What is a Biometric Gun Safe?

The biometric gun safe is an innovation brought about by technology. It’s a great way by which people are able to verify their identities to access their valuables without using a key or security code that can be lost, stolen, or copied by someone else.

These types of safes are based on biometrics which makes use of identifiers each person has that’s unique to them. While the field of biometrics covers large grounds, for the moment gun safes are limited to measuring, reading, and scanning physiological characteristics, which means something that belongs to your physical being, specifically fingerprints. In the future, we may see more advances like retina scanners and other things that can tell one human being from another.

Because they use our unique prints, the biometric gun safe is also often called a fingerprint gun safe as these secure storage units are equipped with biometric fingerprint readers that engage and disengage the locking mechanism allowing or preventing an individual from getting into the safe’s contents.

The guide offers an overview of biometric gun safes and why they offer good value for handgun and rifles owners.

Types of Biometric Gun Safes

At the moment, most of the fingerprint accessed safes are of the biometric handgun safe variety. That’s because the current technology that’s commercially available today still isn’t able to deliver the precision that the upper-end brands require to make such an investment.

This is the reason why you seldom see a biometric rifle safe, though Barska has one, in its Quick Access Rifle unit, if you’re interested in taking a look. For a shortlist of the top products in this area, the best biometric gun safe list covers them.


Some Biometric Gun Safes Come With Electronic Locks

You’ll also notice that depending on the manufacturer and the model, some of the biometric fingerprint safes come with an electronic lock which allows you to add your own security code as you would electronic lock safes. This option helps you to choose another method to access the unit’s contents.

How Does a Biometric Gun Safe Work?

So how do they work? What you get in these types of safes is the same solid steel construction, same interior as you would a mechanical or electronic lock device. The only difference is the mechanism that controls the locking bolts isn’t the dial combination (mechanical lock) or a numeric keypad (electronic lock), instead, there is a small programmed system installed in the unit and all you see is a fingerprint reader or scanner.

You have to program the unit to know which fingerprints to accept. The rest will deny access to. When you have this saved in the system’s memory, all you need to do is insert your finger in the scanner to open the door’s lock.

So all you need is yourself and no keys or codes to remember. Better yet, it won’t allow anyone else in (unless they have your fingerprint), unlike for combination, code or key locks where other people can get that item or information from you to open the safe.

How To Use a Biometric Fingerprint Gun Safe?

Here’s a more detailed look at using these biometric gun safes. These two steps are what will be needed to save your information and later open the unit.

Recording Your Fingerprints

  • Before you’ll be able to get it to function you’ll need to insert batteries to power up the unit. Use the supplied emergency or backup key to open the safe since the battery compartment will be located inside the device, usually behind the door which is close to the scanner.
  • Once the battery is loaded, you’ll be able to program your fingerprints into the system.
  • To start the programming process, you’ll need to press a reset or record button. This button is often hidden inside the unit, usually close to the hinge of the door. Doing this prepares the system to accept new fingerprints to store. You’ll usually be guided by flashing LEDs or a particular colored LED.
  • When the LEDs light, you can then swipe your finger into the scanner and wait for another light or beep which will tell you if the print has been successfully saved or if it failed.
  • If the recording is successful, you can use that finger to access the safe later on. The next step is to register the next one (another finger or another person who will have access). If it failed, try again.

Note that you’ll want to sit or stand in a position and use the same pressure you expect to use when it comes time to access the unit in real life. You’ll also want to use different angles for each finger and register at least 2 different fingers per person.

These steps are somewhat necessary because, as mentioned earlier, the biometric recognition technology available in commercial gun safes hasn’t gotten to be perfected yet. There are still some inconsistencies. And while there are higher-end industrial standard biometric scanners that do a better job, they aren’t practical since using these will only make the safes very expensive and not affordable.

Accessing The Safe

Once you’ve got the fingerprint registered, don’t close the safe door yet. You want to test if it works before doing that. Or else you’ll have to resort to using the key again to unlock the unit.

  • Usually, there will be a wake-up or standby button somewhere in the unit’s control panel on the outside of the door. You’ll need to press this first to ‘wake’ the system up. The button is there is save battery power when the unit isn’t being used so it goes into a ‘sleep’ state. Pressing the button activates the system to be ready to read your prints.
  • Once the system is ready insert a registered finger in the scanner and wait to the system to beep or give you a light (usually green). Try to use the same angle, position, and pressure as you did when you saved the information as this lets it recognize it better.
  • If the fingerprint is accepted the door could automatically open which happens in some models, or you can turn a knob that will unlock the door’s bolts and pull the door open.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Biometric Access

Read below advantages and disadvantages of biometric fingerprint access.


  • No need for combination, code, or key that other people can steal or copy. Only you and those whose fingerprints are registered will be able to access. You’ll need the actual person to be present, no substitutes.
  • It is the fastest way of accessing safe’s contents. Press the button, insert your finger, the lock opens. Digital keypad locks can be as fast if you have few numbers to press and are fast at pressing, but in times of emergencies or pressure, nerves can get in the way.
  • They have to ability to store multiple fingerprints. Depending on the models, on the low end usually 10 to 30, on the high end over 100 fingerprints. So you can save different angles of each of the fingers you wish to use and then have others do the same.


  • They aren’t perfected as of the moment. The day will come, but as of now there is still some inconsistencies and can sometimes give you a false rejection, which is rejecting a valid finger that’s used. This is why it’s important to get a brand that is reputable and known to make high accuracy fingerprint safes.
  • They are more expensive. Compared to an exact same model that uses a digital lock, the biometric gun safe version will cost anywhere from 60% more to double the electronic lock model.
  • They run on battery so you’ll need to keep the battery up to date. The good news is most of the best gun safes models will not lose their information even when their batteries run out. Just replace them and you’ll still have all the saved data as before. Be careful when choosing a biometric safe. Because some of the older models do lose their access information which means you may need to re-register the data if you forget to replace the battery in time.
  • Any change or injury to your finger could affect whether or not the system will recognize your fingerprint. This includes wounds, cuts, and even just having dirty hands.

Tips For Using Biometric Fingerprint Safes

  • Record or register multiple angles of each finger, and then record different fingers (usually 2 or 3).
  • Test the safes lock before closing the door. It will ensure that the system works perfectly and that the fingerprints you’ve registered are properly being recognized by the computer program.
  • Use the same pressure, try to make your finger dry when you scanning or open the safe to use your finger and try to insert your finger the same each time.
  • For security purposes, wipe the scanner’s glass surface after each use. The fingerprints can leave residue marks that may allow unauthorized individuals to lift them using an adhesive material.

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