The Mini GunVault GVB1000 Biometric Fingerprint Safe can store up to 15 user fingerprints and automatically updates those fingerprints over time.
(3.9 / 5)
This pistol safe comes complete with an external power supply if needed and pre-drilled mounting holes. It is roomy enough to store pistols and multiple extra magazines too.
In this review I will explain all the associated features and let you know the problems and questions people have had with it as well as our solutions and our final verdict on whether this is value for money and worth your time and investment.
16 Gauge Steel Housing
The safe is designed to be a more permanent fixture for a home and so is made of much thicker steel than other safes available from GunVault. The 16 gauge steel will resist break-in attempts better as the metal is thicker, this increases the time it would take a determined thief to get into your safe if they were using cutting tools. Due to the added thickness of the metal used the weight of the safe is increased to 9 pounds.
When there have been too many invalid attempts to access the safe then subsequent attempts will be blocked and there will be a flashing LED light to indicate this. After the tamper deactivation process has kicked in then the only way to open it will be by using the backup keys provided. Once opened using the backup override key the tamper indicator will be reset. This is especially useful to stop children who may continually try to gain access by repeatedly scanning their fingerprints and lets you know about it so you can educate them to stop.
There is a blue LED that lights up the inside of the safe when the door is opened. This provides a good view of the interior and helps when using it during night time. The light is not so bright as to alert intruders and is more akin to a soft glow.
Spring loaded Door
The GVB1000 has a spring loaded door mechanism that has been tested to perform reliably for years. Testing takes place to ensure the mechanism doesn’t degrade significantly over time and present its own problems.
Battery and Mains Powered
There are two methods for powering the safe, it can run off the battery or be plugged in using the mains power outlet on the rear of the device. You can choose which power source to run off primarily but if one fails then the other will take over. This is especially useful in case your batteries fail or the electricity is cut off if someone is trying to break into your house.
Unlike the other types of safe in the GunVault MiniVault series the Biosafes run off a standard 9V battery instead of 2x8V AA’s. Battery life can be anywhere up to 1 year and it is recommended you use Duracell 9V batteries and change them at least annually. Battery life is determined by usage so more frequent use will drain the batteries quicker.
A battery has to be installed at the same time as using the mains power outlet, it is advised to not tamper with either the battery wires or the power outlet if you wish to customize the battery pack as this can cause fires due to unsafe wiring that the safe is not tested for.
Low Battery Warning
There is both an audio and LED warning system to notify you when it is time to change the battery, this happens when you successfully access the safe, there will be multiple beeps if the battery is low and the LED bulb will flash.
Backup Keys Included
Two backup override keys are provided so you can access the safe should the power fail or the tamper fail safes have activated. Make sure you do not lock the keys inside the safe, otherwise you will have a problem. If this does happen to you we recommend getting in touch with the manufacturer to see if they can send you new keys.
Store the keys separately away from the unit, this is to prevent people unlocking the unit quickly and bypassing the biometric security fingerprint pad.
Complex Learning Biometric Security – 15 fingerprint templates
The GVB1000 can store up to 15 different fingerprints and it is relatively easy to use and program using the instruction manual. GunVault have designed their fingerprint scanners to learn and adapt to the user’s fingerprints each time a successful scan is made.
Unlike the swipe scanner on the MicroVault there is a full scanner that you place the pad of your finger against to register a scan. This is more user-friendly as it requires less practice to perfect your technique compared to the swipe scanner.
More than one person can store their fingerprints so you can share access with multiple people such as a spouse or second adult in your home.
A key feature of GunVault safes is the arrangement of buttons that mimics a hand to assist the user when in low light conditions or when the safe is stored up high. You can find the appropriate buttons by feel alone which is a good aid.
The Biometric MiniVault has pre-drilled mounting holes on the base of the unit. It has 2 slot holes and 4 screw holes, the slot holes can be used for temporary and removable mounting similar to when hanging a clock on a wall using a screw, but flat. The 4 screw holes can be used as a permanent and secure mounting option as you tighten the screws from the inside of the safe so it can only be removed when opened.
Make sure when mounting the unit that there is enough room for the door to open. This unit cannot be used on the underside of a desk as the contents may spill out and the keypad will be upside down and hard to reach. It is recommended to mount your safe in an easily accessible area with the keypad within easy reach with plenty of room for the door to spring open.
The interior is lined with a protective foam lining so your valuables and handguns will not get scratched, protective lining is more important for this model as you will likely have enough room to store additional items beyond just handguns. It is more heavy duty than other smaller gunsafes so storing valuables inside is more recommended when compared to thinner steel constructed models.
Exterior (H x W x D)
5.25” x 8.25” x 12”
3” x 7” x 11”
There is room for multiple handguns or one handgun and extra magazines as well as plenty of room for valuables if that is your wish.
The majority of customers have rated this safe above 4 stars wherever I have looked for it and it does deserve it. It is a decent price for its size and if you want or need a larger safe then there are bigger ones available which you can look at on this site. Such as the Barska safes.
