Follow the recommendations from the gun safe reviews on this site and your purchase will yield great value. It is important to know and understand what to look for when choosing a gun safe.
Establishing your individual needs and requirements for a gun safe is the first step to knowing which gun safe to buy.
Most popular gun safes comparison chart
This helpful chart for comparing different long gun and handgun safes can be sorted in ascending and descending values by clicking on a column inside the light blue header. It shows the 10 most popular handgun and long gun safes for sale on Amazon with a quick summary of each.
|Gunvault SpeedVault |
|BARSKA Biometric Safe||7.75x14.5x16.5||28||$$||4.3|
|GunVault NV200 |
|Fort Knox FTK-PB||4.5x12.5x10.2||24||$$$||4.7|
|BARSKA Biometric |
|Stack-On FS-14-MG-C |
|Stack-On SS-22-MG-C |
- Steel gauge.
- Reinforcement features.
- Fire protection.
- Capacity and dimensions.
Protecting firearms against theft and complying with state laws makes owning a gun safe mandatory. Where children are concerned it is a gun owner’s responsibility to provide a secure living environment by acquiring a gun safe that will ensure safety and peace of mind for the family. A quality gun safe will also help protect firearms against corrosion caused by humidity. This will ensure they are well maintained. In case of a fire breakout a fire-resistant gun safe can provide safeguarding of valuables contained within the safe.
Criteria considered in our gun safe reviews:
The more valuable the contents of the gun safe, the better the quality of safe you should invest in. The level of security offered by a gun safe depends on many factors and we base our gun safe reviews on them. One of them being how resistant it is against attacks to force it open, thick steel increases strength and resistance to unauthorized access.
A super strong safe is comprised of 7 or 8 gauge steel, that being thicker than number 9 gauge and higher. 12 Gauge steel is commonly used for safes and can be penetrated by a heavy axe. 10 Gauge steel is much tougher to penetrate without the aid of equipment like a cutting torch. A 10 gauge long gun safe will cost well over $1000. A 10 gauge hand gun safe can be purchased for above $200.
Reinforcement features and measures
- Locking bolts are thick solid steel bolts that can be seen protruding from a safe’s door. These bolts increases the gun safe’s resistance to prying and to add extra locking points if the lock is defeated. They also secure the door where external hinges are cut off if the bolt work are on the side of the hinges as well.
- A relocker within the safe’s door is an excellent means of adding security. It is a spring loaded pin that is triggered by an attack on the door which causes the pin to spring into a position on the locking mechanism. What this does is, it permanently locks the safe in such a way that the safe can’t be opened by it’s normal operating procedure. Many gun safes without relockers can be opened with everyday hand tools in mere seconds, depending on the skill of the safe-cracker.
- Anti-drill plates also known as a hardplate can protect the locking system and bolts from drilling to obtain access to the safe. Anti-drill plates are manufactured of materials that blunt a drill bit.
- Handle clutches are protective mechanisms in a gun safe’s door that disconnects the handle from the locking bolts when the safe is locked. If the handle is forced to open the lock, it won’t be able to open.
- Anti-pry bars are reinforcements that make it almost impossible for the door and hinges to be forced opened with a tool such as a crowbar.
- Bolting the safe to the floor also makes it more secure as well as having the safe in a corner with the hinges on the side furthest away from the wall. This is to prevent leverage from being applied to try and pry the safe’s door open.
Quality of the locking mechanism
The quality of lock installed within the safe poses another important feature as to how well the gun safe provides security. Different locking mechanisms available include:
- Combination locks.
- Combination with key.
- Key only.
- Electronic keypad.
- Electronic with key
- Biometric locks that require the safe owners’ fingerprint to gain access.
Key and combination locks however are the most reliable. They are more durable and reliable to access the safe but they are slower to open. A mechanical combination dial lock is the best option in regards to durability. Electronic locks provide quick access to a gun safe but can be less reliable in case of battery drainage or failure. Biometric locks are for the most undependable, only a few gun safes with biometric locks are trustworthy.
