We may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) when you click on a link and purchase a product. How it works?
When you own firearms, you have to protect them from damage, theft and unauthorized use by people in your house. A gun safe is an excellent solution, but the variety of models available in the market seems a bit overwhelming for buyers, especially when they are looking for their first security device. To make it easier for you to find your way around when you go shopping, we’ve prepared a comprehensive list of the types of gun safes available. They fall into several distinct categories. Check them out.
1. Based on Lock Type
The diversity of locks is far greater than you may think. Here are the main types of gun safes in this category:
Dial lock gun safes – The mechanical dial is very strong and can last for a very long time. Despite the common misconception, it’s neither time-consuming, nor difficult to open the door with it. You must be extra careful about closing the door, however. In addition to pressing the handle, you must spin the dial to lock the safe.
Electronic keypad models – These are the most popular of all types of gun safes right now. You choose a combination and enter it by pushing the buttons. You can change it as often as you like for maximum security. The keypad works with a battery, so you should be prepared to change it when the indicator starts flashing.
Biometric gun safes – These are considered to have the most secure locks of all. You can open such a safe only with your fingerprint which serves as a unique access code. The biometric lock is extremely convenient to use in addition to offering high security. You don’t have to remember the access code and to change it frequently. You may be surprised to discover that biometric models are available from a variety of well-known gun safe brands including GunVault and Barska.
Multiple lock safes – Usually, these have a mechanical lock in addition to a dial or an electronic keypad. It is operated with a key which you must protect to prevent unauthorized access. While the two locks naturally offer higher security, they also make the safe more time-consuming to open. There is a higher lockout risk too. If you tend to forget access codes and passwords and/or to lose your keys, perhaps you should consider other types of gun safes like the ones with a biometric lock.
2. Based on Size
How big should your gun safe be? Check out the main types of gun safes based on size to find the answer to this question:
Handgun models – These are quite compact and can usually hold two or three handguns at the most. There are even models designed for keeping a single gun. The handgun safes are extremely versatile. They come in a variety of designs and can be mounted virtually anywhere including in hidden places like inside closets, for example.
Long gun safes – These are designed for rifles and other long firearms. Models with height of around 58 to 60 inches can hold the longest rifles out there when the scope is removed. While these safes are very tall, they don’t have to be wide. There are some very slim models designed to fit in the corner which makes them ideal for homes where there isn’t much free space.
Multifunctional gun safes – They fit long guns on racks and handguns on shelves or in drawers. A model of this type could be the ideal choice for someone who is passionate about guns and is looking forward to expanding their collection. This is also the primary option for hunters who need to keep a lot of ammunitions and accessories too. Many people use multifunctional gun safes for storing jewelry, documents and other valuables. Browning and Mesa are among the major brands manufacturing such models.
Heavy-duty models – These are usually multifunctional safes, but long gun ones may also fall into this category. The reason why it deserves special attention is the fact that the much higher than average weight adds extra security. These types of gun safes usually weigh over 1,000 pounds, with some experts pushing the lower limit even higher to 1,200 pounds. Because they are very heavy, it is practically impossible to move them from their place without large and complex equipment and a sufficiently big team. Besides, such models tend to have thicker walls and doors too.
3. Based on Properties
The major purpose of all types of gun safes is to protect the contents from thieves. There are some that go a step further and keep the firearms and other items inside protected from natural forces. Let’s check them out:
Fireproof gun safes – While high temperatures cannot melt the thick steel walls of safes, the heat could cause damage to the items stored inside. Sometimes, smoke can have harmful impact too. These are the things which a fire-resistant safe provides protection from. These models have special layer insulation in their walls, strong continuous welding and a special door seal which expands when exposed to heat to provide effective protection. One way to find the best fireproof gun safe in addition to assessing its features is to check its rating given by an independent laboratory. It shows how long the safe can protect the items inside by keeping the temperature below a specific limit. Virtually all popular gun safe brands, from Stack-On to SentrySafe, offer fire resistant models.
Waterproof gun safes – These are not as common as their counterparts primarily since water isn’t as great of a threat as fire. Still, if you need this kind of protection because you live in an area where the risk of flooding is high or for some other reason, you can get it. Just like their fireproof counterparts, the waterproof safes are tested independently and receive rating which shows how long they can keep the items inside protected given the amount of water which they are exposed to.
