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Updated May 12, 2022 1:48 PM

There it is, that dreaded bump in the night. Of course, your city requires all firearms to be locked up, and your safe is sitting a world away in the basement. With an intruder between you and your only means of self-defense, you suddenly regret passing up on that bedside gun safe you found on Black Friday last year. At the time, you thought it was gimmicky, and come on, man, you live in a good neighborhood. Who really needs a bedside gun safe in this part of town? Now, you’re wishing you’d listened to your gut (and your wife) instead of splurging on that $4,000 Barrett safe queen. Not only would you have saved a few grand toward your kids’ college funds, but your old Glock would be right where you need it now. Instead, you reach for your phone, punch in 9-1-1, and start looking around for your old softball bat. If only you’d bought that safe.

Best Overall

One quick look at the V-Line Brute, and it’s easy to see why this bedside gun safe bears the name that it does. While not the only or even the first pistol box-style safe on the market, the Brute is one of the best you can buy thanks to its impressive construction quality, security, and ease of use.

Weighing in at 22 pounds, this brute is no travel companion but is intended to be secured in place thanks to four anchor holes found on the bottom of this 10-gauge steel box. The clamshell design includes a 10-gauge steel lid with a lift handle for easy access and a massive overlap that makes pry bar attacks a virtual impossibility. This bedside gun safe relies on the ultra-reliable and easy-to-use Simplex lock to secure your weapon as well as a steel housing designed to prevent knock-through attacks against the lock itself. The safe also includes foam to protect your weapon’s finish and a gas strut that assists with lifting the heavy lid.

Compared to its competitors, the American-made Brute is a bit pricey, although it provides a level of security that most “safes” lack. The gas strut will thwart all attempts to throw the lid open, and changing the access code requires separate tools to remove the lock’s protective housing. That said, this safe provides excellent security and easy access for a relatively reasonable price tag.

Product Specs
  • Type: Clamshell
  • Lock: Mechanical (Simplex)
  • Anchor points: Yes
  • Handgun capacity: 2
  • Weight: 22 pounds
  • CA DOJ approved: Yes
PROS

Tough, durable construction

Reliable, secure lock that is easy to access under stress, in the dark

Excellent pry protection

Includes lid lift handle

CONS

Gas strut prevents lid from being thrown open

Requires separate tools to change access code

As a general rule, the term “budget safe” should be an automatic turnoff, but the ShotLock Handgun 200M Solo-Vault is one budget option that could be just what the doctor ordered. This single-gun clamshell safe features a 14-gauge steel frame with both a mechanical push button lock and a key override. The primary lock consists of a programmable, eight-button keypad that requires the unlock code to be entered in the correct sequence before it will unlock.

This safe was designed with vertical mounting in mind, making it a solid choice for wall mounting, but it can be mounted on any flat surface. The box itself boasts enough space to house a full-size 1911, a felt-lined interior, and six anchor holes. While this ShotLock safe does include a carry handle, it is notably less secure when not mounted to a secure anchor point.

This safe earns a spot on our list with a couple of noteworthy caveats. Due to the manufacturing process, some of these safes come with corner gaps that can be exploited to open the mechanical lock by someone in the know, and the tumbler for the key override is an easy lock to pick. Despite these weaknesses, this ShotLock safe can be hardened incredibly easily with a little bit of properly-placed J-B Weld (steel-infused). If you’re willing to make the proper investments, however, the ShotLock Handgun 200M Solo-Vault can be a great value solution for securing your bedside handgun.

Product Specs
  • Type: Clamshell
  • Lock: Mechanical (push button), key
  • Anchor points: Yes
  • Handgun capacity: 1
  • Weight: 7.5 pounds
  • CA DOJ approved: Yes
PROS

Affordable

Good value (with a little elbow grease)

2-year limited warranty

CONS

May require minor retrofitting for maximum security

Can be opened easily if dropped the right way

Key override is easy to pick

Few bedside gun safes earn more praise from those in-the-know than the Fort Knox Original Pistol Box. This Fort Knox safe is the original pistol box and the gold standard against which all others are compared. It boasts a simple yet incredibly tough design that can handle all kinds of criminal abuse.

