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Published Apr. 12, 2022

Whether you want to admit it or not, there’s something undeniably cool about hidden gun safes. Having a pistol appear in a backlit drawer that pops out of a nightstand, or sliding a mirror aside to reveal a stack of rifles in the wall, feels like something straight out of a Hollywood action flick — and far too cool for our own homes. 

But what if you could actually have such a thing? It turns out that there are several compelling products on the market that can turn your house into a covert arsenal. We found gun safes that hide in plain sight and keep your firearms readily accessible. One concern is that, by trading steel walls and sophisticated locks for a disguise, you’ll have to compromise on security. Are hidden gun safes a viable option or just something to show off to your friends? That’s a fair concern that we’ll dive into before it’s all said and done.

In the meantime, let’s check out some of the best hidden gun safes out there and figure out which one — if any — belongs in your home.

Methodology

When we wrote our recommendations for the best gun safes, we looked for reliable locking mechanisms and anti-tampering features. This time around, we focused on ways to keep your guns from being found in the first place. People in the market for a hidden gun safe likely prioritize easy access, so we looked for products that can hide in plain sight and be opened rapidly. We also tried to appeal to a broad audience by choosing products that aren’t too specific to a certain decorating style. As always, we looked for options to satisfy a range of budgets.

The Tactical Traps End Table landed our top spot on this list by checking nearly all the boxes most gun owners are looking for in a hidden safe. Clever design? Of course. Secure locking mechanism? You know it. Interior lighting for easy access anytime, day or night? Absolutely. It even comes in a variety of colors to match the rest of your home’s furniture.

One of the most common places people store their guns is next to their bed. This end table offers bedside convenience with an extra layer of security. The storage compartment fits under the surface of the end table, where a drawer would normally be found. Its foam padding protects your firearm’s finish and keeps it secure and stable if you have to move the table. The included RFID card opens the safe in about one second when placed within range of the internal card reader, so you can control access to the safe. Many users stash the RFID card in an object that remains on the end table and can be quickly slid into place — you can store it somewhere else if you prefer.

This is a relatively expensive hidden gun safe, but the craftsmanship and features can back up the price. One thing you’ll need to remember is that the compartment opens by dropping beneath the tabletop and tilting forward. To ensure proper access, the area beneath the table will need to remain clear.

We love the fact that this hidden gun safe is well-built and ready to go without any installation. The extra security of the RFID lock is a welcome security measure, and we appreciated the padded compartment. It’s exactly the kind of safe most people in the market are looking for. Give your nightstand gun a better home and sleep easier knowing it’s secure.

Specs
  • Locking mechanism: RFID
  • Installation: None
  • Capacity: 8.25 inches wide, 8.25 inches tall
PROS

Serves as a quality table or nightstand

Can be placed and moved like any other piece of furniture

RFID lock and key included for extra security

CONS

Secret compartment has room for one pistol and not much else

Fairly expensive for the amount of storage you get

Be careful to avoid unintentional RFID activation

One of the advantages hidden gun safes enjoy over traditional safes is the ability to be built at much lower costs — hiding something is much easier than fending off crowbars and angle grinders. This shelf from Lockdown offers terrific value for budget-minded shoppers and it’s versatile enough to protect other kinds of valuables, too.

Unlike hidden safes that are disguised as furniture or built into walls, this shelf can be installed in any room of the house. Mount it in your bedroom, living room, office, workshop, or kitchen. Installation is simple enough, but you will need to make sure your wall is capable of supporting this much weight. Be sure to use the correct type of anchors and mounting hardware. We appreciate the two-step process to access this safe. In addition to placing the magnetic key in the right location, you’ll need to press on the underside of the shelf to release the latch. That’s a nice safety precaution if you plan on keeping the key on the shelf itself. Inside, there is enough space for at least two handguns and a few small accessories. The pegboard system lets you organize your gear as you see fit.

In order to hit this price, a few cost-cutting measures had to be implemented. There is no padding, but you can always add that later. Instead of an RFID mechanism, this safe uses a simple magnet to unlock the compartment. It would also be nice to have more colors to choose from.

All in all, this is a great buy for the money — even if it isn’t as sophisticated as some of the other options. If you want a safe place to hide your home defense weapon or a few small valuables, it’s a serviceable option.

Specs
  • Locking mechanism: magnetic
  • Installation: Wall-mounted
  • Capacity: 17.5 inches wide, seven inches high, 1.5 inches deep
PROS

Thin shape hides the secret compartment well

Room for multiple handguns, magazines, and accessories

Versatile pegboard keeps everything organized

CONS

Installation is more complicated than using a freestanding safe

Only two color options are available

No padding is included in the storage area

Honorable Mention

Those of you looking for something closer to a traditional gun safe will love the V-Line Tactical Closet Vault. Its metal construction, mechanical lock, and cavernous interior are ideal for anyone interested in a more permanent gun safe for their home.

