Firearm & Gear Reviews

Review: GunVault SpeedVault SV500

Home protection is the number one reason people buy guns. The large majority of these guns are handguns of course. Securing that handgun to keep it safe and out of the wrong hands is a top priority. Equally important though is one’s ability to access that firearm when circumstances warrant it. It is wise to remember and understand that such circumstances that warrant arming yourself in your own home from an intruder will likely require fast action. I keep the majority of my firearms in the big, secure safe in my basement workshop. I have little doubt that these guns will be almost entirely useless if I am forced to deal with an intruder in the middle of the night. They are simply to far away and take to long to get out of the safe. What is needed is a quick and easy way to get to your primary home defense weapon while still maintaining its day to day security. Let me introduce the GunVault SpeedVault SV500. It is fairly common practice for many gun owners to take their home defense handgun out of its safe and place it on or in their nightstand before they go to sleep. Some just leave their safe/lockbox open on their bedside table. Some may think that a bit excessive or paranoid but I disagree. You bought a gun for home defense. If its not accessible, easily accessible at that, then you may as well not even have it. Because when you need it, you will likely need it quickly. You will also need the process simple and easy. A combination lock at three in the morning in the dark isn’t going to cut it. The GunVault SpeedVault is a great option and provides relatively good security with fast and easy accessibility. Below are the specifications for both the keypad operated and the biometric models taken directly from GunVault’s website.

SV500 SPECIFICATIONS

SV 500SV 500 SVB 500SVB 500
Gauge 18 18
Exterior Product Dimensions
HxWxD (inc. keypad and lock)
6½” x 3½” x 13″ 6½” x 3½” x 13″
Interior Product Dimensions 2¼” x 5¾” x 8½” 2¼” x 5¾” x 8½”
Weight Of Item 7 7
Hold # of Unique Fingerprints N/A 120
# of User-Selectable Access Codes Over 12 Million N/A
Mountable? Yes Yes
Protective Foam Liner? Yes Yes
Spring Loaded Door? No No
Audio Low Battery Warning? Yes Yes
LED Low Battery Warning? Yes Yes
Interior Courtesy Light? Yes Yes
Motion Detector With Audio Alarm? No No
Tamper Indicator? Yes No
Computer Block Access After
Repeated Invalid Entries?
Yes No
Security Cable Included? No No
Backup Override Key? Yes Yes
1,500 Lb Security Cable Usable? No No
External AC Power Supply? No No
Battery Type & Quantity 9v – 1 9v – 1
Batteries Included? No No
California DOJ Approved? Yes Yes

The price of these units can vary somewhat. The biometric model being considerably more expensive in general. I purchased the keypad model a few years back and paid $158 for it. At the time of this writing you can get that same model on Amazon for $133. A great deal. I might have to pick another one up…The biometric model is currently selling for about $203. As I said, a considerable difference. And in my opinion, not worth it. Its not that I have used the biometric model and found it an inferior product. Its just that I have been using the keypad model for the last few years and can’t imagine needing anything faster or easier. Especially if faster and easier comes with the potential drawbacks of boimetric fingerprint readers. Many of us have phones with similar functions. Does yours work all the time? Mine doesn’t. The keypad on my SpeedVault however has worked every time in the several years I have had it. The keys are large and give good tactile feedback. They are positioned in such a way to not interfere with one another and the combination can be set up to create a pattern of sorts as opposed to memorizing a sequence of numbers. Is it foolproof?  No.I highly recommend that you practice opening it on a regular basis. Fortunately, mine sits right next to my bed and I typically open it several times a week. This serves to reinforce muscle memory and insure the batteries are working properly.

My unit is bolted to the right side of my nightstand and sits neatly between the nightstand and my mattress. I can access the safe while laying down in fact, quickly and easily, albeit with my left hand. gunvault-bedSome reviewers have complained about the clunking noise the unit can make when it drops open. Reducing the stealthiness of arming oneself. This noise is easily mitigated by catching the door as it drops and lowering it to rest. This operation does require two hands but requires little effort and cost you no real time. The unit is almost completely silent when accessed this way.

The GunVault SpeedVault SV500 also has some additional features including: a low battery indicator, a tamper detection feature and a lockout mode if to many incorrect codes are attempted. The low battery indicator works well and give ample warning when the batteries are low. The warning only functions though when opening the vault, so its prudent to open it periodically to insure adequate battery life. The tamper detection feature isn’t something I have used but is an interesting feature nonetheless. From the GunVault SpeedVault manual:

Entering an invalid access code sets the Tamper Indicator. Hold down buttons two “2” and three “3” for five seconds to activate the Tamper Indicator.
● If tampering has been detected, the red light will glow until buttons two “2” and three “3” are released.
● If tampering hasn’t been detected, the green light will glow until buttons two and three are released.

When opened the SpeedVault has enough room to fit one full sized handgun. The interior is lined with a good quality foam and a top mounted LED light makes locating your firearm very easy in the dark. The foam cutout does make handguns with lasers or flashlights somewhat difficult to manage but the foam could be modified to make insertion and removal easier.

One disclaimer: I would liken the unit to a lockbox not a safe. Although relatively secure and solid, the SpeedVault would likely fail quickly to a determined thief with tools. I suspect the entire unit could be forcefully removed from its mounting surface without to much trouble. I think this is an inevitable outcome when trying to find a reasonable balance between security and accessibility. It’s secure enough for my purposes however while providing me with the peace of mind that I can access my firearm in an emergency quickly and easily.

JD

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