Given the increasing frequency of break-ins these days, my primary concern is the efficient retrieval of my handgun during emergencies. After conducting extensive research for two months, I thoroughly evaluated ten quick access gun safes based on their features, performance, user feedback, and price. If you find yourself in a similar situation and are searching for a suitable quick access biometric safe, this article will assist you in making an informed decision. It’s important to note that we are not affiliated with Vaultek, SentrySafe, Barska, Gunvault, or any other gun supply business. Therefore, we will objectively present both the pros and cons of each product.
Let’s begin with the ranking:
1. GunVault SV500 – SpeedVault Handgun Safe
1. Quick Access with Drops Open Design
2. Low Battery Warning
3. Interior light
4. One Gun Capacity
$199.99. I feel it is a little overpriced without a finger reader and screws long enough to secure it to the wall, however, there is no high price for security.
1. Ready-for-action design: The user-friendly design ensures quick and easy access. The gun can be retrieved within 2-3 seconds once the door is open.
2. Strong concealment: The safe’s side holes allow you to place the safe pretty much anywhere, making it easy to hide under a desk or beside your bed. You would never guess and no one has guessed that I have a weapon there. More importantly, out of criminal sight, when they scan a room quickly for valuables they won’t notice it and probably grab something else within little time. It conceals in your room a lot better than a tabletop safe.
3. Ideal for smaller handguns: The safe’s interior features a dense grey foam material with a pre-cut cavity, along with vertical slits, to accept handgun barrels of various sizes and securely hold them in place. It accommodates a standard 5-inch barrel 1911, but a longer or taller gun may not fit.
4. Convenient light feature: The safe is equipped with a light that activates upon opening, which helps illuminate night sights.
1. Limited theft prevention: Once a burglar discovers the safe, it can be forcibly removed. However, it poses a lower risk of theft compared to safes stored in drawers, which are easier to find.
2. Flawed low battery warning: The low battery warning only activates when a keypad button is pressed. It is recommended to replace the 9V battery annually or even earlier due to reports of quick battery drain.
3. Audible mechanical noise: The safe emits a slight mechanical whining noise upon opening, although it is not audible in adjacent rooms. Most quick access safes have similar noise levels.
4. Lack of fingerprint option: This model only offers a four-digit code instead of a fingerprint scanner. However, in emergency situations, relying on fingerprint recognition may not be feasible for some safes.
5. Additional screws required for mounting: The manual specifies that longer screws may be needed for surfaces that cannot accommodate the provided smaller screws.
Customer feedback rates this product at 4.5 out of 5 stars. Many customers praise its easy nighttime accessibility and overall convenience. If you’re in search of a fast and easily accessible safe, the GunVault SV500 is an excellent choice.
2. SentrySafe QAP1BE Gun Safe with Biometric Lock One Handgun Capacity
1. Quick Access
2. Reliable Biometric Lock
3. Quietly open the safe door
4. One Gun Capacity
$199.99. I think this price is good but not perfect because I want something secure, easy to program, easy to access, and a good price, this product satisfied all the criteria. So, I plan to wait for potential sale prices in order to obtain even better value.
1. Quick access: The QAP1BE provides faster access compared to other table biometric boxes. It allows for easy retrieval within 2 seconds, eliminating the need to search for keys or remember combinations. Through five consecutive tests, I consistently retrieved my pistol within the specified time frame.
2. Accurate scanner: The biometrics function exceptionally well, swiftly identifying even wet or cold fingerprints. In terms of reliability and fingerprint recognition, the QAP1BE surpasses other biometric gun safes.
3. The safe is relatively quiet when opening. It is not totally silent, but quiet enough. I don’t think someone a room or two away though would hear you open it.
4. Spacious interior with excellent foam padding: The safe offers ample space and features well-crafted foam padding, ensuring secure storage for a single pistol and more. I comfortably fit a full-size handgun and two spare magazines without any issues.
1. Strut failure after 2-5 years: The most significant complaint among customers is the weakened spring in the strut, which results in the lid failing to open properly. For those facing this issue, you can order a replacement strut from Apexstone’s official site and easily replace it following the provided instructions. Within approximately 5 minutes, the Sentry Safe lid will function correctly.
2. Activation required before use: The safe needs to be “woken up” before use. This entails pressing one of the buttons or placing a finger on the biometric scanner and waiting for the bright blue lights to illuminate.
