Biometric Gun Safe Review – Sentry Safe For Handguns
I have owned the Sentry Safe biometric gun safe for pistols (actually 3 of these biometric gun safe models) for more than 5 years.
I’m still of the opinion that they may be the best general purpose pistol biometric gun safe available.
I feel compelled to let you know why I still believe they’re one of the best biometric gun safe choices for a handgun, and to highlight what I think are the best features.
– metal heft
– lid piston
– 3 methods to open
– stunning biometric repeatability
– battery life
– brand quality
SentrySafe Pistol Safe, Quick Access Biometric Safe
(view on amzn)
When you pick up this pistol safe you’ll know right away that the metal is significant. While no safe is impervious, this one has heft.
I’m not going to damage my safe trying, but I am sure that it would be pretty darn difficult to force this safe open. Given the design of rear hinges and front locking mechanism, I can’t imagine getting this thing open without the owner.
SentrySafe Biometric Gun Safe Lid Piston
When you first open the safe, the immediate striking feature is the powerful lid piston.
It takes a fraction of a second for the piston to pop up the lid for quick access. I’ve had these safe’s for years and the piston’s are still just as responsive when they were new. SentrySafe obviously sourced a good quality piston (important!).
I really like the type of padding that’s glued into the interior. I’ve had some safe’s where their padding deteriorates over the years. Not this one! It feels like some kind of neoprene or similar. It’s ‘just right’.
3 Methods To Open The Safe
Here’s what I really like about this pistol safe: There are 3 ways to open it (I like backups).
– biometric fingerprint
– button press sequence
Biometric Gun Safe – Incredible Fingerprint Ability
The #1 feature that (in my opinion) that makes this one of the best biometric gun safes for a pistol / handgun is the stunning repeatability of the fingerprint biometric reader. I’m telling you, it opens every time! I don’t know how they do that ;)
There are two blue LED lights (one on each side of the biometric area) that light up when you touch the fingerprint reader. If it’s dark, once you touch it, you know it’s activated. A single green LED lights up when it’s opening.
The fingerprint scanner is nicely recessed making it easier to quickly and properly slide the pad of your finger across it. Even in the dark, the location and design assists in easy and quick opening.
The rest of it just feels right. The shape and dimensions are well thought out. As you can see in the photo, it easily fits my Glock G19 and several mags (I could fit even more in there).
Excellent Battery Life
I have never had the batteries go dead. But I will say this, I do replace them every year or two. So I know they last at least 2 years (probably longer).
My next set I’m going to use Lithium batteries because they last even longer. By the way, they’re AA batteries. The battery compartment is very easy to access.
Quality Brand Name
SentrySafe has been around for a long time and they make quite a variety of safes. I have been a happy customer for many years.
SentrySafe Pistol Safe, Quick Access Biometric Safe
[ Read: My Home Defense Night Stand ]
Great review of an excellent product. All home defenders need a product like this for quick access especially if they have little ones in the house. Did you know that youtube is banning many (if not eventually all) gun related video’s? Many gun reviewers are having their sites taken down. I recommend going to full30.com for firearm reviews and avoid youtube (my rant).
Good Review, I feel everybody should own this safe. Especially if you have children in the house.
It will also keep honest people out too. Don’t think this safe is criminal proof. A good sledge hammer could bust it off of a bolted floor mount.
You have to balance it strengths and weaknesses.
In case of break in (while I’m not home) I do have mine hidden in plain sight while maintaining easy access in case of emergency.
90% of Gun Thefts around me occur when idiots leave their pistols in unlocked cars.
They are truly morons! They should get a flogging for being stupid.
I do not leave my sidearm in a car it is always on me… Especially in Gun Free Zones.
I could see this sentry safe being used in an car or truck. You would have to bolt it into the floor board or better weld it on.
WC, there ARE no gun free zones in my world either.
Thanks for the post Ken! I have an older pistol safe in the nightstand that is opened using a button sequence. I’ve practiced and prepped getting in to it multiple times in the dark so I have it down pretty well at this point, but a biometric scanner (and a pop-up lid) are huge selling points in my opinion! I do believe one of these will be making it in to my Amazon cart PDQ!
You won’t be disappointed!
