If you’re licensed to own firearms, it’s vital to keep it safely locked in a special gun cabinet. There are a number of solid reasons in support of the above statement. A gun safe protects your valuables and ammunition from burglars, untrained persons and children, capable of causing a terrible mess.
Choosing the best gun safe for your individual is quite a complicated task. So, before making an investment, you have to learn about the vast categories of gun safes available in the market, their pros and cons and everything in between, aspects to evaluate during the purchase and a lot more.
After 48 hours of tenacious research, I have finally managed to chalk out a detailed yet comprehensive guide. I have made sure each model which has made the cut has been tried and tested multiple times before obtaining approval for sale. Did you know that purchasing a gun safe is mandatory in many states?
If you are in possession of firearms, make sure to check your state law regarding the following to avoid penalty charges. Reliable gun safe models are not just lockers made from decorative materials which it can pried open by even a small hair pin. Instead, they are stronger as iron equipped with cutting edge safety features and excellent user interface.
Reasons to Buy a Gun Safe
People own guns for various reasons, while most use for self-defense, some are just dedicated gun collectors who can’t resist the urge to lay their hands on artistically crafted weapons with a cool history behind it. Many people use gun vaults to safe-keep other valuable items such as confidential papers, jewelleries etc. apart from arms. In such cases, you’ll have to pay great deal of attention to the structure and rigidity of the locker.
Lightweight safes usually made from steel can be easily drilled through by intruders. Always eye for a vault that is made of minimum 8 gauge steel. Gun safes that have factory-installed holes are nearly invincible. If your house or wherever you’re planning to store the vault doesn’t allow you to anchor the locker down, look out for a super heavy alternative that no normal thief can just walk away with (unless he’s Hulk or something).
Having firearms unprotected in a house where a children live could lead to a massacre. You know, children are flippant by nature and have an unending curiosity to explore anything and everything lying before them. Recent studies have revealed a heart-shattering data that dubs every year approximately 8% of unintentional gunshot deaths are caused by children below 6.
It has been made mandatory in several U.S states to store lethal weapons in achild-proof safety locker. Even if you don’t have children at your home, it is still essential to own a solid gun vault to inhibit access to them by kids from the neighbourhood or any family member. The best child-proof gun safe models come with safety alarms which alerts the owner as soon as some unauthorized personnel tries to gain access to the safe.
Purchasing a firearm is your constitutional right but in case it gets misused or stolen, the owner is to be held responsible for it according the law of several states. Every year, numerous instances of misfired gunshot wounds are reported in U.S.A alone. One might be fined a huge sum as penalty or jailed for not keeping his guns in a locker. Make it a point to check the list of the states that commission laws that hold the owner liable for the potential firearm accidents.
Cheap Insurance Policy
Carrying liability protection constitutes only half of your duty. You will also have to insure it in order to avoid facing a massive monetary loss. You’ll be eligible to obtain cheaper insurance rates if you provide adequate protection for your firearms.
Most insurance companies would refuse to cover your loss or even offer any insurance scheme in the first place unless you keep your arms protected in a special gun vault. It is best to ask your insurance carrier if they provide discounts on specific vault designs with specific security ratings, if they do, you can select a model accordingly and become qualified for low cost insurance policy rates.
Fire resistant will cost you more than non-fireproof safes but spending extra will certainly sure all round protection of your valuables during potential fire catastrophe. Looking for fire ratings in a vault in especially important if you have an existing heater or wood pellet stove in your house or office room. Most fire related accidents in United States are caused by such heating devices so it’s better to be pre-armed.
Things to Consider before Purchasing a Gun Safe
UL RSC Rating
A B-rating is the bare minimum safety rating a gun safe has to carry to be able to provide a decent protection against any sort of ballistic or other trauma. B-rated safes are identifiable from their ½” plate steel doors and ¼” plate steel walls. But if you really care for your firearms and your family member, make sure the model meets RSC rating. UL 1037 RSC OR Residential Security Container rating implies that the level of protection can withstand an attack of basic power tools such as a small crowbar and a hammer.
