It is every responsible gun owner’s duty to lock up their firearms, especially when children may be present.
Many people use their full-sized safes to hold both their pistols and rifles, but these safe solutions can be cumbersome for nightstand duty or disarmament when arriving home from carrying concealed throughout the day. Before the prevalence of electronic pistol safes, there had to be the tradeoff between speed and security. Here are a few new models that provide reliable security and fast access.
The GunBox is a relatively new player on the security scene, but the company has made a big splash with its three initial safe offerings featuring radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology. They include an RFID-only unit, an RFID and biometric fingerprint scanner model, and a Premier model, which includes GPS tracking, constant monitoring and alerts through an annual service subscription.
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The Biometric model can be activated via multiple methods. Included are the 360-degree fingerprint scanner, an RFID-enabled bracelet, customized ring and an RFID sticker that can be applied to any convenient object. The fingerprint scanner can hold approximately 100 fingerprints.
Each safe’s RF activation is nearly instantaneous once the bracelet or sticker passes by the top cover. Speaking of the cover, the GunBox was clearly the slimmest model tested, looking more like a UFO than a gun safe. The aluminum alloy shell opens like a clamshell and is automatically lifted via two internal gas struts. Once access has been granted, the unit takes an average of 2.3 seconds to open sufficiently to retrieve the pistol inside.
Another thing that sets the GunBox apart is the included dual USB ports that allow easy charging of USB devices. This is especially nice when using the GunBox on a nightstand where you are likely to be charging phones and other electronics. The Gun Box also features internal battery backup for security during power outages.
For more information, visit http://www.thegunbox.com or call 801-331-8655.
Hornady is another new contender in the safe arena, and it has come on strong with the new RAPiD Safe. Like the GunBox, the RAPiD design has RFID activation via the included bracelet, credit card or keychain fob. It does not use a fingerprint scanner. Instead, it includes a backlit keypad that allows a unique combination to be programmed. If all else fails, there is a manual backup key, too.
Unique to the Hornady offering is the included holster for the pistol. Upon the top door opening, your pistol is presented easily to the user sandwiched between two layers of foam. This creates a repeatable position every time for your pistol to be presented for use. The padded sleeve is also removable if you prefer.
Using its RF activation, the RAPiD Safe produced the fastest opening times during testing, averaging 1.4 seconds. The keypad lights up as soon as any button is pressed, which aids in finding the right keys.
The RAPiD Safe runs off standard110-volt power outlets and also uses four AA batteries for redundancy or primary power. One thing to note, while the price of the unit is comparable to the GunBox ($299 vs. $276), if you’d like extra RFID-enabled devices, Hornady offers extra key fobs and cards for a measly $5.55. An extra bracelet will set you back $7.40. It comes with three wristbands in the standard package. Wristbands and stickers for the GunBox will set you back $50 each.
For more information, visit http://www.hornady.com or call 800-338-3220.
Stack-On is no newbie to the gun safe market. Many new gun owners start with one of the company’s locker-type gun safes to protect their firearms. If you need to lock it up, Stack-On likely has a product to suit your needs. The QAS-1200-B is a quick access safe with a biometric lock. The fingerprint scanner on it differs from the GunBox, as it is more of a swipe instead of a press.
To use, you press the activation button and wait for a beep and the green light to illuminate. At that point you may swipe your finger across the rectangular sensor and your safe will open. You can program up to 28 fingerprints; I did every one of my fingers just in case. The biometric feature of the Stack-On has shown to be the most reliable so far. The downside is the slight time delay due to having to hit the button before being able to scan your finger. In testing, this delay was apparent, with the average time from pressing the button to safe opening being 3.7 seconds.
The 1200-B offers generous storage inside. There is a foam-lined shelf that can store multiple guns. I placed the 1200-B immediately inside my front door, allowing me to safely secure my CCW firearm when I arrive home. It also has enough room for my extra magazine, my wallet and my knife.
The top panel also has a standard key lock if you need it. The 1200-B is self-contained, only requiring four AA batteries for operation. There are no struts on the front door panel, so it is suggested to keep your hand ready to catch the door as it falls.
The QAS-450-B differs from the QAS-1200-B in that it has a programmable keypad lock instead of a biometric scanner. It also is a bit shorter and does not include an internal shelf. Due to its shorter size, it is ideally suited for a single pistol and an accompanying magazine. It also is sized appropriately for nightstand duty. I have found the front-facing door allows it to fit on a fairly tight shelf, instead of requiring the top area be clear.
You can program any code combination between three and eight digits. Using three digits, an average of 2.5 seconds are needed from first button press to the safe opening. The lock mechanism seems identical to its big brother, but because you can immediately start entering your code instead of waiting for the fingerprint scanner to read, it is over a second faster.
For more information, visit http://www.stack-on.com or call 800-323-9601
Safe And Secure
Every safe reviewed has its own merits and drawbacks. They all fulfill their desired function, to keep an item from unwanted hands. They also all provide mounting solutions to affix them to various surfaces. Biometric fingerprint scanning works the majority of the time, but for pure speed, RFID tops everything. For utmost reliability, it is hard to beat a programmable keypad. Thankfully, some of these safes include all these features and then some!