Best Handgun Safe in 2021

Sleeping with a handgun under your pillow is not the brightest of ideas. Every responsible firearms owner needs a proper gun safe.

A handgun safe offers you peace of mind and makes your home a safe environment for you and your family.

There are so many options on the internet, and by now you’ve probably noticed it’s actually harder to choose a handgun safe than a handgun.

If you’re looking for a suitable, quick-access handgun safe that won’t break your bank, this guide has the essential answers to your questions.

We’ll talk about the best handgun safes on the market, what they offer, what to look for, compare characteristics, and we’ll help you choose one of the best gun safes for you.

The Fort Knox FTK-PB1 – Best Overall Handgun Safe

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The mechanical Fort Knox FTK-PB1 is an absolute heavy-duty classic.

Personally, I decided that it should take the spotlight because of its sturdiness, simplicity, and reliability. Nothing too fancy, nothing too expensive.

It fits perfectly in any household, and it’s sturdy enough to guarantee that you won’t need another one for the next 15 years.

Overall, this is your mechanical handgun safe of choice if you’re willing to do stuff the old-fashioned way.

Durability, Portability, Stability, and Mechanism

The Fort Knox has a silver powder-coated finish with a sturdy and durable design. Any gun owner can easily store the Fort Knox handgun safe anywhere, and because of its heavy 10-gauge steel casing with a 7-gauge door, it’s not an easy target for thieves.

However, it’s pretty heavy – not exactly built for mobility.

There are 4 pre-drilled mounting holes, which allows you to mount it near crucial and strategic locations around the house.

It’s one of the best mechanical safes out there. 

As the Fort Knox is a mechanical safe, it doesn’t rely on batteries and recharging, which means that you’re covered even if there’s a power outage. There are no wirings or electronic parts, so you won’t have to worry about any electronic problems, in contrast to biometric and other electronic handgun safes.

Access Speed

The Fort Knox FTK-PB1’s Simplex locking system relies on high-security mechanical pins and push-button locks that never fail to open and close. The interior is made out of foam, and the compressed gas strut offers smooth opening and closing. I can speak from personal experience, I’ve had no problems, and I’ve been using it for years now.

With a little practice, muscle memory, and the proper combination setting, the Fort Knox’s access speed is somewhere around 3 seconds. It’s not as stealthy and soundless as the Barska and Gunvault safes, but it’s just as fast.

There are five buttons that you can program in order and sequence, and you can press two buttons at the same time for an even more complex combination.

Warranty

Of course, I’ve seen some rare button jamming complaints, and that may be the only problem I’ve seen so far.

However, Fort Knox is a prominent brand that lives up to their name. They offer a lifetime warranty on this classic handgun safe, maintenance and repairs, and top-notch customer service.

Pros:

  • Sturdy, durable, and well-built
  • Mechanical
  • Simplex lock design
  • Pre-drilled holes for easy mounting
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • Lock buttons may sometimes jam
  • Not designed for traveling

Our Favorite Handgun Safes

Now that we put Fort Knox out of the way, here’s a list of our other best handgun safes.

On this list, you’ll find handgun safes that can suit anyone, depending on what you’re looking for in a handgun safe.

Our criteria were based on durability, cost-efficiency, access speed, portability, and utility. Some prices vary from around $100 to $300, but we’ll talk about what they offer and share some tips on how you can discover what suits you the most.

We’ll start with…

Stopbox Instant-Access Handgun Lockbox

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This is not much of a handgun safe as it is a controlled-access handgun box.

The Stopbox company wanted to create something rather different than a safe. This handgun box can be easily and quickly accessed when things go bump in the night.

Because it’s made of ABS plastic polycarbonate material, someone can steal it and can gain access to the handgun with minimal effort.

However, it’s not exactly built to be a handgun safe. It’s specially designed to be highly portable and mobile, for quick access and ease of use.

The company has made this box with their very own patented locking mechanism, built in a way that you can grab your gun in a split second. Basically, the Stopbox Lockbox sacrifices some extra weight and sturdiness for an edge in portability and instant access to your handgun. 

