Several weeks ago, my best friend and his wife had their first child. She’s an adorable little girl, but she presents a bit of a problem. As someone without children of my own, I don’t really know at what age they become sentient. Therefore, I assume that all children will be looking for guns under beds, in cabinets, and wedged between books from the day they’re born. The moment we found out
they she was pregnant happened to coincide closely with an email from AMSEC asking if we’d like to test out any of their products. Before long, a truck was in my driveway dropping off some of their steel targets and a Defense Vault . . .
The Defense Vault is six inches tall, fourteen inches deep, and fifty two inches long. This slim form factor allows it to slide under most beds where it can remain out of sight until it is needed. The Defense Vault has an advertised weight of ninety pounds, which I believe, as it took a friend to get it upstairs. It is a solidly built piece of machinery, that feels like, well, a vault.
From the factory, AMSEC includes a rubber pad for the bottom of the tray, four large lag screws, and a battery. From the time it came off the truck until it was under my bed securing my firearms was less than thirty minutes, and that was mostly because I’m slow at taking photographs. This is truly a plug n play affair, something that I appreciate quite a bit.
Further setup and customization can be accomplished by drilling holes in your floor and using the included lag screws to ensure that any burglars will leave sweaty and tired. They may or may not get your guns depending on how much time they have, and the number of tools they brought. I elected not to drill into our second story floor as I’ve enjoyed being married, and home modifications in the pursuit of a gear review seem to be contrary to that objective.
***Update*** – Mounting Options
My contact at AMSEC pointed out that if you don’t want to drill into your floor, or your SICK rug, you can always use the topside bolt holes to mount your safe underneath the bed. Again, this is not going to stop a determined intruder, but it will at least tie your guns and their safe to a heavier, less easy to move object. It might even slow down a determined thief for a few minutes.
The Defense Vault will not give much protection against fire, so assume that anything you put in here will melt down in case of a structure fire. This is strictly to keep people of all shapes and sizes out until you need to get in.
Further setup and customization includes adding stickers, and changing the factory six digit passcode to something of your own choosing. Out of the box, the Defense vault uses 1-2-3-4-5-6 as the code. Your code will also need to be six digits. To disengage the lock, you must first hit the “C” button to wake the pad and clear all other attempts, then enter the six digit code, and press the “#” key. The unit then cycles the lock open for a three second duration, at which time you slide a lever above the keypad a few inches to the right, and the door falls forward. Slide out the tray and you have your guns at hand.
The Defense Vault can be configured to run in Stealth Mode which silences the beeping noises that happen every time you hit the keypad. This feature is only helpful if you need to sneak out in the middle of the night with your HD gun to pew, and don’t want to wake the significant other. I can confirm that this feature works as advertised.
The unlocking process takes a few seconds, and even though the buttons on the keypad are big and backlit, I elected to just unlock the mechanism and open the door each night before bed. I’m very clumsy (and grumpy) in the thirty seconds after I wake up, especially if I’m awakened by the dog barking or someone coming into my home. I’m certain I could get the lock to disengage, but why bother with it when I can just leave it open all night. This will certainly change once the Kees have sprogs of our own, but for now, I’ve given the cats and the dog a stern talking to, and they know not to open the gun safe while I’m sleeping.
I received the Defense Vault on July 29 of this year and it has been under my bed every night since with regular locking and unlockings of the mechanism. I have yet to have a failure of the mechanism or any indication that the battery is running low, though I’ll probably replace it this month out of an abundance of caution. In case you’re wondering, the old battery will will be sacrificed at the altar of my shot timer which seems to eat batteries like a fat kid eats bacon cheeseburgers.
The only issue I’ve run up against is that my AR with attached TLR-1 Game Spotter is too tall when laid on its side. I can’t close the drawer so my light sits next to my gun while it sits in the safe. I believe that HD guns need lights, so I’ll have to get a smaller TLR-1 before too long to resolve this issue. That’s not an AMSEC problem, so much as its a silly gun owner problem.
- Model: DV 652
- Outside Dimensions: 6″ x 52″ x 14″
- Tray Dimensions: 3-3/8″ x 43-1/4″ x 13″
- Weight: 90 pounds
- Locking Mechanism: Electronic keypad activated
- Includes Items: 9 V battery, rubber mat, four lag screws
- Price: $350 at Costco (shipping included!)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Fit, Finish, Build Quality * * * * *
Anything with the word vault in the name needs to be substantial and AMSEC’s product didn’t disappoint. All of the welds and bends look clean and correct, the finish was applied evenly, and it weighs every bit of 90 pounds. The locking/unlocking mechanism is stout and makes solid “clunk” noises when engaged and disengaged. I never doubted the ability of the Defense Vault to keep children and baddies out.
Function * * * * *
It doesn’t actually “do” much. But what it does do, it does well. Every time I asked it to unlock, it gave up the goods. And every time someone who shouldn’t have access tried (I’m looking at you, cats), the Defense Vault refused them. I had kind of hoped the battery would die or something, but its just been sitting here working perfectly for nearly five months.
Overall Rating * * * * *
At $350 to $450, it is a pricey little item, and one that shouldn’t take the place of a proper gun safe. But if you make the decision to keep a gun in the house for home defense, you really should ensure that it is either attached to you or locked up securely. In my case, I’ve elected to use an AR as my primary home defense weapon, which means that it doesn’t go in a holster at the beginning of my day. Our friends are staring to build their families, which means curious little babies are soon to be running around my house. I needed a simple and effective solution to make sure that the only hands that touch the HD guns are the ones my wife and I have approved of. This is a great solution to that problem that works as advertised.