The Best Gun Safes of 2024, According to Testing and a Safe Cracker

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You’ll probably buy a lot of guns in your life, but you’ll only buy a few gun safes. That’s why it pays to do some research to find the right gun safe for you. There are a lot of common-sense reasons to keep your guns secure. But, the best gun safe for one person might not be the best for another. For some, a small safe that fits in a drawer is all that’s needed, although others will want a large safe that will protect guns from fire and thieves. Here are my top picks for gun safes from large to small based on hands on testing and an interview with a professional safe cracker.

Best Overall: Cabela’s Classic Series Gun Safe

Best for Home: SentrySafe Waterproof and Fireproof Safe

Best for Subcompacts: Vaultek Essential Series VE10

Best Quick Access Pistol Safe: LANGGER V Biometric Slider Safe

Best UL-Certified: FireKing KR Series

Best for Your Bedside: Hornady Rapid Safe Night Guard

Best Portable: Vaultek LifePod 2.0

Best for Being Discreet: Tactical Walls Full Length Concealment Mirror 

Best Gun Safe Accessory: Lockdown Goldenrod

Best Under the Desk: MAXSafes Pro-Underdesk Safe

How We Chose the Best Gun Safes

We conducted an experiment to see what you can expect from a budget fireproof safe.

To make my best gun safe picks, I tested several of the best safes on the market and evaluated them on ease of opening, organization, features, and their fire rating. I interviewed Charles Santore, a professional safe cracker, who is hired by individuals and law enforcement to open safes after fires and attempted robberies. Santore provided insight into how modern criminals open safes and what happens to safe contents after a wild fire. I also set a portable “fireproof” safe on fire to get an idea of what type of protection it provided.

The Best Gun Safes: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Cabela’s Classic Series Gun Safe

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Key Features

Strong, 2-piece body construction

Customizable shelving layout

Interior door panels

12-gauge steel body

11 layers of fireboard

Palusol heat-expanding door seal

Electrical port in back of safe

4-1/4″ locking bars

Lifetime warranty

Made in the USA


Large capacity

Easy access with keypad

Fire protection

Good layout and accessories 


Weight is a consideration for placement and delivery

A safe should keep your firearms and valuables safe from theft and fire, but also be easy to access. This Cabela’s Classic Series Gun Safe accomplishes those tasks. But, it also does the little things well, like keep things organized and easy to access. The included, customizable shelves help keep valuables organized and the door panel allows you to store handguns and handgun accessories

The weight, while substantial, is still light enough that it can rest on a floor with joists spanning 12 feet without reinforcement. It’s a good idea to put the safe against a wall where it will have the most support. Liberty also offers floor anchoring kits to prevent thieves from tipping over your safe and then attempting to pry it open. Keep in mind that the shipping service will deliver the safe curbside, and won’t carry the safe into your home. So, be ready with a group of friends and the necessary tools to move the safe.

If you’re looking for a safe that’s not too expensive and offers good fire protection, then you can’t go wrong with this Liberty Safe from Cabela’s.

Best for Home: SentrySafe Waterproof and Fireproof Safe

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Key Features

Fire Rating: UL Classified to endure one hour at 1700°F 

ETL Verified to withstand a 15-foot fall during a fire and remain closed

ETL Verified for 24 hours of protection in water up to 8 inches deep

Four live-locking bolts

Must use key and combination to open 

Pry-resistant hinge bar

Locking drawer

Interior light

Bolt down hardware

Uses four AAA batteries

Exterior: 16.3 x 19.3 x 17.8 inches; The door requires 14.75 inches of clearance to fully open 

Interior: 12.6 x 11.9 x 13.8 inches

1.23 cubic foot capacity

Weight: 86.69 pounds


Easy to use digital combo lock 

Fire and flood protection 


Not too heavy 


Not much interior space 

If you’re looking for a quality home safe to keep your guns, jewelry, documents, and other small items in, this model from Sentry Safe is one of the best options under $300. It’s gone through rigorous testing for fire, water, and impacts: It’s UL certified for fire and ETL certified for impact and water resistance. Should you keep $100,000 in cash in this $290 safe? No. But, without going to a full on professional jewelers safe it provides a good level of protection without breaking the bank. At 90 pounds, one or two people can carry it up stairs.

