Back in the day I purchased a quick-action safe [not shown] for my primary home defense gun: a 10″-barreled 300 BLK SBR, complete with silencer. As Sheryl Crow crowed, the brochure looked nice. In real life, not so much . . .
I practiced getting out of the bed, opening the safe and retrieving the gun, as I would in an emergency. Placed on the floor, the safe door opens downward toward the floor. The user needs to reach in and blindly to grab the firearm. It didn’t take many attempts to realize that kneeling down on the floor, reaching into the safe blindly and attempting to lift the gun over the safe door edge was awkward at best. I kept slamming the optic into the door’s edge on the way out.
I found what I hoped would be a better solution at the last SHOT Show, the MonsterVault. The company and its products are aptly named; their flagship under-the-bed safe measures a monstrous 28”x48”x7”. Unlike most of its competition, it can stow multiple long guns along with handguns, magazines, lights, etc.
The major difference between my old safe and the MonsterVault: the MonsterVault has a drawer that pulls out, nicely presenting the user with his/her chosen weapons, all within easy reach. Cue the singing angels: ahhhhhhhh.
The MonsterVault can be used mounted under a vehicle seat, in the back of a SUV (mounting kits are available for vehicles for $99) or under a bed. You can even stack several can units for use in a closet. You can screw the bottom of a unit into the floor for extra security.
The MonsterVault is available in three sizes. A 28 x 48 x 7 unit the company calls the Underbed/Full Size Vehicle Safe, a 12 x 53 x 7 called the Pickup Vault and their tallest, a 16 x 41 x 11 safe called the “Tactical Size.” All three vaults are priced identically; $699 including shipping. I requested the 28 x 48 x 7 for this review.
“The vault is constructed with a double wall design,” MonsterVault’s website proclaims. “16-gauge cold rolled steel is the minimum thickness used with an additional 12-gauge plate welded to the 16-gauge drawer front to create total thickness of .16 inch (well over 1/8th inch). The effective thickness for the top and bottom is 11-gauge (.12″ or 1/8”) and the effective thickness of the sides is 7-gauge (.18” well over 1/8 inch).”
What’s more, “The finish is black powder coating inside and out and the drawer has a capacity of 100lbs. A felt pad for the drawer bottom is included to protect contents. Being steel, it is fire resistant, but there is not added fire protection. The company backs their products with a 7-year warranty.”
When a behemoth, 143 lb. package arrived by way of Big Brown, I knew the MonsterVault had landed. There was some damage to the box because, well, UPS. I ripped the tear open to inspect the damage to the safe before I would let the driver go and found that it was double boxed and the inner box was not damaged. Score: MosterVault 1. UPS 0.
The box was delivered to my basement garage. Mulling over the massive weight and large size, I took into account the two flights of twisting stairs I needed to negotiate to get the safe to my bedroom.
That’s when I decided to unbox the safe and see if I could take the drawer out to lighten the load. A push of a clip on either side of the drawer glides and the drawer came right out. The lighter weight made the trek up the steps fairly easy — with the help of my son.
The MonsterVault’s front facade has two drawer handles on either side and a control panel in the middle. The control panel has a keypad, indicator lights for “Ready,” “Low Battery” and “Proceed.” There’s a key lock for override access, and an entry knob that activates two, ½” steel bolts that lock the draw into the vault’s side panels.
The electronic lock is fed by four AA batteries located on the back of the control panel, accessible from inside the drawer. The keypad is numbered 0 through 9 and with “A” and “B” keys. They keys are 3-dimensional so you can feel them in the dark. Combinations require three to eight digits plus either an “A” or “B.”
To program the combination, press the reset button located on the back of the control panel. A yellow light turns on to indicate that you need to enter you choice of numbers and a last digit of “A” or “B.” When done, the safe will then beep and the yellow light will turn off. To unlock the drawer, press the combination, turn the entry knob to the right and pull out the drawer. Turning the knob to the left will lock it.
Each key press will activate a beep. If you prefer a more stealthy approach, the sound can be shut off by entering a code and, if desired, turned on again using the same code.
If an unauthorized person tries to access the safe and enters an incorrect code three times, the keypad will begin a five minute lock-out period. The safe can then be opened by use of the override key or, after five minutes, with the correct code.
I added some glow-in-the-dark tape to the entry knob to help me see it in the dark. A nightlight would make a suitable alternative. I also added an arrow made from the glow-in-the-dark tape to remind me which way to rotate the entry knob, should brain fog and stress create a nightmare senior moment.
The product’s called MonsterVault. The company calls it a steel security safe. I would classify it more as a security cabinet. If someone really wants to break in, has some tools, brawn, time and doesn’t mind making a lot of noise, they will get in. My requirement: keep my son, his friends and wandering guests away from my firearms. For that, the MonsterVault fits the bill nicely.
In the same vein, there’s a sticker on the door that states: “WARNING: This gun safe does not meet the safety standards for gun safes specified in California Penal Code Section 12088.2”… blah, blah, blah and a few yadda yaddas. Since the sticker only mentions Commiforna, I assume it’s good to go in the rest of the country. But if your state has safe storage laws with specific standards, make sure this qualifies before purchasing.
I’m quite pleased with the MonsterVault. The keypad and lock are quick to operate, the drawer makes for easy access and it seems well built. The only nit to pick would be that I’d like to see a dimly lit keypanel, just enough to make out the keys in the dark.
Ratings (out of five stars):
Build Quality * * * * *
A very sturdy, solidly built unit.
Security * *
I wouldn’t classify the MonsterVault as a safe, rather as a security cabinet. It will keep innocents out, but won’t take an expert to break in, hence the two stars. The security level works for my situation, but its value depends on your specific needs.
Ergonomics * * * *
I really like the sliding drawer design…it’s easy to retrieve your weapon quickly. It’s a little awkward being down on the floor, but all under-the-bed safes are.
Overall * * * *
The only downside: it’s not as secure as an actual safe. That said, I don’t see a better product out there for its use. Fills the under-the-bed, bump-in-the-night niche quite nicely.