Best Pistol Safes: Top 7 for 2020

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who has some sort of handgun at home, then this article is for you. Whether you have a pistol or a revolver, we want to help you find the best safe for it.

Let’s dive into the best safes for pistols, revolvers, and handguns in general.

Comparison Table

GunVault GV2000C-DLX
GunVault SV500 Speedvault
Fort Knox - PB1
Fort Knox PB4
Liberty HDX-250
Liberty HDX-150
V-Line Desk Mate

Products Listing

Fort Knox PB1 Pistol Safe Review

First on our list is the Fort Knox PB1 (also known as the Fort Knox FTK-PB), one of the most popular handgun safes on the market (I’ve got one) — for good reason. This tried and true Fort Knox pistol box has a strong 10-gauge steel body. It’s topped off with a 3/16” solid steel top-opening door, which weighty enough for the PB1 to use a highly reliable gas-assisted door opening strut.

The door is not only strong, but also pry resistant. If you’re a gun safe expert, you’ll know that certain older handgun safes could actually be breached by a paperclip or some other evil but simple method. Fort Knox took all those horror stories into account and designed the PB1 specifically to counter that case. It sports a wrap-around door, which helps eliminate potential insertion points for a prying attack.

rue to our stance about good handgun safes having a powerful but easy-to-access lock, the Fort Knox PB1 comes with a mechanical simplex lock.

This lock is a Fort Knox staple. It consists of five buttons and allows for up to 1,081 combinations (which admittedly could be better). However, what the PB1 lacks in possible combinations it makes up for in reliability and ease of use. Folks who own the PB1 appreciate how the simplex lock doesn’t need power. This gives it one fewer weak link. Also, they often remark about how — once they learn to do so — they can enter the combination without looking directly at the lock.  

The PB1 also has four holes at the bottom. They are big enough to put your standard bolts in case you want to affix the safe into a hard surface and make it difficult to remove. Some folks have been able to chain their PB1’s to a fixed position using the holes.

To offer cushion your handguns, the PB1 has two layers of protective foam. One is on the top (under the lid), and the other is on the bottom).

The Fort Knox PB1 is guaranteed to fit at least one pistol, and can easily fit two. It all just depends on what specific weapons you have, and how you arrange them.

Some sample configurations I know you can put in the FTK-PB include…

  • 2 M1911s (I do this)
  • A 4” .357 Magnum revolver, a 9mm pistol, and extra ammo for both.
  • A 9mm pistol, 2 magazines, and an extra box of ammo.
  • A Glock 22, a Ruger LC9, along with extra ammo.

Overall, the Fort Knox PB1 is a great handgun safe for several reasons. It has very strong construction, a convenient but secure lock, and comes backed up with Fort Knox’s track record of reliability (and also a lifetime warranty).

If you want a good safe to store your revolver or handgun, the PB1 might be your best option. And rest assured, the safe is made here in the USA, at Fort Knox’s factory in Orem, Utah.

Fort Knox PB1 Specifications
  • Inner Dimensions: 3″ H x 10-1/2″ W x 9″ D.
  • Capacity: 0.164 cubic feet
  • Outer Dimensions: 4-1/4″H (5-1/4″H with buttons and knob) x 12-1/2″W x 10-3/8″D
  • Construction: 10-gauge steel with 3/16” wraparound door.
  • Weight: 24 lbs
  • Locking mechanism: Simplex mechanical lock
Pros
  • High quality construction with 10-gauge steel
  • Pry proof door
  • Reliable simplex lock
  • Comes with Fort Knox manufacturer’s lifetime warranty
  • Made in USA
  • California DOJ Approved
Cons
  • Only 1,081 combinations on the lock
  • No handle, so if you wanted to carry this it might be a bit hard.

Stealth Original Handgun Safe Review

Our runner up is Stealth Tactical Solutions’ Original Handgun Safe. If you look at Fort Knox v. Stealth Tactical safes: Fort Knox is well known partially because it has a very wide selection, while Stealth does not have as many products. However, the quality of Stealth products is usually on the same level as Fort Knox ones.

If you look at the Stealth Original Handgun Safe v. Fort Knox FTK-PB, you’ll see they have pretty similar specifications.

With almost identical interior/exterior dimensions, they both have 10 gauge steel bodies and a heavy 3/16” top-opening wrap around door. They both weigh 24 lbs and use simplex locks. Additionally, they both have drill holes at the bottom for easy affixing.

However, there are a few differences.

