As a responsible gun owner, you will be looking to make sure that your guns are always stored safely and securely. In order to do that, you will need to invest in a good-quality gun safe. There are many options available, according to size, style, and security requirements.
Top five reasons for owning a gun safe
It provides you and your family with an additional level of security
It goes without saying that your priority is always to protect the safety of your loved ones. It is one of the most important motivations for people wishing to own firearms in the first place. Kids are curious; they are interested in every facet of the world around them. They probably have their own toy guns that they enjoy playing with, and may not yet know the distinction between toy weapons and real, live guns. Of course, you will educate your children or grandchildren on safe firearm use when the time is right, but in the meantime, secure storage is essential. Keeping your weapons in a safe prevents young people from accessing them, and potentially hurting themselves or other people.
Some states specify that a gun safe is used
States such as California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York, have strict legal requirements that all guns not in use must be stored in a locked safe or cabinet. If you reside in a state that requires weapons to be locked away, do not fall afoul of the law by failing to maintain proper storage.
Our Top 10 Best Gun Safes Overview
Most insurance policies offer coverage for a set number of guns; any number of weapons beyond that will not be covered. It is prudent, therefore, to have all guns stored in a locked safe. In addition, some insurance companies offer a considerable discount to firearms owners who keep their weapons stored in a gun safe. Contact your insurance company to find out the savings you can make, or shop around to find the best deal.
Gun safes can offer fire protection
If there is ever a fire in your home, your first priority will be to ensure the safety of your family. There is often no time to gather possessions in an evacuation scenario. Protect your guns by investing in a safe that offers fire resistance. Many of the lockers on offer will provide at least some protection in the event of a fire; optimize your investment in both your weapons and their safe by looking for fire protection.
You are protected in case of theft
It is not a situation that we want to face up to, but the fact remains that thefts within the home do happen. A gun safe offers protection from thieves, and any further legal consequences that may result if your weapons are stolen. Consider a situation in which a thief, or another criminal to whom your gun may be sold, uses your stolen weapon as part of another crime. Even though you have not committed the crime (and indeed, have been the victim of one yourself), in the first instance the weapon will be traced back to you. Avoid any ramifications of possible gun theft by ensuring that your weapons are safely locked away.
Features to consider when buying a gun safe
Arguably, the most important feature of a gun safe is its lock. There are many types of lock available, to suit all budgets and unique requirements.
The most straightforward type is a traditional lock and key. Although these are simple to use and require no electrical input, they can be easy to open if thieves have the correct equipment. In addition, if the keys are lost by the owner, it is not possible to access weapons without the assistance of a locksmith.
A combination or keypad lock eliminates this risk. They are relatively easy to use, although set-up of the combination can be long-winded with some specific locks. It’s important to keep the combination code confidential; avoid sharing with anyone except only the most critical people, and if you suspect that the confidentiality of the code has been compromised, it must be changed. Do not write the combination down; it is much easier than you think for this to fall into the wrong hands.
Biometric locks are those which are opened by fingerprint. They are the most expensive, but by far the most secure. A biometric lock will prevent unauthorized access and some have an alarm system, which provides an additional level of protection.
Note that keypad and biometric locks require electrical power; if a battery or mains power source fails, it is not possible to open a safe unless power is restored. Back-up entry routes are available for many safes, in case of emergency.
Gauge of metal
When selecting a gun safe, it is important to ensure that the quality of materials used is in line with its purpose. The gauge value describes how thick the metal used to build the gun safe is, and therefore, how difficult it is to penetrate the metal in case of a theft attempt. A lower metal gauge indicates thicker metal, and so, a lower likelihood of the material being breached. Always aim for the lowest metal gauge you can afford.
A lightweight gun safe is not very useful, as it makes it far easier for a potential thief to simply remove and open at a later stage. Look for heavy safes; the more a safe weighs, the less likely it is that a thief will be able to move it out of your home. Specialist equipment will be used to deliver and install your safe, so this need not be a prohibitive factor in your decision. In fact, the heavier the better.
