The best car gun safes for security on the road

It can be important to carry protection out on the road, and these items will help you do it right.

Best Overall

Console Vault Vehicle Safe

Console Vault Vehicle Safe

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Best Value

Hornady Lockbox

Hornady Lockbox

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Honorable Mention

Tuffy Console Security Safe

Tuffy Console Security Safe

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Whether you’re out on the open road or just commuting to work, it never hurts to pack a gun safe for your vehicle. Compact and typically portable, such useful storage goodies can transform your center console or door pockets into miniature vaults for documents, personal items, and small arms for personal defense. We hope you’ll never have to experience the latter, but it’s best to always be prepared. Maybe you need a safe place to store emergency items when roughing it in the wilderness, or perhaps you’re looking to store some protection when visiting unknown places. However, buying one can be easier said than done as the market is brimming with unique and ingenious gun safes. 

We’ve combined our real-world experience with swaths of consumer feedback to curate this list of the best car gun safes available for purchase. Consider some high-tech, biometric safes or even a vault tailored to your specific vehicle. Take a gander and happy shopping!

Methodology

Task & Purpose strives to deliver the most informative yet honest reviews on every product we review. While it’s not always feasible for us to source every product we’d like to get our hands on, we still manage to combine real-world experiences with strenuous research, diving deep into expert opinions and consumer reviews. Consumer input found on major retail sites such as Amazon, as well as the manufacturer sites themselves, serve as invaluable treasure chests of knowledge with real-world stories. Products with little-to-no test data, consumer feedback, or available stock are often ignored as we heavily lean towards products with proven performance that people like us can actually buy.

Best Overall

Console Vault Vehicle Safe

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Best Value

Hornady Lockbox

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Honorable Mention

Tuffy Console Security Safe

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Best for Overland Adventures

Vaultek Lifepod 2.0

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Best Biometric

RPNB Quick Access Biometric Pistol Safe

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Best Quick Access

RPNB RP19001E Quick Access Safe

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Best for Truck Beds

Decked Drawer System

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Our verdict on car gun safes

That wraps up our list of some of the hottest car gun safes on the market today. The Console Vault Vehicle Safe lands Best Overall for its highly-customizable, well-constructed approach to in-car firearm security. Hornady’s Lockbox stands as the Best Value pick for offering stout construction and a choice of sizes for less than the cost of some used video games. And we honorably mention Tuffy’s Console Security Safe as another acclaimed entry with a flexible price tag. That being said, drop a comment and let us know what your favorite storage solutions are for in-car firearm transport. Just like with any buyer’s guide, we’re always looking forward to expanding our knowledge with you.

What to consider when buying car gun safes

Car gun safes all do the same basic thing, but they all seem to go about it quite differently. Some are big. Some are small. Some are almost permanent additions to your car, while others can be brought nearly anywhere else. From complex designs to brainless simplicity, here are just a few ways car gun safes can distinguish themselves.

Types of car gun safes

Biometric locking

These safes define themselves by primarily unlocking with a programmable fingerprint scanner. The technology is commonly found in high-end home safes, but there are plenty of smaller applications that can be taken in a personal vehicle. It’s often regarded as the most secure as it will only respond to the person (or people) who program it, but that’s also dependent on the construction of a specific safe and how easy it is to damage or pry. 

Many biometric gun safes available come in slim, portable packages, meaning that stowing them in a vehicle is effortless. That also means they have to be powered via batteries, so be cautious not to let yourself get locked away from your firearms because of some dead Duracells. Keep those emergency manual keys handy.

Portable

This encompasses nearly all available car gun safes. Compact, portable, and relatively inexpensive, these will give you the secure storage that you need in a package you can switch from car to car and even check-in for flights. They generally won’t be too cumbersome and may come in a variety of locks, but basic manual locks with a key tend to be the most common and reliable. Some models even have attached security cables for anchoring to wherever you decide to leave it.

In this range, keep a keen eye out for build quality, especially at the lower end of the price range. Many can be had with durable steel construction, but some could leave gaps making you susceptible to theft. Budget-friendly lockboxes constructed of plastic exist, but obviously won’t have the resilience of steel alloys.

Fixed

Fairly self-explanatory, these safes won’t be going anywhere unless you have the time to uninstall them; Console Vault and Decked products fall into this category as does technically Tuffy. They’ll be affixed in place, meaning that moving them will prove more of a burden, but they will typically have better storage abilities given their designs.

Some console safes may reconfigure the entire console into a miniature bomb shelter for your valuables with the entire square footage of space at the expense of obliterating your normal center console storage. Larger safes exist to fit entire rifles into the back ends of SUVs and pickups plus room for gear and ammo, but they hold the obvious drawback of being far less accessible in a cinch during emergencies. More often than not, this will also be the most expensive type.

