For any gun safe to effectively protect its contents, it’s vital for it to have a secure lock. It doesn’t matter how strong and resistant to prying the safe is if the door can be opened without too much effort. At the same time the lock needs to be easy to operate, especially if you intend to use the safe for a weapon you need to be able to access quickly. In a threat situation, seconds spent looking for a key or trying to remember a combination could mean the difference between life and death.
One solution is to choose a safe with a biometric lock. By recognizing the unique patterns of parts of your body, a biometric lock can instantly decide if you are authorized to access the safe. The easiest pattern to use is a fingerprint, so biometric locks for gun safes include a reader which can scan the patterns of one or more fingertips. Because there’s no need to have a key on you or remember a code, you’re guaranteed rapid access to your safe whenever you need it. If this is what you need, below we list what is probably the very best biometric gun safe to fit your requirements as well as a runner-up model that’s no slouch either.
TOP PICK: Barska AX11224
A gun safe needs to be secure enough to keep out inquisitive children and strong enough to survive at least an attack with hand tools, but still quick and easy to open when required. The best of the best is the Barska AX11224 biometric gun safe which easily meets those requirements. It’s a medium-sized safe, big enough to store multiple weapons easily, and solidly constructed from 14 gauge steel. The door is the usual point of attack, and to guard against this the thickness is increased to 7 gauge. It weighs in at 31 pounds, so this is a sturdy piece of equipment that isn’t going to be easily forced. Attention to detail is good, with no accessible seams and a recessed door to prevent prying attempts. When the door is closed, it’s securely locked in place by two hardened bolts. For added security, Barska includes mounting hardware and the safe is predrilled with holes, so it can easily be secured to something solid.
The biometric lock is the heart of the safe’s security. It’s powered by four AA batteries (which are included in the package) and can be easily programmed to recognize up to 30 different prints. That means you can store several fingers from every adult who’s allowed to access the safe. Simply insert a stored finger or thumb into the recess on the lock plate and the door will open. The default setting has an audible tone to signal success, but this can be turned off if you prefer to be able to open the safe silently.
Because of the way fingerprints are stored, you need to insert your finger at the same angle as when you stored it. One workaround is to store the same finger at three slightly different angles; then, even if you’re in a hurry, the lock will pick it up as valid. It also helps to practice opening the door a few times. A nice feature is that the lock’s distinctive shape makes it very easy to use by feel. A final feature is two backup keys, so you can still gain access if the batteries die.
Inside the safe has a carpeted base to protect your guns from scratches. With internal dimensions of 16.25 x 7 x 14.25 inches, there’s plenty of space to store several pistols along with ammunition and other small items. You could even easily add a small rack for neater storage.
Overall this is a very rugged and easy to use safe. If you want a high degree of protection combined with fast and reliable access, the Barska AX11224 gun safe will serve you well.
RUNNER UP: Barska AX11556
If you prefer to keep your pistol safe in a drawer the Barska AX11556 biometric gun safe is an ideal option for you. It has exactly the same sturdy construction as the above safe, but it’s compact enough to fit into most bedroom drawers. Its internal dimensions are 14.5 x 11 x 2.5 inches, so there’s room for a large semiautomatic pistol – a 1911 fits easily – plus spare magazines. Twin hydraulic hinges assist with opening the lid. In fact you can pull it up with one finger.
The AX11556 top loading model has the same lock as the standard model. It also comes with mounting hardware, so you can securely fasten it to the base of a drawer – or to a shelf, if you prefer. Wherever you decide to place it, if a top-opening biometric safe is what you’re looking for, this one will fit the bill perfectly.