Winchester eVault Biometric 3.0 Micro Pistol Safe

Picture shows the top of a gray, steel Winchester pistol safe.

Your children’s lives are priceless. Securing your firearm from curious little fingers is necessary for gun owners. In some states, even the law requires it. Picking out the correct gun safe is nearly as important as picking out the right self-defense gun. As soon as you decide to bring a gun into your home, you need to buy a safe that secures the gun from any unauthorized user. A gun safe with a digital lock, such as Winchester’s eVault biometric micro pistol safe, opens quicker than safes with dial locks. With a fail-proof fingerprint reader, only you and 15 other authorized fingerprints have quick access to your firearm.

The safe operates using a 9-volt battery or A/C adaptor with a key override. Constructed of heavy 16-gauge steel, the Winchester Micro Pistol Safe has a separate hard plate protecting the electronics on the inside, providing an extra layer of protection against tampering.

The 3.0 micro pistol safe measures 11 inches long and 8.5 inches high internally. Three small pocket pistols or revolvers—my test gun was a Kel-Tec P3AT—or one, full-sized handgun with an extra magazine, with room to add precious jewelry, safety deposit box key, flash drive or other small valuable. Both the lid and inside of the safe is foam padded, with an extra layer of removable foam.

To set up the safe you will need to open the keyhole cover and manually open the safe to access the “administration button” so the safe can read your fingerprints. On top of the fingerprint reader is a black plastic rectangle cover that slides on and off using two side rails. Slide the cover up to access the keyhole. There are two keys included in a small plastic baggie inside the cardboard box. Also in the baggie is a short, metal threaded Allen wrench. You will use this to push the internal administration button.

You will find access to this button inside the safe on the side of the steel box that houses the electronics. Unscrew the black plastic cap protruding on the side and using the Allen wrench or a straightened paper clip, push the button once to activate the authorizing process. A green light will appear above the fingerprint scanner, indicating the safe is ready to read your fingerprints. After the green light is on, the next light will be yellow, then pushing down with your finger as flat as possible, drag your finger at a steady pace over the sensor until the yellow light blinks once. Repeat this series for each finger five times to let the safe “read” your prints. Set-up takes about 45 seconds per finger.

Once scanned, the eVault securely encrypts the fingerprints. You can reset the device and erase all stored fingerprints by pressing and holding on the administration button until all three lights—green, yellow and red—quickly flash together.

Once I had two of my fingerprints read, I tested the safe. To gain access to your firearm, place your finger on the sensor for a quarter of a second and the green light will come on. Shortly after, the yellow light will come on. This indicates for you to swipe your finger down the sensor. The safe makes a noise when opening the lid. Laying your finger down keeping still or repeatedly tapping will not open the safe. You must slide slowly and calmly for the safe to open.

I had one odd incident of rapidly tapping at the sensor and then rubbing hard back and forth over the sensor and I got a red light—indicating a failure to read, but as soon as I removed my finger, the lid opened.

Those in our office who did not go through the enrollment process were not able to get the lid to open. I feel strongly that any unauthorized user can not open this safe. After one hour of consistent testing, the low battery light came on. The red light will slowly flash to indicate the battery is getting low. Running the safe on the A/C adapter should be the safe’s main power source. Further, it will mean access is quicker than depending solely on the battery.

Made in the U.S.A., the safe weighs eight pounds and includes a tie-down cable to secure the safe to a wall or large piece of furniture. Unlike many budget biometric safes, Winchester’s eVault biometric safe is 99.99% reliable to open when you need quick access to your firearm. With electronic safes, you do get what you pay for. Your children’s safety is no joke. A high-quality safe keeps unauthorized users from accessing your handguns.

Do you have a gun safe? If not, are you sure your gun is secure? Tell us in the comment section.

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Comments (4)

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. Risk assessment is critical to the decision process to arrive at an acceptable level and balance of security both for the item being secured and in the mind set of the one securing the item. Cost / Budget of item and/or value of item if compromised or cost to near environment if item is compromised are critical components to the level of security that may be considered acceptable and that minimizes the perceived and assigned degree of risk to or from the item.
    A lot of the small stuff will keep small hands from risk but not so larger and smarter ones. As the risk, real or perceived increases, so must the level of security provided.
    I would like to hear more on your views of “governmental philosophy towards risk assessment” . Given the current state of the world that would be an insight worth paying attention to.

  2. Most of these so-called micro safes should actually be listed as strong boxes. Their mislabeling is a marketing ploy from which there is no return.

    I learned a lot about risk assessment way back during a stint in which I was appointed as the resource protection officer within my agency. For years I had to take all these certification courses about safeguarding and inspecting classified information along with vault container protection and maintenance. I also initiated the recurring background checks on other agents and conducted site inspections for their classified storage.