California Department of Justice(DOJ) Regulatory Gun Safe Standards
Gun safes have to be constructed of a certain number of locking bolts, thickness of steel sheets, door sealing and hinges and drill protection to acquire this certification. Different grades of the rating indicate the safety level of the locker. There is a significant gap of replacement value of firearms among B-rated, DOJR rated and RSC rated safety cabinets. While the first two ensure a minimum level of protection, the latter guarantees a better chance of survival against rigorous attacking force.
UL Fireproof Classification
A fireproof rating is essential to make sure your important possessions stand a chance to dodge the devastating fire during a potential nightmare scenario. There are various grades of this rating depending on the number of hours thee locker can prevent damage below a specific temperature.
This is the first and irrefutably the most vital factor to take into account while browsing through gun safe models. If you’ve a room large enough to accommodate a king-size gun cabinet, half of your problem is already sorted. Now, the question is do you really need a big gun safe.
Make sure to appropriately correctly figure out the height, width and depth of firearm cabinet before proceeding to check out. Don’t get guiled by the advertised capacity of the model, for example, if the manufacturer claims that the safe can effortlessly hold 10 bolt-action rifles, in reality, it can accommodate only half of the number.
Okay, suppose the cabinet satiates your requirements effectively for now, what if you need to crash in some more rifles in future? Buy another safe? Bruh! Be smart enough to choose a locker with a high interior storage capacity. Another aspect that should influence your size selection is the type of weapons you want to store in it.
Long-barrel rifles, guns with wide fore-ends and pistol grips, bench rest rifles, mag wells and varminter require a generous storage space to fit in neatly. Another reason to buy a wider model is that the interior space shrinks with time. Yes, you heard it right. If you select a vault that is spacious enough only for the guns you own now, you will have to cough out the exact price of the current locker to buy a brand new one. Save yourself some future trouble by opting for a large gun safe.
It’s better not to buy any gun vault at all than buying model light enough to be drilled through or crashed or worse, lifted up by a gang of robbers! Safes weighing around 300 pounds or less is like a sitting duck for the burglars.
If you think your gun collection along with other valuables you’re planning to keep in the locker demands extra protection, eye for a cabinet heavier than 500 pounds, constructed from a solid 10 gauge steel that can withstand the grueling pressure of drill machine or an axe. The safest gun safes are those that can be bolted won. These models contain pre-drilled holes to help you anchor the vault to floor or any other immovable object.
Gun Safe Welding
Gun safes featuring taut welded joints with full weld penetration can deter almost any maligning activities devised upon them. Poorly welded joints can be easily hacked from the top or sides with a hammer. In higher end models, the welder makes the welded joint stronger than its surrounding material by welding short portions of the vault at a time, the process is repeated until continuous weld is acquired, this process is called continuous skip welding.
Non-continuous skip welds are much weaker in comparison because the gaps are filled with a sort of plastic compound fillers which is not only possesses a weak strain resistance but is also highly inflammable by nature.
Most traders will try to take the full advantage of your ignorance by feeding you with made-up specifications. Actual steel thickness of a gun vault is one such crucial feature many manufacturers tend to (half) lie about in an attempt to boost their sales. Catchphrases like total door thickness and total wall thickness are used to cover up the details on actual steel thickness which is basically the only thing that matters.
Let it sink in your mind that only a minor portion of the advertised safe door thickness is real steel, the rest of it is merely a sheetrock wrapped in a thin sheet metal. Well, here are two basic points you need to focus upon-one, the outer steel layer thickness. Ideally it should be no less than 7 gauge (0.1793”) to withstand heavy-duty hammering action. Avoid supposedly thick composite doors because most of the sheet is made from gypsum drywall that hardly stands a chance if attacked by a drill machine.
