20 Best Gun Safes for Any Budget [2021] Home / Pistol 101 / Safes

20 Best Gun Safes for Any Budget [2021]

Image of Bryan Hill, Founder of Pistol Wizard Bryan Hill / May 26 2021

Gun Safe

You can't always carry your pistol, especially if you own more than one. How will you store it? How often do you have children in the home?

Did you know most "gun safes" are cheaply made, and easy to bypass in seconds?


We'll cover the truth about most "gun safes" on the market, your options, and how to choose the best safe for your security needs and budget.

On this Page:

  1. The Hard Truth about Gun Safes
  2. What about High-Security Safes?
  3. The Middle Ground
  4. What's Right for Me?

The Hard Truth about Gun Safes

Most gun safes are trivial to force open, especially the cheap ones. Such safes have videos on YouTube showing how.


There are many more videos like that, with instructions and the make and model of the safe. Gun safes are no exception.

The cheaper the safe, the more likely anyone could be a Google search and a few seconds away from opening your safe.

The safes we recommend have been tested by security professionals like handgunsaferesearch.com and have no known bypasses. Someone could still get in with enough time and tools, but they won't break in with a few seconds and a magnet, paper clip, etc.


What about High-Security Safes?

How do we tell which safes are high-security, and what does it really mean?

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a global independent safety science company that tests safes. Their ratings are the industry standard. They come in two main types:
  • UL Residential Security Container (RSC)
    UL RSC Listed, or RSC-I.
  • UL Tool-resistant Safe (TL)
    UL TL-15, the entry level in real safes.
If a safe doesn't have a label like the above, it's designed more to slow down children and opportunistic thieves than career criminals.

UL Residential Security Container (RSC) Certs

These come in three levels:
  • UL RSC Listed, or RSC-I: It takes a net working time (NWT) of at least 5 minutes for one person to break in through the safe door with common tools:
    Test criteria for RSC-I.
    It doesn't test many real-world attacks.
  • UL RSC-II: A NWT of at least 10 min. for 2 people to break in through the safe door with more powerful, real-world tools:
    Test criteria for RSC-II.
  • UL RSC-III: A NWT of at least 10 min. for 2 people to break in with any power tool.
There's a huge gap in the security of UL RSC and RSC-2. The prices reflect that.
Cert NWT Door test Full test Safe Price Value of Contents
RSC-1 5 min. $1,100+ < $4,000
RSC-2 10 min. $4,200+ < $30,000
RSC-3 10 min. TBD TBD


UL Tool Resistant Safe (TL) Certs

Law enforcement, jewelry stores, and other professionals use UL TL safes. They come in many levels. Some general patterns:
  • UL TL-X: Rates the NWT for career criminals armed with modern power tools to break in through the door. TL-15 is 15 minutes, TL-30 is 30, etc.
    UL TL-30x6, a high security rating.
  • TL-Xx6: Like TL-X, but tests every side of the safe, not just the front door. TL-15x6 is 15 minutes, TL-30x6 is 30, etc.
    UL TL-30x6, a high security rating.
  • TLTR-X: As TL-X, but resists plasma torches as well. TLTR-30 is 30 minutes, etc.
Some examples:
Cert NWT Door test Full test Safe Price Value of Contents
TL-15 15 min. $3,700+ < $200,000
TL-15x6 15 min. $4,500+ < $200,000
TL-30 30 min. $5,000+ < $375,000
TL-30X6 30 min. $8,300+ < $500,000
Sources: https://www.ul.com/news/residential-security-container-standard-revised
http://www.acmelocksmith.com/documents/LevelII-RSC-1-Sheet.pdf
http://www.graffundersafes.com/ratings/
https://gunsafereviewsguy.com/articles/myths-about-gun-safe-theft-protection/2/#myth-gun-safes-are-safes
https://www.safeandvaultstore.com/pages/burglary-ratings/
https://www.libertysafe.com/images/downloads/channel/liberty-safe-what-do-safe-ratings-mean.pdf

"UL-listed" is not "UL Certified". If a safe lacks a UL TL-15 Cert or better, burglars can probably get in with cheap power tools or long pry bars in under 5 minutes:

A reasonable security budget is 10-30% of the valuables. What if you own less than $1,000 worth of guns? That's just $100-300. Any safe under $3,700 doesn't come close to real security. What do you do?

The Middle Ground

Here are some options for someone with just a few guns.

Quick-Access Safes

Fort Knox PB-1
These will keep kids out, and offer speed of access.

Pros
  • Small, like a purse.
  • Not too heavy (10-25 lb.).
  • Takes 3 seconds or less to open.
  • Ideal for a nightstand or desk.
Cons
  • Cost ($205+).
  • Can only hold one gun.
  • Can be too small for larger pistols.
  • Won't slow down criminals.

Industrial Tool Box

Knaack 36 JobMaster
These don't have a security rating, but offer some protection if bolted down.

