Best Gun Safes: Ratings, Reviews & Top Picks For Every Budget

First we are going to jump into the key points that you truly need to evaluate before making a gun safe purchase. Our goal is to make sure that whether this is your first purchase ever, or whether it’s your fifth gun safe purchase, that you have all the information you need to make an educated decision. The biggest part of the process of buying a gun safe is making sure you are asking the right questions before you buy. There are several key items that you need to address before you buy so you don’t end up needing a new safe a few months later. Below are some of the key elements you need to look at when analyzing your first or next gun safe purchase.

Size: This is important for several reasons. The first reason is “will it fit” where you want it to. Some individuals don’t have a problem with a gun safe sitting in their living room. If you are like me and have a spouse that prefers to keep your firearms out of sight, this can become problematic. You need to make sure that you are measuring the correct dimensions of your safe before you buy one. You need to make sure that you are measuring your Width, Depth, and Height appropriately to ensure your new safe fits where you want it to. Some of the typical things people don’t think of are listed below when taking measurements into account:

  • Does the depth of the safe include the handle? Sure I can get that safe through sideways at the advertised depth, but does that advertised depth include your handle and combination lock?
  • Do you have anything overhanging in an odd fashion where it might disrupt your safe’s height? I know for me, I have at least 3 inches of space between my shelving unit and safe which is great for storage of small items.
  • If your safe is relatively thin and heavy, does it need to be anchored down? Thinner wider safes have a tendency to lean forward when the door opens. Get some shims or bolt it down if you can.

Weight: Is your safe heavy enough? A 300 pound safe is unlikely to deter theft. You can lift a safe out of a house with a simple hand truck and some time if you are looking at a safe that’s 300 pounds or less. If you are buying a safe in this weight range, I’d HIGHLY recommend you bolt it down. Anything 500+ pounds should be adequate to give anyone trying to take the safe out of your house at least a little bit of trouble.

Lock Type: Buying a large safe? And if so is it your only safe? If your only safe you own is a large safe, save yourself the time and get an electronic lock. A Manual lock will be a nightmare if you have an intruder in your home at midnight and need quick access to your firearm. Good luck turning that dial with Joe criminal lurking around your house. If you have a smaller hand safe, than this is much less of a concern. If you have a bedside hand safe that serves as your primary firearm access, you are probably fine sticking with a manual lock for increased security.

Can I bolt down? This is important because if you can’t bolt down, you need a heavier safe. A lot of houses are built with post-tension slabs these days, and unless you want possible foundation issues, you shouldn’t be drilling into the concrete foundation of your house. Save yourself the trouble and just get a heavy safe that doesn’t require anything to be bolted down.

Do You Have Enough Room? This is one of the most crucial questions. Does your safe have enough room for you to GROW? Nothing is more problematic than buying a large heavy object, installing it in your home and realizing it’s just not big enough. You need to make sure you buy a safe that’s got enough room for it to expand with your family and your firearms.

Fire Rating? This is personal preference. For me I cared far more about all the other topics than I cared about fire rating. Yes it’s nice to have, but was not nearly as much of a deciding factor as the rest of the topics we’ve already covered. If you live in a place where fires are common, this might be more important to you.

If you’ve gotten nothing else out of visiting our site, I hope this buyer’s guide helps point you in the right direction. The questions we have here are designed to make sure you know exactly what you need to ask yourself before making one of the biggest investments you will ever make in home security.

The Importance Of Fireproofing:

Some consumers are under the mistaken impression that all steel gun safes are fireproof. Steel construction can delay fire and heat damage, but does not accord absolute fire protection in and of itself. You must buy a safe that has additional fireproofing lining its interior to fully protect your contents. Without a fireproof lining, the contents of any steel box will be damaged or destroyed as the box becomes hotter.

The flashpoint of paper is 662 degrees and gun metal can warp when it is heated above 1500 degrees. Since the average temperature of a sustained house fire exceeds both limits, you can understand the importance of having a fireproof lining to protect the contents of your safe.

What are the Types Of Fireproof Linings?

Next we will dive in deep to the different types of fireproof linings that you will typically see in most safe makes and models. There are several different methods that this can happen, and most people aren’t aware of all their options.

Sheet Rock Lining:

There are two main types of fireproofing material used in the industry: sheetrock and ceramic wool. Sheetrock is often considered the less efficient of the two because it has a tendency to disintegrate when it is heated. Many manufacturers who opt to use sheetrock use a material that has fiberglass embedded in it to minimize disintegration, but the problem can not be eliminated. The crumpling can cause gaps in heat protection, allowing damage to occur when heat is applied or sustained.

