Gear Review: Stealth Tactical Original Handgun Safe

By Dave Goetzinger

I was contacted by Stealth Tactical recently with questions about my process for evaluating handgun safes, and in our exchange I revealed that I’ve grown reluctant to recommend electronic safes. I asked Stealth if I might examine one of their handgun safes featuring a mechanical pushbutton lock. Stealth sent me their Original Handgun Safe to look at. After giving it the once over, I replaced my old Fort Knox Original Pistol Box right then and there.

I first want go over some of the features that make this the first handgun safe I feel comfortable recommending. Then I’ll try to correct some of the confusion floating around regarding the KABA Simplex lock.

One of the first things I noticed about the Stealth Original Handgun Safe is that it has a tough scratch-resistant finish that is quite different from the finish on the two Fort Knox pistol boxes I’ve examined. The Fort Knox boxes have a metallic finish, and the process of producing the finish results in a fine grit being deposited inside the boxes.

Rather than cleaning the grit out, Fort Knox assembled both boxes and left the grit inside. Because of this, the Simplex locks in both boxes had buttons that stuck. I had to remove the locks to knock the grit out of them. The Simplex lock installed in the Stealth Original Handgun Safe works just fine, no disassembly required.

Anther feature I like about this safe is that, inside the lid where the hinge is, a heavy steal bar has been welded in place to grab against the frame of the box when it’s closed. If someone were to somehow wedge a large screwdriver or pry bar into the hinge at the back, there would be no prying the lid open from behind. In fact, there is no way to gain purchase with a pry bar on the lid, period.

The safe also has a handle that allows for portability. If someone were industrious enough to try removing the handle to open a couple of holes into the safe, that person would accomplish nothing. The KABA Simplex lock is encased in a housing made of the same 10-gauge steel the rest of the box is made of. No one is going to attack the lock with a drill by removing the handle.

The safe has another feature worth mentioning, a small matter of refinement that shows an attention to detail. The top layer of padding in the box is a “pluck and pull” piece of foam with a pre-cut grid that can be removed in pieces to accommodate items a person wants nestled inside foam. If the owner doesn’t want to use this feature, that person can simply swap the bottom and top layers of foam. Given that some people are going to mess up their initial attempt to use this foam, Stealth might consider selling foam layers separately. But that’s a minor issue.

Now, about the KABA Simplex lock: A couple of years ago I posted a video pointing out that with enough time a person could eventually stumble upon the combination of a Simplex lock. What I failed to explain is how difficult that is.

Look around online for a video—just one—where someone has recorded himself banging through all 1,082 possible combinations in one long, sustained attack. You will find no such video. No one is going to record the attack for a number of reasons. It’s hard to do. It’s easy to get lost in the sequence of combinations to work through. And it hurts.

When I tried banging through the combinations, I had to go for 30 seconds at a time and then add all the time up. The truth is, I probably added wrong and it took longer to get through the combinations than I estimated.

The point is this: the Simplex lock is more than enough deterrent to stop an opportunist who tries breaking into your safe.

Stealth, OriginalHandgunSafe from Handgun Safe Research on Vimeo.

The Stealth Original Handgun Safe has the distinction of being the first handgun safe I feel I can recommend without qualifying remarks. I’ve made it my own handgun safe. Therefore, I decided the time had come for me to design a Handgun Safe Research seal of approval, which I’ve given to this safe.

Specifications: Stealth Tactical Original Handgun Safe

Exterior Dimensions: 4-1/4″ H x 12-9/16″ W x 10-1/4″ D
Interior Dimensions: 3″ H x 10-1/2″ W x 9″ D
Lock Mechanism: Simplex lock
Mounting: Four pre-drilled mounting holes on the bottom
Material: 10-gauge steel
Weight: 24 lbs
Made in USA
MSRP: $299.99

Rating (five out of five stars):

Overall: * * * * *
The Stealth Original Handgun safe is a secure, solidly constructed case that’s more than tough enough to deter the average intruder. Highly recommended.

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