Need to keep your guns out of the hands of unauthorized family and burglars?
Then you need a gun safe.
There’s A LOT of them out there…from $30 to over $10,000.
We’ll cover the different types (handgun safes to bigger long gun safes) and give you a few options for going affordable, best bang-for-the-buck, or high-end.
Old school mechanical and even newer biometric and wi-fi versions.
Table of Contents
How Much Should I Spend?
The best answer I’ve gotten for this question is “If you lost everything in the safe…how much would you spend to recover it all?“
Guns are expensive.
But if you only have a few that are mass-produced…you can choose a smaller number that makes sense for some piece of mind.
But if you have heirloom items that cannot be replaced…I’d up the price even more.
Think of your safe as insurance for the stuff inside (plus it should lower your insurance rates too).
Electronic or Mechanical Lock?
I’m a little old school. So for important safes I go strictly mechanical. Important as is I hear a bump in the night and I need access NOW.
No batteries to replace and less potential for hacking.
But I still think there’s room for electronic locks (even Bluetooth & biometric ones) when ease-of-use is the primary concern.
You can set up multiple combinations, have a running log of access, and use your fingerprints.
Important Numbers & Ratings
You’ll see “gauge” come up soon and it’s a measure of how thick is the steel used in a safe. Like shotgun gauge…a smaller numerical number is actually thicker.
More affordable safes are in the 14 to 12 gauge range for steel walls.
There’s also going to be talk of “RSC” (Residential Security Container) that is coined by Underwriters Laboratory (UL) which develops standards for consumer products.
There’s different categories within but basically…RSC means the unit was tested to protect against hammers, chisels, wrenches, pry bars, punches and screwdrivers for at least 5 minutes.
Still with me?
Best Gun Safes
Let’s start with some Pistol Safes…
1. Fort Knox FTK-PB
My personal “bump in the night” safe and what I recommend to all my friends is the Fort Knox FTK-PB.
Not the cheapest at $240 but it’s heavy (20 lbs, 10 gauge thickness), boltable, and uses the mechanical Simplex lock which is super fast and easy to use in the dark.
Plus it holds 2-3 pistols plus some mags depending on how you want to stack them.
One negative is that there’s only 1081 combinations so if you have a teen that knows how to Google and has patience…you need to work on concealing it or teaching them to respect your firearms.
See the full review and more choices in our Best Bedside Quick Access Safe.
Best Overall Handgun Safe
And boom…we have a full video review of the Fort Knox plus some other handgun safes.
If that helped, please subscribe to our YouTube channel since we’re adding new videos every week!
2. GunVault SpeedVault
If you’re at a desk most of the time…this nifty safe from GunVault doesn’t need RFID keys or biometrics.
After inputting your code…your handgun drops down easy to grip.
One downside is that it won’t hold a revolver or extra magazines for your semi.
I’m using one right now…somewhere…
3. GunVault NV300 NanoVault
Another GunVault…I use the NV300 for travel so it’s legal in the car…and an extra layer of security where I’m staying.
Tightly fits a full-size Glock 17 and two mags and has holes for securing a cable.
4. Vaultek LifePod & LifePod 2.0
The Vaultek LifePod is now my go-to travel case when I’m driving and also staying over somewhere.
Discreet, enough protection, quick access, and still able to be tethered to something sturdy.
Check it out in action:
Buttons work well even when wet since they are capacitive. I like having the latches undone but still locked when I go down for the night.
There’s also the option for their slingbag which is pretty nifty.
Capacity is just right for me…compact gun with light and a mag.
Great for trips where you only need one gun.
And now a larger version with the LifePod 2.0 that can hold a LOT MORE stuff and also comes with trays if you aren’t transporting a handgun.
And if you are…the larger size let’s you carry two guns. Here is a full-size and micro.
Or even some other goodies…
And even some special editions with different colors, additional foam, and lid organization.
I use mine for holding my holstered CCW gun at the end of the day. Its main purpose is to keep it away from little ones and wandering eyes.
Did I mention the camo looks awesome?
Check em out for a larger travel solution or for keeping two guns (or a holstered CCW) safe at home.
5. SentrySafe QAP1Be
The QAP1BE has 3 different ways to open up this highly rated safe…buttons, fingerprint scanner, or backup key. Also pretty thick steel at 12 gauge.
Can hold up to two guns but I think one full-size and two mags might be the realistic max without stacking.
