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Best Gun Safe [2020 Review]

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​As responsible firearm owners, we must all consider safe storage. A good gun safe is part of a solid investment for your household, and also protects your investments from damage and theft.

Our Top Picks for the Best Gun Safes

​If you’re looking for ​the top gun safe that will last you for a long time​, here is our list of the 3 best rated gun safes. They are durable, sescure, and can hold multiple firearms.

Best Overall
​Steelwater Extreme Duty 45
Best Gun Cabinet
Homak Security Cabinet
Best Fingerprint Safe
SentrySafe QAP2BEL
New and Improved E.M.P Proof Steelwater Extreme...
First Watch / Homak 8-Gun Security Cabinet, Gloss...
SentrySafe QAP2BEL Gun Safe with Biometric Lock, 2...
​Fireproof Rating
2 hours at 1875°F
​Storage Limit
​45 long guns
​8 long guns
2 guns
Best Overall
​Steelwater Extreme Duty 45
New and Improved E.M.P Proof Steelwater Extreme...
​Fireproof Rating
2 hours at 1875°F
​Storage Limit
​45 long guns
Best Gun Cabinet
Homak Security Cabinet
First Watch / Homak 8-Gun Security Cabinet, Gloss...
​Fireproof Rating
​Storage Limit
​8 long guns
Best Fingerprint Safe
SentrySafe QAP2BEL
SentrySafe QAP2BEL Gun Safe with Biometric Lock, 2...
​Fireproof Rating
​Storage Limit
2 guns
  1. Top Overall Safe: Steelwater Extreme Duty 45
  2. Top Long Gun Safe: Winchester Big Daddy
  3. Top Small Gun Safe: Hornady RAPiD 2600

Out of the safes we reviewed, it was a tough choice to narrow it down to the best home safe for guns. In the end, the Steelwater Extreme Duty 45 was the favorite.

With a 2 hour fireproof rating and the ability to hold up to 45 long weapons, these long gun safes last a lifetime and store any gun you might own (along with additional gun equipment).

New and Improved E.M.P Proof Steelwater Extreme...
  • NEW and IMPROVED E.M.P proof digital keypad with a high security, double bitted bypass key. Never be...
  • IMPROVED 25% longer locking bolts - (20) Solid steel locking bolts - 8X Hard-plate to Protect...
  • PLEASE READ BEFORE PURCHASING: Undeliverable to New York with zip codes beginning in (100-104) &...

Reviews of the Top Safes for Guns

​Because there are so many options out there, we’ve created a comprehensive view of the best options. Not everybody has the same needs, so we’ve gone in-depth to talk about the great features that make each of these gun safe and handgun safe models to help you pick the right one.

Best Gun Safe: Steelwater Extreme Duty 45

New and Improved E.M.P Proof Steelwater Extreme...

To begin, we have picked from the best available – the E.M.P Proof Steelwater Extreme Duty 45 Fire Protection 120 Minutes. At its price, it requires a significant investment. However, we’ll break down all of the features that make it worth the cost (and give you something to compare the other safes to).

The Extreme Duty safe line is a behemoth for sure – at over 6 feet tall and 1,200 pounds, you’ll probably need to work with a professional safe moving company to get it installed.

The biggest reason for choosing these long gun safes over others is the incredible 2 hour fireproof rating at a heat of over 1,800 degrees. The Extreme Duty safe has a heat-activated seal that will expand and fill any gaps in the case of a fire.

This insulates the guns inside from the effects of fire, heat and even keeps out damaging smoke. The difference between a 1 hour rating and 2 hour rating might mean saving your entire weapons collection.

As far as physical security, this safe is highly reinforced with longer locking bolts. The walls of the safe are made with 9 gauge heavy steel, thicker than many other safes. The entire front door, and critical other points, are reinforced with ¼” steel. The critical components of this safe are strong enough that they are literally bulletproof.

The safe is equipped with electrical and USB outlets, and automatic LED light that activates when the door is opened.

