The 10 Best Gun Safes

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This wiki has been updated 38 times since it was first published in February of 2015. While a gun can safeguard your family if an intruder breaks in, they are dangerous to have in the house if any children are present or visit on a regular basis. Our list of liberty cabinets includes models in a variety of sizes, from single-pistol safes to vaults that can house your whole rifle collection. Some depend on digital combination mechanisms, while others employ biometric scanners. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Barska Fire Vault

2. Moutec Large Electronic

3. GunVault MultiVault Quick Access

Editor's Notes

February 25, 2021:

It was a fairly smooth round of updates, with the lion’s share of our previous picks surviving the test of time. The only option we ended up removing was the Blue Dot Second Amendment, due to its questionable availability.

In its place, we added the Barska Fire Vault, which is likely to be both too large and too expensive for most users, but still clinched a top spot on our list with the sheer utility it offers. It’s able to store up to 45 rifles, and comes with removable shelving for users with smaller arsenals, allowing you the option of using the remainder of the space to organize miscellaneous valuables.

At almost five feet tall, it isn’t as big as some of the massive luxury models in this space (some of which dwarf the average bedroom closet), but its interior does measure almost 20 cubic feet, and it’s likely to become a defining feature in almost any room you put it in. Just note that, as it weighs 667 pounds when it’s empty – prolonged storage on standard flooring is liable to lead to structural damage in the long term, so you’ll probably want to set it up on a concrete pad, maybe in your basement or garage.

To address some of the other security risks in your life, you may be interested in checking our our rankings for wall safes and drawer safes, and if the whole point of this purchase is to upgrade to a unit with fingerprint access, we do maintain a separate list of biometric gun safes.

December 13, 2019:

Its no secret that biometrics are still something of a work in progress, so looking closely at the available models in this category, we wanted to make sure that any included options with fingerprint scanners performed to a reliable baseline. The Vaultek VT20i likely has the best reader out there, but its small stature kept it from cracking the upper slots on the list. You'll also notice that we went with the keypad version of the Moutec Large Electronic over its biometric version, if only because there isn't yet enough data to determine it's as effective as the keypad version undeniably is.

We also looked into things like the sound a given model makes when it's accessed and opened. Silence can be a big factor in keeping your location and awareness hidden from an intruder, so the less noise a model makes the better.

Special Honors

Brown Safe This company offers a wide range of top-end safes that are both designed and manufactured in the USA, including a host of units suitable for securing firearms. They won't come cheaply, but they will be backed by a 50-year warranty, and many feature surprisingly nice designs.

Liberty Safe These safes are offered with quite a few options, but the company's well-put-together website generates mockups based on your preferred model, size and color, which helps visualize what you're ordering. Their pricing is expensive enough to be prohibitive for most, but still reasonable enough to be considerable for some citizens outside the super-rich. Sleek styling's made possible by choices like black-chrome and 24-karat-gold hardware.

4. Steelwater Heavy Duty 39

5. Vaultek VT20i

6. Barska Quick Access

7. Sentry Safe QAP1BE

8. Gunvault SV500

9. First Alert 5200DF

10. Stack-On PDS-1500

Choosing The Right Rifle Safe

This is an industry standard term that denotes a lock only remotely connected to the actual locking mechanism of the safe.

A gun safe designed to hold rifles or shotguns, often referred to by the term "long guns," is by the nature of its size not easily concealed and not portable. Rather, these large safes are designed to be fixtures in your home that can keep guns safe from the elements and prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.

There are many long gun safes available that embrace aesthetics along with security, so consider how a safe looks along with its function. Of course, the primary function of a rifle safe is to keep your firearms secured, so its reliability is of greater importance than its looks. If your home can accommodate it, you should consider a safe that can be mounted to a wall or bolted to the ground. That way a criminal can't simply steal your entire gun safe.

