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Choosing A Gun Safe | 26 Gun Experts Share Their Tips

By Minuca Elena April 05, 2021


If you own a gun, you must secure it.  Responsible gun ownership means protecting your firearms from theft as well as securing them from unwanted access and accidental handling by kids.  If you have a large gun collection you'll also need to protect your investment from fire and the damaging effects of high humidity.

Gun safes are a good option for security and protection. But only if you make the right choices.  When we looked for advice when purchasing a safe, there were many factors to consider, and several conflicting opinions.  

So we decided to survey experts in the field, to ask them the following question:

What features should a gun owner have in mind
when purchasing the best gun safe?

We hired, well-known researcher--Minuca Elena.  She contacted over 300 bloggers who write about guns, outdoor sports, training, and security.  She selected 26 of the best from the responses to give you different perspectives.  You'll find the advice of these experts insightful and helpful in prioritizing what is important when purchasing a gun safe.  You'll find some common themes, too, that will give you the confidence in what you know to be true.   

Here are the experts and their blogs.  Collectively, these blogs have a large following of over 750,000 visitors per month across a broad group of gun and security enthusiasts. 

  • Chris Browning of Gun News Daily
  • John McAdams of The Big Game Hunting Blog
  • Ryan Cleckner of Gun University
  • Michael Crites of
  • Amanda Lynn Mayhew of Just Hunt
  • Jacob Paulsen of Concealed Carry
  • Charlie Jacoby of FieldsportsChannel.TV
  • Jamie Burns of Bulk Munitions
  • Kevin Paulson of Hunting Life
  • Kevin Cronister of Guardian Training Solutions
  •  Al Quackenbush of The SoCal Bowhunter
  • Timothy Hackett of Airsoft Core
  • Brady Kirkpatrick of Gun Made
  • Robert Sluder of Cowboys, Guns and Gear
  • Clay Belding of The Fowl Life
  • Mike Syms of Hunt Things
  • Nick Humphries of Practically Tactical
  • Michaelka Fialova of Michaelka's Hunting
  • Kevin Vick of Stock and Barrel Gun Club
  • Douglas Parisi of Safe Defend
  • Jason Mordecai of Security Adviser
  • Morgan Ballis of Campus-Safety.US
  • Jody Picou of Concealed Coalition
  • Jacob Rieper of Gun Politics New York
  • Jeremy Nesbitt of Nexgen Outfitters

 Chris Browning - 26 Experts Gun Safes

Chris Browning - Gun News Daily

When considering gun safe features, there are quite a few obvious ones to consider. Size of the safe, gun capacity and where you plan to place your safe.

What else are you going to store in the safe? Ammunition? Are there shelves or accommodations for additional items beyond just guns?

However, for me it's all about access. I think about the worst case scenario. If I am awakened by my house alarm, I don't want to be fumbling around for a key, trying to remember a long combination (half asleep).

I want to be able to get my weapon as quickly as possible. Not worrying that the battery may have drained and I have to use a backup access.

Access could be a matter of life or death.

 John McAdams - Blog expert opinion on best gun safes

John McAdams - The Big Game Hunting Blog

Before purchasing a new gun safe, it’s extremely important to have a clear picture of why you want this safe and what threats you’re trying to defend against.

Are you trying to prevent children from accessing your firearms without permission? Do you need something that’s fire resistant?

Or do you need something that’s extremely robustly constructed and will be difficult even for a professional criminal to break into? All of the above?

It’s not too difficult to construct a gun safe that’s inaccessible to a young child or even a casual thief. So, those safes normally aren’t too expensive or very heavy.

However, fire resistant safes and those that provide more protection against serious criminals and are usually significantly heavier and more expensive.

Some gun owners want or need that level of protection, but that’s not the case with everybody.

So, carefully consider what you want out of your safe before you go shopping.

Additionally, regardless of what your goals are, try to think ahead and picture how many firearms you might own in a few years and buy a safe that will still fit the guns you own in the future.

This will prevent you from wasting money on a safe that you’ll just grow out of in a few years.

Ryan Cleckner - 26 Gun Safe Experts

Ryan Cleckner - Gun University

Of all of the features you should look for in a gun safe, we consider the safe’s size and method of access as the two most important.