See what other customers actually thought of the safe on Amazon
What One Customer Said About The Mini GunVault GVB1000
I shopped around for some time trying to figure out the best option for a safe that was max secure yet easily accessable. The Gun Vault company seemed to have the best on both counts. Amazon beat everybody for price — so the decision was easy.
As for the vault, I couldn’t be happier. …JS in Toms River
One customer who bought a Mini Gunvault GVB1000 had their finger programmed in at 8 different angles to be sure and also said that after testing their children on the device that, ‘Unauthorized fingers simply don’t work.’
Due to the heavy duty construction and extra thickness of the steel this safe is intended to be used as a secure and permanent home gun safe. It is more resistant to theft attempts and therefore can be used to store valuables as well as handguns. Obviously if you wish to use it for storing handguns there is plenty of space inside for storing extra magazines and it works great to keep handguns stored safely if you have concerns about young children misusing your firearms.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does it come with a security cable?
Unlike the MVB500 this does not come with a security cable but you can use a security cable with it, on the back of the unit there are knock out holes for the security cable to slot into if you wish to use them.
Does it have an AC power source and does this extend battery life?
There is indeed a place to plug in an AC power supply and you can choose whether to use the AC power supply or battery as the primary mode of power. Thus using the battery only as a backup which should extend the battery life, you must always have a battery connected to the unit otherwise the low battery warning will keep going off.
Can you save more than one set of fingerprints?
A total of 15 different fingerprints can be stored on the database enabling you to share access with other individuals if necessary, each fingerprint is automatically updated over time to account for changes to the pad of your finger using the GunVault algorithm. This leads to increased first time acceptance rates.
Where to find the serial number?
The serial number is found under the foam lining on the bottom of the safe.
What can I fit comfortably in the safe, what size handguns can be stored?
The safe is a good size with greater depth than the Microvault and can comfortably fit most handguns, in some cases you will be able to fit two pistols with extra magazines. There is also plenty of space for storing jewelry and small figurines.
What customers really liked
- Fits in a nightstand drawer The safe is compact enough to fit comfortably in a number of handy concealed locations, customers report being able to fit these safes inside cupboards and in all kinds of drawers. So long as there is room in front of the safe for the door to pop open then you can use it in that position
- Beeps are discreet Customers have noted that compared to other gun safes they have purchased, the beeping sounds this safe makes are very discreet and do not think that it will give away their position to an intruder.
- Children can’t open them Just to be sure that their children cannot gain access many people let their child have a go to try and prove to themselves the safe is genuinely childproof. Due to the tamper deactivation process it prevents successive unsuccessful attempts thus making it completely childproof and giving the parents peace of mind when storing their handgun.
- Relatively simple to program using the manual The instruction manual that comes with the safe has been deemed appropriate by most customers, admittedly reports of poor instructions is limited for this model compared to others which is a good thing. Helpful instructions indeed make everyone’s lives easier.
- Fast to open The spring door mechanism takes just a second to pop open so you can be at your firearm very quickly. A spring loaded door is much faster than a gravity drop door when it comes to time taken to open. From scanning to having your weapon in your hand it can be as little as 5 seconds.
As with all products there are unhappy customers, here I will tell you their problems that they have had and our solutions to them.
Trouble changing the battery
The battery is a little hard to find as it is hidden underneath foam lining at the top of the safe at the front. Due to the positioning you can’t really see what you are doing and you have to rely on touch to install the battery correctly.
By referring to the instruction manual and just taking your time you can reduce the stress some customers have had when trying to change the battery. Just make sure to clip the battery in the right way round and looking at the pictures in the manual help a lot.
Fingerprint pad unreliable to begin with
Some customers have had trouble getting their fingerprints to be accepted in the first few tries. The acceptable level to use a biometric safe appropriately would be access within two attempts. There are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting a high acceptance rate.
Make multiple scans of your fingerprints using slightly different angles and pressures. There is space for 15 possible prints so be sure to use them all. Over time your acceptance rates should increase due to the scanner learning your fingerprints better with each successive scan.
Practice opening the safe, having a daily ritual to open and close the safe is a good idea as it gives you a chance to see how the safe will perform and get you comfortable with using the fingerprint scanner. Plus the more times you use it the more it will get to know your prints.
Is it worth the money?
The recommended retail price of this safe is $329.99 but can be found with large discounts offered on the web. On Amazon it is available for a huge discount which makes the safe good value for money. I would not buy it if it was $329.99 but at the discounted price it is worth it due to the extra thick steel construction and the added biometric feature.
A biometric safe is usually $70+ more expensive than the non-bio option but it is well worth it considering you do not have to remember complicated codes and you know that only your fingerprints can access it.
Storing valuables inside it would give me greater piece of mind than when using a smaller safe due to the thicker steel construction and overall precise fittings. But the ease of use with the biometric fingerprint scanner and clear instructions for programming make it a good option for those wanting to store their handguns away from children and store valuables for safekeeping.
I hope you have found this informational Minivault GVB1000 review helpful. I have covered all the points that I can think of, my opinion is that there is definitely great potential for using this safe and using it as a more permanent feature in my home is a possibility.