Number two aspect under scrutiny should be the thickness of the single sheet around the top and bottom sides of the safe. Although a 10 gauge thickness is believed to deter unauthorized access, a fire axe and some muscle power can even split a robust safety locker like this in minutes. What you can do to give some extra helping to the base material is adding concrete amalgamate linings to the structure? The additional mass will only give a better structural support to the vault but also improvise the fire resistance to a great extent. Just make sure the thicker sheet is always on the outside.
A very common sign of a below average gun safe is a widely gaped door that makes opening the safe all the more easy for the thieves. Reliable safes have minimal door gaps to prevent the access of a pry bar. If you’re determined to invest in a solid gun safe, make it a point to select a model offering a recessed door with as little gap as possible.
Many customers tend to overlook this area which ultimately turns out to be one of the biggest mistakes of their lives if their stars cease to smile upon them someday. Typically, I’d recommend a plate door with a heavy-duty outer steel layer to maximize the protection. Those ultra-thick looking composite doors are a mirage my friend, a mirage!
If you take a closer look at the highest rated gun safe models from upscale brands, you’ll notice most of them are equipped with taut door sealing. A solid sealing acts as a dehumidifier to keep your guns shielded against the vagaries of weather. It also doubles as an excellent fire proof element in your gun safe by inhibiting the entrance of smoldering gases inside the vault that can otherwise result is a horrible massacre, specially if you’ve stored ammunition in the safe.
Internal hinges in gun safes work as an extra layer of protection for the gun safe when under the threat of burglary. On the other hand, externally hinges allow the safe door to swing open the door up to 180 degrees, they can be adjusted if the door turns a little out of alignment. And the best part imobilitys that the outer hinges can be removed in order to make vault lighter for the ease of .
Types of Locker
Gun safe locks are primarily of two types, depending on what purpose you want the locker to serve, you need to make a choice between electric and manual locks. Manual locks which can be opened with a simple turn of a key will come handy if you own a gun for personal protection. If you’re planning to buy a bedside hand safe, a mechanical lock will help you get quicker access to your gun, plus, there’s no need to worry about the battery going dead. But turn-keys aren’t a reliable option when it’s a large safe full of expensive gun collection and other important items.
For optimal protection, you’ll need an electronic locker that is either has a password or fingerprint access (biometric gun safes). The latest quick access electronic lock are equipped with several other feature such as auto access denial if the intruder puts wrong password three times in a row and an AC adapter and many more. If it doesn’t have an AC adapter, you may have to replace them with fresh batteries as soon as the existing ones wear which is a bit of a hassle.
Pre-drilled bolt holes allow you to hook the vault to the ground or any other solid object which adds to the rigidity of the safe. In a properly designed locker, the anchor holes are created typically at the base on the outer corner. Reinforced holes make the bolts tougher for the pry bar to get an access inside the gun safe.
It is another important thing to keep in mind before finalizing the purchase. There are numerous types of designs, ranging from wall-mounted models to large traditional style vaults to choose from. If you require firearms for self-defense, you should look for a compact, quick access bedside safe or any other convenient place that’ll allow you to reach your weapon easily during an emergency. For a massive collection of medium to large rifles, you’ll obviously need a large vault. Be very specific about the location you want to store it in, take the measurements beforehand to get a clear idea of what size of gun safe it can accommodate.
Types of Gun Safes
Biometric Gun Safe
Biometric gun safes have a fingerprint recognition system and a highly portable structure. The locking system, as you can already guess, is the most advanced of its kind till date. The fingerprint lock helps you keep your pistol and other vital stuffs such as legal documents, gold, diamond and so on away from the reach of naughty children and over curious neighbours. While the small safes could make a perfect hide-out for small guns, the vault versions can store multiple large shooting rifles. Fingerprint locks are virtually impossible to bypass while pass codes can be still be guessed. Plus, it is way faster than keypad or manual locks since you don’t have to type a password or turn a key to get access to the arms.