Do you think you could mount this gun safe on its back edge and have it still open??? I am thinking about mounting one right behind the center console in my truck. that way I could easily reach back and retrieve it without looking. thanks for the great article, got me thinking about this again.
It would still have to be setting on something (it’s heavy).
The clearance with the back panel and the way the lid/hinge works is pretty close. If you’re thinking about bolting it via drilling holes through the back panel, you might utilize a shim or spacer of some sort to assure proper opening.
Not sure though about ease of fingerprint biometrics if you “reach back”. You’re finger would be difficult to line up (being sort of backwards). (Unless I’m misunderstanding your thought regarding mount orientation).
Miner Jim, I friend of mine sent me this link for an under-seat lock box specifically designed for your vehicle. They also have consoles. Hopefully the link goes thru. :)
Yeah, I figured I might have to fabricate a mounting bracket to bolt it too. My thought was to have the front edge of the door vertical at the top. I could just reach between the front seats, (over the small console) and swipe a finger over the Biometric scanner. ( the action would be like I was reaching back for my wallet, except a bit more back). I guess what I was wondering was this: Is the door fully mounted on the top side or does it extend into the back panel? I think from your description, the door is clear of the back panel, so it could be mounted to a bracket clearly. Thanks!
I took a few pictures of the rear panel clearance with relation to the lid. As you can see the side panels ever so slightly extend beyond the rear panel…
Thanks for the review and recommendation Ken! I am definitely going to replace what I have at home with this as a result. As for the use of safes in a vehicle and per Rob’s point, there are a number of safes specifically designed for installation in vehicles. I love the “Lock’er Down” console safe I easily installed in my Toyota Sequoia’s console. It’s large enough that I can put other valuables in there too like GPS, etc. Granted it’s not biometric, but it’s sturdy, they are custom designed to fit different makes/models and might be an easier installation option.
Nice safe. If I needed one I’d certainly chose it. But being alone in my house I really don’t need one.
What dies it weigh and can it be bolted to a wall? Preferably a corner wall? My biggest concern would be the biometric feature. When I was working we had biometric access to get intp our supply of medications. At the time I was doing a lot of home remodeling and frequently was sanding off my fingerprint. The damn thing was very frustrating. There I was desperately trying to get into the cabinet to get a life saving medication and it wouldn’t let me. Fortunately I was always able to get another nurse to get in to it for me. Does the keypad have a lock out feature after so many attempts? Most ER back doors had a numerical control lock and for many years you could get into 90% of the ERs by pushing 9,1,1. I keep my local locksmith in business making spare keys for the locks I have lost.
Great safe, have it right next to me on the bedstand, I test it every few days and it’s never failed over the past 3 years.
If we get hit by an EMP, will it still work?
Yes it would (still work). Why? Because it also has a key.
Additionally, there are lots of variables surrounding the actual effects resulting from a hypothetical EMP. There is the possibility that it wouldn’t be affected at all, although I would not count on that.
This is one of the reasons that I really liked this pistol safe. 3 modes of entry. One of which is a good old fashioned key.
I have a large, upright floor safe. It’s branded “Sentry Safe”, but it came from China, so I was concerned about robustness of the electronic keypad primarily.
Well, I’ve had it over ten years, changed the batteries once, maybe twice. Because it’s big, we are in and out of it several times a day. Extra car keys, petty cash, meds and other daily valuables beyond what the safe was designed for. I have to say I’m pleasantly shocked at how well it has held up. Even using the same code thousands of times, I would expect the numbers on the buttons to wear off. But the safe is as perfect as the day I installed it. I recall the price was really low too, compared with the higher end names. I’ve been very happy with it.
Next to the bed though… that one has piano keys for code entry in the dark. I do too much work around here that mutilates my fingerprints. I can’t even unlock my phone half the time by fingerprint. Not sure
I would trust the scanner in an emergency.
Unless the fingerprint is permanently damaged in some way, one’s prints grow back. I do realize however that certainly there are those who may have ongoing deep abrasions on their fingerprints due to occupation, work, etc..
I’ve not had that problem despite the fact that I do put my own fingers through some harsh conditions. That said, I do often wear work gloves to avoid self inflicted damage.
One significant reason that I like this general purpose pistol safe is that you can also open it with a button press combination and/or a key.
Thanks for the article Ken.