    So during that period I became an expert on the government’s philosophy towards risk assessment. One aspect that interested me is they allow security managers to weigh the level of risk in association with taxpayer costs. Meaning you only spend as much to protect the asset as is warranted by its value, or the damage that would be created by its loss (like state secrets).

    That said, I learned that anyone with enough determination can get into anything. So in the end, how much should one be willing to spend to protect their assets? Unless you want to go broke, the answer should vary in cost based on the value you place in each asset.

    When it comes to firearms storage at home, my first assessed risk or priority is to simply keep the guns out of the hands of children first. For starts these micro safes are economical and provide a good level of protection for just such a need. Then if needed, build up to stronger (but more costly) storage as you can afford it.

    I have a large family with many children running about. My kids are well trained, but I cannot guarantee the same for other visiting children (or adults for that matter). I need these inexpensive containers because I wanted a secured yet accessible gun in every room of my house. As my collection grew, I eventually worked up to everything from tall standing safes for the bulk of my ARs, AKs, and Sniper rifles down to small drawer sized pistol safes all throughout my house and vehicles.

    I hope this info helps other readers.

  3. I have nothing against Biometric Security Systems, just the quality of the construction of the safe. I see a lot of exposed edges. Poor spot welding, if any welding at all. And it looks like standard stamped sheet metal construction. If somebody wanted to get into the safe, I think they could do it in 3-minutes or less while being drunk.

  4. When I built my home in Alaska we excavated a basement/storage/storm bunker out of the living rock of the bench that the house was built on. It is built under the oversized attached two car garage so that the ceiling of the basement is also the garage floor. Basement area is 20W x 28L x 8.5H foot space which includes two very large safes built into the re enforced concrete wall structure and as a separate room with its own re enforced steel door. This leaves a main room of 20 x 23 feet. This is the only poured concrete foundation in the structure. The remainder of the house is on pile supports. The safes are maximum waterproofed, fireproofed, corner pinned doors, with duel locking systems and internal climate control and security. In addition, the basement is also climate controlled, waterproofed, fireproofed and designed to provide shelter in the case of an emergency. Each safe has an 80 firearm capacity so there is plenty of room for all the firearms, additional valuables and important documents. The enclosed entry area (4.5′ x 13′) to the safes serves as additional secure storage, albeit less so than the safes themselves. Munitions, archery, some hunting gear, advanced first aid kit, and other small items are kept here. This room has a small wall mounted fire suppression system as a final resort if needed. The main room is set up as a work/live area for reloading, gear maintenance, and so forth. A hidden treated positive air supply system system, independent power supply, independent communication ability and secure water supply were built in in case of loss of primary utilities. The property security system may be accessed from here as well. Access from the main house is thru a concrete stair way with two doors, top and bottom. Top one is in the house and its outward appearance matches the other doors in the house. The bottom one is a fireproof, waterproof, airtight door at the lower entry to the space that has the ability to be positively secured from the inside It has several other security features that don’t need aired here. It didn’t start out to be all this but it kept snowballing until it was …. This space.

    The safes are permanently placed. There is no way to remove them from their permanent location and would require several hours to just access the area there in once secured in the first place. Although nothing may be made 100% secure! it can be made so as to make entry extremely difficult, time consuming and placing the aggressor in a single point of entry space with no where yo go in other words…. On the defensive and trapped. I have several other safes in another location and in somewhat more normal installations. They are a Fort Knox Legend 7251 and a Winchester Ranger Deluxe 31. Both are placed in a corner location and bolted into re enforced concrete foundation and wall. Both are 90 minute 1400 degree, water and air tight secure units. Each is designed to hold about 30 firearms and have internal environmental controls to further protect the contents. In the case of the Fort Knox I was looking to secure storage of several rare and expensive items and went the extra distance.

    I have also placed several hidden, single weapon, vaults with biometric access within my home for access to a firearm if needed. In Alaska, each exterior door of the house has an EMPTY 870 12ga over it hung on simple hooks. A small biometric pistol safe serves as munitions storage mounted about shoulder hight next to the handle side of the door. It allows for quick access but is suitable security around children and guests. These shotguns are primarily defensive against dangerous four legged animals of which I have several varieties in and around where I live. So, the separation of weapon and munitions doesn’t pose a great time problem as far as accessing then loading. If I suspect something other than a four legged intruder I have other options. It is the responsibility of every firearm owner to secure their arms safely to prevent unapproved use or access. This goes for ammunition as well.

    Don’t be part of the problem, don’t let the anti gun segment get free fodder to advance their agenda because you didn’t do your part. Can’t afford a safe?? Then get trigger locks for each of your firearms!! Most NEW buys today come with one. Use it!! If your keeping a loaded firearm for defense invest in a biometrics or punch code quick access lock box to secure the weapon. Don’t set yourself up for grief, guilt and failure.

    That’s all, be safe, World Traveler sends…

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