Ability to bolt down
As an additional security feature, narrow down your search to safes that offer the ability to be bolted into a floor or wall. This makes it almost impossible for a thief to remove your gun safe. In combination with a low metal gauge and secure locking system, this provides exceptional protection for your weapons.
Always buy a safe with more capacity than your current needs. This gives you space to expand your portfolio in the future, if you wish. Given that a good-quality gun safe is a significant investment, allowing additional capacity now prevents having to repeat the expense further down the line.
Many safes now offer at least some form of fire and smoke protection; thicker metal and fire-resistant materials can prevent damage if flames take hold in your home. Make sure that your safe is located in a room with a door; compartmentalizing is a useful technique to prevent or slow the spread of a fire, giving your weapons the best chance of surviving such an incident.
As essential as it is to protect your weapons from fire damage, it’s also crucial to consider water protection. Look for safes that create a seal against water; there are many that will do this for up to 24 hours. This is particularly important if you live in an area near a body of water, or one that is prone to floods or hurricanes.
Location within the home
Think about where you will place the gun safe within your home. It will need to go somewhere that is secure, discreet, and accessible to you. If you are opting for a safe that carries a significant weight, ensure that the surface can take it. Concrete floors are far superior to wooden floors in this respect. Similarly, if you are choosing a safe that can be bolted to a wall, make sure that the wall is suitable for this purpose. Weak drywall is not appropriate, and can be easily compromised, whereas a concrete wall is far superior. Try to select a room that does not become too humid, or invest in a dehumidifier if your local climate cannot be circumvented. Finally, think about the gun safe within the wider context of your home; consider a comprehensive alarm system to protect your home from invaders, and to prevent anyone gaining unauthorized access to your possessions, including weapons.
Our Top Gun Safe Reviews 2018
The Steelwater Extreme Duty 22 is a high-quality, heavyweight, feature-loaded gun safe with three locking options and fire protection. Steelwater is well-known and highly-regarded for reliable products that are the best in class. The Extreme 22 is no exception.
There is room for 22 long guns within the safe, as well as ammunition and accessories, up to a capacity of 15.92 cubic feet. Weighing in a 772lbs, the Extreme 22 is made from 9-gauge steel, with a composite-constructed 5¼” thick door, including a ¼” solid-steel plate and 4 layers of fire board, offering 2 hours of protection at 1875°F. This safe is fitted with a combination lock as standard, and can be customized with a key lock in dial or LaGard digital keypad.
This safe is therefore an exceptional all-rounder, which provides impressive protection from fire and theft.
Offering ample capacity for up to 22 long guns, as well as fire-resistance, 9-gauge construction, and additional reinforcement, this heavyweight safe is a solid choice for gun owners looking to fully protect their portfolio. Whilst the price point is at the upper end of the gun safes we have reviewed, it represents great quality and long-term assurance.
Perfect for handgun owners, the Blue Dot Safes Second Amendment range offers superior protection from theft and fire, in a compact size.
The 30x20x20, 6,460 cubic inch-capacity safe weighs in at 238lbs. It offers a combination lock, protected by a drill-resistant hardplate and re-locker. To provide additional peace of mind, there are two 5/8" anchoring holes drilled through the bottom plate. This safe is also fire resistant for one hour, up to a temperature of 1700˚F. On the inside, there are two adjustable shelves, allowing you to customize the safe to your unique requirements. The interior of the safe is upholstered with plush grey carpeting, for a luxurious, premium feel.
An incredibly sturdy safe for handguns; small yet mighty. Its weight and anchoring options set this apart from other handgun safes we have reviewed, as well as its impressive fire-resistant properties. This is one of the more affordable heavyweight safes, although its limited capacity may put some owners off. Perfect for people who own handguns only, and are not looking to expand their collection to include longer or larger weapons.
A smart and sophisticated biometric handgun safe, which can be mounted in any place and direction.
