Biometric Gun Safe

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GunVault MVB500 Review

The GunVault MVB500 is one member of the GunVault MicroVault series of gun safes, the other being the GunVault MicroVault MV500-STD covered in another post.

Gunvault MVB500

The MVB500 is one of the portable biometric fingerprint safes, it utilizes scans of your fingerprints to authorize the unlocking mechanism.

All you need to do is use the Biometric Fingerprint Pad to gain access instead of remembering a complicated combination code.

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This gun safe is ideal to use both in the home and while travelling. I will be explaining the features that make it suitable for both these purposes and showing you answers to questions frequently asked as well as their opinions on the safe.

Features

20 Gauge Steel and Precision Construction

The safe is made from 20 Gauge Steel thickness which is slightly thinner steel than the SVB500 safe. However the design of the safe means that the fittings when closed are extremely difficult to wedge hand tools in when attempting to pry the safe open. The results of the precise construction mean the safe is a decent thief deterrent for a small safe.

The MVB500 is particularly useful for temporary storage and use by the bedside. Because of its size it is ideal for storing a small firearm or valuables when travelling in the car.

Special Learning Fingerprint Algorithm

The GunVault biometric algorithm that the scanner uses to correctly recognize fingerprints is slightly different in that it makes small changes to your scans the more you use the safe. This helps the safe learn and adapt to slight changes in your fingerprint and increases the chance of first time authorization.

Biometric Storage Capacity – 120+ Scans

The capacity of the database for scans has been reported in excess of 120 scans. The most reportedly stored by a customer was 128. Normally the maximum number of scans a person would need to ensure near perfect two scan authorization rates would be about 30. It is advised that people using biometric scanners submit multiple copies of the same finger from different angles and pressures as in a panic you may not be absolutely consistent with your scanning technique.

Fake Button Controls

Although the safe only opens by using the fingerprint scanner it features the rest of the buttons similar to the non-biometric MV500 safe. This is designed to fool intruders or thieves and just aids in slowing down theft.

Safe Lining

The safe is padded with a soft foam interior as is standard for gun safes today. The good thing about the lining is that you can store other valuables inside such as jewelry and not worry about scratches or damage occurring.

Battery Operation

The safe is powered by standard 9 Volt batteries and these need to be purchased separately as they do not come in the box with the safe. There is a low warning LED flashing warning system so you are notified when the battery needs changing. Based on regular use defined as two openings a day the battery should last up to 3 months or longer.

Pre Drilled Mounting Holes

Although not coming with a separate mounting bracket the safe has four pre-drilled holes for attaching to a flat surface such as a desk or inside of a drawer.

Security Cable Included

Provided in the box with your safe will be a 4’ standard metal wire security cable that can be used to secure your safe to something unmovable such as the leg of a radiator or other similar fixtures. This is especially useful when on the move and staying in hotels if you want to store your handgun separately if there is not a hotel safe provided. The cable can also be used to secure it in your car around the fittings of the seat or other suitable places. The security cable is essentially locked into the safe to secure it properly on one end.

Dimensions

Exterior Measurements (HxWxD)

2.25” x 8.5” x 11”

Interior Measurements

2”x 6.5” x 10.75”

The safe is small enough to be portable and large enough for many standard handguns such as 1911, .45 and 9mm pistols. Short 4” barreled revolvers should also fit and there is room for extra magazines too. It is recommended you try out for yourself what you can fit in the safe. Unlike the ready to grip storage offered by the Speedvault your pistol will lay flat inside the safe.

Customer Frequently Asked Questions

What size firearm can fit in the safe?

Due to the interior measurements one can fit a pistol with overall length less than 10 inches. But as recommended in the dimensions section, the MVB500 is best suited for 1911 .45’s and 9 mm pistols and should have no problems fitting them in. Short barreled revolvers will also fit.

Can you fit extra magazines as well as a pistol?

You should be able to store extra magazines along with your pistol and the safe is designed for this.

Can you use the keypad as well as the scanner to open?

The keypad is just a visual tool to fool a thief or child attempting to open the safe. The only button that does anything is the first one in line with the fingerprint scanner.

How long is the included security cable?

