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Published Jul 25, 2022 11:21 AM

Whether you choose to think of your firearms collection as a set of tools, hobbyist collection, or Second Amendment bastion of freedom, most enthusiasts recognize that guns need to be stored properly. Correctly secured and maintained, firearms can last for a century and function just as well as the day they left the factory. That value, when combined with their ease of transportability and the possibility of them being stolen and subsequently used in criminal behavior, means that effective gun storage should be a top priority for any firearm owner. While a gun safe will help keep your firearms organized and safe, good ones tend to run on the expensive side.

Luckily, Task & Purpose is here to help you out. Take a look below and select one of the best gun safes under $1,000 to keep your firearms safe and secure.

Methodology

At Task & Purpose, we take gun safety seriously, especially when it comes to storage and security. For this article, we set out to find the best gun safes under $1,000, so all the options you’ll find on this list are priced under that price point, but don’t skimp on quality. 

Not for lack of trying, but Task & Purpose — probably wisely — denied my request for 10 safes to be shipped to the testing site for an in-depth hands-on review. So instead, we scoured the internet for the best-rated free-standing gun safes designed not to break a budget. 

We began by searching for long gun safes from reputable retailers and online marketplaces — Cabelas, Amazon, Midway USA, and others. Anything over $1,000 (before shipping and installation) was not considered.

Safes in the budget range we were looking for were then sorted by reviews, highest to lowest. Those with only a handful of reviews, even across multiple websites, were excluded. Once we had our models narrowed down to a few dozen, we focused on several key attributes necessary for proper care and security of your valued firearms: capacity, fireproofing duration, weight, warranty options, and several others. 

The majority of these safes were solid choices, but had nothing to offer that set them apart from their more impressive competitors, so they were discarded from our pool. The ones that made the cut received our in-depth review which you can read for yourself below. 

For more information about our methodology, check out the Task & Purpose editorial guidelines.

Of all the safes reviewed, only the Steelwater EGS5922 seems to hit everything a responsible gun owner could want. Coming in at under $1,000, the Steelwater EGS5922 boasts the highest capacity level in its price range. The mechanism is an E-Lock that’s EMP-proof (according to them, we didn’t test it), coupled with a bypass key in the event of a failure or emergency power situation. We weren’t thrilled that the safe doesn’t include a manual unlock option without the key, but assuming the EMP-proofing works, that’s not much of a concern.

Like most safes in this size, the Steelwater also has a hard plate that protects the entire lock body from being drilled into and manipulated. Usually, these hard plates are only four by five inches, covering the lock itself. However, the EGS5922 has one that’s 10 times larger to protect not only the lock body, but also the internal relocking device, gear drive system, and the other vital inner workings.

With a 16-long-gun capacity and one-hour fireproofing, the EGS can’t be touched by anything else in its class that we reviewed. If that wasn’t enough to convince us, the safe also includes a pistol and accessory organizer on the door, LED light system, silica gel dehumidification pack, free shipping, and free garage delivery. Plus, it’s made in the good ole US of A.

We struggled to find something to complain about with this one. The 330-pound weight was the second heaviest safe we looked at. However, a lot of that additional weight is due to the larger hard plate behind the locking mechanism, and since they’ll deliver and install it in your garage for free anyway, the Steelwater gets a pass. The warranty is a bit shorter than some other offerings, but for the price and quality of the safe, you’re getting why we still put this at the top of our list.

While a few others came close, none of the safes we reviewed had a better combination of security, capacity, accessories, and service options than the Steelwater EGS5922. That’s why Task & Purpose is comfortable awarding it our Best Overall rating. You can’t go wrong with this one.