Key features of car gun safes

Locking mechanism

There are quite a few different locking mechanisms you could opt for which seem to vary in quality and reliability. 

Keypad and biometric scanners are trickier to defeat with the latter being regarded as far more secure, but they are powered and often require batteries. Keys and combinations have been far more reliable according to many customer accounts, but be aware of the quality of your lock. Some cheaper models sometimes ship with complete nuisances of a lock with stiff action and even falling apart altogether.

Fortunately, there are known workarounds for some common complaints. A drop of gun oil, for example, has been a proven fix for some stuck locks, and most electronic mechanisms include manual keys as a backup.

Size 

Here is a crucial factor in determining which product is right for you. For some, it may be the single most important. Buyers must take a gander at their firearms and their possible storage locations and decide which gun safe is the right size for their needs.

Some folks may be packing some serious big irons, so a Hornady Alpha Elite Lockbox or an RPNB RP19001E would be a more viable option. Or, perhaps the potential buyer is looking for a gun safe that fits their compact car which may not have such generous interior volume.

Also account for the interior volume of a gun safe which should always be disclosed in the product listing. You might snag a case based on its external dimensions that seem as though it would fit like a glove, only to see you’re a quarter-inch short. 

Material

Keep in mind what material your chosen gun safe is composed of, especially as you dip down into the lower price brackets. It could be a thick, high-carbon steel alloy or it could be cheaper plastics. Some materials are better resistant to flexing when pried at or can be defeated with a power drill and enough brute force. 

Higher-end and most mid-grade products will almost always be constructed of some sort of alloy, typically 16-gauge steel unless stated otherwise, thus delivering some added peace of mind for their price tags. As materials get stronger, it’d be wise to start looking at other variables that could affect security such as the quality of locks and hinges, etc.

Pricing considerations for car gun safes

Pricing for portable car gun safes may range from mere tens of dollars to well over $100. The higher end of that scale will present you with the best construction and an abundance of locking mechanisms including biometrics, keypads, and key fobs. Some may have lighting to illuminate the interior or keypads when entering codes. Conversely, you can get simple lockboxes with a basic key and simple construction for anywhere between $20 and $40, but build quality may not be so bulletproof on a few models within that realm.

For those with deeper pockets, premium fixed safes like those from Console Vault or Tuffy typically ring in at $200 to $300 before options. Drawer systems for carrying rifles and gear can vary greatly based on options, but systems like those from Decked start at nearly $1,500. Such offerings are surely for the dedicated enthusiasts, but tradesmen have found value in having them pull double-duty as bed-mounted tool boxes.

Tips and tricks

As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and car gun safes. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.

  • If you choose to legally add a portable gun safe to a camper or RV, consider hard mounting it in a drawer using the hardware that some models include.
  • For Pete’s sake, many of the complaints of people letting their electronic locks die and getting barred from their guns can be fixed if you keep the manual keys nearby. Don’t ever lose them.

FAQs on car gun safes

You’ve got questions. Task & Purpose has answers

Q: Can you keep a gun in a glove box?

A: From a safety standpoint, most experts do NOT recommend storing a gun in the glove box, especially if it’s not a locking glove box. From a legal standpoint, the country is divided on the issue. However, in most states, you can conceal a firearm in your glove box if you are permitted to concealed carry. 

Q: What size should my vehicle gun safe be?

A: That is completely up to your specific use case. Look at one that will fit your firearm(s). How many mags will you carry? Does it have large accessories? Then check where you intend to store it. Find a safe with the right dimensions for that spot.

Q: What’s the safest way to transport a firearm in a vehicle?

A: Unless you’re specifically (and legally) keeping it in your car for defense purposes, it shouldn’t be loaded and hot. Keep it locked up in a hard case and away from where passengers or thieves could tamper with it. It should be unloaded with ammo stored away from the gun.

Q: What is the difference between a car gun safe and a console safe?

A: A car gun safe encompasses most lockable storage solutions whereas console vaults/safes specifically refer to fixed storage within a vehicle’s center console. When installed, it will replace or take up a good chunk of the original space with a safe that’s integrated with the car and out of sight.

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Jeric Jaleco Avatar

Jeric Jaleco

Contributing Writer

Jeric Jaleco is an AGE mechanic (2A6X2) in the Nevada Air National Guard as well as a contributor to The Drive and Car Bibles. Born in SoCal and raised in Las Vegas, he’s a diehard car enthusiast and aspiring purveyor of firearms. He’s journeyed far from his first deployment in East Africa to pursue a career in writing.