At first glance, the 14-gauge steel safe is far more substantial than any of the wooden alternatives. It’s also powder-coated to protect against rust and corrosion, which is useful in humid regions. The interior is large enough for several long guns and has pre-drilled sides that can accommodate shelves for more storage. The door features a MOLLE-compatible board so you can attach magazine pouches, holsters, and first aid equipment. Optional accessories include a MOLLE board for the back of the safe, additional shelves, and foam padding. The mechanical push-button lock is an old-school solution that’s stood the test of time and doesn’t require batteries or a key.

Installing this safe is more of an undertaking than other kinds of hidden gun safes require. You’ll need to remove a portion of your wall, making sure to avoid plumbing and electrical wiring. The good news is that this safe is sized to fit between standard studs that are spaced at 16 inches on center.

If you can stomach the cost of entry and the extra labor involved with the installation, you’ll be left with one hell of a hidden gun safe. All you’ll need is some kind of mirror or piece of clothing to hang over this and make your closet look as good as new.

Specs
  • Locking mechanism: Mechanical combination lock
  • Installation: Inside the wall
  • Capacity: 13.5 inches wide, 49.75 inches high, 4.75 inches deep
PROS

Built from powder-coated 14-gauge steel

Mechanical lock doesn’t rely on batteries or a key

Enough storage space for several firearms and accessories

CONS

Installation requires tools, time, and skill

Protrudes two inches from the wall when installed

Plan ahead to avoid interference with plumbing and electrical wiring

This hidden gun safe from Tactical Walls is the most expensive option on this list (depending on the options you choose), but it also includes everything you need to stash long guns and plenty of extra gear inside the walls of your home for safekeeping.

Like the V-Line alternative, this safe slots between the studs of your wall to capitalize on the unused space inside. It’s built from wood instead of metal, but still offers plenty of room for larger weapons and a separate compartment for smaller items like handguns, ammunition, and an IFAK. You can also order this safe with an additional safe box. A hook-and-loop lining makes it easy to stick on magazine pouches and other gear. The door can be opened by placing the provided magnet over the hidden release mechanism for quick, easy access. The mirror itself is shatter-resistant.

As with any built-in gun safe, you’ll need to invest some time and effort into installing this correctly. Always locate studs, plumbing, and electrical wiring before opening up your walls.

Once you’re done, this safe will disappear in plain view. We love the fit and finish, and the organizational possibilities add serious value to the interior. It’s also nice to have the mirror integrated into the system for a seamless, finished look.

Specs
  • Locking mechanism: Magnetic
  • Installation: Inside the wall
  • Capacity: 14 inches wide, 10 inches high, 3.5 inches deep (top compartment), 14inches wide, 40 inches high, 3.5 inches deep (bottom compartment)
PROS

Several colors and configurations available

Hinged door doesn’t interfere with outlets, switches, or other furniture

Internal light activated when the door is opened

CONS

Wooden construction is less secure than metal

Installation is labor-intensive and difficult to reverse

Protrudes from the wall enough to suggest its true purpose

Our verdict on hidden gun safes

We’re glad to see solid options available across the price range. If you need to keep costs down, the Lockdown shelf is a great solution. If you want the flexibility to move your hidden gun safe from room to room, go for the Tactical Traps table. If you plan on staying in your current home for the foreseeable future, a built-in wall safe should have you covered no matter what. Did we miss your favorite hidden gun safe? Share it in the comments section and tell us what you like most about it.

What to consider when buying a hidden gun safe

We know it’s tempting to pick the most creative hidden gun safe you can find, then show it off to everyone you know, but that defeats the purpose. Remember that a hidden gun safe that’s easily found is a lot like putting stickers for your favorite gun-maker on your car; you’re really just advertising what’s free for the taking when you’re not around. We’re here to help you narrow down which type of locking mechanisms and structural components might work best for you. We’ll also explain some of the key features and pricing considerations of hidden gun safes.

Types of hidden gun safes

Locked vs. unlocked

Most hidden gun safes do not use a lock to secure your firearm; instead, they’re disguised as something other than a gun safe to keep your weapon from being found in the first place. There is a certain amount of risk associated with this approach, but it can be effective. You can stack the deck in your favor by avoiding hidden gun safes that draw attention or are overtly firearm-related.

One popular security measure is to stash an RFID device nearby and use it to open your hidden gun safe. Manufacturers like Tactical Traps provide furniture with an object that has been equipped with an RFID card that will open the safe when placed in a specific location. Others, like V-Line, use a traditional, mechanical lock that doesn’t require batteries or any kind of key.

