Looks like I found my way into the off-topic section again. Here we have a gun safe. Yeah, I know, it doesn’t quite fit in with everything we talk about here. However, it does have biometrics, so the story wiggled its way in. With that, I get to talk about the Winzone Large Biometric Rifle Safe.
Although “large” is in the name, I don’t know if I’d call it that. Tall, yes. Not so large. When I think large, I think of the models that are two to three times the width of this guy. However, it is tall. So for the sake of a proper description, we’ll call it the Winzone Tall Biometric Rifle Safe from here on out.
It comes packed nicely in a thick shell of foam that protects it during shipment. This is good since, like any safe, it is pretty heavy. Not as heavy as you’d think though. The metal walls are kind of thin, showing off the generic name and quality. I’d assume that it would be relatively easy to break into this unlike a brand like SentrySafe or Browning. Not that the average thief would be able to though.
The company provides bolts to anchor the safe to a wall using holes in the back that are accessible from inside the safe (once it’s against a wall). Batteries are included for the pack inside that powers the keypad and biometric sensor. As well as an external pack for battery access to these features if the batteries on the inside ever run dead while it is locked. This pack connects to a small hole in the front of the keypad to offer a secondary method of powering it. Allowing you to access to the safe via these methods when dead.
Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about knowing where you put that external pack since the safe does have a backup key hole that uses a typical key that you’d find with a bike lock or lock you’d slide onto the steering wheel of your car (does anyone use those anymore?).
The keyhole is hidden by a small rubber plug, located to the right of the keypad (as seen in the above images). You just pry that plug out and it reveals a keyhole behind it.
The inside of the safe is relatively basic. There is a small lockbox built-in at the top that uses an additional key to open. Making it a safe within a safe. Like everything else, it features thin walls and a door. So I wouldn’t count much on it as being bulletproof. Inside, is a piece of thin material to pad it with so things don’t scratch the safe up as they slide around. Sadly, the material is larger than the box so you will have to take it out and cut it back some, and you’ll want to glue it down so it doesn’t slide all over. Else you’ll likely toss it in the garbage as it doesn’t really do much.
You get a foam separator for rifles/shotguns that attaches to the midsection inside. It slides into place and does move around relatively easily, so don’t think you are going to stack/place anything on top of it. Either use it for what it’s there for or consider taking it out.
The bottom side of the safe has more of that thin material that doesn’t do much but slide around as well. And just like the lockbox above it, it is larger than the space it is meant to fit, so it comes wadded into place. Once again, you’ll have to cut it back and glue it, or toss it.
Running down the length of the door are pouches for handguns. They stick to the door via velcro thanks to the material running down the inside of the door. The material is the same exact material found on the floor or lockbox of the safe. So it is thin and the pouches just barely stick to it.
They do seem to hold the weight of an average handgun. However, you won’t slide a weapon into one without being concerned about how well it will stay vs fall to the floor after time. Thankfully, this safe has been in use for a number of months now and nothing has fallen (yet).
In the same image above (and to the right), you can see where the batteries slide into place for the keypad on the front. It takes four AA batteries and they barely stay in place. There is a lid for the battery compartment, but it doesn’t stay shut. It doesn’t even try to lock shut at all. Instead it kind of just hangs on from one end and eventually falls off.
You may find yourself using some kind of electrical tape or something to try to secure the batteries in place. Or just be extra careful on how hard you shut the door so that the batteries don’t go flying out.
I know, I seem to be complaining a lot on this one. It has a lot to do with a list of unfortunate specs that this model seems to lack. Don’t get me wrong. The price is absolutely entry-level for a safe of this size. However, if you have patience and shop around, you can typically find a larger and more secure option on sale for around $100-$200 more. By more secure, I mean models that have thick multi-layered walls and not simply made from thick sheets of metal. This safe does protect the stuff inside, but an experienced thief likely would know how to crack it. It also wouldn’t protect what’s inside for long if there was a fire.
It doesn’t end there though. You also have to be careful with the large bolts on the side of the door that slide out to secure the door when locked. These are what really hold a door shut on a safe and make the most difference when it comes to someone trying to pry the door open. They will likely have a hard time getting in via this method since these bolts are pretty solid.
However, the holes they slide in and out from are cut into, yet again, a sheet of metal. So it’s hollow inside, with a roughly thin sheet of perpendicular metal. These holes are also barely larger than the size of the bolt and not perfectly aligned.
If you aren’t careful when opening the safe, these bolts can slide a little too far inward and become stuck behind the sheet of metal. Preventing you from being able to close/lock the safe. You have to take a flat head screwdriver or something else to wedge in the hole to pry the offending bar (or bars) back through the hole(s) before it will lock again. Which has happened a few times with us.
Thankfully, it doesn’t happen often. It is only when you swing the handle a little too hard. With normal force, they won’t slide as far. So when opening it, you have to unlock it via keycode, fingerprint, or key. You then spin the ring around the keypad to the right to unlock the handle, and then (carefully) turn the handle clockwise to open the door. Everything else can happen quickly, It’s just that handle you have to be careful with so you don’t jam the bolts up.
This leads us to the final point worth mentioning. Blemishes.
There seems to be a number of blemishes and it all exists within the paint job. You can’t wipe these away. They appear to be there for good. With inside lighting, they aren’t as easy to notice, but you do when you get up close. In a fully lit environment, they really stand out though.
It’s nice having biometrics on a safe and the biometrics on this model really do work. This saves a good portion of the final score. The ability to open via finger, key code, or key (and has an external battery pack option) is also a bonus and helps with the score.
However, the build quality of the safe, the blemishes, the issues with the bolts getting stuck if you aren’t careful, the crappy carpet and sidewall material, and poor velcro, really do weigh against the score of everything. We couldn’t see ourselves obtaining another one of these.
Some years back I ran into a small sale at a sports store where I paid $600 for a tall model that is just more than twice the width of this one. It has incredibly thick walls all around, is heavily insulated against fire, the keypad and everything else is built well, and there were no blemishes outside of a few scratches from being a floor model. It wasn’t biometric, but it was so many levels better than this one without being much more. So there are better deals out there for sure. You just have to be patient.
However, if you were to find this one on sale for around $200 or less, it might just be worth buying into if you don’t need top-level security and fire proofing.
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