Product Specs
  • Price: $999
  • Weight: 330 pounds
  • Capacity: 16 guns
  • Fireproofing: One hour
  • Warranty: Lifetime fire and burglary; one year in-home
PROS

High gun capacity (16 long guns)

Great warranty

Best fireproofing (one hour)

Robust lock with reinforced backplate

Lights and dehumidifier (factory standard)

Free shipping and garage delivery

CONS

Heavy weight makes after-delivery moves difficult

No manual unlock without key

Best Value

The Stealth EGS-14 has a little bit of everything. It’s light enough to move without difficulty, but still has the security features of higher-end models. The robust 14-gauge steel cabinet includes six two-way locking bars, an expandable heat seal for 30-minute fireproofing at 1,200 degrees, and a battery powered lock for quick access. The locking mechanism itself is electronic only, which we view as a minor negative, in the event you don’t have access to replacement batteries, however, the speed of entry will likely offset that for most users.

The EGS-14 is also made in the USA, but has a cabinet a few inches shorter than most other safes in this range, which may be an issue for longer guns that press against the upper storage shelf.

What really impressed us about the Stealth was the two-year parts and labor warranty, along with the MOLLE door storage system that comes with two pistol and mag holsters, one triple mag pouch, and a massive zippered pocket big enough for almost anything you’d want to store in it.

Uniquely, for this price range, the Stealth EGS-14 also includes an integrated power strip with three standard outlets and two USB ports for charging electronics, connected through an external plug that doesn’t compromise the integrity of the safe cabinet. If you’re in the market for a safe under $1,000 that checks all the boxes and then some, the EGS-14 is without a doubt your best bet. Solid construction, a top-tier warranty, and innovative accessories earns this Stealth safe our Best Value rating.

Product Specs
  • Price: $1,000
  • Weight: 230 pounds
  • Capacity: 14 guns
  • Fireproofing: 30 minutes
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime, two-year parts and labor on components
PROS

Internal power outlet with USB chargers for electronics

MOLLE accessory door panel

Outstanding warranty

CONS

Three to four inches shorter than similar models

No manual lock

Honorable Mention

Made in the USA, the Liberty ProVault Mech Lock has the largest gun capacity of all the safes reviewed at 18 — or 18 long guns without accessories or any type of dedicated retention system. However, if you’re looking for quantity storage on a budget, then the Liberty ProVault is probably the answer.

You’re not going to get much inside beyond the main cabinet. It’s a secure closet. At 334 pounds, it’s a very heavy-duty closet. There’s a little bit of extra room for shelving and a pistol sleeve rack on the door (not included with the base model).

However, the lack of accessories doesn’t mean the safe skimps on other features. The door has 10- by four-inch locking bars to reinforce the corners and incorporates a Palusol expanding door seal to give you 30 minutes of fire protection up to 1,200 degrees. I’m not a scientist, but that’s pretty warm! There is also a dual-action stabilizer on the locking system that ensures the security bars all engage evenly and simultaneously, removing the risk of weak points in the door frame.

The lock is mechanical only, so if rapid access is a concern, you may want to look elsewhere, but the focus of this model is maximum storage at the best price.

Owners with a smaller collection should dig into models with more options, but if you need a safe that focuses on high capacity, with a solid warranty, and innovative fire protection, then we recommend the Liberty ProVault 18.

Product Specs
  • Price: $800
  • Weight: 334 pounds
  • Capacity: 18 guns
  • Fireproofing: 30 minutes
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime, five-year lock and paint
PROS

Largest capacity

No exposed seams

10 locking bars

CONS

Very heavy compared to similar offerings

Minimal shelving; accessories not included

This isn’t a traditional long-gun safe, but it was too awesome not to review. The Longhorn LSN2618 by Rhino Metals is more furniture than storage. Imagine if an industrial chic nightstand had a baby with a two-inch handgun safe. The result is a beautiful hybrid of functionality and security.

The distressed gray and black exterior has an E-lock and wheeled mechanism, along with an external panel that has three electrical outlets and two USB ports. Despite looking like a piece of art, at a whopping 150 pounds, the LSN2610 is still as heavy-duty as they come. The 14-gauge steel construction and four locking bolts gives your valuables better protection than most safes at this size. The 40-minute fire protection is an added bonus that sets the Longhorn above others near its price point.

