Best Handgun Safe

You might not think it is a big deal where you buy your gun safe these days. All the major department stores sell them. Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, stores like these all sell safes at really low prices and these safes seem pretty good at face value. However, more and more companies that sell safes through those major department stores are being forced to cheapen their safes and this is a big problem for your home security.

When shopping for a safe you need to pay attention to the price tag but you don’t want to scrape the bottom of the barrel either.

You’ll probably be able to find some handgun safes at your neighborhood department store for close to two hundred, maybe three hundred dollars. Not a bad deal if you are looking to save some money but if you buy your safe from a major retailer that doesn’t specialize in home security you run the risk of buying a cheap low quality safe that isn’t going to protect your goods worth a damn.

Its time to start thinking seriously and realistically about your home and gun security. You can’t just buy a bargain basement safe and expect it to last forever, withstand severe fire damage, or prevent theft. You have to put time into thinking about where you’re buying your safe so that you can insure the safety of your possessions.

The internet is a great resource for this. I assume you’re probably currently in the market for a gun safe since you found my site so you already get the gist of how to use the search engines to find what you’re looking for.

When I’m shopping for a safe I will always first check out all the brands online and read product reviews before I purchase anything. I’ll even go to a local retailer and scope out some safes and then come home and do a little bit of research before I buy anything. You never can be too careful when you’re dealing with your own safety and the security of your home and livelihood. You want to be extra sure that you’re getting the best safe you can afford.

There are some really great sites out there for this. I use GunSafes.com pretty regularly when I’m in the market for a new handgun safe. I know I don’t buy them often but sometimes I get some for my friends who own guns. Gun Safes.com has a vast library of different gun safes and you can look at all the specifications and make sure you’re getting the best safe for your money.

The only problem with shopping online is that you have to pay for the shipping costs. It can get pretty expensive to ship a gun safe; those things are huge beasts of metal. That’s one of the reasons I go out and physically buy my gun safe at a store. It’s one thing to easily browse through a web page and pick out the safe you want to buy but it’s a whole other thing to be able to touch the safe and see how strong these things are.

Every area is different. Of course I would try to avoid purchasing any kind of safe at Wal-Mart or Target but you can find pretty high quality stuff at any store that specializes in home security. Since you’re looking for a gun safe in particular, a lot of gun shops will have some nice gun safe selections as well.

When I buy a gun safe I usually have a general rule of thumb: if it’s under $200 it is probably junk. Keep that in mind while you’re out perusing gun safes and try to be as knowledgeable as possible by researching before buying. A gun safe should not be an impulse buy, it should be cool and calculated, just like hunting.

Barska Biometric Safe

When you’re looking for a safe for your handgun (or other small items), one of the best you can get is a biometric safe.  There are some things that you can get by with in life if they’re low quality, but a handgun safe is not one of them.  There are lots of gun safes for sale out there, but only a biometric safe will give you maximum security.  The Barska biometric safe will keep your handgun secure, or any other item that you can fit in it.

Just the right size

The Barska biometric safe is the perfect size for storing those small items.  One of the most common items used with this safe is a pistol or other small handgun.  The safe is compact and not bulky, so you can fit it in tight places like a closet or underneath a bed.

Some security safes are large and awkward and cannot be put somewhere secure.  And speaking of security, the Barska biometric safe uses some of the best technology around – biometric security technology.

The future of security

What is biometrics exactly?  Good question.  Biometrics security usually refers to technological equipment used for human recognition, often through the use of a fingerprint or facial characteristics.  Biometrics is one of the safest technologies available to the general public today in terms of security.  The Barska biometric safe is a fingerprint safe, so it will only open if it recognizes the fingerprint of the person trying to open it.

This biometric safe only needs a fingerprint to open, so you don’t have to deal with using a key if you are in a hurry.  This means you don’t have to remember any combinations or codes to open the safe.  The safe’s memory will hold up to 30 different fingerprints that can have access.

You choose to use any finger you want for the safe to remember, or even all of your fingers.  Some people use several positions of one finger for many of their registered fingerprints.  This allows the safe to open while using that finger no matter what part of the finger is scanned.  To open the safe, all you need to do is press a button, hold your finger on the scanner for about 2 seconds, and you will hear a beep and see a green light, which signal the safe is open.  There is no latch or handle that needs to be twisted – just an easy-to-grip knob that allows you to open the door.