It also comes with a security cable.

If you’re looking for something that can be right by your side, near the glove compartment, or bedside while you’re in a hotel or Airbnb, this can easily turn into your trusty traveling companion.

Pros:

  • Fastest access
  • Good capacity
  • Portable, lightweight design
  • Reliable
  • Cabel friendly
  • Can be color-customized

Cons:

  • Low security
  • ABS plastic durability
  • Expensive

Stealth Handgun Quick Access Hanger Safe

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The Stealth Handgun Hanger Safe is designed for those of you who like to get serious and keep multiple guns at the ready. This safe is also California DOJ-approved, and you can easily store 5 handguns inside.

With the best features for an instant-access door spring, high-density foam interior for scratch-free gun safety, the Stealth Handgun Hanger safe is the ultimate gun enthusiast’s handgun safe of choice.

It’s coated in heat-shrink tubing, with a strong locking latch, durable security cable, and a high-density foam that protects your guns’ barrels from scratching and damaging.

The solid steel door makes the safe impenetrable and no human hand or tool is able to pry it open with ease.

Just insert the right 6-digit combination and the door quickly drops down for instant action. The door is heavy, so Stealth designed it with a speed reducer to lighten the fall. There’s also a silent mode option for stealthy gun retrieval.

Instead of 9V batteries, you can use the external power port with a cable to power the safe, and the blue illuminating keypad and illuminated interior make it easy to see in the dark.

There are 4 bolt-down holes at the bottom of the safe, and there’s a free security cable that’s latched onto the thick steel safe, making the safe thief-proof and difficult to tamper with.

The Stealth Hanger Safe is sizable, durable, and the price is low for a safe this sizable. Perfect for those who like to pack a lot of heat.

Pros:

  • Capacity for up to five handguns
  • Quick-access, spring-loaded, drop-down door
  • Compartment for internal battery
  • External power port
  • Instant-access electrical keypad
  • Illuminated interior
  • Anti-pry solid steel construction
  • No-scratch foam design
  • CA DoJ-approved

Cons:

  • Noisy – beeps when opened
  • Half-second waiting period on button press
  • Non-adjustable pistol hanger

Barska AX11224 Biometric Security Handgun Safe

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The Barska Biometric Security Handgun Safe uses BioSecure Technology and is a state-of-the-art security safe. It’s quite pricey but worth every penny.

You can store your valuables and your handguns, but the biometric fingerprint scanner with 2.5-second quick-access is what sells it.

With this handgun safe, you can print your finger from different angles, so it can open without error. It’s a solid instant home defense choice.

The Barska Handgun Safe also has a hidden keyhole with backup keys, just as a backup for situations when something goes wrong with the fingerprint identification system. It also has a programmable silent mode for that much-needed stealth.

It has an ultra-compact steel frame, 2 pry-proof steel deadbolts, and tamper-resistant inner edges. Clocking in at 13 pounds, it can be easily mounted on the wall.

Additionally, the interior shelves are removable, so you’ll be able to arrange and rearrange your gun safe. If you forget to close the door, it lets out a loud beeping noise.

It’s approved by the DOJ as a tamper-resistant, durable powerhouse of a handgun safe. That explains (and kinda justifies) the high price.

Pros:

  • Recognizes up to 120 fingerprints; Can store up to 30
  • 2.5-second access
  • High-quality material and protective floor mat
  • The battery lasts for a year
  • Can be mounted in the wall
  • Can store two handguns, ammo, and documents too

Cons:

  • Neither waterproof nor fire-resistant
  • A bit pricey
  • No interior light

GunVault SpeedVault SV500 Handgun Safe

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GunVault is a premium gun safe brand, and this model doesn’t fall short.

It’s a quick-access handgun safe, built for speed and portability. It’s a relatively small safe, and its stealthy design is perfect for under desks and offices.

You can mount it on a wall, or under a desk, and the 16-gauge steel offers high security and durability. The high-quality interior assures the safe won’t scratch or damage your handgun.

Unlocking the safe is made easy with a personal code on the digital keypad. It can be coded with 12 million sequences, assuring no one but you will know the combination lock.

