A constant concern for gun owners is how to keep your weapon safe from the curious and the criminal. Therefore, one of the best investments you can make is the purchase of a secure gun safe. And one of the more popular features on gun safes these days is a biometric lock.
When choosing a gun safe, even if you narrow it down to just those with biometric locks, a confusing array of choices faces you. So let’s look at a few things you need to consider to narrow down your choices and let you buy the best biometric gun safe possible.
But, before we get to biometrics, let’s first look at some of the other considerations you should take into account.
Are There Any Local Laws or Regulations?
Many regions now have laws regarding gun safes. It’s your responsibility as a gun owner to make sure that any safe you buy conforms to these regulations. When searching for a gun safe the California Department of Justice specifications are thought of as the gold standard, and any safe meeting these standards should also meet your local regulations.
What Size of Safe?
A common mistake of many gun owners when buying a safe is buying one that’s too small. It’s possible the safe is big enough for your needs when you first buy, but you don’t account for things such as keeping other valuables, storing accessories for your guns, buying more guns, or needing to store important documents.
This doesn’t mean you should buy the biggest safe available, but try to plan ahead. You may be okay with buying another safe when the time comes, but it never hurts to have a little more locked storage space until then.
Most of the best gun safes currently on the market are made of steel. Some of the newer ones use strengthened aluminum alloys, but these are still quite unusual.
For steel safes, you’ll see statements like 16-gauge or 12-gauge. The gauge is the thickness of the steel: the lower the number, the thicker the steel and the stronger the safe.
You probably also want to look for a safe where the body is made from a single piece of steel. Welded steel is still strong, but once in a while welds can fail.
The lid or door should preferably wrap around in such a way that insert prying tools such as screwdrivers to force the lid open is difficult, and hinges should be hidden inside the safe when the lid is closed.
The locks also should be made of steel and, like the hinges, hidden away from tools. And because most locks these days require batteries either for the combination panel or the biometrics, the battery panel should also be inside the safe.
What Is Biometrics?
Biometrics refers to identifying a person by any physical characteristic that differs from one person to another. In the movies, you’ll see things like fingerprint readers, palm prints readers, and retinal scanners. As far as gun safes are concerned, biometrics means that the safe has a fingerprint reader.
The Pros and Cons of Biometrics
Possibly the one thing, more than anything else, that has led to the popularity of biometric gun safes is the speed of access. In an emergency there is no fumbling with keys, remembering combinations, or fiddling with rubberized buttons. You place a programmed finger on the reader, and the lid opens. This happens in the blink of an eye. Panic doesn’t interfere with getting your gun quickly.
If you read through various reviews of biometric gun safes, however, you will see reports of the biometrics failing. This can be because of battery failure, or the actual reader may fail. Overall, these complaints are relatively few compared to the number of biometric gun safes sold, but the possibility must be considered. You don’t want to buy a safe you can’t open in an emergency.
Biometrics is still a relatively new technology as far as gun safes go. As the technology improves the rate of failure is also decreasing. But this is one area you may want to consider when looking at the price of your safe. You’re not going to get a high-quality biometric system on cut-rate safe.
What to Look for in the Best Biometric Gun Safe?
Having mentioned the possibility of failure, this is obviously something you want to research before buying. Read the reviews, not just the good ones but the one and two-star reviews and see what other people say. Then compare the number of good reviews to the number of bad reviews. It will give you an idea of what people experience.
You may be excited about buying something with a fingerprint reader, but don’t forget about the locking mechanism. Look for as much description of the actual mechanisms possible. Look for something that’s made from steel. If there are locking bolts go for them, and always remember that two is better than one, three’s better than two, etc.
Of course, you have to program the system with the fingerprints of those who will have access to the contents. One problem with fingerprints is that even a simple paper cut will make a stored fingerprint unrecognizable. So you need a safe with enough memory to store several fingerprints. This way you can program different fingers plus the prints of other people you want to have access to your guns.
The best biometric gun safe will also be the one that gives you an alternate method of entry in case the batteries or the reader fails. This may be a keyed lock or a push-button combination (in some safes they have both methods as a backup), but you do need to remember to practice these methods of entry in case you need them in an emergency.
So there we have it. I hope you find these guidelines useful. The list is not exclusive, but should be enough to get you thinking. So, good hunting, and I hope you find the best biometric safe soon. And remember to think of what you need, not what someone else needed.
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