Keeping a handgun in the home can be quite the catch 22, especially if you don't live alone. You want the gun easily accessible for the unexpected "bump in the night" scenarios, but leaving it carelessly in a nightstand or sock drawer can be pretty reckless. Especially if you have curious pups or nosey house guests that could find your weapon and potentially have a negligent experience. Keeping the firearm in a traditional handgun safe "keeps people honest" as so many like to put it, but often restricts the access due to size and weight of the safe, where you keep it, and how easy it is to open when the lights are out and wasted time could endanger your life.
I myself have lived in a few apartments over the years, and frequently have friends over to visit, often with children. I've grown accustomed to have some form of defense tool within arms reach of my bed, because frankly, bad things happen. Often it would be a compact sized pistol in a handgun-rated personal safe, which is more like a lockbox. The issue with this lockbox is it takes up alot of surface space, and is obvious as hell. Unless you bolt that thing down, consider it a fun puzzle begging to be solved by anyone who isn't you. Okay so what, you just slide it under the bed, lash it to the bed frame, or just bury it in your nightstand... well good luck getting to your protection now in the middle of the night, from a dead sleep in your pitch dark room, possible with your adrenaline pumping hard enough to hear your own nerve endings pop.
The facts are homes get burglarized/broken into by criminals, and criminals tend to work late shifts. AKA sleepy time for you. So when your alarm system's siren yanks your conscious mind out of la-la land, or the sound of your window shattering just after your head hits that pillow... thats when the timer starts counting down. This could be the difference between you being another victim of a B&E, or possible assault/homicide (check the news, pull your head out of the sand, it happens). You are particularly vulnerable at night, because your cognitive and motor functions suck when you are tired or after you have just woke up. I don't care who you are. In the scenario described above, fast and foolproof is how you want accessing your defensive firearm to be, but still be secure from unauthorized hands during the rest of the day. So you want fast security. Like a quick safe, or a rapid lockbox... or a SpeedVault!
There are plenty of personal safe manufacturers in the market, but few have the recognizability and popularity of GunVault. They are most notably known for their 'No Eyes' keypads and their biometric safes these days- which would seem like straight out of a spy movie just ten years ago. The SpeedVault is no exception with both biometric and traditional keypad configurations, but it's design is what makes it one of the most unique handgun safes available today.
While most personal safes contain handguns in a horizontal format with the pistol on its side, the SpeedVault supports the firearm vertically just like a holster on the belt. This unconventional vertical format, coupled with an adaptive mounting bracket, is perfect for two main reasons: you can mount it in low profile but easy to access locations, and when unlocked the gun's grip is exposed for a fast and unhindered grip. Just about the only thing it doesn't do is call 911 for you... but when seconds count and law enforcement is minutes away, you've at least got a gun in your hands!
Right out of the box, you could probably have the SV500 mounted, programed and fully operational in 20 minutes or less. That is, unless you have to run to the gas station because you don't have a spare 9 volt battery handy, and you glanced over the line on the package that said battery not included. While the included wood screws are kinda short, they allow you to mount the bracket right to the inside of a desk, headboard, nightstand, cupboard etc. without unnecessarily over-penetrating your furniture, or pinning your drawers shut accidentally. If you wish to mount into drywall or cinderblocks, I would suggest a trip to the hardware store because these screws are only good for wood.
The safe itself screws into the mounting bracket internally, which means I had to bust out the manual and read the instructions. You have to unlock the safe using either the key or the factory-programed code, remove the hinged door itself so you have enough room to insert screws from the inside and hand tighten against the mounting bracket. This may be a difficult task for large-mitted individuals so pliers may be needed. When the three screws are fastened, the safe itself conceals the screws holding the bracket to your surface of choice.
After a bathroom break and a victory beverage, the safe is ready for locking up your pistol, or reprogrammed to a code of your liking. Obviously with the biometric model SVB-500 you would scan in your fingerprints, as well as your spouse or any other authorized users. I chose the get the keypad version SV-500 because a.) it was cheaper and b.) I felt a manually entered sequence was less prone to fault than a biometric reader. OR rather, if a code didn't work, I would be to blame, not the SpeedVault. Entering my personal code is something I could train for and develop muscle memory. Also if my fingers are ever injured or covered in blood, dirt, oil, Cheeto dust, etc. the keypad would still function.
What's really interesting is you have the option to program simultaneous button presses into your code sequence. So instead of 1,2,3,4,5,6 you could program 1,2-2,3,4-4-4,5,6 or any combination in between. Even though there are only four buttons, you are allowed a code between 3-6 keystrokes long. I like the idea of throwing a double press in the sequence because its not something a prying individual would typically try, and it increases the difficulty of it being figured out. Just be forewarned, the two/three combo finger presses have to be simultaneous, and the window for error is small.
Now keep in mind the safe will enter a "sleep mode" and lockout the keypad for 2 minutes if the correct code isn't entered within 24 key presses, and any additional attempts during that 2 minute period will makes the safe beep three times and the LED flash a red light. 2 minute "timeouts" between mischievous attempts should be long enough for a child to lose interest, and the tamper indicator feature allows you to see if someone attempted to open the safe since the last successful code was entered.