Ceramic Wool:

Ceramic wool offers the most consistent fire protection. Ceramic wool offers fire and heat protection up to 2300 degrees. This material is used to line melt furnaces in foundries and is sturdy. Since the average house fire never reaches 2300 and the heat is not sustained for as long as it would be in a melt furnace, you can understand the protection your contents will be afforded by ceramic wool.

One last consideration to keep in mind with fireproofing is that you need to be sure the entire safe is protected. Some manufacturers try to keep costs down by only protecting the top or bottom of their products. In order to fully protect your contents, you must have a safe that is fireproofed from every angle.  Any one of these options will get the job done, but it’s good to do your research and find what you feel is best for your circumstances.

The Top 3 Best Biometric Choices For Your Handguns:

Biometric gun safes are smaller versions that recognize your fingerprints to open the locking mechanism. The primary function of biometrics is quick access and easy mobility. They should typically not be used for housing valuables, but rather firearms you will need the quickest access to. They are a great tool for firearm security so you can keep your firearms away from your children. Due to being smaller in size, they can be victim to theft in the event of a burglary, so use caution when storing your valuables. Many units offer a combination of both fingerprint and sequential button coding so you can access the contents either way in case the fingerprint recognition stops for some reason.

Should I own a fingerprint recognition unit? The best part about owning one is that they are probably not only one of the securest ways to store a firearm in a compact location, but they are also the easiest to access in the case of an emergency. They are usually compact and slimmer, making them the bedside companion. They can usually hold one small firearm, which in my opinion should be equipped with a flashlight. Most small modern firearms have a tactical rail which will allow a flashlight attachment so you can easily see intruders during a potential evening encounter. Fingerprint recognition models are also great for a first time purchase if you are just a one gun household. Especially for the budget conscious, if you don’t plan on expanding your firearm collection, then this is a great pick and should be considered a great option for smaller versions. The choices represented here are a few of our favorites in the biometric category, and each of them is worthy of consideration.

The Top 3 Small Manual Locking Handgun Safe Choices:

Less technological than its’ biometric cousin, smaller manual and electronic locking models have their place. Smaller manual and electronic locking versions are generally the same size as a fingerprint recognizing unit, but are operated using a digital locking keypad or key lock system instead of fingerprint recognition. They are typically cheaper than biometric versions, but will make it a little more difficult to grab your firearm in an emergency situation. Electronic locking mechanisms are unlocked using an electronic key code combination. Manual locking safes can usually only be accessed by a key. It should still perform just like like others do when unlocking, you just need a code or a key to open it which can be cumbersome in the dark if you are up against a late night encounter.

The good thing about small electronic locking or manual locking versions is that they are typically cheap, and have a lot of good manufacturers that produce them. Personally, this is the type I’d be using for a backup firearm that is not my primary use or carry gun, and I’d be using it in the places I spend the most time that aren’t my bedroom. A den, library, or home office, are all ideal places to stash these smaller vaults. This way you have access to a firearm in need, but probably don’t need the speed of a fancy fingerprint controlled lock. You can usually expect to spend about half or a little less than half of what you would spend on a Biometric for a small electronic locking or manual locking model.

Top 3 Long-Gun Full Size Models:

There are many reasons why you should be looking at buying a full size version for your first purchase. I know that many people have smaller living quarters and can’t afford the cost and/or space it would require for a full size safe. If you are part of this crowd, I’d suggest looking at our Small Fireproof model, or our a Biometric unit. If you have enough closet space, and own at least one long-gun, I’d strongly recommend buying a full size for your first purchase. My first purchase ever was technically a full size model. I outgrew it in less than a year. The primary function of a large safe is to protect your firearms, valuable and most importantly, your family from unauthorized access. Having a good, solid full-size behemoth will not only ensure that your firearms are kept secure, but also prevent your firearms from falling into the wrong hands in the event of a robbery. Full sized models are typically constructed out of premium gauge steel and are tough to move or break into.

This makes them the valuable resource for protecting the things that matter most to you and your family. I’ll cover more in my buyer’s guide – but the one thing I can tip I can give you that’s the most important is always buy a bigger one than you plan to need so you can grow into it. Buying a second full-sizer in less than a year wasn’t part of our plan and luckily I was able to sell the other on craigslist before Amazon delivered my new one. Buy the right one the first time around and you won’t have to deal with any of the hassle of outgrowing your first purchase too quickly. This should be considered a great option in the larger categories and is recommended. We decided not to clutter up our page too much, so you can feel free to review our complete list of Long-Gun models by clicking the link here.