The GunVault SpeedVault SV500 is one of the best lightweight handgun safes with a drop-down drawer, perfectly designed to store a single pistol for easy access. 

It’s a sturdy, smart design, that emphasizes speedy retrieval. It’s an ideal choice if you’re working in an office or you’re around a desk. It’s a revolutionary handgun safe that highlights quick access during an emergency. It just works.

Pros:

  • Easily mountable (vehicle-friendly)
  • Compact and practical
  • Internal lighting
  • Silent mode

Cons:

  • Light might be too bright for some
  • No low battery warning
  • The keypad is not very practical

SentrySafe QAP1BE Handgun Safe

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This is a very affordable biometric handgun safe that can be a great nightstand option.

It’s a steel, pry-proof, anti-tampering, DOJ-certified handgun safe. It’s less sturdy than its competitors, and there’s only room for one handgun, but it’s very compact and efficient.

It can store up to four fingerprints, the gas strut offers a nice and quiet entry, and there’s a biometric keypad override in case the batteries die. It also weighs 12 pounds, so it’s very portable and perfect for drawers and nightstands.

The electrical lock is noiseless, and the 12-gauge steel construction makes this safe a sturdy and durable force to be reckoned with. The linen interior keeps your gun safe from scratch marks, and the backlit keypad is a nice touch too.

If you’re looking for an affordable biometric lock pistol safe, in contrast to the Barska safe I mentioned earlier, the SentrySafe QAP1BE is your best bet.

SentrySafe also offers a one-year manufacturer warranty for this safe.

You can also check out the QAP2BEL if you’re looking for a two pistol capacity and better interior lighting.

Both are California DOJ-certified (Department of Justice California for firearm storage and protection).

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Quick-access
  • Manual lock
  • Compact and easy for storage
  • Nice room space for valuables and documents
  • 1-year warranty
  • Noiseless

Cons:

  • Weak bolting options
  • Room for one gun
  • Not very sturdy

RPNB Gun Safe, Quick-Access Firearm Safety Device with Biometric Fingerprint Lock

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Here’s another alternative when you’re traveling. The RPNB Gun Safe weighs 13 pounds, can store two handguns, and fits perfectly under your vehicle seat.

It’s not exactly lightweight, but the sturdy steel case is pry-resistant and has a four-method entry. It has a backlit keypad so you can easily type your combination in the dark.

It also comes with keys for manual unlocking when something goes wrong, though it shouldn’t because the case is very sturdy and stable.

You can use over 200,000 combinations for extra security, and the steel is durable enough to be dubbed anti-theft, but its highlighted feature is the RFID card and fob. RFID stands for ‘radio frequency identification’ – a novelty security method for locking your safe. Just tap the card or fob to unlock it.

Personally, I don’t recommend this RFID technology. It’s new and far from perfected, and it has some weaknesses. It’s not exactly a traditional and safe choice, but some may find the RFID feature suitable for them.

With the card, you can easily retrieve your firearms with lightning speed and without typing any combinations or without reaching for those keys. It’s a quick-access, highly durable traveling companion, so this is a very interesting alternative to the Stopbox we mentioned earlier.

The RPNB Gun Safe is easily portable, but it also comes with pre-drilled holes for easy mounting. You can bolt the safe down to the floor if you’re settled somewhere, which helps in the anti-theft department.

It’s a handgun safe suitable for traveling, and it’s cost-effective for those features.

Pros:

  • RFID card and fob
  • Two handgun capacity
  • High-quality floor bolts
  • Multiple locking methods

Cons:

  • Low-level theft security

Hornady RAPiD Gun Safe 2600KP With RFID

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Here’s one that uses three opening methods, including the RFID technology.

Hornady have their very own line of gun safes, though they are not much talked about, which is a shame because this safe has gone through rigorous testing and evaluation.

The Hornady RAPiD is pry-proof, tamper-proof, and adheres to the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) durability and safety standards.

The 14-gauge steel casing offers solid protection and stability, but what makes this Hornady product worth mentioning is the RFID technology.