Built from 18-gauge steel, with a protective foam-lined interior, the single-handgun SVB500 fast and discreet. It has the ability to hold up to 20 fingerprints, and is unlocked within one second, making it ideal in emergency situations. A version with a combination lock is available for those who prefer a locking system that does not require electrical input. This product can be mounted in almost any location, and is pre-drilled for easy installation. If you are looking for an unobtrusive single-handgun safe, which is easily concealed and offers the security of a biometric locking system, this is a worthy contender.
A smart and discreet holster-style safe, which offers quick access via its biometric access lock. Due to its size and location of pre-drilled mounting holes, it can be mounted almost anywhere, in any direction. That said, this safe does not provide full enclosure, nor fire protection. 18-gauge steel construction may not be sufficient for some gun owners. Still, this is a perfectly affordable solution for handgun owners, particularly those who might require quick access to their weapon in an emergency situation.
Quiet and inconspicuous fingerprint entry, heavy-duty steel construction, and protection from unauthorized entry combine to make this safe an ideal choice for handgun owners.
Offering internal storage of 2.2" x 9.7" x 6.6", and built from 12-gauge heavy-duty steel, this gun safe offers impressive protection for its size. Both biometric and keypad combination locks are fitted, giving you the flexibility to decide which method of entry best suits your needs.
Thanks to a zero-feedback lock and compression gas strut, this safe opens almost silently. This feature is particularly useful if an intruder or active shooter has entered your home or business premises; giving you the ability to protect yourself, your family, or your employees, without drawing unnecessary attention to the retrieval of your weapon. To prevent unauthorized access to your gun, this safe has been designed to include pry-resistant technology. This prevents potential thieves, as well as curious children, from gaining easy access to your weapons.
This safe can also be customized with a keypad-only or key lock, according to your preference, and also comes in a larger, two-handgun format.
An impressive combination of biometric entry technology, a design that encourages almost silent retrieval of weapons, and exceptional build quality for its size, makes this safe an excellent choice for owners looking to protect a single handgun. Customizable lock options allow you to choose exactly what you need, and the price point is very reasonable for the quality of the safe. It’s not ideal for owners looking to store several handguns together, and no fire resistance is offered. As a standalone safe, however, it’s a great choice.
A well-built and luxurious gun safe that offers solid protection for your weapons, and a fully-carpeted and customizable interior.
Coming in at a solid 225lbs, with a 40” interior height, the Stack-On Executive 40 Elite is sturdy enough to give you peace of mind, and comes with fastening hardware to optimize its security. You can set a combination of up to 8 digits, with longer-length codes offering excellent protection from unauthorized access and theft. Behind the combination lock, a drill-resistant hardened steel plate is fitted as standard. The four-way door has five 1.5" live action locking bolts and three 1” dead bolts for a total of 8 locking points, which offers your weapons unparalleled security.
This safe has been independently verified as fire resistant for 30 minutes, up to a temperature of 1400°F. The interior is fully-carpeted, and 3 adjustable shelves are included, so you can customize the safe precisely to your unique needs. In addition, the Executive 40 Elite has been confirmed as a safe which meets California’s strict firearm safety legislation requirements. You can buy this gun safe with the confidence that you will not fall afoul of weapon storage laws. A lifetime guarantee is included with this safe.
A sturdy and reliable choice for owners of multiple handguns. Its heavy weight, eight-point locking system, and enhanced anti-theft features combine to ensure your weapons are well-protected. Fire resistance provides additional peace of mind, whilst an adjustable interior allows you to customize the safe to your specific requirements. Owners of longer or larger weapons would need to purchase a safe with more room, and the price point may be prohibitive for some handgun owners. For reliable handgun protection, however, it is a great option.
Offering impressive technological breakthroughs, including a biometric locking system and an accompanying smartphone app, the VAULTEK VT20i is at the cutting edge, without compromising on quality or security.
