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Best Gun Safes: Pistols & Long Guns [2023]


Hidden safes, big safes, small safes, safes that use keys, safes that use fingerprints, safes that use magnets — the range of options that are available to the modern firearm owner can be intimidating, to say the least. But finding the best gun safe for you is actually easier than it seems.

gun safe

We’ll break down why you need a safe, what the strange terminology actually means, and exactly which option is the best gun safe for you plus a whole lot more.


It might seem like a silly question, but it’s important to ask yourself this; why do you need a safe?

Keeping your firearms in a safe is a good idea no matter what, but the exact reason you want to do so will help guide your choice in what safe is right for you.

If you’re just trying to fulfill a legal requirement, an inexpensive firearm locker may be best.

If you’re worried about children gaining access to your firearms but want to have fast access to them yourself, a biometric or quick access safe is a great option.

Maybe you need to keep a firearm in a more open area of your home or office, but don’t want others to know you have a safe — well then a hidden safe is perfect for you.

Really ask yourself why you need a safe and what your goals are. Armed with that self-reflection, you’ll be able to identify what safe works best for you.


Two major topics I want to cover so that you can understand what you’re reading when you read about safe specs, gauge, and fire rating.


This is simply how thick the steel (or other metal) is. Like shotgun gauges, the larger the number the smaller or thinner the metal is.

Steel gauge thickness chart, image via MerikSafe
Steel gauge thickness chart, image via MerikSafe

However, how thick the metal is really isn’t the entire story. Many safes use multiple layers, often putting fire retardant in between. Even if there is just dead space between the layers, more layers make for a safe that takes longer to break into.


Fire and safes, especially when it comes to firearms, is a complex and tricky topic.

Generally speaking, safes that have fire protection will tell you about it. And again generally, this is in the form of giving you a time plus a temperature such as “2.5 hours of certified fire protection at 1200º F”.

But what does that actually mean?

It’s simple once you know how to read it — basically, the safe sitting in a fire burning at 1,200F will keep the internal temperature below 350F for at least 2.5 hours.

Safes rated for higher temperatures or longer times have better fireproofing.

Keep in mind, these really aren’t fireproof — they’re just buying you time, that’s it.

Dakota Safe Company
Dakota Safe Company testing their safes

To give these numbers more context — the average house fire burns between 1,000F and 2,000F, normally on the lower end of that number. So a safe that is rated for 1,200F is pretty good.

350F is low enough to not cause damage to firearms, normally. Plastic stocks, sights, etc. might be damaged at temperatures like that but the steel of the firearm itself will be fine.

While it radically depends on what kind of metal your firearm is made of, generally speaking, it takes at least about 1,000F to damage a firearm to the point of being unsafe.

That said — if your firearms are in a fire, get them inspected no matter what.

If you’re planning on putting more than just your firearms in your safe you might want to know that paper will turn color at 350F+ and burn at about 410F. Silver melts at 1,763F and gold melts at 1,948F. If you keep either in your safe and it melts, your firearms are totally borked.

Diamonds melt at 7,280F so… don’t worry about them.


What type of lock you want is another huge choice, but maybe not as important as you might think.

First off — almost all electronic locks have a mechanical backup, so don’t worry about batteries dying and you being locked out forever.

Mechanical locks are normally a little slower to open, but not always. There are quick access mechanical locks, but these tend to be easier to break into. 

Electronic locks can offer a lot of cool extra tools like being biometric and freeing you from needing to remember a code or combo.

Some of the newest generations of electronic locks also include Bluetooth and even apps that can alert you if the safe senses vibration or someone trying to access it. A great feature if you’re concerned with keeping tabs on your safe even when you’re not at home.

As cool as electronic locks can be, mechanical locks are far more reliable. No batteries, power sources, Bluetooth, or anything else — just a physical lock doing physical things.



Safes built for handguns are normally pretty small. Most handgun safes are built around the idea of holding one or maybe two guns, although there are some models that can fit more.

These are great for keeping a bedside gun in or keeping at your home office desk or anywhere else you spend a large part of your day.


Safes designed for rifles & shotguns are basically just larger and sized for the job. Not only are they taller to accommodate the length of the firearm, but they are also often deeper as well to make room for things like scopes and magazines.

Gun safe

A pro tip, a safe that claims to fit X number of firearms is optimistic at best. I have an 18-gun safe and I think the most I’ve ever fit was about 12. Scopes, charging handles, odd shapes, and sizes, and grips all get in the way more than you might think.


