Best Gun Safe 2017: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly


Best Gun Safe

For many people having a gun in the home is an absolute essential. Some have rifles for hunting; others have guns to protect them from home invaders. If you’ve got a family and home you care about it’s only natural that you’d want to be able to defend your home from anyone who might wish to do them harm. But if you want to truly protect your family you also need to make sure that your guns can’t be accessed by just anyone. Every year tragedies occur when guns get into the hands of people who are unprepared to handle them. One of the best ways to keep your guns safe and secure is by investing in a gun safe.

A gun safe is a place to store your guns when they aren’t in use. They can be locked so that the only people who access them are the ones you’ve entrusted with a code or key. They’re also a good place to store your guns if you’re a collector who has a number of valuable guns that might make a tempting prize for home invaders. Gun safes come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, if you’ve ever gone shopping for them, you have a sense of the variety available on the market. With this in mind, we’ve prepared a buyer’s guide to look at the criteria you should use to examine different safes and a list of 10 of the most popular safes on the market.

Buyer’s Guide

When shopping for every product, you need to prioritize. What do you need from a gun safe? What are things you can do without? To help you with this we will look at five different criteria you can use to narrow down your search and decide on the best gun safe for your needs.

Size

Anyone who has shopped for gun safes in stores notices the variety of sizes. Gun safes can be small enough to carry with one hand or big enough to fill an entire room. It’s important to choose a gun safe that is big enough to hold your guns but not so big that it won’t fit in the space available in your home. The first question you need to ask is how many guns the safe will need to hold. If possible you should plan ahead, if you think you might buy more guns in the future, it’s better to buy a slightly bigger gun safe today, so you don’t have to waste time and money upgrading to an entirely new safe in the near future.

It’s never too early to start thinking about where you are going to put your new gun safe. It should be someplace safe and convenient. It shouldn’t be too obvious, especially if you’re buying a smaller safe. Large metal safes will deter just about any thief, but smaller handgun safes can make a tempting target for anyone looking to grab something valuable. Once you’ve got an idea of where you want to put your safe, you should measure out the space. You can take the measurements with you as you shop, comparing your available space with the size of different safes to make sure that the safe you end up with will fit into the space you’ve got on hand.

Security Measures

Finding the perfect gun safe is tricky because you need to balance different concerns. If you’re like many gun owners, you want to be able to access your guns quickly in case of a life-or-death emergency. But at the same time, you don’t want your gun safe to open at the drop of a hat; you want it to prevent the wrong people from getting inside. The main element to consider here is the locking mechanism. Mechanical and digital locks are the two major options available. Mechanical dials take longer to use but are less likely to fail. Codes can be entered into digital devices much more quickly, but more things can go wrong with a digital pad thanks to the complexity of the electronics. If you decide to go the digital route, you should consider paying extra for a premium safe. The more expensive locks tend to be more durable than their bargain equivalents. You should also remember that while electronic locks secure themselves automatically, the mechanical variety needs to be operated manually. If you’re forgetful, you might accidentally leave your mechanical safe unlocked and open to misuse.

Quality and Thickness of Walls

The most secure safes are built using thick steel. And not just any steel, high-quality steel. You can look into the specifications of the safe itself to see how thick the steel used is. The walls of a gun safe should be at least 10-gauge. Please note that the lower the number is, the thicker the steel is. 10-gauge steel is thicker than 12-gauge, and 8-gauge is better than both. Unfortunately, while lower gauges are safer, they are also more expensive. You have to decide how much you are willing to pay for extra safety. Fortunately, an 8-gauge safe in an out of the way location is good enough for most situations; the average home intruder doesn’t come equipped to cut through thick steel. Just make sure you keep your safe separate from any metal cutting equipment you have like torches and concrete saws.

Water and Fire Protection

A gun safe doesn’t just protect guns from intruders; it also protects them from elemental threats. For many people gun safes protect valuable investments, it’s common to use extra space in these safes to store important documents and other valuables. If you buy a high quality, durable gun safe then the items inside of it will be the most likely to survive a natural disaster. That is, if you invest in a safe that is designed to face the elements and live to tell the tale. For this extra level of protection, you should look for a safe that has been tested for high temperatures.

House fires can reach 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, but some fire-protected safes can keep its contents secure even under these conditions. The same goes for floods and water proofing. Water can be even harder to protect from since it seems into any opening it can fit into but some safes come equipped with anti-flooding measures that seal off the safe from the ravages of heavy flooding. If you want to keep your guns or other valuables safe make sure that they are tested for these conditions. Getting a safe that offers these extra levels of protection might cost extra but they can save you major money in the event of an emergency. Think of it as a different type of insurance.

