This guide provides the necessary information to make an educated decision about the best gun safe for you. There are many considerations and you might not know all the facts just yet. When I was first introduced to the world of firearms, safety was instilled in me from my grandpa and my dad. Firearms safety starts with storage and my goal is to present all the information you need to store your guns safely.
|BARSKA Biometric Safe||Sentry Safe Biometric Quick Access Pistol Safe||BARSKA Top Opening Biometric Fingerprint Safe|
|[easyazon_image add_to_cart="default" align="center" asin="B002AQ0PFW" cloaking="default" height="97" localization="default" locale="US" nofollow="default" new_window="default" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ZiRqGMyjL._SL160_.jpg" tag="biogunsafes-20" width="160"]BARSKA Biometric Safe[/easyazon_image]||[easyazon_image add_to_cart="default" align="center" asin="B00EXQW672" cloaking="default" height="117" localization="default" locale="US" nofollow="default" new_window="default" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31vVGp3HgmL._SL160_.jpg" tag="biogunsafes-20" width="160"]Sentry Safe Biometric Quick Access Pistol Safe[/easyazon_image]||[easyazon_image add_to_cart="default" align="center" asin="B004FO37AC" cloaking="default" height="139" localization="default" locale="US" nofollow="default" new_window="default" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41qdWjghJFL._SL160_.jpg" tag="biogunsafes-20" width="160"]BARSKA Top Opening Biometric Fingerprint Safe[/easyazon_image]|
|[easyazon_cta add_to_cart="default" align="center" asin="B002AQ0PFW" cloaking="default" height="42" key="tall-orange" localization="default" locale="US" nofollow="default" new_window="default" tag="biogunsafes-20" width="120"]BARSKA Biometric Safe[/easyazon_cta]||[easyazon_cta add_to_cart="default" align="center" asin="B00EXQW672" cloaking="default" height="42" key="tall-orange" localization="default" locale="US" nofollow="default" new_window="default" tag="biogunsafes-20" width="120"]Sentry Safe Biometric Quick Access Pistol Safe[/easyazon_cta]||[easyazon_cta add_to_cart="default" align="center" asin="B004FO37AC" cloaking="default" height="42" key="tall-orange" localization="default" locale="US" nofollow="default" new_window="default" tag="biogunsafes-20" width="120"]BARSKA Top Opening Biometric Fingerprint Safe[/easyazon_cta]|
Biometric Gun Safe – Solid, Sealed, and Secure
If you own a firearm of any kind, you should absolutely own a gun safe. You may have a handgun for self defense purposes, a rifle for hunting, or a shotgun for sport shooting – in any case your firearms should be stored in a safe manner where they are safe from those people that should not have access. Biometric (or fingerprint) gun safes have been a recent introduction to the gun safe world and the reception has been fantastic by the firearms community
Gun owners should be obsessive about improving safety levels of all aspects of security surrounding both their firearms and homes. The technology that is being built into gun-safety devices and lock boxes is cutting edge, making it easier to secure your belongings while simultaneously giving you quicker and easier access to them.
Biometric fingerprint locks are among the latest features to hit the market in this arena. These systems recognize a pre-programmed set of prints, making your valuables and firearms only accessible to people of your own choosing. Whether you are looking to increase the feeling of spy-like security in your arsenal of technology, protecting small children in the home, or merely upgrading your safe, biometric fingerprint safes are a move in the right direction.
Top Notch Security
The security of these safes are unparalleled. They create an ideal solution who for anyone who is debating over keeping a gun in the home over safety concerns. These units function flawlessly, and every swipe of the thumb provides a small thrill as well. Gun safes that use this type of technology come in a variety of forms. Some are designed exclusively as holster locks. Others follow traditional lock-box designs, requiring four fingers to open. More compact units are designed to provide all the storage features of a briefcase with the added bonus of technological superiority. International spies, thieves, and anyone who is a little too nosy will face a barrier that they cannot penetrate.
Many safes are designed specifically to accommodate handguns. However, many people find that they are also valuable for storing items such as birth certificates, wills, passports, and other one-of-a-kind documents.
These safes are constructed with fire-proof steel that starts out at around 8-gauge measurements. The average unit requires only one 9-volt battery to function, making it a storage unit that can even be used in a glove box or while on the move. The vast majority of these units are mountable, making it easy to place them in closets and other areas where they are out of the reach of children who might take it upon themselves to investigate.
Should emergencies occur in which you do not have access to the fingerprint pad, back-up override keys will still open the unit. The sophistication of the fingerprint technology will allow the average unit to hold close to 100 different fingerprints in its memory yet it only weighs roughly eight pounds.
