A gun safe is a no-brainer; it keeps your guns safe and away from anyone who shouldn’t be wielding them. But with so many on the market today it can be difficult to wade through all of the options.
Responsible gun owners know that a safe needs to be, well, safe. Security is a vault's top priority, but there are other components to keep in mind when shopping. Think about where you’re going to be putting it and how heavy it can or should be, how many guns you’re storing, and whether or not you want a fingerprint scanner or traditional keys, buttons, or dials. We think a combination of both is probably best, but that’s up to you.
Why Get a Safe?
A gun safe can be an investment and some will run you a pretty chunk of change. But it’s important to get a high-quality safe that can house all of your firearms.
Any gun owner's worst nightmares definitely include someone getting access to your firearms that shouldn’t, especially children. Your kids or their friends should absolutely not have open access to your weapons as accidents can happen. You might think that your children don’t know where your guns are or don’t know how to operate them, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
With hundreds of accidental shootings by children each year, a gun safe is a perfect way to stop this from happening. Your gun should be a tool for self-defense, not self-harm.
Obviously, you don’t want your children to get their hands on your firearm, but you also really don’t want them stolen or used against you. Guns are expensive and not something you want to leave out in the open.
You also don’t want someone trying to harm you and your family to be suddenly armed with the high-quality weaponry that you’ve spent time collecting and training with. A gun safe allows you and trusted individuals to be the only ones with access.
Some gun owners might be hesitant about a safe due to the idea that they’ll cost you precious time in the event of an intruder, but you’ll find that the opposite is actually true. Unless you sleep with your pistol on the bedside table, you likely keep your weapon somewhere difficult to find so that children can accidentally find it.
A gun safe becomes a location for your weapons that you always know are there and with the lock designs implemented today, it takes mere seconds to open and gain access, allowing you to have your guns where you need them and easily accessible by you.
What To Consider in a Gun Safe
As we’ve mentioned, you have a lot of options when it comes to buying a gun safely, and there are a few things to keep in mind when shopping. The safe needs to be reliable, sturdy but not too heavy, and able to house all of the weapons that you own.
Mechanical vs. Digital Lock
Today with modern technology there are safes you can get that have electronic and digital locks. They use your fingerprint or your phone to open up and definitely feel like technology from the future.
While these might seem enticing and aren’t necessarily bad, old-school mechanical locks have more pros than cons in this situation. Digital locks might need replacement batteries and are potentially susceptible to malfunction or even hacking. Traditional locks are as simple and reliable as ever, and there’s a reason a lot of gun owners opt for physical locks instead of high-tech ones.
When looking at safes you’ll see the term “gauge” pop up frequently. This refers to the thickness of the safe and follows the same concept of the word in other uses like a shotgun gauge in that the smaller the number, the thicker the material.
Whether you’re looking at a pistol safe or a rifle safe, always keep in mind the weight. You don’t really want anything too flimsy that someone could just casually pick up and take with them (granted pistol safes won’t really be able to stop this issue) but you also don’t want something that takes the whole neighborhood to move.
When looking at rifle safes, in particular, make sure you get something that you feel confident you could move if you absolutely had to. You want your safe to be strong and reliable, but also not something that you curse at while shifting around your room.
One number that you hope you never have to think about after purchase is the fire rating on a safe. Obviously, in a house fire, your immediate thought is “what do you save?” And depending on your arsenal, your firearms might not be at the top of the list.
You should never run back into a burning building for any reason as you can always replace your belongings, but it definitely helps ease some of the concern knowing just how long your safe will hold up in such a devastating situation.
Best Pistol Safes on the Market
Pistol safes are going to be significantly smaller than rifle safes, however, that doesn’t mean that they’re any less secure or useful. Great for making sure your handguns are in easy to access locations while also away from unwanted users, a pistol safe could be under your desk, next to your bed, or even used for traveling in the car depending on your state's carry laws.
Fort Knox FTK-PB
A top-notch pistol safe is the Fort Knox FTK-PB. It’s not the cheapest safe on the list but it provides a ton of security, so it’s definitely worth the money. With a mechanical Simplex lock, it’s very easy and quick to get access to your firearms within and you can even open it up in the dark.
It comes in around 20 pounds with a 10 gauge exterior and enough room for about three handguns plus a few clips. It’s a heavy-duty pistol safe that provides a lot of protection and space.
