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Choosing the best Handgun Safe in 2021

Are you looking to invest in a handgun safe? If so, you’ve come to the right place. 

A handgun safe is simply a compact safe designed to hold one or two handguns, among other important items (such as spare magazines or speedloaders, flashlights, passports, documents, or jewelry).

Due to their small size, handgun safes can be kept in a car or easily hidden at home, and they can also be kept by your bedside for quick access in an emergency home defense situation.

In this guide, we’ll cover the top reasons why you should consider investing in a handgun safe, the main qualities to look for in one, and then our choices for the top five best handgun safes for this year.

If you already know what factors to consider when buying your handgun safe, skip ahead to our top five handgun safes below.


Why Do You Need A Handgun Safe?

Is buying a handgun safe truly necessary? After all, why buy a safe that can only hold one or two handguns when you could buy a much larger safe that could hold each of your guns?

Here are the two reasons to consider investing in a handgun safe:

Accessibility and Security

Well, just because you could fit all of your guns in a larger, more traditional gun safe doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t invest in a handgun safe either. The main reason to invest in a handgun safe is so you can have a handgun (or two) that is easily accessible while also being secured against children and burglars.

The idea is that you could keep your handgun safe by your nightstand or in your car. This way, you could easily access the pistol in an attempted home invasion or carjacking, while also ensuring that your pistol is kept secure against unauthorized entry or even a fire.

Concealability

Another reason to consider a handgun safe is concealability. Traditional gun safes are quite large, and therefore difficult to hide. Due to their smaller size, handgun safes can be easily hidden (such as underneath blankets or clothing).

A strong argument can be made that concealability is the best form of defense against unauthorized entry, because how will a burglar or criminal decide to break into your safe if they don’t even know that you have a safe to break into?

Portability

Another reason to consider a handgun safe is portability. While some handgun safes come with mounting hardware so they can be bolted down to a wall or the floor (more on this later), others are designed to be easily transported around.

For example, you may want to transport your handgun between your home and another location (such as your work office), in which case a compact and narrow safe would be very desirable.

And keep in mind, you don’t just have to keep a firearm in your handgun safe if you don’t want to. You can’t bring a gun with you as part of your carry on luggage, but you may be flying with other valuables such as jewelry, documents, or electronics that you’d like to keep secure while you travel. A compact handgun safe would be an excellent security option for this scenario.

What Should You Look For In A Handgun Safe?

Here are the top qualities you need to look for in a handgun safe:

Durability

One of the most important things to look for in a handgun safe is durability. The overwhelming majority of handgun safes on the market are not built to the same level of quality as a larger and more conventional safe.

Remember that even if your pistol safe comes with a quality and hard-to-break locking mechanism, it doesn’t matter if the body of the safe itself is flimsy and easy to break with little more than a hammer, rifle stock, or a sledgehammer.

The best handgun safes should be built out of hardened steel. 19 gauge steel should be the absolute minimum that you consider, but 16 gauge steel would be even better. 10 gauge handgun safes are even more durable, but also much heavier.

Take note that there are some handgun safes that are not built out of steel or metal at all, but rather a hardened plastic such as polycarbonate. These are not true handgun safes, but rather ‘lockboxes’ and they should be labeled as such. A lockbox can be effective at keeping a child or intruder who makes minimal effort at bay. However, it won’t be effective against a fire or a skilled burglar who is willing to make the effort to break into them.

Welded

Another very common construction flaw with handgun safes is going with a safe that is not welded or seamed together. Even if your safe is built out of durable 16 or 10 gauge steel like we just discussed, if it’s not welded together properly that won’t matter much either.

A safe that is not welded can be broken into simply by hitting it hard enough with a sledgehammer or throwing it hard enough against a hardened surface. Make sure that your handgun safe is built out of hardened steel, and make sure that it is welded or seamed closely together.

Size

The size of your handgun safe is also important, depending on what you decide exactly to store in your safe and what you want to do with it. For example, do you want to keep one pistol or two pistols in your safe? Are you going to place any additional valuables in there, such as passports, important documents, jewelry, flashlights, or spare ammunition?

Before you buy a safe, you need to determine what exactly you want to keep inside, and then buy a safe that is large enough to hold those items. Do not make the mistake of buying the safe first and then choosing what you want to put into the safe later.

You also need to think about how you will be using your safe as well. If you’re going to be placing it underneath your car seat, for instance, you’ll need to go with a safe that has a much more slim shape and profile.

Locking Mechanism

The construction quality and durability of your handgun safe is the first factor that determines how secure it is. The second factor is the locking mechanism.

There are two primary types of locking mechanisms when it comes to handgun safes: mechanical and electronic (or combinations, which utilize both).

Mechanical safes do not require electricity or batteries, and come with an actual mechanical lock with a key. These are among the most popular handgun safes due to their simplicity, and the fact that you do not need to be worried about the batteries running out or the electricity becoming compromised in any way.

Battery or no battery?

Electronic handgun safes usually run on batteries to operate. While the locking mechanism is still mechanical, battery power or electricity is required for the mechanism to operate nonetheless. A common system for an electronic gun safe is a keypad for a code, or for RFID lighting or even biometrics (meaning you must press your finger print against a screen to open the safe).

