8 Best Biometric Gun Safes of 2021

Vaultek VTi Portable Biometric handgun safe with pistols on wooden table
Vaultek VTi Portable Biometric Handgun Safe

Gun safes are wonderful devices for keeping your firearms away from unwanted hands.

However, this same security also highlights one of its biggest weaknesses:

They’re slow to open!

How quickly can you punch in a passcode or pull out the right key for a gun safe lock when the sound of a crashing window and strange footsteps rouses you from your sleep in the middle of the night?

This is where fingerprint safes come into play.

Slap your finger on the biometric scanner and the lid pops open, revealing your means of self-defense.

The rest of the time the gun stays hidden in the safe so your children and guests can’t pick up your loaded firearm.

Can you really trust your life to such an electronic device?

Many people do. And all biometric safes have alternate entry methods just in case your finger doesn’t work.

So, let’s look at how you can store your gun without getting slowed down when the seconds matter!

 

8 Best Biometric Gun Safes of 2021: Outdoor Empire Reviews

  1. Best Budget Biometric Pistol Safe #1: BILLCONCH Smart Handgun Safe
  2. Best Budget Biometric Pistol Safe #2: GunVault Minivault GVB1000
  3. Best Biometric Pistol Safe for the Money #1: Vaultek VT20i
  4. Best Biometric Pistol Safe for the Money #2: Viking Security Safe Mini Fingerprint Safe VS-20BLX
  5. Overall Best Biometric Pistol Safe #1: Verifi Smart Safe S6000
  6. Overall Best Biometric Pistol Safe #2: Stealth Handgun Hanger Safe Biometric Front Opening
  7. Best Biometric Rifle Safe #1: Barska Quick Access Biometric 16 Rifle Safe AX11780
  8. Best Biometric Rifle Safe #2: Barska Quick Access Biometric 4 Rifle Safe AX11652

 

CategoryBest BudgetBest for the MoneyBest Overall
ProductBILLCONCH Smart Handgun Safe
BILLCONCH Smart Handgun Safe

Vaultek VT20i
Vaultek VT20i

Verifi Smart Safe S6000
Verifi Smart Safe S6000

Dimensions12″ x 9-7/8″ x 3″11-1/2″ x 9″ x 2-3/4″17.4″ x 16.1″ x 7.9″
Storage0.11 cu ft0.07 cu ft0.85 cu ft
KeypadYesYesNo
Keyed EntryYesYesYes
CostCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price

 

1. Best Budget Biometric Pistol Safe #1: BILLCONCH Smart Handgun Safe

 

BILLCONCH Smart Handgun Safe

Specs

  • Dimensions: 12″ x 9-7/8″ x 3″
  • Storage: 0.11 cu ft
  • Keypad? Yes
  • Keyed Entry? Yes

Overview

Biometric handgun safes tend to be a hefty investment.

Luckily, the BILLCONCH Biometric Safe is an inexpensive option that’s even better than some of its more expensive alternatives!

Its 16-gauge metal is powder-coated for corrosion resistance. Two latches keep the lid shut, which isn’t the strongest closing method but it’s good enough to keep your gun safe from children.

The inside is lined with two types of foam so you can use it to store one pistol and several magazines or you can take out the thick foam to store more personal items.

A particularly nifty feature is that this safe has Bluetooth so you can connect to an app on your smartphone to control the settings and fingerprints as well as the number of entry attempts before it temporarily locks down!

Some people have had trouble connecting the two, though.

There’s a light inside so you can see your gun in the dark. And you can turn the access beep off for silent entry.

Some people have experienced quality control issues with their units, but BILLCONCH is great at solving any issues you may experience.

Pros

  • Automatic door
  • Can connect to a smartphone app
  • Good warranty support
  • Silent mode

Cons

  • Occasional QC issues
  • Small storage volume
  • Vertical placement is difficult

Recommendation

BILLCONCH’s Smart Handgun Safe is a small safe that’s as good as a safe that’s twice the price. Most of the time.