In all honestly, these are not safes. But sometimes they are called that. Firearm lockers are normally pretty cheap and lightweight, great for getting upstairs or for fulfilling legal requirements, but not great at keeping their contents safe.

Generally, a firearm locker is just what it sounds like — a locker. Single-sided thin sheet metal is all that keeps the contents safe. No fireproofing, no fancy features, a key lock, and that’s about it.

Anyone with some power tools or enough motivation can break into a firearm locker, but they’ll keep curious kids from getting access to what's inside and they often fulfill local legal requirements for keeping firearms locked up. 

However, check your local laws before relying on a firearm locker to meet the legal standard


Often disguised as a wall decoration, a nightstand, a clock, or a mirror — hidden safes can either be a common-looking home item that actually holds a safe or it can be a real safe that is simply easy to hide. Under-bed safes, behind nightstand safes, inside drawers safes, under-car seat safes, the list goes on.

hidden gun safe

These often have little or no fireproofing and are normally not great as safes either. More like glorified firearm locks, but smaller and with a better lock.


I strongly do not recommend leaving firearms in your truck or car, but if you’re going to for any reason — keeping them in a safe is a good idea.

Some are built to fit in center consoles, others are built to go under seats, and some go in glove boxes as a second line of defense. 


Hornady Rapid Safe Night Guard

Hands down one of the best small gun safes for a nightstand, the Hornady RAPiD Safe Night Guard is a great option for keeping a handgun close and accessible.

Designed for keeping your handgun and some small valuables safe, this little guy boasts 3 ways of entry — mechanical key, keypad code, and RFID touch-free. The first two are self-explanatory, but the RFID is different and pretty cool.

hornady rapid safe night guard
Hornady Rapid Safe Night Guard

RFID is a small device that gives off an electromagnetic field powered by radio waves from an RFID reader.

Basically, move the fob close enough to the reader and the reader reads the fob. Super simple, super easy, super reliable.

Hornady’s fob can be attached to something like your phone, a wristband, your keys, and more. This gives you a highly reliable way of getting into the safe quickly and without the stress of needing a code or key.

The safe itself uses a standard 12V power wall plug with a AAA battery backup.

It also has a couple of handy features like a clock and two USB-A ports, great if you keep this on a nightstand and want to charge your electronics.

Vaultek VTi

If you want technology and features, this is it. From a Bluetooth app to biometric entry to the proprietary rechargeable battery, Vaultek goes hard while keeping the VTi in a small gun safe package.

Large enough for 2 full-size handguns plus magazines, the VTi is one of the larger versions they offer — but smaller safes are also available. 

Vaultek VTi small gun safe
Vaultek VTi

Features include a biometric scanner that can store up to 20 fingerprints, backup keys for mechanical entry, an illuminated keypad with a proximity sensor so it only lights up when you reach for it, and a very fancy Bluetooth app.

The app is really what sets the VTi apart from so many other safes.

Vaultek’s app lets you do a lot, depending on the model of safe you get. For the VTi series, the app lets you quickly edit the stored fingerprints, adjust lighting settings, unlock the safe from the app, set your codes, show power levels, and even has a history log showing you when the safe was opened.

No annoying menus that don’t make sense, no struggling to program fingerprints, Vaultek makes all of it so much easier with their app.

While not available on the VTi series, some Vaultek safes can even send you live alerts if your safe is tampered with.

Vaultek LifePod 2.0

The LifePod 2.0 basically takes the lockbox idea and adds every technology upgrade the people at Vaultek can think of adding.

Fairly compact, the LifePod is a lockbox that can fit a full-sized handgun plus some extras like magazines or valuables.

Vaultek LifePod 2.0 small gun safe
Vaultek LifePod 2.0

Great for packing in a backpack or hiding away in a special spot, the LifePod 2.0 gives you Biometric access, keypad code access, and a backup key, giving you three ways of getting into the LifePod.

It has an inner light, high-density foam, a removable interior tray, a steel cable, velcro straps, and a 1-year battery life.

For how small this is, it packs a lot.

While this wouldn’t be my top pick for home or nightstand safe, this is a great option for Go Bags, glove boxes, backpacks, travel, and more.

Vaultek RS500i

The first proper rifle safe on our list, the Vaultek RS500i is basically what you would expect if you’ve read about the other Vaultek options so far.

