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Budget Gear Review: Best Gun Safes (2016)

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    Whether you’re a casual hunter who has a family, or an avid shooter who spends as much time calculating and testing hand loaded ammunition as you do on personal grooming; the security provided by a quality gun safe is the best way to protect your investment.

    The holiday season is a great time to replace a safe you’ve outgrown, or to bring another style of safe into your growing arsenal.

    Hunters who have collected an amassment of heirloom, or other ornate pieces may opt for a traditional cabinet style of weapon storage; folks looking to store more than just hunting rifles may seek out a fireproof option to protect documents and other items; and gun owners who have families may wish to even get a small option to stow an everyday carry (EDC) pistol in a convenient place that’s safely out of the kids’ reach.

    Whatever your reasons for shopping for the best gun safe, make sure you buy the right safe for the right reasons.

    The Gun Safes you need to consider when buying:

    Product

    Image

    Price

    Rating

    1. Mesa Safe Company MBF5922E

    Currently Not Available*

    2. Gunvault GV2000C-DLX

    Currently Not Available*

    3. Blue Dot Safes Second Amendment Fire-Resistant Gun Safe

    Currently Not Available*

    4. BARSKA Quick Access Biometric Rifle Safe

    Currently Not Available*

    5. Stack-On TD14-22-SB-E-S

    Currently Not Available*

    What to look for in a gun safe

    There are so many options in the weapon storage market, it can make your head swim. Let’s start by breaking down some of the key features in a quality gun safe so you can easily decide which suits your needs (and your collection) best.

    Cost

    The most obvious, and usually the most important, factor in shopping for any item is simple: how much does it cost? A great gun safe will not only protect your weapons from theft or unintended handling, but it may also protect other valuables.

    When making your decision on just how much to spend, try to keep in mind what other items you may be protecting inside your safe. You may think that spending a few hundred bucks on a safe doesn’t sit quite right with you, but when you calculate the added protection for other precious items, you may feel better about increasing the ticket value.

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    Overall Quality

    Here’s a riddle: when is a gun safe not a gun safe? When it’s not safe. Ok, I’ll stop being clever; my point is that a tiny lightweight gun case, or a glass-fronted gun cabinet, are not equal to a gun safe in terms of actual safety.

    If your goal is safety—skip the thin-walled gun cases that can be easily breached or simply carried off. A quality construction and decent lock are mandatory.

    Lock

    With the availability of a handful of different locks, be sure you choose the right one for your application.

    Your home defense weapons probably shouldn’t live behind a combination lock that you’re unlikely to be able to see in a low-light scenario, and that unfired Colt Gold Cup pistol your Grandfather left you in his will shouldn’t be stored in a cheap case that won’t protect it from the environment, let alone theft.

    Capacity

    If you’re like me, you’re not just a hunter, but also a collector. Great pieces that are family hand-me-downs take up space just as that hot new rifle you just had to buy three seasons ago, don’t get us started on that growing pistol collection…right?

    Whether you’re expanding, upgrading, or buying your first gun safe, I always urge people to leave some room to grow—you’ll use it. Even if you think you won’t add to your collection, you may find that storing your ammunition or other valuables in the safe make the extra space worth having.

    Size and Weight

    This may be as limiting a factor as cost. There’s a Zen-like line that a gun owner needs to walk; a line between having secure storage for their collection, and having to modify their home in order to fit a safe the size of a Volkswagen.

    How much is too much? That may depend more on your home than your wallet, and woe is the man who buys a safe he can’t fit into his domicile.

    www.sportsmansteelsafes.com

    Options and Accessories

    Hey nothing comes without a little room to upgrade right? There’s a host of killer upgrades, add-ons, and accessories in the gun safe market, and depending which new safe you get your hands one, you could go as far as setting up a secure network connection inside your safe to store your data.

    Seriously. It sounds like overkill, but the amount of digital data we accumulate these days is so great that many manufacturers are starting to offer network jacks as factory options. Other options are much more practical, you know, things like lights. It’s nice to actually see your collection once it’s securely stored, isn’t it?