 

 

2. Best Budget Biometric Pistol Safe #2: GunVault Minivault GVB1000

GunVault Minivault Biometric Pistol Safe GVB1000

Specs

  • Dimensions: 12″ x 8-1/3″ x 5-1/4:
  • Storage: 0.13 cu ft
  • Keypad? Yes
  • Keyed Entry? Yes

Overview

GunVault safes are immediately recognizable from their hand-shaped keypad. This is a feature that makes it easy to type your code into the keypad even in the dark.

The Minivault GVB1000 replaces the forefinger button with a biometric scanner, so you can access your stored firearm with a swipe instead.

It’s powered by a 9-volt battery or by the included AC cord. If the battery dies and you lost the cord, you can still open the safe with the backup key.

The door has a very secure latch even for a safe at this price range, and it opens quickly once the safe reads your fingerprint.

However, some people have reported that their safe had trouble reading their fingers, so it’s a good idea to use up the limited number of fingerprint records with scans of your fingers from multiple angles.

Once you receive your safe, you should test the fingerprint scanner thoroughly. GunVault’s staff will replace defective units, and with a gun safe this cheap there’s always that possibility.

Pros

  • Fast fingerprint reading
  • Very inexpensive for a biometric gun safe

Cons

  • Cannot disable the beep upon opening
  • Small number of fingerprint records

Recommendation

The GunVault Minivault GVB1000 is the cheapest gun safe with a fingerprint reader that money can buy. It won’t be as reliable as more expensive units, though!

 

GunVault Minivault GVB1000 is also available at:

Walmart

 

3. Best Biometric Pistol Safe for the Money #1: Vaultek VT20i

Vaultek VT20i

Specs

  • Dimensions: 11-1/2″ x 9″ x 2-3/4″
  • Storage: 0.07 cu ft
  • Keypad? Yes
  • Keyed Entry? Yes

Overview

The Vaultek VT20i is the gold standard for small permanent or portable biometric gun safes that can store one full-size pistol and a spare magazine or two.

With only 0.07 cubic feet of storage capacity, you shouldn’t expect to carry anything more than a 1911 or a Glock 17 plus the spare mags. In fact, if you add an optic, a full-size handgun may not fit!

But if that’s all you want to keep safe then the VT20i is a great choice. In fact, two compact pistols can fit.

The VT20i is a very slim safe. This makes it good for traveling or staying in your bedside dresser.

Vaultek also has an iOS and Android app that can alert you of access attempts, manage fingerprint records, and even keep track of battery life.

If you’re unsure whether the VT20i will work for you then you can contact the Vaultek Safe Inc. support staff and they will send you a printable interior template.

Pros

  • Bluetooth app compatible
  • Silent opening
  • Sleek, space-efficient design
  • Very well designed to prevent break-ins

Cons

  • Small capacity
  • Small number of fingerprint records

Recommendation

The Vaultek VT20i can carry nothing more than a pistol and spare ammo, but it does an excellent job at this singular task.

 

 

4. Best Biometric Pistol Safe for the Money #2: Viking Security Safe Mini Fingerprint Safe VS-20BLX

Viking Security Safe Mini Fingerprint Safe VS-20BLX

Specs

  • Dimensions: 7-7/8″ x 12-1/8″ x 7-7/8″
  • Storage: 0.38 cu ft
  • Keypad? Yes
  • Keyed Entry? Yes

Overview

The VS-20BLX Mini Fingerprint Safe by Viking Security Safe is a pistol safe that can hold several handguns, spare ammo, jewelry, or more.

It has over a third of a cubic foot of storage space and has a shelf so you can spread your gear over two levels.

Its oversized locking bars (more like what you’d find on a full-sized safe than one this small) securely hold the door closed. The insertion slots are extra thick, so you can’t pry the door open either.

The fingerprint reader has a 500 DPI optical sensor that’s good at reading your fingerprints. However, Viking Security Safe recommends that older citizens avoid this safe because their drier skin may not be read by the reader.

Some users got around this by licking their finger first.

Even the keys are of a more secure design than most other brands of gun safes. The VS-20BLX uses a four-prong cross key instead of the standard barrel key.

Pros

  • Reset button is inaccessible from the outside
  • Shelf for extra storage
  • Thick, pry-proof locking bars

Cons

  • Not recommended for older users or people with dry skin
  • You have to press the # button to use the fingerprint scanner

Recommendation

Large enough to carry multiple handguns, the Viking Security Safe VS-20BLX is an extremely secure safe. Though, if you have constantly dry skin, you may want to look elsewhere.