3. Short battery life: The safe’s battery life is limited. To overcome this, you have the option to hardwire a plug transformer to the battery compartment terminals, which I have successfully done.
4. Absence of built-in light: The safe does not come with a built-in light, but you have the option to install a mini light bar.
Customer feedback rates this product at 4.5 out of 5 stars. Most customers agree that this safe offers good value for its price and intended purpose, as long as the batteries and shock are regularly changed. Overall, I recommend the QAP1BE as a reliable option that fulfills its intended function of keeping us safe in emergencies.
3. Vaultek VS10i Biometric Handgun Bluetooth 2.0 Smart Safe
1. Dual Anti-Impact Latch
2. Interactive through the smartphone APP via BLUETOOTH 2.0
3. Rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides a long lifespan
4. Interior light
5. One Gun Capacity
$269.99. Over price but the features are really fantastic except for the fingerprint scanner and Bluetooth.
1. The battery lasts long enough. I’ve had this safe unplugged for almost a month, to give it a good testing, and I’m still at 80% battery life.
2. Quick access: Quick access in 2 seconds if it reads your print on the first try without a problem.
3. Nice strong light: Illuminates the safe interior when it’s opened, and the brightness can be adjusted by using the Vaultek Android/Apple app along with opening the safe.
4. App feature: Both sound and light can be turned off with the app or via a manual code.
5. Large space: Enough to accommodate most full-sized .45 cal 1911s.
1. The fingerprint scanner has some limitations in terms of speed and reliability. It generally achieves about 90% accuracy under normal conditions. However, you may encounter difficulties reading fingerprints if your hands are damp or dirty. To ensure optimal performance, it is recommended to clean your fingerprint before using the scanner. While no reader is perfect, it is crucial to prioritize the security of your home and the safety of your family.
2. The Bluetooth feature and accompanying app have proven to be less useful due to connectivity issues and frequent crashes. Although the product offers multiple features, they are not individually top-notch and can be seen as somewhat gimmicky.
Many customers are satisfied with the Vaultek VS10i safe, except for the fingerprint reader. I also find the safe cool overall, but wish the fingerprint reader was more reliable given its high price. Additionally, there have been complaints about the application.
4. Awesafe Gun Safe Biometric for Pistols
1. Quick Access
2. Quiet open
3. Interior light
4. Two Gun Capacity
$129. Not bad for the price, has room for improvement, like the picky fingerprint reader.
1. Economical. Going the economic route and making a high number of sales, you can’t beat it for the price.
2. Internal light. Helping eyes to easily adjust in the dark. The blue light inside is definitely something to take note of, in an emergency situation like someone breaking into your home at night things may be dark.
3. Quiet when popping open, even the physical mechanism that unlocks makes very little noise. This feature is of utmost importance to most of us, as it prevents any potential intruders from detecting the act of opening. There is also a little sound when opening but not too loud compared to Gunvault.
4. Large space. It can hold a single full size pistol and three magazines or two ultra compacts.
1. The default mode is to allow *ANY* touch to open it if the fingerprint doesn’t register properly. So keep it in mind that you must program fingerprints correctly or any fingerprint will open it. That is not safe if anybody’s finger opens this safe!
2. Picky fingerprint reader. After setting up for 2 different fingers it will sometimes read them and sometimes not.
3. Battery dies quickly in 2-3 weeks. I would recommend ditching the included batteries and throwing a nice set of Duracells in since the included batteries did die fast, but it’s really nice that they even included a set of batteries.
In general, customers find this safe to be a good value for its price, especially if they are not concerned about the fingerprint feature. Personally, I am satisfied with Awesafe due to its affordable price point. However, I believe the higher price of SentrySafe is justified by its superior overall construction quality, making it a slightly better choice in terms of construction.
5. Sentry Safe QAP2BLX Quick Access Fingerprint Gun Safe with Interior Light
1. Interior light
2. Quick Access
3. Two Gun Capacity
$155, I would say it is a good safe for the price and purpose except for the unreliable fingerprint reader.
1. Interior blue LED lights. I like the lighting that shows where things are inside when it opens, the blue LED lights are enough in the dark to let you see the contents without compromising your night vision.