Long Gun Full-size Safes
There are several hardcore benefits of purchasing a full-size fault if you have really large and exquisitely designed guns in your collection and you can never get enough of them so you keeping adding more to your arsenal. If you have a large spare space in your basement or any other corner of your house and a flexible budget, buying a full-size fireproof gun safe would be totally worth it. Premium models are made from high quality gauge steel which makes the vault nearly invincible. As I have already discussed before, you should always opt for a one or two size larger model than the actual size of your gun, especially if you’re going to stack multiple weapons and other valuable resources in it.
Stack on Gun Safes
You can store more than 22 guns along with important files and documents, jewelleries etc. in multiple rows in a stack on gun safe. It contains shelves inside to prevent space cluttering. The only downside is the mechanical lock system. Skip it if you’ve children at home or need firearms for personal protection. However, turn lock will serve you well if you use them store your collectibles.
Hidden Gun Safe
I’m sure you have had several glimpses of hidden safes on the celluloid, haven’t you? The gun cabinets are modeled after the shape of a clocks, bookcases, cupboard, mirrors or any simple-looking object. The core benefit of having a hidden safe is that even somebody as sharp as Mr. Holmes won’t be able to detect the weapon’s existence at the first glance, forget your dull-headed enemies. Add to that, you can be assured that the lethal firearms are way out of your children’s reach .
In-wall Gun Safe
In wall gun safesare a relief for people dealing with serious crunch of space. These stationary models can be fixed inside the wall, therefore it will be virtually unstealable. you get a variety of choices in terms of size and lock mechanism (available in manual, pass code and fingerprint lock options). In wall safes provide excellent protection and convenient access. The only con is the lack of portability, once the device is fixed inside the wall, it cannot be relocated.
Quick Access Wall Safe
This sub-category of in-wall safes are particularly aimed to give you quicker access to your weapons in emergency situations. The combination of keypad and fingerprint locks help the user unlock the case with least difficulty. These wall safes can be installed in different corners of the room which is a plus point if you’ve multiple handguns. Even if one safe fails to open, you can count on the next locker.by the time the burglars will be able to guess where all the guns are kept, the cops would reach your house or office to take care of them.
Small Gun safes
It is the less advanced brother of general biometric gun safes, small bedside gun safes are apt for a revolver used solely for self-defense purposes. They are available in both electronic and manual versions. Instead of fingerprint recognition, the safe features a digital locking keypad, the cheaper manual alternative offers turn lock option. The biggest advantage of such models, apart from easy access is portability.
Corner Gun Safe
Corner gun safes are neatly structured to fit into the corners of a room or basement. If you have enough vacant space on the wall, make a good use of the corners instead to create a safe and secure spot for your guns and valuables.
Car Gun Safe
The name is quite self-explanatory here. Car gun safes are compact gun safes specially designed to fit right in your vehicle. A great way to carry small pistols for personal protection during travels. Due to the limited size of the locker, it can’t accommodate more than one revolver. Small car safes always help you feel secure when you’re driving alone or with your family.
Truck Gun safe
Unlike car safes, truck gun safes offer a comfortable height and width for MI6 type rifles and high maintenance revolvers. They can be fitted in the flatbed or underneath the seat and ease of portability is a default feature. Truck drivers need to drive long distance, often in the middle of the night, due to the demand of their profession. Having a handgun safely tucked in a corner near the driver’s seat is always a wise decision.
Fireproof Gun Safes
Many customers tend to overlook the fire safety part while shopping for the best gun safe and more often than not, they regret their decision for life. The rate of fire accidents in U.S are increasing alarmingly. If you won’t settle for anything but the best, look for a quality fire-proof model. Not all fire-rated models are created equal. Factors such as door sealing, welding, hinges and thickness of the steel plays a pivotal role here. the best gun safes come in both small and large sizes to fit your versatile collection of firearms. Consider a smart electric lock instead of a manual lock for extra safety and convenience.