A portable safe that is ideal for travelling, or as an addition to your existing gun security portfolio. The Vaultek VT20i meets TSA airline firearm guidelines, so you can be assured that you will be able to travel without unnecessary difficulty. Weighing only 7.2 lbs, with external measurements of 11.5” x 9” x 2.5”, it is also slim and lightweight enough to fit under most car seats. Internal dimensions of 11” x 5.75” x 2” offer ample space for up to two handguns, as well as ammunition and any cash or valuables you may wish to keep secure whilst on the move. If you do wish to anchor this safe, there are pre-drilled mounting holes and screws included, ready for attachment to a wall, floor, or furniture. There is also a 4ft steel security cable in the box, providing you with additional anchoring and security options, customizable to your circumstances.
Despite its size, the VT20i is a well-built and rugged gun safe. It is built from 16-gauge steel, with anti-pry bars fitted to prevent unauthorized entry. In addition, internal hinges cannot be compromised from the outside, rendering this safe impenetrable to the majority of opportunistic thieves.
The VT20i’s key strength resides in its built-in and supplementary technology. It is accessed via a high-resolution biometric scanner, which is programmable with up to 20 unique fingerprints. Access is fast and accurate. Should you choose not to use the fingerprint scanner, there is an automatically-illuminating keypad, which offers over 40,000 combinations, so you can be assured that your weapons and valuables are always secure. VAULTEK have developed a smartphone app, which gives you the ability to monitor the activity of the safe, track who has accessed it, check power levels, customize preferences, and even unlock the safe remotely. Bluetooth encryption gives you assurance that the accompanying smartphone technology is safe and secure.
With this safe, there is no need to keep replacing batteries. A long-lasting rechargeable battery pack is included, alongside a USB charging cable. The battery lasts for months, and takes only two-and-a-half hours to recharge fully. In the unlikely event that there is a problem with electronic biometric or keypad access, this safe comes with manual laser-cut master keys, so that you are always able to access your possessions.
This safe is also compliant with California’s firearm legislation, as confirmed by the state’s Department of Justice.
We were incredibly impressed with the technological breakthroughs offered by this safe. As well as a high-resolution biometric lock, cutting-edge smartphone integration makes the VT20i a pioneer within the field. Its slim design, anchoring features, and TSA guideline compliance make it perfect for travel. It’s important to note, however, that 16-gauge steel is not the sturdiest in the market, and this safe does not protect against fire. Still, it is an impressive package for a reasonable price point.
Large, well-built, and incredibly sturdy; you would be hard-pressed to find a gun safe that is more secure and reliable than the Steelwater Extreme Duty 45.
Weighing in at 1,250 lbs, this safe is by far the heaviest of the crop. It is constructed from 9-gauge steel, making it the most resilient and least likely to be penetrated by cutting or drilling equipment. Equipped with four layers of fireboard, the Extreme Duty 45 is able to provide fire protection for your weapons for up to two hours, withstanding a maximum temperature of 1875˚F. The heat-activated door seal also prevents smoke from entering the safe, further protecting your firearms.
This safe comes fitted with a combination lock as standard, but it can be customized with a key lock in dial or electronic keypad, giving you exactly what you need to suit your unique requirements. The locking mechanism itself involves eighteen 1½” solid steel locking bolts, which resists attempts by thieves to pry the safe door open, and offers unparalleled strength and security.
If an illicit attempt is made to open the safe using force, cutting equipment, or drills, an internal spring-loaded re-locking bolt is automatically activated, adding another level of defense. A drill- and ballistic-resistant hard plate is also installed behind the locking mechanism, to protect the combination dial, re-locker, gear drive, and linkages.
The Steelwater Extreme Duty 45 has plenty of storage space. With internal dimensions of 67” x 38” x 20 ½”, and a capacity of 34.26 cubic feet, this safe can hold a maximum of 45 long guns. Two large and six small shelves make the interior of the safe completely adjustable, so you can adapt the safe to make it suitable for your current and future firearm portfolio. This is the ideal safe for gun owners with a mixed portfolio of large and small weapons, and for those who intend to add to their collection in the future. A solid investment now yields long-term safety, security, and suitability.
