RFID and biometrics meet gun safety and storage with Gunbox 2.0

The Gunbox 2.0 saefly houses the author’s home defense pistol, a Glock 17. (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

Responsible gun owners must often strike a delicate balance between accessibility of firearms and safe storage, particularly when it comes to home defense pistols. This balancing act has caused a whole genre of quick-access pistol safes to surface on the market, including the Gunbox.

Gunbox is a company founded on a techy approach to the gun storage problem. Meshing RFID and biometric technology into a singular storage option, the company offers three distinct styles of storage: the Echo, the 2.0 and the SK-1 rifle box.

The 2.0, the company’s medium-sized pistol safe made its way to my home courtesy of Gunbox. Since its arrival, I have put the safe to the test to determine if it stacks up to more traditional storage options.

What is a Gunbox?

Included with the Gunbox 2.0 is a RFID tag that allows quick and easy access to the inside of the safe. (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

The Gunbox 2.0 is, simply put, a pistol storage option that aims to bridge the gap between access and safety. On the smaller side, the safe resides perfectly on a desk or nightstand. The Gunbox 2.0’s sleek design doesn’t immediately call to mind a gun safe. In fact, most people who have happened upon my Gunbox 2.0, had no idea that my Glock 17 rested comfortably inside.

The Gunbox 2.0 offers two means of entry into the safe – RFID and biometric. The first, RFID, uses a provided tags and/or cards pre-programmed to work alongside the specific safe. My tag, when passed over the shield emblem on the safe, nets a glowing blue light followed by the sounds of the hydraulic shocks which automatically open the metal lid. While a tag does sound obnoxious to keep up with, Gunbox also provides a bevy of RFID equipped accessories for additional purchase. Sticker labels, a ring and even a wristband ordered through Gunbox’s website allow users to achieve the same results as the tag but with less worry about losing it.

For users less inclined to keep a RFID tag nearby, the Gunbox 2.0 also supports biometric technology. Nestled below the shield emblem on the safe’s lid is a small cut-out that serves as the Gunbox’s fingerprint reader. When the Gunbox 2.0 first arrived, I was able to program my fingerprints into the system and thus can also use a press of my forefinger activate the safe.

Sporting hydraulic shocks, the Gunbox 2.0 automatically and swiftly opens to reveal contents inside. (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

Once unlocked, the hydraulic shocks swiftly lift the lid revealing the interior of the Gunbox 2.0. Inside, both the bottom and the interior lid of the Gunbox are covered in a rubber material. Designed to prevents scuffs and scratches, the rubberized material also pulls double duty by preventing contents from sliding around if the safe is picked up and moved.

Sporting an interior light for easier identification of goods, the Gunbox 2.0 is a spacious pistol safe. While I prefer to house just my Glock 17 inside, I have been known to squeeze a Glock 19 into the Gunbox alongside the G17. Confines are tight but it works. When it’s time to secure goods inside the Gunbox, the lid is closed and the Gunbox automatically locks itself.

The Gunbox 2.0 works a modern approach into its overall design. Sporting two USB ports in the rear of the box, the safe also acts as a charging port. Since it spends a majority of its time on my nightstand and given the fact the charging cable for my smart watch is extremely short, I utilize the USB option on the Gunbox 2.0 every night to re-juice my watch. So far, so good.

The Gunbox can either be plugged in for constant power or it can be charged as needed, since its internal battery can operate the safe off the grid. The Gunbox 2.0’s battery can last up to six months on a single charge.

Does it work?

The safe offers both RFID and biometric technology. (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

The biggest question when it comes to technologically advanced devices is always does it work? In the case of the Gunbox 2.0, that answer is a resounding yes – at least most of the time.

My single biggest problem with the Gunbox came down to the fingerprint reader.

To be fair, I’ve always experienced difficulties when it comes to my fingerprints. Every trip to get a concealed carry license has resulted in a multitude of exasperated attempts to garner readable fingerprints. My iPhone fingerprint reader is also finicky when it comes to interpreting my finger. Unfortunately for the Gunbox 2.0, the safe isn’t above my ghost-like fingerprints.

The biometric square was able to read my fingerprints about a quarter of the time, a figure that leaves me less than trusting in the technology. In a pinch, if I needed my Glock 17 in a hurry, I wouldn’t waste my time struggling to get the fingerprint reader to scan my finger. This, however, is where Gunbox 2.0 excels. Where some safe manufacturers offer a singular means into the safe, the Gunbox rides to the rescue with RFID tags.

The Gunbox 2.0 houses a charging port on the rear side of the safe along with two USB ports to charge phones, watches and other tech. (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

The RFID method is consistent and reliable. Every swipe of the tag across my Gunbox yields an open safe. It’s quick, it’s efficient and its why I generally prefer RFID technology to most other methods of gun storage.

Despite being an auto-open unit, the Gunbox 2.0 wastes no time allowing users inside. I was, at first, nervous that the hydraulic shocks would prove too slow for my liking but ultimately feel they are timed just perfectly. The included interior light is also a major bonus for the design. It’s soft enough that it doesn’t hurt the eyes in a darkened room, but bright enough so it’s easy to identify the contents inside the safe.

The safe offers a few ways to further secure it, preventing thieves from simply picking it up and fleeing. The first is a tether cable that can attach the Gunbox to a sturdy surface like a car seat or a bed/desk in the home. The safe also comes with pre-drilled mounting holes so the safe can be officially mounted onto a surface to prevent a pick-up and go situation.

Is it worth it?

Equipped with an internal light, the pistol safe illuminates contents upon opening. (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

Let’s be real, the Gunbox 2.0 isn’t cheap. The unit costs a cool $289. Not the kind of thing you’d source from the regular gun shop. The Gunbox 2.0 definitely has its merits though. Offering a tethered cable to better secure it as well as pre-drilled mounting holes, the Gunbox 2.0 provides a bevy of high-tech features that bring it well into the 21st century. While the price tag may cause sticker shock to some, the Gunbox 2.0’s use of RFID and biometric technology paired with its auto-open design and accessories make the Gunbox well worth its price tag.

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