Product Specs

  • Quick access keypad
  • ¼” steel reinforced door
  • Automatic interior LED light
  • ​Holds ​​​45 long weapons, plus ​hand guns and accessories
  • ​Solid 9-gauge construction
  • ​Can withstand 1,​800 degrees for ​120 minutes
  • ​Comes with pre-drilled holes for bolting

Why Buy?

​Reinforced protection with the highest fire security system in the market.​

New and Improved E.M.P Proof Steelwater Extreme...
  • NEW and IMPROVED E.M.P proof digital keypad with a high security, double bitted bypass key. Never be...
  • IMPROVED 25% longer locking bolts - (20) Solid steel locking bolts - 8X Hard-plate to Protect...
  • PLEASE READ BEFORE PURCHASING: Undeliverable to New York with zip codes beginning in (100-104) &...

Best Gun Safe Under $1,500: Stack On Extra Large Double Door Cabinet

Stack-On GCM-9216-DS Convertible Double Door...

The Stack-On Extra Large Convertible Double Door Security Cabinet has the most space in comparison to other cabinets on this list. Users can hold up to 31 guns inside of its storage. This product is great for users that want a high-end gun locker.

We’ve noticed four removable steel shelves that come with the product. Use the shelves to store jewelry, ammunition, and other valuable gun equipment. The Stack-On Cabinet offers a high level of security and Is used to keep your accessories and firearms out of harm’s way.

The Stack-On Security Case gives the user an organized and safe location to keep their firearms. If you want the extra space and efficiency, the Stack-On cabinet will do the trick.

Product Specs

  • 3-point locking system
  • ​Reinforced steel door
  • Convertible cabinet selection
  • ​Padded sides to reduce scratching
  • ​Accessible lock

Gun owners like the barrel rest that are found inside the cabinets. The rests make it easier for rifles to be stored without running into other guns.

Stack On’s backrests won’t deteriorate over time and offer the best space for your rifles and other long firearms.

However, users found fault with the safe’s mounting system. Stack-On’s safe requires screw installation from the outside of the cabinet. You’ll probably need a two-person assembly, and you’ll need 360-degree access when mounting the device. We advise that you set your cabinet up before placing it in areas with tight spaces.

Why Buy?

​Massive storage space for your all your valuables.

Stack-On GCM-9216-DS Convertible Double Door...
  • Stack-On builds gun cabinets and safes purposefully, with the outdoorsman in mind. We strive to...

Best Gun Safe Under $1,000: Stack On A-40

Stack-On A-40-MB-E-S Armorguard 40-Gun Safe with...

We’ve chosen the Stack-On A-40-MB-E-S Armorguard with Electronic Lock safe for the under $1,000 category because it has a good spread of features and is a good general-use safe that will fit the needs of many users.

This electronic locks safe has a gun capacity of 40 long weapons at maximum – although this will require removing the shelves on the right side of the safe, so keep that in mind when considering this purchase. If you wish to keep the extra storage capacity of the shelves, the safe will hold around 20 long guns – which is still more than adequate room for many shooters.

From the factory, this electronic locks safe is provided with door pouches. These allow you to store a number of handguns, ear muffs, ammunition and magazines, or any number of other accessories. Keep in mind this is a great feature because many quality safes don’t have this from the factory, and to add an aftermarket door system can cost $100 or more.

The safe and barrel rests are fully carpeted for the protection of the barrels of your gun from damage. The shelves are also adjustable for height to fit a variety of long guns.

Some guns, like AR-15s and lever action rifles, are on the short side and might need a shelf lowered for them.

The adjustability lets you set it up to your needs, but it might require some planning and playing around with to find the right configuration.

The A-40 is rated for 30 minutes of fire protection at 1400 degrees, as verified by independent party testing. For additional protection, the main door is lined with fire retardant material and the lining of the safe will expand under heat, sealing the safe and protecting the guns.

Product Specs

  • Quick access electronic combination keypad
  • ​Holds ​​​40 rifles, shotguns
  • ​Multi point door locking system
  • Fire protection of 1,​400 degrees for ​30 minutes
  • ​Comes with door pouches ​for accessories

The Stack-On A-40-MB-E-S Armorguard with Electronic Lock safe uses an electronic combination for quick access to the safe. It uses true a multiple-point locking design to prevent the door from being forced open. 1.5” locking lugs provide plenty of bearing area to create high resistance strength.