 

 

5. Overall Best Biometric Pistol Safe #1: Verifi Smart Safe S6000

Verifi Smart Safe S6000

Specs

  • Dimensions: 17.4″ x 16.1″ x 7.9″
  • Storage: 0.85 cu ft
  • Keypad? No
  • Keyed Entry? Yes

Overview

Verifi’s Smart Safe. is a line of fingerprint pistol safes good for storing other valuables as well.

The S6000 is the biggest of this line and can store up to 0.85-cubic-feet worth of firearms, ammo, and other items you need to keep safe. The S5000 has 0.52 cubic feet of storage, and the S4000 0.28 cubic feet.

All of these have an FBI-approved TouchChip TCS1 fingerprint reader that’s larger than normal and it reads your finger at 208 DPI. This means that reading your finger is fast, accurate, and reliable.

To aid in reliability, the Smart Safe. runs a self-diagnostic check every time you close the door to let you know about any issues and the remaining battery life.

If you leave the safe for a long time without opening the door it’ll still tell you about the diminishing battery life with a series of ever-more-annoying alerts until you’ve replaced the AA batteries.

The battery life is several years, not months, and you can activate a three-day snooze, so this is a positive feature instead of a frustrating annoyance!

However, there is no keypad and the lock is hidden behind a logo plate you need to unscrew, so alternative entry is slow.

Pros

  • Approved by the California Department of Justice
  • Great fingerprint scanner
  • Long battery life
  • Self-diagnostics

Cons

  • The base may not be level
  • Not using the fingerprint sensor is slow

Recommendation

The Verifi Smart Safe. S6000 is a very reliable pistol safe that’s been approved by multiple agencies, although you will need to use the fingerprint reader for speedy access.

Learn more about the Verifi Smart Safe S6000.

 

6. Overall Best Biometric Pistol Safe #2: Stealth Handgun Hanger Safe Biometric Front Opening

 

Stealth Handgun Hanger Safe Biometric Front Opening

Specs

  • Dimensions: 9″ x 9″ x 12″
  • Storage: 0.42 cu ft
  • Keypad? Yes
  • Keyed Entry? Yes

Overview

The Stealth Handgun Hanger Safe Biometric Front Opening version, is a multi-pistol safe with a fingerprint reader.

Unlike many other pistol safes designed to carry items of roughly that size, the Handgun Hanger Safe is purpose-built for pistols.

It has a hanger inside. You slide the muzzle over the bars and up to three pistols will sit at the ready, grips waiting to be grabbed. Two more can fit on the floor. Or spare mags, jewelry, documents, etc.

The biometric reader, keyhole, and 6-digit combination keypad are on top. The door is on the side and drops down. A speed reducer catches the door on the last half inch to minimize noise.

You can also silence the opening beep by sliding a mute switch.

The interior light is even red, as opposed to white, so you won’t lose your night vision capabilities while grabbing your pistol!

Pros

  • Can store up to 5 handguns
  • Red interior light won’t interrupt night vision
  • Silent operation, even when opening and closing the door

Cons

  • You’ll have to unbolt and invert the hanger to hang a pistol with a light attached

Recommendation

The Stealth Handgun Hanger Safe, Biometric Front Opening is a great purpose-built safe that can hold up to three pistols at the ready and two more on the floor.

 

 

7. Best Biometric Rifle Safe #1: Barska Quick Access Biometric 16 Rifle Safe AX11780

Barska Quick Access Biometric 16 Rifle Safe AX11780

Specs

  • Dimensions: 16″ x 19.6″ x 57″
  • Storage: 9.34 cu ft
  • Keypad? No
  • Keyed Entry? Yes

Overview

Biometric rifle safes are not as common as fingerprint pistol safes, but there are still some available.

Such as Barska’s Quick Access Biometric 16 Rifle Safe, model number AX11780.

Some people use rifles for home defense and the AX11780 will allow you to reliably get at your firearms when you need them.