Top 3 Small Fireproof Options:

Small Fireproof models are a great option for valuables and other items that you may not feel comfortable placing in a smaller version. They also work well for handguns but since they are bigger than fingerprint or small electronic locking models, you will need a bigger place to store it. Usually small fireproof brands will house about 3 cubic feet or less and have a decent fire rating. Keep in mind that the primary function of these is to protect against fire, not theft. Because of their small stature, Small Fireproof versions are much more likely to be stolen in the event of a burglary.

They are good for protecting documents and even storing small firearms, but I would be cautious of storing large amounts of valuables in a smaller gun vault. The exception to that is if you can anchor it down. Small fireproofers have their place and if you are able to anchor them down, they are for hand guns as well as valuables while being easily placed anywhere in the home due to coming in a more compact package than standard full size options.

What we aim provide you with our detailed manufacturer reviews:

There are a lot of things to determine when making a purchase such as size, weight, capacity, anchoring ability and of course cost. Every size of vault has its benefits. If you don’t have a lot of money to buy your first, I would strongly encourage you to look at a biometric brand like the Barska. They are smaller, easily accessible and secure. If your first purchase is a larger Long Gun version, I would suggest an electronic lock for quick access if you plan to only own one. If you intend on owning more than one, then picking a dialing lock can be a better choice to keep the cost low while buying a biometric or electronic locking version for immediate access to smaller firearms. I will cover all of the items you should be asking yourself in detail in our buyer’s guide section so you know what questions to ask when looking at buying your own. Now that you’ve read about some of the most popular types as well as our favorites, I want to make sure I’ve highlighted some of the main reasons that you need to have some way of locking up your firearms. If you haven’t fully committed to buying a one as of yet and are still on the fence, please consider the following reasons why owning a gun vault is a must.

    • Child Protection: According to a recent study, Guns kill twice as many children as cancer, and 5 times more than heart disease. This in itself is more than enough reason to own a gun vault to properly secure your firearms. You may not have children, but that doesn’t mean your family, or neighboring children won’t have access to your firearms if they visit your home. Protecting America’s youth from firearm accidents starts with you being a responsible gun owner.
    • Theft Protection: While not quite as important as protecting children, a strong gun vault will protect your firearms against theft. Many people put other valuables in their firearm vaults along with their firearms. If you plan to lock away money, gold, silver and/or important documents I would highly recommend purchasing a model that’s heavy or can be bolted down. Even if you do not plan to store other valuables with your firearms, bolting yours down should always be considered unless you have a post-tension slab which will not allow you to do so. Bolting yours down or buying a heavier model will save you money in the long run by protecting you against theft in the event of a robbery.
    • Liability Protection: Depending on your state laws, if your firearms are stolen, you may face liability from a legal standpoint. Owning a gun safe in states that hold you accountable is an absolute must. Owning a firearm is your constitutional right, but it’s also your job to make sure they are properly secured.
    • Fire Protection: Many of today’s models have fire protection or fire ratings. This not only will help keep your firearms secure in the event of a catastrophic fire, but also any other valuables that you might own that you want to keep secure. House fires have grown at an alarming rate and you need protection that adequately protects against disaster. This is always a great idea to keep things out of harm’s way.
    • Cheaper Insurance Rates: In some states, legislation is being reviewed to propose that firearms owners will need to carry liability protection to insure against the potential firearms accidents. Whether or not this passes will be the subject of a lot of scrutiny. That being said, it’s more than likely that you will qualify for cheaper insurance rates if you have appropriate firearm security in your home. Why risk being caught needing a more expensive policy when you can insure against higher rates and properly protect all those around you? Owning one here is a win-win situation. There’s also a possibility that your actual homeowners insurance carrier may offer a discount for purchasing a certain model with a certain security rating.

Manufacturer Reviews Including Top Selling Models:

First we are going to look at manufacturers that focus on smaller models that usually include fingerprint recognition. If you are looking for a long gun model, you will find our reviews on larger models, keep reading. We break down our top 3 favorite larger vaults along with their manufacturers in detail.

GunVault Co. Overall Review:

GunVault specializes in just one thing and that’s smaller handgun vaults. They make plenty of options with biometric fingerprint recognition and some with just a key to lock up your valuables. They do not really focus on larger models which is why they are a leader in the smaller safe niche. If you are looking to buy a safe for your handgun, you can’t go wrong with any model that they offer. There are other popular manufacturers that we will cover a bit later on, but GunVault is by far the brand with the most popularity. All of their models come with an exclusive 5 year fire and burglar warranty which is not something that most other manufacturers will offer. They’ve also been around for 20 years and make their safes exclusively in the United States which is outstanding for those of you that prefer to buy American made.

