Customer Reviews: Gunvault MVB500 Microvault Biometric Pistol Gun Safe
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Price:$175.75+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on September 12, 2009
My experience with biometric, in general, has been spotty.

==== Short Review ====
In short, if you are looking for something you can use to securely keep a loaded firearm, yet still have quick access to a firearm for personal/home defense - this is NOT the product for you. Go with something that is not biometric. Also, this device is not going to stop a thief for more than a few minutes max.

If you are looking for something that you can use to store a gun that you use for leisure (you life does not depend on it) - there's simply not enough space, I dont believe that's what this device was intended for.

If you are looking to inconvenience a thief, stall a child's access, or use for travel - provided you can fiddle with the print scan for a few minutes, then this is just the product for you. Maybe you forget passwords and combinations easily and dont mind scanning your print several times - could be a good purchase...

==== Long Review ====
I had purchased this item because I wanted something to keep small kids away from my loaded handgun (used for home defense), and I wanted quicker access than the dial safe. I did not need a lot of space, just enough for the gun (springfield with a tactical light).

I received the item late August 2009. You push the "start" button which is the 1st of the 4 buttons. When the mvb500 has not been programed, pushing the button opens the device without scanning - no problem. I programmed the 2 admin prints - 2 second swipe, flat and firm, as the instructions state.

After programming the admin prints I noticed the device is very fussy. This is not unusual though - its something I've seen with other biometric devices (laptops). Swipe, deny, swipe deny, swipe deny... after about 45 seconds I am able to get the mvb500 opened.

To counter this "fussy" scanning, I continued to add my index finger print, over and over (stores up to ~128 prints. I would use different pressure, slightly different angle, and speed of swipe (2 second, 1 second, etc). I would also place the device at different elevations, on the floor, on the bed, on the dresser, etc. This technique actually works with laptops pretty well. To you, its the same print, but to the device is many different prints - thus improving your chances of a successful scan.

I also found that the device will get lazy - it will work pretty consistently 1st or second swipe, and then the next day it will forget who you are entirely - taking minutes sometimes to get in. So for about a week, I'd do a drill waking up , swipe-swipe-swipe-swipe-swipe-click. Once I got into the mvb500 I would add another print. Maybe your fingerprints change after a day <shrug>.

At the present I probably have 60 - 80 prints of my index finger stored in this device. I am able to get it to open after the 2nd or 3rd try.

Here's more on the intended service. If you are getting this device to give you quick access to a pistol or revolver - for self/home defense - this device is a very poor choice. You might as well keep the key close by ***** which I dont recommend if you have kids (They will find it, I promise) ****
-this is a different topic but I suggest that you look into safety and firearm awareness for your children if you have guns. They may not have access to your firearms but over 40% of Americans own a gun, one of your neighbors or the parents of a child's friend will have a gun - and you cannot control those guns, and I am of the opinion that it is better to teach your child than to keep them in the dark on something so serious.

Hope the review on this product, and the other advice included, is of use to you - be safe.
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on October 6, 2010
I rolled my eyes the first time I saw this pistol case advertised. I love the concept, but I have a very low confidence for biometric identification technology in its current state. I thought "maybe in 5-10 years, but not yet". Then a few weeks ago I visited a close friend who showed me his MVB500. I was skeptical and grilled him about it's reliability. I expected a high rate of false negatives, but he assured me his unit has been trouble-free and accurate. He demonstrated it in action. After 25 or so scans (demonstrating authorized and unauthorized) with no errors he had me convinced. I received my unit this week and was immediately pleased. It is virtually error free with even somewhat sloppy technique. As long as technique is reasonably competent I get zero errors. My wife was also skeptical but after programming her in and demonstrating the technique she is very pleased with the purchase. I've read the other reviews, and had I not experienced using my friends unit I would have been dissuaded from purchasing due to some of the negative comments here. Perhaps GunVault has made changes to improve the accuracy and reliability of the product because my personal experience has been worthy of 5 stars. I am very pleased and will recommend the product to friends and relatives.
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on June 19, 2010
So far, I love the Gunvault MVB500 Microvault. I have not had any problems operating the safe using the biometric scan at all. Once I slide my finger completely across the sensor, and it reads my fingerprint, the safe springs open in less than a second allowing you to access the contents. It usually works after the 1st scan, but never takes more than 2. The way you position your finger as you slide it across the sensor, will affect recognition of your fingerprint. I did have trouble using the key at first. The key does not initiate the spring action opening as u get when using the biometric scan. Instead, when u turn the key, you must pull the safe open from along the edges. Once I figured this out I was fine with the product.