One of the most popular complaints with digital keypads on a safe is the audible beep with each button press, and/or when successfully opened. The SpeedVault will beep like this from the factory, but it is very easy to disable the tones using the internal switch. Honestly it was the first thing I did when I got the SV-500 open, if I wanted it hear a beep every time I pushed a button I would just play with the microwave. An inward-facing internal bulb illuminates the gun when the safe is opened day or night, which I find useful and not intense enough to ruin my dilated pupils and kill my night vision. Its just enough to see where you are reaching if need be.
The biggest complaint about the SV-500 is the sound of the electronically powered mechanism inside winding up, followed by the "thunk" sound of the door becoming freed from the lock. Yes the hinged door does make another sound when gravity drops it to its fully opened position and contacts the stop, but this is not where the most audible of the sounds originate. Even when guiding the door open with your hand, the unlocking mechanism is the unwelcome noise. While I wouldn't call it entirely audible from the hallway outside the bedroom door (I've tested it) it is audible enough within the room. So if you plan to stash a candy bar in it for late night snack time, your partner will probably hear it and have some choice words.
Internally, the 'holster' part of the safe is comprised of a foam pocket. This rectangular pocket is meant to hold your gun's slide, exposing the frame and grip for easy extraction. The depth of this pocket can facilitate a full-size 5" 1911, but anything larger I would have my doubts (a Desert Eagle would probably be incompatible). Obviously something in the compact range is ideal too, with room for an extra magazine if its small enough. The pocket isn't cut that large, but it is only foam so it nicely stretches and conforms around the slide and the light correctly.
All in all, the SpeedVault is fantastic. Not only can you mount it beside your bed or even under your desk at the office (where allowed) but the speed at which you can withdraw your handgun is exceptional. The only negatives I can think of are the noisy unlocking mechanism and the finicky double or triple code presses. I've also tried a larger gun and light combo for fit, the Glock 17 with Streamlight TLR-1 checks out. I keep my gun in condition 1 inside the SV-500, meaning a round chambered, full magazine in place and hammer cocked (or in my case, striker). Whether or not you leave the safety engaged is your preference, I'm used to carrying without a safety so my M&P is ready to go as soon as its in my hand.
FIREARMS INSIDER REVIEWS – 8 KEY POINTS
Claim to Fame: Keep your handgun safe, secure and ready for action with the SpeedVault. Offering a revolutionary design, the SpeedVault is equally as fast as it is discreet. It is the ideal choice for a home or business looking for added security
Target Market: Those seeking basic gun security w/ quick access in the home or office
FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):
- Digital Keypad (biometric version also available)
- Multiple mounting options
- 18-gauge steel construction
- Tamper resistant door
- Backup override key included
- Audio and LED low battery warning
- Foam lined interior
- Weight 6.61 lbs
- Outer Dimensions 13"L x 3.5"W x 6.5"H
What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: Black Only, but biometric access available in SVB-500 model.
What others are saying?: " 4/5 Stars - Works great, easy to install (I watched a video on YouTube) and I would recommend to anyone wanting immediate access to their weapon by their bedside, and also for safety reasons as children cannot gain access without the code or key. Also great to have the keys as backup in case our memory goes away (with age) and we forget the code. :-) Only concern is light does come on when it opens and there's a pretty audible "clunk" when the drawer drops." Sportsmans Warehouse User Review
" This is not a safe against determined intruders, nor is it a fire safe. It is a safe that will stop kids and honest adults from getting the gun while keeping it ready to use if needed. If you want a serious gun safe, then don't buy this and then complain that it is thin metal (but not flimsy by any measure). After installing it (with the short screws on solid wood) I can say that it would take a heck of a blow from a sledge hammer to knock it loose, or a determined assault from a crow bar, but again, it is not designed to stop a determined attack. Finally, if you are concerned about the people saying it is too loud, or the light is too bright, here's a reality check. As much as I like to imagine myself as Liam Neeson going rogue and blasting my daughter free from sex traffickers, this is not the case. This is not a product for black ops agents, it is a product for responsible gun owners with families. If we have to draw a gun against a person to defend ourselves in our homes, a light or a whirring is the least of our problems. It is a great product and the price is right." Amazon User Review
- MSRP: $226.99
- I bought it here: $199.99 Sportsmans Warehouse
- I SHOULD have bought it here: $125.61 Amazon
- Very simple to program
- Large buttons easy to use without vision
- Keypad sequence can contain combinations of 2-3 buttons simultaneously pressed
- Bright white internal light illuminates contents
- Audible beep when buttons pressed is easily muted/turned off
- Flexibility in mounting options (left or right side, desks, nightstands, etc.)
- Easy programming + physical key backup
- Steel construction feels extremely solid
- Internal foam lined 'pocket' holds various gun models/sizes, even with light or laser accessories
- Very audible mechanical whining and "clunk" noise as the electronic latch locks/unlocks
- Mounting bracket lacks screw hole options for wall stud
- Included mounting screws are short
- Double or triple press codes are finicky and can cause incorrect entries
- Low battery warning only when keypad pressed
SCORE: 8.5 GREAT
For FFL services I choose Promised Land Firearms in Toulon, IL.