It seems all too often that I read or hear about tragedies in which a child loses their life due to an unsecured firearm irresponsibly being left within reach. Government research finds that these tragedies are most common among children under five and also in teenagers, with three-year old kids accounting for the majority of those deaths and injuries.
As a father of two young boys under the age of five, this information really hit home.
When I first started looking for a secure way to store my home defense pistol, I knew the product I settled on would need two things. It would need to be secure, and it would need to be practical. I didn’t want a small safe that could easily be stolen in the event that someone found it hidden in a nightstand drawer. At the same time, I needed to be able to access it very quickly should the need arise.
The GunVault SV 500 is a quick-access pistol vault that utilizes a drop down door. After entering in your access code, a latch in the upper portion of the door is released and you are given access to your pistol in about one second.
As the door opens, a courtesy light gently illuminates your pistol from above, which I have found to be a quality feature. The last thing I need in an emergency is to grab my pistol and find myself blinded by too much light.
With the SV 500, I’ve found that I am able to keep it very well hidden by mounting it to my bedpost and having my nightstand pushed right up against it. The mounting bracket is very solid and the ability to choose the orientation allows me to reach right over the edge of my bed and retrieve the pistol in a natural fashion.
The vault is sturdy, being made out of 18 gauge steel with a textured finish. I’ve been very satisfied with this product based on the ability to keep it very secure, well-hidden, and accessible for an emergency. I’m able to keep my chambered Glock 17 safe and secure while retaining the ability to have it in my hands in a second or less.
When I insert my Glock all the way into the foam, I find I am unable to get a good grip with my fingers to pull the pistol. This is by no means a design flaw, as the protective foam is cut and designed to hold a full-sized Glock and most pistols of smaller size. A simple fix is to draw the pistol out of the foam about a quarter to half an inch. This allows me to get my fingers around the grip and the tight foam keeps it securely in place. Again, not an issue, but I thought it would be worth mentioning.
The SV 500 requires a single 9V battery (not included) to operate. Above the keypad numbers is an LED that glows green or red, along with an audible beep for key presses, which can be turned off with a button inside the vault.
There are 4 numbered buttons for programming and entering your access code. It requires a minimum of three entries, with a maximum of six. An entry is counted as a single press of one or more buttons, which allows over 12 million variations.
There are several features that really make this vault stand out. Holding down the 2 and 3 buttons for five seconds will allow you to find out if the vault has been tampered with since your last entry. If it has, the red light will glow until you release the buttons, with the green light glowing if no tamper has been detected.
The SV 500 features a security sleep mode that is activated after 24 incorrect entries. The keypad will refuse to accept new entries for a period of two minutes. A low battery warning will give you seven red flashes and seven audible beeps whenever you touch the keypad.
I dislike this feature, based on the obvious. If I have to draw my weapon during a home invasion, I don’t want to hear a low battery warning before I can enter my code. I want to know about it before I have to use it. This can be avoided with a little maintenance by changing the battery routinely.
The vault measures in at 6.5”x3.5”x13” and weighs right around 8 pounds. The interior measures in at 2.25”x5.75”x8.5”.
A set of backup keys comes with the vault as well as a plastic strip from Flambeau, which markets itself as a corrosion protectant. This is inserted in the foam below the weapon and is designed to act similar to silica packets.
The SV 500 comes with a mounting bracket, wood screws, and thumbscrews. The mounting bracket has four holes that allow you to secure it with the provided wood screws.
After installing the bracket to a wall, nightstand, or bedpost (in my case), you simply use your key to open and remove the drawer. The vault can now be hung on a pair of hooks that are located on the mounting bracket.
It’s interesting to note that the SV 500 can affix to the mounting bracket on either the left, right, or rear of the vault. This gives you a wider range of mounting locations.
Reaching inside the vault, you insert the thumbscrews through the holes and into the mounting bracket. Reinstall the drawer and you’re in business. This entire process took me less than 5 minutes.
Having used the SV 500 for over a year, I can easily recommend the product to anyone that is looking for a practical solution to storing their home defense pistol. The only real issue I have is with the low battery warning, but this can still be avoided by regular battery changes.
A separate version, the SV 500B, features a biometric fingerprint scanner with the ability to hold 120 fingerprints. The only difference in this model is that it does not feature a tamper indicator or security sleep mode.
You can buy directly from their website, as well as view other products at www.gunvault.com
Gear seen in this article:
Gen 4 Glock 17
Author – Rodney Pointer is a former Army Infantryman. After graduating from Airborne School, he was ruthlessly assigned to Fort Polk, Louisiana to live out his days as a dirty leg. He served with the 2nd BN, 30th Infantry of the 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division. Following his deployment to Afghanistan, he received a Bachelor’s degree in Intelligence Operations. He currently works as a nuclear security contractor.