If someone with an unregistered fingerprint tries to open it, a red light will flash.  Some users have said that the biometrics mechanism can be overcome using a trick from the TV show Mythbusters.  To combat this, all you need to do is wipe the scanner glass after each time the safe is opened to get rid of finger oil.  Keeping a cloth next to the safe will help you remember this.  The whole opening process takes 3-5 seconds.  Now a drawback of the beep is that it defeats the purpose of trying to be silent when opening the biometric safe.  But it helps to let you know that the safe is unlocked.  To lock the safe, all you need to do is close the door and press the button. There is a beep that signals the door is locked, as well.  The safe requires the use of 4 AA batteries which are not included.  If the safe’s batteries go dead, it retains the memory of all the fingerprints.

Protect anything you want

The Barska biometric safe is primarily known as a handgun safe, but it can be used for other things as well.  The safe’s exterior measures 16.5 x 7.75 x 14.5 inches (width x height x depth), and the interior is 16.5 x 7.75 x 14.5 inches .  Just for comparison, the length of a 92 Beretta handgun is about 8.5 inches.  The safe is large enough to hold a 14-inch laptop, but it’s small enough to fit under almost any bed and become a floor safe.  Some users have said they can fit two firearms, ammo, and documents inside at the same time.  One user even claimed to have fit six firearms inside!  It’s colored black, so it can be hidden easily.  Other items known to be held in this biometric safe include documents (wills, social security cards, birth certificates, deeds, etc.), medicine, jewelry, and more.

Ready right out of the box

Included with the Barska biometric safe is hardware necessary for mounting it on the wall or securing it to the floor.  The safe has pre-drilled holes that make the bolting process easy.  Being made of steel, the biometric safe weighs 31 pounds, which means if you mount it to the wall, it should be resting something else stationary (like a table or dresser).  Included with the safe are 2 spare keys that can open the safe.  Barska does not expect you’ll ever need to use them, but no technology is perfect.  In case the batteries that power the biometric security system go dead, you can use the keys to put in new batteries.  Barska gives everyone a 1 year warranty on the biometric safe.

Where is the best place to get a Barska biometric safe?

Amazon actually is selling this biometric safe right now, and you can get it with free shipping.  Check it out here.

Where can I read other reviews on the Barska biometric safe?

The best place for tons of reviews by people who have actually used the safe is on Amazon as well.  You can see a picture there of a user actually storing firearms inside.  There’s also a demonstration video on the biometric safe which shows it being opened and closed using a fingerprint.  See more here.

What’s Included:

  • Biometric safe
  • Mounting hardware
  • 2 keys

GunVault Bio-metric Safes
best biometric handgun safe

The field is pretty small when it comes to manufacturers of biometric handgun safes.

Gunvault is one of the premier makers of biometric and non-biometric pistol safes.  They have been around for about 20 years and specialize in small safes for handguns.  They have the made their mark by being the company that sells the safes with the hand print on the top.  This feature allows you to feel your way to opening the safe without having to see the buttons.

They manufacturer several different lines of pistol safes from small cigar sized, single gun holders to ones that can hold several pistols and some additional documents.

GunVault has been manufacturing pistol safes for over 20 years.  They are recognized as an industry leader and have brought many new innovations to the market for both handguns and long guns.  They patented their finger pad sequence solution which is their trademark hand print on the top of the handgun safes that has buttons to open the safe.  This allows you to feel your way to opening the safe in the dark.

Their newest models are made with the same hand print on the top, but these pistol safes add a biometric fingerprint reader.  The Gun Vaults GVB1000 and GVB2000 have the same technology with the 1000 being what GunVault calls their micro vault unit.  It has a single shelf and could hold maybe 2 guns.  It is 2″ shorter and 2″ less deep than the GVB2000 unit.

The addition of the biometric reader has really changed the safe little compared to the non-biometric versions.  These new Gunvault safes feature a high-performance recognition software that is said to increase the speed at which the fingerprint is read and the safe is opened as well as decreasing the false reject (which means the safe won’t open even for someone that has been enrolled).  The algorithm updates the fingerprint scans over time by learning how subtle changes in a person’s fingerprint will affect the scans.  These units currently can hold 30 separate enrolled entries.

