The GunBox, RFID and Biometric Gun Safe – Initial Impressions and Review
In late 2014 I received a GunBox for the purposes of review. Disclaimer, I did receive this product free of charge for the purpose of conducting a review, but as always that does not affect my opinion of a product. I have been using this product on a daily basis for about a month now. The purposes of this article are to convey my initial impressions about the unit. A more thorough “Part 2” review will be coming later this year.
First off, what is The GunBox? The GunBox is a small, nightstand sized gun safe that opens either by touching one of the RFID chips available to the top of the safe (more on those later) and/or using the biometric fingerprint scanner. There are several models available featuring an RFID only model ($299), an RFID and biometric scanner model ($319), and a model which also features GPS tracking ($499).
The safe is very well made and has quite a bit of heft to it. Unlike some other safes, this is a very sleek, modern looking design that almost looks like a wireless networking router or a similar piece of technology. It certainly doesn’t scream “gun safe” when you see it sitting on a nightstand.
The safe is controlled by an included power cord. The GunBox does have an internal battery backup which works for up to 8 hours if the scanners are turned on and up to 3 days if the scanners are turned off. There is a small external switch that is used to turn the GunBox on/off.
The GunBox does have an optional failsafe in case the battery runs down during a power outage. I have not had a chance to test this failsafe, but I will in my Part 2, long term review. According to their website:
A “Fail Safe” has been implemented into the GunBox. A small safety screw on the bottom of the GunBox can be removed using the included Allen wrench in a”rare” event the electronics malfunction. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get the instructional video on how to manually open the unit once the screw has been removed. For an added measure of security, the screw can be inserted from the inside of the GunBox, rendering the unit inaccessible. With the screw in this position, and in the rare event of an electronic failure, the GunBox must be drilled out in order to gain access.
The fingerprint scanner is the best I’ve used on a biometric safe to date. It has the ability to hold dozens and dozens of fingerprints which means you and your spouse can both program the safe to recognize multiple fingers from different angles. If the safe doesn’t recognize your fingerprint at first, just keep holding it there and in less than a second it will attempt to scan again, and again, and again. This goes on until the safe opens or you remove your finger. I never had the safe take more than 2 seconds to open using the fingerprint scanner. That said, I still prefer the RFID option.
The GunBox comes with a single RFID bracelet and an RFID sticker. The bracelet is fairly comfortable and even fit my gigantic wrists with room to spare. It can also be adjusted down for very small writs. Most of the bracelet is a rubbery material while the part that holds the RFID chip is a plastic which features the GunBox logo. The sticker seems to be fairly durable. I put mine on the underside of my TV remote which stays on my nightstand. This isn’t the most secure option, but it works for me for the purposes of my testing. I did try putting the sticker between my cell phone case and my phone, but in that position the scanner wouldn’t always read it. Same goes for putting it inside of my wallet. Using the bracelet and the sticker (as long as nothing was between it and the GunBox) I never once had an issue opening the GunBox, which I did multiple times per day, everyday, for the last month.
You can set the dual mode version of the safe to either require a fingerprint OR RFID scand or a simultaneous fingerprint and RFID scan. I leave mine in the “either or” mode.
A couple of minor complaints on the bracelets and the RFID stickers. First, I’d like both of these to be unbranded. I get more questions than I care for about what the bracelet on my wrist is. If it was a plain black, or better yet disguised as a Live Strong bracelet or something similar I would greatly prefer it. For the stickers, I wish they were unbranded and came in a variety of colors. The sticker that I put on the back of my TV remote stands out quite a bit against the black background. A plain, unbranded black sticker would be virtually invisible.
There is an optional alarm on GunBox which could help prevent theft. As with any small safe, it is probably going to do little to stop a determined thief as they can always just take the entire safe.
The GunBox is a TSA approved container for checking your gun while traveling by plane. I have not done this yet, but may give it a shot for a trip I have coming up later this year.
As far as size, the GunBox can hold one large handgun and an extra magazine, or possibly two small handguns depending on their size/shape. I’ve been storing a Walther PPX (a pretty large handgun) with an attached Streamlight TLR-1HL along with an extra magazine. This doesn’t allow for much extra room, but it’s totally perfect for the purpose of a nightstand safe.
The GunBox also has two USB charging ports on the back. A nice feature for keeping your nightstand or desk clutter free while being able to charge two devices.
All in all, I’m impressed with this safe so far. For me, it serves the purpose of keeping my nightstand gun out of the wrong hands at night (I have a sleepwalker in my house) while keeping it close by. At their price point, it won’t be for everyone and, of course, some people will be turned off by the new technology (which isn’t really all that new, RFID tech has been used in various industries for years now), however I would recommend this for anyone looking for a high quality nightstand safe that can also double as a nice transport case for a single handgun and extra magazine.