The first responsibility of gun ownership is safety. Providing a good balance between quickly accessing your firearm when needed vs. keeping it out of the hands of those who shouldn’t touch it what GunVault Inc, makers of “personal sized” gun safes, are offering with their SpeedVault SV500 and SpeedVault SVB500.
The SpeedVault’s design allows a single handgun to be stored securely under a desk, next to a bed, inside a cabinet, or anywhere that rapid and discreet access to a firearm is required. Many gun owners feel that storing a firearm (securely, of course) in a night stand is good enough. But the US. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics found that for break-ins that occur while a resident is home (defined as “home invasions”), a resident is sleeping only 38% of the time. A large number of home invasions occur during daylight hours, when getting to your nightstand in time may not be feasible. I’m generally carrying a concealed firearm while outside the house, but that’s not always the case when I’m home. And since I spend a good portion of my day in my office, a SpeedVault seemed like a good solution.
Installing the SpeedVault
Installing the SpeedVault was a snap, and took me less than 10 minutes, thanks to its modular design and use of a separate mounting bracket:
Using the included screws, you can attach the mounting bracket to pretty much any solid surface. With the bracket firmly attached, you just line up the slots on the right, left, or rear of the unit, hang it in place, open the safe, then use the included thumbscrews to tighten it against the bracket from the inside.
The SpeedVault takes a standard 9V battery, which the specs state should last a year. But since this is something on which you could potentially bet your life, I recommend using an Energizer Advanced Lithum 10 year backup battery instead (I also recommend these in smoke detectors). It might not last 10 years, but it should last a lot longer than a standard alkaline. If the battery starts to run low, the SpeedVault will beep to warn you… but only after it’s been opened. So I suggested opening your SpeedVault at least weekly to test.
Accessing the SpeedVault
GunVault currently offers their SpeedVault in two configurations: the SV500 with a combination lock, and the SVB500 with a biometric (fingerprint) lock. The biometric version can store up to 120 fingerprints, and the first two enrolled prints are designated as administrators (allowed to manage other fingerprints). But I opted for the traditional push-button combination lock because it was much less expensive, and I’ve had great success with them in the past.
As far as the number of combinations available, you might look at the four digit keypad and assume that with a four digit code, the safe only supports 256 unique combinations, or “4 to the power of 4” in mathematical terms. However, the access code to open the safe can consist of anywhere from 3 to 6 “entries.” And each “entry” can be a single key-press, or any combination of 2, 3, or all four key-presses. For example, your code could be as simple as “1, 2, 3” or as complex as “1+3, 1+2+3+4, 4, 2+4, 2+3+4, 1.” That means the GunVault SV500 supports “15^6 – 15^2” unique codes, for a total of over 11.3 million (11,390,400, to be exact).
If you forget your combination, or the battery dies, the SV500 comes with two backup keys (I recommend storing one in your main gun safe). You can open the safe with the key to replace the battery or quickly reset the combination.
One of the SpeedVault’s features I really like is tamper mode. By holding down the 2 and 3 keys together for 5 seconds, the single LED will display either red or green. If green, that means that the last time someone touched the keypad, the correct combination was entered. If red, it means that someone who didn’t know the combination unsuccessfully attempted to open the safe. If you’re a parent, that red LED should facilitate a teachable moment. 🙂
By default, the GunVault SpeedVault beeps on every key press. But if you’d rather keep things a bit more stealth, the mute button (inside the safe next to the learn button) will let you shut the beeps off. This is how I run mine. The safe still makes a bit of noise when it opens, but it far more quiet than with the beeps.
More SpeedVault Features
The SpeedVault is lined with foam, which lets you slide the firearm in and out without damaging the finish. There’s enough room for most full-sized revolvers or semi-autos, and I was able to even fit an extra magazine inside with my full-sized Steyr M9-A1.
My SV500 also came with a GunVault-branded Flambeau Zerust Plastab, which is apparently designed to prevent corrosion inside the safe. I’ve never tried these before, but the Amazon reviews look good, and it was free, so I figured I had little to lose.
Another nice touch on the SpeedVault is a top-mounted LED light, which makes locating the firearm easier in the dark. To save battery life, it automatically shuts off 10 seconds after the safe opens.
What the SpeedVault Is Not
With all of its positive features, it’s important to understand what the SpeedVault is not. Its 18 gauge steel makes it sturdy enough to prevent tampering and keep a gun away from kids or co-workers, but anyone with a hammer or crowbar who really wants to get in will (as with any other safe) eventually get in. It’s also not fireproof or waterproof… but it’s not supposed to be. At its price point, it does what it’s supposed to do very well.
The bottom line is that if you want to keep a firearm close-by at your desk or nightstand, the GunVault SpeedVault SV500 or SVB500 are excellent choices. They balance security with rapid access so you can get your hands on your gun when needed, while keeping curious fingers at bay.
GunVault makes a number of smaller gun safes for a wide variety of applications, and the SV500 and SVB500 fit nicely into their lineup.
Product Review Video
For a closer look at the GunVault SV500 in action, check out the review video I uploaded to my YouTube channel.
As always, I welcome your questions, comments, and feedback below!