Freestanding vs. installed

The most convenient hidden gun safes are freestanding, meaning there’s no installation required. Safes designed as furniture, picture frames, or clocks can be placed in your home and immediately put to use. You can reposition them easily and take them with you when you move. Size is the biggest limitation of this style. Coffee tables and some wall art may be able to accommodate something like an AR pistol, but most are designed for full-size handguns or smaller.

If you’re open to performing a little home renovation, you can get some really creative hidden gun safes. Some of our favorites are designed to be built into a wall between studs, then covered with a hinged or sliding mirror. These are well-hidden and large enough to accommodate long guns. The downside is the need to modify your home’s walls and repair the hole in the event you move. If you opt for this style, a good wall scanner can help you locate studs, wiring, and plumbing before opening up your walls.

Key features of hidden gun safes

Easy access

Most gun owners keep their firearms in a private area of the house, like their bedroom or closet. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it might not always be the quickest location to get to. If you don’t want guns on display or in an obvious safe in your living room, a hidden gun safe is a convenient solution. By hiding your firearm in plain sight, you can keep it someplace that’s readily accessible when you’re up and about.

Many hidden gun safes don’t have any kind of locking mechanism, and those that do usually incorporate an RFID-style lock. This makes them extremely easy to open in a hurry. This obviously removes a layer of security, but if a well-disguised gun safe is used correctly, no one should ever know your firearm is present to begin with. Only you can determine what’s best for you.

Protection against unwanted access

While hidden gun safes offer quick, easy access, they’re designed to prevent anyone but you from getting ahold of your firearms. In the event of a break-in, a small safe might just delay the inevitable if a burglar decides to take it with them and crack it at their leisure. That won’t happen if they can’t find it in the first place.

If your strategy is built around a hidden gun safe, don’t provide clues about its presence. Even if no firearms are visible, it doesn’t take a master thief to see a closet full of ammunition, cleaning kits, range bags, and a full-length mirror to do the math and find your hiding place. 

Alternative uses

Hidden gun safes can be great at their intended purpose, but they aren’t limited to it. First of all, if you use one to store a pistol, remember to include other essentials like a spare magazine and a tactical flashlight. That way, everything you need is in one place.

Beyond weapons, hidden safes are great for hiding valuables like jewelry, passports, and important documents. It can be comforting to know that all your critical information is out of sight and within reach. Just remember that most hidden gun safes offer no degree of fire protection.

Hidden gun safe pricing

The range of prices in the world of hidden gun safes varies tremendously. On the cheap end, you can carve out the pages of an old book for free and have a prison-style hideaway. On the other end of the spectrum are hidden doors leading to massively expensive vaults like my personal favorite, the arsenal in Boondock Saints (Irish flag not included).

The hidden gun safes on our list fall between about $75 for the Lockdown In Plain Sight Shelf and more than $800 for certain configurations of the Tactical Traps 1450 Hinged Mirror. Spending more doesn’t always get you a better result; solidify an overall firearm security strategy before diving into the deep end of hidden gun safes. If you want one place for all your gear, a large, in-wall vault is a fantastic solution. If you just want to keep one handgun accessible, there’s no reason you shouldn’t spend less for something simpler. 

Tips and tricks

There’s more to using a hidden gun safe than clicking “buy now” and hanging it on your wall. Here are some of the things we think you should keep in mind as a responsible gun owner.

  • Use common sense. Kids will mess with anything they can get their hands on, so never use a hidden gun safe where a child could access it.
  • Avoid hidden gun safes with branding that gives them away.
  • Pick a safe that fits in with the other furniture and decor in your home so it doesn’t stand out.
  • If your safe is disguised as a picture frame, put a personal photo on display. If it’s disguised as a clock, set the time.
  • Resist the temptation to show off your hidden gun safe. It’s not hidden if every friend, coworker, and delivery driver hears about it.
  • It might be a good idea to keep your home defense weapon in a hidden gun safe by the bed, and the rest of your collection in a traditional safe.
  • If your hidden gun safe uses batteries, set a reminder to replace them. Just don’t name it “replace the batteries in the gun safe disguised as a bookshelf on the living room’s east wall.”

FAQs for hidden gun safes

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

Q: Are hidden gun safes secure?

A: Yes, just not in the same way as traditional gun safes. Hidden gun safes are easy for anyone to open, but hard to find. There’s a case to be made for each kind of gun safe. 

Q: Are hidden gun safes fireproof?

A: Most hidden gun safes are not fireproof. If you don’t have a way to protect your firearms from fire, take out an insurance policy or be prepared to replace them out of pocket.

Q: Are hidden gun safes legal?

A: There are no states that prohibit hidden gun safes, but some states do require you to lock up your firearms when they’re in storage, according to the Giffords Law Center. Also, some of those states require you to use an approved locking device. This could be a safe and/or a trigger lock. Either way, you should review local and state laws to ensure compliance.

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