To open the safe, you’ll need to turn the key, and then enter the combination. That makes getting into the safe slow, but it is secure. You’re not going to fit a ton of items into the 12.6 x 11.9 x 13.8 inch space, but for things like pistols, jewelry, documents, and other small valuables, it is sufficient. The locking drawer slides out and the top lifts open. The door has pockets for additional items too.  

I think this safe will meet most home safe needs and it provides a good compromise between affordability, portability, and security. 

If you want a faster entry option with similar specs, SentrySafe makes a home safe with a biometric lock. This safe is also available with a two hour fire rating, which bumps the price to $400. 

Read Next: Best Home Safes

Best for Subcompacts: Vaultek Essential Series VE10

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Key Features 

Exterior Dimensions: 10.5 x 8.5 x 2.125 inches

Interior Dimensions: 9.875 x 5.375 x 1.5 inches

18-gauge steel 

Interior lighting 

Uses a rechargeable battery 

Electronic combination lock 

Backup key entry


Opens quickly

Easy to program

Provides a tamper message 


Not fireproof

I was introduced to Valtek through their Lifepods, which I use while traveling. The Lifepod is awesome for keeping things secure while you’re on the road, but it’s not the fastest safe to access. The Essential Series VE10 on the other hand is fast to access and is still easy to take with you. There’s no delay after you type in your four digit code and the light automatically comes on. 

You can get the Essential Series safes in various sizes from compact to large. The VE10 is the smallest. It’s ideal for a subcompact pistol or small personal items like a wallet, cellphone, passport, jewelry, or cash. While it’s diminutive size makes it great for travel, it’s also at home in a desk or bedside drawer and it comes equipped with a cable for securing it to furniture. I can also see this being a great option for a small vehicle safe. 

Best Quick Access Pistol Safe: Langger V Biometric Slider Safe

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Key Features 

Max handgun length of 9.5 inches 

Holds one gun and spare magazine 

Weight: 12.5 pounds

Anti-impact latch 

Can store 20 unique fingerprints

Opened with fingerprint, keypad, or keys  


Opens quickly 

Easy to install 

Good directions


Not discreet 

If your goal is to keep a gun out of the hands of untrained family members, while still having quick access, this biometric sliding safe is a good option. It mounts to furniture or a wall with supplied screws. Keep in mind the safe is about as discreet as a bowling-ball-sized goiter, so you’ll need to carefully place it if stealth is important to you. 

Langger’s Slider Safe can hold one pistol and a spare magazine.

Scott Einsmann

Once it’s mounted I found the setup of the combination and biometric scanner to be very easy. It opens fast and the smoothness of the operation gives the safe a quality feel. I like that the gun is positioned for quickly establishing a grip; it’s a lot like drawing from one of the best holsters

Best Bedside Safe: Hornady Rapid Safe Night Guard

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Key Features

Exterior dimensions: 3 inch x 12 inch x 10.5 inch

Interior dimensions: 2.2 inch x 9.2 inch x 6.9 inch

Weight: 18 pounds

Power: 12V 2.0A or four (4) AAA batteries

Two USB ports

Digital clock

Entry methods: RFID, access code, mechanical key

Security cable included

Pre drilled for secure mounting


Rapid access

Multi functional 

Right size for a handgun and magazine 


Not fire resistant 

The Hornady Rapid is the best bedside gun safe but it does more than keep your firearm secure. It’s not out of place on a nightstand, thanks to its digital clock and two USB ports. The spring assisted drawer pops open when you use the RFID tag, access code, or key to open. RFID access is my preferred method and I think it’s faster than a biometric scanner. Just wave the tag in front of the drawer and it pops open. 

It’s a hefty safe at 18 pounds, but that’s a good thing. The weight helps it stay in place and is a product of its solid construction. Bolting the safe to the table it rests on or using the supplied cable lock will add an additional level of security. Just keep in mind that this safe won’t be as secure and isn’t fire resistant like other safes. But, for a rapid access handgun safe meant for your bedside, this is a smart bet. 

Best Portable: Vaultek LifePod 2.0

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Key Features

Fits firearms up to 9.25 inches long 

9.625 inches long x 7.25 inches long 

Biometric or combination 

Backup keyed entry with anti-pick feature

Interior LED light

Water resistant






Can be secured to furniture 

Light automatically comes on


Not fast to open when side tabs are closed 

The Vaultek LifePod 2.0 is a portable safe that can slide into a desk drawer or nightstand. It’s available as a biometric or combination safe. I bought it for road trips and to use in a desk drawer. It comes with a steel cable to anchor the safe, and Vaultek offers several accessories for organizing items inside the safe. 