The security cable included is 4 feet long if you wish to have a longer cable you will need to purchase one separately.

Does the safe have a muted mode?

The safe has a silent mode that can be enabled by following the instructions in the manual and the audio cue that occurs when opening the safe switches off as soon as a successful print is accepted.

Is there key access?

Two backup keys are included as standard and should be used to open the safe only in emergencies. It is advised that you store the keys hidden away where neither children nor intruders can find them.

How long does it take to break into?

Just like any safe this is not 100% proof from a determined thief equipped with tools. However for unprepared intruders and children this safe will be almost impossible to open due to the way the safe is constructed. For a thief equipped with tools the safe may be broken into within an hour which is fairly standard for gun safes.

Intended Use

The safe is designed to be a portable easy to access biometric safe that can be mounted onto a flat surface if desired. It is intended to be used as a deterrent to children to keep firearms safely stored and to provide quick access to your handgun if necessary with the uncomplicated fingerprint scanner. The security cable can be used to safely secure your safe when on the go to add to security while on the move.

Here is a video showing just how to use it.

Problems Customers Had

Initial high rates of rejection

The majority of customers have found the safe incredibly easy to set up and use reliably over and over. However the small minority do experience problems getting consistent first time authorizations using the fingerprint scanner. These problems can usually be solved by using these tips.

  1. Make sure to record multiple angles of your fingerprint scan, this is so you don’t have to be consistent with laying your print down flat over the scanner.
  2. Try using different pressures when recording your fingerprint, pressing harder on the scanner tends to transmit and record more information and detail of your fingerprint.
  3. If you have mounted and attached the safe to a flat surface then try recording your scans from the position you will be in when you would be trying to get it open in an emergency. For example if in a drawer and plan on being seated then record your print while you are seated.
  4. Practice opening the safe. Having a ritual such as opening the safe once a day will enable you to have plenty of practice opening the safe. The added bonus is that the fingerprint scanner will update your prints due to the learning algorithm resulting in higher and higher acceptance rates over time.

If you are one of the few that has this problem then our tips will help you out. Make sure you give the scanner a clean and a wipe and maybe clean your fingerprint just to be sure. If your problems continue after thoroughly exhausting all possibilities and changing the battery then get a replacement safe as it could be the scanner not working properly.

Instruction Manual

Some customers found parts of the manual hard to understand, this was because the manual is very text based and does not have many pictures. Most customers found it easy to install and is one of the main things they really liked.

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Things Customers Really Liked

Easy installation

The majority of customers would recommend the safe based on the ease with which it can be used. If you wish to mount it then there are already pre-drilled holes that can be used, if you wish to just secure it with the cable then that is a viable option. People also enjoyed using the scanner as it made them feel very tech savvy and easier than remembering a complex combination for the safe.

Can remove foam to store extra items

One customer found a really neat use for the safe was to pull out the lining and store extra items underneath the lining before replacing. It allowed them to store hidden items within a concealed safe for added security if a thief found it.

Size

It may be from the microvault series but the size of the safe was definitely large enough for the intended purpose of the safe, to store handguns securely. With room for extra valuables and extra magazines many customers report being very happy with the space the safe has.

Price and Average Customer Rating

4 Stars (4 / 5)

The Recommended Retail Price is $249.99 but is for sale on Amazon where you can save nearly $70 getting it from there. The average customer rating across all outlets that sell these is 4 stars. Most customers rate it high at 5 stars and would recommend it to their friends.

Whats In The Box With The GunVault MVB500?

  • GunVault MVB500
  • 4 Ft Security Cable – to secure the safe to an object so it cant be carried away easily
  • Backup Override Key x 2 on Keychain – In case the battery fails
  • Instruction Manual

So does the safe do the job?

The MVB500 is cost effective biometric option for storing a small handgun away from children, but at the same time keeping it near enough to remain useful for self-defense in case of an intruder. The added functionality of being portable with the included security chain means it is even more useful. Most customers would recommend the safe to their friends and it gets a solid 4 stars across all major outlets.

If you are looking for a good gun safe to improve your home security or for when you are on the move then this safe is a good choice. Please refer to the frequently asked questions and feel free to use the tips we provide in this MVB500 review to inform your buying decision.

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