GunVault is a well-known gun safe manufacturer that designs and introduces new and innovative designs to the market. This is one of their most efficient pistol locking safes, and this review will prove why.
We have all heard of Murphy’s law, well that is what was the reasoning behind the designers of this model when they thought it up. They looked into all their personal screw-ups and decided to make a Murphy proof safe, that only divine intervention or absolute idiocy would be its downfall.
The SV500 is not only idiot-proof, but it’s also efficient economical and perhaps the easiest gun safe to install and use.
This means that in the middle of the night, during a black-out, under attack by twenty seal teams and being shouted at by your family, and after you guzzled that bottle of 12-year-old bourbon, you still manage to stagger over to the SV500, pull out your weapon and prove to the world that you’re the man or woman!
While this gun safe is so easy to get to, it is still secure against tampering thieves, prying hands, and curious kids. This is another of those anti-Murphy features installed in this little gadget, and believe you me when you have kids around you don’t need an army of the undead to unsettle your nerves.
So, we’ve established that it’s tamper-proof, childproof, and idiot proof, but still easy to access and efficient for a gun owner, but let’s go a bit deeper and see how this safe would be the perfect choice for any security conscious individual.
This full review is segmented into 12 chapters, so it will be easier to read, navigate and backtrack information.
1. Mounting/Installing Locations
The GunVault is designed as a gravity well, which means that it’s a vertical assembly, where the weight of the gun drops into the cell and is sealed within. This makes pulling it out easy, especially if you place it at waist level, similar the height you would find your gun in a hip holster.
You can mount it horizontally, but that would defeat the object of the design, and essentially make the safe previous. If it is installed correctly, that means vertically; the locking mechanism will open and close automatically, which means you get maximum pull efficiency every time you reach for it.
However, if you decide to position it under your bed or in a drawer, you will lose this efficiency and have to wait for the lock to open before you manually push the lock slide open every time you activate the mechanism.
This model comes with both a back and side mount, which means you can mount it on virtually any wall, and if you decide to go for maximum stability, you will consider installing it in a corner, where two panels secure the safe.
When this device is secured vertically, the hardware covers up the internal mechanism, and once the gun is in place, you cannot reach the installation screws. This means that you cannot remove the safe from its location without opening it and clearing it first.
The best GunVault installation Video online
2. Vehicle Application
Most cars will not be able to support it unless you place it on the passenger side on the front. In any event, it still needs a lot of space for smooth operation, and it weighs 8lbs empty. For large SUV’s, vans, and trucks it can definitely be considered, but for a standard family car, or even a standard cross-over or small SUV, this is not going to work out for you.
Even if you decide to place it in your trunk, you won’t get much security out of it, and essentially it would be easy to cut out of your car, making it nothing more than a locked glove compartment.
Understanding the Code
The lock mechanism comes with four rubber buttons that are similar to the shape and feel of most TV remote buttons. You can customize your code by combining multiple buttons or just one button, and you can create anywhere between 3 to six entries.
This translates into either a simple press of three buttons or a more complex pressing of four buttons six times in a row. The bottom line is that the code system has over 12 million variations, which makes it improbable for a thief to unlock.
The actual coding process is fast, you have exactly 13 seconds to program your code, and then after you have inputted the combination, a further 13 seconds to confirm it.
Due to the complexity of the code, it provides you with a bit of comfort in knowing that kids cannot access the weapon. Just make sure that when you do open it, your kids are not watching, since they tend to remember codes, yet they forget to brush their teeth!
The lesson to remember with kids is that they like danger and adventure, and nothing is more adventurous and dangerous than trying to get hold of Dads gun. So please make sure they are never around when you press in the code.
Tamper Proofing Alarm. Another great feature that is integrated into the system is a tampering alarm. This is a useful feature to make sure that no one has been playing around with your gun safe, and that includes your kids too.
You hold down specific buttons that will turn on the LED light display if the light is Red, it means someone has been playing with the code, if its green then the safe has not been touched.
This also works when the gun safe is empty, the safe will not lock after a number of failed attempts, so either way, you will know of the safe has been tampered with while you were away.
Another interesting feature is the alarm, it won’t go off immediately, but will go into a 2-minute shut-off mode after 24 failed attempts.
Once another attempt is made, the 25th, the alarm will sound, and that is enough to stop anyone from continuing, as well as assuring that an adult (if you are not there) will know that someone is playing with the safe.
When pressing the code, each button will give off a beep. This is important since it notifies you that the button has been recognized by the safes memory. If you press a button and there is no beep, press it again, or wait, and start over.
3. The Key
There is a mechanical backup key for when the key code system power dies, which often happens if the battery is not replaced on time. The key is a great backup tool that allows you to open the lock in a jiffy when the electronic system does not operate.
