LAST UPDATED: February 24, 2021

The best gun safes for the responsible owner

Best Overall Best Gun Safe SentrySafe biometric pistol safe

This versatile safe makes premium features affordable and can be used at home or on the go.

Best Value Best Gun Safe RPNB mounted gun safe

Protect the firearms that protect you without blowing the budget. The compact size makes discreet storage possible.

Honorable Mention Best Gun Safe Barska fireproof gun vault

Secure your weapons in a vault that’s one Irish flag away from the arms dealer in Boondock Saints.

Here at Task & Purpose, we take firearm safety seriously and we encourage you to read up on ways to be a better gun owner. One of the most important aspects of responsible firearm ownership isn’t how you handle it, but where you store it. Everyone should have a way to keep their weapons safe and secure. Those of you with families need to take extra precautions to protect not just your firearms, but the loved ones around them. At the very least, a trigger lock or similar device can prevent your firearm from being used. We recommend taking security a step further, though, with a safe that physically isolates your firearms from the outside world. 

The ones we chose for this list are convenient but effective. They span from budget-friendly to top-of-the-line. Take your pick from features like fireproof walls, biometric scanners, and various mounting configurations. As always, make sure you comply with all applicable laws in your area.

This pistol safe from SentrySafe is loaded with premium features and comes at a competitive price. Space is limited in the one-pistol configuration, but a larger option is available to store two handguns. You’ll also have the ability to choose between versions with and without interior lighting. Staying dark is more tactical, but we won’t blame you if you can’t resist the blue glow of the lit safe. The biometric scanner can be programmed with up to ten fingerprints for almost instant access in emergency situations. You can also set a code using the four-button keypad, and keep a physical key as a backup. This safe is built using 12-gauge steel and a flush lid that would be extremely difficult to pry open. A bolt-down kit is included, and we recommend using it unless you plan on using this safe for portable storage.

If you appreciate easy access and great deals, you’ll definitely want to check out this mounted gun safe from RPNM. Unlike most safes, this one is designed to be hard-mounted to vertical or horizontal surfaces to keep your handgun within arm’s reach. Consider attaching it to your bed frame, desk, or vehicle. Steel construction and a tamper-resistant closure make this safe secure. Inside, foam inserts provide a layer of padding to protect your firearm and hold it in place. Program a code on the four-button keypad or use your fingerprint to activate the pop-out drawer that presents your forearm grip-first. Its memory is capable of storing up to 50 fingerprints. Wherever you choose to mount this safe, just remember that you’ll need to access the battery compartment from time to time.

This Barska gun safe can handle all but the most apocalypse-proof gun collections. If you have trouble finding large enough safes or get annoyed by remembering which firearm is stored in which safe, this is the solution to your problems. How does room for 45 long guns and ample shelf space sound? With a digital keypad and six heavy-duty locking bolts, you can trust that anything you put in this vault is secure. It can even withstand temperatures of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit for up to an hour. As awesome as this gun safe is, it’s not for everybody. First, there’s the price, which is substantial. Second, it weighs 667 pounds empty so you better have a few friends on standby when it gets delivered. If those two things don’t bother you, go ahead and scoop up one of the best gun safes out there.

Hornady is a trusted name in ammunition manufacturing, and they also build this outstanding safe for carbines and tactical shotguns. If you want a safe that can accommodate midsize firearms and is more discreet than a traditional stand-up safe, this is the way to go. This safe’s slim profile makes it easy to slide out of sight under a bed or in a closet. A power cord means you can forget about replacing batteries, and a cable lock lets you tether this safe in place. The lock can be opened by a physical key, RFID wristband, RFID key fob, or one of two RFID decals that can be stuck to nearby objects to create an unexpected key and hidden in plain sight. Two sizes are available. This is one of our more expensive picks, but we’re confident that it’s worth the price.

This Moutec rifle sage uses a timeless design that’s versatile and secure. If you own a full-size rifle or shotgun, you know it can be challenging to sort through safes and cases to find an option large enough for your firearms. This safe has room for six long guns up to 50 inches long in addition to a shelf to hold your handguns, ammunition (where permissible), or other valuables. It’s also deep enough to fit large scopes. Lock and unlock the door with the electronic keypad or a backup physical key. Keypad beep tones can be turned on or off. Pre-drilled holes and included hardware allow this safe to be hard-mounted inside your home with minimal effort. These are all great features, but we’re especially excited to find them available at this price.

