If you own a firearm, you need to own a gun safe. While full size gun safes do a great jobs of storage, they don’t do a great job of giving quick access when someone is breaking into your home. However handgun safes, also known as pistol safes, are a great alternative.
Handgun safes are able to sit on a nightstand, be attached to a desk, or easily accessible underneath of a bed. Manufacturers like Vaultek, Fort Knox, Gunbox, and Liberty make some great options.
They are meant for quick access of generally a single handgun for when you need access now, not later.
There are quite a few different handgun safes on the market today, and I’ll be honest, not all of them are good. There are knock offs of knock offs and so on. These are the top 10 best handgun safes on the market today.
|Best Smart Safe||Vaultek VT10i||5 / 5|
|Best Heavy Duty||Fort Knox PB1||5 / 5|
|Best Desk||Vaultek Slider||4 / 5|
|Best Inexpensive||Liberty HD-100||4 / 5|
|Best Portable||Stopbox||4.5 / 5|
1. Vaultek VT10i
This is a safe that I have a lot of experience with. Vaultek has shown over and over again with different types of safes that they are a thought and product leader in the industry.
They pack a ton of security and technology into their safes that allow for you to easily but securely gain access to your safe.
This top opening sage can be opened with the keypad, fingerprint, phone, and even key.
Make sure to read through my full review of the vaultek vt10i here.
- Internal Dimensions: 9.875″ Deep by 5.375″ Wide by 1.5″ High
- External Dimensions: 10.5″ Deep by 8.5″ Wide by 2.125″ High
- Weight: 5.2 pounds
- High quality
- Tons of options for opening the safe
- Phone access
- Built with the new user in mind
2. Fort Knox PB1
If you have done any searching online for a pistol safe at all, you likely have stumbled upon Fort Knox’s original pistol safe, also known as the PB1. This safe has extremely thick steel (for a pistol safe), and a simplex lock.
It’s an extremely simple, but effective design that gets you exactly what you need, when you need it.
Honestly, you really couldn’t go wrong with this safe. The only downsides to this safe that you should be aware of, is if your intention is to be taking this safe on-the-go, you probably should look elsewhere. Due to its gauge of steel, its best to be left bolted to a nightstand.
To learn more about these Fort Knox pistol safes, this article might be a great read.
- Internal Dimensions: 11 5/8″ Wide by 3 5/8″ High by 10 1/4″ Deep
- External Dimensions: 12.5″ Wide by 4.5″ High by 10.5″ Deep
- Weight: 22 pounds
- Heavy duty steel
- No electronics
- Is not portable due to steel gauge
3. Gunbox 2.0
If for some reason the Vaultek VT10i above doesn’t quite do what you want it to, but want something similar, the Gunbox 2.0 is another awesome choice for a smart gun safe. It offers many of the same features, but is made of aluminum (rare in the gun safe industry) and has a futuristic design.
Due to this futuristic design, it actually makes the safe look like it isn’t a gun safe, and many people leave it out on their counters because it isn’t quickly recognized as a safe. Do I recommend that? Probably not, but hey, it’s a feature.
For accessing the safe, you can gain access by keypad, fingerprint, phone access, and key! Making it easy for anyone to find the way that works for them.
It does also feature impact detection, so if someone tampers with it, whether it be your children, or a burglar, you are going to be notified of it.
To learn more, I have a full in-person you can read about here.
- Internal Dimensions: 1.5″ High by 8.9″ Wide by 6.5″ Deep
- External Dimensions: 2.8″ High by 11.6″ Wide by 10″ Deep
- Weight: 6.4 pounds
- Very cool design
- Many ways to access
- Compact design
- Kind of a diversion safe
- Aluminum design isn’t 100% proven
4. Vaultek Slider Series
Yes, I know I already have a Vaultek on this list, however I’ll be honest I probably could (and should) add more. They really are great products built to give a great experience.
The main reason I wanted to add this one to the list, is it is one of the best desk or nightstand safes out there right now. It packs many of the features from the VT10i into a sliding style safe.
