Thursday, December 22, 2011

Is It Safe? A Review of Two Bedside Gun Safes

As everyone knows, owning a firearm for personal defense is not only a right but also a big responsibility.

Preventing the firearm from falling into unauthorized hands, especially if you have kids is a high priority. However, you also want to be able to quickly access your firearm in case of need. So what to do?

There are numerous potential solutions but having a gun safe that can be opened quickly by the bedside certainly fits the bill.

1. The Gunvault GV1000C-DLX Mini Vault Deluxe

Interestingly enough, you can get the Gunvault Mini Vault Deluxe on Amazon right now for less than the Amazon price for the standard Gunvault Mini.

The Good:
Quiet operation, excellent manual and easy to make operational. Setting the code was a breeze as was silencing the beeps when entering the code. It has a crossbar to keep the batteries in place and was not bad to install them.

The Gunvault Mini holds a Glock 23 and Kahr PM9 and a folding knife rather tightly without much room for anything else, but the size form factor doesn't take up a lot of real estate on or in your nightstand. If you need more room than that, get the GunVault -Double Gunvault Safe.

The foam is thick and nicely cushions the firearms.

Operation of the safe is vewy, vewy quiet. Elmer Fudd would approve while hunting rabbits quiet. This is good for quickly and quietly getting access to your firearm if you need it.

The Gunvault Mini deluxe comes with an external AC adapter so you don't have to rely on the batteries, and two manual keys to open the safe if all else fails.

The Bad:
No negatives to report so far. I like this one quite a lot. The finger grooves give quick access in the dark and the silent operation is a nice contrast to the DAC Sportsafe.

2. The DAC Sportsafe

The Good:
Very roomy, inexpensive and works quite well, at least for awhile.
At 11.5 X 6.75 X 8.5, the DAC Sportsafe is a heavy and roomy safe indeed. Easily holding a Glock 23, a Kahr PM9, a spare mag for each and other accessories with room to spare for keys and other items it is quite large and certainly takes up some space on or in a nightstand. The DAC also comes with 4 keys to open the safe should the batteries run out or you forget the code.

The DAC appears to be a cheaper Gunvault knock-off, even the manner of resetting your keycode is the same, but it doesn't have the finger channels, only raised buttons that worked well enough in the dark once you index on them.

Battery life is decent, which is good, as changing them is a pain.

The door opens quickly and with authority when the proper code is entered.

The Bad:
The interior is a thick neoprene-like material but it seems rather cheaply made and is not as thick nor cushioning as the Gunvault. The beeper unit fell off the side of the safe early on, and there is no crossbar to ensure the batteries stay wedged tight against the top of the safe as you go to install them. Changing the batteries is not easy. You have to empty the safe and then remove two wing nuts by feel, pull down the battery pack and replace the batteries and reinstall.

The DAC Sportsafe is very noisy. There seems to be no way to silence the beeps when using the buttons to open the safe, which certainly makes enough noise to alert all and sundry that you're awake and doing something. Further, the operation of the safe itself is very noisy with a heavy and loud clunking noise as the motor draws the locking bar back to let the door spring open.

To make matters more interesting, DAC's website conspicuously fails to have any support or documentation available for the safe. Heck, it doesn't even mention the safe exists, so if you lose the manual and need to reset the password, you're hosed. It doesn't sound like they want to promote that they are associated with this safe.

My DAC Sportsafe safe provided about 4 years of solid use and required only a few battery changes in that time. However, it finally whirred its last whirr and has now failed to engage the lock even with fresh batteries and a newly reinstalled code. The lock mechanism failed to close even with the keys and just clicks with the locking bar remaining in the drawn back position. Basically, it was a solid safe but with a one year warranty only it is a heavy but disposable item. It would cost more to it ship off and repair, assuming such a repair could even be arranged, than to just buy a new unit.

My experience with the DAC Sportsafe may be atypical and if yours lasts longer than it would not a bad if noisy safe for the job, but just not a great one.

Conclusion: I'd recommend the Gunvault Deluxe model (either then Mini or standard) over the DAC Sportsafe. Operation is quieter, the signature finger grooves really work, it seems to be better put together, and the included AC adapter is a definite plus. For the minor price difference its worth going with the name brand so to speak.

However, while they last, either one will keep firearms out of unauthorized hands yet allow quick access to them if needed.


God, Gals, Guns, Grub said...

We have two Gunvaults... a 1000 and a 2000... both deluxe models... the 2000 we've had for several years and we're very pleased with both...

We change the batteries every six months when we change the batteries in the smoke detectors...

Dann in Ohio

Anonymous said...

This thing is so tough and the app is amazing. I'm loving it so far. I have A Springfield 1911 and a Sar arms 45 in this thing and they both fit perfect right in my trunk. So far so good