Just like the non-biometric pistol safe version are made of 16-gauge steel with a foam lining.  They come with mounting hardware to mount the pistol safe where you can access it quickly.  The Gunvault biometric safe is powered by a battery to run the scanner, but all fingerprints are stored in ROM memory and will be saved even if the battery dies (although it will not open with out power).  GunVault expects the battery to last about 1 year, but also has a blinking low battery light to warn you.  The battery also powers a light on the interior of the safe (a nice feature you don’t even seen in large safes).  You can also attach the pistol safe to an AC or DC power supply (the adapter is included) for a piece of mind that the battery will not be a problem.  This would also be great for a vehicle safe.

While the GVB1000 weights almost 4 pounds less than the GVB2000, it costs only $20 less.  For my money, I would spend the extra $20 and get the larger Gunvault safe, which can hold at least 2 handguns and then some extra valuables.  Regardless of which Gunvault pistol safe you purchase, you will be satisfied.

GunVault MVB500

This is a biometric handgun safe that is the width and length of a notebook and only 2 1/4″ thick.  (This is almost 10″ narrower that the Gunvault mini units the GVB1000 & GVB2000.  It is perfect for storing under the seat as a car gun safe.  Because of its size, it can also be used in a suitcase when travelling by air (check with your airline to confirm).  It also works as both a briefcase and a desk drawer safe.

Gunvault constructed the exterior of a lightweight, but decent 16 gauge steel.  The foam inserts protect the contents from scratching and from rattling around during transport.  It comes with a back-up key in case the electronics fail, although the fingerprints will be stored permanently if the battery dies or is removed.  This biometric pistol safe comes with a 4 foot security cable which can be used to tether around a secure object.  It also has 4 small rubber feat on the bottom that can be removed, revealing holes in the case which can be used to bolt the safe down to a surface.

Lastly, the MVB500 has more than just a nice hand imprint with buttons.  This is also a fingerprint handgun safe.  The imprint buttons are fast and convenient, but not as fast as simply putting your finger on the reader and the door opening automatically in 5 seconds.  Gunvault gun safes also has a self-learning algorithm built into all of their biometric pistol safes that will sense any changes in your fingerprints over time and add that minutiae to the users record, which will decrease the likelihood of false rejections.  Battery power will last about 1 year.  The Gun Vault biometric safe will store 30 fingerprints and up to 12 million user selectable button combinations for the manual entry mode.

If you are in the market for a biometric pistol safe, the Gunvault MVB500 is  one of the best handgun safes out there.

Stack-On PDS-1500 Drawer Safe with Electronic Lock

handgun fingerprint safe

A pistol safe doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive to be effective.  I would argue that anything that protects your weapon from either children or burglars getting to it, but also allows you quick access is great.  Too many gun owners skip one of those points:  they leave the gun unsecured in a drawer or they lock it in the basement safe where you will not be able to retrieve it in a crisis.

The Stack-On PDS-1500 drawer safe is a perfect example of inexpensive, but effective.  This little safe can live in your nightstand or dresser drawer.  At only a little over 4″ high, I bet it would fit in any drawer.  It is not just small, but also tough.  This safe features two live-action steel locking bolts and concealed hinges, making it difficult to pry the door open.  It also has pre-drilled screw holes in the bottom to allow you to mount to the inside of the drawer (fastening hardware is included).

Tip:  A drawer is pretty wimpy when faced with getting smashed on the floor.  Before mounting the safe in the drawer, add a piece of 3/4″ plywood to the drawer bottom and screw it to the drawer sides. It will be very difficult for someone to get that plywood off the safe.

This little handgun safe also features an electronic lock.   This is perfect for opening quickly without having to remember where a key is or trying to turn a combination dial in the dark.  The keypad is laid out like a phone for ease of use.  The lock will also time-out after 3 incorrect combination entries to prevent someone trying to guess the combination.  Stack On Safes has one nice feature that many safe companies forget to include is that you can turn off the beeps that you would normally hear when pressing the keys.  This can be important if you are trying to quietly retrieve your defensive weapon at middle of the night with an intruder in your home.