Background on Locking Mechanisms
There are some people that might be thinking that a traditional, manual, combination lock is the only way to go. You know, the kind of safe with a numbered dial that you would see in classic movies. The technology for that style is tried and true – I can’t disagree with that but I do believe that high tech, electronic locks can compete.
For hunters, law enforcement agents and target hobbyists, a secure safe in which to lock firearms is an absolute necessity, particularly for the sake of preventing theft and injuries and/or fatalities resulting from accidents. Although conventional mechanical locks that are opened with a key or by spinning a dial to a certain combination of numbers are still in use, many gun owners are heavily adopting safes with computerized digital locks.
Digital Locks with Keypads
Digital locks with keypads are advantageous in one respect, they are quicker to open than standard mechanical combination locks. Because a keypad is used in place of a dial, this is helpful to marksmen who are visually impaired. This also means that you can open these safes in the dark much more easily than a manual safe with a numbered dial.
For example, in a YouTube demonstration video for the Dean Safe Company, founder John Dean extols the virtues of digital locks, showing that they are faster and easier to open. “I don’t even need my reading glasses,” he exuberantly remarks. He also points out that an electronic lock user is endowed the ability to change the lock’s combination at his or her discretion and that even though manufacturers recommend replacing the battery on a safe every year, some of these batteries last as long as four, five or even six years.
Nonetheless, many users still prefer conventional mechanical locks that use either a key or a numerical combination as electronic locks are often more prone to mechanical failures. Another common problem is that users may sometimes incorrectly change the combination and/or incorrectly remember it.
This creates a situation where the combination cannot be determined by anyone, and this problem can be compounded if the electronic lock has a disabling mechanism that activates after a certain amount of failed attempts to type in the passcode. In most cases like this, the safe has to be drilled open, which certainly necessitates fitting a new lock to the door. This has never happened to me – thank goodness! But you can imagine that the cost of having a professional certified locksmith come out is quite expensive!
Although retailers often point out that customers prefer digital locks, each type of lock has its advantages and drawbacks. Mechanical locks may be awkward for some to open, whereas digital locks sometimes may be prone to sudden and unexpected mechanical glitches. Perhaps whether digital locks are better than their mechanical counterparts depends on what the customer seeks when investing in a safe for storing guns. According to one locksmith from Michigan with over twenty years of experience, “For the convenience of quick opening, the electronic locks can’t be beat. However, for endurance and years of trouble free use, the electronics can’t compare with the dial lock.”
The Modern Advantages of a Biometric Safe
From the perspective of avid gun enthusiasts, the only way to guarantee the security of a firearm collection is to utilize an impenetrable vault. A biometric gun safe provides the top level of protection available for guns. This is because they possess personalized mechanisms to ensure that access is only granted to the owner. Because other methods to unlock safes can be compromised, biometric is the best option available on the market for gun owners to showcase well-rounded firearm safety.
The Fingerprint Reader
The primary security measure that a biometric safe is equipped with is typically a fingerprint reader. This uses a characteristic that is precisely unique to each human being, and transforms it into a tool of safety. A fingerprint cannot be replicated without the hand’s owner being present; as a result, this kind of safe prevents unauthorized individuals from tampering with someone else’s personal firearms. In contrast, combination codes can be cracked, which lets dedicated sleuths to break in to the lethal contents of a vault.
This kind of case can be discreetly carried between locations, and they are designed for subtlety. As with most security containers, a biometric safe is constructed from an indestructible material. Steel is a common composite element. Often times, these vaults are equipped with invisible keypads that prevent potential perpetrators from finding the proper location to input security information first place. A truly effective safe also has hidden hinges.
A biometric safe has a computerized library that catalogs an inventory of every access attempt. This has dual functions that are especially beneficial for streamlining the basic safety of firearm possession. First, it records every instance of unauthorized tampering. Meanwhile, it can employ its algorithm software to accumulate a database of nuanced differences between each accepted fingerprint input. This allows the system to accommodate for minor alterations in a person’s unique pattern, which could have slight deviations from cuts and splinters. As a result, false negatives can be completely reduced, which eliminates the fear of being denied entry to one’s own weaponry during an urgent moment.
The only way to fully protect portable firearm possession is to tote all guns in a sturdy biometric vault. This advanced enclosure provides concealment combined with total safety. For every gun owner, purchasing a biometric safe is an extremely responsible investment. These powerful cases come in customizable sizes, and they will efficiently safeguard against potential disasters without fail.