The fingerprint scanner not only tries to match records directly but it also tries to cross-reference the scanned fingerprint to see if it matches one on record in a slightly different form, increasing accuracy.

To aid in this, Barska designed the scanner to read the fingerprint from multiple angles. If it doesn’t open then try a different angle.

The rifle rack has positions for 16 rifles, though you’re unlikely to actually fit this many. There are also two removable shelves and a hanger for four handguns.

Please note that the pistol hanger can be unbolted and lowered if it interferes with closing the door.

Pros

  • One of the rare biometric rifle safes
  • Many fingerprint records
  • Pistol hanger can be lowered for better positioning

Cons

  • Expensive
  • May have to swipe your finger in multiple directions
  • Unlikely to fit as many rifles as advertised
  • No keypad entry

Recommendation

Barska’s AX11780 Quick Access Biometric 16 Rifle Safe is a large gun safe that can hold your self-defense carbine, though it’s as thick and fireproof as most heavy-duty rifle safes.

 

 

8. Best Biometric Rifle Safe #2: Barska Quick Access Biometric 4 Rifle Safe AX11652

Barska Quick Access Biometric 4 Rifle Safe AX11652

Specs

  • Dimensions: 9-3/4″ x 8-5/8″ x 52-1/8″
  • Storage: 1.83 cu ft
  • Keypad? No
  • Keyed Entry? Yes

Overview

The Barska AX11652 Quick Access Biometric 4 Rifle Safe is the skinnier sibling of the previous gun safe.

This one lets you put it in more places. Or you can use it as a quick-access alternative to your primary rifle safe, storing a limited selection while giving the rest of your collection better protection.

In either case, the AX11652 is one-third the price of the AX11780!

Remember, Barska Quick Access safes are not as heavy-duty as other gun safes at the same price. Biometrics are expensive.

Most of the features are similar to the AX11780, though the AX11652 only has one shelf for ammo or accessories and no handgun hanger.

There are four slots for rifles or shotguns. However, this is a tight fit and requires all four long guns to be slim and without optics if you want to use up all the available slots.

But that’s not really a problem, because you’ll only want one or two carbines or shotguns staged and ready for a home invasion.

Pros

  • Many fingerprint records
  • Quick access to home-defense rifles
  • Silent opening mode
  • Slim, easily-hidden design

Cons

  • Can only fit one or two modern sporting rifles with optics
  • Slow non-biometric access

Recommendation

The Barska Quick Access Biometric 4 Rifle Safe, model number AX11652, is a great safe for storing a couple of firearms ready to go. It’s not supposed to be your main rifle safe.

 

 

When to Choose a Biometric Gun Safe

index finger opening a biometric lock

Firearms should be stored in a safe location when you’re not actively using them.

The ideal gun safe is strong enough to resist fire and all burglary attempts. But they aren’t very fast to get into!

The idea behind a biometric gun safe is that you can open it the press or swipe of your finger. This cuts out the time spent fumbling with keys or pressing an easily forgotten PIN into a keypad.

However, fingerprint gun safes do have a weakness:

They’re not as tough as normal gun safes.

Even if the construction was otherwise as durable, the electronics pose a weak point that could be easily damaged.

This means that biometric gun safes are best used for home defense firearms. Store a pistol or carbine in them so you can respond to a home invader in seconds.

They’re not for everyone.

But they’re safer than hiding a pistol under a book in your bedside drawer.

And the smaller safes can fit in that drawer, too!

 

Pros

hand opening a GunVault Minivault GVB1000 with biometrics

  • Biometric gun safes are very quick to access compared to other unlocking methods
  • These gun safes are typically small and can be hidden close by
  • You can record multiple people’s fingerprints so you can give your spouse access to the gun without having them memorize a PIN or carry a key

 

Cons

  • Batteries will eventually run out of power
  • Biometric gun safes are more expensive than other gun safes
  • The electronics are a weak point and cannot survive a fire
  • The sensors may not be able to read your fingers when they are too wet or too dry

 

How to Choose a Biometric Gun Safe

man opening Barska Quick Access Biometric 16 Rifle Safe AX11780

If you’ve decided that you want a biometric pistol or rifle safe so you can keep a gun handy for defending your family, you still need to decide which one to buy.