Not to worry, the unit uses four AA batteries that will save your combination even when they are removed.  You will also get 2 manual override keys to wipe the combination and get into the safe in case you forget the combination or the electronics fail.  Remember to keep the key hidden and far away from the safe.

The Stack-on PDS-500 weighs just 12 pounds and is 11 3/4″ long x 8 5/8″ deep x 4 1/4″ tall.  Best part of all, the Stack-On PDS-500 Drawer Safe with Electronic Lock is currently retailing at Amazon for less than $50, which is an excellent price for a heavy duty drawer gun safe.

Reasons to Buy a Handgun Safe

You own a pistol to protect your family.  Owning a pistol safe can also help protect your family because numerous accidents and deaths occur each year by the accidental discharge of pistols found by children.

Pistol owners want quick access to their pistols, but also want their children to be safe.  Purchasing a pistol safe will give you peace of mind that your pistol is available to you, but is locked away from an innocent children’s hands.

Even if you do not have children, though, you need to consider what could happen if child visits and finds your gun. Children, having seen guns on TV, are naturally curious about them, but they don’t yet have the knowledge and foresight to understand their dangers.

Preventing a child from shooting himself or someone else is a prime reason to have a pistol safe.  Don’t think that if you put your pistol in your sock drawer or under your bed that the child won’t find it.  Secure the gun and ammo in a safe to have the piece of mind that it and the children are protected.

Safes can also prevent your pistol from falling into criminal hands.  A burglar that breaks into your house is typically going to take only what he can quickly carry out.

Leaving a pistol in a drawer or shoe box invites theft.  Once out on the street, that pistol could be used to commit multiple criminal acts including murder.  Typically most residential burglers will not take the time to break open a safe, like they show in the movies.  Protect your investment by locking it in a pistol safe.

You also want to make sure that your gun is used only by those who have permission for its use. Think about it. If someone broke into your house when you weren’t home, they could easily steal the gun and use it to commit further crimes. What about a friend of your teenager?

How would you feel if he found your pistol and decided to commit a crime with it? If you don’t want to be responsible for those crimes, a handgun safe is the answer.  It has been reported that over 70% of crimes involving a gun are committed by a stolen gun.  Even if you don’t know the person that steals your gun, why contribute to the problem of illegal guns on the street?

Safety isn’t the only reason to have a pistol gun safe, though. Consider the investment you have made in purchasing a gun. Many handguns will cost $100s or $1000.  Would you simply leave jewelry or cash lying around worth that much and hope it does not get destroyed if something happened to your home?

You want to protect that investment from damage due to fire or other disasters. If a tornado tears your house apart, your gun is still secure and unharmed in the pistol safe. If your house burns down, your gun is undamaged if you have a fireproof safe.  You have spent considerable money for your pistol, why not keep it safe?

Buying a Pistol Safe does not need to be an expensive purchase.  Even a small locking metal box will prevent children from getting access to your handgun (although it will probably not stop a determined thief).

Most pistol safes are made of thick, heavy gauge steel that cannot be pried apart and some are resistant to fire. Larger safes include shelves for ammunition or other valuable items such as jewelry or important documents. Many of these safes are lined with soft foam inside to protect the firearm.  Waterproof safes are sealed to prevent moisture from harming the pistol, valuable items, or documents stored inside for safe keeping.

There are different types of side or top loading pistol safes available. Electronic safes have either a computer controlled keypad, combination lock, or push button lock. A mechanical safe offers a push button locking mechanism, so there are no keys to misplace or battery to change.

A biometric pistol safe runs on batteries and opens once its memory recognizes pre-programmed fingerprints. Most models allow 20-30 fingerprints to be stored.  The computer will even compensate for imperfections and fluctuations in fingerprints such as paper cuts or blisters on the fingers. A backup key can be used in case of battery or computer failure.

Whether you are seeking to prevent accidents, stop unauthorized use, or merely safeguard your investment, a pistol safe is the answer to all of those needs.

Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Handgun Safe

Pistol safes come in many different designs, sizes and purposes.  They can also have various lock styles and are made by most of the mainline safe manufacturers.  Depending upon your application and needs there are probably several that will work best for you.