Another great point about GunVault products is that they are typically ready to ship online. We always prefer companies that stock with Amazon because it takes the shipping headache right out of the equation. You know right off the start that you are getting a quality product that will be shipped right off the bat. With that being said, let’s take a look at GunVault’s top selling product and find out if this is something that might fit what you are looking to accomplish.

So what is GunVault’s Top Selling Model?

This was a tough call for us to distinguish so we decided to go ahead and cover 3 of theirs that consumers seem to prefer. We could easily distinguish which one sells the most volume, but the bottom line is that all of these sell massive amounts – it just depends on what you are trying to use it for.

GunVault: One of the Best Gun Safes For Your Car:

At a glance, the NV200 NanoVault with Key Lock may look like a great choice due to cost. But what you have to consider is that during an emergency situation, you are going to want to have quick access to your handgun. That rules out anything that needs a Key. For this reason, we prefer the MV500-STD due to the biometric technology that will make reaching for your gun simple.

It’s slightly larger than the NV200, but it only weighs five pounds and is made from 16 gauge steel which is almost impossible to break. The reviews of this model on the internet are positive, and most people like the fact that it has over 12 million user programmable codes to choose from. The minimalistic approach makes it ideal for you to keep in your car and use it solely for handgun protection when you need quick access.

The Best GunVault Model for Your Home Office:

Some people like to keep a gun readily available in their office under their desk. Maybe your house or apartment is laid out that your office or den is closer to the access points in your home than your bedroom. If you spend a lot of time in your home office, then you can easily pick up our favorite safe that will mount directly under your desk. The GunVault SV500 with digital keypad is the best option to store your firearm away from visibility while still giving you quick access to your gun.

It’s price friendly. It’s a efficient way to lock up your handguns and other valuables in your home office or really any other place where you need immediate access to the gun. The lock is easy to operate. It may end up being a little slower to operate than a model with fingerprint recognition, but not by much. It’s made of 18 gauge steel and it has multiple mounting options that others do not. It’s big enough to fit a full 1911 which makes it ideal for almost any type of handgun. It has a backup override key, and once your code is entered, the drawer drops down quickly.

Our Favorite GunVault Choice for Your Bedroom:

This wasn a tough one for us to give you our choice on. While there are other options you can pick from, the GV2000C ended up as our choice for a compact option that you can keep under your bed or anywhere in your bedroom. We love this model due to the fact that it has two separate sections that you can use to store other valuables outside of a handgun. The patented “no eyes” keypad allows you quick access to anything you have stored inside. It will not fit on or under your nightstand but these bedside gun safes will, so please read the full article if you are looking for something to keep near you while you sleep.

Like its smaller cousin, the MV500, it has over 12 million programmable user selected codes in order to access the contents of the vault. We are pretty high on this model mostly because the size is larger than most options with fingerprint recognition, and it gives you the option of storing more than one handgun if you aren’t ready to commit to a full size vault. While you can certainly choose cheaper options, you can’t go wrong by picking up the GV2000C.

Our Favorite GunVault Model on a Budget:

If you are on a tight budget and looking for something to secure your firearms in a small package, then you will probably have to forego the biometric feature as it costs more. The good news is that you can get quality in the smallest of ways by looking a bit deeper at the GunVault NV200. The key is easy to operate and the NV200 is made of 20 gauge steel. It’s the smallest of all the options that we’ve looked at and includes a security cable.

It’s still big enough to hold a full size 1911 if that’s your preferred handgun, and it also meets TSA guidelines which makes this a cheap way to transport your firearm if you intend on taking it with you when you travel. It’s also one of the best sellers online, with almost double the amount of positive reviews over other brands.

Now that we’ve given you the skinny on all the GunVault models, you should be able to take a look at which one can fit your needs if you are looking at a smaller safe and not in the market for a bigger one. Next up, we will take a look at some of the manufacturers that are a little more diverse in their market and some that just simply specialize in larger models.

