Biometric gun safes have a lot of advantages over traditional models.
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By Tom Ginerva

You’ve no doubt hear of biometric technology or have seen it featured on movies such as The Fifth Element and Gattaca. If you have an iPhone, you’re probably using it every day. It’s possible that you even noticed it being featured as far back as the original Star Trek TV series in the 1960s. Yet, if you have never before seen this type of technology in action, you may be wondering what benefits it offers for gun owners who want to keep their firearms safe and sound.

The truth is that biometric access is a great choice for keeping your guns out of harm’s way while still providing easy access.

What Is Biometric Technology?

Biometric technology uses a part of the authorized person’s body — a fingerprint, retina, etc. — to allow them access to whatever is being protected. The technology recognizes what’s unique to each individual in order to minimize the chance of anyone else being granted access.

In the movies this is typically done using a retina scan or complete facial scan, but in terms of gun safes it’s typically your fingerprint that’s needed. Since we all have unique fingerprints that’s a simple way of restricting access to just you and anyone else that you want to give access to.

The Advantages of a Biometric Gun Safe

There are plenty of reasons why biometrics are the best choice for for securing an item like a firearm. For a start, the simple scanning of a finger over the safe’s scanner makes for a fast and efficient way of getting hold of your guns.

If you wake up in the middle of the night to a strange noise, being able to quickly and easily get to your firearm is a big advantage. No more fiddling with keys or trying to remember combinations or codes.

The other big advantage of this kind of gun safe is that it keeps your firearms away from people anyone who shouldn’t have access to it. Whether it’s an intruder or an inquisitive child, a biometric safe will ensure that only you have access to your gun.

The good news: with most models you can also program the scanner to give access to other people as well. In this way, a group of authorized users can get to the firearm without the need to copy keys or give others a code.

the advantages of biometric gun safes

Are There Any Disadvantages?

As with any storage divide, there are some possible disadvantages to take into account, but you can mitigate them with some forward thinking. For instance, the scanner may not recognize your print when you try to open it the first time.

You can get around this by buying a model that allows you to scan all of your fingers from different angles. In this way, you can be certain that the scanner is will recognize you even when you slide your finger across it quickly in the dark.

The other issue to consider is what to do if the your unit’s battery runs down. Better battery-operated gun safes will typically make a beeping noise as the power fades or show a warning light to let you know the battery needs to be changed. And, of course, be sure to get a unit that opens with a back-up key in case the battery loses power completely.


There’s good reason why biometric gun safes have gained so much in popularity. As the technology and access times have improved significantly, more gun owners are choosing them as the most secure and effective way of limiting access to their firearms while ensuring they’re also easily available.

Tom Ginerva is the founder of

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  1. The best way to secure your fi rearm is firmly in the grip of your grubby little fingers. No need to worry about how much blood is dripping down your fingers (or for retinal scan – eyebrows). You may not have time to reach your safe before you’re injured. Home carry. If you have small children in the house, home carry on body.

    • You can’t home carry 19 guns at once. If you have more than one you’re going to need to put some up for awhile.

      • No, but you ca n strategically hide 19 g uns around your home. And as to the rest, you c an leave the combo 2 steps through so you only have to spin the dial a half turn or whatever.

        • and this, ladies and gentlemen, is how little kids wind up shooting themselves and others, giving fuel to the anti 2A fire.

          LOCK YOUR GUNS.

  2. Biometric safes are terrible for quick access for guns.

    They won’t work if your fingers are dirty, cut, bloody, greasy, etc.

    In a defensive situation there is no time to change finger angles or different fingers

    • If your fingers are bloody, dirty, cut off or whatever then you’re a little late to the game and it probably doesn’t matter where your guns are secured or not

      • Exactly. If you were in a position to be attacked, chances are you ain’t making it back to yer gun(s). Carry at all times when your gun would be more than a few steps away IMO.

  3. The Best Way To Secure Your Firerarm

    Except when the battery dies at an inconvenient time, or your fingerprint is unclear (Damaged hand, hand covered in blood — how could that happen during a home invasion? Inconceivable!)

  4. The writer’s site seem to be a front for amazon. I would take anything on his site with a grain or cup of salt.

  5. I’ve become a fan of Simplex (e.g., V-Line). Nothing’s perfect, but I like the idea of a purely mechanical device. Key is to practice. May not work for everybody, of course.