The Stealth Original Handgun Safe has these items, but the Fort Knox FTK-PB doesn’t:

  • Carrying handle

In addition to protective foam layers, a pluck foam interior which means you don’t have to buy your own foam padding if you choose to use it. The pluck foam interior basically consists of blocks that you can remove to fit the contours of your weapon/ammo. Note that some buyers have complaints about the durability of that foam interior though.

On the other hand, the FTK-PB has these items but the Original Handgun Safe doesn’t

  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Longer and more established track record amongst gun owners

Overall, the Stealth Original Handgun Safe offers most of the benefits of the FTK-PB, so they are pretty similar products. I put it second simply because I’m a conservative guy and like to go with the proven models, and the FTK-PB is more proven (plus backed up with that warranty). You would want to consider the Original Handgun Safe over the FTK-PB IF portability is important to you. Since it has a handle, the Stealth Original Handgun Safe is more portable. That might work better if you move often, or sometimes take your handgun with you in a vehicle.

Some sample configurations I know you can do with the Stealth Original Handgun Safe include…

  • Two M1911s, along with extra ammo.
  • Two Ruger SR9Cs, along with extra ammo.
Stealth Original Handgun Safe Specifications
  • Inner Dimensions: 3″ H x 10-1/2″ W x 9″ D
  • Capacity: 0.164 cubic feet
  • Outer Dimensions: 4-1/4″ H (5-1/4″ H with knob) x 12-9/16″ W x 10-1/4″ D (11-1/2″ D with handle extended)
  • Construction: 10 gauge steel body, 3/16” steel wrapping around door, chrome-plated thick locking bolt.
  • Weight: 24 lbs
  • Locking mechanism: Simplex mechanical lock
Pros
  • Has a handle for easy carrying
  • High quality construction with 10-gauge steel
  • Pry proof door
  • Reliable simplex lock
  • Provides (blocks) pluck foam interior
  • Made in USA
  • California DOJ Approved
Cons
  • Only 1,081 combinations.
  • No lifetime guarantee.
  • Pluck foam interior might not be most durable, but that’s a pretty small expense to replace.
AMSEC PS1210HD Handgun Safe

AMSEC PS1210HD Review
American Security (AMSEC for short) is another well-known safe manufacturer. The PS1210HD pistol box/handgun safe is a heavy duty product that is also quite similar to the Fort Knox FTK-PB.

Its dimensions and materials are quite similar to both the FTK-PB and Stealth Original Handgun Safe. However, there are a few differences if you look at the AMSEC PS1210HD v. Fort Knox FTK-PB or AMSEC PS1210HD v. Stealth Original Handgun Safe.

AMSEC PS1210HD Handgun Safe

Compared with the FTK-PB, the AMSEC PS1210HD is more portable. It has a handle, whereas the FTK-PB does not (similar to the Original Handgun Safe).

The most notable advantage of the AMSEC PS1210HD is that it shields its simplex lock. On the underside of the door, the AMSEC PS1210HD encases its whole locking mechanism inside of a welded steel box. This helps prevents a punching attack, in which a thief might try to punch through to the locking bolts in an attempt to undermine them. AMSEC is the only manufacturer that provides this safeguard.

AMSEC PS1210HD Handgun Safe Inside

It’s good that the PS1210HD has such shielding, but to be honest I don’t think punching attacks are particularly common with handgun safes. They require detailed knowledge of locking mechanisms to execute, something your average thug is not going to have. If you have a collector’s weapon that might attract more dedicated thieves, then maybe this is something worth considering though.

AMSEC PS1210HD Specifications
  • Inner Dimensions: 3″ H x 10-1/2″ W x 9″ D
  • Capacity: 0.164 cubic feet
  • Outer Dimensions: 4-1/4″ H x 12-1/2″ W x 10-1/4″ D
  • Construction: 10-gauge steel with 3/16” steel door, including two pry-resistant steel locking bars.
  • Weight: 24 lbs
  • Locking mechanism: Simplex mechanical lock.
Pros
  • Has a handle for easier carrying
  • High quality construction with 10-gauge steel
  • Pry proof door
  • Reliable simplex lock
  • Shielding for simplex lock
  • Made in USA
  • California DOJ Approved
Cons
  • No lifetime warranty, though there is a one year manufacturer’s warranty

V-Line Brute Mechanical Review

V-Line Brute Handgun Safe Interior
Two pistols and a watch inside a V-Line Brute

While the FTK-PB, Original Handgun Safe, and AMSEC PS1210HD are all pretty similar, the V-Line Brute Mechanical is a bit different. True to its name, this handgun box has 25% more interior volume than the three previously listed handgun boxes.

