1. Gunvault GV2000C-DLX Handgun Safe
Why do you need the Best Gun Safe?
Many states have gun laws designed to protect children, family members, friends, and unwanted guests from accessing firearms. By using the best gun safe, you can ensure that you keep your firearms out of reach while still being able to access them easily yourself. Some states like California require you to store all of your firearms in a gun safe that passes some minimum standards.
Regardless of whether your state has gun-safe laws, it is still good practice to keep your firearms safe and secure. Not all gun safes are the same: some are better than others at keeping intruders out. Just because a manufacturer says it is highly secure doesn’t mean that it actually is. As a good rule of thumb, the locking system should have at least 10,000 possible combinations consisting of numbers, letters, and symbols. These cheap 4 digit locks you find in hotels are just simply not going to cut it.
Best Gun Safe Reviews
- First Alert 5200DF Portable Handgun Safe (Under $100)
- Gunvault GV2000C-DLX Multi Vault Deluxe Handgun Safe ($100-$200)
- Barska Quick Access Biometric Safe, 3 Rifle Capacity ($200-500)
- Steelwater Standard Duty 16 Long Gun, Fire Protection for 45 Minutes ($500-1000)
- Winchester Ranger Deluxe 45-7-E Gun Safe; 51 Gun Capacity ($1000+)
1. First Alert 5200DF Portable Handgun Safe (Under $100)
The First Alert 5200DF is the best gun safe if you want simple and effective portable protection for your pistol at home or when you are traveling. First and foremost, don’t expect much out of this safe in terms of theft protection. It is not intended to protect against people who have tools to drill, pry, and damage the safe. If someone is determined to open this pistol safe, they will open it! What it does protect from is random unwanted entries, especially by your children.
This gun safe has a combo entry system: which means you can open the safe with keys or keyless entry through a 4-digit passcode. The inside is protected by padding and is enough for two small handguns or one big pistol.
The inner dimensions are (inches long, 10.9 inches wide, and 3.3 inches high. It takes two AA batteries to operate the passcode safe. In terms of portable security, it includes a strong steel cable to lock it down to car trunks or wherever you are on the go and mounting holes to secure it to a shelf. Also, it is approved by the California Department of Justice. Overall, this is a great light and portable gun safe to protect your handguns from your children wherever you are.
2. Gunvault GV2000C-DLX Multi Vault Deluxe Handgun Safe ($100-$200)
The Gunvault Deluxe is the best gun safe if you want a basic entry-level safe for your home. Unlike the First Alert portable safe reviewed above, the Gunvault is really designed to be mounted in your home. It weighs about 15 pounds and is about the size of a standard microwave. You can squeeze two to three compact pistols in here or two large handguns. Don’t forget you can also store your valuables like jewelry, cash, and passport.
The Gunvault Deluxe is a combo lock, so it can be entered with keys or a 4-digit keypad entry. It takes 9 Volt battery for the keypad and the battery life is about 6 months. There is an audio and led warning for low battery, which is a nice feature. There is also a standard version of this safe, but it doesn’t have a built-in motion alarm, the battery life is terrible, and the keypad is hard to use.
We think it’s worth a few bucks extra for the deluxe. In terms of safety, the safe itself is made of some pretty tough 16 gauge steel and soft foam on the inside. We tried breaking into it with just some household tools and it holds strong. All in all, this is a great safe for some pistols and jewelry for your home. It will keep your children away from it but it unfortunately does not stop a professional from breaking into it.
3. Barska Quick Access Biometric Safe, 3 Rifle Capacity ($200-500)
The Barska Quick Access Biometric Safe is the best gun safe if you want something that stores a few rifles. You access this safe through biometrics or a fingerprint reader, and it stores a good 120 fingerprints. The fingerprints are easy to input and there is almost no error in the reader for false positives. You can also open the safe through keys if the biometrics fail to work. It takes 4 AA batteries to operate the biometric system and the battery life is about one year.
This safe is over 4 feet tall, so it can store two (maybe 3) rifles upright along with a few handguns, scopes, and ammo. It is a bit of a squeeze for longer rifles like the AR15, but it can fit. We would opt for a bigger safe if you intend to store big rifles. It has predrilled anchor points so you can secure the safe to the floor or wall for extra security from theft. Although this safe does not get a UL rating or is it fire resistant, it is pretty tough to break into for the average robber.
Most of the time, you are protecting your safe from your kids anyways, so for all intents and purposes, this shouldn’t really make a difference. This is not to say that the safe isn’t durable. In terms of overall security, we would say it is built pretty tough. It weighs 66 pounds, so the weight alone would deter someone from carrying this away. Let’s just say you would not be able to break into it with just simple tools.