We had to guess a bit on capacity. The door includes an integrated handgun holster, and there’s enough room in the main cabinet to fit two or three more without holsters, but that depends on whether you want to pile your handguns on top of each other.

At 5.8 cubic feet, the fully upholstered interior is also great for storing fragile valuables, important documents, and anything else you need to keep secure and close-by.

The only real negative with the Longhorn is that it’s made in China. While the reviews about its construction and access are universally positive, the origin means there will still always be a concern about after-sale support with warranty issues and getting replacement parts.

Our recommendation is to start with one of the larger standard style safes if you need a storage solution and have budget restrictions, but if you have the money, space, and decor style for it, then the LSN2610 is one of the most unique options for firearms and valuable security on the market.

Product Specs
  • Price: $870
  • Weight: 150 pounds
  • Capacity: 3 handguns
  • Fireproofing: 40 minutes
  • Warranty: Limited one-year defect
PROS

Best fireproofing for price point

Looks great

External electrical and USB outlet

Adjustable interior

CONS

Made in China

The Secure It Model 52 gun safe was one of the most unique products reviewed for this article. The company leans heavily on its U.S. military credentials, touting its work developing modular storage systems for armories. Secure It takes a different approach to gun storage than traditional safe manufacturers, choosing modular internal retention systems and weight reduction over fireproofing and increased gun capacity. The Model 52 requires assembly after delivery and will take one to two hours to put together based on your ability and the amount of beers consumed before construction.

While the small capacity may seem like a turn-off, Secure It counters with the fact that safe companies grossly inflate the capacity of their units. When a safe company claims to have a 10-, 12-, or 16-gun capacity, it is assuming the guns aren’t equipped with accessories and piled together like golf clubs in a bag. There’s something to that argument. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen a friend open their gun safe to reveal a stack of scratched, poorly restrained rifles leaning against the back wall with nothing to help them there except gravity and a prayer.

The Secure It Model 52 includes the CradleGrid internal gun storage system, a louvered grid panel, with repositionable barrel cradles and corresponding stock bases allowing for straight-line fast access to each and every firearm. It’s pretty sexy, and from the piles of glowing reviews, appears to perform exactly as promised.

The lightweight cabinet does come with some drawbacks. These safes are designed to provide quick access to a handful of sight- and accessory-equipped rifles (like a military arms room). As such, there is no fireproofing, and when the unit is assembled empty, it may be top-heavy and a tipping hazard.

Committing to a non-traditional gun storage solution is a big ask, but if you like the idea of being able to truly store up to six rifles (not including door- and rack-mounted pistols) and all their accessories (no re-zeroing sights), then the Secure It Agile Ultralight Model 52 may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Product Specs
  • Price: $875
  • Weight: 105 pounds
  • Capacity: 6 guns (with accessories)
  • Fireproofing: NA
  • Warranty: Two-year defect, 90-day return with proof of purchase
PROS

Very lightweight

Modular interior

Accepts firearms with scopes and accessories

Internal bungee retention system

Large accessory package included

CONS

Assembly required

Top-heavy when stored empty

Low capacity (6 long guns)

Our verdict on gun safes under $1,000

There are a lot of safes out there, and many different opinions and what constitutes a top-tier product. In writing this review, we tried to find the absolute best combination of cost and quality for under our set price point. 

The Steelwater EGS5922 16-Gun led the pack in almost all categories, taking the Best Overall category. 

The Stealth EGS-14 snagged our Best Value slot because of the outstanding accessory package coupled with the lighter weight and more robust warranty. 

Since this review is ultimately about effective gun storage on a budget, the Liberty ProVault Mech Lock takes the bronze medal, offering the largest gun capacity and cubic feet of storage out of all the products we reviewed. 

There were quite a few other products we reviewed that weren’t mentioned here because they offered nothing substantially different from others, but had fewer accessories, weaker construction (lower gauge steel), or were made in China.