Viking Brand Vaults – Top Sellers Compared

Like GunVault, Viking focuses strictly on smaller units, almost all of them Biometric in nature. Viking produces some quality products and almost all users seem happy with their purchases. Vikings are usually bigger than the GunVaults, so it’s probably not recommended to look at this brand if you are looking at buying something to store firearms in your car or somewhere else that’s a compact location. They do offer an “in-wall” model that’s rated and have a few larger options with fingerprint recognition technology. These safes typically run big enough to hold a laptop or other valuables and most come with manual override key systems. The fingerprint readers on the Vikings seem to function almost flawlessly making these an excellent choice for someone that just owns one handgun or again, wants to have one under their desk in their home office. Below we are going to cover a few of their models in more detail.

What’s the Best Viking Model For a Drawer?

The VS-82BMD is a great option for your office or bedside drawer. I personally prefer the GunVault MV500-STD for any drawer use, but this model is a good secondary option. Viking produces a quality product and this is no different. You get a stronger product than the MV500 but it’s also heavier which means that you need a pretty sturdy desk to support it. It’s also big.

If you plan on putting this bad boy in a drawer, make sure that you have a big drawer to fit it in. I do prefer the one finger recognition over the MV500 for quick access, but outside of that the MV500 is cheaper and smaller to fit in just about any desk.

What’s the Best Viking Model to Mount to Your Wall?

Viking passes GunVault in this category and if you are looking for something that’s going to be mounted inside or outside of the drywall of your house, then this is the manufacturer you want to look at. They offer two primary options, one smaller and one larger depending on what you need. We are going to look at both of these options to compare which one is best for what you need.

The VS-82BM is the smaller wall model that Viking offers. It’s only about 5 inches deep and can be mounted on the inside or outside of your drywall. If you are looking at mounting your safe on the outside of your wall, the VS-82BM is slightly smaller and lighter in weight than the VS-52BM, which means you will have a little bit more flexibility as to where you can mount it. It’s only 17 pounds which makes it a good option to mount just about anywhere.

The VS-52BM is our absolute favorite fingerprint recognition model that you can mount inside your drywall. It will require some handy work or a professional install as you will need to cut away some of the drywall to mount it directly into your wall where it won’t take up any space. This is a great option if you want to have something right next to your bed that just pops open and has your firearms inside for easy access.

It has a key override which makes it nice in case you need someone else to access it you are away from your home, but it recognizes up to 100 fingerprints, making it easy for you to program for anyone in your household that you trust who you feel may need some access to it. It’s not recommended for elderly individuals as the skin on your fingers tends to wear with age making it harder to identify the user which could cause delays in the event you need quick access to your firearms. This is our favorite Viking model, and we plan to upgrade to this in our own home once we have the time to dedicate to the self-install. This is one of the safer options if you have kids, considering the other smaller fingerprint recognition safes on the market are generally not mounted down and can be moved around pretty easily unless you bolt them to the floor.

Mesa Safe Co.: Our thoughts:

Now we get to dive into our larger model reviews, and Mesa Safe Company leads the way. They are a smaller company and provide some fantastic options for both homeowners and business owners. There are many companies that rely on this particular brand to fulfill their business security needs including hotels, pharmacies and other high risk industries. The best part about the Mesa Safe Company in my opinion is the fact that most of their safes come equipped with an electronic locking keypad. They don’t traditionally rely on combination models that have a manual lock, although it’s an option.

One of my favorite things about the Mesa Co. is that the sell their top selling product online. There are some manufacturers that will only deliver locally or make you pay the shipping to a distributor before having it delivered directly to your residence. With being the distributor of one of the most popular (and reasonably priced) models out there on the market, you can pretty much be guaranteed that there are not going to be problems with fulfillment when it comes to making sure that your delivery order is on time. I know many people including myself that have had HUGE issues ordering directly from a local store or local distributor due to the fact that they are usually solely dependent on their supplier’s inventory and/or if they actually need to completely build out whatever one you finally put together.

Best Long Gun Safe For The Money: The Mesa Safe Co. 14.4 Cubic Foot Vault:

We’ve already talked about the fact that offers the Mesa Safe Co’s most popular model, but you are probably dying to know which one it is. Well, with flawless reviews, the MBF6032E 14.4 cubic foot model happens to be our absolute favorite out there on the market outside of the Liberty Fatboy Junior (which is also more expensive). The MBF6032E has more than enough room for all your firearms, and with 14.4 cubic feet it will hold almost anything you have in your arsenal. One of the better things about this option in comparison to the Liberty Fatboy Jr, is that while the Fatboy claims to be able to store 48 long guns, this number is actually somewhat inflated because it doesn’t count the fact that you will probably want a door organizer or a dehumidifier, both of which can take up space.