Sure, strength and fire protection ratings are important, too. However, we think any safe is better than no safe and most name-brand safes are going to provide good-enough protection and fire ratings.

The size of your safe is important for three reasons. You need it to be small enough to fit the space you have available, large enough to hold your firearms, and large enough to not be easily stolen.

Measure where your safe will fit and consider its location (stairs, etc.) before you purchase your safe to ensure it will fit where you need it to go.

However. As long as it will fit, you should get as big of a safe (or maybe two medium safes) as you can.

Here’s why…

As a general rule, we like to cut the advertised firearm capacity of any safe in half.

Once you start filling it with firearms with optics and trying to get to your guns, it’s a safe bet that your safe will be “full” with half as many guns as advertised.

Also, if you’re like us, you’ll be buying more guns in the future and don’t want to be limited because you ran out of room.

Although we think all safes should be bolted-down and/or secured somehow, bigger safes are harder to steal.

It doesn’t matter if your safe is so strong that it takes crooks five days to finally break into it if they were able to easily throw it in a truck and break into it later.

For method of access, we never recommend biometric access only. Also, electronic keypads seem handy, but it’s hard to beat the reliability and simplicity of a mechanical lock.

 American Firearms - Gun Safe Expert RoundUp

Michael Crites -

Fire rating and warranty:

While there's truly no “fireproof” gun safe a number of quality brands provide ratings for both burn time and fireproofing, which detail the length of time the manufacturer believes the safe will prevent damage from fire and the temperature it can withstand.

Key for storing not just expensive guns, but ammunition as well as valuables.

An RSC rating (or “Residential Security Container”) by Underwriters Laboratory (UL) provides a performance requirement standard for security and fire-resistant products, which can be a useful indicator of quality and performance expectations.

Size and capacity:

Consider your collection size.

Manufacturer capacity claims are generally rated without a mounted scope.

Double the capacity you think you need to ensure you can get all your rifles in the safe of your choosing including with mounted optics.

How much space you have available.

If your available space is a 6×6 closet you'll need to knock down a wall or two to fit a 7-foot double-door safe in there.

Of course, once you get your 300lb safe in place and bolted down you'll be reluctant to want to find another place for it, so it's best to get it right the first time.

Security Mechanism:

Preventing unwanted access is great -- but you'll also want to be able to get to your firearms quickly if the situation calls for it.

Keys or combination locks. Avoid keyed locks if you want speedy access -- although they're a great option if you want an easy long-term storage solution.

Keypads. They don't offer the speed of a biometric lock, but are faster than a keyed lock and you won't have to hunt for a physical key.

Biometric locks. Quick to open with just the touch of a finger, and make for a great quick access option -- but can be tricky in a hurry and, at times, inconsistent.

RFID or Bluetooth. Can work with smartphones and are reasonably reliable -- of course, you'll need your phone to use them, which will throw off light and can alert an intruder to your location.

Amanda Lynn Mayhew - Gun Safe Expert 

Amanda Lynn Mayhew - Just Hunt

When shopping around for a gun safe to properly store and protect your firearms there are a few things to consider, I keep these features in mind.

Size - as I do not want to be cramming my rifles with scopes into a almost full safe where the firearms could potentially lose their position on sights.

Type of locking system - key versus a combination lock, myself I prefer the key as it is easy to take with you, doesn't perform with delay and is dependable.

Location and Installation - are you anchoring to a studded wall and floor, where is the safe going to be located, the safe should be convenient for yourself to obtain access but maybe not so visible to others.

Humidity - I run dehumidifiers in the summertime as our summers can get quite humid, so having access to protecting your firearms from rusting is something to take into consideration as well. There are many options from dehumidifiers to in-safe humidity sponges.

Keeping unauthorized individuals from obtaining access and protecting your firearms from the damage is key when shopping for a gun safe.

Jacob Paulsen - 26 Gun Safe Expert RoundUp

Jacob Paulsen - Concealed Carry

Home defense firearms are generally best staged in smaller, quick-access safes to maximize the speed of access.

However, hunting rifles are rarely needed for emergency access and thus the emphasis in safe shopping should be on maximizing security and safety of the assets.

Important safe specifications relating to security include weight, steel thickness, locking bars, locking mechanism, and fire ratings.

