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The SentrySafe Biometric Quick Access Pistol Safe on review was found to have the thickest steel walls of any gun safe in its size category. It can also be fixed inside a nightstand drawer for convenience should you need it during the night.
The biometric scanner also has an innovative design and only needs one hand to operate it. The way fingerprints are registered makes sure that you get multiple scans registered straight away with no extra programming. This leads to very high acceptance rates and fast opening.
For a gun safe of this size it uses the thickest steel out of any model. Usually a unit this size would have between 16 and 18 gauge steel, having the thicker 12 gauge steel makes it more resistant to pry attempts as it is stiffer to bend and also more resistant to pry attempts.
No Button Scanner
Normally when using a biometric fingerprint reader a button has to be pressed to initiate the process. For this SentrySafe fingerprint scanner it has a copper strip underneath where you place your finger that detects the warmth and this initiates the process. This reduces the time it takes to open and leaves your other hand free to grab your handgun straight away.
It is designed to fit one full sized handgun or two super compact pistols, with the single hand operation features and the lack of audible entry beeps you can get quick access to your firearm when you need it to defend your family and property. Great for keeping your pistols locked up if you have children in the house so as to prevent unnecessary accidents.
One of the main complaints we find about gun safes is the lack of silent operation as you could alert a home intruder to your position if there is a loud audible beep when you unlock your safe. This only has a silent mode and is completely silent when pressing buttons and operating the scanner with flashing LED feedback.
Gas Powered Door Strut
Instead of traditional locks and having handles to pull the door up and open, it uses a muted operation unlocking mechanism and a gas powered strut to lift and hole the safe door open. This makes it extra silent in operation and leaves your hands free to grab your firearm as soon as it is presented to you.
Because of the heavy gauge steel, hidden hinges and stiff opening mechanism that resists being pulled this is one of the most pry resistant safes. Hidden hinges are a requirement by the California DOJ to approve it, and the way the door angles downward makes it difficult to fit a piece of pry equipment into the available space to get any purchase.
Innovative Biometric Scanner
Most scanners give you the option to store multiple fingerprint scans separately, some with up to 150 possible scans. This one is a bit different and only has space for 4 enrolled fingers, but it requires you to do all the angles all at once so it can get a full image of your fingerprint right away.
This reduces the time and stress to get high acceptance rates as you normally have to enroll single scans one at a time but the process for this is press the button and it asks for 4 or 5 scans sequentially until it is happy it has a full image.
Using innovative technology that senses your finger on the scanner it immediately warms up and starts the scanning process meaning you don’t have to press a button with the other hand first. Have one hand always free to grab your weapon right away.
As mentioned before this is the thickest steel we have seen used on a gun safe this size. The thicker that steel is the harder it is to bend and this gives it advantages in terms of protection against common methods of attack such as prying and drilling.
High security back up keys come as standard, these are hard for anyone to lockpick due to the complexity of the lock. This is one of the alternative methods of access along with the button keypad and can be used if your unit runs out of power. Make sure you don’t lock keys inside it and hide them separately or keep them on your keychain.
Alternative Keypad Access
As well as being biometric you can program a separate combination to use on the button keypad to gain access. It is good to have a backup method of access just in case the worst happens and the other method fails on you.
It uses 4 x AA batteries which do not come included. Battery life is very long considering the unit becomes dormant when not in use and can last for up to 3 years, although it is recommended to change the batteries annually. Because of the silent operation the low battery warning is via a red flashing LED which is described in the instruction manual.
Pre-Drilled Mounting Holes
On the bottom side there are holes made for attaching it to the base of a drawer or the floor. Mark up the appropriate holes before drilling and mounting hardware comes included. Do not attempt to drill through the safe as this will void your warranty and cause possible damage.
- Interior Dimensions: 2.2″H x 9.7″W x 6.6″L
- Exterior Dimensions: 3.2″H x 12.0″W x 9.9″L
- Weight: 12lb
- Product Key: SentrySafe QAP1BE
Due to how the scans are set up, you take between 5 to 10 scans initially to enroll your finger, it has been reported to start with 95%+ first time acceptance with no false accepts. The only thing to watch out for is scanning your finger too fast so as always best guidance is to practice using it so that in an emergency you are used to it.
Customers really liked the look and how heavily built it was, compared to similar sized gun safes there is no comparison for the thick steel. Many tried bending the doors and couldn’t get it to budge with their hands.
Useful in darkness
There is a handy dent in the first of the four buttons to give you some orientation in the dark as to where the buttons are so you can use this in complete darkness if you have to.
Due to not having audible warnings or any audio recognition some customers thought it could be improved by having slightly sturdier buttons, they are a soft plastic so they thought if there was some physical feedback like a click it may be more accurate. No one has had problems with the button keypad working and it was a personal preference in most cases.
No handle on the lid
Just in case of failure it would have been a good idea to put an indented handle to grip for the lid. I haven’t read anywhere of it failing and you can always put a strong magnet on it to grasp and open once you have unlocked it.
Thin interior padding
A few customers were unhappy with the level of padding on the interior but you can always add your own foam but this will restrict the amount of space available inside.
Questions and Answers
How many guns will it fit?
Specifically is designed to hold 1 full size J or K sized revolver, or full size semi automatic pistol. Customers have fit 2 half size handguns inside, the super compact ones.
Can you use a cable with it?
It doesn’t come with a security cable but if you can find one thin enough you could thread it in the pre drilled mounting holes instead of actually screwing it down. Or drill your own hole large enough but this will void your warranty.
Due to silent mode is there a low battery warning?
The low battery warning is 5 red flashes of the LED when opening the safe.
What mounting hardware comes in the box?
You get 2 lag screws and 2 washers, directions for mounting are in the manual that comes with it.
Summary and Price Point
The price of the SentrySafe is around $200 and this compares favorably with similar safes of the same size. At the time of writing this was the heaviest and most secure gun safe at this size point. it is definitely worth the investment as you can keep it anywhere in the home and get one of the best biometric fingerprint readers on the market.