Please note that as of writing fire-proof safes do not exist. Some safes are more fire resistant than others, which means that they keep their contents cooler for longer. Unfortunately, some fire-resistant designs use thinner steel walls, which makes the safes easier to break into. You have to balance your concerns when shopping, weighing the threat of a dedicated thief against the risk of a house fire. Every person will come to their own unique conclusion.

Appearance

The most important factors to consider when choosing a gun safe are practical, but that doesn’t mean that you should go through the process without thinking about aesthetics. A gun safe is a big investment, and the larger safes can really dominate a room. As such it’s worth looking for a safe that provides the security you need and looks good doing it. You’ll find a range of gun safe designs available in stores, with a gun safe available to fit into just about any sort of room.

Different people have different priorities in this department. Some will want to put their safe in a hunting room where it can stand as a shrine to their honored tools. Others will want their safe to be out of sight and out of mind. For the first type, an ornately designed safe would be worth the cash while the more security minded individual would settle for a plain black safe that would blend into a shadowy room.

Best Gun Safe Reviews

After looking at the criteria to judge safes based on it’s time to look at some actual examples. The ten safes we’ve chosen to look at in this article will show you the width and breadth of safe designs available on the market today.

1) Best Choice Products Large 5 Rifle Digital Gun Safe

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This safe from Best Choice Products is a good entry level rifle safe. It offers plenty of protection at a reasonable price. It’s also easy to use with its keypad and backup keys. As the name implies, this safe is designed to safely hold five rifles. Even if you’ve only got one rifle now, it’s worth buying a safe of this size if you feel there’s any chance that you might need to buy more in the future. At the top of the safe, there’s an extra compartment to store ammunition or anything else you might want to keep away from prying eyes and snatching hands.

The safe itself weighs just under 100 pounds. It is approximately 14 inches long, 12 inches wide and 58 inches high. That means that the interior’s just under a square foot and the height is a bit under 5 feet tall. The design is very minimal; it’s black and silver with no muss or fuss. This makes it a great choice for anyone with modern tastes or a simple desire to keep the safe out of sight and out of mind. Keep in mind that this safe is not rated for fire. If you want to keep your guns and valuables safe from a fire you should probably look at another safe. This safe will keep your rifles safe enough for the average gun owner, but it doesn’t go above and beyond the way some others do. Still, Best Choice Products knows how to make a safe that provides a good return on investment for anyone who buys their products.

2) First Alert 5200DF Portable Handgun or Pistol Safe

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On the smaller side of things, we have this portable safe from First Alert. Instead of reaching the size of a school locker and weighing hundreds of pounds this safe is smaller than the average suitcase and weighs just over 6 pounds. It’s designed to hold one handgun, but that’s enough for the average handgun owner. With that said, depending on the size of your gun you can hold extra. The case can be used to carry two smaller guns or one larger handgun with some room left for ammunition. This case is also especially handy for people who carry their guns around, helpful if you like to go to gun ranges to practice. The sleek black design and foam interior ensure that you can transport your guns in style and safety. What more could you ask for?

The safe may not be as heavy-duty as other safes; it’s only 18 gauge. But given the size of the safe and its price, this is to be expected. This safe makes up for the thickness of its walls with other safety features. It has a programmable keyboard so you can set your own 3 to 8-digit code. The code is then entered in using a “no see” process that protects you from potential thieves that might be watching you entering the code. When you buy this case, you also get a cable that is designed to be used to secure the case in transit, so it can’t be easily snatched out of your vehicle while you’re away.

3) GunVault SV500 SpeedVault Handgun Safe

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If you want a safe that will allow you to secure your handgun for both safety and easy access the SV500 SpeedVault from GunVault is a unique option. It is designed to snuggly hold one gun and ammunition in a location where quick access may be needed. Worried about intruders who might bust in and leave you with just moments to prepare? The SpeedVault allows this without sacrificing security. The safe is built using fairly standard 18-gauge steel that might not stop a dedicated thief, but given the small and stealthy design, most robbers will miss this easy to hide safe.

You can secure a gun under the counter, your desk, or even your bed and rest at ease knowing that you’ll have access to your gun at just a moment’s notice. The compact design means that it can be mounted in a wide variety of locations and the keypad is made for easy use. Punch in the code and receive your gun with minimal hand motions, this is a dream come true for employees in high-risk fields who have been forced to face the threat of robbery without hope of defending themselves.

It should be noted that this safe is one of the smaller options you can get. Even some handguns will be unable to fit into it. If you want to store more than one gun, then you should look elsewhere. This case is designed for quality, not quantity. It’s built to be used in case of emergencies, not for collection storage.