The Liberty Fatboy Jr also has a wide layout and has a tendency to tip which makes shims a must. The Mesa Safe Company MBF6032E does not have that same problem. The weight balance is evenly distributed and the sheer fact of the matter is that it’s just put together better than most safes on the market today. It ships FREE when you purchase through the internet which I can guarantee most other large models will not!

The MBF6032 is one of the the best safes for the money that you can buy, hands down. It has all steel construction and that comes with a 1.5 inch overall thickness and upholstered interior. It’s also fire rated at 1 hour at 1750 degrees! Most other safes are in the 1200 degree category when it comes to fire rating, but not the MBF6032. This is huge because statistically speaking you are just as likely to get robbed as you are to have your house burned down in a fire! Most people overlook fire rating specifically to make sure that they buy the heaviest safe they can buy so they don’t have to worry about a burglar running off with it. That’s all a moot point if your home burns down in a fire, so you should consider both points equally.

You can check out more detailed user reviews online by clicking the links below. The MBF6032 has a 100% user satisfaction rating, so this is one purchase that you cannot go wrong with. For more details about this awesome model, checkout the video below.

American Security Overall Review:

Amsec is a premium manufacturer that’s been around since the 1940’s and they produce one of the highest quality brands. they do an goodjob manufacturing their safes and few manufacturers do it with more quality than Amsec does. They are based out of California and they distribute to pretty much all major retailers and wholesalers, but you will usually find the best deals from their safes when you buy one online.

American Security makes their safes to withstand burglary as well as most heavy duty fires. They have a specialized process that they use when they make all their models and they refer to themselves as the “Modern Cavemen” when it comes to the construction of their safes. Instead of focusing on how to right size costs by outsourcing parts of their manufacturing business, they stay focused on the best possible product that they can build by making sure that they keep their operations right here in the United States. Amsec specializes in producing larger vaults instead of trying to expand their operations into smaller types of vaults. They leave the manufacturing of smaller hand locking and biometric locking models to the experts like GunVault which we will talk more about later on.

Outside of keeping their operations in the United States and producing quality products, I can tell you that one of my favorite things about the Amsec brand is the paint color choices that you have when you buy a unit from them. It’s possible that you may end up with just a more standard black or grey because that’s what you want – but they produce so many different models that you typically have the choice to pick a color scheme that may match your house or the area that you plan to keep it locked up in. My personal favorite happens to be the off white color that a good portion of their safes are available in from a coloring perspective. But I also like the fact that you can typically choose between a digital or combination lock as well. You can usually build these from the ground up at any reputable manufacturer, or you can just do the easy thing and pick them up online to make it easy and ensure that you are ordering from a reputable online vendor.

So what’s the best selling Amsec Model?

From what we have seen and looked at ourselves, the Amsec BF7240 is probably the Cadillac of all firearms vaults. What it lacks in total overall room inside the unit, it makes up for with 120 minute fire protection at 1200 degrees as well as other features including 11-1.5 inch diameter bolts and the option to have an inner lining in their HD models that further insulates your valuables from any harm. The BF7240 is an amazing choice and should probably only be looked at by the most serious of firearms owners. It’s sleek and stylish. You can check out a good video of what to expect when taking home this behemoth by watching the video below.

Winchester Co. Overall Review

Winchester Co. provides some practical options with just one catch. Their models are manufactured in China. This personally does not bother us, because most people that purchase their products seem happy with their purchase. Most of their product lines are cheaper than other manufacturers due to the overseas manufacturing and they typically pass that savings on to their customers by offering a cheaper product. They specialize in larger models and do offer a few smaller fireproof options for someone that has a small handgun collection and just wants something that they can bolt down while securing personal documents as well as other important valuables.

Winchesters are available at most retailers and since their safes are not built to order, you can also order them from the internet just like the other companies we’ve featured here today. They mass produce their products which keeps them a little bit more in the box though, and sometimes quality does get sacrificed for mass production.

What’s the Most Popular Winchester Model?

The Winchester Ranger Deluxe has a 30 gun capacity and comes stock with an electronic lock. We love this model, but not more than the 30 gun capacity that the Mesa Safe Co. MBF6032 offers. It’s more in cost, which is more expensive and you only get an extra 100 pounds in weight. The fire rating is less than the MBF6032 at 1400 degrees for an hour, whereas the MBF6032 is rated at 1750 degrees for the same time period. The Winchester’s size is not as wide but much deeper than the MBF6032 which makes it more of a “boxy” safe from a storage standpoint.

