If you’ve decided to keep a handgun at home for security purposes, getting a pistol safe is a must to keep it away from visitors and kids. Every responsible gun owner should include a pistol safe as one of their top priorities. And with all of the great options for quick access, the added peace of mind knowing that your pistol is secured will be worth the extra time to retrieve it.
Safes protect your family from tragic accidents, especially if you have small children at home or that visit. Or, if a thief gets inside your house and goes through your stuff while you’re away, he could use the gun against you and your loved ones when you come back (you can read our recommendations on how to secure your valuables here). That is why keeping your gun at your favorite hiding places is probably not the best solution!
This post summarizes the essential things you need to know about pistol safes. If you haven’t yet decided what to buy, go ahead and check out our top list below.
You can check out our previous article that discuss the must-have features for the best gun safe.
Why You Need to Get A Pistol Safe
1. Protection from Burglars
Guns aren’t cheap. And one of the most obvious reasons why you would have to invest a pistol safe is to protect your firearm from burglars. Burglars may steal guns and use them in criminal activities or simply sell them for cash. Even worse, intruders can use your gun against you and your loved ones. A high quality pistol safe has durable construction that makes it hard for thieves to steal anything inside it.
Hopefully, your alarm system will get the police on the way quickly, and criminals won’t have time to open your safe!
2. Compliance for Laws on Child Access
Several states have implemented laws that should prevent children from having access to guns. With Child Access Prevention laws, gun owners are obliged to keep their guns in a secure place where children cannot access them. Even if you don’t have children, the law still applies since it will protect young children that might visit your house.
If a child gains access to your guns and uses it to cause injury, you will face a criminal liability for negligent storage.
3. Compliance for Firearm Locking Device Laws
A lot of states require locking of guns between purchase and storage. For example, the District of Columbia strictly requires gun owners to store firearms with a lock. Make sure that you check your local laws for gun safe regulatory standards.
If you own a gun, you are fully responsible for its proper storage. Failure to do so will cause unauthorized people to have access to your guns and may use it to cause injuries or accidents. What is worse is that burglars can steal your gun and use it for their criminal activities with you being unaware. Despite of this, authorities can come after you and file criminal charges. With a pistol safe, you can prevent these unwanted circumstances to happen.
4. Allows Quick Access
In times of emergency, having quick access to your firearm is extremely important. Most pistol safes are designed to be opened in a matter of seconds. Having a quick access pistol safe is much safer and easier than having a traditional safee that needs a key or a spin dial combination lock to open it.
5. Demonstrate Responsible Gun Ownership
Did you know that you can be sued for not properly storing your guns? You can even face criminal liabilities if your gun is used by someone else to cause injury or accident because you failed to secure it. Having a pistol safe is not only a long-term investment but also makes you a responsible gun owner.
6. Protection from Fire
A gun is an expensive and valuable possession. In case of fire, a pistol safe can mean the difference between a completely destroyed weapon and protecting your investment. The best pistol safes offer multiple layers of insulation which make them resistant to fire.
7. Savings through Tax Rebates/ Deduction
Purchasing a pistol safe may entitle you for a tax rebate or deduction. Most states in the US provide exemption from sales tax for buying a pistol safe. Make sure that you check this out in your state.
8. Required for Insurance Coverage
To be fully covered, most insurance companies require gun owners use a safe, and a pistol safe is a great option for your handgun. A certified safe will enable you to get your claim quickly paid in case of damage or burglary.
Types of Pistol Safe
A great way to keep your firearms away from unauthorized hands is to invest in a reliable and durable pistol safe. Before you check what types of pistol safes to consider, you can also read our recommendations of gun safe accessories to take your firearm storage to the next level.
There are many types of pistol safes that fit different needs. We’ve listed them below according to the type of lock and storage.
1. Key Lock Gun Safe
The key lock gun safe uses the traditional lock and key system but may be susceptible to unauthorized access when you lose the key. If you use this type of safe, make sure that you call a locksmith right away when this happens. And, depending on the quality of the lock, these may be easy to pick or bypass.
2. Multiple Lock Pistol Safe
A multiple lock pistol safe uses two locking systems which you can set to use one at a time or all together. It could be a combination of a biometric and keypad locking systems.
3. Wheel and Pin Combination Safe
The wheel and pin combination safe uses a traditional locking system wherein you need to enter a three-number passcode by turning a wheel. Most of these traditional safes are fire resistant but prone to skipping numbers that are close together.
4. Biometric Gun Safes
A biometric gun safe uses a hand scanner to open it, making it one of the most secure pistol safes. Unauthorized people are less likely to access your valuables inside it because fingerprint patterns are unique for every person. One downside to biometric safes are inaccurate readings when scanning, and failing to open quickly and reliable. But, the quality has gotten much better in recent years.