Without knowing more about your particular situation, such as needs and gun collection, I can’t give you a direct answer.  What I can do is give you some thought provoking comments that should lead you down the right path.

How Many Guns Do You Own?

Many pistol safes are designed to hold 2 pistols comfortably.  Some can accommodate more, but may compromise quick retrieval.  Under the seat vehicle models are generally best for just a single pistols as they are thin and small for easy concealment under the seat of your vehicle.

If you have a large collection of both handguns and long guns, maybe you should consider a larger gun safe which will easily accommodate your long guns, but then add a pistol rack in the gun safe to hold your handguns.

Where Will the Pistol Safe Live?

If you are looking for a vehicle pistol safe, that has a very different application than if you want a safe to store your home protection handgun.

Vehicle pistol safes come in a couple types. Some are generic metal boxes and simply slide under your seat with a cable wrapped around a part of the vehicle. Others are vehicle specific that will mount in the large center console of many SUV models such as the Ford F150, Toyota Tundra or Range Rover.  Many home pistol safes can also be tethered or mounted in the trunk of a vehicle for additional security.

If you want a handgun safe that will live under your bed or near where you sleep that give you immediate access to you pistol in the middle of the night, you should consider a biometric safe.

The Barska Biometric Safe is a very popular product for gun owners (in fact, it is one of Amazon’s top selling small, biometric safes).  These units open in about 5 seconds and can be done without lights or fumbling for a combination.  These are just what you need in an emergency or crisis situation.  When your adrenaline is pumping and your mind is racing, you may not be able to remember the combination for a traditional safe.

How Often Will Your Use the Safe?

Many gun owners simply keep their handguns in the same safe as their important documents and valuables.  That may be fine for them as they do not have a need for quick access and only have 1 gun in the home.  Plus, they may only go into that safe or get the gun once every couple months or once per year.  Alternatively, if you are carrying your pistol everyday and/or you need quick access as mentioned above, you should look at the best handgun safes that you can afford that just holds your pistol.  Then mount it close to where you are every day when you get dressed.There is really no wrong answer to what is the best pistol safe.  Depending upon your needs and applications, there is a  pistol safe that will work for you.

Fingerprint Biometrics or Not?

If you have your handguns stored in your large gun safe or maybe your personal safe, you are missing out on all the benefits of owning a fingerprint handgun safe.  Here are just a few reasons you should consider one:

  • Let’s be honest, most handgun owners do NOT use their pistols for hunting.  It is self defense weapon, whether for at home or at work (if they are in law enforcement).  If self defense if your purpose, then why would you put your handgun in a safe that takes 10-30 seconds to open when you are calm and relaxed?  This same traditional safe could be nearly impossible to open if you were in a crisis or high stress situation and needed your pistol for self-defense.  Your body is diverting all energy and blood to your large muscles.  Your fingers may not be able to turn that dial or punch that keypad correctly.  A fingerprint handgun safe is easy to open, because you simple place your finger on the biometric reader and it pops open.
  • Most owners of large gun safes keep these monsters in their basement.  What are you supposed to do if you hear someone breaking into your home in the middle of the night? Are you really going to dash downstairs and open the gun safe to get your pistol?  What if the intruder is in the path between you and your gun safe?  The best handgun safe is one that is close by and can be opened quickly.  Most of these pistol safes are small and can easily fit under your bed or in your dresser drawer.  You can have access to your handgun in seconds in the middle of the night.
  • Surprisingly, most people will reuse pin numbers and passwords in multiple systems.  Plus, they will often use numbers that are easy to figure out such as their house number, phone number, date of birth, year they were married, birth date of their child, etc.  This makes getting into an electronic safe much easier.  A fingerprint pistol safe can only be opened by the person who’s fingerprint was registered during the enrollment process.  The combination can’t be guessed, stolen, or found in a desk drawer.
  • This biometric pistol safe is ideal for infrequent users.  If you are the primary gun owner, but you want your spouse to have access to the guns in case of emergency, simply add her fingerprint to the safe.  She doesn’t need to remember any codes, combinations or anything.  All she needs to remember is where the safe is and which finger to use to access your handgun.’

If you don’t yet own a fingerprint handgun safe, you need to consider one.  They have so many benefits that everyone can take advantage of.

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