Although this safe may not feature top-of-the-line features in this regard, the security that provides is very important. Keep in mind this is a very good compromise if your budget can not exceed $1,000.

Why Buy?

Durable, economical safe for ​a not so hefty price tag.

Stack-On A-40-MB-E-S Armorguard 40-Gun Safe with...
  • 2 & 4 way locking with 1.5 inch live action locking bolts
  • Fire resistant for 30 minutes up to 1400 degrees F, tested and verified by an independent testing...
  • Fully carpeted barrel rests and interior are convertible with Adjustable shelving

Best Under $500 Gun Safe: Barska Gun Safe

Barska Security Safe - AX11898 model

For safe storage options, fast access, and a reasonable storage size, we recommend the Barska Gun Safe.

The safe does feature a robust 5-point locking system to prevent physical damage, meaning it is not likely to be forced open. However, it does not feature more sophisticated protection features to prevent from attacks targeted at the interface and locking mechanism.

This gun safe is lightweight and relatively mobile, so you can move it and install it and installed by the user with relative ease.

​It is supplied with mounting hardware, and is configured such that it can be mounted on the floor or up on a wall – such as in a closet, garage, or anywhere of your choosing.

The inside of the safe has room for a small assortment of long guns. It is sold with removable shelves that support the storage of a small number of handguns, some ammunition, and other necessary accessories.

Although it does not have a huge internal capacity, it is more than sufficient for the cash-strapped shooter with two guns to secure.

Using a biometric locking fingerprint scanner, the safe can be accessed quickly if needed. It is capable of saving 120 fingerprints, so a number of authorized users can be added for access to the safe.

Additionally, each user can scan multiple fingers and multiple prints of the same finger to increase reliability on this biometric rifle safe.

Product Specs

  • ​Digital keypad, quick access scanner
  • ​Holds ​​a small number of guns, has storage for long guns
  • ​5 point locking system
  • ​Comes with mounting system
  • ​Comes with two back up keys

If you are nervous about the reliability of this protection technology, the Barska Gun Safe has a number of alternative methods of entry. It has a keypad which supports a user-created pin, and can also be opened with two provided manual keys. It works on standard AA batteries for easy replacement.

A cool additional feature is the ability to program the safe for silent operation. Most digital keypads beep when a code is entered or the safe is unlocked, which is good for user feedback in entering the PIN. However, these high-pitched beeps are very audible and may give away your position.

For less than $500, this safe makes some compromises but retains a number of very important features. It is a great intermediate option for somebody on a tight budget who is just starting to collect firearms or only has a small number to store. The lightweight, low cost, and flexible mounting also make them ideal options for apartment living or frequent movers.

This safe is a great combination of safe storage, fire protection, quick access, and convenience for the price.

Why Buy?

Effiicient, necessary features for a fraction of the cost.​

Barska Security Safe - AX11898 model
  • Biometric Security: The biometric module is easy to program and can hold 120 fingerprints. The...
  • Personalized Storage: The safe comes with 12 internal removable position racks and 3 removable...
  • Solid Construction: This safe is built with durable steel, tamper-resistant edges, and equipped with...

Best for the Money Gun Safe: Stack-On 10

Stack On GCWB-10-5-DS 10 Gun Security Cabinet -...

For our best bang for the buck model, we recommend the Stack On GCWB-10-5-DS 10.

The Stack-On is the best cheap gun safe and also the best long gun safe for the money. It has a capacity of 10 long guns max, although many users may find that the practical capacity of the safe is closer to 7 or 8 long guns.

A steel shelf at the top supports ammunition and accessories, or is removable to store long-barreled guns in the safe. To protect the guns from scratching and scuffing, the cabinet has a foam bottom and foam-padded barrel rests.

In terms of physical security, the Stack-On cabinet is designed to keep unauthorized users from accessing it. The cabinet is more than sufficient for keeping out children or prohibited users, as well as satisfying legal requirements for safe storage of a fire arm.