Basically, you can anchor this to the inside of a desk (where you sit), or to the side of a nightstand (in between the bed and the nightstand), and then it slides open when you either use the provided keypad or fingerprint locking mechanism.
Reading through this article may get you the info you need about this safe!
- Internal Dimensions: 2″ Deep by 5.625″ Wide by 8.875″ High
- External Dimensions: 2.6″ Deep by 9.1″ Wide by 11.25″ High
- Weight: 7.4 pounds
- Has all the Vaultek tech
- Extremely usable
- If you need to attach the safe to the desk, this is it
- Is extremely specific
- Not portable
5. Liberty HDX-150
If you are wanting a gun safe from a well known brand, that you just don’t want to think about if it will work, the HDX-150 is probably the one you should go for.
Liberty Safes is extremely well known in the industry, offers great warranties, awesome customer support, and reliable products.
This HDX-150 is a part of Liberty’s Smart Vault series, and its primary means of access is via biometric access, however if for some reason you have issues with accessing it that way it does offer a key access as well.
- Internal Dimensions: Unknown
- External Dimensions: 12.5″ Wide by 8.75″ Deep by 2.25″ High
- Weight: 8 pounds
- Backed by Liberty Safe
- Great quality
- No keypad access like many competitors
6. Liberty HD-100
If the Liberty HDX-150 we talked about a moment ago is just a bit too much tech, or just a bit too much money, the HD-100 is also an awesome choice as well.
It sheds all of the tech, and replaces it with a standard barrel key locking mechanism, but keeps the quality!
At a fraction of the price, it makes the HD-100 an awesome entry level safe from a respectable brand you can trust.
- Internal Dimensions: 1.3″ High by 9.25″ Wide by 6″ Deep
- External Dimensions: 2.5″ High by 10.8″ Wide by 8.3″ Deep
- Weight: 6.25 pounds
- Made by Liberty Safes, making it a great value
- Only one way to unlock
7. Hornady Rapid Safe 2600KP
While you don’t see people talking much about these safes, I have found them to be a great product! They are rather unique with both their design, and ways that you open the safe.
They primarily are meant to be opened much like the Gunbox 2.0 with RFID technology like keychains, bracelets, etc. However they of course have a key backup as well.
Their capacity is awesome, and I just think these are an underrated safe that needs to be talked more about in the industry.
- Internal Dimensions: 7″ Wide by 7.7″ Deep by 2.2″ High
- External Dimensions: 10.7″ Wide by 8.7″ Deep by 2.9″ High
- Weight: Unknown
- Multiple modes of opening
- Great aesthetics
- High quality
- A bit expensive
- TOP 11 Best Gun Safes in 2021 [All Categories]
- 19 Best USA Made Gun Safes [Also Handgun Safes, Vault Doors, more]
- 11 Things you didn’t know about Gun Safes: But you should
8. Stealth Original Handgun Safe
We talked about the Fort Knox PB1 earlier this article, however if for some reason that one didn’t work for you but you like the idea, this Stealth Original Handgun Safe is extremely similar, down to the Simplex locking mechanism, gauge of steel, and styling.
One main upside to this one though, is it does come standard with a carrying handle, allowing it to be ever so slightly more portable than the PB1.
- Internal Dimensions: Unknown
- External Dimensions: 4 1/4″ high by 12 9/16″ Wide by 10 1/4″ Deep
- Weight: 24 pounds
- High gauge of steel
- Great security
- Nice gloss paint
- Not backed by a company like Fort Knox
9. Amsec PS1208EZ
If you aren’t seeing a bit of a trend to these safes, you probably haven’t been watching too closely. The PS1208EZ is extremely similar to both the Stealth Original, and the Fort Knox PB1!
The defining difference? This one is 14 gauge. Now you may think that this is a bad thing, but it actually is a great alternative. Having that thinner gauge of steel means it is much more portable than the other options.
- Internal Dimensions: Unknown
- External Dimensions: 8.125″ High by 12.25″ Wide by 4″ Deep
- Weight: 11 pounds
- More portable than competitors
- Backed by Amsec
- Not as secure as competitors
I’ll be honest, this is probably the strangest, yet one of the most important gun safes on this list. Okay, its not really a safe by any means, but more of a controlled access box.