The most expensive safe in this review, but it offers the most effective, reliable, and feature-laden protection for your gun collection. This safe is heavy, well-built, with an impressive 18-bolt locking system. Its fire protection is also the best of all safes we have reviewed. The sheer size of this safe provides ample capacity for serious gun enthusiasts. Some may be put off by the price, and for owners of a smaller weapon portfolio, it’s not worth the money. However, if you are looking to build your collection over time, there is simply no better investment than this.
A smartly-designed safe, with the capacity to hold three handguns. An electronic keypad and silencing feature makes this an ideal storage solution for gun owners wishing to protect themselves from potential emergency situations.
As the name suggests, this gun safe’s unique selling point is its ability to offer stealth when it’s needed. By pressing the change button six times in a row, the safe will fall silent, and all buttons and functions will be muted, allowing you to retrieve you weapons without drawing any unwanted attention to yourself or your location. In a situation with a potential intruder or active shooter, this function can be a lifesaver. If you live or work in a particularly high-risk area, this safe is a particularly good recommendation.
This is not the safe’s only impressive feature, however. As mentioned above, access is given via a four-digit keypad, which offers a combination code of up to six digits. Unless the silencing feature is selected, the safe will provide you with audible feedback, so you can be assured that access attempts are being correctly made. The keypad is illuminated with blue light, and the interior with red; allowing you to be able to see the interior of the safe even in the dark, with a subdued hue that prevents flash blindness and does not give away your location if you are opting to remain hidden.
The safe’s spring-loaded drop-down door and steel rod construction allows your weapons to hang with the handle facing you, ensuring quick retrieval of weapons. The hanging rods are coated in heat shrink tubing, which prevents your handguns from picking up any scratches or damage. As soon as the correct combination is entered, the door drops down and you are ready to go. There’s even a speed reducer built into the door, giving a soft landing with no unnecessary noise. A strong latch and 3/8” steel door thickness make this safe almost impossible to pry open. In addition, four bolt-down holes are pre-drilled and a steel security cable is included, giving you the opportunity to anchor your safe and store your weapons with additional peace of mind.
This smart handgun safe offers a lot for the price. The keypad silencing option and quiet door opening construction allows you to retrieve your weapons without detection, which is ideal in an emergency situation. A security cable and pre-drilled holes make anchoring straightforward, and anti-theft features are built in. Owners of more than three handguns will need additional capacity, and the lack of fire protection is a point to consider when making your choice. Still, at $140, it offers a lot.
With plenty of storage and interior customization options, as well as a strong, high-quality build quality, this large gun safe might be the right option for gun owners interested in its big brother (the Steelwater Extreme Duty 45), but put off by the higher price point.
As you might expect from a Steelwater gun safe, the Heavy Duty 45 is well-built and packed with features. It is constructed from 12-gauge steel, which protects your firearms from attempts at theft using cutting equipment, ballistics, and drills. Weighing in at 888 lbs, you can be assured that this safe is not going anywhere; once it’s installed, it’s staying put. As with other Steelwater products of this caliber, a manual combination lock is fitted as standard, but you are welcome to customize your safe with a key lock in dial or an electronic keypad, at an additional charge.
The locking system is comprised of eighteen 1½” steel bolts; eleven chrome-plated active bolts, seven dead bolts on the hinge side, and a total of four sides of bolt coverage. There are very few guns safes that offer this kind of comprehensive security. A gear-driven lock and bolt system provides additional strength and prevents unauthorized attempts, using force or specialist equipment, to enter the safe. In addition, there are two internal re-locking devices installed to provide extra security in case of forced entry attempts. As with the Extreme 45, a hard plate behind the combination lock protects the mechanism.
Fire-resistance is a key strength of this safe. It provides one hour of protection at temperatures of up to 1875˚F, and a heat-activated seal to keep smoke out.
The interior of the safe offers an impressive 37.21 cubic feet of space, with a capacity of up to 45 long guns, or a portfolio of different-sized firearms. A total of eight adjustable and removable reinforced shelves gives you full control over the format of your safe. The interior is carpeted in grey, providing protection from scratches and a deluxe appearance.