Biometric gun safes range from tiny devices you can slip into a bag to large vaults that weigh over a hundred pounds. Naturally, you can’t use one as you would the other.

If you don’t have a lot of money to spend then the BILLCONCH Smart Handgun Safe is a fairly inexpensive choice that’s still reliable.

The Vaultek VT20i is an excellent choice if you’re going to be traveling with a pistol or hiding one in your drawer.

And if you’ll be hiding a rifle behind a fingerprint reader, well, there are several Barska safes to choose from.

If you’re still unsure then answering the following questions will help you to make a decision.

 

What Will You Store in the Safe?

pistols and magazines placed in the Vaultek VT20i

A good piece of advice is to buy a safe that’s only large enough to contain what you want to store inside.

If you want quick access to a home-defense AR-15, then get the Barska 4 rifle safe. If you have several home-defense weapons ready to hand out to your family members then get the 16 rifle safe.

Otherwise, you’ll want a pistol safe.

Biometric pistol safes can be used to store more than just handguns. A two-shelf model such as the Viking Security Safe VS-20BLX is a great choice for hiding away a handgun along with jewelry, documents, and other valuables.

However, if you don’t want to hide those other items, a bigger safe will cost you more without adding additional value.

 

How Many Guns Do You Want to Hide?

open gun safe with 2 pistols

If you live alone or are the only one in your home who will use a gun for self defense then consider buying as small a safe as possible.

Smaller safes will be easier to hide and you’ll have to explore them less if you’re responding to a home invader in the dark.

On the other hand, if you live with other people who are comfortable handling guns, then it’s wise to store a firearm for each person in the quick access safe.

Stealth’s biometric front-opening Handgun Hanger Safe is a great choice for multi-shooter households.

Again, I’d recommend storing only the guns you expect to use in a biometric safe and leave the rest in a slower but more durable traditional safe.

 

Other Considerations

What type of guns, what you’ll keep safe alongside them, and how many you want to keep in the safe only make up part of the equation.

Alternative Entry Methods

BILLCONCH Smart Handgun Safe with key

Fingerprint readers can be reliable, but even the most reliable fingerprint sensor can fail to read your finger when your skin is extra dry or slick with sweat.

And some people just don’t have good luck with fingerprint readers in the first place!

If this is the case with you then look into other options.

A keypad is almost as fast as a biometric reader if you’re well-practiced at punching in the code.

All biometric safes come with backup keys, but they aren’t always easy to use. Sometimes the keyhole is hidden under a logo plate that has to be unscrewed in order to insert the key.

You can speed this up by unscrewing the plate and leaving it off, though this increases the chances that someone will pick your safe.

 

Battery Life

Barska Quick Access Biometric 16 Rifle Safe AX11780 batteries

All biometric safes run off of electricity.

Most are battery operated. Some last months while others last years.

Are you forgetful about changing batteries? If so, avoid the short-lived safes! Consider one of the safes that lasts for years or one of the safes that can be plugged into a wall outlet.

 

Mounting Points

Almost all gun safes have pre-drilled holes so you can permanently install the safe to a floor or wall stud.

It’s wise to do this, either with heavy bolts or a flexible lock. The latter option is easily busted, however.

But if you’re going to be traveling with the safe, mounting points are a liability instead of a benefit.

 

Forceful Entry Resistance

Vaultek VT20i forcefully opened

Gun safes run the gamut from “nearly impervious to entry” to “can be forced or picked like it was made of butter.”

Personally, I don’t pay as much attention to this quality as some people, and here’s why:

If a burglar is in your bedroom with physical access to your gun safe, if it’s not a several-hundred-pound monstrosity, you’ve already lost the safe.

Even if you’ve bolted the safe to a wall stud, if the bad guy wants what’s inside the safe then they can use a prybar to tear it away from the wall. Then they can take the safe home with them to open at their leisure.

The rest of the time, a modicum of capability is all that’s necessary for a pistol safe. If it can keep children’s hands from accessing your handgun, then the safe is doing its job.

Store more important documents and the rest of your firearm collection in a heavy-duty safe that’s heavy enough so it can’t be carried out of your home by a burglar.

