Gun safes with electronic locks is the focus of this article but honestly I do prefer mechanical lock handgun safes better. Be that as it may, electronic lock safes can be of use in the right situation.
To better understand what to consider when buying a safe, feel free to read my article appropriately entitled, Things to Consider When Buying a Handgun Safe.
The key consideration for an electronic lock handgun safe is access. Electronic locks need electricity to operate so that means a power source - battery or outlet. If it's batteries, then you'll have to deal with how quickly the batteries run out and replacing the batteries. If the safe needs an outlet, then you'll have to deal with proximity and power outages. And because of this possibility of failure, all electronic lock pistol safes have key access - which basically renders the safe a simple lockbox.
Having said that, the advantage of electronic locks over mechanical locks is the number of possible combinations. If your safe is vulnerable to a child or teen with time and determination, then having a harder number sequence to crack is important. Also, as part of the whole power source need, it means the safe can use that power for other purposes. Common features of gun safes with electronic locks include internal LED lights, keypad lights, or even alarms for when the safe detects tampering.
Depending on where you live, there are laws that require secure storage or locking of your handgun. If complying with the law is your main concern and you're comfortable with the accessibility issues, then I can see an electronic safe being a good option.
The 5 handgun safes that I'm recommending here all are on the lighter side meaning they're not super tough. They range between 12-18 gauge steel - 12 being the thicker number. And they're all very reasonably priced.
Now even being on the lighter side, I wouldn't call these safes portable. I have another article on my portable safe recommendations if you're interested in that. These safes are best bolted down either on a shelf, nightstand, drawer, or dresser. And the GunVault SV500 is best under a desk.
As I said earlier, they all have a back-up key in case the power to the unit fails. So you'll need to figure out where to securely store your keys.
When considering which of these electronic safes you're interested in, think about the form factor and the capacity. That's where their biggest differences lie.
All right. Let's take a look at these gun safes with electronic locks then.
The Ollieroo Gun Safe (model ST06112) is a good-sized handgun safe that can fit 2 revolvers if needed. It measures 12 x 9 x 7.1 inches and has a removable shelf inside. The safe only weighs 10 lbs so you should find a good spot to secure it down through the available screw holes.
I like the shape of the safe where the opening in front is larger than the back. The safe height tapers down from 7.1 to 5.1 inches.
The door is spring loaded and you'll need to be careful with how the safe is situated as the door can slam down on the surface. You can have it overhang a shelf or have some sort of cushion-y material to mitigate that possibility. Or just try to catch the door before it hits. I like the quick access but just need to account for the opening.
The electronic lock keypad isn't numbered or lettered. You just have to remember a 3-8 button sequence to open it. Like with all of these safes, once you set it, you should practice so you get fast at unlocking it. The buttons do beep when depressed and if you want to silence them, just follow the instructions provided. To operate the safe, you'll need 4 AA batteries which are included. 2 keys are also provided in case the power runs out. The safe will make a warning sound when your batteries are getting low so you will have an opportunity to change them.
The Ollieroo Gun Safe has a nifty alarm feature that goes off when you enter the wrong sequence 3 times. The only way to turn off the alarm is to open the safe with the key and then remove a battery. It's an obnoxious noise and I can see it as a possible deterrent. And if not, then eventually the batteries drain and the only way to open the safe will be with the key.
The SentrySafe Pistol Safe QAP1E is a single pistol safe that measures 12.1 x 9.9 x 3.2 on the outside. With a 12 gauge steel body, this safe weighs 11.9 lbs and can be bolted to a surface with a couple of included screws.
The only top opening lid safe on this list; it works well in a nightstand or dresser drawer where reaching down from the top is the natural movement. The door springs open on a gas strut for quick access.
The electronic lock requires 4 AA batteries that aren't included. And the digital pad has no numbers or letters for guidance. The lock can be programmed for between 1-8 button patterns. I would recommend using all 8 if you can. Pushing any one of the keys will turn on the key backlights. The first key has a small bump in the middle so you can find that one to orient your fingers in the dark. There are no beep sounds when depressing the buttons so relatively quiet access. However, that spring loaded door will definitely make a sound when it pops open. In case the batteries run out or you forget the unlocking sequence, there are 2 keys provided for non-digital access.
I like this safe because, for the price, you get a pretty tough box that can be accessed quickly with one hand. The top opening is great for reaching down and in which means you need a corresponding location that fits that positioning. I wouldn't use this safe and put it on the top shelf in the closet.
Other SentrySafe product's have gotten a lot of bad reviews on YouTube. And it seems the quality control can be poor sometimes with their products. This handgun safe seems to have, for the most part avoided, those issue. However, it does seem like factory cost-cutting measures are a practice for this company so be thorough when you first get this safe and test out its components completely.