The main benefits you will get here is a more boxy layout which is sturdier and less likely to tip over than the MBF6032 and its also 100 pounds heavier. You will have to decide if it’s worth the cost for this 30 gun vault. Personally,  we’d lean more towards picking up a Cannon S33 which holds 48 guns instead of 30 which we will cover next.

Cannon Manufacturer Overall Review:

Cannon makes their products overseas, but don’t let that stop you from checking them out. They mass produce theirs like Winchester does, but their quality generally seems to be a little better. They are also becoming slightly more popular than Winchester overall as a brand you can buy on a budget. The downside for Cannon is that they are more focused on security and not as much on fire safety. Most of their models are fire rated for 30 minutes whereas other companies typically try to hit that hour mark when it comes to protecting your valuables in the event your house was ever to burn down. If you aren’t as concerned about a house fire, 30 minutes for burn protection should be sufficient. Nobody plans for house fires though, so keep that in mind when you are making your selection. Cannon typically caters to the larger vault crowd, so most of their best sellers will be able to house rifles, shotguns, and other larger types of firearms.

So what’s the Best Choice when Buying a Cannon?

This is easy – the Cannon See Scout packs a TON of storage for the same cost as the Winchester Ranger Deluxe. The main difference here is that the Cannon Scout will carry 48 long guns! The storage for the cost is good, but make sure you have plenty of room to accommodate the width. The S33 Scout is probably the closest you are going to get from a budget + space combination outside of the Liberty Fatboy Junior which is more expensive. The Cannon is wide and tall but not very deep, so more than likely you will need some wooden shims underneath the safe to prevent tipping unless you plan to bolt it down.

It’s very sturdy, but vaults this wide and not as deep have a tendency to tip when you pull on the front or open the door and swing it open quickly. It does only weigh in at 585 pounds so it’s lighter than other models, but the width will make it difficult for any burglar to steal given that it’s difficult to move in and out of a house because of the different structure . No doubt you would need at least 2 people to lift/move it, which means that you have the added security of knowing that someone can’t load it up on a dolly and pull it out of your house without a lot of work. This is a safe that you can’t go wrong with.

First Alert Fire Safe Reviews:

Next, we are going to take a look at First Alert. First alert is different than any manufacturer we’ve looked at so far as they spend most of their time focused on smaller fireproof models. While these are not typically labeled as a “gun safe” they can be used in that same exact fashion. First Alert made their name by making the fire detectors and have become successful in this field as a result. Their “Atom” fire alarm has won many accolades for being one of the smallest fire alarms out there, so it would make total sense that First Alert gets into the fire vault manufacturing process.

Since they focus mostly on fire protection, you end up getting a lot of fire protection in a small package. These safes are fantastic if you intend on just having a smaller collection of firearms or valuables to keep in it. Most of their models have backlit keypads which help keep the keypad visible at night. The first alert safes are a good alternative to some of the Viking brands if you intend on buying something that you’d like to keep out of sight in your closet and don’t mind a smaller one that could be carried off if it’s not bolted down. Some of the First Alert Models do come with the ability to get bolted down so we will look at those as well in a little more detail.

Best Small Fireproof Safe on a Budget:

The First Alert 2054F is a 1 hour fire rated model that comes with a manual combination lock. It weighs in at 56 pounds making it relatively light and easy to move around the house. This little powerhouse is rated at 1700 degrees Fahrenheit at a full hour of fire protection. This would NOT be the safe you should look at if you need to access your firearms quickly.

If you are looking for good basic protection of your smaller handgun collection from your kids or if you are looking at something that you need to keep sensitive documents in, like social security cards. Some people feel more secure knowing that it will take a full combination rotation for anyone to break into their vault. If you are that type of person, than this is a great entry level option that you can get into on a budget.

Best Small Fireproof Model with Electronic Lock:

The First Alert 2092DF waterproof fire safe will keep your valuables secure for up to an hour at 1700 degrees just like it’s smaller cousin the 2054F. This safe is our personal favorite if you are in the market to buy a smaller fireproof safe, only because it comes with an installed digital locking keypad with 1.31 cubic feet of space. This is great for a mid-sized model and it has 50% space than the 2054F. It carries the First Alert backlit keypad to help you see what’s going on with your safe if you need to access it at night.

It also has a removable shelf if you have multiple items that you need to keep secure and it weight in heavier than the 2054F at 93 pounds for the 1.3 cubic foot model. Smaller sizes are available for the 2092DF, but we recommend sticking with the 1.3 because of the additional space it allows. It does include batteries for the keypad and comes with a 5 year limited warranty and a lifetime after fire replacement if something were to happen with the safe.

