Cheap(er) biometric gun safe

[Greg] sent in his biometric pistol safe lock. He keeps his guide light on details so not every Joe can crack the system (there is a thread to sift through if you really wanted to), but the idea runs fairly simple anyway. [Greg] took an old garage door opening fingerprint scanner and wired it into a half broken keypad based pistol safe. While he did have some issues finding a signal that only fired when the correct fingerprint is scanned, a little magic with a CMOS HEX inverter fixed that problem quick.

This does bring one question to our minds, are fingerprint scanners as easy to crack as fingerprint readers?


  1. Volfram says:

    if your old friend [Sprite] is anybody to go by…

    This could be really, really insecure if not done right.

  2. Dan says:

    Perhaps you could have thought of a better descriptor for the what the signal did than “fired.” :)

  3. Spork says:

    Yeah if someone steals your gun safe, chances are they’re getting in. =/

    The real issue is that some fingerprint scanners store high-resolution images of your print… which makes it even worse when the thief steals your gun.

  4. DerAxeman says:

    Since the electronics are all out side the gun safe all you need to do is put a high voltage on the wire and you are in. Of course if you build it with the electronics inside the box and some how relocate just the reader portion outside the box you could find your self locked out if you get a little paper cut on your finger.

    I think I’ll stick with my dial lock safe. I can live with sleeping with my 10mm under pillow and just put it away when I leave. Much more secure.

  5. Nice hack.
    Agree on the security issues, best to encase the circuitry in resin, preferably the indestructible ceramic loaded stuff to prevent someone obtaining your fingerprints.

  6. Raab says:

    Ya DerAxeman, nothing safer than sleeping with a gun under your pillow

  7. EdZ says:

    “are fingerprint scanners as easy to crack as fingerprint readers?”
    Optical? Easy, just use a printout. Capacitive? A bit harder, you need to make a fingerprint mould and cast some gelatin.

  8. EdZ says:
  9. EdZ says:

    But this is moot: the gun safe doesn’t NEED to be secure against someone armed with a printout/duplicate of your fingerprint. It needs to be secure against someone casually or accidentally opening the safe, and in this case it is. Unless there’s some legal mumbo-jumbo on requiring reliably restricted access that I am not aware of.

  10. Zundfolge says:

    EdZ is correct … these small fingerprint gun safes are not meant to keep thieves out, they’re meant to keep your young children from accessing your home defense arm.

    If your small children are capable of hacking your fingerprint gun safe then you should be quite proud of your little genius :D

  11. Toby says:

    Ok, security through obscurity does not work. Seriously!?! This is good enough for HaD? It’s a nice concept, a neat little “project”, but hardly a hack worthy of featuring here, considering the writeup.

    Sorry, HaD is better than this.

  12. Jake says:

    It would be nice to have something like this for a car. When I am taking classes, I have to leave my guns in my car because I can’t take them into the classroom.

    What’s wrong with the write up? Are you having a little hissy fit because it doesn’t have step-by-step n00b instructions for you? This is *definitely* what you would call a hack. It melds a freaking garage door opener switch with a freaking safe, man!!!

  13. biozz says:

    im a gun owner and i have many guns and all but my mossburg 500 PGP have gun locks on them and id love to see a cheap biometric quick releace for that *thinks* maybe i could try to make one? XD TO SPARKFUN!

    whats up your ass? it has everything a good hack needs … a group of devices that were never intended to be used together forced to work together perfectly to preform a task it was not intended to do for a good cause because he could not find somthing pre made that fits hhis needs

    this is the posterchild for hardware hacking

  14. Derek says:


  15. Jake says:

    I have a mossberg 590 tactical in my closet, with one of those key locks that goes around the gun and through the trigger lock, and is bolted to a wall stud. Swapping the lock cylinder out for something electronic + biometrics would be AWESOME. This hack has inspired me ;)

  16. Jake says:

    Excuse me, that sentence doesn’t make sense. The lock goes through the trigger. It’s basically a wall-mount gun lock which secures it in 2 places, tip of the barrel and the trigger guard.

  17. bilbao bob says:

    a long time ago, when big stereo speakers were part of every man’s legacy, I knew a guy who had not one but two .38 specials (semi auto) resting in his big old speakers using a specially routed opening which was lined with velvet. If you pushed on the butt, they would fall out into your hand. They were covered with little click into place frames that looked like a baffle.

    I should point out that he feared everyone, mostly because his dad had been a john birch society enthusiast. He was convinced that everyone was out to get him – the IRS, fluoride, communists, liberals, homosexuals and even the girl scouts. Poor guy.

