Gunvault MicroVault XL MVB1000 Review

Biometric Lock: Fingerprint
Max Capacity: 1 handgun
Programmable Fingerprints: 120
Exterior Dimensions: 10.2″ x 12″ x 3.6″
Total weight: 8.5 lbs.
Emergency Key: Yes
Mounting Hardware: Not Included
Warranty: 1 year
  • Pro’s
  • Compact design, great for truck/car or bedside
  • Quick access with “swipe-through” fingerprint scanner
  • True steel construction
  • Thick interior protective foam
  • Comes with a security cable
  • Storage pouch for documents


  • Does not come with assembly hardware
  • Not really a con, but on some website the product’s description page does not mention that the package comes with a security cable – so make sure you don’t buy an extra cable as you already get one with the MVB1000.

Quick Overview

Great little compact safe for storing one handgun plus a few clips and extra ammo. I bought it for my car,  as I have a concealed carry permit and sometimes need to go somewhere were guns are not allowed, so I can safely leave it in my car for a short period while its firmly attached with the cable. I’m also looking to purchase another one of those to keep it next to the bed. Accessing the contents is lightning-fast thanks to the “slide-through” fingerprint reader (more on this below), and the protective foam inside is really thick and makes the Gunvault MVB1000 look really elegant. This is obviously not an anti-burglary safe – it’s way too light and the steel is not thick enough for that purpose. For keeping kids and random opportunist thieves away from your handgun while giving authorized individuals super-quick access, it’s perfect.

Unique Scanner & Programming

What distinguishes the MicroVault XL MVB1000 from other biometric safes is the slide-through fingerprint scanner.Basically instead of having to place your finger on the scanning surface and wait 2 or 3 seconds until identification is completed, you only need to slide your finger over the scanning surface once, without actually holding your fingertip in place. I was originally worried that this design would not prove reliable, but was surprised that it reads my fingerprints with great accuracy, even if I slide my finger very quickly. GunVault’s no-eyes design works great with this type of scanner.

I’ve marked the scanning surface with a red circle on the picture to the right, as it might not seem obvious to someone who hasn’t seen this safe in real life. You just need to slide your finger over that little patch, and that’s it. You might have noticed what appears to be buttons on that safe; you can’t really press them (except for the one above the scanning surface, which you press to activate the scanner), and they are there just to help you properly place your hand if you need to access your gun in the dark.

Important: it’s always recommended to program your fingerprints from at least 2-3 different angles, so that no matter at what angle you place your fingertip over the scanning surface, the door will open.

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To program the safe, insert a 9v battery and press one of the two buttons on the inside – the one marked “Learn.” You should see a green LED flash and hear a beep, indicating the safe is ready to enroll your fingerprint. Now slide your finger over the scanning surface, and wait until you hear a beep. Then slide your finger again in the same manner to confirm. If everything went well, you’ll see a green flash; if something went wrong a red flash will appear instead and you’ll need to repeat the procedure.

The first and second fingerprints you save are called “administrative fingerprints.” If you want to program new fingerprints, you will require one of these administrative fingerprints. So for example if the first and second fingerprints saved (the administrative ones) belong to you, and the third and fourth belong to your spouse, your spouse will not be able to add any new fingerprints because his/her fingerprints do not belong to the administrative pool.

There’s also a second button on the inside of the MVB1000 – the “Delete” button. Please beware, as you can’t use this to delete individual fingerprints – as soon as you press and hold the button, all saved fingerprints will be deleted. 

Practical Capacity & Design

Gunvault labeled this safe as fitting for one handgun, however you can quite comfortably fit two smaller handguns (or one full-sized) plus 2-3 clips and maybe even some jewelry. The safe doesn’t have any pointy edges (everything is rounded) and it’s just very pleasing to the eye – I actually find myself looking for an excuse just to open it.

The foam padding on the inside is great too, not cheap as is often the case with other, even more expensive gun safes. It provides great cushioning for the contents during transport, and I’m confident it will last as many years as the safe itself will.

I also appreciate the storage pouch on the inside of the lid; I use it to store documents, credit cards and my cellphone, especially when I’m in a hotel.  I’m actually surprised that so few gun safes in this price range come with a pouch; it’s such a low-cost, yet very useful addition. Props for GunVault I guess.

And if the battery starts running low on juice, a red light will start flashing on the outside of the safe. I am yet to see this in action as the battery seems to be holding really well after more than 12 months of use, so I’ll update this review if I learn more about this function.

Installation & Safety Cable

The safe has two small holes at the bottom that you can use to bolt it down. Keep in mind however that the package does not come with any assembly hardware, so you will need to use your own bolts. Just remember never to drill the mounting holes through the holes in te safe, as you will likely damage it and void your warranty.

While it’s not mentioned anywhere on the web (at least that I’ve seen), the MVB1000 comes with a steel cable you can use to secure the safe when you take it with you somewhere. You simply loop the steel cable through a tiny little opening near the back and to the left of the safe, close the door, and the safe will be secured. Don’t worry about that opening – it’s small enough that it won’t be of any help to a potential thief, and it definitely won’t make it any easier for anyone to access your guns without the right fingerprints.

Keep in mind that this is not some heavy duty cable; it can most definitely be cut with the right tool, and probably very quickly. Again, this is not the safe to get if you want to deter well-prepared criminals; the MVB1000 is all about mobility and quick access.

Gunvault MicroVault XL MVB1000 Review – Summary

Not much more to say really. A great little compact safe for holding a handgun or two, with a dependable fingerprint scanner and enough steel gauge to keep random robbers and children away from your guns (assuming the safe is bolted down of course, otherwise it can be just carried away). If you’re looking for an elegant, mobile gun safe, the MVB1000 is definitely worth considering. See Amazon’s 31% discount and free shipping on this safe.

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