Combination safes combine elements of both mechanical and electronic safes. For example, a combination safe may have both a mechanical key lock and a keypad as options for opening the safe.

Is one superior to the other? Both mechanical and electronic safes work, but electronic safes are usually faster to operate. You simply have to punch in a combination (or use an RFID or biometric option) to access the contents. Mechanical safes with physical keys can be slower, and you also always run the risk of misplacing or losing the key.

But on the flip side of the coin, electronic safes still require electricity or batteries to operate. If you run out of battery power, you won’t be able to access the safe unless there’s a mechanical key option available as a backup.

Bolting

It’s a good idea to have some kind of bolting system for your safe as well. This means that you could bolt it securely down to the wall or the floor of your home. The benefit here is that a burglar won’t be able to pick up the safe and take off running with it.

As an alternative, handgun safes can also come with cables where you can secure them to something sturdy as well. This is a common choice for vehicle safes, where you can secure the cable around the legs of a car seat. This way, someone who breaks into your car won’t be able to so easily take the safe with them.

No Holes

Last but not least, make sure that there are no holes present in the steel of your safe. If there are, burglars could potentially access the interior contents of the safe through the holes. Holes also leave the contents of the safe vulnerable to fire.

The reason why some handgun safes come with holes is because they are built out of pieces of sheet metal that are not welded or seamed to the safe itself. Another reason is because the safe may have mounting holes, and if you fail to mount the safe to the floor or a wall, the holes will ensure that the interior of the pistol safe remains exposed.

Avoid going with a handgun safe that comes with holes. If it comes with holes because it’s a safe designed to be mounted, make sure that you actually do mount it; you may end up regretting it later.


The Best Handgun Safes For 2021

Here are the best handgun safes to consider in 2021:

Stopbox Instant Access Handgun Lockbox


The StopBox Instant Access Handgun Lockbox is a lightweight and durable lockbox to keep your pistol stored. Something to keep in mind is that this is a lockbox and is not an actual safe. The Stopbox is built from plastic (specifically polycarbonate) and is not quite as durable as an actual safe built out of steel.

That being said, the StopBox is capable of preventing unauthorized entry. While not the most protective against a fire, the polycarbonate construction can still prevent access by children (and even burglars may have a hard time with it).

The StopBox is also notable for its very slim design and unique locking mechanism. The locking mechanism is an original StopBox design that is currently patent pending, and while it will take awhile to learn how to use it, it requires several steps to operate. This reduces the odds that a child or a burglar on a time crunch would be able to access the interior contents.

The slim design also makes the StopBox very portable and concealable. You could easily slip it under a car seat, in your luggage, or concealed in your home. It also comes with a cable designed to wrap around, so a burglar or child can’t pick it up and run off with it..

Features and Specs

  • Polycarbonate-ABS construction.
  • Weight: 28 oz.
  • Exterior: 9″ x 7.9″ x 2″
  • Interior: 8.75″ x 5.75″ x 1.5″
  • Compatible with SnapSafe Lock Box Cable
  • Fits most full size handguns, including a weapon light.
Pros
  • Very reliable.
  • Lightweight.
  • Comes with a cable.
  • Several different color options available.
Cons
  • Locking mechanism takes time to learn.
  • Built out of polycarbonate.

Fort Knox PB1 Handgun Safe


One of the most durable and secure, but also expensive, options for a handgun safe is the Fort Knox PB1 Handgun Safe. This is a compact sized safe, designed to hold one full size pistol or two compact pistols.

The body of the Fort Knox is built out of ten gauge steel. This makes it one of the most durable handgun safes available on the market. It also makes it incredibly heavy (a whopping twenty four pounds, which is quite large for a handgun safe).

The Fort Knox utilizes a Simplex locking system, which means it only has one thousand possible locking combinations. While this may sound like a lot, the truth is that one thousand combinations is actually rather few in the safes market overall.

On the plus side, the PB1 has concealed hinges (which makes it harder to break into) and the wrap around door helps improve durability as well. It also comes with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer as well.

Features and Specs

  • 10 gauge steel uni-body construction with a massive 3/16″ tamper-resistant wraparound.
  • Gas-strut-assisted heavyweight door.
  • Fast opening pushbutton Simplex mechanical locking device.
  • Made in USA with a Lifetime Warranty.
  • Dimensions: 5.25″ x 12.5″ x 10.375″.
Pros
  • Locking system is very durable.
  • No batteries are required.
  • Concealed hinges.
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.
  • Very durable (though also heavy) design.
Cons
  • It’s very expensive.
  • There are just a thousand combinations, which is less than some other options

Vaultek Essentials Handgun Safe


The Vaultek Essentials Handgun Safe is technically one of two safes in the Vaultek’s VT series of safes. The Essentials safe is the heavier of the two thanks largely to its alloy and carbon steel construction.

The Essentials is large enough to hold two full sized duty pistols with a spare magazine for each pistol. It also comes with mounting hardware. You can bolt it to the floor or the wall so a burglar cannot take off running with it.

