As gun owners we want to be sure that we can quickly access our home defense handgun in the result of an emergency or home invasion.
But we also need to make sure that this handgun is kept secure at all times so it won’t end up in the hands of a child or a burglar when we aren’t around.
This is where a handgun safe comes in. The purpose of a handgun safe is to be a way to quickly access your weapon to respond to a home invasion but while also keeping the weapon secure. Many people will keep a handgun safe under their bed or on their nightstand for this reason.
In this article, we will cover the factors you need to take into consideration when choosing a handgun safe, the qualities to look for in one, and then the top five very best handgun safes that are currently available.
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Table of Contents
- 1 The Factors To Remember When Choosing A Handgun Safe
- 2 Qualities To Look For In A Handgun Safe
- 3 The Top 5 Best Handgun Safes
- 4 1. Browning Pistol Vault PV900
- 5 2. Fort Knox Handgun Safe PB1
- 6 3. GunVault GV2000C-DLX Multi-Vault Deluxe Gun Safe
- 7 4. Sentry Safe Quick Access Safe
- 8 5. V-Line Top Draw Locking Tactical Gun Storage Box
- 9 Conclusion
The Factors To Remember When Choosing A Handgun Safe
The main purpose to owning a handgun safe is to keep your pistol out of the hands of children and burglars while also permitting quick access to the handgun (punch in the code or your fingerprint to open the safe) in the event of a home invasion.
Contrary to what many people believe, a handgun safe is not designed to protect your pistol from a fire. No matter how ‘fireproof’ handgun safes claim to be, most of them simply will not give adequate protection for the contents inside in the event that your house burns to the ground.
If you want a safe that’s actually going to protect the contents from a fire, then you will need a much larger safe that’s actually designed for the purpose.
With this in mind, here are some questions that you need to ask yourself when choosing a handgun safe:
- Do you have kids in the home?
- Will you be using this safe primarily for home defense purposes?
- Will you be keeping more than one handgun in the safe?
- Will you be keeping spare ammunition (or a spare magazine or speed loader) in the safe?
- Will you be keeping any money, jewelry, or important documents in the safe?
- Will you be removing your handgun and other contents from the safe frequently or infrequently?
- How large of a handgun (or handguns) are you going to be keeping in the safe?
- Where do you plan on keeping the safe (bolted to the wall, under the bed, on your nightstand, etc.)?
- What is your budget?
- Do you need more than one handgun safe?
The point to asking yourself these questions is to figure out your priorities, so you can more effectively narrow down what kind of safe you need.
For example, if you plan on keeping a large handgun or two handguns in your safe, then you’re going to need a larger safe rather than a smaller one. If you have kids in the home, then you’re going to want to make sure that your safe is extra secure. If you have a budget in mind, then you’re going to need a cheaper safe rather than a more expensive one.
Once you have your priorities set in regards to what you need in a safe, you can then further narrow down your selection by knowing the specific qualities you need to look for in a safe regardless of its intended purpose. We’ll talk about this next.
Qualities To Look For In A Handgun Safe
Here are the main qualities that you will need to look for in a handgun safe:
It Must Be Able To Be Bolted To The Wall or the Floor
If your handgun cannot be bolted down, then a thief can just steal the entire thing and break into its contents later.
It Must Be Secure
It’s also important for your safe to be secure and hard to break into. The best kinds of locks for a pistol gun safe are either durable and robust key locks or a combination mechanical lock of some kind.
Key locks are the cheapest option, while mechanical locks are going to be more money. A key lock simply works by inserting a key into the safe to move a deadbolt, permitting you access to the safe.
Mechanical locks are more complex and require you to punch in a combination in order to access the contents of a safe. Since there are thousands of different possible combinations, someone who doesn’t know the code will have a very tough (and long) time breaking into the safe.
Both key locks and mechanical locks are suitable for a handgun nightstand safe, though many people prefer a mechanical lock because you don’t have to have a key present in order to open the safe.
It Can’t Have Very Many (Or Any) Holes
This may sound obvious, but your safe cannot have very many or any holds in the steel exterior. Most holes for handguns safes are covered up but can be visible after popping off an exterior piece.
Burglars can then use the holes to pick around the inside of the safe’s mechanism to open it.
Most holes are found with safes that have sheet metal seams that are not welded. Other safes will have extra mounting holes or security cable slots.
Ultimately, holes in a safe are largely a construction problem, and you will want to avoid safes that have them.
Durability and Construction Quality
This one may also sound obvious, but your handgun safe needs to be durable and high quality.
The vast majority of small pistol safes out on the market are rather flimsy. Even if the locking mechanism is quality, it can be easily to beat down the safe to access the contents inside instead.
Most pistol safes are also not welded, which is another major construction flaw. This means that they can be opened simply by throwing them on the ground or hitting them hard enough with a hammer, and the rest of the safe will pop open.
You must choose a handgun safe that is properly welded and seamed together, and you also must select one that uses thick and high quality steel.
The Top 5 Best Handgun Safes
Now that we know about the qualities you need to look for in a handgun safe and the factors to remember when choosing one, we can dive into the top five best handgun safes currently available on the market.
Here are the top five best handgun safes, presented in alphabetical order:
Easily the newest pistol safe on this list is the Browning Pistol Vault PV900. This is an update over the PV1500 safe that Browning had previously put out.
The reason why the PV900 is an improvement over the PV1500 is because it keeps all of the same features over the PV1500 while having enough room to store more than one handgun, and all while being offered at a slightly lesser price point (though it’s still not the cheapest safe on the market at over $200).
Examples of cool features of the PV1500 that are transferred over to the PV900 as well is the spring assisted lid and interior lighting that lights up when the safe is opened (a key feature for a home invasion response at night or in the dark).
