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Every firearms owner can use a quality handgun safe as a secure storage solution. Aside from providing anti-theft protection, these safes keep pistols and other small valuables and documents from falling into the wrong hands. Additionally, they’ll help protect your investment, especially if you’ve invested thousands into a high-quality handgun.
The smaller footprint also makes handgun safes great for a little extra security in vehicles or RVs that usually lack these types of features. The only hard part is picking the right gun safe for your specific needs. To help you choose, we researched and tested some of the most popular options from Hornady, Liberty, Vaultek and more. After hours of use, these are the best handgun safes available today, according to our experts.
The Best Handgun Safes
- Storage for multiple handguns
- Versatile shelving
- Interior lights up
- Battery life could be better
This Hornady handgun safe is incredibly useful for more than just firearms storage. You can adjust the interior shelf to customize your space and the smaller footprint is the perfect size to tuck away in a closet or hide just about anywhere in the house. Because of the 30-minute fireproof rating, this is a solid choice for storing important, irreplaceable documents. There’s enough room inside to store that stuff along with multiple handguns and ammunition.
With a sturdy 16-gauge steel construction, it’s also a tough safe. Most thieves won’t be likely to put in the effort to pry this safe open, especially if you bolt it to the floor using the included hardware. While we wish the battery life was a little better on the electronic lock, it has a keyed lock as backup.
It’s cheaper than a lot of other safes of its quality. It retails for around $250 on Hornady’s website, but you can often find it on sale for under $200. That’s an excellent value considering the size and construction of the safe.
- Dimensions: 16.5” x 15” x 12”
- Weight: 49 pounds
- Material: 16-gauge steel
- Ruggedly built
- Fast electronic lock
- Affordable price
- Battery compartment cover is stubborn
This Redfield drawer pistol lockbox is a budget-friendly safe exclusively at Academy Sports, but it doesn’t feel cheap at all. The steel construction of this safe is surprisingly heavy and beefy. I dropped it on the ground several times just to see how it would handle it. It didn’t show a single scratch. I was a little concerned about the durability of the electronic keypad and the battery compartment in the interior. However, it popped the lock effortlessly after I punched in the code after each drop.
Speaking of the code, I was pleased with how easy it was to set and reset. The safe gives you the option to choose your own code between three and eight numbers. I used a four-digit code that I was able to input in only a couple seconds. If I have one complaint about this safe, it’s that the cover for the battery compartment on the interior was a bit stubborn after putting the batteries inside. It requires four AA batteries, which seems excessive, but at least they include some with the safe. A handy red indicator light tells when the battery life is low for easy replacement.
If you prefer a keyed access option, this safe has that, too. I didn’t think it was quite as smooth or as fast as the keypad. But it’s plenty functional. This is a solid little safe for anyone who doesn’t want to drop a small fortune on some of the more expensive options out there.
- Dimensions: 11.81” x 4.33”
- Weight: 9.9 pounds
- Material: Steel
Best for Vehicles
- Great lock
- Extremely tough powder coat
- Slim profile
While leaving a firearm or other valuables in a vehicle is never ideal, the Steelhead HD pistol box made me feel a whole lot better about it. Burglars will need to contend with some incredibly thick 12-gauge steel—and that’s only if they somehow get it loose from the ¼-inch galvanized steel security cable. Most smash-and-grab thieves likely won’t put in the effort required to get this one loose. Even if they do, they’ll have a hell of a time opening it. I slammed it on the ground multiple times trying to pop it open. I only succeeded in making the exterior dirty.
While there’s only one entry method via a key, it’s a secure lock. And the paperwork I got with the safe indicates each key is unique because it requires a new cylinder and keys if you lose both. That means someone can’t simply buy one of these safes and have a magic key to every Steelhead box out there. That’s a nice little extra peace of mind.
The $170 price point is expensive, but it’s also understandable once you hold this safe in your hands. I feel like this thing would shrug off being run over by a tank. I didn’t think products of this quality were made anymore. Bonus: This box is even TSA-approved for flying. Given the way the interior foam cradled securely and protected my Glock 19, I wouldn’t worry about baggage handlers being rough with it.
- Dimensions: 6.5” x 10” x 3”
- Weight: 9 pounds
- Material: 12 gauge steel
- Simple, easy design
- Ruggedly built
- Interior lights
This safe has a simple, no-frills design that provides secure storage for multiple firearms at an affordable price point. The design is highly resistant to tampering thanks to a rugged 16-gauge steel construction and an angled door that’s hard to pry. The footprint of the safe is small enough to tuck into a closet or bolt to the floor of an RV rather easily. If you ever need to pop it open in an emergency, the interior lights make it easy to see what you’re doing.
The digital combination lock has excellent battery life running from a single 9V battery. Most other safes need multiple AAs. There is also a key for gun owners who prefer more traditional security. This safe offers a nice slew of features at a price point that’s also surprisingly affordable for most budgets. It’s an excellent way to restrict access to firearms without breaking the bank. Our only real turn-off is that it isn’t American made.
- Dimensions: 5.4” x 8.5” x 12.4”
- Weight: 9.5 pounds
- Material: 16-gauge steel
- Extremely fast entry
- Doubles as a clock and wireless charger
- Monitors interior temperature and humidity
The Vaultek Smart Station is an incredibly cool piece of tech because it’s secure storage that just also happens to double as a piece of multi-functional furniture. This gives the safe fast, single-handed access via the biometric fingerprint scanner. We doubt thieves will think this is just a clock radio due to the size. But Vaultek didn’t skimp on the anti-theft protection details. This pistol safe is built from a rugged 18-gauge steel. You can also tether it to the wall via a security cable.