Slim design and a security cable included

Alternatively, it also comes with a security cable, which is designed to wrap around the seat of your car. This way, you can place the Vaultek underneath the seat of your car to store a pistol, while having the peace of mind that someone won’t be able to easily take off running with it should they break into your vehicle.

The Vaultek Essential comes with a number of additional cool features as well. The keypad is backlit, which is especially beneficial if you need to quickly access it at night or in dark conditions. The interior of the safe is even backlit with a red light so you can view the contents in dark or dim conditions as well.

Features and Specs

  • Slim design.
  • Exterior dimensions – 10.5″ x 8.5″ x 2.125″.
  • Interior dimensions – 9.875″ x 5.375″ x 1.5″.
  • Lightweight 18-gauge carbon steel construction.
  • Anti-pry bars and anti-impact latch with unibody design for strength and durability.
  • Rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery provides 4-6 months of power and charges in 2.5 hours with included micro-USB cable through any standard USB port or adapter.
Pros
  • Keypad is backlit.
  • Comes with a red interior light.
  • Has an anti-pry system.
  • Batteries are rechargeable.
Cons
  • Vulnerable to water damage.
  • Requires an electrical charge.
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    GunVault GV2000C-DLX Multi Vault Deluxe Handgun Safe


    Yet another option for a sturdy handgun safe is the GunVault GV2000C-DLX MultiVault Deluxe Gun Safe. One of the biggest benefits to the GV2000C-DLX is its multiple locking combinations (over twelve million to be specific).

    When there are too many failed attempts to enter the safe, a computer installed in the safe automatically locks you out. Two override keys are provide to you in the event this happens. Make sure that you keep the keys stored away from the safe so a burglar or child cannot access them either

    The body of the GV2000C-DLX is built out of a durable and strong 16 gauge steel. There’s enough space within the safe to store more than one handgun (or a handgun and additional items) and there is internal lighting in the safe so you can view the contents at night or dusk.

    Just take note that the GunVault must be powered with a 9V battery in order to operate, and this will need to be purchased separately as well.

    Features and Specs

    • Heavy gauge steel housing with tamper proof spring loaded door.
    • Exterior dimensions – 8.125″ x 10.3″ x 14″.
    • Interior dimensions – 6″ x 9″ x 12.75″.
    • Built in computer blocks access after repeated invalid keypad entries.
    • Learn buttons make it easy to program over 12 million user selectable access codes.
    • Patented no eyes keypad allows for quick access.
    • Precise fittings render forced entry using hand tools virtually impossible.
    Pros
    • Has over twelve million different possible locking codes.
    • Comes with a one year warranty from the manufacturer.
    • Durable 16 gauge steel construction.
    • Has internal lighting.
    • Comes with two override keys for a backup.
    Cons
    • Requires a 9V battery to operate (and it must be purchased separately).

    Lockdown Compact Handgun Vault


    If you want one of the most affordable options possible for a handgun safe, one option to consider is the Lockdown Compact Handgun Vault. This safe is also very small. It can be easily slid into a travel backpack or bag. Also it comes TSA approved as well so it can be carried in a plane. It’s also approved by the California Department of Justice.

    Despite its very low cost, the Lockdown Compact Handgun Vault is still very durable. The outside body is built out of 19 gauge steel. It also comes reinforced with 16 gauge plates on the sides and the bottom for extra durability .

    The Lockdown can only be opened with a provided key; it does not have a keypad or a biometric system. This means if you lose the key, you won’t be able to open the safe back up without a locksmith, so keep this in mind.

    Features and Specs

    • 19-gauge walls with additional 16-gauge side and bottom reinforcement plate with key-lock securement.
    • Interior dimensions – 5.625″ x 8.25″ x 1.75″.
    • Meets TSA airline requirements.
    • Key-lock supplement.
    Pros
    • Very affordable.
    • 19 gauge steel walls reinforced with 16 gauge steel plates.
    • Approved by California’s Department of Justice.
    • Approved by the TSA.
    Cons
    • Requires a key to open, which is the only option.

    Conclusion

    And that concludes our list of the best handgun safes for 2021. Any one of the five handgun safes that we have covered here today will be a solid choice to keep your pistol or revolver protected at home or in a car.

    The ideal handgun safe is compact enough to hide (if necessary), built out of durable steel, and can be opened quickly in the event of an emergency.

    So, did we help you find the handgun safe that you’ve been looking for?

    If you are now looking for your first concealed carry gun, check out –

    Best Concealed Carry Revolvers 2021

    Best Concealed Carry Insurance 2021 

    Best Concealed Carry Guns (semi-autos and revolvers]

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    1. Very good article and review Oliver. I really like that you gave both the Pros and Cons of each of the models you covered. That’s something few other reviewers tend to do, and as I’ve mentioned in comments before, having the pros and cons in a review of anything is something I look for, appreciate and trust (the market is flooded with Fanboy reviews).
      I hope in the future, you’ll consider doing a review on the long gun options that are on the market (you may have already done such and I missed it). Again running from economy to pricier alternatives.
      Thanks again for the excellent writing and work you and your fellow contributors do keeping everyone up to date with the latest offerings in the Shooting Sports World.

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