Technology and features galore.

First, the downside — this safe has zero fireproofing. While it might do a good job at keeping bad guys out, it does effectively nothing to protect what is inside from a housefire.

Vaultek RS500i rifle gun safe
Vaultek RS500i

That said, the RS500i has a lot going for it.

First, it has what you would expect in terms of biometric access, a keypad, and backup keys.

It has a battery backup, stores up to 20 fingerprints, and is made from 14-gauge steel.

It’s extra deep so that you can actually store rifles in it with optics attached and magazines inserted.

While it claims to fit 5+ rifles, I got more like 3 or 4 AR-15s in it. You can cram a 5th, but it’s a pain to get them out if you do. Just saying.

Now for the cool stuff.

This model doesn’t have Bluetooth, but it does have WiFi. The WiFi lets you use the Vaultek app to do admin stuff like manage codes and fingerprints. It also tells you the environmental conditions inside the vault and will send you alerts for high temp, humidity, and temper detection. No matter where you are, your safe can let you know if something goes wrong. That’s pretty cool.

If the RS500i is too small for you, Vaultek offers the same features and design in larger sizes also.

SecureIt Agile 52

One of the best large gun safes on the market not because it has a crazy high fire rating or because it has electronic sensors coming out of its ears — the SecureIt Agile 52 is one of the best because it’s practical to use, easy to install yourself, and isn’t horrifically expensive.

SecureIt Agile 52 large gun safe
SecureIt Agile 52

While firearm lockers offer a lot of convenience and ease of installation, they offer almost zero actual protection. The Agile 52 is a mix of a firearms locker and a traditional safe that combines the best of both worlds.

Shipped flat and deconstructed, it’s up to you to assemble the Agile 52 (it’s not too hard). This saves on shipping and installation costs and makes it a lot easier to place the Agile 52 anywhere you want it.

Upstairs, downstairs, in that little closet you have, in that kind-of-secret backroom, anywhere. If it’s too heavy for you to move on your own… just open the box and move it in sections.

A simple electronic keypad acts as the primary method of entry, but this unit also comes with keys for a backup method.

Stack-On 8 Gun Cabinet

Alright, maybe you’re not made of money and just need something cheap and simple. For your consideration, I recommend the Stack-On 8 Gun Cabinet.

Stack-On 8 Gun Cabinet firearm locker
Stack-On 8 Gun Cabinet

As the name suggests this isn’t a safe, this is a firearm locker. No fire rating and anyone with some power tools and some time can get in. That said, this keeps kids’ hands off your guns and gives you a safe place to store things.

Plus, it’s very budget-friendly.

Shipped flat and easy to assemble this is a very DIY option that does what it does well. Just understand its limitations and act accordingly.

For what it’s worth, this was my first firearm storage method. It worked well for years and never failed me.

GunVault SVB500

This is basically a firearm locker, but smaller and offers very fast access. The steel is only 18-gauge and the locking mechanism itself is… not impressive. An interested party with YouTube can break in fairly easily.

With that in mind, understand that this really isn’t designed to keep out criminals and evildoers, this is designed to give you very fast access to your handgun while keeping it safer than simply sticking it to a magnet under your desk.

GunVault SVB500 hidden gun safe
GunVault SVB500

The biometric lock works well and works fast and holds up to 20 fingerprints. A backup key gets you in even if the batteries fail, but batteries last up to 5-years.

I like this “safe” because it’s easy to use, easy to install, not going to break your budget, and gives you a real option for fast storage.

Best of all, to me, is that it’s easy to conceal. Under a desk, next to a bed, behind a door — it fits well and the mounting hardware is decent.

I like this more than most other quick access options because unlike most of those, this actually lets you get a master grip on your gun as you pull it from the safe. Right from the start — you’re ready to go.

Tactical Traps 1791 MAX Whiskey Barrel American Flag Gun Storage

Like a bomber in enemy airspace, a CCW on your hip, or that one picture of you in high school (you know the one) sometimes the best protection is staying hidden.

While there are many versions of this idea, the Tactical Traps 1791 MAX Whiskey Barrel American Flag Gun Storage is my favorite implementation of it. 

Tactical Traps 1791 MAX Whiskey Barrel American Flag Gun Storage hidden gun safe
Tactical Traps 1791 MAX Whiskey Barrel American Flag Gun Storage

Basically, an art piece that hangs on the wall but doubles as a low-profile storage device/rifle safe.