Related: Grab one of these 6 range bags before your next trip to the firing line

Why should you trust us

During my time with Task & Purpose, I’ve reviewed gear ranging from practical to tactical. I’ve shot recreationally and in the military, including competing at the Marine Corps’ Western Division Matches. Part of being a responsible gun owner is using proper storage and security practices, and I strongly encourage you to add a layer of protection with a high-quality safe. As a bonus, you’ll have the satisfaction of being able to secure your weapon on the first try without some armorer telling you it’s not clean even though all you did was snap in and soak it in enough CLP to qualify as a biohazard.

Different kinds of gun safes

Gun safes aren’t all the same, but we’re happy to report that there are fantastic options for almost any budget and size. We found quality products from reputable manufacturers offering a variety of sizes, locking mechanisms, and materials. Before you make a purchase, think about these key factors to determine which type of safe is best for you. 

Size

How many firearms do you need to store? Do you have other valuables you want to protect? Do you need your safe to be portable or will it be kept inside your home? Answer these questions to determine which size of safe is best for you.

If you’re looking to lock away a pistol, passport, and enough cash for a one-way international flight like James Bond, a small but sturdy safe sounds like just what you need. If you have long guns that only come out for range time and hunting trips, you might be happiest with a vertical safe. If you have a little of everything, simplify life by investing in one safe that can hold all your firearms.

Locking mechanism

Traditionally, gun safes used combination locks with heavy-duty bars that extend from the door into the reinforced metal frame. That kind of safe is still very popular, especially for long guns and larger collections. These dials feature far more numbers than the combination lock in your gym bag, prevent the security risk of buttons that show signs of wear as you repeatedly enter the same code, and have a high-end feel.

Some safes use a digital keypad or unmarked buttons that must be pressed in the right order or combination. These are easy to use and take less time than a rotary dial. The most advanced locking mechanisms use a biometric scanner that only allows the safe to open when it detects the appropriate fingerprint. These allow almost instant access and a high degree of security.

Materials

A safe doesn’t do any good if the lock can be compromised or bypassed with brute force. That’s why we advise against relying on the free hard cases that come with many firearms for long-term storage.

All the safes on this list use heavy-duty metal construction. Alloy steel allows some safes to be lighter, stronger, or both when compared to pure steel. 

Most safes include some kind of padding to protect your firearms from contact with the metal shell. Some premium gun safes even incorporate a layer of fireproof insulation. These features are definitely nice to have, but they’re not essential if you’re on a budget.

What to look for when buying a gun safe

When the time comes to invest in a gun safe, the first thing you need to consider is storage capacity. Even if you only have a single handgun to secure, you can find affordable options that don’t sacrifice quality. There’s a size for everyone, all the way up to collector-level mammoths that almost qualify as an armory.

Features will also play a role in your decision. Do you want to keep costs down with a simple combination or keyed lock? If you want quick access, biometric locks allow safes to open on contact, but only for specific people.

Naturally, all these considerations only matter if the safe you’re considering is up to the task of securing your weapons and valuables. Don’t bother with plastic or low-quality metal. This is an important purchase, so make it worthwhile.

Why do you need a gun safe?

Quick, what does your weapon storage look like? If you just wiggled your finger and said “this is my safety,” that’s the wrong answer. Proper firearms storage isn’t just a good idea, it’s the responsible thing to do. Depending on where you live, it may be your legal obligation.

If you’re like many gun owners, you probably just keep them in the cases they came with or an upgraded hard case. Even if they lock, these are still portable and can be taken or opened without much trouble. We’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume there’s nothing squirreled away in a nightstand drawer. 

Storing your weapons in a safe protects them from theft, fire, and unintended access by kids and guests. Besides, they’re also a great place for critical documents like passports, birth certificates, and that sweet, sweet, DD-214.

  • Keep your firearms and valuables protected
  • Prevent unwanted access
  • When applicable, comply with legal requirements
  • Save space
  • Keep firearms clean

Pricing ranges for gun safes

  • Between $100 and $200: Safes in this range still meet high quality standards, they just aren’t very big. Store one or two handguns behind thick steel and secure locks.
  • Between $200 and $500: This tends to be the sweet spot for gun safes. Choose from high-end handgun safes and high-value rifle safes.
  • More than $500: Top-tier gun safes feature premium components and features, with enough capacity to store your whole collection, plus a few valuables.

How we chose our top picks

We would love to put all of these safes in our own homes, but hands-on reviews aren’t always feasible. When we can’t personally test every piece of gear we review, we rely on the wisdom of crowds through thousands of buyer reviews. This lets us sort through hundreds of products to find the best ones for you. Products only make it onto one of our gear guides if they have a proven record of success backed by hundreds of satisfied customers.

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