Of course, it also provides all the standard features we’d want. It has a 10-gauge steel body, 12-gauge handle, simplex lock, California DOJ approval, and is of course made in the USA.

V-Line Brute Handgun Safe

Besides its larger volume, the V-Line Brute Mechanical has another big distinguishing factor: its clam-shell design. The edges of the V-Line Brute Mechanical’s lid go almost all the way to the bottom of this handgun safe’s side. This makes the Brute exceptionally hard to pry open, even more so than its competition.

Whereas I lump the FTK-PB, Original Handgun Safe, and AMSEC PS1210HD together, I’d put the V-Line Brute Mechanical Safe as its own beast. Folks I know who bought V-Line products also report above-average customer service, which is always a plus just in case something goes wrong and you need them to address it.

Sample configurations I know you can do for the V-Line Brute include…

  • A Sig 228, S&W R8, an extra magazine, and a speed loader.
  • A Sig P226 with lots of extra ammo.
  • A H&K VP9 with 2 extra mags and a flashlight.
V-Line Brute Mechanical Specifications
  • Inner Dimensions:3-1/4″ H x 9” W x 12” D
  • Capacity:0.203 cubic feet
  • Outer Dimensions: 3-3/5″ H x 9-1/2” x 12-1/2” D
  • Construction: 10-gauge steel, 12-gauge steel handle with pry protection
  • Weight: 23 lbs
  • Locking mechanism: Simplex mechanical lock with deadbolt across locking mechanism
Pros
  • Bigger than the competition, if you want to put more in.
  • Clam-shell lid
  • High quality construction with 10-gauge steel
  • Reliable simplex lock
  • MADE IN USA
  • California DOJ Approved
Cons
  • Might be less convenient to stash away because of larger size.
  • No handle if you want to carry it.
  • No lifetime warranty.

Fort Knox PB4 Review

Fort Knox PB4 Handgun Safe

The PB4 (also known as the Fort Knox FTK-PN) is another personal handgun safe/pistol box from Fort Knox. Branded as Fort Knox’s go-to “Personal Pistol Safe”, the PB4 is smaller and less weighty than its cousin, the PB1.

The biggest difference between the Fort Knox PB4 v. Fort Knox PB1 is the door. The PB4 has a side-opening door, whereas the PB1 has a top-opening door.

Top-opening doors are slightly more common on gun safes, perhaps because in an emergency situation it’s easier to quickly grab a gun vertically rather than laterally. The difference isn’t big though. Another reason is that it’s easier to deal with foam padding for top-opening safes.

Fort Knox PB4 Handgun Safe Bolted
Fort Knox PB4 bolted sideways to a plywood wall.

Besides the door, there are other things that are different between the Fort Knox PB4 v. Fort Knox PB1. The PB4 has a slightly smaller volume and interior dimensions (255 cubic inches for the PB4, v. 283.5 for the PB1). However, the PB4 can still hold two handguns if you arrange them properly.

The PB4 is also slightly lighter than the PB1, at 20 lbs versus the PB1’s 24 lbs. It’s still made of 10-gauge steel, but I would assume that the side-opening door is a bit less strong than the PB1’s top-opening door. However, that isn’t to say the PB4 is weak. It is still a very strong safe overall. After all, we are comparing it to other leaders in the pack at this point.

All in all: if you want to get a more compact safe and prefer a side-opening door, the Fort Knox PB4 might just be for you.

Sample configurations
I know you can do for the V-Line Brute include…

  • Two Glock Pistols, extra mags and ammo
  • One M1911, along with lots of extra ammo.
Fort Knox PB4 Specifications
  • Inner Dimensions:3-3/4″ H x 8″ W x 8-1/2″ D
  • Capacity:0.148 cubic feet
  • Outer Dimensions: 5″ H x 9″ W x 12″ D
  • Construction: 10-gauge steel
  • Weight:20 lbs
  • Locking mechanism: Simplex Lock, with a side opening door.
Pros
  • High quality construction with 10-gauge steel
  • Fort Knox lifetime warranty
  • MADE IN USA
  • California DOJ Approved
Cons
  • Side-opening door slightly less durable (but still pretty strong)
  • Smaller than the competition/its cousin the PB1
  • Only 1081 combinations for simplex lock.

AMSEC PS1210EZ Review

AMSEC PS1210EZ Handgun Safe

Be careful not to mistaken the American Security AMSEC PS1210 EZ with the AMSEC PS1210HD.

As the “EZ” its name implies, the AMSEC PS1210EZ is “easy”… if you want to carry it around (ex. To store in your car). However, that does come at a cost of slightly lower protection.

