The 10 Best Gun Safes
10. Barska Quick Access
9. SnapSafe X-Large
8. Cannon Safe H1FDC-17
7. Blue Dot Second Amendment
6. First Alert 5200DF
5. Stack-On PDS-1500
4. Gunvault SV500
3. Vaultek VT20i
2. Steelwater Standard
1. Sentry Safe QAP1BE
Choosing The Right Rifle Safe
A gun safe designed to hold rifles or shot guns, 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 be mounted to a wall or bolted to the ground. That way a criminal can't simply steal your entire gun safe, waiting to get out the firearms within later.
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 entered codes to as their unlocking mechanism, and these are great features 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 and/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.
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, so to speak, 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."
Those twenty seven 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 six hundred 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 ten 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 eleven 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 Constitution, rather vague and equivocal language notwithstanding. Irresponsible gun ownership is not a privilege the founders of the United States had in mind, though.