A Sig P365 XMACRO and Smith and Wesson M&P Shield on top of the tray with spare magazines, a pocket knife, and a flashlight underneath the tray.

I have the combination safe and find it fast to open if the tabs on the sides are not secured. If the tabs are secured, it’s not a speedy or quiet process. It can hold a full-size pistol, two spare magazines, and a flashlight—all my EDC gear. The safe comes with a tray that acts like a shelf and allows you to store items above or below it. The tray is one of the best features of the safe. You can fit a slim, compact single stack (micro 9s) like an M&P shield under the tray and keep additional gear on top. Or you can put spare magazines under the tray, double stack mags will fit under it, and two compact pistols on top. My Sig P365 XMACRO is right at the max width for a gun on top of the the tray. It gives you options to secure and organize all your gear inside the safe. I do find the tray function ideal for concealed carry pistols and if you’re using the safe for a full size handgun you’ll want to go without it.

I’ve used my LifePod for flying with a handgun and it worked perfectly for meeting TSA standards and keeping my gun secure when I landed.

Ultimately this is a really nice desk or bedside safe, that you can take on the road and expose to the elements. It’s well-made and has modular features that many users will appreciate. 

Best Discreet Safe: Tactical Walls Full Length Concealment Mirror 

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Key Features

Weight: 48 pounds

Height: 60 inches

Length: 22 

Fits between 16 inch studs

Uses a magnetic key

Small compartment: 14 inches W x 10 inches H x 3.5 inches D

Large compartment: 14 inches W x 40 inches H x 3.5 inches  D



Holds a lot of items

Rapid access

Holds a long gun and several handguns with room to spare


Requires permanent alterations to the wall 

Discreet firearm storage is a trend among gun owners. From art that holds a handgun to coffee tables that hold a few handguns, there are a lot of unique ways to keep your guns hidden in plain sight. But, in my opinion, the most nondescript is this full length mirror from Tactical Walls—no one expects a mirror to have a hidden compartment. It has plenty of space for a long gun, handguns, and other valuables. You can access those items quickly, the door slides open when the magnetic lock is unlocked. The biggest downside is that it’s not easy to install and you have to cut a hole in your wall. It’s also important to note that this isn’t a safe and it won’t keep a determined person from accessing your valuables. But, if you’re ok with that, then this is a great option for storing firearms. 

Best Gun Safe Accessory: Lockdown GoldenRod Dehumidifier

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Key Features

Sizes: 12, 18, 24, and 36 inches

6 foot power cord

24 inch model works for up to 300 cubic inch safes

Creates convection within the safe


Nothing to replace or empty out

Made in U.S.A.


Gets warm

Most gun owners choose to protect their guns with a large safe, which they’ll keep in a basement or garage. The downside to those two locations is that they can get damp and humid. That moisture causes wood stocks to swell and surface rust to form on firearms. Those are obviously bad things, but you don’t have to move your safe. You just have to use a method for keeping moisture out of your safe. There are a ton of great options out there, from disposable moisture-absorbing crystals to the best gun safe dehumidifiers. One that stands out above the rest is the Lockdown GoldenRod. It creates heat and air circulation to reduce moisture and prevent moisture from settling on your guns. The device heats up to around 120 degrees, so you don’t want a plastic or wood stock resting against it. I find this dehumidifier especially effective in cold basements or in garages during winter. In a garage, you might want to add absorbing crystals, like the Barska moisture absorber, in the summer.

Best Under the Desk: MAXSafes Pro-Underdesk Safe

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Key Features

Weight: 18.3 pounds

Material: 16-gauge metal

50 vein ID capacity

Dimensions: 19.1 inches x 16.5 inches x 6.2 inches


Simple setup

Backlite keypad entry

Easy installation

Padded drawer bottom


Two full-size pistols are pushing it

No LED in the drawer

The easy to install Underdesk Safe from MAXSafes features one of the best biometric recognition systems. Dubbed Vein Recognition, a small door located in the drawer of the safe allows for finger insertion during setup, and in three easy steps, the safe will scan and store your vein pattern. Of course, the safe also allows for PIN and standard key entry, but after scanning my finger, I had no trouble opening the door. And the Silent Mode keeps the safe hushed. MAXSafes claims this one will hold a pair of full-size handguns, but it’s a tight fit. For an added bonus, the padded drawer is fitted with pre-cut foam that allows you to custom fit your handguns.