Fire Protection of a Gun Safe
One of the most important attributes that a gun safe needs to feature is fire protection. Every year in the United States, roughly 380,000 residential fires occur. These home fires cause $4.4 billion of damage, which makes it very important for gun owners to protect their investments with a fireproof safe. Here are some factors that gun safe buyers should consider when purchasing a gun safe with fire protection.
Fire Proofing Is Necessary
Some gun safe buyers are under the mistaken impression that all safes are fireproof. They see a safe that is made from steel, and they think that there is no way that fire could damage anything inside them. That is simply not true. Unless a safe is specifically built with fireproofing features, anything that is inside of it will be destroyed in the event of a fire. Gun safe buyers need to invest in a safe that has excellent protection from fire. After all, fire is much more likely to be a threat to guns in a safe than theft.
Sheet Rock Lining
There are two types of fireproofing materials used for gun safes. The first type of fireproofing material is sheetrock. Sheetrock is the poorer of the two materials used to protect safes from fire. For guns safe buyers who do purchase a safe made with sheetrock lining, they should get the kind that has fiberglass embedded in the sheetrock. The problem with sheetrock in a fire is that it tends to disintegrate as it heats up. The embedded fiberglass will help the sheetrock to keep from crumbling when it faces the extreme heat of a fire.
People who are looking for the ultimate in gun safe fire protection will want to purchase safes that use ceramic wool as the fireproofing material. Safes that are line with ceramic wool will stand up to fires that reach temperatures of up to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit. The average house fire burns no hotter than 1700 degrees Fahrenheit, which means that safes lined with ceramic wool will stand up to the average house fire with no problems.
One of the most important things to look for in fire protection for a gun safe is full lining. Some manufacturers cut corners by only lining the top of the safe with fire protection materials. It is very important to get a gun safe that has fireproof materials lining every side of the safe, including the bottom. This will ensure that the safe is fully protected from fire from any direction.
Size and Weight of a Gun Safe
If you’re looking to purchase a gun, most states and localities legally require you to buy a safe storage space as well. However, you can’t just buy any old lock box from Home Depot and call it a day. You’ll need a gun safe in order to be on the right side of the law. Gun safes are approved and tested for efficiency and security. If you have children in your home, it’s absolutely imperative that you have a childproof gun safe.
The type of gun safe you buy depends on the number and type of guns that you own. You can buy everything from a handgun or pistol safe to a full on air-conditioned cabinet that stores fifteen rifles. It’s really up to you, your budget, and your concerns about security. The size and weight of a gun safe varies a lot, though they’ll definitely be a lot heavier than any security box you can pick up at a hardware store. If you’re in the market for a fire-proof, theft-proof, child-proof (and idiot-proof) gun safe, then you will be looking at something made of some pretty hefty steel. If you’ve got the cash to spend and a lot of guns to store, you can opt for some ten gauge steel.
However, if you just own a handgun or two and maybe a rifle, you can opt for a gun safe that is roughly the size of a storage cabinet, just with lower-quality steel. No matter how solid that safe is or what size it is, remember to put multiple locks on it. If you don’t need to haul it around or you don’t want it carried off by a thief, bolt that safe to the floor in a closet or somewhere hidden in your home.
Even if the price tag on some safes makes your eyes bulge, you have to remember that it’s not just about safety. A gun safe is about protecting your investment in your own personal security. Spending a little extra on something that will help you defend yourself and your loved ones is worth it.
Check your local laws because you might be required to keep your guns in a secure area. So, in California, it is a misdemeanor to store guns where a minor can access them. They also spell out requirements for a gun safe – the California Department of Justice website states the following about gun safes:
All of the following requirements:
- Shall be able to fully contain firearms and provide for their secure storage;
- Shall have a locking system consisting of at minimum a mechanical or electronic combination lock. The mechanical or electronic combination lock utilized by the safe shall have at least 10,000 possible combinations consisting of a minimum three numbers, letters, or symbols. The lock shall be protected by a case-hardened (Rc 60+) drill-resistant steel plate, or drill-resistant material of equivalent strength;
- Boltwork shall consist of a minimum of three steel locking bolts of at least ½ inch thickness that intrude from the door of the safe into the body of the safe or from the body of the safe into the door of the safe, which are operated by a separate handle and secured by the lock;
- Shall be capable of repeated use. The exterior walls shall be constructed of a minimum 12-gauge thick steel for a single-walled safe, or the sum of the steel walls shall add up to at least .100 inches for safes with two walls. Doors shall be constructed of a minimum of two layers of 12-gauge steel, or one layer of 7-gauge steel compound construction;
- Door hinges shall be protected to prevent the removal of the door. Protective features include, but are not limited to: hinges not exposed to the outside, interlocking door designs, dead bars, jeweler’s lugs and active or inactive locking bolts.