What to consider when buying gun safes

Key features for gun safes

Gun capacity

As the name implies, gun capacity is the number of guns you can store inside the gun safe. Another obvious detail is that safes that can hold a lot of firearms will be bigger and heavier than those that cannot. Additionally, gun safes with more storage also tend to cost more. 

There is one caveat to gun capacity, though. Safe makers are typically generous with how many guns actually fit inside the safe. You might be surprised to learn that the listed amount on different safe models is only for stripped down long guns, without accessories like optics, lights, grips, etc.

It doesn’t help that different manufacturers use different methodologies to come up with that number. Regardless, always remember that unless explicitly stated, the real number is always much less.

Fireproofing

Fireproofing is defined as the amount of time the contents of your safe will be protected against heat damage. The fire rating means that the inside temperature does not exceed a certain level for a defined period of time. For example, a UL Class 350 one-hour rated safe means that it will

maintain an internal temperature that will not exceed 350 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 60 minutes.

UL ratings are provided by Underwriters Laboratories, which provides baseline testing data for the comparison and rating of consumer products. When shopping for safes, make sure the fire rating is UL-listed, and not just a number provided by the factory without additional data. 

The average fire burns for approximately 20 minutes at 800 to 1,000 degrees, so a 30-minute rating should be your absolute minimum when shopping for a safe. If you plan on storing documents (passports, birth certificates, etc.) in addition to your firearms, then heat protection may be a greater concern than for someone only locking up their guns. 

Internal configuration

Gun safes come with either an adjustable internal configuration, so you can move shelves or racks, or a non-adjustable internal configuration. It’s an important feature to note because it affects what kind of guns you can store and how many. For instance, an AR with an optic and rail accessories will take up more space than a single-action rimfire rifle. 

Gun safe accessories

The kind of accessories that come with a gun safe depends on the manufacturer and the price point. However, $1,000 will get you a little more than a bare-bones model with just a locking mechanism. Common accessories you may want to add include: 

  • LED lights
  • Power strip
  • Additional shelving
  • Pistol racks
  • Door-mounted racks
  • Dehumidifiers 

Weight

For a $1,000 gun safe, a good weight is 215 to 300 pounds. It’s robust enough to prevent a thief from taking the entire thing in a spur-of-the-moment spree or cracking it open with a crowbar. If it’s lighter than that, you run the risk of tipping if the internal storage load is top-heavy or unbalanced.

Warranty

You wouldn’t pay $1,000 for an appliance without some kind of warranty, but like appliances, not all gun safe warranties are created equal. While almost all of them are “lifetime,” you should read the fine print to find what exactly the warranty covers. A good warranty will cover fire damage, break-in, theft, and (ideally but not always) water damage. The locking mechanism and cabinet itself are usually covered for life, but only in the case of proven manufacturer defects. Additionally, you should also note exceptions. For instance, owner neglect and regular wear and tear are not always covered by standard warranties.

FAQs about gun safes under $1,000

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

Q: Would it be better to purchase a portable or large gun safe?

A: If you have two or more long guns, then you’re going to want a large gun safe. A portable safe is best for a combination of pistols, ammunition, and/or valuable documents. As always, it depends on your collection of guns. 

Q: What is the delivery method for a gun safe?

A: Whether you buy it online or in person, you’ll almost never get your safe the same day.  Typically, the vendor will schedule a delivery using a truck with a lift gate. Often, the sale includes verbiage about how far and where they will install the safe in your home. A garage or other space on the ground level with no slope is often included in the price, while extra fees will be charged for difficult-to-access locations (like a basement). Once in place, they’ll usually bolt the safe into the ground using concrete anchor screws through prefabricated slots in the bottom of the safe cabinet.

Q: Is a dehumidifier necessary?

A: Yes, if you want to avoid rust and corrosion. Older, antique guns are particularly vulnerable to this. However, dehumidification doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be as simple as buying a $15 refillable desiccant dehumidifier and putting it on the shelf in your safe. 

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