We’re broadening our in-depth series on safes with a look at a convenient method of fast-access handgun storage. The Winchester eVault 3.0 is a deceptively simple biometric safe. With the simple swipe of a finger (or any one of 15 fingers–if you have that many) the eVault opens. It is a basic level of security perfect for a desk, a bedside, or the car.
Weight – 8 lbs
Exterior Dimensions – 2.125″(H) x 8.5″(W) x 12.25″(D)
Interior Dimensions – 1.75″(H) x 8.25″(W)* x 11″(D)*
Fingerprint reader-99.9% reliable
Third generation reader technology
1 in 100,000 false acceptance rate
Utilizes active reader vs. optic scanner
Single finger operation
Solid state electronics
16 Ga. solid steel construction
9v battery back-up system (battery not included)
2-piece body construction with blind seam
Patented lock and latch mechanism
Impact resistant hard plate to protect electronics
Holds up to 15 fingerprints in nonvolatile memory
Advanced reader provides under
California DOJ approved
Scratch resistant, padded interior
Tie-down Cable (included with EV-600-B model only)
1 year limited warranty
“The most technologically advanced pistol safe on the market.” That’s Winchester Safes’ claim. I can’t dispute it, as the statement is open to a lot of interpretation. I do know that I’ve monkeyed around with a lot of biometric safe systems and this one works better, more reliably, than any of the others I have seen. So that’s a plus.
But let’s cut to the chase. There is a time and a place for a “safe” like this, though I hesitate to call it a safe. It is more of a lock-box. It is made of steel, and has a lock. The security it provides is intended to thwart fast-access crimes. It isn’t going to prevent anyone with a hammer and a chisel from getting to your gun. It isn’t going to keep an enterprising thief from carrying it and your pistol away. It will keep out kids. If you secure the key, and don’t allow kids to program their fingerprints, the eVault will work exceptionally well. Common sense would suggest that it isn’t Fort Knox. It isn’t going to offer much in the way of fire protection. It is what it is.
That said, this compact design is ideal. This one will eventually move from my desk to my truck. It slides neatly beneath a seat, and even has a cable to secure it to the seat frame. Now, when I’m visiting one of those abominations in which it is illegal to carry, I can lock the gun in the box and lock the box to the truck. In that capacity, it will thwart the basic snatch-and-grab.
It works well for the home and office, too. The narrow width lets it slide into most desk drawers. As a bedside option, it is discreet, if dark. It could be hard to find without light.
The noise it makes could also be an issue. It isn’t subtle. There is a whir-click sound that caps off the opening sequence. You can hear it on the video above. When the lock opens, the lid can be lifted allowing access to the gun. The whole process takes about two seconds. It is reasonably fast and incredibly easy.
The only question I have about the design is the orientation of the interior. Right handed shooters with full-sized handguns may find the placement of the gun in the safe awkward. Smaller guns fit in at various angles with no difficulty. I’d rather have another inch of width so a full-sized 1911 could fit, but at this narrow length it does hide easily well. One thing that I can say about this set-up that I can’t about most others is this: it is portable. The eVault Micro can go with you to the office, the car, the gym, the tent….
The price for the eVault Micro is $275. You are paying for the technology and reliability. Keep that in mind. There are much less expensive safes that boast very similar claims. They don’t always work. And when they fail at crucial moments, you will regret not paying for something you know will work.