​The safe uses unique double-bit keys, which are provided. The lock engages at 3 points and is robust enough to dissuade further entry in most cases. The safe can also be bolted down for extra security. All things considered, however, the security on this safe probably is not enough to deter an experienced thief with tools and time.

Product Specs

  • ​Double-bit keys access, engages at 3 points
  • Holds ​​10 ​rifles, shotguns
  • Top shelf for additional storage
  • Fire resistant
  • Foam ​padded​
  • ​Very affordable, good value

Additionally, remember that this safe has few features for protecting your guns inside from damaging disasters such as fire, smoke, or even flooding.

Why Buy?

Solid, reliable protection with the ​balanced amount of storage​.

Stack On GCWB-10-5-DS 10 Gun Security Cabinet -...
  • Holds 10 rifles or shotguns up to 52" tall
  • Steel top shelf provides additional storage or is removable
  • Stack On 10 gun security cabinet features a foam padded bottom and barrel rests

​Best Biometric Gun Safe: VaultTek VTi

Vaultek VTi Full-Size Biometric Handgun Bluetooth...

The Vaultek VTi Full-Size Biometric Safe is a high-technology safe packed with features for the user.

In addition to its locking mechanism, the VTi features several other methods to open the safe. A backlit keypad allows a user to type in a code. Additionally, a BlueTooth SmartKey and 2 manual keys are provided with the safe. Because reliability is a common concern with buyers, these features allow a quick back-up option.

The safe is Bluetooth compatible with a unique app for monitoring the system as well. From their phone, the user can check the battery of the safe, enable or disable certain functionality, change access settings, and even receive tampering alerts.

The battery is actually re-chargeable with an included Micro-USB kit. It has a battery life of around 3 months, and can also be left plugged in for a constant power source.

For such a small safe, the VTi has a number of additional security features. It is provided with mounting screws as well as a steel security cable to secure it in your home. The safe also has active features to resist prying and forcing it open, as well as the tampering alerts mentioned earlier.

Inside, there is enough room in the safe for 2 full size handguns and few additional accessories, such as extra magazines or a flashlight. For smaller compact or sub-compact handguns, a pistol safe may be able to fit as many as 3 or 4.

The safe is lined with non-absorbent closed-cell interior padding, which protects your guns and valuables during storage and does not hold on to moisture that can cause problems with rust.

Product Specs

  • Quick scanner, bluetooth smartkey access
  • ​Holds ​​2 hand guns, valuables, accessories​
  • Comes with micro-USB kit for charging
  • Automatic Interior LED light
  • Non-absorbent interior padding for moisture prevention
  • Comes with steel security cable

It also features an automatic interior LED light that activates when the safe is opened.

The capacity of the safe is more than enough for storing an entire defensive handgun set-up for two people, plus valuables and all the additional accessories. However, it will likely not be enough to store additional firearms (nor would it generally be advised to store your other firearms where they could get in the way of your defensive guns).

In this regard, this safe is best used for the person who only has 1 or 2 handguns, or is willing to dedicate a safe just to their most important defensive guns. In this way, it would make a great complement to a larger gun safe or cabinet where other guns and valuables are stored.

If you are the kind of person who only has a couple of handguns and wants to find the most efficient way to store them, this may be the safe for you.

Why Buy?

​Fastest reliable access for urgent situations.

Vaultek VTi Full-Size Biometric Handgun Bluetooth...
  • ADVANCED ANTI-THEFT PROTECTION featured on all Vaultek safes includes anti-pry bars, Dual...
  • HIGH CAPACITY safe for multiple handguns. TOUGH AND RUGGED heavy-duty 14-GAUGE carbon steel...
  • 5-POINT ENTRY with the unique SMART KEY with immediate access mode, upgraded SMART ALIGN biometric...

Best Long Gun Safe: Winchester Big Daddy

Winchester BD-5942-36-10M Win Big Daddy Series,...

The Winchester BD-5942-36-10M Win Big Daddy Series lives up to its name. At 5 feet high and 3 feet wide, this long gun safe is indeed a “big daddy” of a safe. It features carpeted, protected storage space for up to 42 long guns.

