you’re here. We’re going to break this down between pistol (small) and rifle (large) gun safes. Both can come equipped with biometrics; however, the use case for either can be drastically different.
Pistol safes are small and lightweight, usually meant for more portable use. These safes are also generally designed for quicker access in the event a firearm is needed for self-defense. Many of these safes will be found in nightstands, or beside beds.
Rifle, or long-gun, safes are much larger and heavier than pistol safes. These safes will be found in closets, basements, and garages because the large size makes moving them very difficult. Rifle safes are also much more heavily fortified than pistol safes, which means quick access is not as easily achieved considering the more robust locking mechanisms. Rifle safes will also generally get their electricity from a wall socket.
Best Rated Biometric Pistol Safes
GunVault SV500 Speedvault – $149.00
Coming from one of the most recognized names in consumer pistol safes, the GunVault SV500 is designed for upright mounting and fast access to your handgun. Built of 18-gauge steel, the SV500 promises to keep your pistol secure and only accessible to people you enroll.
After unlocking the safe with your fingerprint, the safe door pops open to the front, providing your pistol in a perfect position to draw from. Powered by a 9-volt battery, the SV500 promises months off access without worry. An audible warning sounds when the battery is getting low and in the event the battery dies, a backup key system will get you to your pistol.
SentrySafe QAP1BE – $129.99
The SentrySafe QAP1BE is a single-pistol gun safe that opens to the top, meaning it’s designed for the nightstand or desk drawer. This safe will appeal to the homeowner looking to access their gun in an emergency, or a concealed carrier looking to safeguard their carry gun when they return home at the end of the day.
Constructed of high-strength steel with a pry-resistant door, the QAP1BE features a 4-button combination code along with the biometric fingerprint reader. In the event that the batteries die, the QAP1BE comes equipped with a back-up key so you won’t be separated from your firearm.
Barska Top Opening Drawer Safe – $177.96
If you’re planning on storing your firearm in a drawer, then the Barska Top Opening Drawer Safe is where you want to go. With nearly a quarter of a cubic foot of inside space, the Barska offers plenty of secure space for a firearm and valuables that conveniently tucks inside a nightstand drawer.
Not only does the Barska offer secure protection, but the biometric sensor has the ability to enroll 30 individual fingerprints. After an enrolled print is entered, near instant unlock capabilities can have your firearm in your hands in less than 2 seconds. An audible warning lets you know when the batteries are getting low and a backup key gets you in the Barska in the event of a power failure.
Liberty HDX-150 Smart Vault – $229.00
Ultimate portability is the hallmark feature of the HDX-150. Designed for travelers, the HDX-150 is TSA-rated to travel with a firearm. Constructed of 14-gauge steel and featuring Liberty’s 5th generation biometric scanner, the HDX-150 promises near-instant unlocking and the lowest failure rate on the market.
The HDX-150 comes equipped with a reinforced latch system to prevent prying attacks, an interior light so you can see what you are doing in the dark and the ability to enroll up to 15 individual fingerprints. As with the other safes, should the batteries fail, a backup key will open the safe.
Best Rated Biometric Rifle Safe
Barska Large Quick Access Biometric Rifle Safe – $499.97
Standing 52 inches tall and weighing in at 82 lbs empty, the Barska Large Quick Access Rifle Safe has space to securely store no more than five long guns without optics. After bolting the safe to a secure object, the solid-steel Barska Rifle Safe keeps your long guns safe behind 3 pry-proof steel deadbolts.
The Barska Quick Access Rifle Safe offers the possibility of enrolling up to 120 individual fingerprints and the biometric system can process a fingerprint in less than 2 seconds, meaning quick access when needed. Should the batteries go dead unexpectedly, a backup key fits the hidden keyhole and grants access.
Stack On 16 Gun Security Safe with Biometric Lock – $525.38
Maybe you own more than a few long guns but still want to keep them secure with your fingerprint. Enter the Stack On 16 Gun Security Safe.
Constructed of heavy-gauge steel and weighing 168lbs, the Stack On offers the ability to secure up to 16 long guns behind five locking deadbolts. After enrolling in one of 20 individual fingerprint spaces, the Stack On grants quick access to your large rifle collection without needing to remember any combinations.
The Best Biometric Gun Safe is the One You Use
Regardless of what biometric gun safe you ultimately choose to buy, the best safe is the one you actually use. Consider the factors that may prevent you from securing your firearm (proximity to the safe, accessibility, etc.) and purchase a safe that addresses these concerns. By eliminating as many factors as possible, the chances of consistently securing your firearm increase.
Protect your guns from theft, destruction and curious people. Keep them locked up when not in use.