2. Big room. Can fit two handguns, two extra magazines, and even a small box of ammunition.
3. Well-written owner’s manual, easy to follow.
1. The fingerprint reader lacked user-friendliness. The biometric reader works 95% of the time. Quick Access in 2 seconds most time but not all, not as reliable as QAP1BE. However, the fingerprint option is vital in the middle of the night when you need to get quick access in the dark.
2. If you enter the correct code into the safe too quickly, it won’t open. This unfortunate incident occurred to me when I was abruptly awakened by a loud noise during the night.
While many customers expressed their satisfaction with the safe overall, the fingerprint scanner received mixed reviews. Although the QAP2BLX model boasts improvements such as enhanced strut quality and the addition of interior lights compared to its predecessor, the reliability of the fingerprint function, which is a crucial concern for me, appears to have declined. This lack of reliability undermines confidence, particularly in situations that may already be stressful.
6. PINEWORLD K5 Biometric Gun Safe
1. Built sturdy
2. Remote control via smartphone App
3. Two Gun Capacity
$159.99. For the price, you can’t beat the quality and features except for some shortcomings.
1. Very sturdy and quality made. It can be attached to something with a lock and it won’t be easily stolen because the wire looks like it would withstand bolt-cutters, so I have no worry that somebody will be able to take off and run with it.
2. Able to link it to my phone and track if it opens or closes. Once you figure it out, you can secure gun with alert app on your phone. In order to remotely open the safe, we have to hold #4 on the safe to activate it, sort of like sending a request. Only then you are able to open the safe remotely, which prevents us from opening it remotely by accident. The app also logs each time the safe is opened, all the way down to whose fingerprint opened it if you had all the stored FP assigned to names.
3. Roomy safe. Easily fits 2 full size handguns and magazines. I’d recommend it if you have two pistols or 3 compact guns.
1. Loud open noise. The fairly loud noise it makes when the door drops open, which is similar to SpeedVault.
2. The shock absorber that opens the lid stopped working after 1-2 years. As we mentioned before, a piece of 7.68″ gas strut will fix this issue, which is simple and cost lower than $10.
3. Poorly translated directions. The directions for set-up were a little confusing but you can figure it out at last.
4. The programming needs to be improved. The biggest issue for me was the programming, followed by the alarm sound if your fingerprint isn’t recognized after 3 tries. Maybe I got a bad unit with a faulty fingerprint reader, but it only recognized my fingerprint about 1 in 5 tries. The programming has you place your finger on the reader about 5 times in a row, but if it doesn’t get a good read, you have to start programming it all over again.
Many customers said they feel secure storing their personal belongings in K5 since it is well built, but they thought that the downloaded app should be improved. Overall, I will recommend this safe as the large space and sturdy construction. However, the fingerprint reader needs to be improved, not have to be on it just right to open.
7. Onnais ALLOY SE Gun Safe for Travel Nightstand Beside Home
1. Design for travel
2. Two Gun Capacity
$99.99. Great for the price but the quality may not be as expected.
1. 4 different options to access the lockbox. I love the extra keys and RFID card should I need to ditch the fingerprint reader. RFID card works with certainty. The 5 buttons on the top of the lockbox are a nice touch to have but I think can be a bit more cumbersome than the other options.
2. Internal battery and rechargeable. The battery lasts a LONG time, however, don’t let it die or you’ll lose your fingerprints. I really like the small detail charging touch that this company went with a USB-C for faster charging vs my aging USB-A to micro USB.
3. Nice single gun safe for on the go. It is light duty, you need this type of safe when flying or when driving through states that you cannot legally carry in based on whatever your CC permit(s) dictates.
1. Cannot rely on the fingerprint reader in an emergency. so I would just be concerned about being able to frantically retrieve my handgun efficiently.
2. Not large enough. Just accommodates a full size XD w 4” barrel, won’t be able to keep giant handguns in there. However, the interior is quite large if you remove the extra tray.
3. The metal is thin and the security cable is very small. If I really wanted to steal it, I think I could break the cable without any tools, I’m sure I could open it with a large Scissor.
Most customers recommend ALLOY SE Gun Safe for traveling, especially for the low price. Overall, this is a great small gun lockbox with a few shortcomings, for example, the reliability of the fingerprint access is hit or miss.
8. Barska Quick Biometric Rifle Firearm and Long Gun Safe for Home AX11652
1. Quick Access
2. Four Gun Capacity
$260. I think this is probably going to be the best in this price range for large gun storage.