Although we are rating this the top long gun safe, the Big Daddy does additionally have accommodations for a small number of pistols, as well as all of your needed ammunition and accessories.

Due to its overall height and uninterrupted storage space for long guns, all but the longest guns can be secured in this safe. A hunting shotgun, tactical rifle, or historical rifle can be challenging to store safely due to their unusual length. The Big Daddy safe will store any sort of rifle, shotgun or long weapon with no problem.

The Big Daddy safe is also fireproof for 75 minutes at 1400 degrees. As we covered with the Steelwater and Stack-On gun safes, fire protection is very important for securing your guns, rifle, shotguns, and overall firearms and every extra little bit of protection helps. 75 minutes is a very good fire rating and gives your firearms a good chance of making it through unharmed.

The Big Daddy has an expanding seal which activates in heat (at 212 degrees Fahrenheit) and prevents damage from heat and smoke. The Big Daddy features an automatic re-locking feature to keep the safe locked in the event of a break-in or lock tampering. The lock is hardened and impact-resistant for durability under attack.

Product Specs

  • Stands at ​5 ft high, 3 ft wide
  • 12 gauge construction
  • ​Holds ​42 shotguns, rifle or weapons
  • ​1.25″ steel bolts locks in 3 directions for prying prevention
  • Can withstand 1,​400 degrees for ​75 minutes
  • Automatic re-locking feature

The safe door locks with a series of 1.25” steel bolts in 3 directions around the safe, preventing prying from any direction. The construction is 12 gauge steel which is held together with continuous seamless welds. 12 gauge steel mean no inconsistencies or weak points in the welds which could be exploited to crack the walls.

The Winchester BD-5942-36-10M Win Big Daddy is a little lighter than the Steelwater safe covered early, weighing in at over 800 pounds. Lighter in this case may be a relative term, as it’s likely you will still need to work with a professional save company to move and install the unit permanently.

Why Buy?

A highly rated long weapons safe from a long running highly rated brand.​

Winchester BD-5942-36-10M Win Big Daddy Series,...
  • Proven 75 minute Fire rating at 1400 F
  • Pal sol heat expanding door seal expands to over 6x its size when subjected to heat, creating a...
  • Ulf listed S & G imp-resistant electronic lock with no vulnerable solenoid or key override feature

Best Fireproof Gun Safe: Steelwater Extreme Duty 22

NEW and IMPROVED E.M.P Proof Steelwater Extreme...

Assuming that you are interested in the best fireproof safe for your money without the additional storage capacity of the 45 model we’ve recommended this one for you.The E.M.P Proof Steelwater Extreme Duty 22 Fire Protection 120 Minutes just has to be your best bet.

This safe features one of the highest fire ratings of any safe on the market. It is independently tested to withstand 2 hours at a heat of over 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit.

What makes the safe gun so fire-resistant is its heavily reinforced construction. The safe consists of solid 9-gauge steel, which will naturally take longer to heat up than will 12 or 14-gauge steel. Additionally, layers of fireboard line every part of this safe.

Product Specs

  • ​Heavy duty 9-gauge steel
  • ​Holds one weapon and accessories
  • Highest fire resistant rating
  • Can withstand 1,800 degrees for 2 hours
  • Comes with two back up keys

The walls and door of the safe offers 4 layers each of fireboard. Additionally, the interior of the safe is lined with ⅛” of fire barrier. Of course, as we discussed with the other Extreme Duty safe, this model also has a number of physical security features which prevent breaking in.

It features a hardened face plate, internal re-locking mechanism, and 20 steel locking bolts.

Why Buy?

The same amount of fire protection as the Extreme Duty 45 ​for a better value.​

NEW and IMPROVED E.M.P Proof Steelwater Extreme...
  • NEW and IMPROVED E.M.P proof digital keypad with a high security, double bitted bypass key. Never be...
  • NEW!!! High Quality UL Listed Outlet with (3) 110 Volt A/C Plugs and (2) USB Ports 120 Minute Fire...
  • 8X Hardplate to Protect Drilling not just the lock but the gear drive, re-locker, and vulnerable...

