Between gun safes, to trigger locks, to the firearms themselves. What are your thoughts on biometric fingerprint identification in different products?
Unless, and until, the technology drastically improves I am dead set against using bio scanners to access your defense weapon. They have been proven to be to slow and cumbersome to use in a life or death situation. Tests showed that when the person was rushed the bio scanner did not recognize the fingerprint most of the time on the first try and a lot of the times on the second try.
Do YOU want to risk your life to a few seconds waiting for the dang thing to finally recognize your fingerprint? I don’t.
I have one on the safe that I use for ammo and storage of my firearm if I’m going to be away for a while, which is not often at all. It also has a combination as well as a key. The fingerprint feature came with the safe and wasn’t extra.
For my bedside safe which is the one I would have to access quickly, I do not have that feature. I also read and have seen videos of people having issues gaining access, as well as kids being able to access the safe. The bedside safe did have the fingerprint option, but was 80 dollars more. That wasn’t my sole reason for not getting that option though, the issue of quick access was.
Great responses guys! IMO I’m really not a fan. I have a hard time warming up to it. For reasons you mention above, access when you need it. In theory, I want it to work. If the tech behind it was rock solid I would change my feelings about it. I personally like the idea of the scanner built into the firearm. Today, no way would I trust it.
The concept is sound, the affordable tech is not (just my opinion).
@Kelly, I have a medium size desktop safe on my small dresser by my bed that came with a keypad and biometric fingerprint scanner. I keep my two pistols and clips and ammo for the same in there. As others have stated, it does get picky at times if I am in a hurry. For that reason, I keep one pistol and two back up clips on me at all times when I am home. I have a tall firesafe for my AR and the ammo for that and that did not come with a biometric fingerprint scanner. If I could get one for it I would as long as it had the keypad too. For bedtime, I have a Bedside Holster from Crossbreed Holsters because if I get awakened in the middle of the night, I don’t want to be fumbling around with any kind of lock or release. I have no kids in the house, just my wife and I, so I don’t have to worry about little hands playing around with guns. In the end, Biometrics does make it easier to open the safe, when it works. Hope this helps as well.
All conversation is helpful @NJStraightShooter especially to those that may be newer or on the fence. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
I’ve actually been sharing this thread with a coworker of mine. He is newer in the firearm world and wants to be more involved. We have one of the trigger lock bio scanners on a rubber duck to test the product out. He loves it. Thinks there is no better option. I had a conversation with him on being able to use it under pressure. So, for fun, we set an alarm on his phone. When the alarm goes off he would have to react to get his ‘firearm’ out and ready. I obnoxiously opened drawers, moved his chair, etc to be distracting. When the alarm went I added to the noise saying “now, now, now. Get it” and so on. Needless to say he fumbled with it and took 3 tries to scan his finger and release. Yes more practice would help him fumbling. But 3 times?!? Good thing this was for fun. His response “maybe it has weak batteries or something.” My response “maybe I’ll have a gun or something.” The concept is great and I hope the tech advances.
@Kelly, Glad he avoided the drawers. LOL. One night by accident, I left a drawer of my low dresser next to my bed open. When I came back into the bedroom I was distracted and in a hurry and forgot that it was open. Needless to say, my left knee slammed into the drawer giving me extreme pain and I still have issues with that knee to this day. This was almost a year ago. Your friend was very lucky to not have had my experience with open drawers.
Oh man! My kneecap hurts thinking of that! A year later?!? Ouch!!!
Soo… I used to work for a company where we designed and made fingerprint scanners for security access and for law enforcement (scanning fingerprint cards and crime scene latent prints). We had our own fingerprint scanners on all our access doors outside, and on secure areas inside. Here’s my experience:
some people have fingerprints that scanners like, some don’t. I don’t. In order to make the scanners work for my fingers we had to set the matching threshold so low my dog could have accessed the building with a paw print if he knew my ID code. So… scanners NOT a good idea for every person.
change of skin conditions change how the scanner works - if your hands are usually dry and that’s how you set up the scanner, but they’re wet on a given day (say it rains, or you did dishes, or they’re sweating because a bad guy is kicking down your kitchen door) the scan may not match what was programmed.
they are germ magnets. might not apply with your gun safe, but in our setting if ANYbody had a cold or flu, within a week EVERYbody had it. because you are all touching exactly the same square inch of surface… one that many people had touched after LICKING THEIR FINGER to get the scanner to register their print.
so… no biometric for me, thank you.
Never thought of sickness before. Makes sense.
Besides skin condition (which I’m glad you mentioned!) I know if you were to be diabetic or anemic this could cause issues with the scanners too.