The Heavy Duty 45’s features exceed those required in accordance with California’s regulatory standards.
Like its big brother, the Extreme Duty 45, this safe is a large and heavy unit, designed to offer unparalleled protection for your gun collection. It has plenty of room to store a mixed portfolio of weapons, with an interior that can be customized according to your preferences. A comprehensive locking system, automatic re-locker, and 12-gauge construction combine to make this a sturdy and reliable choice. It’s expensive, but more affordable than the Extreme Duty 45, with very similar features.
Another large safe with ample space for a varied gun collection. A tough and fire-resistant build makes this a suitable choice for the gun connoisseur looking for a safe to store a substantial or growing firearm collection.
Built with 12-gauge steel and weighing 481 lbs, the Woodland 40 is a formidable beast. In addition to a tough outer, a drill-resistant hard plate is installed behind the combination lock, which prevents unauthorized access attempts from being successful. A total of eight locking points – five 1.5” live-action locking bolts and three dead bolts, provides a comprehensive and reliable four-way locking system. Mounting hardware is included as standard, allowing you to anchor your safe and have additional peace of mind.
The safe is accessed via a backlit electronic keypad, which can be silenced when required. This allows you to retrieve your weapons without drawing unwanted attention to yourself; a critical feature in case of an intruder or active shooter.
The Woodland 40 offers crucial fire and smoke protection; thirty minutes up to an independently-verified temperature maximum of 1400˚F.
The interior of this safe another one of its strengths. With internal dimensions of 26.75” x 19” x 56.5″, and a volume of 16.87 cubic feet, this safe can handle a load of up to 40 guns of mixed sizes. The interior is fully adjustable with five shelves to be places according to your storage needs. In addition, a door organizer featuring Realtree® Xtra® camouflage with sewn-in gun holsters, zippered pouches, and Molle compatible storage is included as standard. This optimizes your storage potential and allows you to utilize every inch of the safe.
The Woodland 40 is fully compliant with California gun storage legislation, and comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Another great choice for gun owners with a large portfolio of weapons. More affordable than the Steelwater range, with similar features in terms of weight, build quality, locking system, anti-theft design, and fire protection. The lifetime guarantee is a useful extra, and adds a level of confidence in the overall quality of the safe. As with other large gun safes, it may not be suitable for those with a smaller collection of weapons, who are not looking to expand significantly. However, it’s certainly worth consideration if you do plan to build your collection.
The best of the best: which gun safe is right for me?
Once you have read each review, you may still have questions about which safe is right for your needs. To help we have provided best-in-class for a range of categories below:
Best gun safe for owners of a large portfolio, including long guns and rifles
For sheer breadth of features, and unbeatable 9-gauge steel construction, the best choice is the Steelwater Extreme Duty 45. Whilst other large safes, including its lighter sibling (the Steelwater Heavy Duty 45) are impressive in their own right, this safe is the complete package.
Best safe for handgun owners
This is a closer-run contest, but the SentrySafe QAP1BE edges the competition. The almost-silent operation and biometric access option makes it ideal for quick and accurate retrieval of weapons, particularly in emergency situations.
Best mid-range gun safe
With plenty of space, inventive storage solutions, fire-resistance and a lifetime guarantee, the Stack-On Woodland 40, $774 is very impressive in the mid-range category. Ideal for a mixed portfolio of rifles, larger weapons, and handguns, or any combination thereof, this is a great all-rounder that is sturdy and fit for purpose.
Best technology in a gun safe
In terms of technological innovation, nothing comes close to the VAULTEK VT20i. As well as a high-resolution biometric scanner, this safe integrates with a custom-built smartphone app, which allows you to track access to the safe, monitor power levels, and even unlock it remotely. A rechargeable battery pack, all included, seals the deal.
We hope this has been a useful guide to the best gun safes available in 2017. When making a purchasing decision, don’t forget to prioritize security and safety, and ensure you have enough space to grow your collection.
If you are ever stuck this might help How to Open a Gun Safe Without the Combination