It’s a great bedside safe that’s perfect for emergencies. But at the same time, it serves as both an LED clock and a charging station for smart phones. While it has a wireless charger, Vaultek also placed some charging ports on the back for phones without that feature.
The only downside of this safe is that it’s expensive. But considering the high cost of handguns, the investment is worth it. There also aren’t many other safes that look this nice while offering this many features. This safe even monitors the interior temperature and humidity, ensuring your firearm won’t rust, and connects to a smart phone so you can easily manage authorized users.
- Dimensions: 12.125” x 8.25” x 3”
- Weight: 9.6 pounds
- Material: 18-gauge steel
- Low profile
- Fast access
- Easy to mount
- Requires drilling into desk or nightstand
This safe is designed to be mounted vertical on the side of a nightstand or under a desk with a handy bracket. We feel like it also has potential for some vehicles if you can find a large enough space. Either way, it doesn’t immediately look like a gun safe, which means it might be overlooked by a thief checking the obvious locations in a bedroom. We like the incredibly fast lock RPNB put on this safe. It doesn’t matter if you buy the keypad only version or the biometric version. Both are very fast, popping open immediately. That makes it ideal for emergencies, especially while you are sleeping. And RPNB made it possible to program over 50 fingerprints, so every adult in the home can have access while keeping kids safe.
The price for this safe is great, too. The keypad-only version is $69.99 while the biometric version is $109.99. However, this isn’t a standalone safe. You will need to permanently screw it into a piece of furniture or a wall for it to be effective. We recommend using a large, sturdy nightstand or desk because it weighs nearly 8 pounds.
- Dimensions: 1.8” x 7.43” x 13.47”
- Weight: 7.98 pounds
- Material: Alloy steel
How We Tested the Best Handgun Safes
While determining the best handgun safes, we evaluated the anti-theft protection features of each safe, along with additional security features like a security cable for vehicles. We looked at the construction and overall footprint of each safe to determine a best use scenario for each of them.
We also did hands-on testing with some of the safes. This allowed us to assess the locks and determine how quickly the different modes of access work. Although most safes aren’t likely to see a lot of abuse unless a burglar is trying to break into it, I also did a little durability testing. This involved dropping the safes on the ground to see if they would scratch or pop open accidentally. Thankfully, the safes I tested passed with flying colors.
Additionally, we considered the following factors:
- Access Methods: Does this safe utilize mechanical keyed locks, number locks, or the latest in biometric locks? Are there backup access features?
- Profile: How well does the safe tuck away in a closet or drawer? Is the safe slim enough to tuck under a car seat?
- Value: Does the price point of the safe appropriate considering the features and construction?
What to Look for in a Handgun Safe
When it comes to handgun safes, most people are going to be looking at the cost, capacity, and access methods. But it’s also important to consider where you plan to put the safe. A safe that fits into a drawer is different from one that’s designed to tuck under a car seat. Consider how accessible the safe will be, especially if you need to get into it at a moment’s notice.
When you’re trying to determine what size gun safe you need, think about where you’ll use it (see above) and how many pistols you have to store. If you’re looking for a handgun safe that’s portable or can fit in your car, you’ll likely need something smaller and more compact than a safe you set up at home. A good rule of thumb is to buy a safe that’s a little bit larger than your current firearms collection, as you may end up adding a gun (or two or three) later on down the road.
Is the safe water-resistant or waterproof? What about fire-resistant or fire-proof? While most safes are built to be tough and durable, some hold up to the elements better than others. Look for a pistol safe that’s made of at least 11- or 12-gauge steel with tight-fitting seals to keep out moisture and smoke.
Most modern safes have one of three ways to provide access to firearms: keyed locks, electronic locks with a keypad, or biometric locks. Some safes use more than one so there is a backup access method in case you lose the keys or forget the code.
Biometric safes are the preferred mode if you want quick access. Most will pop the safe open in only a second or two. It’s much easier to open one of these safes than turning a key or punching in an access code in an emergency, although you need to be vigilant and ensure the batteries are fresh for any electronic lock to work properly. Access modes are largely personal preference based on what each gun owner feels will be most secure for their needs.
Depending on the type of safe you want or need, gun safes can vary greatly in terms of price. Smaller lock boxes can start under $50, while higher end larger safes can cost a few hundred dollars. Know your budget before you start shopping so you can narrow down your search accordingly.
Q: Do gun safes rust guns?
Handguns can rust in a safe if proper precautions are not taken. It is not advisable to mount a safe in a garage or other environment that isn’t carefully climate controlled, especially if it’s humid. However, you can safeguard your pistol safe against rusting problems by adding some silica gel packs to absorb any extra moisture.
Q: Where is the best place to put a gun safe?
The best area for a gun safe is a climate-controlled part of the home where firearms won’t be prone to rusting. Other than that, it’s largely personal preference. In the bedroom is a great place for quick and easy access. But it’s also likely to be the first place that burglars check. Putting the safe in other areas of the house makes it harder to find for thieves, but also reduces accessibility in an emergency.
Q: What is a biometric safe?
Biometric safes utilize an electronic system as an easier and faster way to unlock the safe. This style of safe is perfect for an emergency because most can open in only a second or two simply by reading the stored fingerprints of the gun’s owner. Most safes of this style make it possible to store multiple fingerprints if you want more than one person to have access.
What is the Best Handgun Safe?
While all the safes we recommended here today are going to get the job done, the Hornady Fireproof Keypad Safe is the classic definition of reliable protection for firearms. With multiple access options and some fire protection, it’s a good investment for valuables beyond just your expensive handguns. This earned it the title of the best of the best handgun safes from our testing.
Why Trust Us
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