Relockers as described in the “reinforcement features and measures” section are vital components to the quality of the locking mechanism. The more relockers built into the safe the more secure it will be.
Which is best: Internal or exterior hinges?
After many reviews we found that it is often thought that exterior hinges poses a weakness to secure construction. That is not true since a decent safe has protective bolts on the inside at the side of the hinges. This means that even if the exterior hinges were cut off, the gun safe would still be secure.
What makes exterior hinges better than internal hinges is that it increases the range that the door can open. Internal hinges creates difficulty in fully utilizing a gun safe’s storage space. Exterior hinges can also allow for removal of the safe’s door to transport it much easier.
Environmental hazard protection
Fire, flooding and humidity all pose potential hazards to the contents of a gun safe. Not all safes have fire protection.It is necessary to determine if you will need it. However we highly recommended that you do purchase a gun safe that is fire resistant in case your circumstances change.
Fire protection in a gun safe can be provided by insulation such as Palusol it is fire-resistant and expands with high temperatures to create a door seal. The effectiveness can vary in length of time at different temperatures and is indicated by a gun safe’s “fire rating.” An expandable door seal will provide protection against water when the fire is extinguished. A company like Underwriters Laboratories performs extensive testing to determine the fire resistant capabilities of a gun safe.
If you’re gun safe is kept in a humid environment then guns that aren’t corrosion resistant will suffer the effects of humidity. Moisture will cause certain firearms to rust unless you place a gun safe dehumidifier within your gun safe to lower humidity levels. You can create safe controlled environmental conditions within your gun safe. It is recommended that the temperatures of the guns are above the ambient air temperature. This prevents moisture from condensing and causing the guns to rust. A goldenrod dehumidifier can be used to achieve this by heating the air within the gun safe. The ideal humidity level is below 50% at 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Choosing a quality brand gun safe
You can be more assured in your choice by investing in a trusted brand made by a reputable manufacturer. However buying by brand name can lead to some trouble; certain well known manufacturers that sell high end security safes also sell lower end safes that can be easily defeated. The best advice is to follow the guidelines listed for our gun safe reviews for dependability. We recommend the following manufactures:
Capacity and Dimensions
A gun safe that has adequate space for the contents currently needed could become a gun safe that is too small for future needs. It is a good idea to purchase a bigger gun safe than the one currently needed.
From our gun safe reviews it is our conclusion that the type of long guns you have will impact the amount of guns that can be stored in a gun safe. This could be considerably less than the advertised amount if the guns are fitted with scopes and are bolt action.
For long guns, a gun safe with at least a 58 inch interior is recommended. Smaller safes will be adequate for handguns. If long guns and handguns are to be kept together it is best to acquire a taller gun safe that includes gun racks, shelves and drawers. Remember width, depth and layout also determines the amount of storage available.
The majority of weight in a reinforced gun safe consists of the door. The door accounts for about a third of the overall weight. The average 12 gauge steel burglar resistant gun safe weighs around 500 lbs.
The heavier a safe, the more difficult it is to transport, but also to be stolen. Locating your gun safe inside the basement is an effective deterrent from having the safe stolen. It would be very difficult managing a heavy safe up the basement stairs.
Very heavy safes require adequate support; the best means is by standing the safe on a concrete floor. Placing a heavy safe on weak supported wooden floors creates a big safety risk, especially if the safe is placed above the ground floor.
As security, design and steel thickness increase, so does the price. Decorative design can increase the price of a gun safe by hundreds of dollars. Factoring whether the gun safe will be located in an area that is to be decorative will help to determine choosing a design. Things like a simple paint finish and regular handle can save lot’s of money. The savings can be put towards increasing the security of your gun safe. When calculating the price of a gun safe it is important to consider the cost of having the safe delivered and or installed.
Time to choose
See our gun safe reviews for the top picks in our review posts to help choose which gun safe will be best suited to your needs and will help protect your living environment and secure your possessions.