It’s also waterproof in case you live in an apartment complex or condo that has sprinklers installed in the home. This is great because in the event of a fire where the sprinkler system goes off, your valuables will remain protected if your apartment or condo gets soaked. It also comes equipped with a manual override key on the safe’s exterior in case you forget the combination at some point.

SentrySafe Reviews:

Now that we’ve covered First Alert in detail, let’s take a look at their largest competitor – SentrySafe. After you get a brief overview on SentrySafe as a manufacturer, we will dive into their top 2 selling models and how they compare to First Alert.

SentrySafe is gets a high five right off the bat for being manufactured in the USA. They specialize in smaller safes and have some biometric options that can contend with GunVault which says a lot about their commitment to the vault craft as they continue to grow their business. Their products are top notch, and you may end up paying just a little more for them as a result.

Their warranty is good and they have an awesome return policy, so you can just send it back to the manufacturer within 90 days if you aren’t satisfied with the product. They also offer a Fire Protection limited reimbursement guarantee program on all of their safe models. It’s something you have to pay for, but it’s a small cost to ensure that if anything were to happen to your safe during the event of a fire, that you have what you need to make sure you are covered from losing your important documents or prized possessions. Let’s dive in and take a look at two of their top selling Fire Rated Safes.

Best Rated Manual Combination Small Fireproof Model:

The SFW205CWB Waterproof Combination vault earns the title of highest rated by users online for any fireproof vault that has a manual combination lock. We aren’t big on combination locks for quick access situations, but this safe gets great reviews for its fire protection abilities. This is a great safe for the money for what you get in the smaller package. It comes with a UL Classified 1 hour fire protection rating and it’s water resistant.

It has a door pocket and key rack for smaller items. It also has 6 large 1 inch bolts on the door, which are much larger than most smaller fire safes. It’s also heavy at 138 pounds which makes it tough to carry if you are a burglar and you don’t have help. Users are generally high on the manufacturing quality and the room inside the safe in addition to the pry resistant hinge bar. It’s also waterproof which like some of the First Alert safes, is a huge bonus if you live in an apartment.

Top Selling 2 Cubic Foot Fire Safe:

The MSW5839 is one of SentrySafe’s top selling models. It has a digital keypad and 7 live locking boltsThe MSW5839 is one of SentrySafe’s top selling models. It has a digital keypad and 7 live locking bolts. The best part about the MSW5839 is the fact that it can be bolted down, so weight is NOT an issue. You can bolt this safe down to pretty much anywhere in your house that you have access to do so. It’s water resistant and fire resistant up to 1700 degrees for an hour. It’s also water resistant up to 8 inches of water for up to 24 hours which makes this a great choice if you live somewhere that floods are common.

Thank You and Wrap Up:

Now that you’ve looked through our complete comparison guide, you should be equipped with all the information you need to make a purchase. In my opinion, (and as evidenced by our reviews) safes are not a one-size-fits-all type of situation. Everyone has different needs and different requirements. In my opinion it’s also important to have a larger main vault and an ideal a secondary backup used for your bedside, office or in any other place you’d need to have quick access to a firearm. I personally own both a long gun model and a biometric hand version and feel the biometric option is great for quick access and convenience. While there are many places you can put a smaller model, I was able to mount my biometric safe behind my headboard and now with a swipe of my hand, I have access to my firearm on demand. Only you can decide what model is going to best fit your needs, but now that you’ve spent some time with us, you have all the information you need to make an educated decision after reading up on the most popular brands.

We have covered a lot of material here on our site, and you have some fantastic choices to choose from if you are looking for a new gun safe. I would refrain from buying used, as you never know what kind of abuse that particular safe may have been through. I would also encourage you to go for a vault that’s as big as possible so you know that you will always have plenty of room to grow. Nothing is worse than buying the wrong model from day one. You will only create more headache for yourself as you realize that you just need to buy a bigger one and then figure out to do with the first one you bought. Make sure you reread our research since we’ve taken all the guesswork out of it for you if you still don’t feel like you have the right idea or information that you need prior to making a purchase.

Thanks for taking the time to check out our site. If you have any questions at all or would like to see another brand reviewed that we haven’t included, please feel free to reach out to us at any time on our Contact Page. Make sure you stop and take a look at our Buyer’s Guide for important questions to ask before making your purchase if you haven’t already answered all your questions by reading through our gun safe reviews. We hope that our information is useful to you and that you find the best gun safe for your needs.