5. Electronic Lock Gun Safe
The electronic gun safe uses a programmable lock where you need to enter a security code to open it using a keypad. You can still change the security code if you think others have discovered your security code. Normally, the keypad is battery powered.
6. Under-Bed Pistol Safe
The under-bed pistol safe is designed with a sliding drawer located under your bed so you can easily grab your firearm during an emergency. It comes in different sizes, models and features to suit your needs.
7. Car Pistol Safe
Car gun safes are designed to keep your firearm inside a hidden steel case. These safes are portable, available in different sizes, and can be easily secured to a part of your car, such as the trunk or seat frame.
8. Hidden Safe
A hidden gun safe is designed to mimic an object or furniture without being noticed by anyone in your house. If you want to disguise your safe to prevent unauthorized access from curious individuals, then a hidden safe is the best option.
9. In-Wall Pistol Safe
The in-wall pistol safe is designed and built into the wall to look exactly like your walls, making it difficult to recognize by thieves unless they know that you have installed one. Gun owners who want this type of safe generally hire a contractor to install it, especially if it requires removing studs.
10. Heavy Duty, Full Size Gun Safe
A heavy duty gun safe is a massive safe to store several handguns, rifles, and other valuables. It is made of thick fortified steel making it durable, fireproof and tough to break into.
Things to Consider in A Pistol Safe
When choosing a type of pistol safe, it is best to consider what kind of firearms you have to store as well as how fast you can access them in times of emergency.
You can check out our previous article that discuss the must-have features for the best gun safe in more detail.
Consider the following factors before you purchase a pistol safe:
Type of Lock for Quick Access
A gun safe can have different lock mechanisms and these are biometric, electronic, and manual dial. Of the three, biometric lock offers faster access while electronic and dial may take some time as you still need to encode your security code. However, both biometric and electronic requires batteries or a power source to open. This might become a problem if the batteries goes out or there is a sudden power interruption. On the other hand, a dial lock mechanism doesn’t need a power source.
The size of the pistol safe may depend on how you want to use it or if you are planning to collect more guns. You can choose a pistol safe that is small and portable if you plan to bring your firearm while travelling or get a quick access under your bed. Or have a large safe that camouflage through your walls to store more guns.
Type of Pistol Safe
Do you own a handgun or long guns? There are many types of pistol safes you can get but you need to choose the one that fit the current gun or guns you have.
Be sure to choose a pistol safe with a steel gauge between 9 - 14. The thicker the steel, the more durable the safe is. Experts suggest that a steel gauge of 10 is ideal for home security safes.
Fire Protection Rating
Firearms are considered as an investment and you want to protect it in case of fire. Most safes are made of steel with 2,500 degree Fahrenheit. Make sure that you choose a pistol safe that can protect your weapon between 30 to 120 minutes during fire.
If you have decided to get a larger pistol safe, it is best to choose the one with adjustable shelves. This allows you to organize your small and large firearms easily.
10 Best Pistol Safes
Here’s our list of best pistol safes for 2020:
1. Amsec Easy Carry Handgun Safe
- Single-handed entry
- Anti-tampering capabilities
- Biometric lock for quick and easy access
- Durable construction
- Noisy when opened
- Battery drains easily
If you are looking for a portable pistol safe which you can easily move around or take with you when you travel, then the Amsec Easy Carry Handgun Safe is your best option to secure your gun away from unauthorized hands. You can easily access your gun during emergency situations using a biometric lock. Other features include anti-tampering, gas-strut door, mountable to a wall, and durable construction.
2. Fort Knox PB1 Handgun Safe
- Durable construction
- Built with gas strut assisted door
- Simple locking system
- Can store multiple guns and valuables
- Too expensive
This pistol safe is designed by one of the most trusted brands for making best safes, Fort Knox. The safe offers simplicity yet compact design which you can easily store in any places. It is made up of 10-gauge uni-body steel construction which makes it durable and lasts for years. It features a tamper-resistance and shiny enclosure which is ideal for two compact semi automatics, a large revolver, and some valuables like cash and jewelry.
3. V-Line Top Draw Locking Tactical Gun Storage Box
- Comes with pre-drilled holes for easy mounting
- Two-gun capacity
- Slim housing
- Need to improve storage capacity to hold more guns
If you are looking for a simple and reliable pistol safe, then this one is for you. The V-Line safe is known for its top performance and simple mechanical lock system. In terms of storage capacity, you can place up to two pistols, a magazine and some valuables inside which works perfectly if you own more than one gun. The safe’s enclosure is made up of thick and rock solid steel. It is also coated with gloss black powder coating to prevent corrosion.