The features to look for in a rifle safe include drill-resistant plates, a decent fire safety rating, and a locking mechanism with which you are comfortable. Most modern rifle safes use keypad codes as their unlocking mechanism, and these are great for two reasons. First, they preclude your misplacing or losing the keys (or someone stealing the keys, which is a much more serious issue) and they allow you to change the entry code as often as you want or need.

Make sure to choose a gun safe that features a keypad lock rated as UL 768 Group II (or better). This is an industry standard term that denotes a lock only remotely connected to the actual locking mechanism of the safe. That means that, in event of a power failure or an attempted hot-wiring by a thief, the lock will not fail even thought the keypad is compromised.

Choosing A Safe For Your Handgun

Unlike with rifle safes, many handgun safes are designed to be concealed or portable. Before choosing one, consider whether or not you want a safe that will keep your gun locked up, but close at hand when you're home, or if you want to bring your secured firearm along with you.

Unlike with rifle safes, many handgun safes are designed to be concealed or portable.

If you are selecting a gun safe for use at home, then you should get one that can be firmly mounted to a wall, to the bottom of your bed frame, or to another stable surface. Many such safes can be rapidly opened by someone who knows the right code and are designed to be used without you looking at the safe. This is an asset in the darkness or when you need to keep your attention focused elsewhere.

Make sure to practice opening and closing your safe plenty of times, mastering its use so that the one time you need to get to your gun quickly during an emergency, you are ready. Another great option is a pistol safe that opens in response to a preprogrammed fingerprint. This type of access is quick, easy, and almost impossible to "hack."

When selecting a handgun safe that will come on the road with you, look for an option that is compact enough to be tucked away into a suitcase or bag without drawing attention and that is generally nondescript; there is never a need to broadcast the fact that you have a firearm when someone with ill intentions might learn of it. It's a good idea to consider a gun safe that either comes with a security cable or that can be outfitted with a cable or a chain so that you can secure the safe inside the trunk of your car or to the bench at a shooting range. This will prevent a "grab and dash" theft.

For the ultimate handgun security at home, stash your pistols in a compact safe that is then housed in a larger safe beside long guns or with other valuables that you keep secured.

On The Necessity Of Responsible Gun Ownership

The Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America is a brief and arguably inscrutable sentence. It reads, in its entirety: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

What is beyond debatable, however, is the necessity of safe, responsible practices by those who choose to own guns.

Those 27 words have led to as much vitriol and saber rattling as any other sentence found in any American document, and the debate over the amendment and its implications is not likely to be settled any time soon. What is beyond debatable, however, is the necessity of safe, responsible practices by those who choose to own guns. A brief look at a few grim statistics will confirm this.

Each year, more than 600 Americans are killed in accidental shootings. Firearm deaths overall are numbered at more than 30,000 victims in an average year, which renders a gun as one of top 10 causes of mortality in America. For every instance in which a privately owned gun is used for self defense in the home, there are an average of four accidental shootings, seven criminal assaults, and as many as 11 firearm suicide attempts.

Simply put, unless a gun is stored safely and securely, it makes a home and its occupants much less safe, not more so. Too often, the victims of accidental shootings are children. In fact, the mortality rates for children are as much as 14 times higher in areas with high rates of gun ownership when compared to areas in which few people keep guns in the home.

Firearm ownership is a right enshrined in the American Constitution, rather vague and equivocal language notwithstanding. Irresponsible gun ownership is not a privilege the founders of the United States had in mind, though.

Will Rhoda
Last updated by Will Rhoda

After deciding that the pen was mightier than the pliers, Canadian electrical contractor William Rhoda abandoned his career and headed back to college, where he majored in marketing and advertising and won a scholarship along the way to earning a diploma in creative communications. His past career landed him a depth of knowledge in tools and hardware, while his current career schooled him in audio, video and camera equipment. During his leisure time, he’s learned lots about outdoor gear, and years of tiresome backyard maintenance have taught him all about pools and hot tubs. His recreational pursuits include rest, relaxation and revolutionary action, and his roommate’s a hairless cat.

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