AMSEC PS1210EZ Handgun Safe Review

Unlike many of the other safes on this list, including its cousin the PS1210HD, the AMSEC PS1210EZ is made up of 14-gauge steel rather than 10 gauge steel. As a result, it also only weighs 14 lbs. It also has a built-in handle. This makes it easier to carry around, but also means it is easier to attack.

The AMSEC PS1210EZ might be worth considering if you live in a lower crime area, or are on a tighter budget. This safe will definitely keep out your kids, but if you’re worried about robbers, then I would recommend one of the 10-gauge safes. Folks I know have also found the PS1210EZ to be a good safe to stash (out of sight) in their cars or under their beds due to its portability.

AMSEC PS1210EZ Specifications
  • Inner Dimensions: 9″ D x 11-3/4″ W x 3″ H
  • Capacity: 0.184 cubic feet
  • Outer Dimensions: 10-1/10″ D x 12-1/4″ W x 4-3/20″ H
  • Construction: 14-gauge steel Weight 14 lbs
  • Locking mechanism: Simplex mechanical lock
Pros
  • Easy to carry with handle and lighter weight.
  • Slightly larger volume than the 10-gauge competition
  • Made in USA
  • California DOJ Approved
Cons
  • Only has 14 gauge steel – less strong
  • No lifetime warranty, although it has a 1 year manufacturer’s warranty

GunVault GV2000C-DLX Review

GunVault GV2000C-DLX Handgun Safe

The GunVault GV2000C-DLX is the odd one out on this list of best secure handgun boxes. The GV2000C-DLX not only has a side-opening door, but also has an electronic keypad lock rather than a simplex mechanical lock. It comes with two backup keys, just in case you need to open it again. Additionally, it is made with 16-gauge steel, making it have a weight of 14 lbs.

All this means that the GV2000C-DLX is still good for keeping out kids. The 12 million combinations on its electronic lock will keep your kids guessing (though you’ll want to really hide those backup keys). However, depending on the situation, you might want to think more about whether it’ll help protect against the thieves in your area. If a thief attacks the safe with brute force, it will not hold up for as long as a 10-gauge steel safe. The reason why we’ve put the GunVault GV2000C-DLX on this list is because it has the largest interior volume we’ve seen for a handgun safe, practically 2x all the competition.

The GV2000C-DLX is so big that it even has two shelves, which help maximize the amount of weaponry and accessories you can store. This size is probably what makes the GV2000C-DLX just as popular as the 10-gauge safes amongst handgun owners. If you want a safe that can fit a lot, and are more worried about your kids than determined thieves, the GunVault GV2000C-DLX will do you will.

Sample configurations inside the GV2000C-DLX include:

  • 3 subcompact 9mms, flashlight.
  • S&W M&P 40, two magazines, full ammo box.
GunVault GV2000C-DLX Specifications
  • Inner Dimensions: 6″ H x 9″ W x 12 3/4″ D
  • Capacity: 0.398 cubic feet
  • Outer Dimensions: 8 1/4″ H x 10 1/4″ W x 14″
  • Construction: 16-gauge steel
  • Weight: 14 lbs
  • Locking mechanism: Electronic keypad lock, side opening door
Pros
  • 12 million combinations on electronic lock — keep those burglars or kids guessing until eternity!
  • 5 year manufacturer’s warranty… better than no warranty or 1 year warranty.
  • Large volume, 2x the norm.
  • Made in USA
  • California DOJ Approved
Cons
  • Only has 16 gauge steel… weakest one on this list.
  • Electronic keypad lock will need battery (9 volt) replacement
  • No lifetime warranty.

Why do I need a handgun safe?

#1 reason you need a handgun safe: theft

According to the FBI, handguns are stolen more than any other kind of gun! If you think about it, that’s not really surprising.

By definition, handguns are relatively small. Therefore, they are easy to move, use, and hide. Think of those “young thugs” you see on the news. When they’re “packing heat”, they’re usually tucking handguns away in their sagging pants.

Where do you think those handguns might come from? Well, the answer usually is… stolen from law-abiding gun owners like you and me — at least those of us who don’t lock those guns away properly!

Fortunately, because you’re reading this, you’re someone who’s taking responsibility and trying to make sure no thug gets your guns.

Needless to say: theft is the #1 threat to handguns.The safe you get should keep that in mind!

#2 reason you need a handgun safe: kids

Sometimes, tragedy strikes when a young child stumbles upon their parent’s handgun. Because handguns are small, children might easily mistaken them for toys and cause something disastrous to happen.