    Outdoorhill Top Five Recommendations

    1. Mesa Safe Company MBF5922E

    The Mesa Safe company is a trusted name when it comes to protecting your valuables.

    This rugged gun safe may not hold an entire armory, but weighing in over 500lbs, you’ll find this gun safe will be an extremely durable and secure option.

    The safe is pre-drilled for adding a dehumidifier, and even has an internal power outlet.

    If you’re looking for an exceptional safe for your collection, but don’t want to dedicate a massive amount of space to storage, look no further.

    Editor Rating:

    With a moderate price just under $750 as of this article, the Mesa 14 rifle safe is certainly not the cheapest safe on the market; however, this safe will ship free for Amazon Prime members, and it offers features typically included in safes that cost an arm and a leg. The only limiting factor here would be the size of your gun collection.

    Things We Liked

    • Fire protection: 1 hour at 1750 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Solid steel deadbolts and a drill resistant hardplate for added security
    • Pre-drilled with internal power plug for a dehumidifier
    • Bolt-down kit for secure installation
    • Easy to use electronic lock
    • Re-locking system for added security

    Things We Didn't Like

    • 14 gun capacity may be small for collectors
    • Limited space for hanging an organizer on the door

    2. Gunvault GV2000C-DLX

    Not every gun owner has a collection of rifles that needs to be stored in a massive hulking safe in their basement.

    For folks who already have an excellent gun safe for their rifles, or for the people who wish to have a more readily available place to stow a few pistols, the Gunvault GV2000 is a great option.

    The handprint design on the top of the Gunvault acts as the platform for the electronic lock, but what we really like is the available key lock.

    Editor Rating:

    Relying on electronics can make life convenient—for as long as the electronics work. Being able to access your pistols quickly by key or an electronic lock makes for peace of mind. There is a shelf inside this safe, so you could store a pistol or two inside the safe as well as a flashlight, small medical kit, or really anything else that you’d like to keep secure.

    For a secure pistol storage option that is under $200, we think this one of the best possible options. Keep in mind the dual power sources (battery and AC power) and the dual locking mechanisms (electronic and keyed). This is a great buy.

    Things We Liked

    • Dual locking systems allow access in almost any scenario
    • Foam lining protects your items
    • Built in timed lights illuminate the interior without draining batteries
    • Dual power sources (battery and AC)
    • Room enough for multiple pistols, or other valuables.

    Things We Didn't Like

    • If not bolted down, it’s susceptible to being carried away.
    • Not fire or water proof
    • Limited capacity

    3. Blue Dot Safes Second Amendment Fire-Resistant Gun Safe

    Tipping the scales at 879 pounds, this massive 51 rifle capacity fireproof safe is certainly not for the weak of heart, or wallet.

    At around $1500 this safe is clearly our most expensive recommendation, and also the largest, we have to admit this may not be the perfect safe for every gun owner out there; but don’t forget, this beauty offers not only excellent security, but lots and lots of room to grow.

    The proof is in the pudding, so to speak, and this safe comes packed with the size and features of safes that typically cost more than double this price.

    Editor Rating:

    Just think how great it would be to crack open your safe and be able to quickly inventory all of your rifles, pistols, and ammunition. No more opening one small cabinet, then going to the bedroom closet to fish out that gun you forgot to store after hunting season, then sorting through cans of ammo in various places in the basement.

    The Second Amendment safe has room enough to keep all of your loot in one place. In terms of security, this safe is loaded with features ranging from a drill-resistant plate, to chromed steel deadbolts, right down to its 12GA steel construction and powder-coating, so it’s completely utilitarian, but stylish as well.

    There are holes for bolting this down, just in case you think someone could actually lift this beast—and the interior is nicely decorated with a plush grey lining.

    Things We Liked

    • High rifle capacity
    • Included door panels for added storage
    • Great security features
    • Fireproof to 1700 degrees
    • Excellent customer service

    Things We Didn't Like

    • Very large and heavy
    • On the expensive side

    4. BARSKA Quick Access Biometric Rifle Safe

    If fireproofing is not a concern, you may be interested in the incredibly convenient biometric safe offered by Barska.

