We say it all the time here at TTAG: the only two places a gun should ever be stored are on your hip or securely locked away. There’s been a boom recently in the number of bedside handgun vaults coming onto the market, but they all suffer from the same problems — namely they all look butt-ugly. Enter The Gunbox, a beautifully styled single firearm occupancy vault designed to not only provide some high-tech security, but to also look stylish while doing it. The only question left is does it work? . . .
There are two things that separate The Gunbox from the competition: aesthetics and security.
The problem with most firearms accessories is that they all conform to the “tactical chic” style. Sharp edges, diamond plating, and boxy designs that would work great in a military barracks but don’t really fit in with a modern home. The Gunbox seeks to fix that by providing a modern stylish exterior that looks exactly nothing like a firearms accessory and instead could be at home in any room of the house.
On the inside, The Gunbox provides plenty of space for whatever firearm you want to stash in there. I tried to fit my SIG SAUER Mk25 and AAC Ti-Rant 9mm silencer in at the same time, but as it turns out The Gunbox will only fit one at a time. There’s plenty of room for a full size handgun and a pair of extra magazines though, as this 5″ SIG SAUER P320 shows.
The only complaint I have about the interior is that it is a bit vertically cramped. The roof of the compartment is slightly sloped, and as a result there isn’t much clearance at the front of the box. However, if you keep your handgun flush against the back of the box it should close without a problem.
Getting into the box, however, is the other way in which The Gunbox separates itself from the competition.
There are two methods of getting into the box — well, three actually — and neither require the push of any buttons.
The first metod of entry is using a pre-programmed RFID device. The box ships with an RFID bracelet that can be worn by the user, but that’s somewhat less useful if there are two people living in the house and both need quick access to the device. The solution is multiple RFID devices, and The Gunbox sells additional accessories on their website for just that purpose. You can program in a new RFID ring or perhaps an RFID sticker to open your box, but then there’s the problem.
The more RFID chips that can open your box, the less secure it is. So as a second option, The Gunbox can be programmed to open when a number of fingers are pressed against the fingerprint reader. The reader does indeed seem to work, but a simple hack seems to defeat the lock completely.
The above video shows me defeating The Gunbox’s fingerprint reader with nothing more than a piece of paper, some Scotch Tape, and a pencil. There was a talk a few years ago at DEFCON about defeating fingerprint readers using everything from this simple trick to dental grade silicone and I was so jazzed to be able to try every trick in the book on this device, but alas the box opened after the very first attempt.
Option #3 is probably the most secure, and it can be activated by flipping a switch on the under side of the lid. In this third mode, the person opening the box would require both a valid RFID chip as well as the proper fingerprint at the same time to access the firearm. More secure, but also easy to screw up when seconds count.
Speaking of things going wrong, having a battery powered gun safe might seem to be as smart as having a battery powered gun, but The Gunbox seems to have that area under control. The box is powered by a wall-mounted charger, and in the event of a power failure the box will continue to work for up to 8 hours. After that, you’re on your own.
The entire point of a gun vault is to buy you time. No gun safe is impenetrable — every storage medium has their failure point. I was a little disappointed to see that the fingerprint reader could be so easily tricked, but I was glad that it was at least somewhat functional. In the end The Gunbox seems to work acceptably well at its task, namely that of preventing unwanted people from accessing your firearms. It leaves the choice to the end user of which access method to use and how much security they want to implement, which was definitely an appreciated touch.
It works, and it looks good doing it. It’ll keep most of the curious fingers off of your gun, but determined attackers will still not have any issues. Then again, if you have a determined attacker in your house, you should be counting on the contents of the box and not the sleek silver exterior.
Specifications: The Gunbox
Internal Dimensions: 8.9in Wide x 6.5in Tall x 1.5in Deep
Rating (out of five stars):
Overall * * * *
Twice the price of the other biometric gun safes, but also comes with twice the options. And a better appearance. Not bad.