  6. “As with any storage divide, there are some possible disadvantages to take into account,…”

    What’s this biometric ‘possible disadvantages’ crap?

    IMO, the best compromise security system is a simple, durable, mechanical lock.

    No batteries, electronic failures, etc…

  7. F¥ck fingerprints, you ever been arrested,? two hours later your still, pressing firmly,wiping, pressing, now roll, try again, wipe, clean scanning screen, pressing firmly, now roll. “Well we will try again tomorrow”.: It was a whole lot easier with the ink.

    • Weird. The old ones worked like a charm. At least the one at the MEPS station they sent me to did.

      Maybe the guy booking you was just stupid?

      • He said guys that work with their hands are hard to print, calluses n scratches..X wife DV out if retaliation, she slapped her face, and tore her shirt, called cops. Dismissed for no show. One reason I’m against guns lost for life on a misdeamnor charge. Sometimes guilty ain’t guilty.

  8. My personal opinion:

    Use a large safe to guard the majority of your guns. The ones that are out, potentially stashed around if you don’t have kids or whatever, are guarded by the gun you have on you and, preferably, some dogs.

    The absolute best way to secure your firearm is to have another firearm with which you shoot the bastard trying to steal the first gun.

  9. We need to decide whether we’re storing a weapon or securing it.
    Any gimmick is acceptable for storage, but if we’re securing it for when we need it, we need to have dependable access to it under duress, with sweaty hands, with bloody hands…

    • Vauktek!? As in like Vault-tec!?!? Man. I guess if they start building vaults underground we should all be worried.

  10. My experience with biometric access is not positive. Work laptops that it did not work well with, and my phone where if my fingers are too dry or too rough it did not work. I love technology but I recognize it’s limitations and no way I would lock up my home defense firearms.

  11. Long time ER nurse. Hospitals use high end tech called Pyxis, most have finger scanners. They never work for me, factory rep figured my huge front paws were to blame. They had to give me a numeric password instead (the machines have a full alpha numeric keyboard). I will never trust finger scanners when I have critical needs.

    • pixis/pyxis machines around here used keys for the longest time. Only problem is, sometimes someone takes the key home with them after shift.

  12. I’ve got a small version of the one in the photo. Looks like the exact same fingerprint reader. It’s was very good when new with about a 98% probability of opening in 2 sec. Two years later it’s about 92% success, with about 99% for 2 tries. 2 tries takes about 5 sec. Not sure why it got a bit worse. I tried replacing batteries and re-programming fingerprints, and it was only slightly better.

    I program in the index and middle fingerprints of the right hand and the index of the left, and the same for my wife. It also seems like you have to use a fingerprint once in while in order for it to work reliably. If you never use a specific fingerprint for a year, it may not work. So you should run through all of your programed prints once in a while.

    The battery life is good. It will open many hundreds of times on a set of 4 AA’s.

    The Army Ranger that sold me my first handgun uses a safe with a push-button combo which I think is more sure-fire. Though I can operate my fingerprint safe quickly in pitch dark, and I don’t think I could do the same with a push-button combo. Also push-button combos would have stuck me as a challenge when I was a child.

    I like the idea of the RFID mini-safes. No fumbling, and should be certain and rapid as long as the battery is good.

    • “Not sure why it got a bit worse. I tried replacing batteries and re-programming fingerprints, and it was only slightly better.”

      I had a similar experience with a print reader used for door access.

      If you look closely at the glass on the print reader, you may see it appears *slightly* fogged.

      Human skin oils are a bit corrosive and erode the glass. Print reader glass has a limited lifespan.

      A glass polish may help or it may wreck it permanently…

      • …hmmmm, never considered this. I need to examine my reader’s “glass” and see if it has become fogged.

        In fact, I think my reader’s “glass” is actually plastic. Another “hmmmm…”

  13. The did not use fingerprint scanners in Gattaca. They used a blood sample from your finger for a quick check, and a full urinalysis sample as a control backup. That’s why the main character not only put on false fingerprints, but put a small spot of blood under the print.

    As of current tech, I would not trust a biometric fingerprint reader. But then again, I have no kids at home and no grandkids, so I don’t worry about these easily opened or easily transported mini-safes. Almost all of these safes use a key lock that is easily overcome by any professional burglar in less than 30 seconds. More security theater.