Best UL-Certified: FireKing KR Series

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Key Features 

UL two-hour fire rated (1,638 degrees) and impact tested 

UL RSC burglary rated

Electronic lock

Weight: 635 pounds

Outside Dimensions: 41.25 x 25.5 x 28.87 inches

Inside Dimensions: 30.25 x 18.5 x 21 inches

Price: $3,800


Top-tier UL certification 

Easy access 





If you want excellent fire protection, you can’t avoid safes that are heavy and expensive. It’s just a function of the materials used in these safes. Also keep in mind that larger safes are delivered by freight and those companies usually don’t bring safes into your home or up stairs. 

In addition to its impressive fire rating this safe is also RSC rated for burglary. So it’s been tested for forced entry with tools. It uses an electronic lock for fast entry and has a lot of space for valuables.

How to Choose a Safe

A safe is something you’ll likely buy once, and you won’t need to buy another until your gun collection outgrows its capacity. The safe you buy depends on what you plan to put in it, where you plan to put the safe, and how secure you want your safe to be. As I mentioned earlier the best gun safes are heavy and expensive. That’s the trade off for increased security and fire protection. But, if you just need a safe to keep a firearm out of untrained hands, then a simple gun cabinet or drawer safe is all that’s needed. Here are some important things to keep in mind when making your choice. 

Organizational features maximize space and keep your firearms easily accessible. Scott Einsmann

Gun Cabinets vs. Safes

A gun cabinet is made from a thin steel, usually 14- or 16-gauge, and doesn’t offer fire protection. They keep honest people honest. If a thief wants to get into a gun cabinet they’ll be able to pry it open with some effort. The pros are they are less expensive and much lighter. If you live in an apartment or plan to move in the near future, the reduced weight is a benefit. 

A safe is far more secure and the good ones will have a fire rating. They feature thick lock bars, thick walls, and more advanced locks than gun cabinets. The cons are that they’re heavy and expensive. If you are putting a safe in a location and don’t plan on moving it anytime soon, then a 1,300 pound safe is a great investment. 

Features and Layout

The main selling point for safes are their features and customizable layout. Here are some features to look for in a safe. 

The SECURAM keypad is a quality keypad found on many top end safes. Scott Einsmann

One of the key features you’ll want to look for is the type of entry—keypad, biometric, dial, etc. I prefer a keypad or dial safe because I’ve found them to be the most reliable. 

Fire rating is a spec that you hope you never have to test out. Fire ratings are given in the amount of time it will protect items at a specific temperature. Typically, the bigger and heavier the safe, the longer it will protect the contents from a fire. 

The interior layout is another important part of the equation. The best gun safes are customizable to suit your storage needs. Whether you need to stack a bunch of rifles in the safe or want to store important documents, there should be shelving options to support your needs. 

Other nice features are interior lighting and a dehumidifier. 

Read my full interview with Santore for real talk on safe security and fire protection.


Q: Are Liberty Safes worth the money?

Liberty Safes are made in the U.S. from premium components. They are absolutely worth the cost and a great investment. 

Q: Are gun safes bad for guns?

Gun safes can be bad for guns if you don’t use a dehumidifier in them, especially for safes in basements or garages. Aside from rust caused by humidity, a gun safe is the best place to store a firearm. 

Q: Is a gun safe worth the money?

Guns aren’t cheap and they are one of the most sought after items for thieves. Protecting them with a gun safe is a responsible thing to do. 

Final Thoughts on the Best Gun Safes

Safes protect your valuables like guns, jewelry, and important documents. They’re an investment, but one you’ll be glad you made. The key is to pick a safe that best meets your use, storage needs, and budget.

Best for the Money: Cabela’s Signature 25-Gun Safe

Best for Your Bedside: Hornady Rapid Safe Night Guard

Best Portable: Vaultek LifePod 2.0

Best for Being Discreet: Tactical Walls Full Length Concealment Mirror

Best Gun Safe Accessory: Lockdown Goldenrod

Best Under the Desk: MAXSafes Pro-Underdesk Safe

The post The Best Gun Safes of 2024, According to Testing and a Safe Cracker appeared first on Outdoor Life.

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