You can open the safe either by barrel key, electronic pin, or by RFID proximity. The RFID works by hovering the RFID-chipped bracelet decals over the lid, and the spring-open door pops to reveal a high-quality foam interior. You also receive keychain and bracelet backups, of course.

I’m really not a fan of the proximity method to open your safe because anybody with the RFID chip can open the safe. What’s more, the gun safe can’t be battery-powered, and it must be connected to an AC outlet if you want to use the RFID locking mechanism.

Hornady proves their mettle in the gun safe business with this one. Still, it would have deserved a higher spot on this list if it was battery-powered. They just need to work around and tinker with the opening methods and maybe ditch the RFID, if you ask me. Though, some gun owners would find this retrieval method useful.

Pros:

  • Highly-durable steel casing
  • RFID technology
  • Multiple modes of opening

Cons:

  • Not battery-powered
  • Not very affordable

Liberty Handgun Vault HD-50

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This is the best option if you’re going for a straightforward gun safe just to keep it out of children’s reach. It’s similar in simplicity to the Fort Knox PB1, only smaller and more portable.

What you’re looking at is a 16-gauge steel casing with a barrel key lock. It’s cheap, it’s small, and it’s TSA compliant, meaning you can travel with no problems and airports won’t deem it a security risk. Basically, it’s just another fine addition to the ‘traveling buddy’ safes we mentioned.

Sure, you can find other solid and cheap options, but I have a penchant for Liberty safes, as they have cemented their reputation with the gun safe community as a highly reputable manufacturer.

Pros:

  • Barrel key locking mechanism
  • Lightweight
  • Two-year warranty
  • High manufacturer reputation
  • Durable and sturdy

Cons:

  • Basic and simple
  • No fancy opening method
  • Slow retrieval method

If you’re not planning on spending a lot of money on a fancy gun safe, I recommend you go for the Liberty HD-50. It offers security, portability, and I personally like the aesthetics of keeping it simple.

While we’re talking about Liberty gun safes, check out this not-so-simple Liberty HDX-250 Smart Vault. It’s the complete opposite of the HD-50, but it’s definitely not as affordable.

It’s a biometric, heavy-duty, 14-gauge, steel fortress of a safe.

It’s sturdy, durable, pry-proof, tamper-proof, with quick access biometrics, and has enough space for a single handgun, two shotguns, and other valuables like jewelry boxes and documents.

It’s the most patriotic gun safe we have on this list, as the manufacturer took the liberty (pun intended) of engraving the American flag on the right side of the safe. It’s a nice touch, to be honest.

Stack-On PDS-1500 Drawer Safe with Electronic Lock

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Here’s the Stack-On PDS-1500, a highly-regarded budget-friendly handgun safe that’s a bit more concealed and stealthy. It’s perfect for offices.

It has a padded foam interior, electronic lock with a dashboard faceplate, durable, solid steel casing with pry-resistant doors, interlocking bolts, and concealed hinges for additional security. 

You can also mount it on a wall, on the floor, or on a shelf, thanks to the pre-drilled holes. It’s DOJ-approved for safety, durability, and gun storage, however, it’s not fire-resistant.

The Stack-On PDS-1500 Drawer Safe is a solid budget item, and this is in contrast to the other handgun safes with similar features, and I decided that this is a nice affordable option if you’re looking for a portable electronic keypad lock safe.

Most importantly, Stack-On offers a three-year warranty, and services and maintenance included, if a miracle happens and the safe gets damaged or an electronic malfunction occurs.

Pros:

  • Fits inside of a drawer
  • 2 steel locking bolts
  • Concealed hinges and pre-drilled holes for mounting
  • Electronic lock

Cons:

  • It has a very small storage capacity
  • Can be easily pick-locked with a paper-clip
  • Not fire-resistant

Honorable Mentions

V-Line 2597-S Desk Mate Keyless Security Box

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The fact that the buttons are noisy is the only negative characteristic we could find. The keypad is noisy, meaning any potential burglar might hear you.

Other than that, this is a V-Line standard, and there are lots of reasons why it’s in the honorable mentions section on our list.

