Picking the Best Gun Safe for Your Firearms

Not all safes are created equal.


There are several reasons to keep your guns in a gun safe. They represent an expense and investment, as well as being something that you want to keep out of the hands of others, including kids. What kind of gun safe is best for you? What are the differences between various gun safes? Not all firearm storage units are created equally, so let’s give you some information to help pick the best gun safe for you.

First off, we should cover the differences between a safe and a cabinet. Many of us, at some point in time, have had a gun cabinet, and they do provide a certain level of safety, but they are not a safe. A steel gun cabinet, not to be confused with a wooden gun cabinet, is similar to a safe in that is can be locked, and can help prevent your firearms from getting into the wrong hands. A gun safe, however, adds a couple levels of protection. They are harder to get into, with more extensive locking mechanisms, and most are fire rated to some extent.

Fire ratings

A safe’s fire rating is based on how long the safe can protect the contents at a set temperature. This has to do with how long the seal and liner will withstand the temperature before failing. The average house fire burns at 1,100 degree Fahrenheit. A safe will have three lines of defense. The steel outer hull of the safe will not melt, as the fires often do not get hot enough to melt steel. The seal material, usually Palusol, expands in heat to seal out the damaging temperatures for a measured length of time. The inner liner insulates the interior of the safe and protects the contents. The thing to keep in mind is that these layers of protection can only last for so long, so if the fire burns for longer than the safe can endure, or the temperature is hotter than the safe is rated for, there isn’t much that can be done.

Vaults are another form of gun safe. These storage devices are often used for quick access to a firearm, and are often keyed by fingerprint I.D., a quick key, or some other form of fast-access mechanism. They are often secured to a position, such as a nightstand, or even a car, and are there simply for theft protection and access in case of an emergency situation.

1. Steelwater 39

The Steelwater gun safe is rated for 60 minutes at 1,875 degrees F. It is also protected against EMP triggers which could render the electronic lock useless. It will hold 39 long guns as well as accessories, ammo and more. It has 20 1-½ inch steel locking bolts. It is a heavy-duty safe that is shipped via tractor trailer, so shipping may be limited in some locations.

Pros/Serious temperature rating and capacity. Free shipping!
Cons/It’s a very big safe, so know what you’re getting into.
Bottom Line/A solid and secure way to protect your firearms and valuable items.

2. Stack-On TD 69

There are some of us who have a few guns, some of us who have a decent amount, and some who are doing alright in the gun collecting end of things. The Stack-On TD 69 is getting toward the later end of that. It’ll hold 69 firearms. It has 1.5-inch tapered safety locking lugs and will withstand 1,400-degrees for 75 minutes. It’ll also remain waterproof in 2 feet of standing water for 72 hours, too. It has an electronic lock with a battery backup.

Pros/Big safe with a lot of space and a great price.
Cons/Did we mention it’s huge?
Bottom Line/If you have a lot of guns to store, this is a great option at a great price.

3. Awesafe

Keeping a handgun at arm’s reach is a great way to add protection for you and your family, but it can also keep a firearm within access of someone who shouldn’t be able to reach it. The Awesome keeps a pistol and ammo within easy reach, while at the same time, keeping things safer with a fingerprint identification lock and keypad. This steel, pry-proof box can be secured to a location, or made portable, with an LED backlight and a gas-hinge open assist. It makes it easy for the right person to open the safe without having direct visual contact with the safe.

Pros/Secure, quick access to a handgun for the right person.
Cons/Securing it in one location is better, as thieves can always find a way into a box they can take with them.
Bottom Line/Gives added peace of mind for handgun owners.

4. Paragon Steel Cabinet

Made from durable 18-gauge steel, this locking steel cabinet will hold up to 8 long guns with a multi-level latching system. It is just a cabinet, though, so there is no fire or water protection for your firearms.

Pros/Sturdy, secure storage.
Cons/Just a simple layer or protection.
Bottom Line/If you're just looking for basic protection to lock up your firearms, this is it.

We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.