Made with real reclaimed whiskey barrels, the 1791 MAX is 42” long and 23” high and is able to hide away… a lot. Full-sized ARs and shotguns fit, pistols, knives, and a whole lot more can be stored behind this flag.

No keypads, no keys, no magnets, this opens via RFID from your cellphone or from a small fingerprint reader.

This storage method has some downsides — no fireproofing, fairly thin metal walls, and since the proliferation of these storage devices has exploded over the past several years… maybe these aren’t as low-profile as you might think.

If you’re protecting your firearms from some nosey anti-gun in-laws, this makes sense still. But a seasoned burglar might be wise to your game.

That said… this is still pretty badass.

Tactical Walls Full-Length Concealment Mirror 

Along the same lines but with a less ‘Murica approach is the Tactical Walls Concealment Mirror. As you might expect, it’s a mirror. But the mirror hides a compartment that is large enough to hold a couple of rifles or several handguns. 

Tactical Walls Full-Length Concealment Mirror  hidden gun safe
Tactical Walls Full-Length Concealment Mirror 

The mirror comes either hinged or sliding depending on your storage needs and makes for a great addition to a bedroom or open space where you might, legitimately, want a full-length mirror.

Once you choose hinge or sliding, you can also choose from a pre-built steel safe or steel locker insert for the mirror or choose to keep it empty — great for placing over an existing in-wall storage area or some other clever solution you might come up with.

I really dig this design since it has a lot more potential to fly under the radar while still providing very fast access to some critical home defense tools.

Since this is also a full-length mirror it’s the perfect size for doubling as a rifle gun safe.

Hornady Rapid Vehicle Safe

If you’re looking for a one-size-fits-all storage solution for your car or truck, Hornady’s Rapid Vehicle Safe is a solid option.

Hornady Rapid Vehicle Gun Safe
Hornady Rapid Vehicle Safe

Not as secure or as hidden as some options, but able to fit in literally any vehicle, the Rapid Vehicle Safe is perfect for when you need to store a CCW or other pistol as a non-permanent solution. 

I never recommend storing firearms in your car or truck for long periods of time, but if you live in an area that has gun-free zones or “no weapons” signs carry legal enforcement or you often need to go into secured areas like federal buildings — this is a quick and easy way of securing your firearm when you’re not actively carrying it.

Powered by your vehicle or via 4 AAA batteries, opened with an RFID fob for touch-free access, or via keycode and by a hard key backup, this is a surprisingly well-designed safe.

Console Vault

A more robust option, although with fewer options, is the Console Vault. Made from 12-gauge steel with a range of locking options, Console Vault is exactly what it sounds like — a vault for your console. 

Easy to install with no permanent modifications needed, this more or less fits right into your console.

Console Vault Ford Bronco Vehicle Gun Safe
Console Vault Ford Bronco

I love this option because it’s easy to install, easy to access, provides decent hard protection, but also offers a level of concealment also.

The downside is that these are specially made for each make and model of vehicle they fit in. If your vehicle isn’t on their list, you can’t get one. If you get a new car, you can’t take this with you.

While Console Vault is offered for a wide range of vehicles, there are a lot of popular models that are simply missing.

Any Toyota RAV4 made before 2019, you’re out of luck. The Honda CRV, one of the most popular vehicles for the past 10 years, is totally missing.

Console Vault focuses on trucks more than anything. If you have a Ford F series made any time in the last 20 years — you’re golden. The same can be said for most of the Chevy Silverados, Dodge Rams, and Toyota Tacomas. Even less popular trucks like the Nissan Frontier and GMC Sierra series all have about 20 years' worth of models supported.

If you can install one, this is pretty great. But a lot of us are left out of options.


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One response to “Best Gun Safes: Pistols & Long Guns [2023]”

  1. JohnS says:

    You missed the opportunity to explain the difference between a Residential Security Container and an actual safe.

    Not everyone wants or can afford an Amsec CFX703620 TL-30×6, but such safes are considerably more burglary-resistant than nearly all the Liberty or Canon offerings.

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  • You missed the opportunity to explain the difference between a Residential Security Container and an actual safe.

    Not everyone wants or can afford an Amsec CFX703620 TL-30x6, but such safes are considerably more burglary-resistant than nearly all the Liberty or Canon offerings.

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