VARA Safety Reach biometric gun lock
VARA Safety Reach
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TTAG first talked to Timmy Oh, inventor of the VARA Safety reach gun lock, a couple of years ago when he was still in the design phase for his biometric gun lock. Now, Oh has a finished product and a pretty impressive one at that (see our earlier post on the VARA Reach here). It’s designed to keep a pistol handy and available…for authorized individuals only.

We ran into Oh on the NRA floor here in Indy where he’s hawking his sleekly designed Reach gun lock and seemed to be doing an excellent business. We’ll let him tell you about it.

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  1. Biometrics is never a good idea for a gun safe. It won’t work if your finger is dirty, scratched, oily, bloody, etc.

  2. Sorry, my $’s are already committed to, more practical training, standard capacity mags and more ammo. If it has any kind of chip, can it be jammed and from what distance? My firearms and I have done well. Never had a situation where any external tech was necessary… sure to sell well in the slave states. -30-

  3. The biometric (fingerprint) lock on my home office door only works the first time about half the time (let’s call it the Sex Panther of door locks), when I am ostensibly wide awake, consciously and intentionally trying to disengage the lock to get into my office.

    Why on earth would I want to try to use a similar lock to access a home-defense firearm in the middle of the night, in the dark, when I have likely been startled awake from a deep sleep? That is a recipe for failure, in a situation in which failure could lead to my or a family member’s death.

    • “That is a recipe for failure, in a situation in which failure could lead to my or a family member’s death.”

      Hi, Chip. Long time…

      Biohazard guns have three safety features: child proof; likely not worth the risk; discourage gun ownership. Design features. A bonus is that if your are investigated by the authorities (after passage of appropriate laws) and found to not have biohazard gun safes, you get to go to jail. Nice, neat bundle of gun control.

      • Hey, Sam!

        Yes, exactly. I’m glad that I live in a state (Indiana) that would never even think about passing something as rights-infringing as safe-storage laws – for exactly the reasons you describe.

        Speaking of Indiana, yesterday, Governor Holcomb while at the NRA Annual Meeting signed HB 1284 into law: complete civil immunity for justified use of force in self-defense (takes effect immediately), lawful carry of firearms by churchgoers where churches are held in designated “schools” (an exception to the GFSZA that until now – or, July 1, 2019, when it takes effect) prevented lawful carry of firearms in such churches, and an “enhanced” (Brady compliant), 5-year, no-fees, License To Carry Handgun (LCTH) that replaces the current, 4-year LTCH (and its attendant fees), keeps the current lifetime LTCH, and eviscerates the single, biggest argument against passing Constitutional Carry in the state.

        TTAG, this would be a good one to cover/discuss. NRA ILA intends to use the “Kystie’s Law” civil immunity statutes as a model across the country.

    • But sales of the device, at government insistence, will continue upward and onward long after you and your family are gone. The media will ignore the cause of your death, only mentioning the all-inclusive “gun violence,” or possibly an obvious case of “a burglary gone bad.”

      Government won’t care in the least about your passing, and your employer will hire one of government’s and business’s approved illegals who will work for less and meet a racial or sexual quota designed to be rid of you anyway. A win-win for all but you, assuming you’re a literate, white male, heterosexual, with 1.33 children, who speaks English as a primary language.

      Soon this product will be small enough to be attached to every single firearm. If shot, no one else in your family will be able to pick up your gun and defend themselves with it. You’ll have to purchase an expensive (due to the locking device) gun for every adult in the household (even manufacturers will come around for those profits), and you’ll need more of these safety devices. Governments like those of California and Illinois will be happy to add punitive taxes and licensing fees everywhere, until anyone with a gun will be a criminal before a government long conditioned to despise normal citizens. A fun time will be had by millions upon millions of bureaucrats, but not by you. 😥

  4. For all the biometric reliability naysayers – I have been using two different models of Barska biometric lockboxes for about six years. The locking system on my primary box gets used a minimum of twice a day. I have multiple fingers registered for backup and convenience. It has a low-battery warning. Do I want that tech inside my gun? No. But for a lockbox, I am very satisfied with the reliability. Zero false positives ever (and I test it for that regularly with an unregistered finger), and on the rare occasion that I get a false negative (meaning it doesn’t let me in), a second try fixes the problem. Not too worried about the bloody hands thing as I have difficulty imagining a scenario where both of my hands are so covered in blood that none of my registered fingers are usable BUT I still have the opportunity to get to the lockbox BEFORE already neutralizing the threat via some other means. If you don’t trust it, you could always have a second gun stored in a non-electronic box for emergencies.