Best Small Gun Safe: Hornady RAPiD 2600

Hornady 98177 RAPiD Safe 2600KP Large Handgun...

The Hornady RAPiD Safe 2600KP with RFID Technology at less than one foot across its largest dimension, is a truly compact safe meant for storing a defensive handgun. Its padded interior is just large enough to allow the storage of one compact handgun (the 2700 will fit a full-sized handgun) and small accessories, such as an extra magazine or flashlight.

A very unique feature of the RAPiD series of gun safes is their RFID system. RFID tags allow instant, secure and keyless entry to the safe, which is spring assisted to pop open upon unlocking. RFID tags have the same speed as other gun safes, but without the inherent difficulties of scanning unique fingerprints.

The safe can be programmed to recognize 5 different RFID tags, which come in a number of forms. The safe comes with a wristband, fob, and two stickers which are all equipped with RFID functionality to access the safe. The safe also supports PIN entry through a keypad on its safe, as well as manual keyed entry.

Because of the small size of the RAPiD 2600, it is ideal for travel and discrete storage. It is easily small enough to take in a suitcase or backpack on a trip, and also meets TSA requirements for safe keeping of a firearm in luggage.

The safe is provided with a steel security cable which can be looped through the interior and then attached to a fixed point of reinforcement. This is a great method to secure your firearm in a vehicle when entering a place where you cannot carry, such as a post office or government building.

Using both AC power and AA batteries provides the user the ability to mount it to any power outlet or use it on the go.

​Although the safe is small, it is very secure. It passes industry standard quality tests for pry resistance, drop tests, lock strength, and child resistance. When properly restrained (such as with the steel cable) there is no worry about the safe being vulnerable to attack or theft.

Product Specs

  • ​Quick RFID access ​system
  • ​Holds one gun and accessories
  • ​Padded interior
  • Length of almost 12 inches
  • Compact, affordable

Because of the pry resistance and the RFID technology, this quality safe is perfect for somebody who wants their gun within easy access of themselves but not their children.

The safe is compact enough that it can be stored in a vehicle, bag, nightstand, closet shelf, or any other place you want to discreetly store it.

At a low cost, the Hornady RAPiD Safe 2600KP is one of the best small gun safes to kkeep a single defensive handgun. It comes with everething you need to use it effectively. It can easily be stored anywhere in your home, car, or anywhere on the road with you. Because of this, the RAPiD is considered one of the best home gun safes.

Even if you have your main gun safe needs handled, the RAPiD is a great quality complement to keep your chosen self-defense firearm ready to go without the hassle of breaking into your big long weapons safe.

Why Buy?

Unique RFID access safe makes it impenetrable​​.

Hornady 98177 RAPiD Safe 2600KP Large Handgun...
  • FAST & DEPENDABLE TOUCH-FREE ENTRY: RFID activated by wristband, key fob or sticker that instantly...
  • CERTIFIED CHILD-RESISTANT: Exceeds ASTM International safety standards for child and pry resistance,...
  • HEAVY-DUTY, TAMPER PROOF CONSTRUCTION: Exterior housing is made of thick 14-gauge steel with two...

Best Fingerprint Safe: SentrySafe QAP2BEL

SentrySafe QAP2BEL Gun Safe with Biometric Lock, 2...

The SentrySafe QAP2BEL is a relatively compact safe for storing your defensive handguns. It is opened by a scanner, and also can be accessed by a keyed PIN or manual keyed entry.

To open quickly and easily, the safe is supported by compressed gas struts. Upon unlocking the safe, these struts will activate to silently open the gun safe – allowing the user to easily grab it with one hand when needed.

With a solid steel construction, this handgun gun safe weighs a very reasonable 12 pounds. At just over 12 inches along its greatest side, it would be an ideal candidate for storing in a nightstand, bedside table, desk drawer, or any other container for easy access.

This model is sized to hold one defensive handgun and important accessories. It is an ideal gun safe for personal defense, at home or when travelling.