Buying the best handgun safe possible helps you be a more responsible gun owner and parent. Part of growing up in a Second Amendment-friendly household is having a healthy respect for guns. Putting your pistol or revolver under lock and key is a way to show that respect. When they get older, your children will thank you for leading by example.

A word of advice: once you do put your handgun in a safe, put that safe somewhere higher up. That way you can reach it, but your young child cannot. That adds an extra layer of protection, and will help your truly have a childproof gun safe situation.

Most important factors for finding a handgun safe

Locking Mechanism

A good locking mechanism will make a huge difference when it comes to protection against both thieves and children. Thieves can sometimes open badly made handgun safes by slamming them against the ground (to disengage locking pins) or prying the doors open. Kids can also get really creative; if you get a bad safe, they might jiggle things around and accidentally open the door.  You obviously don’t want that to happen!

Ease of access

This has do with the locking mechanism, as well as where you can put your safe.

Handguns are probably part of your personal home defense strategy. That means you don’t want them to be too hard to reach or open when something bad happens. For example, you probably don’t want to use a key lock. Just imagine if an intruder was seconds away from breaking in, and you had to waste that valuable time trying to find the key!

In this article, I’ve incorporated ease of access as one factor when recommending the best handgun safes. I also have a dedicated article for best quick access gun safes that can help you think about not only pistols/handguns, but also long guns (because shotguns are also quite common for home defense too).

Legal Compliance

Since you’re storing weapons, you’ll want to comply with any relevant gun storage laws. All of the best pistol and revolver safes we recommend here meet or exceed the California Department of Justice’s standards.

his means you can rest assured that you’re following the law when you buy the safes listed here.

Construction

This factor is probably more important for thieves than kids. Like with any safe, you want to have walls that protect against assault by tools.

You don’t necessarily need bank-grade steel since someone trying to open a handgun safe with a blowtorch will probably end up damaging the handgun. However, you still need to make sure the safe is made with good material.

Size

This should be pretty obvious. Handgun safes are going to be smaller than other safes, because your handguns shouldn’t be too big. At the same time, the best handgun safes shouldn’t be too small either.

FAQs about Handgun Safes

What about biometric handgun safes?

You might be asking: wait, what’s the best biometric handgun safe? Our response is: if protecting against a home invasion is important for you, don’t get a biometric handgun safe!   

Why? Well, one of the most common complaints about gun safes sounds like this:

“I got this biometric safe and I had to swipe my fingerprint a couple times before it registered! How annoying!”

here’s a time and a place for biometric safes. They might be good for documents and other valuables. However, handguns are different. Chance are that you want to keep your handgun BOTH secure AND reliably accessible… just in case you need it for protection.

Biometric locks will workmost of the time. However, that might be good enough for situations you need 100% reliability, not 99%. Situations…. like a home invasion.

Occasionally, biometric locks can suffer momentary failures. For example, if your fingerprint is sweaty, a biometric lock might not register your print properly until you dry it off. Plus, biometric locks need electricity. If the battery goes out, you can’t open the safe.

his might be OK if you’re opening a document safe for tax day (you can just wash your hands or swap the battery). This is definitely NOT OK if you want to stop a thief who’s broken into your home.

When your adrenaline is pumping and an intruder is already inside, every second… and every sweat drop… counts. Being able to pop open your handgun safe without sudden failures might make the difference between life and death!

herefore, we haven’t put any biometric safes on here. There are some decent ones, but we’re assuming that you want to protect against home invasions.

What about fire resistance? Can I find a fire resistant gun safe?

This might sound a bit weird, but hear me out.

I don’t consider high-grade fire protection to be a top priority for gun safes. And even if you wanted to find a gun safe with high fire rating, you probably couldn’t.

Here’s the reality. Guns are made of metal, which is not as flammable as paper. Your gun is also far more replaceable than important legal documents or family mementos.

While in an ideal world you’d have the best gun safes also be super fire resistant, there is an important tradeoff between gun protection and fire protection.

Many safes (particularly those meant for paper documents) provide extra fire resistance by specially retaining moisture.

This is the exact OPPOSITE of what you want for a gun! Too much moisture is bad for your guns. Moisture causes rust, and rust causes guns not to work properly.

Therefore, it’s usually not worth it to find a gun safe that has a very high fire rating. If you do, it’s more likely your gun will rust than it will catch on fire!

Besides, gun safes with very high fire ratings are almost nonexistent for the exact reasons I describe.  

To learn more, read our article about how to maintain your gun safe.