Stopbox is one of the first companies out there to create something that is meant to be more of an in-between your other safes, safe. Its made of an ABS plastic, meaning if someone was any bit determined, they could gain access.
However that isn’t really what it is meant for. This safe is meant to be incredibly light, and is meant to be right by your side, all the time. This makes it an awesome safe for sitting on the passenger seat while you drive, sitting by your bedside when you are right next to it, and more.
This isn’t something you would leave for any period of time.
So what makes this better than actual safes, other than being lightweight? Well, it has almost instant access. The company has created a locking mechanism, where you can open the safe in a split second.
- Internal Dimensions: 8.75″ High by 5.75″ Wide by 1.5″ Deep
- External Dimensions: 9″ High by 7.9″ Wide by 2″ Deep
- Weight: 28 ounces
- Fastest access I have ever seen
- Quality build
- Great capacity in comparison to its portability
- Made of ABS plastic
- Higher price
What to think about when shopping for a handgun safe
Gun safes have so many different specifications and things to look at. However to buy the right handgun safe for yourself, these are the real 4 things that I think you should be paying attention to.
1. Quality Lock
Just like any gun safe, whether it be a pistol safe like we are taling about here, or a full-size safe, the lock is the most important part of a gun safe. Without a good lock, all you have a is a metal box that is keeping you away from your own belongings.
Because of this, you need to weigh between if you need something reliable like a key (yet not as secure), or something more secure like a biometric, or electric keypad (but it isn’t nearly as reliable).
There are definitely different hand-offs to each style of locking mechanism.
Now, just thinking about portability, doesn’t mean that you actually have to have a portable handgun safes. These safes come in all types, and sizes. For example, the Fort Knox PB1 is one of the best handgun safes out there, yet I would not consider it a portable safe, due to it size and weight.
However if you wanted something portable, the you are going to want to go with a different safe other than the PB1.
Keep in mind, generally speaking, the more portable a safe is, the less secure it tends to be. This is because the portability is gained by lowering the steel gauge or style of the outer skin in general (like switching to plastic, or aluminum).
You can easily buy the best gun safe on the planet, however if you don’t take that couple moments to make sure your firearm will fit in the pistol safe, then you will find that it basically becomes a paperweight when your hangun doesn’t quite fit.
Make sure to pay attention to the internal dimensions of a gun safe, that thankfully many manufacturers will advertise. Once you find those dimensions, I generally recommend making a rough sketch of those dimensions on a paper, and make sure whatever you are looking to store will fit inside of that sketch.
If you want something a bit bigger than a handgun safe, but not quite as big as a full size gun safe, a home safe might be your best option.
4. Quality build
In the list above, I tried to only include handgun safes that actually are quality units, instead of just whatever I found. This is because a quality build, can be a deciding factor between whether someone gains access to your firearm, and uses it for bad, or if it keeps the thief away and keeps you safe.
Quality build is more than just the thickness of the steel, but also comes down to welds, interior pieces, paint work, opening latches, external components, phone applications and more.
All of these things work together to give you the experience with a safe, and they should all be accounted for.
Thankfully, in this industry, if you know a certain brand stands for quality, then most all of their safes should be good to go.
Frequently Asked Questions
Handgun safes are essentially scaled down full-size safes. Meaning they aren’t quite as secure, and can easily be carried away. Because of this, they aren’t nearly as secure as some alternatives, however that is made up for by portability, and the fact they take up less space.
Multiple pistol safes can make a huge difference. This can spread your firearms throughout your home, making them easier to access in a time of need. This also can spread out your valuables throughout the home, making it harder for thieves to get everything of value from your home.
I have found that $80 is on the low end of what you should spend for a quality safe. The high end is going to be in the $300 range if you want a smart safe with all of the frills.
With that, this is the list of best handgun (aka pistol) safes that I know of. I’m sure you will find what safe may work best for your application.
In the end, every safe has little things that make it better than others, so I tried to make sure to keep a variety of safes in mind when putting this together.