This powder-coated box consists of a 10-gauge steel body and a seven-gauge steel door with a 3/16-inch wraparound lip for enhanced pry resistance, a heavy-duty tamper-resistant hinge, and a time-proven Simplex mechanical lock. Underneath the lock, the Original Pistol Box features a thick steel plate to thwart knock-through attacks. The two-gun safe also includes a gas strut to prop the heavy door open, although the piston can slow access if the lid is opened too quickly. Inside, the pistol box boasts plenty of egg crate foam to protect your firearm’s finish.

At 21.5 pounds, this American-made pistol safe is plenty hefty, but to ensure no one walks off with your valuables, it comes with four anchor holes that allow you to bolt it to the floor or other secure anchor point. Of course, quality doesn’t come cheap, as evidenced by the price tag, but with a limited lifetime warranty, it’s virtually impossible to go wrong with the Fort Knox Original Pistol Box.

Product Specs
  • Type: Clamshell
  • Lock: Mechanical (Simplex)
  • Anchor points: Yes
  • Handgun capacity: 2
  • Weight: 21.5 pounds
  • CA DOJ approved: Yes
PROS

Tough, durable construction

Reliable, secure lock that is easy to access under stress, in the dark

Includes tools for easy access code changes

Limited lifetime warranty

CONS

Gas strut prevents lid from being thrown open

Best Electronic

While safes with a mechanical lock are the gold standard, the Stealth ShadowVault SV1 is the best electronic option on the market today and one we have no trouble recommending to you techies. In fact, this pistol box just barely missed earning our Editor’s Choice award for bedside gun safes.

Just like the Fort Knox pistol box that beat it out, this powder-coated safe features a 10-gauge steel body and a seven-gauge steel lid with a wraparound lip, a protected hinge and pin, and four anchor holes, but it also includes a security cable attachment slot, a carry handle, and anchoring hardware — a nice bonus. The interior includes a gas strut for the lid, under-hinge hooks for enhanced resistance to pry attacks, and plenty of protective foam, including a sheet of pick-and-pluck foam to create a custom slot for your handgun and accessories.

The programmable electronic Sargent and Greenleaf Spartan lock runs on a standard nine-volt battery and is EMP-rated for around-the-clock accessibility. The lock’s keypad includes a red LED light for use at night, and the keypad can be silenced as well. The actual locking mechanism is located beneath the lid with both an anti-drill plate and an anti-punch situated between the two.

Despite the downside of an electronic-only locking mechanism, this safe’s only real con is that the gas strut prevents users from throwing the lid open for super-fast access. That said, the Stealth ShadowVault SV1 is hands-down the best electronic bedside safe you can buy.

Product Specs
  • Type: Clamshell
  • Lock: Electronic (Sargent & Greenleaf Spartan)
  • Anchor points: Yes
  • Handgun capacity: 2
  • Weight: 25 pounds
  • CA DOJ approved: Yes
PROS

Reasonably priced

Tough, durable construction

Excellent pry protection Includes valuable extras

CONS

Electronic-only locking mechanism

Gas strut prevents lid from being thrown open

Best Low-Profile

If you prefer stealth over strength in your bedside safe, then pick up the Hornady RAPiD Night Guard. This clock-safe combo provides a combination of security and convenience that few bedside gun safes can match.

This single-gun, drawer-style safe features a 14-gauge steel body with two electronic locks and a key bypass. The first lock is an electronic keypad that can accommodate a four- to six-digit code, and the second is a convenient RFID solution accompanied by multiple types of RFID tags. It also features anchor holes, a 1,500-pound security cable (and attachment point), a simple digital clock display, and two USB-A 2.0 ports. The RAPiD Night Guard’s electronics run on either AC power, but the safe includes room for four AA batteries to provide backup power in case of a power outage.

While security comes at a cost, this safe is a little pricey, especially for a safe that emphasizes low profile over brute strength. It also comes with multiple accessories (keys and RFID tags) that must be secured in order to achieve maximum security. Still, it’s a great safe option if you can’t (or don’t want to) go with a tougher, more traditional option.