For something a bit more immediate, the GunVault SpeedVault offers exactly what the name suggests. This safe is less for storage and more for secure access whenever you need it. Your pistol sits snugly in a slot that opens up and presents your firearm for immediate grip after punching in a quick code.
With 18 gauge steel housing it’s a bit more lightweight, but perfect for setting up a firearm in spots that you frequent like a desk or under the sink so that whenever and wherever you need your pistol, you’ve got it.
GunVault NV300 Nano
Another pick from GunVault is the NV300 NanoVault. Again, a smaller entry on our list but as far as a travel safe goes, these are top tier. The Nano offers enough room for a handgun and two extra clips.
It isn’t going to withstand a jackhammer, but it’s a great case for traveling in the car and on the go.
Vaultek LifePod 2.0
If you’re looking for a travel size safe that has a bit more “oomph” than the NanoVault, the LifePod 2.0 from Vaultek might be just what you want. With enough room for two pistols, the LifePod 2.0 is a bit more stylish and spacious making it a great addition to the bedside table, and it also comes with the ability to be tethered to something when you want to lock the safe up.
The capacitive buttons work excellently even when wet and it comes in a great looking camouflage design, though you could always easily spice up any safe you purchase with GunSkins gear skins vinyl sheets.
The SentrySafe QAP1BE has some of the digital lock mechanisms like the fingerprint scanner we discussed earlier which do bring in a cool factor, but it also has a backup key for whenever you don’t want to be troubled by those systems failing on you.
It’s got enough room for two handguns or one with a few extra magazines, and the 12 gauge steel offers a strong exterior shell. It’s discrete and combines the best of both worlds when it comes to traditional and modern locking systems, making the QAP1BE a solid choice.
Best Rifle Safes on the Market
Pistol safes are great and often super useful for traveling; however they don’t really offer a whole lot of space and for gun owners that have a more extensive arsenal or even just one rifle, the smaller safes are not going to cut it.
Keep in mind that rifle safes are going to be heavier and more expensive, but that sort of comes with the territory. Take into account how many rifles you own when looking for a safe and be aware that when a safe is rated for a certain amount of long guns, the manufacturer is only considering rifles without any scope. If you have any add-ons attached then your space dwindles significantly, so opt for a safe a bit larger than you think you might need. Not to mention, you never know when you might add another rifle to your collection.
The Liberty ProVault is definitely a popular choice for rifle safes, and for good reason. Liberty is one of the largest manufacturers of vaults of this size, and they definitely know what they’re doing.
With a configurable interior that allows for optimal storage space, they offer 12, 18, and 24 rifle size capacities (remember that 12 means closer to six or eight scoped rifles.) They definitely are not lightweight, but you could move them around with the proper equipment. The ProVault is a solid choice for a mid-tier rifle safe that will absolutely keep your firearms safe and won’t break the bank too hard.
Secure Agile Model 52
A big selling point of the Secure Agile Model 52 is that it ships deconstructed. While you might not want to spend the time putting together your safe, it can honestly be a much easier way to get it installed exactly where you want it, like a closet.
And don’t let the “build it yourself” aspect make you think that the Model 52 isn’t secure. All of the screws and construction pieces are internal so once it’s built, it’s not coming apart from the outside.
The modular cradle grid design on the back of the safe offers any variety of setup so you can organize your customized rifles cleanly, and the optional trays make for excellent storage of your additional equipment like extra magazines or holsters.
While a bit lighter than other safes, the Model 52 allows you to bolt it into the floor for permanent fixing, and if you ever have to move it you’ll definitely appreciate that it isn’t 300 pounds.
Winchester Pony 19
As far as recognizable names in the firearm industry go, few are more famous and reputable than Winchester. It certainly isn’t cheap, but when it comes to quality you really get what you pay for with the Winchester Pony 19.
Perfect for storing rifles, pistols, and just about anything else you could want to keep secure, the Pony 19 is an appropriately sized medium safe that will withstand burglars, children, and a 1400 degree fire for up to an hour. Keep in mind it is heavy, just shy of 500 pounds. But this safe is tough, and once it’s in place you’ll feel confident in its security.
Keeping your guns locked in a safe is essential for safety and control. It’s basic gun safety 101, and it also helps to keep your guns free from damage.