Gear Review: 9G INPRINT BIOMETRIC SAFE

“Baltimore police have identified the teenage victim of a fatal shooting which occurred after a sleepover in Cherry Hill Saturday morning,” baltimoresun.com reports. “Michael Brooks, 15, was shot and killed by an unidentified 11-year-old who was apparently playing with a gun, police said. Police could not say how many times Brooks was shot or who owned the gun. The gun was secured in the house, but the children had found a key or pass code to unlock it, said police spokesman Kevin Brown.” The $300 (or less from a dealer) 9G INPRINT BIOMETRIC SAFE is simple to set-up, holds a full size handgun and a spare mag, and opens reliably with a practiced swipe of any designated digit. No key. No code. Need I say more? Let’s start with this . . .

The 9G INPRINT BIOMETRIC SAFE is not a safe. Technically, tactically, it’s a security device. For one thing, 9G’s metal box is not fireproof. More importantly, if a burglar wants to remove your gun from an INPRINT safe, a common crowbar will help him or her liberate the weapon in a matter of seconds. And if the bad guys lack the brute force and experience needed to open the box in a New York Minute, they can simply carry it away. Or prise the 9G off its bolt holes and then carry it away. This is not the gun safe you’re looking for.

The INPRINT is, however, the ideal solution for balancing the need to keep your gun out of the hands of children with the [hopefully] potential need to gain fast access to your handgun when you hear the proverbial bump-in-the-night. (‘Cause you home carry all other times, right?) You simply hook-up a 9V battery, shove the battery back in the hole, press a button in the hole, swipe your finger across the scanner until the lights flash and Bob’s your uncle. Test it (there are keys for backup), place your gun and spare mag inside, close the door and you’re done.

The obvious concern: the INPRINT’s biometric recognition software will fail. In the biometric safe biz, there are two performance metrics: the “False Acceptance Rate” (FAR) and the “False Rejection Rate” (FRR). 9G’s main man Ken Stacey claims his not-a-safe-really will accept an unauthorized fingerprint once out of every 100,000 swipes. His competition (GunVault’s biometric box) uses last generation software, with a 1 out 5,000 FAR. The chances of unauthorized access are minuscule in both cases (so to speak)—especially when compared to the odds that a clever, gun-curious child will secure a code or key.

According to the 9G website, the INPRINT’s FRR (failure to recognize your finger) is “extremely low.” I tested the INPRINT BIOMETRIC SAFE 100 times with no recognition failures whatsoever. More to the point, I reckon it’s an invidious distinction. Setting aside the 9G’s ability to eliminate the possibility of the stolen code/key-related tragedy above, the real question is this: what are the relative chances you’ll screw-up a key or a code-based gun safe?

First, know this: like any other system, the INPRINT scanner requires practice. You put your finger on the reader, WAIT UNTIL TWO LIGHTS ILLUMINATE, then swipe. With battery power, that’s a two-second delay. With AC power, it’s down to half-a-second. As you can see from the video above, Sam screwed it up. After a bit of practice and patience, she can do it with her eyes closed. Second, note that key and keypad gun safes also have a FAR. I’ve failed to enter the correct code into my GunVault’s four button keypad twice-in-a-row—under no pressure whatsoever. If the SHTF, my keypad confidence is low.

In case you hadn’t figured it out, I’m sold on biometrics. And while the 12″ deep, 7″ high and 11″ wide INPRINT SAFE’s got a Bigfoot-sized footprint, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing. The 9G product offers more than enough lebensraum to grab my second generation Glock 21 from its foam bed without hesitation, deviation or repetition. And there’s enough “extra” space to stash a full-size magazine, useful for those occasions where 16 rounds of .45 caliber Wilson Combat hollow point ammunition just won’t git ‘er done. No light. No shelf. Just quick and easy access to my go-to gatt.

The INPRINT BIOMETRIC SAFE should be viewed as a nighttime addition to home carry, not an alternative. But anyway you look at it, 9G’s ballistic box is a no-brainer. Both in terms of its operation and whether or not you should buy one. You could even say the 9G ends any and all debate over the advisability of keeping a handgun by your bedside. Yes, you should. In this. Otherwise you risk terrible, avoidable consequences. In fact, if the 9G cost one G it would be worth every penny. Parents and grandparents, think of it this way: how much is your child’s life worth?