The fire rating often is a litmus test of the quality of a gun safe. A good rifle safe should have a minimum fire rating of 30 minutes at 1200 degrees.

Beyond those security factors, other considerations would include the layout and organization assets of shelves, racks, and general organization. Carpeted shelving and walls will help protect your firearms.

Interior lighting can be a wonderful feature and if you live in a humid environment there is great value in a safe that has a built in dehumidifier.

Most gun safes also boast the California DOJ Approval which is an important minimum standard to prevent unauthorized access as well.

 Charlie Jacoby - 26 Gun Safe Expert RoundUp

Charlie Jacoby -

Here in the UK, the police inspect your gun safe and like to see that it is bolted to an outside wall inside your house.

That means it's not easy to put it in an outbuilding.

I bought my safes secondhand in private sales, so availability and legality are what I was after.

If I wanted a new one, I'd look for reliability, and am impressed with the safes I see at gun shows supplied by both Buffalo River and Browning.

Contrary to what many think, we have a thriving shooting community (what Americans call 'hunters') here in the UK with 600,000 licensed gun holders - about 1% of the population.

All of them have at least one gun safe. Three-quarters of them own shotguns. The other quarter own rifles, too.

They have to store rifle ammunition in a separate safe, so they own at least two.

Jamie Burns - 26 Gun Safe Expert RoundUp

Jamie Burns - Bulk Munitions

A feature many gun owners overlook when shopping for a gun safe is storage flexibility.

While you know what guns you have now, your collection isn’t always static. You might sell that tactical 14” barrel pump-action shotgun in order to trade up to a semi-automatic 30” for your new-found duck hunting hobby.

If the gun safe you bought doesn’t have reconfigurable shelves or slots, then you may be looking at buying a new safe if you just can’t get the new shotgun to fit.

A firearm safe that can be adjusted to fit current and expected gun storage needs is a great option to “future-proof” your purchase.

Kevin Paulson - 26 Gun Safe Expert RoundUp

Kevin Paulson - Hunting Life

As a gun owner, I look for quality products and companies that I know will stand behind their products first and foremost.

I also look at capacity and ease of access for all of my gun safes.

I currently use a combination of a pistol safe, a gun cabinet for storage of ammunition and two safes.

One I use for long term storage and one for swapping guns in and out for various trips, hunting or target practice on a regular basis.

There are many great safes in the market and you should do your research to find the ones that will grow with you throughout your life.

Kevin Cronister - 26 Gun Safe Expert RoundUp

Kevin Cronister - Guardian Training Solutions

There are three specific qualities I look for when purchasing a gun safe.

1. Is it easily accessible? I typically will only buy safes that have a biometric lock which accepts my fingerprint for quick access to my guns.

Messing with a dial or multiple numbers under stress will make it highly unlikely, if not impossible, to retrieve your gun when you need it.

You can typically add multiple fingerprints so a spouse can also easily access the gun. If a firearm is difficult to access, it's doing you no good when you need to defend your home.

2. Is it portable? I bring a firearm with me when I travel so portability is necessary.

Not only that, but I place my safe on my bedside table at night and on the ground level during the day so it's in close proximity to myself or my wife if needed.

That means it needs to be small enough to carry but still sturdy enough to be effective.

3. Is it large enough to hold my pistol AND a spare magazine? I always encourage anyone who carries a firearm concealed or stores a firearm at home to have a spare magazine for the worst case scenario.

I'd rather have too many rounds and not need them than not enough rounds and wish I had them.

This list is obviously for a small to midsize safe designed for a pistol. I have other considerations for rifle/shotgun storage.

Al Quackenbush - 26 Gun Safe Expert RoundUp

Al Quackenbush - The SoCal Bowhunter

As a firearm owner, home owner and parent, owning a firearm safe comes with many responsibilities.

One of the first considerations should be where you plan on putting the safe and how many firearms you will need to secure inside. That gives you a good starting point.

Also, consider the weight of the safe and if it will be bolted to the floor or concrete. How many shelves, if any do you want? Shelves take up valuable firearm space, but are needed for handguns.

If you have children, you will need to consider the placement of the safe and purchase something that kids cannot get into.