    • ” and on the rare occasion that I get a false negative (meaning it doesn’t let me in), a second try fixes the problem”

      When seconds count, I don’t want to be trying for a second time to get into my safe. I want 100% access, not 99%.

      Just because you can’t imaging a scenario that your fingers might be bloody, doesn’t mean that it can’t happen. Imagine harder.

    • “If you don’t trust it, you could always have a second gun stored in a non-electronic box for emergencies.”

      Anything can be used for gun “storage.” The entire point of a biometric safe is for access to gun for emergencies.”

      Needing to use multiple fingers to open your safe is wasting time that you don’t have.

      Never use anything thats not 100%, 100% of the time.

      • If you never use anything that isn’t 100 percent, you will never use anything. Certainly not your brain. I don’t say that as an insult, it goes for my brain too. If I wake with a surge of adrenaline in the middle of the night, I have as much faith in my Barska as I do in my fingers not to mangle my 4-5 digit combo lock. Also, remember that any lock is there for the purpose of keeping people out. A 4-digit combo lock has a max of 10,000 combos. That’s assuming a 10 digit keypad. Most are only 4 digit keypads. If I’m doing my math right, that’s only 256 combos. If we expand that to a 5 digit keypad and 5 digit combo, that number becomes 3125 possibilities. If someone had access to your lock and used a systematic method, it would take less than ten minutes to have gone through 10 percent of the possibilities. My experience of zero false positives on my lockbox is as important to me as the very low false negative rate. I’m not saying that anyone is wrong for using different methods. I didn’t even say that Barska boxes are the only quick-access method in my house. What I am trying to do is provide an actual data point to counter the constant flames on biometric boxes from folks whose opinions are formed from conjecture rather than experience. My data point is only this: Barska, at least, makes very reliable biometric systems.

    • I also have a Barska biometric box for my bedside gun. I test it regularly and have multiple fingers registered. It opens faster than a combination lock. You do get the rare false negative but you get the same thing with mechanical combo locks (from screwing up the combination). If you change the batteries at the same frequency as your smoke detectors then you don’t have to worry about it dying on you. Nothing is as fast as an unlocked gun but I have three kids so that isn’t an option.

    • Glorfindel,

      Try to imagine a home invasion that goes bloody quickly.

      Imagine also, a few seconds trying to access the gun, a split second to flip off the safety, then a few more seconds to clear a jam (whatever can, will go wrong), and you finally get off a shot that misses a perp, flies through the wall (we all need the FBI-approved 13 to 21 inches of penetration), kills the baby in the bed asleep in the next apartment, or the kid coming home from a date in the driveway next door.

      When it’s all over the uniformed historians/police show up to record files of reports on what happened, and notify forensics to wake up, come out, and clean up the mess.

      Whew, just imagining all that makes me want donuts and coffee! Finally, after a few months of investigation, you learn the still unnamed (in the media) home invaders were ignorant slugs who got the wrong address, having misread it due to dyslexia. As the saying goes, all’s well that ends…..sometimes.

  5. I’ve no need of a biometric safe or gun lock but do understand the attraction of them for parents with young children. Or parents who have neglected their children’s education about guns and safety and what the rules are.

    On this new item what I’d want to hear is how many kids were given the challenge of getting the blue gun out of it? Get a bunch of youngsters of various ages and at least ten of these biometric locked gadgets and see if they can find a way to defeat it.

    You see, that’s the thing about engineers. They think like adults. But children will surprise you, delight you and confound you all at the same time. If you are designing something to keep them out or protect them, you darned well better test it against their imaginations before you consider it child proof.

    In a safe way of course.

    • I agree. All the kids know about guns, the older ones shoot and have guns. My gun is in its holster on the night stand and the kids are not curious about it at all because they have seen what it does to watermelon.

  6. As the result of being hit by a drunk driver I circulation issues in both hands. To keep my hands from getting cold or numb while not moving (sleeping) I wear compression gloves. These gloves are also good for anyone with arthritis but make any kind of bio-metrics worthless.

  7. They can rarely get my finger prints to scan at the cop shop, I don’t see how a civilian version would be much different.

  8. Do you buy a gun and one of these for every member of the family< every adult at least? Or one in the bathroom, one in the bedroom, one buy the easy chair from which you watch T.T one in the garage, and one in the kitchen?

  9. When I was a young lad (4-9 years old) growing up in a house Full of Loaded Firearms. My father had the best safe in the world to keep me and my brother from messing with his guns. The side of his # 10 size engineer boot. We not only never touched them without his direction. We never even thought about touching them. We were taught the destructive consequences of firearms misuse. When we were deemed old enough we were allowed to shoot them with his guidance. Nothing about these new fangled security gadgets will replace good old discipline. For keeping children away from things they have no need in touching. As well as anything that slows your ability to access your firearm. Isn’t worth the cost if it is your life or the life of a loved one. Technology is not necessarily the best answer to old problems.