1. Good price for a safe with biometric access. For $260, it is a bargain since I don’t see anything else that has the same features in this price range and this form factor for anywhere near this price, however, you can wait for the sale of course.
2. Accurate and responsive fingerprint reader. Quick access in 3 seconds.
3. External battery pack. Including an additional, separate, external, emergency battery pack that can be used to open the safe in case the batteries die, in addition to the included key access.
1. The safe is a little smaller than the advertisement makes it out to be. It is advertised as a 4 rifle safe, but will only comfortably hold 2-3 long guns on the model. I have a red dot scope and a magnifier scope on the gun, it’s kind of a large gun, it wouldn’t fit. if you’re looking to store 4 rifles, this will be too small.
2. Not as thick and protective as more traditional safes. The locker is very light weight (60lbs) and definitely needs to be bolted to the floor or mounted to the wall or floor to keep it from falling over, especially when the door is opened. The anchor hardware is ok for preventing it from tipping when the door is open, but it will certainly tip over without them and it could hurt someone, and smash the biometric unit.
Most customers recommend it for the price. In fact, it is hard to find another safe in this price range that is this easy to use with a biometric feature. However, I would label it more as a weapons locker than a safe.
9. Liberty HDX-150
2. Made in the USA
3. ONE Gun Capacity
1. Solid safe, made in the USA. They are very heavy because of the heavy steel.
2. Nice interior light. Has a nice red light inside that activates when opened.
3. Sufficient room for a handgun and an extra magazine.
4. The safe is practically silent.
1. Not come with an AC adapter. I buy an adapter, as if it operates on battery power it takes an extra second or two to warm up. On battery power, you swipe once to power it up, then swipe again to unlock it.
2. Finicky finger swipe. You really need to place your finger on it just right and swipe or else it will error out and make you wait about 5 seconds to re-swipe. Seconds could be critical in an emergency. Especially if it’s next to your nightstand and you are awakened from a dead sleep.
3. High price. A little more spendy than some other biometric gun safes.
Most customers complained the fingerprint scanner was not accurate, which will not be good for quick access. so, I would recommend it if the technology of the reader improves.
10. ONNAIS IRON SE Biometric Gun Safe for Pistols
1. Good Price
2. Two Gun Capacity
1. Awesome for the price. Honestly is better than I’d imagined for this price. You could certainly spend twice the price for a more secure and heavier safe with more bells and whistles, but this one will fit most of our needs. It fits perfectly in a desk or bedside drawer for quick access when needed, really affordable.
2. The capacity is large enough to fit full size guns plus additional items. It has enough room for two handguns.
3. Excellent customer service. Many customers find that once you post bad reviews, they will reach out and offer to send you the new version for free.
1. Fingerprint reader can be picky if your finger is not placed on the sensor exactly as it was when you programmed it. You have to imprint the fingerprint many times so that your finger is recognized when you need access. That would be fine for anything else, but for life safety items such as this, it caused me great pause. Definitely don’t count on that when you’re in a rush. However, for the price, I’m not surprised the fingerprint scanner doesn’t work.
2. The cable is on the thin side and could probably be ripped out of the safe by an adult thief, or easily cut with cutters.
3. The door is relatively thin. The top is a semi-thin piece of metal and could be opened easily with a flat head. Not sturdy enough to defeat a thief, I could pry it open without effort, so, it’s not a safe, it’s a lockbox.
With a cheap price, ONNAIS IRON SE attracted many customers, and most buyers would also recommend it, especially at its price point. so if your are looking for a lockbox in this price range, this would be a good choice.
When it comes to the end of this article, I will share some feelings, which I also discovered during the evaluation process.
Firstly, it is crucial to recognize that any safe can be defeated. If the thief wants to pick the lock, he can achieve it if time is enough. The gap between the lid and the body could be used to break into the unit.
However, there is still hope for improving the security of your safe. You can probably fix it if you know where they are being exploited, such as easily replacing gas shock for your quick access gun safe.
Lastly, it is vital to remember that you will get what you pay for. In most cases, the price you pay depends on the value you receive, so you can expect to get what you pay for.
By considering these aspects, you can make more informed decisions when it comes to choosing and maintaining a gun safe that meets your specific security needs.