Disregard "safes" that are made from thin metal. They will not protect your firearms from thieves or fire. Something solid with a minimum of 7 gauge steel, complete with steel rods in the doors.

Factor in, at a minimum, fire protection for at least 30 minutes so the contents inside the safe will survive if the safe will be in a structure that may burn fast.

Usually a rating of 1200-1400 degrees for 30 minutes. If it's inside a house or structure with thick walls, consider a higher fire rating of 60-110 minutes.

Another consideration will be if you own rifles with and without scopes. Handguns store a little easier, but rifles create a challenge.

For example, if you have nine firearms that have scopes, you will need an 18-gun safe to store them properly.

The scopes take up plenty of room and you don't want damage to the scopes from contact. Those nine scoped-firearms will take up the internal space of 18 non-scoped firearms.

Finally, if you plan to store your firearms in a humid environment or in a garage with a concrete flor, purchase a dehumidifier for inside the safe.

This will remove moisture inside the safe and protect your firearms from corrosion.

Timothy Hackett - 26 Gun Safe Expert RoundUp

Timothy HackettAirsoft Core

Potential gun owners should first understand what they need the safe for, as there are multiple intended uses for gun safes.

They can easily be broken down into two main categories:

Safe place for a quick access carry weapon

Safe place for general storage of firearms and ammo

Regarding the first intent, the main thing here is the ability to access the safe quickly. Biometric scanners, key & lock entry, keypad, these are all okay methods to be able to quickly access the safe - each with their own pros and cons.

For most general purpose uses, I’d recommend the key & lock type entry, since there’s typically a lot less that can go wrong (you just need to ensure you place the key in a place you can access easily!)

For the second intent, you’ll mostly want to consider just how large your gun collection will be and whether you plan to store ammo in the safe as well.

2000 rounds of 9mm may not look like much, but add in 1000 shells, 2000 rounds of 5.56mm, and any other ammo type you have and it can add up.

Guns with extra accessories like bipods, optics, and whatnot will also take up a lot of room in the safe.

So, go with something that has a good amount of interior space for your planned collection.

Features that are universal between these two intents are:

Fire Resistance - safes should protect your valuables from natural disasters.

Weight - heavy, thick safes are a great deterrence for quick grabs in a burglary.

Brady Kirkpatrick - 26 Gun Safe Expert Roundup

Brady Kirkpatrick - Gun Made

If you’re planning to make a serious investment in gun safes, there are a couple of important things you should know.

As far as my experience with gun safes goes, these four characteristics are the absolute key when you’re searching for a suitable gun safe for you and your family.

What Should I Look for in a Gun Safe?

Lock Type and Retrieval Speed

The first thing is to decide on the type - you have gun safes with various locks and retrieval methods. There are basically two types: mechanical and electric.

Mechanical gun safes don’t rely on electrical power, but you need locksmiths for maintenance and combination resets. Combination locks tend to be slow, and tedious, so mind that.

Electric safes with digital locks like keypad and biometrics are usually with a fast retrieval method, but they rely on electric power.

Some of the most popular gun safes are biometric, combination lock, and dial lock gun safes.

Each gun safe has its benefits and cons, with various gun retrieval speeds, but I personally recommend mechanical safes with combination locks because I’m not a fan of wiring and batteries.

Size and Portability

Consider the size and weight of the gun safe - it should depend on whether or not you want to store more guns, documents, and other valuables.

For single handguns, pistol vaults are enough. For the rifleman gun enthusiast, large safe racks are a popular option, usually with 13, 21, or 28 cubic feet of interior storage.

Go for a smaller and lighter safe if you travel a lot. It should be small enough that you can place it under a bed or near a night stand.

Fire Resistance and Tamper-Proof/Pry-Proof Features

Look for fire, tamper, and pry-resistance features when you browse gun safes.

There are Youtube reviewers who debunk the integrity of popular gun safes, so that’s something you might want to research before making a purchase.

Additionally, keep construction steel gauges in mind, as they also offer fire resistance and pry/tamper-proof features.

Consider Where You’re Going to Place the Gun Safe

This is harder than you think, but every homeowner knows their perimeter the best.

We recommend you anchor and bolt down your safe to a concrete floor.