But one of the best things about the Browning PV900 safe is that it comes installed with a backup entry option. The primary entry mode is a keypad that requires a four digit code in order to unlock the safe.
However, this code also runs on AA batteries, and while AA batteries are very cheap and easy to find, in the event that you run out in your supply and the juice in them dries up this means that the keypad will become useless to you.
This is why the Browning PV900 also comes installed with a manual key option, so if you run out of batteries you will still be able to open the safe.
But what about if you run out of batteries and lose your key? Fortunately, the PV900 comes with a second backup option: simply hookup the safe to a 9-volt battery, and the keypad will work again.
The Browning PV900 is built out of 14 gauge steel and weighs sixteen pounds. With a height of over nine inches and a width of eleven inches, it has enough room to carry two pistols, spare ammunition, and a knife and flashlight.
– Durable Construction
- More Room Than Many Competing Safes
- 3 Modes of Entry
- Internal Lighting
- Spring Assisted Lid
- Electrical Keypad For Quick Access
- Expensive In Comparison To Its Competitors
If you’re looking for a handgun safe that is compact, convenient, secure, and easy to install, then you will want to give the Fort Know Handgun Safe PB1 a god look.
The safe is compact but also has enough space inside to either hold one full size pistol or two compact ones, in addition to a spare magazine or two.
This safe utilizes the Simplex lock system with over one thousand possible combinations (not quite as much as some its competitors), which has been around since the early 1960s and has proven itself to be extremely easy to use. No, it’s not quite as fast as some of the other locking systems out there (such as a biometric gun safe, for example), but it still opens very quickly with enough practice.
Additional features of the Fort Knox Handgun Safe PB1 include a concealed hinge (definitely a plus against burglars), and a wrap around style door that adds more strength to the overall design.
The safe is built out of 10 gauge steel, while the entire safe weighs twenty four pounds. As an added bonus, Fort Knox sells this safe with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.
- Proven Simplex Locking System
- Batteries Are Not Needed
- Space For One Full Size Handgun or Two Compact Handguns
- Hinges Are Concealed
- Durable Build and Constructions
- Expensive (Almost $250)
- 1,000 Combinations is Less In Comparison To Some Competitors
The GV2000C-DLX Multi-Vault Deluxe Gun Safe from GunVault is an excellent safe with several features that you should like, including a sturdy design, a keypad that is easy to use, and space for more than one handgun.
While the Fort Knox safe we just looked at is definitely a great safe for handguns and home defense, one of its problems is it only has just over 1,000 possible combinations. The GunVault GV2000C-DLX remedies this issue with over twelve million separate access codes.
As an added bonus, this safe comes installed with a computer that blocks access after too many attempts to open up the safe. This safe is also very affordably priced in comparison to some of the other options we’ve just looked at, with a price tag of around $150.
Additional features that this safe comes with include a 1 year warranty from the manufacturer, internal lighting, two override keys, and 16 gauge steel for the construction.
The biggest negative to this safe is it requires to be hooked up to a 9V battery in order for it to work, and the battery is not even shipped with the safe.
- 16 Gauge Steel Construction
- Over 2 Million Keypad Combinations
- 1 Year Manufacturer Warranty
- Internal Lighting
- Comes With 2 Backup Override Keys
- Enough Room For More Than One Handgun
- Requires a 9V Battery To Run (and does not ship with the safe)
If you’re looking for an even more affordable safe than the GunVault we just looked at, then you’ll want to pay close attention to the Sentry Safe Quick Access Safe. This safe can be had for less than a hundred dollars, which easily makes it one of the most competitively priced safes on the market.
Now with this dip in price comes a tradeoff. This safe is slightly less sturdy in comparison to the other options that we have covered, and there’s also only room for just one handgun.
But it still comes with some neat features from higher priced safes, including a backlit electrical lock that makes no noise when you push the buttons (perfect for keeping your presence unknown for a burglar), a gas strut assisted door, a manual lock with a key as a backup option to the keypad, and a master override key that you can to open up the safe as well.
Built out of 12 gauge steel, the Sentry Safe Quick Access Safe weighs 12 pounds and ships with a one year manufacturer warranty.
- Very Affordable Safe (less than $100)
- 1 Year Manufacturer Warranty
- Backlit Keypad Makes No Noise When You Push The Buttons
- Manual Lock With Key
- Compact and Easy For Storage In Tight Areas
- Gas Strut Assisted Door
- Room For Only One Handgun At The Most
- Less Sturdy Than Its Higher Priced Competitors
The final handgun safe that we will cover for now is the V-Line Top Draw Locking Tactical gun Storage Box.
This safe utilizes a Simplex mechanical lock. This lock is proven, but it also only has 1,000 possible combinations, which is far less in comparison to some other safes on the market.
It comes installed with pre-drilled bolt holes that make bolting it to the wall or your floor extremely easy. But as an alternative, you can also purchase a separate mountain bracket to mount your safe onto that if you don’t want to go through the process of bolting it.
This safe is also highly versatile in that it is designed to double as both a home defense handgun safe and as a car safe. As such, it is very compact and light at just ten pounds. Available for around $150 or less, this is a competitively priced safe as well.
- Competitively Priced
- Works As Either A Home Defense or a Car Safe
- Pre-Drilled Bolt Holes
- Mounting Bracket Can Be Purchased Separately For Ease of Installation
- Very Portable and Slim
- Does Not Require Batteries
- Limited Combinations
- Room For Just One Handgun
Hopefully this article has given you some insight into what to keep in when
choosing a gun safe for your handguns and recommendations to help you choose the best one for you.