Product Specs
  • Type: Drawer
  • Lock: Electronic, key
  • Anchor points: Yes
  • Handgun capacity: 1
  • Weight: 18 pounds
  • CA DOJ approved: Yes
PROS

Low-profile design

Good security

Doubles as bedside clock

Includes battery backup feature

CONS

Not the greatest value (MSRP)

Relies more on stealth than strength for security

Multiple accessories to secure for maximum security

Need a fireproof bedside safe that you KNOW isn’t going anywhere? Then the Rhino Metals Longhorn LNS2618 is just what the doctor ordered. Unlike its competitors, this safe doesn’t need to be mounted on your nightstand because it IS your nightstand. Installed directly above the safe is a smooth metal drawer, and on the backside is a power strip with three power outlets and two USB-A charging ports.

The LNS2618 is built with 14-gauge steel and sports a weathered finish, a tri-spoke turn wheel lock, and embellishments that make it look like a safe pulled straight out of a 19th century Denver bank. It features a composite door with one-inch diameter bolts, a U.L.-listed Securam electronic locking mechanism (battery-powered), anti-drill and anti-punch bolt works, and an anti-tamper clutch. The external hinges allow the door to swing a full 180 degrees for easy access.

With over a cubic foot of upholstered storage space, a removable interior shelf (also upholstered), and an on-door gun holder, this safe can house at least 25 handguns, providing you more than enough storage space for all your double stacks. This Longhorn series safe is fire rated for up to 40 minutes at 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit thanks to a full fire lining inside the door and walls. The entire package weighs in at 150 pounds, and with four anchor holes in the floor, this safe isn’t going anywhere.

Other than the eye-watering price tag, this safe’s biggest drawback is that it only employs an electronic lock. Of course, there’s no way to hide this safe from prying eyes, but with such a great aesthetic, who would want to? Either way, the Rhino Metals Longhorn LNS2618 is the best large bedside gun safe on the market.

Product Specs
  • Type: Door
  • Lock: Electronic
  • Anchor points: Yes
  • Handgun capacity: 25+
  • Weight: 150 pounds
  • CA DOJ approved: Yes
PROS

Great aesthetic

Tough, durable construction

Large capacity

CONS

Very expensive

Electronic-only locking mechanism

No way to hide this safe

Why you should trust us

I’ve covered plenty of different gear for Task & Purpose, including gun cleaning kits, ankle holsters, and long-range scopes to name a few, but outside of work, I’ve got a few hobbies of my own. You see, I’ve got a fascination with security tools, technology, and techniques, and that applies to all kinds of security, such as home security, personal security, and cybersecurity. While satisfying my nerdy tendencies, I learned rather quickly to be skeptical of manufacturer claims and government ratings when it comes to security products like safes. Call me a killjoy, but I want to know what actually stops the bad guys.

As always, I relied on my own stores of nerdy knowledge to write this review, but to make sure I provided you with the best possible information on high-end bedside gun safes, I tapped into the experience and expertise of the folks at Anoroc Personal Defense Group, Gun Digest, Gun Safe Reviews Guy, Handgun Safe Research, KeepGunsSafe.com, LockPickingLawyer, Lucky Gunner Ammo, Lucky Gunner Lounge, NRA Family, Pew Pew Tactical, Riley’s Guns, Safe and Vault Store, The Safe Keeper, and U.S. Law Shield.

Types of bedside gun safes

Most gun safes are massive storage containers capable of resisting burglars, fire, and more, but when you need something close at hand for when you hear glass shattering in the night, a traditional door-style safe may not be your best option. As such, most bedside safes rely on one of three different designs to keep things handy and compact: clamshell, drawer, or dropdown.

Clamshell

The clamshell-type of safe is a simple, straightforward design and one of the most common. Opening a clamshell safe is as familiar as flipping open your new MacBook Pro with the added inconvenience of unlocking the lid first. Most often, the best clamshell safes rely on mechanical locks, although electronic locking mechanisms are also available.

These safes tend to provide plenty of storage space, multiple anchor points, sturdy construction, and some of the most secure and reliable lock offerings of all bedside safes. Clamshell-style safes can be reasonably portable —at least they can if they include a carry handle — although in many cases, clamshells lack this feature. Probably the biggest downsides to this safe type are a boring aesthetic and a space-hogging footprint.