Pros
  • Looks like a toolbox, not a safe full of valuables.
  • Moderate weight (100-130 lb.) takes 1-2 people to move.
  • Ideal for renters or homeowners on a budget.
Cons
  • Cost ($420+).
  • No fire protection.
  • Heavy (97+ lb). Can take 1-2 people to move.
  • Needs a padlock to lock it.

Storage Safes

Liberty Safe USA 23
These aren't quick to get into, or easy to transport, but they're more secure.

Pros
  • Much tougher for burlgars to open or take if bolted down.
  • Can protect against fire (somewhat).
  • Ideal for homeowners.
Cons
  • Cost ($1,100+).
  • Heavy (500+ lb). Can take several people to move.
  • Bulky, like a person. Won't fit everywhere in a home.

Modular Safes

Liberty Safe Centurion 24
Like storage safes, but can be disassembled and reassembled.

Pros
  • Tougher for burlgars to take if bolted down.
  • Disassembled, each piece can be moved by 1-2 people.
  • Can be assembled inside a room impossible to get a normal safe in.
  • Ideal for renters and homeowners.
Cons
  • Cost ($700+).
  • No real protection against modern burglar tools.
  • Little or no fire protection.
  • Bulky, like a person. Won't fit everywhere in a home.
No matter what you choose, bolt it down. Why?

A burglar's first move is to push the safe flat on the ground. From there, it's much easier to cut or pry open. Watch two guys get into an RSC-I safe in under 2 minutes.
Had it been bolted down, it would have stopped them for much longer.

If burglars can't open it right away, they'll take it away. They don't care about destroying your home to get what they want. They'll throw your safe down the stairs and through a wall if that's what it takes. Once they get away with your safe, it doesn't matter if it's a TL-60: They have all the time they need to get it open.

For heavier safes, bolting down is also a safety feature: Up to half of a safe's weight is in its door. When you open it, it may tip forward and crush you unless it's bolted down.

How do you bolt it down? See our guide: How to Bolt down Gun Safes

What's Right for Me?

We've handpicked the best safes for you.
  1. Quick Access Safes
  2. Storage Safes

Quick Access Safes


Quick safes trade security for convenience and speed of access. They do not protect against house fires, and are easy to force open if they're not bolted down.

They come in 3 main types:
  1. Versatile
  2. Large
  3. Desk-mounted
  4. Travel

Versatile

These can be mounted in the most places.

Fort Knox FTK-AUTO
Check price @ Amazon

TITAN Mountable Pistol Vault
Check price @ Amazon
2.00 sec. 3.00 sec.
12 lb 10 lb
9.5"D x 5"W x 6.5"H" 12"D x 10.5"W x 2.3"H"
  • Small size fits almost anywhere in your home.
  • Holds one pocket or compact pistol. May not fit a full-size pistol with an optic, light, etc.
  • Easiest to mount to your bed frame, car seat, etc.
  • Holds one pistol and nothing else. May be hard to fit a pistol with a red dot and/or light.


Large

These are the largest among quick-access safes. They can fit a full-size pistol and accesssories, or a few smaller pistols.

V-Line Brute
Check price @ Amazon

Vaultek Pro VE
Check price @ Amazon
4.00 sec. 2.00 sec.
22 lb 16 lb
12.5"D x 9.5"W x 3.6"H" 14.5"D x 10.6"W x 3.3"H"
  • Most secure quick-access safe, for keeping out kids and low-level thieves.
  • Slower and harder to access your gun than the Vaultek Pro VE.
  • Backlit digital keypad is faster and easier to access than the V-Line Brute, especially in the dark.
  • The safe's lid auto-opens when you enter the right combination or use the bypass key, for faster, easier access.
  • The bypass lock is easy to pick:
    The above video applies to the Vaultek Pro VE (which has no fingerprint scanner). If you're trying to keep craftier kids from your gun, go with the V-Line Brute instead.


Desk-Mounted

Made to be mounted out of sight under an office desk, counter, or work bench.

V-Line Desk Mate
Check price @ Amazon

V-Line Hide Away
Check price @ Amazon
2.00 sec. 2.00 sec.
8.4 lb 15 lb
7.5"D x 11.75"W x 4"H" 12.5"D x 11.75"W x 4.75"H"
  • Under-desk safe. Ideal for the office.
  • Small size fits most desks.
  • Holds one pocket or compact pistol. May not fit a full size pistol with an optic, light, etc.
  • Under-desk safe. Ideal for the office.
  • Holds a full-size pistol and some room to spare.
  • Its larger size may not fit as many desks.


Travel

Lightweight and easy to carry, these are for some security while traveling with family.