4. Based on Installation Spot
Concealing the gun safe and placing it within close reach when one is at home are often among the top priorities of buyers. There are many types of gun safes designed to meet these requirements. Here are the main ones:
In-wall models – While these require complex professional installation, they are often more secure than their counterparts. This is because drilling either side of the in-wall gun safe is practically impossible. Additionally, the item can be hidden behind a painting or another work of art or decorative object. While we’ve seen criminals finding such safes easily in movies, things aren’t as straightforward in real life. As a buyer, you must ensure that the model which you pick has effective security features just like its traditional free-standing counterparts.
Hidden gun safes – These are probably the most exciting and diverse types of gun safes which you can find. They are integrated into traditional furniture or decorative items. For instance, rifles can be kept in sliding drawers integrated into a traditional dresser or in the base of wall shelves. There are even dressers with vertical sliding drawers which seem even more concealing. Among the hidden gun furniture pieces, you will also find coffee tables, bedside tables, bookcases, desks, coat racks with storage and even sofas and beds. The sky seems to be the limit to creativity. Generally, gun concealment furniture appears quite ordinary and can be used for its common purpose too. These are factors which make it even more effective for protecting these valuable items from thieves.
Under bed models – The long flat design makes such a safe easy to stick under the bed where it will remain hidden while giving you immediate access to your firearm. This is an effective solution for those who keep a gun or a rifle primarily for protection. At the same time, the typical under bed gun safe is free-standing, meaning it could be grabbed and taken away if it is lighter. That is why when selecting a model, you should try to get one which is heavier and hence more difficult to drag out and to carry. It’s up to you to decide on the most functional design for you. Usually, there is a single drawer for keeping a rifle, but there are models with two separate drawers for handguns. The extra-large models can hold several firearms of various sizes plus other valuables like jewelry and electronics. The choice of locks includes electronic keypads and biometric locksets. Among the brands offering under bed gun safes, you will find American Security and SnapSafe.
Bedside models – While some place these types of gun safes into the concealed furniture category, this is not quite right. The reason for this is that there are different bedside designs and not all of them are hidden. The most basic option is a bedside gun safe integrated into the bedside table. It is usually a concealed vertical or horizontal drawer that you can take out if the need arises. There are also attachable models. They are made to be mounted on the side of the nightstand and can hold a single handgun. They are in plain sight, but offer reliable protection from thieves. The design is incredibly compact and quite clever too. The gun is placed with the muzzle facing down, so that the grip is at the top. This means that you can get hold of the gun instantly, if the need arises.
Corner gun safes – Most of the models in this category are very compact since the corner design’s main purpose is to safe space. Still, it’s possible to find bigger ones if you want more space for storing your firearms securely. In general, the corner models are quite tall which makes them a fine choice for keeping rifles. Some even have top shelves in addition to the rack. The corner safes have four sides unlike the typical corner furniture items, meaning the door is angled in the center rather than flat. This should not have an adverse impact on the level of security, especially when the door is sufficiently thick and the bolts, hinges and welding are strong and durable.
5. Vehicle Gun Safes
These types of gun safes are designed for people who require a higher level of security for themselves, and in many cases for their cargo. They fall into two main categories:
Car gun safes – They are much more secure than the glovebox or any supposed hiding spot inside the vehicle. Most models are portable and can be secured to one of the seats or to a side of the trunk with a strong cable which isn’t easy to cut. For maximum security, you can opt for a console-mounted safe. These models are bolted and can usually be concealed with a cover too. Before opting for such a safe, you should check whether it can be fitted into your car. Professional installation is required. In general, when you are shopping for a gun safe for car, you should look for the same features and benefits as with a regular model for home use. You would want the lock to be resistant to tampering and for the doors and walls to be thick and strong.
Truck gun safes – If you love going hunting, you will certainly benefit from one of those. They are bigger than their counterparts designed for cars, with some models being large enough to hold several rifles plus accessories and ammunitions. There are various designs to choose from when you are shopping for these types of gun safes. The console models are very popular because they can be bolted in place. There are also truck safes designed to be placed under the front passenger seat or one of the rear ones. They are usually portable but can be secured to a fixed interior component. The models designed to be placed in the trunk are long and flat. You can choose from models with a top opening or ones with a drawer style. If you have lots of cargo space in your truck and want to have as many rifles with you as possible, you can get a larger flat safe or pair two smaller ones together.