    • I applaud your family for training your kids right. I also train and trust my kids. They are not the only kids who ever set foot in my house, though.

      Just like guns, there isn’t one storage method that is perfect for 100 percent of users. If you can get a fingerprint box that works well, it’s a good tool. If it works for your application, use it. If not, use something else.

      • All of my friends knew that boot fit their backsides just the same. Thus said training was neighborhood universal. Of course that was a different time. When parents were parents and rules were followed regardless of household. If you screwed up at the neighbors house. You got disciplined by the neighbor and again when you got home. For being a screw up. Sadly in this day. Discipline is an after thought as most parents are more concerned with being their child’s friend rather than their parent.

    • Agree, Darkman.

      Technology always sounds encouraging but often just adds another layer of complexity that can malfunction.

      We had a biometric lock on the computer room door. If Joe ate fried chicken, we all had to put our fingers on his grease to gain access. A few women complained, especially after seeing Joe pick his nose. A cloth was left out to clean the surface.
      The women wouldn’t pick up the cloth.

      When it stopped working after power outages, no one could get in until a service person came out to reset it. The solution was to show an employee of ours how to reset the system. She worked days and wasn’t always able to come in at night. No problem. A backup person was trained.

      Then the power went out and no one could get in to quickly restart a breakdown in our computer equipment. Many orders were lost and customers were slightly annoyed to say the least.

      As far as I know (I’ve been retired 15 years) the device still remains in the retention pond out back of the building, where the MIS Director threw it.

  10. Anecdotal research shows that over 80% of vehicles made in 2000 had some sort of fly-by-wire controls in use. In 2018, over 90% of vehicles where primarily fly-by-wire controlled.

    In 2018, 95% used cellphone type devices regularly and 35% relied on those devices exclusively.

    Just throwin’ that out there!

    • Of those hundreds of millions of cell phones, how many have fingerprint access? Still tens of millions. How many people have had 100% accuracy of opening on the first try and in less than a second. 0, or close to it, and the phones have better processors that you’ll find in a dedicated scanner.
      Would you take the bet from Roald Dahl’s “Man From the South” (or see on Alfred Hitchcock or Four Rooms)? In the story, a man bets his reliable lighter will light 10 times in a row, with the stakes being his opponent gets to cut off one of his fingers. Keep in mind that you may actually be betting your life and/or the lives of your children or significant other.
      I’m not against all electronic safes. I think the Rapid safe RFID is fast and reliable, and it has a mechanical key as a backup. However, you need to be the type of person that habitually has the RFID key on/with them and won’t leave it where where unauthorized uses can get to it or you have to remember where you left it in an emergency. If you can’t find your keys in the morning, the key fob method isn’t for you.

      • I don’t want a self defense gun locked up at night. In nightstand drawer or on top of nightstand works if children aren’t present. Mine is in a holster that attaches to the bed. It’s a very cheap setup and the holster tore (better to get a good one). I repaired mine with scissors and duct tape.

        Now when a tall, slender, 20-year-old girl sneaks into my bedroom to rape me under cover of darkness, I can easily reach my gun to protect myself, if need be. Hasn’t happened yet, but I am forever hopeful.

  11. I will be getting this new technology because we have it at work and also at our gun club. It works and works very well and is much better than trying to remember a combination lock under stress or the right sequence of buttons to press on my desk safe. It will eliminate any children or even adults from accidentally getting shot in my house or automobile. I also will not have to worry about going to trial in a wrongful death suit or spending thousands in court trying to prove to a jury I should not be held legally responsible or even getting a jail sentence for causing the needless death of some innocent person while in my home or auto. I think paying the street price of $200 or even less is a small price to pay for me personally considering the alternative expenses in court in a wrongful death suit and possible loss of a job, not to mention the guilt of causing a totally needless death. There is an old wise proverb known in Eastern Europe: We say that since no one can raise the dead it is better not to have to wish that now you could (Vlad Tepes, year of 1476).

    • If you simply rid yourself of guns, almost everything you worry about will go away.

      Jes’ sayin’

      Relying on super duper, rock and roll, plastic banana, whizbang electronics will get you killed….just ask all the survivors of the Max8/9 aircraft crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

  12. No thanks. I want instant access, not fumbling with a lock. When seconds count, locks add a few more seconds, especially with Adrenalin pumping.


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