AMSEC PS1210EZ
Check price @ Amazon

V-Line Compact
Check price @ Amazon
3.00 sec. 3.00 sec.
14 lb 5 lb
12.5"D x 10.25"W x 4.25"H" 9.5"D x 7.25"W x 2"H"
  • Sturdy carry handle and light weight for travel.
  • Ideal for family vacations.
  • Not for regular home use. Easier to pry or cut open than other quick-access safes.
  • Very light weight for travel.
  • Good size for checked baggage when traveling.
  • Ideal for family vacations.
  • Lock on the inside needs to be wrapped in rubber or similar to prevent marring the gun inside.
  • May be too small to fit some full-size pistols.
  • Not for regular home use. Easier to pry or cut open than other quick-access safes.

Storage Safes


Storage safes can hold much more, but take too long to access in response to a home invasion, offer little to no fire protection, and cost a huge amount to get a UL safety rating. No matter the security rating, bolting down the safe will make it far more secure.

They come in various types types:
  1. No Security Rating
  2. Modular
  3. UL RSC-I
  4. UL RSC-II
  5. UL TL-15
  6. UL TL-30x6

No Security Rating

These will keep out children and honest people. Must be bolted down to have any security value whatsoever.

Knaack Jobmaster 36
Check price
@ Amazon

Knaack Jobmaster 4824
Check price
@ Amazon
97 lb 158 lb
19"D x 36"W x 21.5"H" 24"D x 48"W x 28.3"H"
  • Smaller size fits more places in your home.
  • Too small to fit a precision rifle.
  • Needs a padlock (recommended: American A700D ) to lock it.


Modular

Can be broken down into several pieces for easier transport, and for assembling them in a room that normal safes couldn't fit in. Must be bolted down to have any security value whatsoever.

SecureIt Agile 52
$700
@ GunSafes
Compare Prices
Check price
@ Amazon
Zanotti Z1
Zanotti Z1
$1500
@ Zanotti Armor
105 lb 350 lb
15.3"D x 20.3"W x 52"H" 20"D x 25"W x 60"H"
  • Large enough to fit several pistols or 6 long guns.
  • Electronic keypad is faster to use (5-10 seconds).
  • Hidden key override in case the keypad fails.
  • Keypad is not UL 768 Group 1 Rated. It may fail after a few years.
  • Non-standard keypad layout makes it slower to use.
  • Large enough to fit several pistols or 8 long guns.
  • Mechanical lock is rated UL 768 Group 2 (Group 1 is highest).
  • Mechanical combo lock is more reliable, but slower to use (15-30 seconds).


UL RSC-I

These will stop one person with common hand tools for 5 minutes. Must be bolted down to have any security value whatsoever.
Liberty Safe USA 23
Liberty Safe USA 23
$1,000
@ GunSafes
Liberty Safe USA 30
Liberty Safe USA 30
$1,300
@ GunSafes
490 lb 545 lb
25"D x 30"W x 60.5"H" 25"D x 36"W x 60.5"H"
  • Large enough to fit several pistols or 25 long guns.
  • Large enough to fit several pistols or 30 long guns.
  • Larger size may not fit as many places in your home.


UL RSC-II

These will stop two people with common power tools for 10 minutes. Must be bolted down to have any security value whatsoever.
AMSEC BFII 6024
AMSEC BFII 6024
$4,200
@ GunSafes
AMSEC BFII 6032
AMSEC BFII 6032
$4,900
@ GunSafes
1067 lb 1244 lb
21"D x 24"W x 59.3"H" 21"D x 30"W x 59.3"H"
  • If you choose an electronic lock option, it will be UL 768 Group 1 Rated (reliable, not junk).
  • If you choose an electronic lock option, it will be UL 768 Group 1 Rated (reliable, not junk).


UL TL-15

These will stop two people with power tools from getting through the door for 15 minutes. Not rated for the other sides. Bolting it down adds major security value.
AMSEC-CE1814
AMSEC CE1814
$2,600
@ GunSafes
AMSEC-CE5524
AMSEC CE5524
$4,900
@ GunSafes
710 lb 2343 lb
21.5"D x 21"W x 25"H" 29.5"D x 31"W x 62"H"
  • If you choose an electronic lock option, it will be UL 768 Group 1 Rated (reliable, not junk).
  • Can't fit long guns inside.
  • If you choose an electronic lock option, it will be UL 768 Group 1 Rated (reliable, not junk).


UL TL-30x6

These will stop two people with power tools from getting through any side of the safe for 30 minutes. Bolting it down adds major security value.
AMSEC-RF582820X6
AMSEC RF582820X6
$9,200
@ GunSafes
AMSEC-AMSEC-RF703620X6
AMSEC RF703620X6
$12,100
@ GunSafes
3418 lb 4578 lb
29.3"D x 34"W x 64"H" 20"D x 36"W x 70"H"
  • If you choose an electronic lock option, it will be UL 768 Group 1 Rated (reliable, not junk).
  • If you choose an electronic lock option, it will be UL 768 Group 1 Rated (reliable, not junk).

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, at no extra cost to you.


Related Articles



Feedback

Are you happy with this page?




TOP