I have plenty of room to store my Glock 26 with +3 grip extention, my back-up magazine with same grip extension, & two 50 count boxes(three or four 20ct. boxes) of ur favorite Ammo. You can even pull up the 1st layer of egg crate foam, and hide some cash or important documents underneath on a second layer od flat foam. The cable that is included is quite useful to secure the gunvault inside a vehicle if you take it on the go, or possible to somewhere in your home. There are also 4 holes at the bottom of the safe, once you remove the rubber foot pegs, that allow you to secure the safe to desk or table, etc. I recommend securing the the device in some way so that it cannot be easily removed from your designated spot.

I know a lot of people who like to sleep with there guns on top of, or inside of a drawer at there nightstand so that there weapon is close by in case of a break in. I used to be one of them. If you have kids, this is something that could lead to accidental shootings or death if a child comes into the bedroom in middle of the night or in the morning as you are asleep and takes possession of your gun. Maybe you even have a troubled teen with something to prove to his friends, that decides to take advantage of this habit of yours. The Microvault is strong & secure enough to keep your gun from being able to be removed before you awake. Especially if you have it bolted down, or secured to a wall/floor in some way using the cable that is included. I decided to educate, and make my kids quite aware of my gun(s), what its for, and make sure they know to never touch or play with guns. They are for self defense purposes, and for protection of this family. I also tell them what the black box on daddys nightstand is for. This eliminates some of the curiosity they may have to find out whats inside.

I am quite happy with this quick access safe so far. I do not think it is designed to be a place to store your gun without worry that someone can pry there way into it, and getting your gun. A stronger traditional wall, desktop, drawer, or floor safe would be better suited for storage while you are away from home without your gun. But if your are like me, whenever you leave your home, your gun goes with you in most cases. If I were to ever need to store my gun at home for a long time while on vacation or something, I would secure it in my main safe, not this device. The Microvault is better utilized as a temporary, or bedside safety storage device for your gun when you are at home. The Biometric system works well, and eliminates the need to search for a key. It does come with 2 keys, and a cool Gunvault keychain, just in case you let the batteries(4 double A) run out inside the device. I definitely recommend this safe to anyone.
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on January 7, 2010
I've had the biometric version of the MicroVault for couple of months. I've open the safe probably at least 50 times. It has opened every time as long as I slide my finger the way I program it to memorized it. I did make it memorize my pointing finger a few time on both hands. This seems to help the reliability of it opening up on the first try. I tried to use other fingers to see if I could fake it open, and I couldn't. It can easily hold one handgun and a couple of magazines, or 2 smaller handguns. Both sides (upper & lower) has gray foam used to help protect your items from contacting the metal of the MicroVault, hence not scratching via contact. This doesn't prevent objects in the case can't move/slide around and contact each other.

This is perfect for keeping children out of it and still allow fast access. This safe is not meant to keep people from breaking in to it since it's a lighter steel gauge. If someone wants to open it with a pry bar, I'm sure they could.

The MicroVault also comes with a metal cable that can be looped around something (similar to a laptop lock cable). The cable slides into the case when the lid is open. The little slot is on the left side of the case, 1.5 inch from the center, towards the bottom edge. The lid clamps the cable into place when it is closed, so it's easy to install or remove when open.

After almost owning it for a year, it's still working. Never had a problem unlocking the case with the biometrics. I just thought to add to the people who have issues with the biometrics.. Scan your finger in multiple times. This way one of the profiles will match that finger. Possibly that's why I never had a failed opening since I scanned my finger in a few times.

Edit 2 (6/2012):
Had my first time having issues opening it. Possibly dry hands. I got it open on a couple tries (not a lot but not something I want to do during a break in). Any case this got me to think that you should add the same finger scan multiple time in different conditions (dry, moist, etc). Once basis is cover, it will work fine.
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on January 8, 2011
I had been considering a small, single handgun style safe to keep either on my nightstand or in a drawer near the bed. I wanted something that would provide quick access in a moment of intensity, yet was secure from small hands. I wasn't a fan of either a combination lock or key access because I didn't want to have to try to remember a combination or wrestle with keys when time was of the essence. And children can, and will, find keys. So I thought the answer to my concerns was...