It’s a DOJ-approved, solid-steel, heavy-duty, keyless handgun safe. Small in build and portable, this handgun safe is a fine option for drawers or bedsides.

The casing is non-corrosive, the interior comes with a removable tray, and you can open it via programmable passcode.

Want your handgun safe near a discreet place for easy access? Use the quick-release mounting system. Want to mount it at the bottom? You’ll have to buy the additional bracket for mounting.

It uses the almighty Simplex locking system with five-button passcode, without batteries or backup keys. What this means is that when you, unfortunately, forget your passcode, you’ll have to have a metalsmith cut the safe open.

By all means, write the passcode down as soon as you program it. I saw a lot of unhappy customers on forums and review sites for precisely this reason – which I would consider a hard pro.

Either way, this V-Line classic is a solid option for bedsides, offices, drawers, and for those who don’t want to bother with keys.

Pros:

  • Sturdy, durable, and easy to install
  • Compact and portable
  • No batteries required
  • Portable and compact design

Cons:

  • Noisy buttons

Vaultek VT20i Biometric Handgun Bluetooth Smart Safe

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The Vaultek VT20i is a maverick in biometric handgun safe technology. In comparison to the other manufacturers, Vaultek utilizes a plethora of new gun safe technology, and they know how to implement the features quite well.

For example, the biometric pad allows quick access with a 1.5-second delay upon gun retrieval, which makes it one of the fastest gun safe entries on this list.

The Vaultek VT20i features anti-pry and anti-theft protection with a 16-gauge steel casing. The safe’s dimensions are 11.5 x 9 x 2.63 inches, enough to fit under a bed, or a wardrobe, and the capacity is enough for a Glock or a .45 and an ammo pack. 

Gun owners can also monitor the safe with their cellphone via the Bluetooth Vaultek Smart Safe app, which offers monitoring, safe battery status, backlit keypad and illuminated interior, and a history log of whoever used it. It also shows if someone tampered with the safe.

This safe is battery-charged, but you only need to charge it for 3 hours to make it work for 4 months.

With all that said, there’s a reason why I’m not much of a biometrics fan, and I want to mention it – there’s a chance the safe won’t identify your fingerprint instantly if your finger is wet or you move away too fast. Other than that, this is a solid gun safe.

Pros:

  • Extremely durable
  • Quick access master code
  • Illuminated interior
  • Keypad lights via finger contacting
  • Mountable with steel cable
  • Accessible history log

Cons:

  • Unreliable fingerprint identification

Handgun Safe Buyers Guide

Here are some things to consider when buying a gun safe. This little list will show you what features are essential when you’re looking for a handgun safe.

Quality Locks

First things first, make sure the casing, door, and locks are reliable and sturdy.

Usually, manufacturers like Fort Knox, Liberty, and Stack-On have fantastic quality material, and their locks and casings have gone through rigorous company and individual testing.

Just keep in mind that keys are more reliable than biometrics and electronics but are slower, and the fingerprint locks offer quick-access but are prone to malfunctions. It really just depends on what you need.

I recommend you always go for combo locks and wait until manufacturers perfect biometrics technologies.

Portability

Of course. The handgun safe shouldn’t be too heavy for airplanes, right?

If you want something to take with you on your travels, you should look for small and lightweight handgun safes.

Personally, I think people can be super paranoid, as they usually go for ultra-heavy gun safes instead of sturdy bedside ones, and then have to deal with the hassle of moving a 10-gauge ‘fortress’ of a safe.

However, portable safes are usually less secure than more static safes. Sometimes, you just need a good, solid, and sturdy wall-mounted safe in your bedroom, so if you aren’t planning on travelling with your safe frequently, it’s better to go with that option and not compromise on security.

Capacity

Own a lot of guns? Want your valuables safe and secure along with your firearms?

Goes without saying, but it’s always a good idea to ask your retailer questions about the gun safe dimensions first. The interior should be foam-padded.

Check the opening and closing angles and gun placement. Maybe even sketch out the gun on paper so you can measure it by placing the sketch on the gun safe, just to make sure it fits properly.