4. GunVault GV2000C-DLX Multi Vault Deluxe Gun Safe
- Interior comes with soft foam
- Low battery warning alarm
- Comes with override backup keys
- No-Eyes keypad allows quick access
- Unplugging its cord without a battery installed will turn it off and delete current data stored
What makes the GunVault safe different from the other brands is that it is designed with No-Eyes keypad for easier opening. The safe can also be opened easily even if it’s dark. The manufacturer of this safe uses the 16-gauge steel for durable construction that can withstand abuse from a thief. If you own two guns, you can easily fit them inside with enough space for other valuables.
5. SentrySafe Pistol Safe
- Anti-tampering features
- Biometric lock
- Durable construction
- Can be mounted on a wall
- Noisy when opened
- Short battery life
This pistol safe is designed to keep any standard handgun while providing a secure and quick access to your weapon. It features a biometric lock and anti-tampering capability to prevent burglars from prying open it. You can choose to mount the pistol safe on a wall beside your bed for easy access.
6. Vaultek VT20i Biometric Pistol Safe
- Multiple access options
- Rechargeable battery
- Comes with a smartphone app
- Biometric sensor at times can be faulty
- Limited storage space
What makes Vaultek VT20i standout from the rest is that it offers multiple options for quick access. You can easily open the safe using the keyed entry, its keypad, or its Bluetooth. Its high-resolution biometric finger scanner can hold up to 20 fingerprints. Through an app on your smartphone, you can view its battery status, determine if it has been toggled on or off, and other stats. Moreover, it doesn’t make a lot of noise when opened and provides interior light so you can see your firearms inside at night.
7. Cannon’s American Gun Safe
- Highly durable enclosure
- Anti-pry features
- Triple hardplate door
- Manual backup lock
- Lifetime warranty
- Difficult to move around
- Very expensive
The Cannon’s American Gun Safe offers a 48-gun capacity with durable and anti-tampering features. If you own several guns, this safe is your best option. It is designed with adjustable shelves so you can organize your weapons and a triple hardplate door that offer stronger level of protection from thieves who want to tamper your safe. It also comes with a manual backup lock so you can still open it in case the batteries go down.
8. AdirOffice Security Safe with Digital Lock
- Easy to install
- High security electronic lock
- Durable construction
- Programmable digital access
- Not fireproof or waterproof
When it comes to durability, you can be assured that this safe is strong enough and will last for years because it is made of steel. It is pry-resistant and can withstand the abuse of a burglar who would want to open it up. The safe has a programmable digital access which allows you to set your own access code. An override key is also provided in case you forgot your access code. You can store multiple guns and other valuables inside and still have a little space left.
9. Viking Security Safe VS-25BL Fingerprint Safe
- Interior is fully carpeted
- Comes with LED light
- Reliable finger scanner
- You still need to unscrew the label to access the security hole
- Display doesn’t have a backlight
The Viking VS-25BL offers quick access wherein you can unlock the door in less than a second. Its interior is fully carpeted and comes with an LED light so you can see inside when it’s dark. It also comes with an adjustable or removable shelf so you can easily organize your larger valuables inside. The manufacturer of the safe used a 5 mm thick steel door as well as 20mm motorized deadbolts to ensure durability that lasts for years.
10. Barska Biometric Safe
- Holds up to 30 fingerprints
- More room for multiple weapons
- Finger scanner is less prone to false opening
- Finger scanner may take seconds to read your fingerprint
- Not fireproof/ waterproof
- There’s no interior light
The Barska Biometric Safe is designed with a unique fingerprint pad to access your valuables inside. It can hold a total of thirty prints and can be easily opened with a touch of your finger. It also comes with mounting holes that are pre-drilled so you can easily mount it to a hard surface. However, the safe is not fireproof and waterproof so it is not recommended to use for storing important documents.
Wrapping things up
Investing in a pistol safe is worth your money for so many reasons. There are many types as well as brands of pistol safes you can choose, and we have summarized some of the best pistol safes available in this post. Just be sure to assess your needs and pick the right one for your situation.
If you have used any of the safes mentioned here or you have other suggestions, please comment below!
Hi, I’m Christy, and I’m an electronics engineer by profession. I have taught in a university for 2 years while pursuing my master’s degree in cognitive radio and worked for a company to develop wireless medical devices. Currently, I’m doing research for a doctorate degree in engineering using a wireless sensor network for smart agriculture. I’ve been active in our local IoT community, IoT Cebu, where I participate in conducting talks about Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and DIY home automation using Wi-Fi and ZigBee devices.