Drawer

Drawer-type bedside safes can be incredibly convenient and usually fit nicely inside nightstand drawers or mount directly underneath bedside tabletops. These horizontal safes slide out smoothly for quick and easy access to your firearm while minimizing your need to move in order to reach your weapon. Like clamshell safes, drawer safes may employ either a mechanical lock or an electronic one.

Drawer safes tend to be quite convenient and often include anchor points and/or anchor cables to secure them in place. One potential drawback to drawer-type bedside safes is their mounting surfaces. While bolting the safe to your nightstand may make it childproof, a burglar could easily pick up and remove the entire table in order to take a crack at your safe when he has more time on his hands.

Drop-down

The drop-down bedside safe is a natural evolution of the drawer safe. These safes are vertically oriented and feature a lock at the top and a pivot point at the bottom. Once unlocked, these safes “drop” open, revealing a ready-to-use handgun. Most often, drop-down safes rely on an electronic lock with a key bypass in case you forget your passcode.

While drop-down safes may just be the most convenient for quick access, they often come with the drawback of limited mounting locations due to the inherent security downsides of mounting any safe to a “loose” piece of furniture. Their (usual) lack of a mechanical lock also makes them more susceptible to water damage and electronics failures, serious concerns in a life-or-death situation.

Key features of bedside gun safes

In many cases, bedside gun safes are designed to prevent children from accessing your firearm, turning these “safes” into secured gun cabinets. On the flip side, a true safe is hardened against burglary and similar crimes. For serious protection against fires, water, and other dangers, your best bet is to find a true gun safe, one capable of handling your long guns, ammo, and any valuables you might want to secure.

Construction quality

When it comes to the level of protection, most bedside “gun safes” are glorified gun cabinets that do little more than keep your boomsticks out of the hands of curious children. Even higher-quality bedside safes cannot compete with most full-size gun safes. As such, few bedside options will provide you with fire and water protection or a content value rating as found in tougher, larger safes.

To maximize your bedside gun safe’s level of protection (besides finding a truly secure mounting position) is to find one with thick building materials (16- to 10-gauge steel), proper welding, protected hinges, and a pry-resistant lid. Large gaps of any kind are a no-go, even if the model in question is California DOJ approved. Also, make sure your safe of choice has anchor points that allow you to bolt the safe to wall studs or directly to the floor. If, for some reason, anchoring your safe is not possible, make sure it comes with an anchor cable instead.

Locking mechanism (including ease of access)

Bedside gun safe locks come in a handful of different form factors. In most cases, these safes feature either a mechanical or an electronic lock. Mechanical locks usually come in the form of a number pad or Simplex locks and are incredibly reliable. Electronic locks usually feature a keypad with many sporting an RFID and/or fingerprint reader. These locks usually come with a key bypass and cheap ones can be spotty, prone to failure, and susceptible to water damage (think spilled milk).

With the exception of poor construction quality, a safe’s biggest weakness is its locking mechanism, and this weakness is two-pronged. Not only is physical security a serious consideration, but so is the ease of access. The best bedside safes are easy to access while fumbling around in the dark, so make sure to snag a safe that you can easily open under stress.

Benefits of bedside gun safes

Physical security

As with any safe, the most obvious advantage to owning a bedside gun safe is the perk of physical security. Of course, different people use different definitions of the term “physical security,” so it pays to clear things up in this regard.

In short, a properly secured, quality bedside gun safe will prevent your firearm from falling into the hands of snatch-and-grab burglars and curious children. While most such safes do not provide good protection against professional thieves, fires, and natural disasters, they provide more than enough physical security against the vast majority of dangers to your handgun.

Convenience

If we’re being perfectly honest, convenience rarely does more for us than make our lives easier. In most cases, it’s a want rather than a need, but when it comes to self-defense, convenience could actually mean the difference between life and death.

In a worst-case scenario, a bump in the night occurs when your defensive handgun is stowed away in your massive new Fort Knox safe hidden in the basement. In a slightly less stressful situation, your firearm will be secured in a bedside safe, giving you almost instantaneous access to your defensive weapon.

Bedside gun safes also provide a stationary storage location that provides predictable access to your handgun. Predictability allows for repeatable training, which in turn provides you with a better response under stressful circumstances.

