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Digital vs. Biometric Safes: Which One is Right For You?

3 min read

For a firearms owner, safe storage is a critical consideration. Most people visualize a closet size safe full of all kinds of firearms, but when it comes to home defense, a different option may be more practical. 

There are many options for home defense firearms storage from a simple metal box with a key, to a multi-function wi-fi safe with a GPS tracker. But for most firearms owners interested in the best home defense option, the choices fall between a digital safe or a biometric safe.

Safes that hold one or two firearms and can be accessed quickly while still denying access to unauthorized people and children are more effective for the safe storage of home defense firearms.

Digital Safes

A digital safe has a set of four to six buttons that must be activated in a particular sequence. Many times the buttons are in a straight line or square formation, but there are some safes that have slots for your fingers on top of the safe. At the fingertip of each of the slots is a button. But what happens if you forget the sequence? These safes are also equipped with a key lock entry for backup just in case that should happen. Because these safes are powered by a battery, the key lock is also beneficial should the battery decide to fail. A good way to ensure that batteries are good is to change the batteries twice a year on New Year’s Day and Independence Day (or some other semi-annual way to mark your calendar).

Depending on the design of the safe, it may be difficult to locate the buttons and activate the sequence in the dark. Another possible downside is having to recall the finger sequence in a stress-filled situation with shaking hands. And it’s not a good idea to depend on the key backup in this situation when your fine motor skills make fumbling for and inserting a key very difficult.

Digital safes are generally the more economical choice. The safes are durable and hold up well even if a burglar might attempt to break them open by slamming them down. Another consideration when purchasing either a digital or a biometric is the size. Some of the safes can hold more than a single handgun, such as extra magazines, a flashlight and backup defense tools like a knife or pepper spray.

Biometric Safes

Biometric safes are generally about the same size as digital safes. The only difference between the two is that rather than having to manually press keys in a sequence, the biometric safe uses a fingerprint reader to access the firearm. In a situation where more than one person needs access to the safe, the biometric safe can be programmed to read multiple fingerprints.

Using a fingerprint is certainly quicker than trying to utilize a keypad, except when it doesn’t work. Fingerprint readers may be sensitive and have a difficult time engaging if the user has dry hands or even if hand lotion has been applied.

Just as with digital safes, biometric safes are battery operated and have a key lock entry as a backup. The biometric safes are usually a bit more expensive, but still are reasonably priced.

As with any home defense choice, the decision between a digital safe and a biometric safe is made depending on personal needs. You can choose a stripped-down version of either, or pick from safes that include various amenities. There is no one size fits all type of gun safe.

No matter which safe you choose, make sure it is durable and provides you with a fast way to retrieve your firearm when needed while making sure that the gun remains unavailable to your children or others who should not have access to it.



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