    Still, I laughed like a jackass when his speakers got stolen. I was too young to be sensitive to the feelings of my older acquaintances. I think he must have spent thousands of dollars on an alarm system after that. Very very high tech.

    We would set it off by throwing beer cans into his backyard patio. I am not proud of this. Mostly I wonder how he managed to have that good of an alarm system in 1971. Incredible.

  18. bilbao bob says:

    @Toby –
    >Ok, security through obscurity does not work.

    I beg to differ. All security is based on obscurity.
    All of it, even the kind offered by government agencies armed with a propaganda wing that would make Goebbels blush, or with sharks/KC-135 tankers with “frikken’ laser beams on them”.

    Obscurity works very, very well, especially if you have guns for backup. Or ice cream. I find that ice cream often makes an excellent alternative to most calibers of bullet, but I’m also weird that way.

  19. Greg says:

    Wow, I made HAD! I guess I can die happy now. :-)

    Yes, some other security measures were employed but not depicted in the write-up. I figure if someone walks off with the safe they are getting whatever is inside it regardless. I only want to keep kids and my wife out of it and it is more than secure enough for that.

    If you want to see a video of it in action check it out on youtube.

    Thanks for all the positive comments!

  20. xrazorwirex says:

    Yeah, how many if you really think the airports are secure. All that BS they put you through (among other things) is to just make you FEEL safe and to scare away most people looking to do violence; most of which are pussies so it works.

  21. biozz says:

    i dont have a lock on my mossburg 500 because its my home defense weapon (im not supposed to own a handgun because of my age) i keep it next to my bed/couch and my biggest problem with locking it is if im jerked out of a sleep putting in a combination or finding and turning a key can be the matter of life and death and yet so can hitting it in my sleep or having the burger get to it before me so id love some sort of casing over it that all i have to do is swipe a finger … or hell maybe even read the rfid chip in my hand XD its potentially life saving … im going to try it you should to

  22. bilbao bob says:

    You know, a couch can hold more than loose change in the cracks beneath the back cushions.

    Mine has an authentic aluminum baseball bat, but you get the idea. Of course, at my little “toe hold”, a burglar would be so exhausted from climbing 4 floors and trying to figure out my magical locks that I’d easily be able to fix a bowl of ice cream for him and make fresh chocolate sauce before he could start ransacking the place.

    To this day, I’m always amazed that most people assume “Death by Chocolate” is an aphorism.

  23. Jake says:

    Well yeah, that’s what I’m saying – Have it blow the lock the moment you touch the sensor.

    I keep a Springfield 1911 and a SIG P232 on myself most of the time, so those guns are always somewhere near and ready. I keep the mossberg handy in the closet in case I need some extreme muzzle energy (Hornady high velocity slugs and buckshot loaded alternately in the tube).

    @blbao bob
    Is your baseball bat also Semi-Automatic? ;)

    Greg, this is a pretty cool hack. I love this combination of devices :D

  24. Mike says:

    I agree with EdZ and Zundfolge :)

  25. Mr Hacker says:

    look at how mythbusters did it , even your passport copy licked can crack a fingerprint lock

  26. bilbao bob says:

    > Is your baseball bat also Semi-Automatic? ;)

    The penalties for gun possession in most euro-zone countries are very high. It’s also an instaban. Of course, this is also the only place I’ve ever seen someone get shot in the stomach during an argument.

    I’ve got some equivalents handy, but I find that the compact aluminum slugger makes an acceptable replacement, since my strategy is to kneecap them them and run like hell. I agree that knee capping is more effective with a .45, but this ain’t wyoming. :)

    In truth, one simply avoids being a cowboy and keeps out of the part of the city that resembles somalia town after the sun goes down.

    The biggest threats here are being pissed on by drunks and being accidentally stepped on by one of the 2 meter tall olympic build brazilian trannies in high heels as they stomp up and down the street hustling tourists. You could lose a toe, or worse.

  27. Whatnot says:

    I keep a Mark IV series 12 nuke on the table by my bed but I need a secure access to the room where I keep my political torture prisoners, yeehaw
    So I can just convert this to a doorlock so the kids don’t torture the prisoners until they are 8 or something.

  28. Spork says:

    Very adult decision. That’s why I like you, you’re always thinking of ways to keep the children safe and sane.

  29. Whatnot says:

    @spork Thank you, it’s nice to have your efforts appreciated while doing your bit.

  30. Alex says:

    These days there are so many Heroin addicted, crazy convict, pants around the ankles, hackers out there; they would like nothing more than to defeat that gun safe. (I think it will be ok:)

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