All of the following requirements:
- Is listed as an Underwriters Laboratories Residential Security Container;
- Is able to fully contain firearms;
- Provides for the secure storage of firearms.
Review of the Barska Large Biometric Safe
[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”right” asin=”B005MVF6HO” cloaking=”default” height=”500″ localization=”yes” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41krZFFQjFL.jpg” tag=”biogunsafes-20″ width=”200″]
When choosing a gun safe, you typically go with either small and discreet or big and bold, with little room for compromise in between. Your safe is either going to be detected or remain hidden from prying eyes. Unfortunately, a smaller safe means less room for your guns, valuables, and anything else you want locked up and secure yet accessible when you need them.
A bigger safe may take up more real estate in your bedroom or office, but it also means more room for firepower–the real theft deterrent. And just because a large safe is more conspicuous doesn’t mean its more vulnerable, especially when packed with more guns and ammo than the opposition.
Smart and Practical
Enter the BARSKA Large Biometric Safe, one of the Pomona, California company’s roomiest and most secure safes to date. Though not the biggest safe in the Barska lineup, the Large Biometric Safe is 48.5-pounds of solid steel with plenty of storage space for your guns, gear, and gold. The safe measures 14” x 13” x 19.75” externally with internal dimensions of 13.5” x 9” x 19.5” divided into three compartments by way of two shelves.
[easyazon_block add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B005MVF6HO” cloaking=”default” layout=”right” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”biogunsafes-20″]Overall, the BARSKA Large Biometric Safe offers 2.7 cubic feet of internal space. How you utilize the space is up to you, but there’s enough to hold a half-dozen handguns and their clips if not more. The shelves can be removed to vertically store an equal amount of medium-sized firearms measuring up to 19-inches in length. This gives the safe the versatility to hold handguns, machine pistols, shotguns, and small-barreled rifles, giving you quick and easy access to a wide range of firepower. The bottom of the safe is lined with a protective mat to prevent your items from scratching and sliding.
Power Source and Other Features
The safe is powered by 4 AA batteries located in an external battery pack capable of powering the safe’s electronics for upwards of two years without replacing. Mounting hardware and instructions are included for bolting the safe to a solid surface, as are two sets of back-up keys for manual entry.
Locking Mechanism and Fingerprint Capacity
The safe uses a deadbolt locking mechanism with 3-point solid steel bolts. Like other biometric safes, the BARSKA Large Biometric Safe opens upon recognition of a programmed fingerprint on the sensor. Upon recognizing your print, the safe door quickly opens with the turn of the handle. While some of Barska’s smaller safes allow programming of up to 30 user fingerprints, the Large Biometric safe can register up to 120 fingerprints. That doesn’t mean you’ll be sharing access to your firearms and valuables with dozens of your friends and neighbors. Instead, Barska recommends inserting all ten fingers in various positions and angles to ensure the safe will open to your hands only in times of stress when you may otherwise struggle to correctly scan your prints.
Anchor Points and Other Security Points
Factory-drilled anchor points give you the option to bolt the safe to the floor and/or wall for even more assurance your valuables won’t walk away in the hands of an intruder. But you can rest assured that if the safe’s mass alone doesn’t keep its contents out of a thief’s hands its 3-point deadbolt lock and biometric scanner will. Though only 1/16” thick with a 3/16” thick door–like all Barska safes–this steel-paneled safe is strong enough to deter even the most daring snatch and grab burglar. A big drawback to this (and all) Barska safe is its susceptibility to heat and fire, an upgrade that Barska should consider featuring in future models.
Customer Satisfaction and Reviews
Currently, the safe has 42 total reviews on Amazon, 18 of which are 5-stars. One 5-star reviewer (Patriot) wrote, “…there is no way a child could open this safe without an authorized fingerprint…If you are looking for a safe for both quick access in the middle of the night in case of an “intruder” and/or to keep your weapons away from children, this is the safe for you.”
A 4-star reviewer (zackos) stated, “The fingerprint scanner works very well for me and my wife. The locking mechanism and thickness of the box is what you’d expect for a low-cost lock box. It will keep our guns and valuables away from the kids, but a real thief would make quick work of it with some tools. At best, I hope it will be a deterrent and/or slow them down a bit.” The safe can be purchased for about $235 on Amazon or for about $45 more directly through Barska.
Be sure to check out our reviews of the other biometric safes as well.
photo credit: tom_bennett at flicker, ant1_g.