Product Specs

  • ​Easy access scanner
  • ​Holds 2 weapons and accessories
  • ​Battery powered
  • Length of over 12 inches
  • ​Can also be accessed via keyed entry, or keyed pin

One potential drawback of the gun safe is its reliance on AA batteries. Not having support for an external power source means that you will always have to be on top of battery maintenance and replacement.

Of course, it can always be accessed through the backup key in event of a failure, but that is not a situation you want to be in during an emergency.

As part of a whole security system, an easy access gun safe like this one is an important part of the equation.

​It is highly recommended to have a high quality gun safe similar to this one even if you have a full gun safe or gun cabinet. However, unless you own only one handgun, it’s likely that you will need more solutions to supplement this gun safe.

Why Buy?

​Stores your ​defensive hand gun ​with​out fail.

SentrySafe QAP2BEL Gun Safe with Biometric Lock, 2...
  • Biometric gun safe provides secure storage for two standard handguns, or one large pistol and...
  • Gun safe is equipped with a gas strut to instantly and quietly open safe door for single-handed...
  • Gun safe is constructed with solid steel and a pry resistant door for strength and handgun security;...

Why You Should Invest in a Gun Safe

​Because a gun safe can represent a significant investment, it can be easy to put it off in favor of more “fun” purchases. However, it is best to consider it up front as a cost of owning a gun and to plan for it accordingly. A gun safe can protect you in more ways than you think.

Prevent Unauthorized Users

​Regardless of your stance on who should and shouldn’t be allowed to access a firearm, gun owners tend to agree that to safely own a gun requires certain responsibilities. One of these is to keep it out of the hands of people who aren’t authorized to use it.

Gun safes and gun cabinets offer a high level of security, storage options, and settings. They are bolted or locked into a stationary area. This makes it harder for burglars, intruders, children, or even mentally unstable people to access your arsenal.

May Be Required By Law

​​Although the Supreme Court has found it unconstitutional to require all firearms to be inaccessible at all times, laws still stand which require the safe storage of unused firearms.

Depending on local and state gun laws, you may be required to safely keep unused firearms – and a gun safe is a most generally accepted way to do that.

In addition, there may be certain restrictions depending on which types of weapons you own. For instances, owners of firearms regulated under the National Firearms Act (silencers, short barreled rifles and shotguns, etc.) are required to keep the weapons secured and inaccessible to all users who are not legally authorized to be in possession of them.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Gun Safe

​Your personal situation will dictate which quality gun safe fits your needs best. You will need to consider factors such as which types of firearms you are storing, how much money you are willing to spend, and what type of gun safe your living situation can support.

Different Types of Weapons to be Stored

​For instance, if you are a handgun shooter or collector only, there are gun safes dedicated to the storage of handguns which are both smaller and less expensive than traditional gun safes. A single handgun is even easier to save in a handgun safe, often even in a nightstand handgun safe or vehicle glove box.

Obviously, long weapons will require a little more work to save than a handgun safe. Storage of multiple long weapons will require a traditional long gun cabinet or gun safe rather than a handgun safe. It’s important to look at the storage gun capacity of the gun safe, also.

Lock Types

Far from the old stereotype of a gun safe with a rotary dial, there are a number of different types of safes locks available today. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Keyed Entry

Most gun safes will include a backup key or two as a way to access the gun safe in the event that there is a failure of the main mechanism. These keys are generally not meant for speedy access and should be kept in a secure place themselves.

Gun safes that have a simple lock entry generally have less security and are less robust than others; gun owners on a low budget may find gun safes of this kind are the only ones in their price range.

Mechanical Lock

Mechanical lock on a silver vault

​Mechanical lock safes require physical input to unlock, typically in the form of a dial that must be rotated to a series of correct numbers, or a mechanical combination lock.

Mechanical gun safes are less common place today as more advanced locking mechanisms become available. Being entirely mechanical, they have the advantage of generally being very reliable and not requiring any electronic system for functioning.

On the downside, they are typically not very quick to open the gun safe. Repair or maintenance can also be costly in the event of a failure.

Electronic Keypad

An electronic keypad is generally reliable and efficient when produced by a quality manufacturer. Entry to these electronic gun safes is neither too slow nor too fast; however, it is good to practice entering your combination lock many times with the electronic lock to make sure it can be done under stress.