A bedside gun safe can go a long way in protecting you both legally and financially. Some states have laws that require gun owners to lock away all unused firearms, including those you keep by your bedside. While those may seem like stupid laws, obeying them can stop a giddy lawyer from nailing your hide to the wall should your gun end up getting stolen. Lawyers and politicians are not your friends, and following the law will highly increase your chances of staying out of the clink (or is that Klink?).

A bedside gun safe also has the advantage of saving you some financial pain. Often, insurance policies that cover firearms lost in a house fire will NOT cover firearm theft. By locking your gun up, you decrease the possibility of having to cover the replacement costs of a stolen handgun out of your own pocket, but in some instances, you may even receive a discount on your monthly premium.

Pricing considerations for bedside gun safes

Budget

With few exceptions, bedside gun safes with a price tag below $200 should be avoided. While your budget certainly matters, a sub-$200 safe is likely to cost you a lot more than expected should you ever experience a burglary.

In most cases, cheap bedside gun safes fail to provide a reasonable amount of security beyond a simple childproof lockbox. These so-called “safes” usually exhibit some form of compromise, whether that be in the construction quality department or in the poor selection of a locking mechanism. As evidenced by YouTubers Handgun Safe Research and LockPickingLawyer, these safes consistently fail to keep beginner lock pickers, resourceful individuals, and/or gravity at bay, thus compromising your firearm’s security.

Mid-range

The reality is that quality and security come at a cost. If you need a bedside gun safe that will provide an actual layer of security between curious kids and the majority of criminals, then expect to drop anywhere between $200 and $300 for that peace of mind.

In most cases, mid-tier bedside safes feature high-quality mechanical locks that will provide you with security, durability, and reliability for years to come. In fact, many of these safes are tough enough to be passed on to the next generation.

On the flip side, most bedside gun safes in this price range do not include high-end electronics. Available offerings often are “good enough,” but with precious few exceptions, these are not heirloom quality electronics.

Premium

If you want to keep all but the most sophisticated (or well-financed) criminals at bay, you’ll need to set aside a minimum of $300, although in most cases, you are unlikely to spend more than $400. Safes with a minimum price tag of $300 tend to be the best of the best.

These safes feature thick steel and high-end locks, whether they be mechanical or electronic. While exceptions do exist, most of these safes are simple pistol boxes or safes with a more traditional style and function. That said, there are still a few gimmick (to some) options over $300, but these are the exception rather than the rule.

How we chose our top picks

Bedside gun safes are a niche product that serves as a middle ground between a simple lockbox and a fireproof, burglar-proof safe. Due to this unique role, we decided to focus on safes that provide a healthy balance between construction materials and quality, anchoring options, easy access, and resistance to attack. (We researched how easy these safes’ locks were to pick or exploit.) 

Special shoutouts to Handgun Safe Research and LockPickingLawyer. We also checked out hands-on reviews for each product before adding them to our list. We want to thank Bosnian Bill, Dean Safe, The Gun Zone, Hai Tran, LockPickingLawyer, Stealth Safes, and Talon Sei for documenting their experiences with each of these products, but a special shout out goes to Dave Goetzinger of Handgun Safe Research who provided tons of valuable information on the offerings from Fort Knox, Rhino Metals, ShotLock, Stealth Safes, and V-Line.

FAQs on bedside gun safes

You’ve got questions, Task & Purpose has answers.

Q: Are gun safes worth it?

A: Yes. Although a lockable case won’t prevent a thief from stealing your gun (by stealing the case), it does act as a deterrent and greatly reduces the chances of an unauthorized user from gaining access to your firearm, while simultaneously giving you quick access. A gun safe, on the other hand, is better suited for preventing theft because of the bulk and weight. 

Q: Where should I keep my gun in the bedroom?

A: For a bedside gun safe, it makes sense to mount it within easy reach of where you sleep. That said, make sure your safe is secured to the floor, wall, or similar anchor point so a burglar can’t walk away with the unopened safe in hand while you’re out on the town.

Q: Do biometric gun safes work?

A: We recommend avoiding biometric gun safes as their electronic components are susceptible to water damage and can be unreliable. Also, many biometric safes come with very loose fingerprint reading tolerances in order to maximize your ability to open the safe. Unfortunately, this results in a higher likelihood of a false positive reading, giving unauthorized individual access to your weapon.

Task & Purpose and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Learn more about our product review process.

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