Under Bed Gun Safe
Unpleasantly surprise the trespassers by pulling out your gun just when they thought they’re too smart to trick you. If you are not comfortable with the prospect of storing your handgun far away from your bed during the night, an under bed locker will definitely live up to your expectation. Instead of leaving the safe near the bedside, exposed to everyone passing by, concealing it underneath the bed certainly has a more critical advantage.
Nightstand Gun Safe
A nightstand gun safe is classic variant of hidden gun safes. While the typical designs resemble a drawer that slides open by pressing the right access code or fingerprint, the more contemporary models help you camouflage unauthorized personnel from reaching your weapons by mimicking the appearance of the nightstand with a sliding board inside which your bad boy will sleep in peace.
Reviews of the Best Biometric Gun Safes
1. GunBox Biometric Gun Safe
The breathtaking design of GunBox is sure to blow your mind at the very first glance. Behind the stylish exterior lies a gun locker tough to withstand more than you can imagine. GunBox allows multiple ways to reach your guns, along with a fingerprint scanner, it houses a Radio Frequency Identification technology to help you unlock the safe with a special wristband or ring.
This state of the art technology is mostly used as a security measure for tap and go credit cards.
When two of the main electronic systems fail to open the safe, the third and final “built in fail safe” option will restore your faith in technology. The fingerprint scanner can be programmed to accept up to 100 fingerprints. Apart from hi-tech utilities, the alloy-steel body and neoprene lined design of the locker make it supremely resistant against malicious force.
2. Sentry Safe Biometric Quick Access Pistol Safe
The Sentry Safe has gone through several strength and resistance tests before hitting the market to ensure the ultimate customer satisfaction. This quick access pistol safe, besides a sleek and easily portable profile, is loaded with advanced built-in features to make the security system next to impossible to bypass. The2.2x 9.7x 6.6” dimension is apt for regular large caliber revolvers. The colour of the exterior can easily blend with the environment which helps you hide it effortlessly.
The 12 gauge solid steel body can give a tough time to muscles and brawn, even with the help of the most powerful tools like sledgehammer or axe, it will require a lot of time to crack open the safe. The cool fingerprint scanner installed in this model renders top-notch quality. It can effectively scan every contour of your finger so that you don’t have to place the thumb in one particular spot. The problem with most battery-powered safes are that the owners often forget to replace the batteries, but Sentry Safe always gets your back by introducing tow back-up entry methods- one is a mechanical lock and another is a digital keypad.
3. BARSKA Biometric Gun Safe
BARSKA is known for merging cutting edge gun safe technology with stunning contemporary designs in their exclusive range of biometric safes. The fingerprint recognition system equipped model AX11224 is a league of its own as an entry level gun safe for first time gun owners.
The no-frills, compact profile makes it a cool storage option for multiple short guns as well as other costly items. The USP of the model is its flexible design, if you will, you can also mount the safe on the wall to save some precious living space. Another highlight is the fingerprint system which can accept up to 30 fingerprints which is a really great feature if you want your family members to have access to your weapons in your absence.
4. Gunvault MicroVault XL MVB1000 Biometric Gun Safe
The Gunvault MicroVault XL MVB1000 Biometric Gun Safe is widely regarded as one of the best gun safes for travelling. The storage space can easily contain a latest handgun model along with a few important documents and even magazines.
The innovative slide-through fingerprint scanner incorporated in this model allows you to unlock the vault just by swiping your finger on the reader, the scanner can recognize up to 120 fingerprints which is unarguably the largest memory capacity in any security device in the present market.
Only the first two fingerprints added to the memory right after purchase are considered by the scanner to be administrative prints. In order to add more prints, it has to be programmed using the administrative fingerprint. If you closely observe the design, you’ll notice that the door gap is the very least it can get to inhibit the entry of pry bar. To prevent the thieves from walking away with your safe, it comes with steel security cables.