When I considered getting biometric on my safe, I thought about the fingerprint reader on my iPhone. I think Apple does a lot of things right, but if they can’t even put a reader on millions of phones that doesn’t work about 20% of the time for the reasons you mentioned, I just don’t trust any other manufacturer to do any better. It’s just too critical to not work 100% of the time.
Take it from a retired computer and security engineer, or don’t
Fingerprint biometric locks are FAR from foolproof.
I used to do a demo for training where I used rubber cement to pick up a fingerprint and use it to log onto a bio-locked fingerprint ID computer and some of the fingerprint ID locked thumb-drives. It was relatively quick, easy, and it even looked casual to those watching, not like I was “breaking in”.
There is some new (emerging) technology that seeks to prevent such fingerprint spoofing using optical coherence tomography (OCT) - but that’s still not really available mainstream, and is currently cost prohibitive for consumer systems. Safe and trigger locks using OCT would cost more than the firearms they’re protecting.
Still, fingerprint ID can add a level of deterrence for the casual bad guy. So is it a good idea?
My personal opinions on fingerprint ID for:
Handgun safes - If you keep (or are required to keep) your handgun in a safe when you’re at home but still want quick access to it, then a fingerprint ID on the handgun safe will provide convenience over a combination or a key lock (provided you keep good batteries in it) However, I would never leave a firearm in a fingerprint ID protected safe when I’m NOT around. Because with the extra time he has in an empty house, any determined thief can defeat the ID and get access to the contents. Better to pull the batteries on the safe and leave it protected by the key or combination if you’re going to leave it alone.
Trigger lock - Having a trigger lock on your gun sounds to some like a very safe thing to do. Unless you need the gun. Then you have to unlock it, remove it, and possibly (depending on how the lock works) load the firearm before you can use it. Hope it’s not an emergency! (It usually is) If you have to use a trigger lock on your gun whenever it is not on your person, I would prefer never to have it off my person. Fingerprint ID trigger locks might save you hunting for or fumbling with a key which could be a plus (but it doesn’t eliminate the other problems with having a trigger lock on a gun you suddenly need). But if you are storing your gun with a trigger lock in a locked safe when not at home for two layers of deterrence on stored firearms, I would not want it to be a fingerprint ID lock for the same reasons already stated in the previous item
Fingerprint ID gun - Supposedly this is so nobody but you can operate the gun (unless they spoof your fingerprint…oops). The problem is in many cases it means not even you can operate the gun. Just say NO! This one isn’t just inconvenient it can get you killed. Finger too dry? Won’t unlock. Too wet (sweat or blood)? Same problem. Angle wrong? Too much or too little pressure? Missed the sensor? Used wrong finger? Finger has a cut? A scar? Batter dead? Dropped the gun and cracked the sensor? Dropped or impacted the gun and now it won’t respond? Bang, you’re dead.
Well, that’s my opinion. Your preferences or experiences may differ, And certainly your mileage may vary.
Hello fellow Engineer I worked on fingerprint ID systems a while back … my story here: Biometric fingerprint ID
Interesting to see the information you listed about spoofing, I knew that was out there but didn’t think of it when I was writing my cautionary tale above. Different causes, same result… firearm either not controlled as you intended, or not available when needed.
The system I’m currently working on is an OCT (and ultrasound) cardiac artery imaging system (images the inside of heart vessels for the placement of stents). You can get some amazing images using OCT, but I’m here to tell you I would not rely on it for a biological feature that needed to be repeatably matched from day to day over months or possibly years. Having worked on both the fingerprint matching side and on the OCT imaging side - gonna go with Just Say No. My love of technology makes we want to believe in magic, but I’ve spent far too much time developing both kinds of systems to EVER want to bet my life or the lives of those I love on any such technology. Especially if it is made at a consumer price.
Hi Zee, Great to meet you.
The work you’re doing sounds like fun. And what a great application: helping improve/save lives
I know what you mean about loving the magic (aka technology). And you are so right - loving it and trusting it with your life in the face of imminent harm are two different things.
Stay safe …and stay away from any fingerprint scanners that people have licked
Nicely laid out @PaulG. I had the opportunity to go to a seminar where different vendors showcased their product. Regarding the finger print built into the firearm, I agree with everything you mentioned. Way to many what ifs. The vendor was describing situations for LE where the bad guy couldn’t operate the firearm. What if the officer went down and another officer had to use the gun? Only an X-amount can be registered in the scanner. Like I mentioned above, in theory, I like the ideas behind the scanners in different products.
I have a Hornady Rapid Safe next to the bed. I tried the RFID tags, and while they functioned fine, I found that I preferred a simple (but not TOO simple) combination code to open it. My wife and I both regularly enter the code into the safe in order to make it routine to the point where we don’t really have to think about it. This safe does not have a biometric scanner, but I figured to tell my preference as everyone is different.
Absolutely! All opinions are welcomed!