 

Top Biometric Gun Safe Brands

Barska

Barska logo

When I first saw that Barska was selling gun safes, I had to take a step back and do a double take.

Barska, to me, is an optics company. In fact, that’s how the company describes itself on their website: as a “worldwide sport optics company.” And that’s what the company is best known for.

Barska scopes, reflex sights, binoculars, and spotting scopes can be found in sporting goods stores across the United States and the rest of the world. The company’s offerings are a half step above the budget side but are generally good enough that most people are happy with their products.

As it turns out, Barska’s safes are pretty good as well!

The company seems to have spotted a niche that was missing in the safe world, that of biometric rifle safes. So they stepped in to fill that niche.

Barska also offers a variety of smaller safes and even biometric door locks. None quite stand out of the pack, but the strongest safes can fetch a hefty premium so “good” is good enough for most people.

Most of Barska’s products seem to match this theme. Nothing the company offers is leading-edge nor is it cheap enough to be unreliable. And if all you want is a good biometric rifle safe that won’t assault your bank account, Barska is a great choice.

 

Vaultek

Vaultek logo

Vaultek is a company focused on doing one thing and doing it well.

That one thing is to blend reliable safe tech with modern smart technology to produce the highest-tech safes on the market.

The VT20i (and the biometric version, the VT20) was Vaultek’s first product. It took months to iterate on this design until the company got it perfect before releasing the VT20i. It was an instant hit and is the go-to small pistol safe that continues to win “Best Of” contests.

Vaultek has many other good safes, though, all of which are more advanced than the competition. Some are wi-fi enabled, most are Bluetooth enabled, and some even float when dropped in water!

That’s not a claim made by other safe manufacturers.

Vaultek isn’t primarily a sporting goods company. Though most of their safes include firearms in the marketing materials, Vaultek’s safes are good for anybody who wants a reliable safe you can open in moments but won’t open if somebody else tries to get inside.

 

Verifi

Verifi logo

Verifi is a safe company owned by Zvetco and is not to be confused with Verifi the payment processing company.

Unlike most other companies that sell gun safes, Verifi came to this product from biometrics first rather than gun safes. Zvetco is a biometrics company that’s helped to establish some of the best practices in fingerprint sensor design.

This is witnessed in Verifi’s product line. All of their safes have fingerprint readers. You can also purchase standalone fingerprint sensors from Verifi, as well as smart card readers.

Some of these products are used by banks, Fortune 500 companies, and government agencies. As far as reliable fingerprint readers go, Verifi leads the way.

If you want to purchase a handgun safe that’s at the same level as that trusted by the world’s leading financial companies then buy a Verifi Smart.Safe.

 

F.A.Q.

FAQ

How do biometric gun safes work?

Biometric gun safes are electronic safes. However, instead of entering a PIN code, the capacitive fingerprint sensor images the unique pattern of ridges and valleys that make up your fingerprint.

If the resulting image matches what’s stored in the electronics then the safe unlocks. This is done by retracing bolts or undoing a latch, depending on the safe.

 

How trustworthy are biometric gun safes?

Biometric safes do need electricity in order to use the fingerprint reader. This is typically from a battery, though several models can be plugged into the wall.

Does this mean that you’re locked out of the safe when the battery dies?

No.

All biometric safes have backup keys that can be used to unlock the safe in the event the electronics run out of juice or fail.

This makes biometric gun safes rather trustworthy. If you can’t open it with your fingerprint then you can still unlock the safe manually.

Do note that capacitive sensors need a certain amount of moisture on your skin in order to read your fingerprint properly. Too much or too little moisture will cause the reader to be unable to properly read your fingerprint properly.

Some people have more trouble than this with others. Also, the moisture on your skin can change with age, so biometric safes tend to be more reliable with younger folk.

 

Recommended reading:

Best Home Gun Safes

Best Car Gun Safes

Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson learned to walk in the mountains and has spent much of his life exploring the outdoors. He is equally at home in the woods, at the range, or on the gunsmithing bench, and loves to build guns almost as much as he enjoys shooting them. His travels have taken him to the four corners of the United States. Though his favorite hunting spot is in Alaska, Kansas deer taste better.

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