I like that it’s pretty quiet when opening.
Fingerprints your thing? See more of the SentrySafe and others in our Best Biometric Safes article.
6. Vaultek VT20i & VT10i
We’re moving up in tech!
These Vaultek bad-boys have key, electronic button, fingerprint, and Bluetooth phone app ways of opening up. They look and feel great too if that matters to you.
We tested the biometric reader and had a rough 90% reliability factor. Good for when you don’t need it 100% in a hurry.
The VT10i ($229) holds a full-sized pistol and two mags.
While the larger VT20i ($255) can hold even larger guns (maybe 2 compacts).
Check out the full review with plenty of gifs.
Plus an overview of their other models which don’t have biometrics (saving you money) and their new flagship…the PRO MX Series.
We have a full review of the Vaultek MX line here.
Now let’s move into Best Long Gun Rifle Safes…
These are what you probably traditionally think of as “gun safes.”
They can hold long guns and are much bigger (and more expensive) than their handgun-only counterparts.
You also don’t need to spend TOO much to get everything you want. After a while you just get better aesthetics.
How Big of a Gun Safe Should I Get?
When looking at a traditional safe…the rule-of-thumb is double what you think.
It’s not because you’ll likely buy more (ok…it’s a little that), but because the number of guns that manufacturers quote a safe can hold is for un-scoped rifles stacked on top of each other.
You should also definitely measure wherever you’re going to be placing that thing. It’s likely a couple hundred pounds and hard to move without a bunch of friends and some extra maneuvering space.
Now let’s get to it!
7. Stack-On 8-Gun Cabinet
The Stack-On is what I would suggest as a starter “safe” since it’s technically a cabinet with a lock. No RSC rating on this one.
It has a keyed lock, but with 18 gauge steel sides and weighing in at 64 lbs…it’s not going to resist a lot of prying (even with it bolted down). 10″ x 21″ x 55″ dimensions.
I had a 5-gun cabinet as my starter safe when I only had a handgun and rifle.
It quickly became too small to hold more than 3 rifles with optics. So if you have any inkling to buy more guns…start with an 8 gun safe at least unless space is the primary factor. A few of my buddies really like theirs.
If you need something bigger but still in the affordable price range…check out their 18-Gun Cabinet ($180) which comes recommended from some of our readers.
8. Liberty ProVault or Centurion
I opted for the largest 24-gun (59.5″ x 28.25″ x 22″) Liberty ProVault since it was going to be an overflow safe of my newer guns. Mechanical lock since I didn’t want to deal with batteries.
There’s also the 12 and 18 gun models which is what I actually recommend after my experience.
The ProVault version is a special color edition made by Liberty (probably the largest safe manufacturer) for Cabela’s. It had awesome reviews so I wanted to see for myself.
Flex means an upgraded interior that can hold other stuff and be re-configured.
The problem was that the combo didn’t work.
I gave Liberty a call and they had great customer service. The guy walked me through everything and even called me back when he said he would. But in the end the combo didn’t work.
So he found a local dealer to come pick it up (free of charge) and swap it with their Centurion. Which is the same exact thing except in a different color.
Which…did work. The Liberty rep said this was the first time the combo didn’t work for the ProVault…and same with the local dealer. I really am the best at breaking stuff.
Here’s the inside (with Flex Interior that you can somewhat reconfigure). With scoped rifles I’d estimate I could fit maybe 12 total in both of the long gun segments.
375 pounds so it’s not walking away…but determined people with a dolly can still move it. I’d recommend bolting it into the concrete which is what I did.
Plus…there’s fire protection. 30 minutes at 1200 degrees with heat activated Palusol on the door seals. And did I mention it’s US made?
- Exterior: 59.5″(H) x 28.25″(W) x 22″(D)
- Interior: 57.4″(H) x 26.7″(W) x 15.6″(D)
- Weight: 370 lbs.
- Fire: 30 minutes at 1200 degrees
Overall it’s decent for the price…but a potential deal-breaker is that Cabela’s has a ~$180 delivery charge. If I had to do it again…I’d get the 12 ($429) or 16 gun ($549) models so I could fit it into my closet.
Or simply up my budget a little higher to get something RSC-rated (up next)…which the ProVault/Centurion is not.
9. SecureIt Agile Model 52
So that ProVault 24 I had gotten…it was originally for my closet. I measured twice (and bought once)…with an inch around to spare.