  14. Biometric safes (fingerprint readers) talk about the frequency/chance of false positive readings, and give a very low number. A false positive is when the safe falsely recognizes someone else’s fingerprint as if it was the authorized owner’s fingerprint. Yes, you want a low number for false positives.

    HOWEVER, what they never tell you is the number of false negatives it does. That is when it does not recognize the fingerprint that it has been programmed to recognize. In other words, it will not open when you want it to. My biometric safe has A LOT of false negatives. You must hold your finger perfectly still and in exactly the right place for it to recognize your fingerprint. In an emergency, when I am in a hurry to get to my gun, I am confident that my safe will require at least 5 tries before it will open for me. NOT GOOD!

    I have since bought a different safe with a digital combination lock. It takes a little longer to operate, but it is very reliable. I can enter the combo in about 2 seconds, and it always opens for me. I’ll never buy another biometric safe.

  15. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.
    The scanner will malfunction or the battery will die the day I need it to work the first time.

  16. I fail to understand most of these comments as most of these safes have more then one way of getting unlocked other then biometrics and are battery powered as back up and usually plugged into the wall. Most of these are for one or two LOADED guns where the rest should be UNLOADED in your home as your kids or grandkids are more likely to accidently use them on themselves then you in a home invasion (unless you live in CA)! Also how do you allow someone to get so close to you at night you’d literally have milliseconds to get to your gun. If you are that heavy a sleeper maybe you should look into ADT or a dog because if someone is on top of you attacking when your sleeping it may not even matter if your 44 is under your pillow.

  17. My finger tips are too roughed up for finger print scanners. At my job we use finger print scanners to clock in and it takes me 50 tries to get it to work every morning. Any little scar or scratch on your finger tip, even scars you cant really see will mess up your finger print scan

  18. “If you have an iPhone, you’re probably using it every day“

    I think that is profoundly unwise. Apple has good security and encryption but using a fingerprint to unlock your phone pretty much removes all 4th amendment protections against unlawful searches of your device. You can refuse to give a password because it’s still considered “testimony” but just mashing your finger against a small button doesn’t meet that standard.

    I recommend using the 6 digit PW and enabling the memory wipe after 10 failed attempts.

  19. Best security for a gun is:

    A: Don’t have kids.
    B: Take your gun with you at all times.
    C: Store unused guns in a safe, not an RSC

    You might even want to pour cement all around the safe too and leave only the door exposed.

  20. IMHO, ANY electric, electronic, sonic, digital, or other “high-tech” device is NOT a good way, let alone the “best” way, to secure anything to which you may need reliable, rapid access. Period.

    Pretty much EVERY electronic device of any type I’ve ever owned has failed at some point (or it will). Not so for my various mechanical locking devices, some of which are generations old and still working daily.

  21. While I like TouchID on my iPhone it isn’t nearly reliable enough for me to want it or some other biometric lock on my gun safe.

  22. I like the safes that have both biometric + keypad + key.
    It’s also a good idea to have backup with mechanical lock.
    I don’t see a downside to biometrics, if there’s redundancy.

  23. “Best”? – hardly. What’s “best” anyway?
    “Effective”? – well, they *do* work.
    “Availability of firearms”? – I guess that depends on how quickly access is required.

    I have a Barska, bought in a mad rush to mollify the California muzzies that require us to have a means of “safe storage”. The optical reader does work depending on how accurate I am in placing my finger in one of the multiple positions that were recorded.

    The reader has an external power input which can be used to power the circuitry should the internal batteries fail. Also, the locking mechanism has a key access port that’s hidden under the manufacturer’s badge.

  24. The baby in the family, age 19, has had excellent training, and sleeps with a Glock.

    Any small children or workman in the house, the guns are locked up, securely, and unloaded. I’m usually carrying a pocket pistol (.380) with workmen, not carrying around the rare times small children are here for an hour, at most. I also make sure any matches are out of reach. No plants, drain cleaner under sinks, or other harmful chemicals within reach, even if I have to use pliers to get the darn child proof top off. All medications stored out of reach, and secured. I can’t really lock up the kitchen knives, so all small children are carefully watched. I’m not a grandparent, that’s why small children are so rarely in my home, this is exhausting.

  25. Yeah, whatever. Lick your finger then try to use that fingerprint scanner. Now, imagine your finger covered in blood. Biometrics only work when the biology is what they expect.

  26. If biometrics are the best way to secure a gun, then why not get one of those new “smart guns”?

    And yes, I’m being sarcastic.

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