And this particular model seemed to fit the bill. I liked the idea of swiping a finger and being armed in a matter of seconds. I liked that I could program up to 120 fingerprints (although, in reality, who would use that many?) I was under the assumption that I'd be able to program mine and my wife's fingerprints, and virtually throw away the keys. And from then on, either one of us would have immediate access should the need arise.

Boy was I wrong. I don't know if it was a problem with the technology, or the unit I purchased specifically, but I never once got the biometric scanner to work. I fiddle-farted around with it for about two hours, trying over and over to record two finger prints. I never successfully recorded two prints, and I never opened the safe once using the biometric scanner. After becoming so frustrated that I wanted to pitch the safe out the window, I decided to return it. If I couldn't manage to open the safe once in two hours of trying, how could I ever trust it to gain access to a handgun if an intruder was threating my family? The safe worked just fine with the key, but I didn't pay nearly $200 for a keyed safe.

In short, here are my assessments of various features of the safe:

BIOMETRICS: Never worked once after two hours of trying. A major dissapointment.

KEY ACCESS: The key worked every time I used it (which was over and over while attempting to record a fingerprint).

SIZE: I was pleased with the size of the safe. I thought it was just about perfect for my needs.

STRUCTURE: For the type of safe it is, I thought it was sturdy. Of course, if a thief wants to steal the entire safe, he's going to. But I felt the intent of the safe was to keep unwanted hands out, which it did well. Unfortunately, it also kept my hands out, since the biometrics function was worthless.

OWNER'S MANUAL: A total waste of time. It was poorly written and poorly organized.

SECURITY CABLE: An added benefit, I suppose, but I never even bothered since the safe never functioned properly.

In summary, the safe gets one star from me because the primary selling feature of the product, the biometrics scanner, never worked. I'm a big fan of the concept, but the functionality just wasn't there. This safe is on its way back to Amazon right now.
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on October 27, 2010
Gunvault MVB500 Microvault Biometric Pistol Gun Safe - Very poor function. Works at best one out of 20 times. I use it with the key to open, which is a very expensive keyed gun vault. I cannot recommend this to anyone who is looking for a safe and reliable drawer type of gun vault. In theory, it has great potential, but the technology has a long way to go, at least the MVB500 Microvault Biometric Pistol Gun Safe by Gunvault.
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on January 3, 2011
Bought this safe, used it for 1 month and the latch stopped working. Tried to contact gunvault to remedy the problem, but after leaving voicemails and emails for a week, finally gave up and returned product to Amazon. You can't get any customer service from gunvault or their sister company Cannon always get patched to voicemail. Lots of blogs out there on the internet warn of this already, unfortunately I didn't shop around enough before purchase. Also, the biotmetric reader on the safe is a joke. Don't make the same mistake. Buyer Beware!!!
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on March 14, 2012
I have used multiple types of biometric access finger print scanners to set up security systems, computer password authentication, etc. This is the poorest fingerprint scanner/reader that I have ever seen. After setting up the fingerprint reader, it sometimes takes 15-20 finger swipes before the reader will open the box. I would have just used the manual finger key pad, but when they added the finger print reader to the design, they disabled the keypad so you can only use the fingerprint reader or key to open, so it truly is worthless. Terrible design!! The only good news is that once locked up, your kids can't get into it. Unfortunately, you can't either when you really need it!!!!
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on November 1, 2009
If you swipe your finger totally horizontally, it opens every time. Plenty well made. Much better than pushing buttons I think. Can't comment on battery life after only 6 weeks or so.

Edit: After 2+ yrs with original battery and infrequent use, everything is still like new.
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on August 25, 2010
I have had mine for a little over a year and I cannot open it without using the key. The biometrics cannot be programmed or recognized although the unit has power. It worked flawlessly for 14 months, I started having problems where it would sometime open and other times not. Replaced batteries, still had the same problems. This went on for 2 months, before it stopped funtioning completely. Very disappointing especially for the money it costs. Don't waste yours.

I opened a practiced quick access on a daily basis, it was open at least once a day since I owned the product.
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