And when the day came…I realized there’s no way I was able to move the 375 lb safe into my closet without destroying stuff.
Enter…SecureIt’s Agile Model 52 ($599) which is delivered flat…and can be assembled quickly.
Plus, all the assembly is internal so there’s no screws or anything to take apart on the outside.
It has a depth of 15 inches and weighs 105 pounds so it’s easy to store anywhere (and likely out of sight). I’d definitely still bolt it down though even if it’s hidden.
The disadvantage is you give up capacity…to the tune of only holding 6 long guns with scopes. BUT…they are nicely held in almost any configuration due to the modular Cradle Grid backing.
But if that’s enough…the Agile 52 might be the easiest solution to setting up your own gun safe.
Mine is set up with 6 long guns (hardware included…I really like the bungee retention system for the barrel).
And I also got the optional bins…yellow bins for stuff on top and two metal trays that fit in nicely behind the long guns.
Plus…the Agile 52 might be the cheapest to ship solution…I was testing zip codes and got results from around $30 if you’re on the East coast to $70 on the West coast.
Check out our new YouTube review.
And our standalone written review if video isn’t your thing.
EASIEST TO INSTALL/MOVE SAFE
What’s your take on the SecureIt?
10. Winchester Pony 19 & Ranger 26
The Winchester Pony 19 Gun ($850) is a really popular mid-sized safe that can hold most collections and isn’t TOO heavy to deal with on your own.
It’s almost the same exact dimensions as my Liberty above.
Mostly available in electronic format but is RSC rated and uses 12 gauge steel.
The interior is great for not only storing long guns but also handguns, valuables, and magazines. I personally don’t like storing ammo in a tight confined space.
Free shipping to your curb from Gunsafes.com so that gives an edge over Cabela’s. You can also upgrade your delivery service for placement and up some stairs.
- Exterior: 60″(H) x 28″(W) x 20″(D)
- Interior: 58″(H) x 26″(W) x 15″(D)
- Weight: 470 lbs.
- Fire: 60 minutes at 1400 degrees
For a little more, another very popular larger safe is the Winchester Ranger 26 ($1050) that comes in both mechanical (UL rated) or electronic models and either black or gray.
When you already have a good collection (or are thinking about it).
- Exterior: 59″(H) x 30″(W) x 25″(D)
- Interior: 55″(H) x 27″(W) x 17″(D)
- Weight: 602 lbs
- Fire: 60 minutes at 1400 degrees
11. Liberty Fat Boy Jr. 48 & Winchester Big Daddy XLT 56
Now we’re getting serious…
The Fat Boy series by Liberty is the #1 selling line of safes in the US. The Fat Boy Jr. ($1549) is what I recommend for large collections of 48 long guns. Or realistically half of that if you’re going with optics.
Made from thick 11 gauge steel…it is RSC rated along with its locks.
Here’s my buddy’s current load out…he’s working hard on filling it up!
Everything feels quality and if you don’t have a place to put it…it’s pretty enough by itself to be a decoration piece!
- Exterior: 42″ (W) x 25″(D) x 60.5″(H)
- Interior: 38″(W) x 14.5″(D) x 56″(H)
- Weight: 760 lbs
- Fire: 60 minutes at 1200 degrees
And the Winchester equivalent is the Big Daddy XLT 56 ($1800). There seems to be some preoccupation with body weight at the higher end of safe capacity.
RSC rated and UL listed mechanical lock. 12 gauge steel which is thinner than the Fat Boy Jr. but still plenty thick. Comes in at over 1000 pounds so you’re going to need some upgraded delivery service.
Interior is well designed to hold a lot of rifles, handguns, and other valuables.
- Exterior: 72″(H) x 42″(W) x 27″(D)
- Interior: 66.5″(H) x 39″(W) x 17″(D)
- Weight: 1080 lbs
- Fire: 75 minutes at 1400 degrees
12. American Security BF6032 18
Research enough and “Amsec” will keep coming up. They are one of the best in the biz for higher security and beautiful safes.
One of their most popular is the BF6032 18-Gun Safe ($3379) which is RSC rated with thick doors (.375″ solid steel), body, and bolts. Also the longest fire rating yet.
And like a fine 1911…there’s tons of options to customize…so it’s likely to cost you even more.
But what price can you put on peace of mind?