Bolted-down, secured safes are a hard target for burglars. Barska, Liberty, Rhino Metals offer great gun safes that are easy to bolt down.

Placing your gun safe in an adequate location, depending on weight, is very important. It’s a good idea to place your safe under a stairway, the bedroom, or near hallways.

If you're bolting down, be sure to choose the right location for it.

 Robert Sluder - 26 Gun Safe Expert Roundup

Robert Sluder - Cowboys, Guns & Gear

Purchasing a safe:

1. Make sure it is big enough to store everything you need of value now and in the future, "Plan ahead”. If your Firearms are stolen, it could be a problem for you. “Very Important”

2. You have choices between digital and combination. We know that sometimes combinations can be hard to remember.

However, digital can make a lot of mistakes, wear out, easier to get around the combination, just flat out quit working.

Combination is almost fool proof as long as you remember or have written down somewhere what the combination is. Remember combination has been around forever.

3. Safe will have the fire resistants on it somewhere. You want it to withstand pretty much fire as possible.

4. Do not skimp on weight of the safe. The heavier it is, the harder it would be for someone to move. If possible, use anchor bolts to secure also.

5. Make sure you measure the safe and that it will fit where you want it to stay. You do not want to move it more than once.

6. Try to find a spot that will not stand out. Harder to see, the less chance of someone wanting it. I would never talk about it to anyone. Caution is very good.

7. Well built safe. Tough to cut into. Very good combination. Name of established brands.

8. Safe’s can absorb moisture, you can get a plug in humidifier or one that you just add crystals (moisture eliminators) and that will gather the moisture and drop it into the little container that comes with it below.

This too is very important. You do not want your expensive firearms rusting or turning green.

There are other ideas you can use, however these are the most important. Remember those firearms are not cheap and the prices just keep going up.

Whatever you do, remember you must secure your firearms.

Clay Belding - 26 Gun Safe Expert Roundup 

Clay Belding - The Fowl Life

The most important features a safe should have are:

  • Protection (can’t break into it)
  • Fireproof (min 2hr)
  • Lights when opened
  • Power supply inside
  • Dehumidifier
  • Customizable interior
  • Minimum 10 locking bars
  • Mechanical lock
  • Fits all gun types (pistol to very long guns)

Mike Syms - 26 Gun Safe Expert Roundup

Mike Syms - Hunt Things

One of the most important features that a gun owner should have in mind when choosing a new safe is the size and capacity of the safe itself.

As an avid hunter and sport shooter, I know all too well how a gun collection can quickly outgrow a safe.

It is our responsibility to make sure our firearms are stored safely and securely, especially if you have kids in your home.

I have had the experience of coming home with a new rifle only to realize that I can hardly fit it into my current safe. This may require you to temporarily store it outside your safe, or alternatively, stacking it in tightly with your other guns.

This can lead to the dreaded "safe kiss", scratches or damage to your guns due to loading them into a cramped safe for storage.

Another disadvantage to an overpacked safe is that it is very easy to bang your scopes when loading or unloading your hunting rifles in and out of a cramped safe.

It would be a shame to pull your favorite hunting rifle out for a big hunt, only to find the scope way out of alignment and waste valuable time sighting it in again.

Or even worse, missing the shot of a lifetime due to a bump your rifle took because you did not have adequate clearance within your current safe.

Buying a quality safe to protect your firearms can be a big investment, and making sure you get one that is big enough to fit your current gun collection, as well as future gun purchases, will save you money in the long run and prevent you from running out of room too soon.

Take it from me, it can be surprising how easily your gun collection can quickly outgrow your current safe space. If you buy a big enough safe the first time, the only problem you will have is choosing which new guns to fill it with.

Nick Humphries - 26 Gun Safe Expert Roundup

Nick Humphries - Practically Tactical

There are several considerations when looking to purchase a safe for storage at home and those options vary based on the individuals needs. There are some very basic thing that everyone should consider though:

Each safe will say how many guns it can hold. Cut that number in half. It never will fit that much, especially after we start really filling up the safe.

They have the storage too close together and once you start adding accessories to the firearms (like a scope with a large objective lens) they will need more room so they don’t rub up against other firearms.

Do your research on the fire rating on each safe. Just because it says fireproof, that could just be for 30 minutes. 30 minutes probably isn’t enough if your safe is located in your basement for example.

