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One of the newest models from Viking security is the VS-20BL and it features one of the most detailed and advanced biometric scanners due to it being so new.
It has improved security measures compared to similar safes from other manufacturers such as the 4 barreled backup key that is extremely difficult to pick.
Compared to other biometric safes this one is faster to unlock, it takes just over a second to open after a successful fingerprint or code is accepted. Quick opening safes give you a better chance to get to your firearm should you need it in an emergency.
3 Options for Unlocking
The key feature of this Viking security safe is the 3 different methods that can be used to unlock it. As is standard with all safes there is a key to unlock it, these are referred to as back up emergency keys and for this model the key is an incredibly complicated 4 barrel key which gives great security against lock picking attempts.
There is also a programmable number keypad that can be used to store a 4-9 digit PIN code, so in case the fingerprint reader is playing up you can still access the safe.
The main unlocking method however, is by using the biometric scanner. The scanner used on this model is one of the newest and so has better recognition and imaging than some older safes.
High Quality Biometric Scanner – 32 Fingerprint Capacity
The biometrics uses a 500 DPI scanner to take high quality images of your fingerprint and uses this to make the recognition better. DPI means Dots Per Inch, it basically means the image it records is better quality. Due to higher quality images it means you will have to give up the number of scans you can make.
For this safe you can record up to 32 fingerprints which is on the low end but due to the trade off with quality of the imaging and sensing it is still a perfectly ample amount. Make sure you record your fingerprints from multiple angles.
Motorized deadbolt locking
The locking mechanism is motorized and responds reliably, it does not take up as much room as some other safes but still provides great protection. Deadbolts increase the pry resistance of a safe by being thick and hard to bend out of shape.
This safe uses 4 x AA batteries as its source of power, these are included when you buy it. Expected battery life is up to 9 months and it is recommended that batteries get changed at least annually even if they haven’t run out as you do not want to be left without power. There is no secondary source of power such as an AC/DC adapter.
This is the innovative feature that caught my eye and which I think should become a standard in the industry. There is an LCD display that gives you information such as the power level of the battery, number of fingerprints and also the operation information when you are sorting out the programming of the reader and the PIN pad.
It means you can see when the battery is going to be running out soon which is much better than the beeping and LED flashing that is used on other similar safes.
Silent operation mode
The safe comes in silent mode which is different to similar safes from other manufacturers where you have to turn it on to silent mode if it even has one. This will be a good thing for those that really like their secrecy and worry about intruders hearing them get access to their firearm.
An audio warning does sound when you leave the door open for longer than a minute which is handy if you are a bit absent minded sometimes.
Tamper Security Protection
Security measures are in place to prevent repeated unsuccessful attempts, there is a time out period following 3 successive incorrect PIN code entries or 5 incorrect fingerprint attempts. The operation is not entirely shut down such is the case for some other safes but is only a time out, this has its advantages in that you may have just got unlucky with your PIN code entries or it is your children playing around, but has its disadvantages in that if the safe is stolen it will not lock completely up.
However if it is stolen then thieves tend to just try to pry open or drill the walls instead of cracking your code so it is not too much of a hindrance in that respect.
Pry Resistance Measures
A number of steps have been taken to improve the pry resistance of this model, an increased door thickness to improve stiffness and make it harder to bend, very small door gap from good construction and design limits the thickness of pry bar that can be wedged in between the door and the walls and the thick bolts make it difficult to get the door off the frame.
The safe is also made of solid steel and the hinges are hidden on the inside to give them added protection from being cut off.
Pre drilled mounting holes
This unit comes with 4 pre-drilled holes for ease of mounting and it’s recommended that you always mount your safe usually to a concrete wall or floor to prevent theft of the unit itself.
Exterior: 8″ x 12″ x 7 7/8”
Interior: 7 3/4″ x 11 7/8″ x 5 3/4″
Weight: 16 Pounds
Lots of Space Inside
There is room for multiple handguns and extra clips. You should be able to fit regular 9mm and .45s very comfortably. For longer barreled pistols and revolvers it is recommended to measure the actual length of the pistol and check that it can fit inside the dimensions, use a piece of paper and draw a square on it with the same dimensions as the interior of the safe. If it fits in the square then it will fit inside the safe.
Great print reader
Again and again we see customers really enjoying the fingerprint reader, it is one of the most advanced on the market and uses the high density optical sensors to make the images it records and recognizes more accurate. This has the effect of reducing rejection rates, before steps are taken to minimize this.
Secondary Opening Method
Having a backup opening method that was not a key really clicked with some customers, especially those that were dubious of using biometric scanners for the first time and wanting a backup just in case their fears were confirmed. However due to the high quality biometrics and the fact this is one of the newer safes on the market currently means that it turns into more of a choice rather than a necessity having the secondary PIN keypad.
Customer Improvement Suggestions
Back panel looks thin
When looking and comparing the walls to the door some customers thought that the back panel looks too thin, however many of the gun safes today have thicker doors compared to the wall material because the door is the main focus of attack by thieves.
Digits on Keys too small
Another complaint was that the black numbering on the individual keys of the Keypad are too small and hard to read for some users. There were also reports of the small numbers rubbing off, but you can always use a permanent marker to write them back on.
The amount of padding on the interior was deemed insufficient for a few customers, however the trade-off between space and more padding is common in all safes. If you wish to have thicker padding you can always buy thicker foam sheets and replace the padding that comes with the safe.
No Built-in Light
There is no built in interior light however a LED light does come as an accessory that you can place inside for added light when it is dark.
Currently the VS-20-BL is for sale at a big discount as it has only recently come out onto the market and is the newest gun safe from Viking Security. The price is very good considering it has the best biometric scanner and reader on the market currently. The added backup key security is better when compared to Barska, Gunvault and Stack-On whereas the safe is a similar size to the competing models from the other manufacturers.
This model’s standout feature is its fingerprint scanner which due to improvements in the technology is more reliable and faster than the similar models from other manufacturers. If you want to give biometrics a tryout then this is the best safe to get as it also has the backup PIN and key unlock methods.
The safe is also selling at a very competitive price considering the improvements that have been made to security compared to other similar sized manufacturers safes.