- Exterior: 59.25″(H) x 30″(W) x 21″(D)
- Interior: 52.8″(H) x 26″(W) x 14″(D)
- Weight: 913 lbs
- Fire: 120 minutes at 1200 degrees
13. Rhino Safe Ironworks 6033
A newer brand to me…but they’ve been in business 20+ years manufacturing in the US.
Check out their hand-made Ironworks 6033 safe…
That is just too pretty!
Plus with the right stuff inside to back it up.
There’s a lot more sizes (up to a ginormous 72″ x 56″) but this 60″ x 33″ is their most popular.
Thick 10 gauge steel body and tons more security features (including RSC rating). Plus the best fire protection on our list.
- Exterior: 60″(H) x 33″(W) x 27″(D)
- Weight: 960 lbs
- Fire: 130 minutes at 1400 degrees
All this awesomeness is going to cost you a little…but if you want the best looking and one of the best performing safes out there…
We’re done with our list of long gun safes…but what if you didn’t get the $5000 safe with all the fixings?
Long Gun Safe Upgrades
I would recommend getting a Gun Safe Panel Organizer that fits your door. One of the best upgrades that let’s you store a lot of handguns and miscellaneous items.
If you’re only wanting to expand your pistol storage…get some Handgun Hangers.
If your safe doesn’t come with lights…I really like the new LED Light Switches. I’ve put them in my safes and my car so I’m not wasting the car battery when I’m rustling through stuff at night.
And if you’re in even a semi-humid area…I highly recommend getting a dehumidifier. I use this renewable Mini-Dehumidifier. But there’s also plugin models that are less of a headache and stronger powered.
You can see it along with the light and handgun hangers too in my Centurion.
14. Vaultek RS500i
Want something super hi-tech and looks great as a decoration piece?
Check out the Vaultek RS line…and here specifically is their medium-sized RS500i.
Everything you can think of…the RS has it:
- capacitive keypad
- fingerprint scanner
- Wi-Fi to get alerts and receive commands
- smart key for quick access
- manual keys
- super modular interior
Check ours out in action:
The RS500i has an interior of 13.75″ L x 9.75″ W x 53.25″ H which places it in the middle of the series.
We can comfortably place around 3-4 rifles with optics in there and some handguns with the added rack.
It’s our go-to safe for stuff we use on the regular and even after 3 months the battery is still going strong. It’s easy to keep plugged in as well.
Now…let’s move onto some hidden safes…
Best Hidden Safes + Job Site Boxes
Sometimes you don’t want your safe to be easily found…we’ll cover a few options.
15. Tactical Walls 1450M
Want to feel like you’re out of a spy movie?
Take a look at Tactical Walls’ concealment mirror. Useful day-to-day…while also harboring some awesome firepower when needed.
16. Tactical Walls Coffee Table
Another offering from Tactical Walls that gives you access to your long gun in the middle of your home.
Pricey…but opens up via a nifty RFID key and silky smooth dampened pistons.
17. Trinity 36″ Job Site Box
Large, boltable, affordable, and less conspicuous than a full on safe…enter job site boxes.
Though not RSC rated…they have space for big padlocks and can be secured a variety of ways.
One downfall is that they are normally full of valuable tools…so it might still be a target for thieves.
Check out our full review of Best Hidden Gun Safes.
And finally…Best Car/Travel Safes
If you’re going bare bones…I like the NanoVault from earlier. A couple of the electronic safes fare well as vehicle safes too.
But if you want quicker access…
18. V-Line Top Draw
Enter V-Line’s lightweight entry into the Simplex lock category.
I have one in my car when traveling that is chained to my car seat. You’ll have to practice a little since it’s top open…gravity is working against you.
Last Line of Defense
We’re almost done!
Your gun safe should be the last line of defense against unauthorized access to your guns. How do you make it harder to reach that last line?
This advice is after talking with some police officers that see a lot of stolen guns…
- keep your home/car doors locked
- get an alarm system (or at least a sticker)
- don’t advertise you have guns (I’m sorry…this means stickers for NRA, gun logos, etc)
- teach your kids not to touch your guns
And keep in mind no safe is impenetrable given enough time and tools…you just want to make it annoying enough so that baddies give up or don’t even try.
To sum it up…here’s our best picks for each safe category.
18 Best Gun Safes for Pistols & Long Guns [All Budgets] is written by Eric Hung for www.pewpewtactical.com