Casing and Utility

The casing and how you’ll use the gun safe in a scenario is really what boils down to. A durable casing with a lightning-fast retrieval method is a deciding factor between you pulling the gun first, or the intruder grabbing a chance to do something really bad.

When it comes to casing thickness, sturdiness, and ease of use, you should look for gun safe manufacturers that emphasize weld quality, internal and external design, and opening latches.

Of course, every single component works together, but these are crucial and anti-pry and anti-theft safety standards.

Certain brands like Liberty, Barska, SentrySafe, and Paragon prioritize high security standards over utility or quick access methods in gun safes.

Who Makes the Best Gun Safe for the Money?

You can purchase directly from the manufacturers, but you can usually find great deals for gun safes on Amazon. As of today, the cheapest gun safe money can buy is the Liberty Safe HD-50. Simplicity and affordability at their finest.

Another great gun safe for the money is the SentrySafe QAP1BE. For a biometric gun safe that registers multiple angles, it’s surprisingly cheap.

The Stack-On PDS-1500 is a suitable budget alternative for you as well, if you really want to get all fancy up in here.

What Is the Best Bedside Gun Safe?

It’s got to be the Stopbox Instant-Access Handgun Lockbox.

Fast access, lightweight handgun safe, tamper-proof and pry-proof 10-gauge steel casing with a reliable and sturdy combination lockbox.

Small enough to fit near and under the bed.

You just have to practice an intruder scenario for the combination lock and you’re ready for home defense.

Another option is the Vaultek VT20i with biometric fingerprint identification. It’s faster but slightly less durable and reliable.

Why Do I Need a Handgun Safe?

You should know that around 40% of American citizens live in a household with firearms.

It’s not about the Second Amendment as much as it’s about keeping our households and families safe. Each and every single gun owner should have their firearms secured. An unsecured gun is a serious hazard and may fall into the wrong hands.

A responsible gun owner will never allow this. Having a suitable and efficient gun safe is crucial for home defense, safety, and it may keep your weapon safe from unauthorized use.

More than 15% of childhood deaths in the US are gun-related, meaning out of 3,143 firearm child fatalities in 2016, 1,228 were either suicide or accidental.

Gun safes prevent tragic statistics such as this.

Which Company Makes the Best Safes?

As far as I can tell, some manufacturers make great gun safe models, and really lousy ones at the same time.

You have Liberty Safes, founded in 1988, with a cemented reputation as the company for residential and commercial safes.

Then Stack-On, the Chicago giant known for their storage-focused, high-security safes for storing sensitive materials. They give 5-year warranties, so that’s that.

GunVault, the innovator of the bunch. They’ve been in the business for twenty years, and they go for the more experimental, technological approach to firearms safety.

SentrySafe is ancient. Founded in 1930, they focus their business model on home and office security, though their gun safe materials are usually high-quality. The gun safes are heavy-duty, pry-proof, tamper-proof, fireproof, earthquake-proof, God’s fury-proof, etc.

Then you have gun safe companies like Vaultek that like to go for a modern approach to gun security and safety by syncing tamper and biometric notifications to the owner’s cell phones.

To be honest, I personally believe that one shouldn’t really look at manufacturers as much as they should look whether or not the safe is electronic or mechanical.

Conclusion

When gun safes are mentioned in a conversation I can’t help but think of a stand-up comedy act that never fails to crack me up.

The hassle of turning the combination lock is so true, and nobody has ever had a scenario like that. That’s why important measures need to be taken, and that means investing in a proper, high-quality handgun safe which you can access in an instant.

Hopefully, this guide helped you out a little and narrowed down your options for the right handgun safe, whether it’s for mounting, by the bedside, in the car, or around the office.

I personally went for the Fort Knox because I don’t travel a lot, and I don’t believe I’ll require a quick-access handgun safe in the future, hopefully, that is. Additionally, in case you’re looking for ammo and handguns, we’re here to help out.

Have you found the handgun safe that’s best suited for you? Tell us your impressions in the comments below.

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