I had bad luck with a Stack On brand of inexpensive security cabinet at home last year and I shared my experience with calling the locksmith to have it drilled out. I still remember the smile on his face when he told me: “this is the fourth one of these this week.”
I work with an Omnicell medication cabinet at work and I have worked with Pixis carts in the past. I have a deep distrust of electronic locks and some “retention holsters” created back in the day.
The advice from the staff at Sportsmans Warehouse where I buy my lock and key security cabinets is: “Buy top end or stick with mechanical lock and key.”
Since many here cannot afford a Cannon Gun safe, I will stick with the Stack On cabinets with the keys in a central location. With my luck, the electronic lock will fail with the 3 meth heads outside my back door with pry-bars.
Several of my lock and key cabinets are over 20 years old.
You bring up good points of consideration when you said “With my luck, the electronic lock will fail with the 3 meth heads outside my back door with pry-bars.”
and when you said “…keys in a central location”.
1. Always know where your safe keys are located / hidden.
2. If your ‘only’ defense is in that safe, have a backup plan.
It’s a d@mn shame that gun safes are even necessary. A child of the ’50’s, Dad’s guns were either in a drawer or behind a door in a corner. Everyone knew guns and respected them. We never locked our doors. When I entered high school and started driving my own car, students parked next to the school. Many had shotguns or rifles inside and most had the windows down due to the intense Texas heat. Never had a theft or misuse of a gun in my town that I recall. But, then again, we respected our parents and those older than us. If we acted up we got our butt busted, both at home and at school. If at school, then we were likely to get another whooping when we got home. Folks interacted with each other, knew their neighbors and watched out for each others welfare. In the years since, “progressive” ideology has permeated our society and fouled it beyond belief.
That pretty much sums it up. Can’t add another thing ;)
I personally like the Gun Vault over this unit because of ergonomics. With the Gun Vault, it is mounted to the wall where I will be standing most of the time. The gun is in a vertical position when you grab it, With a gun laying on its side it takes another second or two to grab the gun properly. I also don’t know where I would mount yours. Looks like you have yours mounted to the floor. With my knees, I think I prefer being in a standing position.
Although the Gun Vault mounting is secure, and since where I wanted it mounted on the wall, I installed new backing for mounting and added an aluminum angle at the back of the box where it is secured from the side and back. That thing isn’t coming off the wall. I have one upstairs and one downstairs.
I also agree with Dennis, but this also allows me to not have to worry about putting the gun away when I leave the house.
Papa J, The SentrySafe is simply setting on the floor for the photos that I took. Wouldn’t be too good for my back to have it bolted to the floor ;)
Keep an eye on the battery. I’ve taken two similar SentrySafes (minus the biometric option) back to retailer because the battery was draining in less than two weeks. The key helps but kind of defeats the purpose of quick access buttons
When I am home, several are available outside the locked cabinet. They are hidden in plain sight. To say more would violate OPSEC.
When I am not home, those items are locked in the cabinet. I can secure the firearms. in my home in less than 5 minutes. I most fear children gaining access to my tools.
My truck has lock and key lockboxes inside and I cannot bring a weapon on the property including the parking lot of my place of work. Several people have been fired for doing so in recent years. I am hoping recent events and our current president will bring about some change in this area.
With some of the more recent comments/actions from “our current president” I would not be so sure.
I was one of those kids that would show up at school with a dirty shotgun and 5 dove in an ice chest in the back for my first class. PTA and school administrator raised hell about that and it was the beginning of the end of bringing a gun in the grounds of the high school.
One rancher’s kid shot and dressed a deer prior to his first class. he was sent home because of the blood stains on his shirt sleeves. This was in a rural high school in the 1970’s.
What do you expect from kids wearing t-shirts advertising the local farm and ranch store.
I have multiple pistol boxes in the house. None of them are biometric but they keep the guns handy but away from kids.
Dennis you are absolutely right. When I was a kid my Dad had a 38 in the dresser drawer and a 22 and shot gun behind the bed room door. I knew better than to mess with them. I was a rebellious kid but I knew there were some lines you never cross no matter what.
It’s amazing how kids can turn out when their parents aren’t trying to be their best friend. I grew up in a similar situation. The guns were where they were and we didn’t touch them or tell our friends about them.