I keep all my guns in a big wall safe with a combination lock. While they are well secured, I am practically defense-less in case a burglar surprises me at home and I need a gun in my hand immediately. Moreover it is not very convenient to open the wall safe every time just to pick up my gun I carry concealed with me. On the other hand I cannot just leave a handgun in a drawer because of my kids. When I searched for a solution to this problem, I found the GunVault SV500 Handgun Safe and purchased it. Let me share my experience after using it for over a year at home.
The SV500 SpeedVault is a quick access safe meant to accomodate a single handgun. The manufacturer kept it as small as possible while maintaining a good security level. You do not have to search for any key and you are able to retreive a gun in under 3 seconds (depending on your code complexity). GunVault also produces a biometric version SVB500.
The SV500 is made of solid 18 gauge steel and feels quite robust when properly mounted to a wall. You might, however, choose to mount it under a table or to the side of your bed if you prefer. The mounting bracket has got holes on top as well as on the side allowing you to choose the best mounting position. The safe itself has holes on its rear, left and right sides. Altogether there are more than enough options on how to mount the SV500. The only requirement is to keep the safe vertically (it uses gravity to release and open the door) and keep enough space for the door to fully open.
While the safe is not waterproof or fireproof (which is expected considering the low price), the manufacturer offers “GunVault’s exclusive 5-year full warranty” for fire and also burglary.
Features of the GunVault SV500 SpeedVault Handgun Safe
- Steel construction offers a long lasting strength and reliability.
- Exterior Dimensions 6.5 x 3.5 x 13 inches (H x W x D, including keypad and lock)
- Interior Dimensions 2.25 x 5.75 x 8.5 inches (H x W x D) offering comfortable storage of a single handgun, possibly with an extra magazine or some cash.
- Electronic locking mechanism with dedicated override keys — an electronic keypad operated by one 9V battery. You should use a good quality alkaline battery only and expect to change it in 3-6 months depending on the usage frequency. After purchasing you need to define your own access code (details below). The manufacturer included two override keys useful to open the safe in case you forget the combinations or when the battery runs out. Low battery is signaled by red LED (seven flashes).
- Flexible mounting offers many options to place the safe where you need it the most. Ideally out of sight, but quickly accessible.
- One-hand access – after entering a correct code the safe opens (door “drops”) automatically. There is a rubber pad on a spring suspending the opening door to eliminate any damage and noise.
- Quiet access – if you prefer to open SV500 unnoticed, then it is possible to disable the keypad sounds with a Mute button inside. Just hold the button for two seconds and you will hear a confirmation beep.
- Tamper detect feature – entering an invalid access code sets the Tamper Indicator. It can be checked by holding down buttons 2 and 3 for five seconds. Red LED light flashes if a tampering was detected, greed LED flashes otherwise.
- Security sleep mode – 24 incorrect entries on the keypad triggers “Security Sleep Mode” for two minutes, during which the keypad does not accept any entries.
- Interior LED light – when the safe door opens it automatically light up an interior LED. While this is a nice feature, it is not very helpful as the keypad is not backlit, so you still need a light to enter the access code.
The keypad consists of just four buttons numbered 1 – 4. Yet the passcode can be very complex, because it is not limited to 1-digit entry. You can use their combinations (press multiple button at the same time). The factory default code is 1, 2, 3, 4. You can (and should) easily change it with the Learn button inside of the safe. An example code can be programmed like this: 1, 1-4 (press 1 and 4 together), 2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3-4. Minimum is three and maximum six entries.
Programming your own access code:
- Press and hold the Learn Button for two seconds, the green LED blinks and the speaker beeps. You just entered the “Learn” mode.
- Enter your code in 13 seconds. The LED stays green.
- Press and hold the Learn Button for two seconds.
- The LED turns red, speaker beeps. Now you can release the Learn Button.
- While the LED is red, enter your new code a second time to confirm it.
- Press and hold the Learn Button a third time for two seconds.
- The LED blinks green five times, speaker beeps five times => your new code was accepted
- But if the red LED blinks and speaker beeps softly five time => something is wrong, start again from step 1
SV500 SpeedVault will remeber this new code even during a battery replacement.
After using it at home for over a year it still works reliably and I have had no issues with neither mechanical or electronic part of the safe. The only inconvenience is that the battery usually drained in bad moments when I was in hurry (and then had to search for the keys or leave without a gun). The LED informes you about low battery only when you press safe buttons (trying to open it) and the battery is already so low it does not open. You can, of course, change the battery preventively and use a high quality one to extend the period. With a low-cost non-alkaline battery the SV500 does not open at all (even when the battery is new).
To conclude this review, the GunVault SV500 SpeedVault Handgun Safe is a perfect solution when it comes to storing a single handgun in a quickly accessible but secured place. While it cannot provide very high security like its more expensive competitors (approved by the California Department of Justice), it is far better option than keeping your gun unsecured at all. For a very reasonable price it keeps curious minds (like your kids) away from your handgun giving you peace of mind while you are away from home. It is currently #4 Best Seller in “Guns Safes & Cabinets” on Amazon.com and in addition to the SV500 you can also choose a biometric version SVB500.