Reviews of the Best Large Stack-on Gun Safes
1. Stack-on Total Defense 28 Gun Security Safe
Stack-on Defense combines top-of-the-line technical specifications with a heavy-duty design, capable of undergoing catastrophic events and coming out untarnished. Despite of its giant structure, the company has managed to keep the cost considerable mid-range. The storage shelves and dividers are customizable to help you stash your valuables neatly in a specific order. The storage rack has a Velcro system to store guns without practically eating up the shelf space.
It has been fireproofed to eliminate the entrance of scalding fumes inside the cabinet for 1 hour under 1400 degrees. That’s a mere prelude. It can also shield your arms for 3 long days under 2 feet water. If you wish to install a humidifier at some point, there in-built power outlet at the back will save you the fuss of drilling holes for it.
2. Mesa Safe Company MBF6032E 14.4 Cubic Foot 30 Rifle Safe with Digital Clock
The Mesa Safe offers a room large enough to safe-keep a massive number of shooting guns, small pistols, magazines, ammunition, documents and other valuables. The stack-on type designs prevents space cluttering and helps you get access to whatever you need without rummaging through an array of stuffs. The rugged steel construction is a shield against brute attack force, fire and humidity.
On top of that, the whole unit can be bolted down to the floor, thanks to the presence of multiple pre-drilled holes. The lock system is guarded by an undrilllable plate, you can be assured that no amount of hammering or drilling will bring any significant harm to the vault. Moreover, the unit has been lab tested to withstand 1750 degrees of scorching heat and smoke for 1 full hour.
3. Stack-on FS-114-MG-C 14-Gun Fire Resistant Safe with Combination Lock
Looking for an affordable and solid-in-structure safe to protect your beloved gun collection? Your search is probably over. The FS-114-MG-C 14-Gun Fire Resistant Safe exudes all the essential features you’ll need to safeguard your firearms against theft, fire and the hands of children. The unit has enough room for 14 full-size rifles and ammunition.
I was quite impressed by the inclusion of brackets and slots to help the user with the setting up process. I won’t say this is the toughest gun vault for a reasonable price, its resistance against fire and heavy trauma, but it will certainly serve you well if you’re expecting a large vault with all the basic features.
Best Overall Gun Safe Models
1. Viking VS-82BM
Viking has a dab hand in manufacturing small gun safes, most of which are biometric in nature. Viking VS-82BM, which is structurally a wall-mounted unit is one of the highest sold products of the brand till date and for all the good reasons.it comes in a small and a large variant (VS-52BM) to suit the any type and amount of guns you wish to house.
The sleeker version is only 5 inches in depth and can be both inside and outside of the drywall of the room. It is equipped with a fingerprint recognition system which is quite a bonanza at such an economical range. Furthermore, it also offers a key access just in case someone from your family or office needs the arms in your absence.
2. Mesa Safe Company MB5922E 7.9 Cubic Foot 14 Rifle Gun Safe with Digital Clock
This Mesa Safe is just the perfect vault you have been searching for so long, as long as you’ve enough room in your basemen or office to spare. This hefty gun safe has a storage capacity of up to 14 rifles and the body is sculpted from premium quality steel that can effectively deter fire hazards, water damage and human force. The 500 lbs. monster can be bolted down to the floor to ensure it stays in place no matter what.
The manufacturers claim that the model has been designed to withstand a 2-story drop which is quite remarkable as a safety feature. Besides this, it has a fireproof ratings of 1-350 and an electronic combination lock system paired with a manual spring re-locker to create an extra layer of security.
The Final Word
Many people end up spending thousands of dollars on gun safety lockers but very few of them succeed in investing in a product that meets the expectations. With the right information, application of a little common sense and a bit of patience, you can also select the ultimate value for money gun vault to keep your firearms and ammunition off from being stolen, misused or mishandled.
Although biometric safes are resting at the top of technology spectrum, there are other worthy alternatives as well if you don’t want to go overboard with the budget. No matter which type of safe you buy, make sure it’s sturdy enough to stand the test of time and catastrophic situations.