    Fire protection aside, this safe is a good buy, coming in just under $230 as I write this—you could have your weapons conveniently stored with a foolproof locking system for an extremely low price.

    With the ability to store up to 120 identities (which is to say 120 fingerprints) this safe is definitely handy.

    The upper shelf can accommodate a full sized pistol, or some ammunition of you choose—while the main storage area holds about four rifles depending on their size (more like two if you’re storing kitted out tactical weapons).

    Editor Rating:

    We think a safe like this may fit nicely into the home of someone who wants to keep some home defense weapons nearby, but doesn’t want to try and fiddle with a key in the dark—or type in an electronic code in a hurry.

    There is a loud audible beep when using the electronic lock, which can be disabled, but is cool because it lets you know if someone is trying to access your safe—again great for home defense or keeping weapons out of unauthorized hands.

    Things We Liked

    • 120 identity storage makes for easy access
    • Excellent for quickly accessing home-defense weapons
    • Holds rifles and potentially a pistol, or ammunition.
    • Mounts to a wall or floor
    • Easier installation than a cumbersome safe
    • Great price

    Things We Didn't Like

    • Small storage capacity
    • Lacks fireproofing

    5. Stack-On TD14-22-SB-E-S

    Stack-On is a well-known name in the safe industry, and for good reason.

    With all of their experience in the market, they are able to offer safes like the TD14-22 which boasts a 22 rifle capacity, waterproofing, fireproofing, and comes with a door organizer as well.

    An outlet is installed inside for adding a dehumidifier, and the shelving may be arranged to provide storage for other items aside from rifles.

    Overall this safe offers a lot of features for a modest price, just under $900, which is a reasonable price considering the features and size.

    Editor Rating:

    As with all gun safes, you’re paying for peace of mind as much as you are security, so having enough space to put your weapons and other valuables with the added water and fire protection really adds value.

    Things We Liked

    • Waterproof (up to 2 feet)
    • Fireproof for 75 minutes up to 1400 degrees Fahrenheit
    • A lot of features for the price
    • Electric outlet for installing dehumidifier
    • Included door organizer allows added storage

    Things We Didn't Like

    • Internal fit and finish leaves a little to be desired (carpet and shelving may need tweaking)
    • Some users wish for a higher quality electronic lock

    Final thoughts

    So you’ve seen our highly recommended safe options. As a collector myself, I understand just how hard it can be to find a perfect option that will provide the security you want, fit in your home, and also fit into your budget.

    My absolute recommendation is to get the biggest and best safe you can afford, even if it requires you to save up for longer than you’d like. Saving a few hundred bucks up front, just to end up needing a bigger (or better) safe a few years down the road really isn’t a savings in the long run.

    Of course, buying the best safe you can afford doesn’t mean you need to siphon funds from your annual vacation fund. Dropping a few thousand dollars on a safe that needs to be lowered into your home at the hands of a skilled crane operator is a cool daydream for some of us, but unless you’re a lottery winner that may not be feasible.

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    We chose the Blue Dot Second Amendment safe as our favorite here at Outdoorhill. The price tag is heavy, no doubt about that, but the 51 rifle capacity and excellent internal storage options will come in handy for almost any collector out there.

    The door organizer can hold a small armory itself, and the excellent fireproof rating should offer peace of mind to anyone who wishes to protect their investment.

    As an added bonus, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, this safe is available with free Prime shipping. Our last recommendation goes a bit beyond gun safety, and more into operational security. If you live in an area where trash and recycling is picked up at your curbside—you may wish to break down the packaging from your safe and dispose of it more discretely.

    Call it security by obscurity if you’d like, but keeping your gun collection to yourself is the goal of a gun safe—and we think the idea of leaving a large box that says “gun safe” on the side of the road by your home may be a form of advertising that could have some negative impacts to say the least.

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