Know where you are putting it and what the real fire rating needed for that location in your house.

Having lighting is a great feature as well, but not a deal breaker as there are stand alone products that can be sourced to solve the solution.

One of the biggest issues about storage that many don’t think about is the temperature and the humidity of where it is being stored. We always want to reduce the amount of humidity in the air to help keep any rust issues away.

There are many great useable dehumidifier products available for safes that are under $30. They recharge by throwing them in the oven for a few hours. 

The temperature they are stored at should also be in consideration. If stored out in your garage for example where temperatures get low, you want to make sure the firearms aren’t touching as different metals warm or cool at different rates.

So if steel warms up loser than aluminum and they are touching, the cooler steel that is warming slower can cause condensation and pass on liquid to the warmer aluminum that is touching it.

Even if not touching, firearms stored in locations where temperate fluctuates rapidly can cause situations where condensation will happen on the firearms.

Michaelka Fialova - 26 Gun Safe Expert Roundup

Michaelka Fialova - Michaelka's Hunting

Well, first you need to find out more about the laws and requirements in your country or state. The rules for storage can be very different.

Then you need to think how many guns are you going to have. I would suggest to buy a bigger safe then what you need for your current guns.

Guns are like drugs and you must expect if you fall for them you will buy more.

Then you should also consider the design. I personally have two hidden in my clothing closets.

One is for my tactical guns and other equipment and another is for my hunting guns.

One more thing, also think how good is your memory, if you want one working with digital code or you if you rather prefer to have keys.

Kevin Vick - 26 Gun Safe Expert Roundup

Kevin Vick - Stock & Barrel Gun Club

Purchasing the best gun safe for you or your family is an important investment. There are many factors to consider.

First, think about how many firearms and other valuables you want to store in the safe. There are gun safes in all sizes.

Next, look at the fire rating. Owning a safe that will withstand fire is key. There should be a level of versatility inside the safe for accessories, and the weight of the safe is a big factor.

If you're planning to purchase more firearms in the future, consider purchasing something a bit larger.

How sturdy of a safe you're looking for is also something to consider. The thicker the steel, the harder it's going to be to break into.

Research how many locking bolts there are in the safe and how long they are. If the safe has relockers, it will automatically lockdown if the original lock is damaged.

All in all, there is a gun safe out there for everyone. The important thing is to find the right gun safe for you or your family. Do your research, and you'll find the best fit.

Doug Parisi - 26 Gun Safe Expert Roundup

Douglas Parisi - SAFEDEFEND

Gun owners that need quick access to their weapon for personal defense need to know the fingerprint technology is considered the gold standard for storage.

These safes keep weapons secured but allow immediate access in a crisis. They are simple to use and reliable.

There are several brands and sizes on the market that can fit a variety of needs and weapons. Almost all the major stores carry a version of a biometric safe and all have a key backup.

Regardless of the situation, the ease of placing a finger down to open a safe cannot be understated.

Different circumstances, such as lighting needed to see the keypad or dial, can slow access to a defensive weapon.

Under high stress we experience diminished critical thinking and fine motor control skills which hinders remembering or entering codes.

Being awoken in a state of confusion and trying to understand the crisis you are in while attempting to manipulate a keypad or combination lock is untenable.

SAFEDEFEND™ has been using biometric safes in schools and businesses as part of our broader safety system to alert law enforcement and protect students for years.

The technology behind fingerprint readers is secure and dependable.

Jason Mordecai - 26 Gun Safe Expert Roundup

Jason Mordecai - Security Adviser

There are four questions you should ask when purchasing a safe.

  • What type of firearms are you planning to store?
  • Will your firearm collection grow?
  • What space is available for installing the safe?
  • What type of locking mechanism is appropriate?

Firearm safes are generally sized for handguns or for rifles. Handgun safes can be easily concealed, and you may want to consider easy access for emergencies.

Hunters will often progress to more than one form of hunting. The safe may start with a shotgun for bird shooting, and later a rifle for game hunting.

Therefore, the general principle is to get the biggest safe that you can afford and fit. This will allow for additional firearms and storage of ammo and other valuables.

The storage area should allow for door opening space, humidity control and installation with expanding bolts into the adjoining wall or floor.