4. Steelwater Standard Duty 16 Long Gun, Fire Protection for 45 Minutes ($500-1000)
If you want a fireproof durable safe enough to store a bunch of rifles, get the Steelwater EGS5922 Standard Duty. This safe is nearly 5 feet tall and can hold about 10 average-sized rifles. The contents inside can also withstand fire for 45 minutes and there’s a fire seal that will expand and keep heat/smoke out. In terms of safety and theft protection, Steelwater is outstanding. It has 10 one-inch chrome plated bolts and a 5-inch thick composite door that prevents pry bars from applying force underneath.
There’s also a re-locking device that serves as a backup if the main lock is punched out. In terms of key and entry, it has a keypad digital lock with EMP protection and a double-bitted bypass key. The inside is nicely cushioned and fully carpeted so that your guns won’t get scratched or damaged. There is also a heavy-duty version of this safe, but we don’t think it is worth the premium. The heavy-duty version has a few more bolts, the bolts are bigger and the composite door is made of better material. But in the end, if someone really wanted to, they can get into this gun safe by hooking a pick-up truck to the door and yanking it out.
5. Winchester Ranger Deluxe 45-7-E Gun Safe; 51 Gun Capacity ($1000+)
If you want the best gun safe with lots of space and top-of-the-line security, Winchester Ranger Deluxe 45 is your answer. It is also fireproof rated at 1 hour and at 1400 degrees with three layers of fireboard at the door and two in the body. The Winchester Ranger is a huge safe enough to store around 50 guns and has 45 cubic feet of storage space. It is almost 1000 pounds and stands at 6 feet tall! It really is the mother of all safes.
It is UL-listed RSC 9L60, which means it passes the stringent tests performed by the security consulting firm UL. It has 18 1.25-inch solid steel bolts locking the door with a 4-way locking bolt system. And 12 gauge steel body and door and a drill-resistant hard plate. There’s also a backup locker in case the door is broken into initially. Finally, the door is recessed so it is really hard to pry open.
If you don’t really care about any of these numbers, just know that it is extremely hard to get into this safe. UL is a firm that tests these safes of burglary by beating and drilling them with every known tool for theft. If it passes the sniff test by UL, it says a lot about the Winchester Ranger’s quality.
The inside of the safe has a nice layout. There are door panel organizers to store your pistols, ammo, and scopes. The Winchester Ranger has lots of shelf space to put your valuables and jewelry as well. It is all carpeted as well to prevent scratching. Basically, the inside looks pretty decked out. Overall, the Winchester Ranger is the best gun safe if you just want to splurge on something huge that has superior quality. If you do end up getting this safe, you’ll need to hire professionals to help you move it.
More Info on Gun Safes – A Buying Guide
Gun safes should have locks that are protected by a hardened case or steel plate and need to be drilled resistant. This is to ensure the lock cannot be simply shot, drilled, or pried open. Boltwork is another thing to closely examine to make sure you have to best gun safe. You should have a minimum of three steel bolts on your safe. Each of these bolts needs to be at least 1/2 inch thick and intrude into the door at least ½ inches. The exterior walls should be tough, thick, and constructed with a minimum of 12 gauge thick steel.
These walls need to be at least 1/10 of an inch thick. Doors should also be made tough and have one or two layers of steel plate, preferably 12-gauge reinforced construction. Finally, the door hinges should also be protected to prevent them from being removed. You shouldn’t expose your hinges to the outside and use interlocking door designs or dead bars/jeweler’s lugs.
To make life simpler for you, a few third-party agencies have come up with independent ratings and certifications for safes to prequalify them as theft-proof or fireproof. The most famous one is UL’s RSC (Underwriters Laboratory’s Resident Security Container). Underwriters Laboratory is the best-known safety consulting agency for testing the safety of all sorts of devices, including gun safes. A gun safe gets a UL listing if it can pass four tests: drilling the lock’s tumblers, prying the dial off, punching the handle shaft, and attempting to side-punch the locking bolts.
UL has some stringent guidelines and benchmarks for these tests, so a UL Rated safe means that it is pretty secure from intruders. UL also has fire ratings, which test the amount of time the safe can withstand below a certain temperature under fire. Because paper starts to charge at around 410 degrees F, UL put the benchmark at 350 F. So a ½ hour UL class 350 Rated Safe means that the contents inside the safe won’t reach 350 F until 30 minutes. Also after 30 minutes, if the safe is dropped from 3 flights of stairs, it won’t explode. When you are trying to pick the best gun safe, you need to take into account the safety of the safe first by factoring in its UL rating. Then you should determine what capacity you want and the price range you are willing to withstand.