4. The Security Lock
The lock is considered to be one of the most secure in use for a single gun safe. It is so tight and strong that most safecrackers have a hard time accessing the safe in reasonable time.
Since there is no such thing as an uncrackable safe, what manufacturers look for are ways to make the cracking a long and tedious task, with as many alarms and pitfalls on the way. This is what happens with the SV500, so you are secure in the knowledge that your gun is safe when locked in place.
5. Other Models
The SV500 comes in a biometric locking version, that’s the SVB500, which is the same body and design, but instead of four buttons to push you to have a fingerprint scanner that will scan your fingerprint in under 1 second, releasing the door super-fast.
This is actually an even faster and more secure version than the SV500 since you don’t need to remember a combination, and it is literally tamper-proof. No codes, no worries.
The GunVault uses a 9v battery for power, as with all battery powered units, if you use this unit frequently, expect to replace the battery frequently too. This is fine because you will know when to replace it.
However, if you won’t be accessing the GunVault for months at a time, carry the spare keys with you, since you will need them to open the safe.
A tip here is to buy rechargeable long-term Lithium batteries and have them in a charger near the unit. That way, whenever you need to replace the old one, you can do so in a flash.
There is one complaint that the battery doesn’t have a warning light, I agree with that complaint, for such a well-designed system, adding a reliable low battery warning light would be a perfect solution.
This is one of the pitfalls in the system, and it does go through batteries. So be prepared to change once every few months, don’t wait for the battery to die out, just replace it on a regular basis.
Take into account that the biometric model eats up power faster than the button model, so expect to change batteries once every three months.
6. Night Use
You will notice that the buttons are set out in a quadrant, which makes identifying them easy, even when dark. The buttons are well sized and are easy to locate, just remember the pattern of your code, so at night you won’t have an issue finding them in the dark.
What I always suggest is don’t create too complicated a pattern, or you will end up forgetting the steps in an emergency. At the same time, don’t make it too simple either, or anyone can stumble on it by accident, and Murphy loves accidents.
One of the anti-Murphy complaints is that the buttons should have a backlight that turns on when they are pressed, I agree with this since the system is so well designed, it’s a shame that they didn’t include this feature to make night use, especially in power cut, easier.
However, all is not lost, once you have successfully keyed in the code, you will hear the mechanism unlock, and when the lock opens, a small internal light comes on. So, there is at least a light inside that will help you grab your gun quickly. Just take note, then in a pitch-black situation, the sudden white light can be momentarily stunning, so guard your eyes when you hear the mechanism unlock. The last thing you need is being temporarily blinded when you point your gun at an intruder.
Take into account that the SVB500 biometric lock is perhaps a better version for night use, you just place your finger on the canner and presto the drawer unlocks.
7. Silent Mode
For the more paranoid users, considering that an intruder will hear you as you key in the code, you can silence the beeping of each key. It will mean that you must make sure you press each key properly. Otherwise, you will end up making a lot of attempts at opening the lock while your intruder is enjoying the hospitality of a silent home.
Having stated this and considering now that you can master the art of opening the safe in pitch black and silence, you will need to consider the door opening mechanism which is mechanical and cannot be silenced.
So, place your hand under the door when you key in the code, this is the only way you will be able to catch it in time. If you don’t catch it, the clunk will be heard. Mind you, by then you will have the gun in your hand, and maybe drawing the intruder to you is the best form of attack. (Yes, attack, while defending your property you must attack your intruders, otherwise you lose the advantage of home ground.)
8. Versatility & Compatibility
The versatility of the GunVault is in the compatibility to just about every pistol you can find on the market today. Sure, you can go look for a WWII Tokarev, or maybe a Luger from WWI, go be a fancy ass, but when you are just trying to defend the homestead, you will most probably limit yourself to one of the more popular brands you can find in any gun shop on the market today.
The inner GunVault dimensions 2.25” x 5.75” x 8.5” and this means you can hold any pistol that is up to 8.5” long. If you are not sure of your guns measurements, either take a ruler and measure them yourself or go online and check the measurements. Having stated this, here is a list of guns already used by GunVault users, the list was compiled from reviews taken off multiple sites, so it is comprehensive. Honestly, I doubt it if your gun is not mentioned in this list.
One final word before the list, if you have any accessories on your guns, such as laser sights, silencers or other cool ninja death warrior additions, take them off, or the gun won’t fit into the vault.