As with all electronic locks, they are reliant on battery maintenance to continue working. Make sure to keep your keys in a safe, known location – it’s no fun being locked out of your gun safe because the batteries failed and you lost your backup keys to your electronic lock!

Keyless Entry

These gun safes are very fast, convenient, and secure. There is no combination lock to learn or keys to find (other than your backup which itself should be secured). Push a button and the gun safe opens.

The biggest issue tends to be the reliability of the scanner, particularly with less expensive units. Reading a human finger is a complex process, and the optical scanners can be sensitive to outside interference. Since the human finger naturally produces oil, this can be a problem if the sensors are of poor quality or not properly maintained.

RFID gun safes have the same idea of instant, keyless entry to authorized users but utilize different technology to get there. By utilizing a unique combination lock of short-wave radio frequency signals, the reader will automatically recognize a chip in close proximity and unlock.

Fingerprint on a biometric scanner

RFID technology is generally considered safe and reliable – it is used in security devices all over the world. It is less prone to malfunction than other scanners are.

However, it does require that a chipped device be carried at all times in case of an emergency, and that anybody who finds a chipped device (such as a child) has the same potential to open the gun safe as any authorized user.

In general, both biometric fingerprint and RFID gun safes offer alternative methods of entry such as combinations and backup keys. Make sure to do the research before buying and decide which handgun safes features are right for you.

Fire Rating

​Fire protection is one of the topics we considered heavily in our gun safe reviews, and there’s a reason for that. The importance of a gun safe or handgun safes is to keep your valuables safe.

Although it is highly advised to have the best fire protection you can afford, the fire rating is one area of frequent compromise. If you have a limited budget and can get a high quality gun safe that has only 30 minutes of fire protection versus 2 hours, it sometimes makes sense to get the one you can afford so that you’ll at least have something.

Consider what you’re protecting and how valuable it is to you. If your gun collection costs several or many times what the gun safe or handgun safes do, it might make sense for you to get the top gun safe available. Remember that even if you are fully covered in the event of a fire, some guns are special and there are some things that neither insurance nor money can replace.

Features of a Good Gun Safe

​When looking for a gun safe, you don’t want to be confused about some specifics of gun safes. You’ll want an understanding of different features and options will help you pick the model that fits your needs best.

Man holding a gun at the top of a gun safe

Steel Gauge Thickness

​The thickness of the steel used to manufacture the gun safe will affect both its weight and its strength. A typical measurement of steel thickness is expressed in “gauges” where a larger steel gauge means thinner steel construction. For instance, a cabinet made of 18 gauge steel is thinner than something made of 10 gauge steel. A 10 gauge steel gun safe is comparatively very thick.

If you are concerned about the ultimate durability, thicker steel construction provides many advantages. For example, an 18 gauge, 16 gauge or 10 gauge will take longer to heat up than thinner steel, increasing fire survivability, and is much more resistant to impacts, drills, and other attempts at forced entry.

Amount of Gun Storage Space

​When you buy a gun safe, you only have so much interior volume available designed to hold guns and accessories. You can’t make the interior of the gun safe any larger, but you can use the space more efficiently to hold more.

A nice feature to have is adjustable shelving and barrel rests. This allows the user to place the shelving at the height they need to fit all of their guns appropriate.

Door storage pouches are another nice feature to maximize space inside your gun safe. They will often have many pouches to hold handguns, with other larger pouches dedicated to shooting supplies, magazines, or other small items that must be stored. If your gun safe model doesn’t have any of these, it may be possible to buy it and install it, but it’s definitely a plus if it comes from the factory.


Keeping your guns secure is an important responsibility of any weapons owners, and can represent a real investment. Although it can be overwhelming, simply understanding what you’re looking in the best gun safes can alleviate some of the stress and help you make the right decision. Remember to stay safe and practice good firearms use!

James Forrester is a lifelong gun and firearms owner, and an even bigger advocate for gun safety. He created with the purpose of sharing helpful tips and educating others on how to keep guns and weapons safe and secure.