SnapSafe 2-Gun Keypad Vault (model 75430) is a very similar safe to the Ollieroo safe. This SnapSafe measures 12.7 x 9 x 8.8 inches which makes it slightly larger than the Ollieroo. The shapes are similar with the door side being taller than the back side. However, this handgun safe weighs about 50% more at 15.1 lbs thanks to it's thicker steel gauge of 16. Still, this safe is small and light enough that you'll want to bolt it down through its pre-drilled holes.
Again, similar to the Ollieroo, the SnapSafe has an interior shelf and a spring loaded front door that will pop open and slam down if not caught or cushioned.
The electronic lock takes AAA batteries, a noted difference from the double A of the other safes, which are unfortunately not included. The four button keypad isn't numbered or lettered and can be programmed with a 4-6 digit code. The keypad will light up when a button is first pressed. Unlike the Ollieroo, no alarm is present and after 5 failed attempts, the electronic lock simply won't work for 2 minutes. The keypad tones can be muted which would leave you to read the lights if you make a mistake. There are 2 keys for non-digital access.
GunVault SV500 is a slick-looking pistol safe that attaches to the side. Consider under a desk or up against a night stand between it and the bed. The safe is just large enough to accommodate 1 handgun measuring 6.5 x 3.5 x 13 inches. The 18 gauge steel body is one of the thinnest on this list and not surprisingly the safe weighs only 7 lbs. This safe may be light enough to be portable but, to use it, you pretty much have to mount it vertically so it's not going anywhere.
This safe is built for quick access from the gravity-assisted drop-down drawer to the grip-ready positioning of the handgun inside. I like it for that purpose as you can tell by the specs it's not one of the stronger safes.
The electronic lock has 4 keypads, numbered 1-4, which can be pressed singly or together to create a 3-6 sequence code. And when I say together, I mean you can press 2 buttons at the same time or 3 buttons or even all 4 buttons at the same time. That's a small little twist that elevates the programmable sequences to over 12 million possibilities. A 9V battery is needed and not included; and 2 back-up keys are provided. The buttons make sounds but can be silenced; although the opening of the safe makes enough noise to render muting the buttons rather pointless.
There's an interior light to help you see when the drawer opens but, because of the way the handgun fits snugly in the interior foam lining in a ready-to-grip position, it seems unnecessary.
Another feature of the GunVault SV500 is it has a tampering detection system. Basically, if you suspect tampering while you're away, you can, by pressing the buttons according to the instructions, tell if a code was entered at least once incorrectly or not. As for tampering, it takes a whopping 24 failed attempts before the electronic lock goes to "sleep" and doesn't operate for 2 minutes.
The Stealth Handgun Hanger Safe is the largest safe on this list. It's exterior measurements are 9 x 9 x 12 inches and can hold 3 pistols hanging and 2 flat on the safe floor. The safe weighs 15 lbs and is most likely made from 16 gauge steel. You'll want to use the 4 holes in the bottom of the safe to secure it to a surface or use the included security cable to anchor it.
The most notable differentiator with this safe vs the others is the handgun hanger feature. There are 3 steel rods that your handguns can 'hang' from. The rods are coated so as not to damage your handgun barrels. Like the GunVault SV500, the gun-ready grip storage makes it really convenient to remove your gun. However, if you load the safe to it's max capacity, the crowded interior will slow you down.
The quick access door is spring loaded and heavy. Unlike the Ollieroo and SnapSafe models, there's a speed reducer that catches the door about a half inch from full opening to prevent any slams onto hard surfaces.
The electronic lock has 4 back-lit keys that are not numbered. The code requires a 6 digit combination and will illuminate after the first button is pressed. There is an option to mute the buttons. The Stealth Hanger safe has a red interior light which I prefer over the white lights that are in a lot of other units. 2 keys are provided as back-up.
So the bottomline is that each of these 5 handgun safes with electronic locks are worthy to own. They're all under $200 so keep your perspective. You're not paying for an indestructible impregnable safe here. These are strong, quick-access safes providing relative good security and are easy on the wallet.
The SentrySafe QAP1E is a great choice if you're looking for a top opening safe.
The GunVault SV500 is the way to go if you have a very narrow space or are looking for a vertical mount.
The other 3 are similar enough that you'll need to figure out what's most important to you. However, my recommendation is the Stealth Handgun Hanger Safe Quick Access Electronic Pistol Security Box New and Improved.
I like the gun-ready storage feature and the red interior light. I prefer the 8 digit combination of the Ollieroo but I can live with the 6 digit combination. And I really like the speed reducer the Stealth safe has to prevent the heavy door from slamming when opened.
Last update on 2021-04-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API