4) American Furniture Classics 916 16 Gun Safe

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Some gun safes are designed for safety and safety alone. The 916 16 Gun Metal Cabinet from American Furniture Classics is not one of those safes. This safe is designed to be appealing in form and function. It’s tough metal walls are specially coated to protect from scratches, it is given gold accents that give it a classy look, and it has an interior complete with wood grain to give an old-school touch to a very modern safe. The safe also comes with a buck’s head design in golden material, making it clear that this product is aimed at the hunters out there.

The cabinet is 95 pounds, 34 inches wide, 11 inches deep, and 55 inches tall. It isn’t the largest safe, but it can hold more than five rifles in addition to ammunition and accessories. Just be warned that some assembly is required. To keep the guns inside secured the safe has three different locks, and you can use however many you feel necessary. The safe comes unassembled and needs to be put together. If you aren’t experienced in assembling furniture and other products, you may find that it takes some time and effort to put this safe together. This can also be problematic because a poorly assembled safe offers less protection than a professionally prepared model. If you don’t feel confident in your assembly abilities, you might consider looking into a different model or hiring a professional. Still, if you want a sizable safe that is relatively light and inexpensive, then this is a safe to consider.

5) GunVault GV2000S Multi Vault Standard Gun Safe

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Next, we’re looking at yet another safe from GunVault, the GV200S. This multi vault gun safe is designed with twice the storage capacity of the SV500 while still maintaining security and portability. The words “Multi Vault” in the product title refers to the dual level interior that allows you to hold two guns on what are essentially two different shelves. With that being said, as with the SV500, you can hold more than one gun per level depending on the size of the gun and the amount of ammo you want to carry in the case. To give you an idea of what you might be able to fit inside you should know that the safe is 15 inches long, 10.5 inches wide, and 8.2 inches tall. That means that inside you have over half a cubic foot of space to store your guns. Just remember to consider the foam packing necessary for safe gun transportation.

It’s important to remember that electronic locks depend on electricity. This seems like an obvious fact, but it’s all too easy to forget that you need to make sure that the case is stocked with charged 9V batteries to ensure that all of the security functions can run properly. If you use this safe regularly, then you should change its batteries regularly. But don’t fret, the case comes with a backup override key to open the safe in case of battery failure or any unforeseen issue with the keypad. And in case of emergency, the case has a five-year full warranty from GunVault with fire and burglary protection, in addition to the one year repair and replacement warranty.

6) Sentry Safe Biometric Quick Access Pistol Safe

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One of the most intriguing features in modern, safe design is biometric security. This refers to the idea of using your own biology to make sure that your safe will open for you and you alone. This feature is exactly what the Biometric Quick Access Pistol Safe from Sentry Industries is built around. It protects its contents using fingerprint recognition technology. The safe can be programmed to recognize up to two fingerprints so you can open it with either hand. This feature is in addition to a more traditional keypad system, to be used as a backup for even more safety. This feature does consume more power than some other safes, which is why it requires four batteries and still runs through them fairly regularly.

The steel used in the construction of the safe is 12 gauge, which is relatively thick for a safe of this size. This allows the safe to balance cost and safety, with all the features built into this safe you would probably expect it to sell for much more. The safe can hold at least one gun with plenty of room to spare, and in some cases, it can even hold two. The interior of the safe is a little over 2 inches high, 9.5 inches wide, and 6.5 inches long. If you want to make sure your guns will fit measure them against these specifications. If you want to keep a gun by the side of your bed or underneath it this secure and affordable safe is a wise choice at its price point.

7) Barska Quick Access Biometric Rifle Safe

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Are you looking for the security of biometrics in a safe that can hold your hunting rifles? That’s why the Quick Access Biometric Rife Safe from Barska was built. The biometric pad allows you to store just two fingerprints for yourself or over 100 if you want the rest of your family to have easy access. Just make sure you’re careful about who you allow to access this safe. With silent access, you can open this safe in complete silence, perfect in case of intruders. In addition to the biometric pad, there is also a mechanical lock hidden behind the faceplate in case of issues related to the battery.

This tall, narrow safe is designed to hold up to four rifles and appropriate ammo. It has just nine by eight inches of interior space and stands 52 feet tall. This means that it’s very compact, meaning that you can secure multiple rifles just about everywhere. This also means that while it can hold up to four rifles, its capacity is still relatively limited. If you try and use it to hold too many larger rifles, you may run into issues. Realistically you should expect it to hold two rifles. Still, that’s the trade-off you have to make for this sort of compact design. Add in the 67-pound weight, and you have a safe that can go just about anywhere in your home. To add to this, the safe comes with the hardware necessary to mount this safe safely and securely.