It's not unheard of, for whole safes to be stolen and then cut up with grinders.

Locks can be operated with keys, combination dials or electronic keypads. Each have advantages and disadvantages. Dials last for decades, while keypads are easy to operate in dark or stressful conditions.

Lastly, purchase the best quality safe that your budget allows for. At a minimum, the safe should be UL rated.

Morgan Ballis - 26 Gun Safe Expert Roundup

Morgan Ballis -

When purchasing a safe for their firearms, gun owners should ask themselves, “Who might come into my home?”. Of course, the possibilities are endless.

This question is important because some jurisdictions have statutes or ordinances with specific requirements regarding the features of a safe used to store guns based on who could gain access to the firearms.

In this context, access simply means the ability to take possession of the firearm with or without the owner’s permission.

Many of these statutes have criminal consequences for gun owners who do not store firearms properly when children or prohibited possessors are in the home, even when the gun owner is present.

Jody Picou - 26 Gun Safe Expert Roundup

Jody Picou - Concealed Coalition

In terms of an overnight safe where you would need to easily access your firearm in an emergency, I would look for something that is easy to access with a silent code entry system. Why silent?

In an intruder situation, you don't want to give clues to your location. So while a loud safe with lights certainly looks cool, it is not the most practical.

For an overnight safe I would also suggest a sleek, slim design that can fit in or on a dresser, with a steel cable that can attach to something secure.

This adds an extra level of security and protection, so that no one can take off with your safe and firearm.

Now if you travel with your firearm and you're looking for a gun case for your vehicle, I suggest something slim, easy to hide, and easy to secure.

Jacob Rieper

Jacob Rieper - Gun Politics New York

The two main features any gun safe needs to have, regardless of the capacity of the safe, are:

  1. It needs to be reasonably secure
  2. It needs to be readily accessible to authorized users.

Secondary features include a fire prevention rating and a dehumidifier.

Reasonably secure would mean that the safe cannot be easily openly with common tools in a short amount of time and that the safe itself cannot be easily removed from the premises.

Readily accessible means authorized users can open the safe quickly without having to go through complicated procedures.

Jeremy Nesbitt - 26 Gun Safe Expert Roundup

Jeremy Nesbitt - Nexgen Outfitters

2020 saw record numbers of people purchasing firearms, so more than ever we all need to be obsessed with safe storage.

The experienced staff at Nexgen Outfitters encourage folks to think about four main aspects when selecting a safe.


Find the right mix of how many firearms you need to store and the room available for the safe.

A “mini-safe” for one or two handguns is pretty self-explanatory, but remember the advertised gun count for an upright fireproof model (example – 24 gun) is with every slot full.

If you need access to several firearms often think about a larger model.


Locks are available in many different styles. Ask yourself how many people need access and what ages are in the household.

Classic keyed entry will be inexpensive but young children are surprisingly familiar with keyed locks.

Look for a biometric or digital option from reputable makers like Sargent and Greenleaf or Secu-Ram.


A good upright safe should have a minimum of 16-gauge steel (more like 12) exteriors along with at least 1” locking bolts every 16” around the door.

Chemically triggered expansion seals like Palusol are critical to locking out heat and smoke at high temperatures.

Extra Goodies 

At the end of the day, several brand safes will be similar in the first three categories, so look for things like included door panels, pistol pockets, plush interiors, and lights to help break ties!


Tony Bynum - 26 Gun Safe Expert Roundup

Tony Bynum -

Obviously, a gun safe is intended to protect guns from theft, misuse, and in some cases a catastrophe like a fire.

If I were buying a new gun safe today, I would make sure to consider purchasing a gun safe that also has enough room for incidentals like jewelry, optics, family mementos like special keepsakes, precious gems, and rare or valuable metals like gold and silver.

It is recommended that you keep some of those things in your safe deposit box, but if you're like me, you need a safe place at home to keep your goods from time to time.

The point is, currently, my gun safe is always short on usable space, and it seems like I'm always wanting to put something in it! You can never have too much safe storage in your home!

One word of caution, always close and lock your safe, it takes only a second, but it will save lives.


Thank you so much to all the experts that have contributed to this expert roundup! Please share this post on social media with your friends and followers. 

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