Beretta 92 A1, Bersa .380, CZ 75-P07 Duty, CZ P-09, FNX-9, Glock 17, Glock 19, Glock 22, Glock 23, Glock 26, Glock 30, Glock 32, H&K p30L, H&K USP .45, H&K VP9, Kimber 45, P226, Ruger LC380, Ruger P95, Ruger SR40, Ruger SR9, Ruger SR9C, S&W 469, S&W 669, S&W M&P 9 mm, S&W SD9EV, S&W Sigma .40, Sig Sauer 229, Sig Sauer MK25, Sig Sauer P227, Sig Sauer P250, Sig Sauer P320, Springfield .45 XDM, Springfield XDM .40, Standard 1911s, Walther PPK 380
Due to its versatility, and compatibility, most gun owners, keep at least two of these safes around. One for each gun. If you are an individual contractor or a retailer, then you would also find one of these in your office while you are at work.
9. Extra Storage
This is a simple iditol proof safe, remember, the more moving parts and compartments you add will only add to the confusion. This is why it is safe for a gun, an individual item, and there is no room for anything else.
However, if you are smarty pants and have a dainty .22 that leaves plenty of room in the interior of the safe, you can always slip in an extra clip for the fun of it. Personally, I don’t believe that the vault should be used for anything more than a gun.
The bottom line is this; anything extra can cause the gun to get caught when trying to release it, that defeats the object of a fast draw. It is also cause for probable damage, and since its idiot proof, only an idiot would try to use it for more than it was designed for.
Take note; you can store the gun fully loaded, that is a standard operational feature that the safe accepts. If you decide to disregard this issue, you are in violation of your warranty and will lose it due to improper storage.
10. Fire and Water Proof
The GunVault is an open safe, so obviously it’s not fire or waterproof. Take into account that the safe is made of 18-gauge steel, and the gun itself is partially open to the elements since it is not hermetically sealed. This means that in a fire it will be damaged.
As for water, it depends on the gun, the only damage water will do is cause it to rust, so if you are flood prone, or if the rain can reach the gun, make sure you maintain it properly, oiling and even covering it in plastic.
Essentially, this is a fast release storage mechanism, so if you are looking for a fireproof gun safe, you will need to buy a proper fireproof gun safe.
11. All about the Manufacturer
GunVault is an American company; the owner is Alpha Guardian. They manufacture the safe in China based on specifications and design. This means that they get all the wonders of cheap Chinese labor, with all the specifications and standards set by an American company for an American market.
To be honest, I do promote buying American made goods; however, if you find another US manufactured GunVault that outdoes this GunVault then I won’t argue with you, otherwise, just sit back and enjoy all the wonders of this amazing safe.
As a note of worthy to take into account, Alpha Guardian is the umbrella company that owns the following safe brands, and as such, is considered to be a market leader in many safe categories:
- Cannon Safes: home and office safes and gun safes.
- Cannon Security Products: specialist wall-mounted safes.
- Stack-On: commercial safes, garage storage, and toolboxes.
- GunVault: single gun storage solutions.
The company has been around for 28 years and has a lot of experience in all things security and safe-minded.
Since this is an American brand, owned by an American company it comes with an American warranty. That means you have someone to talk to and deal with in case of any issues. The warranty is for one year but has a five-year fire and water damage coverage. To get the warranty you will need to sign up for it; it is not automatic.
Once you receive your package, check the contents for any obvious signs of damage, you can replace it. Then I suggest you check the locking mechanism on empty and full load.
Open and close it a few times and change the code a few times too. Check the alarm system as well. After you have completed a thorough quality inspection, then you can decide whether to ask for a replacement based on any issues that appear.
Take note about the storage space issue; if you decide to stuff a magazine into the lock and it gets damaged, the warranty is void, so don’t ruin your warranty because you wanted to store more than is needed or required.
The GunVault SpeedVault SV500 is an amazing gun safe unit; it weighs in at 8.2lbs, which is light enough to be easy for installation and heavy enough to be considered sturdy. The exterior dimensions are 6.5” x 3.5” x 13” inches, so make sure you have the right space to install.
The safe is made of 1-gauge steel and has an inner foam lining it, so your gun will be safe in the safe. You only need a 9v battery, and preferably some backups nearby. Always keep your gun key on you in case you don’t have power.
The Bottom Line
Due to the nature of the design and the process of thought applied behind the design, GunVault has come up with an exceptional model that is incomparable and stands in a class all unto itself. This model is extremely popular, and understandably so, and it comes with many options to make it even more popular.
The stand out features that I like are the 12 million or so codes you can choose from, which makes this vault safer than most safes. The fact that it can handle most of the markets pistols is also a great boon.
The only cons that have been noted are truly irrelevant when considering the whole picture, but I am assured that the company has noted this and will come out with an even better model soon. These cons are the not so silent door opening mode and the missing backlit buttons for night time use.
I will close by stating that this is a fine product made by a fine company, which means it’s a great buy, great value for money and an exceptional safe that has no comparison on the market as of yet.