8) Stack-On 22 Gun Fully Convertible Security Safe with Electronic Lock

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If you’re a serious gun collector, then this next safe may be the best we’ve looked at so far. That’s because this safe is designed for size. It measures in at almost 18 inches deep, 55 inches tall, and 26 inches wide. This gives it enough space to theoretically hold 22 guns. Of course, as with all safes, the number of guns you can actually pack into this 250-pound behemoth depends on a number of factors. For example, to hold 22 guns, you have to remove the dividers and shelves. Most people will prefer using the safe to hold fewer guns but more accessories. The shelving units in the safe are great for holding ammunition and accessories. The shelves are all adjustable so that you can arrange things to your liking. The interior is also covered with carpeting, so your weapons don’t get scratched by the metal, but the carpeting isn’t all that securely attached so you may have to reattach it after heavy use. Once again, there are always going to be trade-offs when you’re looking for the biggest safe to get at the lowest price.

The safe is secured using an electronic keypad. It accepts passcodes between 4 and eight digits depending on the level of security you want. Given the price and Chinese construction the longevity of the keypad is a bit of a question mark, but fortunately, there is a backup mechanical lock under the faceplate. If you want to hold a lot of guns and gun accessories while spending as little money as possible, then this gun is something you should look into.

9) Stack-On Tactical Security Cabinet Gun Safe

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We move from one Stack-On product to the next, the TC-16-GB-K-DS Tactical Security Cabinet. This 98-pound safe is advertised as holding up to 14 standard rifles. But as with the SS-22-MB-E, this requires rearranging the interior, which comes equipped with shelving and dividers so you can customize the safe to maximize your storage needs. As a whole, this safe is a no-frills affair. Rather than adding in a lot of electronics, it is designed around the idea of giving people a solid safe at a price they can actually afford. Still, one of the ways they saved money was in the quality of the steel. The body is 16-gauge while the door is 18. This makes it more of a cabinet than a safe, as the name implies. If you think there’s a serious threat of someone breaking into your safe and stealing your guns you might want to look for something a little more heavy duty.

To protect from intruders, the safe has key entry and three-point locking system. This makes it a good choice for people who don’t like mechanical keypads. Still, while you don’t have to remember passcodes with this cabinet, you do have to remember to bring the key. Going beyond functionality, the safe really is very nice to look at. It feels modern and attractive, with a black hammertone exterior with silver highlights arranged in a cool looking design. When you open this baby and see your arsenal, you are sure to feel a surge of pride.

10) Steelwater Extreme Duty 22 Long Gun Safe

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The last safe in our top ten isn’t limping into the position; it’s a safe that demands respect. This Extreme Duty safe is one of the most expensive, and most secure on our list. While most of the safes we’ve looked at have been built with steel that’s 10-gauge or thinner this Steelwater safe is built with 9-Gauge steel that can offer protection from even well-equipped and dedicated thieves. And any thief that comes upon this thief would certainly have to try and cut through its exterior, at over 700 pounds this baby isn’t going anywhere without the aid of heavy machinery. And that’s before you put in the 16+ rifles that can fit inside this safe!

The manufacturers are proud of the fact that their safe can protect its contents from a fire in ways that other gun safes can’t advertise. It’s rated to protect its contents for 120 minutes at temperatures of 1875 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if you’re looking for a safe that can give your guns extra protection from fire damage then this Steelwater safe definitely deserves a closer look.

To top it all of this safe looks like a safe should look. The dark black of the metal and the gleaming silver of the accents makes it feel like you’ve got a mini-bank-vault in your very own home.

Conclusion & Recommendations

To decide on the right gun safe, you need to consider the type of guns you want to store. If you are just looking to store a small handgun, then one of the more compact handgun safes is a good bet. But for many gun owners, one just isn’t enough. If you’re a hunter, you should dedicate at least some energy to looking at larger rifle lockers that will give you enough room to store a growing arsenal. Even if you can’t fill it up with guns now, you can still use gun safes to hold related equipment and accessories.

The other big thing to keep in mind is ease of access. Hunting lockers rarely need to be opened in an emergency, unless you live on the edge of a forest and find bucks wandering into your yard on a regular basis. All levity aside, home protection is serious business. If you’re facing the threat of home invasion, the last thing you want to do is spend precious minutes fumbling with a safe that isn’t designed for your needs. This is why safes like the GunVault SV500 SpeedVault Handgun Safe and Sentry Safe Biometric Quick Access Pistol Safe are so popular. They can safely secure guns within your bedroom, at an arm’s reach. In a few moments, you’ll be ready for any intruder.

Buying a gun means taking on a huge responsibility. The power of life and death rests in your hand. Don’t take this lightly. Invest in a gun safe that is strong enough to carry this burden and keep your family safe.