View Full Version : recommend a pistol safe

02-22-2006, 7:53 PM
I tried searching under "pistol safe" and got a lot of unrelated info so I'll ask for advice here. I'm looking for a pistol safe to hold one pistol for my wife's study room. This is for her to have a readily accessible pistol in case someone breaks into our house while she is home alone, but would keep a child and burglar out of the safe. I want a mechanical lock with push buttons to allow easy opening. I am uneasy about having an electronic lock where the batteries die out and we don't find out until the moment we need to open the safe in a hurry. Any recommendations? Oh yes, the pistol safe will be bolted down to a shelf, so if the safe is designed for secure mounting, that would be great, otherwise I'll have to drill holes myself.

02-22-2006, 11:30 PM
I give the Minivault an A+. http://www.gunvaultsafe.com/minivault.htm

It is electric but It can be plugged in too. I have been running off the same 9v battery for 3-4 years with opening it many times a week. They say to replace the battery every year but I can tell you they are being very safe saying that. I can understand your feeling reguarding an electric safe but it is the fastest, easiest safe you will find. Its worth checking out.

EDIT: Just looked at mine and its not a 9v, its 8 AA batteries with a 9v plug. Its been so long since I looked that I forgot :D

02-23-2006, 7:44 AM
I'm ordering one of these from handgunsafe.com (http://handgunsafe.com/). They'be been discussed here and elsewhere.

02-23-2006, 8:43 AM
What about one of those biometric safes so she doesn't have to fiddle with punching in a code? I would assume the adreneline rush would make entering codes seem next to impossible.

02-23-2006, 6:07 PM
I bought a DAC Sportsafe. It's similar to the Minivault, though the minivault appears to be a bit nicer, the DAC is only $60. Uses the fingertip 4 buttons combo. I can open it in the dark in 2-3 seconds.

Another nice thing besides the price was that it mounts to a plate so once open, you can detach it from the plate and take it with you. I ordered an extra plate for my RV, so I can take it with me.

02-23-2006, 7:53 PM
Here's a repost of my standard rundown on two popular handgun safes:

My favorite is the GunVault, from <http://www.gunvault.com/>. Gunvault was bought by another manufacturer a while back, and were down for a bit, but they seem to be back in production now.

I have one, and I like it a lot, but there are some issues with it. Another popular bedside lockbox is the Handgun Safe (http://www.handgunsafe.com), which uses a mechanical Simplex lock. Popularity of them is split, mostly depending on whether people prefer mechanical or electronic locks. Here are the pros and cons of the two, as I see them:

Gunvault:- Finger-shaped keys are easy to use in the dark, but are shaped for a big hand. Hit the key sequence and it pops open. I find this one a lot easier to use than the Simplex lock on the Handgun Safe. Miss 3 times in a row and it locks you out for 5 minutes, so practice at fumble recovery in the middle of the night is essential, and it's a good idea to have one of the keys hidden somewhere not too far away (this helps if the batteries have died, too).

- It's easier to know if you're hitting the buttons right if you have the beeps enabled, but there's some risk to having it beep if you don't want to attract attention. I practice in the middle of the night, and if you're a bit muddled, it's easy to fumble the combo.

- To recover a fumbled combo, I keep pressing keys until the light turns red (6 presses total, I think), then try the combo again. Natural reaction is to do the regular combo again after it doesn't work the first time, but if you haven't turned the light red yet, this screws up your second try, too, and you've only got one left. Practice, practice, practice, and do it at 3am when you've just woken up.

- It can alert you if someone's been trying to figure out your combination when you're not there.

- Door opens down and out of the way of your hand. I like this better for where I have it located than the Handgun Safe's side-swinging door, and it requires less clearance. The motion to unlock and remove your gun is very natural for me, since you don't have to clear the door, and the gun's in the same plane as the keys, just a few inches lower.

- The lock is electronic, so there are more potential reliability issues and failure mechanisms than with the Handgun Safe.

- The backup lock is a tubular lock, which can be susceptible to a number of quick-pick tricks (like the Bic pen trick) if the tumbler heights are lined up a certain way. If you can inspect several before you buy, you want one with key cuts that vary a lot in height, which makes it more difficult to pick with simple gear.

Handgun Safe:
Handgun Safe (<http://www.handgunsafe.com/>):
- Simplex push-button lock is reliable and mechanical, but requires more fine motor skills and 2 motions to open - button sequence, then handle twist. Lots of practice makes it reliable, and you have unlimited retries.

- The door springs open into the space your hand has to be in to work the lock, and you have to move your hand out of the way.

- More sizes and shapes available.

- Somewhat sturdier, but neither one is very resistant to forced entry. Both are essentially kid-proof safes - neither will keep out a burglar with some basic tools.

I don't have as much info on the Handgun Safe, since I don't own one, but they're popular.


02-23-2006, 10:15 PM
Thanks everyone for the info. I really do need a mechanical lock on the safe because there's no electricity going to where we will mount it. Opening the safe in the dark isn't a problem since the room is used only during daytime, it's my wife's study room. Also, the simplex lock looks good for this type of application.

02-23-2006, 10:46 PM
here is another question for you guys.. My girl just bought a gun and she has very small hands. We were looking at the Minivault but it was hard for her to reach all the buttons with her fingers.. Are there any more out there that are like this.. ?? maybe a lil smaller? :D