If a handgun makes you safer, do you need a handgun safe to keep it safe (pun intended)?
Wordplay aside, this is a serious question, but the answer is easy: yes, you do. Unless you don’t have a handgun at all. Or you don’t have a car. But if you are an armed citizen, you absolutely need one.
Humans are prone to underestimate potential threats assuming that everything will be fine. That kind of attitude is called normalcy bias. We particularly tend to display this behavior when we take basic emergency preparedness measures. “I have a gun to defend myself and my family, so I can relax now”.
Well, without a car handgun safe, you might lose both your false sense of security and your weapon in a blink of an eye. Here’s why.
Why Do You Need a Car Gun Safe?
You need a sheath for your knife and a holster for your handgun. But, what about a vault and a car handgun safe? I believe you need both, but today we’ll talk about car handgun safes.
You may have a “carry” permit for your gun, but it doesn’t mean you can take it anywhere with you. Laws and rules differ a lot across the states, but all of them have some gun-free-zones and restrictions. Wherever you live, you can’t enter Federal court facilities, post offices, banks, and aircrafts carrying a gun. When we move to the state level there are all kinds of restrictions and bans.
So, when you need to visit a post office or any other gun-free-zone, what are you going to do? You can leave your weapon at home, or put it in a car handgun safe. Obviously, if you do carry a gun regularly, you will prefer the latter. Sometimes, you won’t even know that the guns are prohibited until you get there. So, a car safe is the best option to part with your gun for the shortest amount of time.
Why the Glovebox Won’t Do
Why can’t you just leave it in a glove box or in a trunk? Well, cars aren’t the most secure places and a glove box is probably the first place a thief will search. Stolen guns are among the largest contributors to the underground gun market on the streets. And they are mostly stolen from homes and cars.
Another important aspect of a car handgun safe is to keep your weapon away from your family members, especially children. Kids’ curiosity has no boundaries and you don’t want them to find a new “toy”.
How to Choose a Car Gun Safe – Basic Concerns & Recommendations
A car handgun safe should not be your regular gun storage. It is the place to store your weapon when you can’t carry it or while on the road. So, it doesn’t have to be a nuclear bomb-proof. However, in order to provide safety, you should follow a couple of guidelines before purchasing one.
- Size and space. You need to fit it in your car so it can be relatively easily accessible and out of sight. First, find a suitable place for it in your car so you can buy a fitting safe.
- Construction and protection. You should choose a safe with strong construction. Even the strongest construction will be useless if the lock is weak, though. So, look for high-quality and pry-resistant locking mechanisms and combine it with a decent construction.
- Anchoring. This is a very important but often underestimated detail. If the thief can grab your safe, no lock will stop him from opening it later on. And the strongest and the most reliable safe won’t keep your weapon safe if the anchoring cable can be cut quickly. Also, you should bolt or attach the safe to a car component that can’t be ripped out.
- Keep it away from prying eyes. Car thieves usually operate within a narrow time frame. They will try to grab what they can find quickly and get away as soon as possible. If your handgun safe is prominent and noticeable, it’s like you’re having a ”rob me” sign in your car.
THE BEST HANDGUN SAFE – OUR TOP 7 PICKS
1. Hornady Lockbox for Guns and Valuables
This is one of the most popular car safe models. It provides excellent security and functionality, and you don’t have to break a bank to buy it. Strong construction and pry-resistant security make it a very reliable product.
Plus, I love the size of it. It is large enough to accommodate most handguns, yet small enough to fit almost anywhere in your vehicle without getting in the way.
- 16 gauge steel housing
- Security cable rated for 1,500 lbs
- Compact but big enough
- Foam interior
- Barrel key lock could be better
2. SnapSafe Keyed Lock Box
This is a small and compact safe box. Even though the manufacturer calls it “large”, with 9.5” x 6.5” x 1.75” interior dimensions, it falls on the smaller side. But, I think it is the advantage of this model. It is available in XL and XXL sizes if you need a larger one.
This safe meets TSA airline firearm guidelines, so you can carry it on your flights as well.
- It comes in three sizes
- Strong construction
- 4ft anchoring cable
- Meets TSA guidelines
- Not the highest quality lock mechanism
3. GunVault MicroVault Portable Compact Gun Safe
If you don’t want to worry about keys and hate to rotate tumblers, this is a great handgun safe for you. It has a digital, “no-eyes” keypad which is even illuminated in the dark. So, this is an easily accessible, and reliable safe.
Strong and tight steel lip and anti-pry tabs provide additional safety. It comes with two backup keys if your battery runs out or you forget the combination.
- Quick and easy access
- Anti-pry tabs
- Solid strength
- Difficult to crack
- Anchor cable
- Backup keys
- 5-year warranty
- It needs a 9V battery
4. Fort Knox PB1 Pistol Safe
This is one of the strongest and toughest safes on our list. 10-gauge steel is as strong as it gets. A simple push-button combination mechanism works smoothly as well. It has a little bit over 1,000 combinations, which is not too much, but it’s enough.
However, it doesn’t come without flaws! While this is a really strong and reliable handgun safe, it is not the most convenient one. You may have problems finding a place where it will stay away from pry eyes and be easily accessible.
- Extra-strong 10-gauge steel
- Simple and reliable lock mechanism
- Lifetime warranty
- Made in USA
- Pre-drilled holes to allow bolting
- No security cable
- Difficult to conceal
5. SentrySafe PP1K Portable Gun Safe
If you’re looking for a simple, basic, and affordable gun safe this is a great choice. It is compact and portable. Clever door design and secure locking mechanism make this safe pretty much pry-resistant. It has a key lock and additional security cable to attach it to a stationary object.
- Compact and easy to fit anywhere
- Carrying handle for portability
- Anchoring cable
- Thick foam padding
- Key access only
6. CACAGOO Biometric Gun Safe
Is it possible to access your gun safe in 0.1 seconds? Oh, yes it is! CACAGOO Biometric Gun Safe will open with a single touch of a fingerprint.
Besides the high-tech opening mechanism, this is very convenient and reliable safe. It is pretty large so you can easily store two regular handguns and a couple of clips. You can record up to 40 individual fingerprints. However, if you don’t want to rely on electronics, it has backup keys for manual opening.
- Fastest possible access
- Reliable fingerprint reader
- It is large but compact and easy to conceal
- Security cable
- Backup keys
- Built-in hinges and safety bracket
- None that we’ve noticed!
7. First Alert 5100K Portable Handgun Safe with Key Lock
This is one of the lightest models out there. Some manufacturers focus on bulletproof construction, millions of combinations to prevent cracking, while others focus on convenience because no gun safe is completely safe.
This model is relatively small, compact, and very easy to conceal. The construction is strong enough and it comes with a 3-foot security cable.
- Weighs only 3 pounds
- Easy to hide
- Strong security cable
- Meets TSA guidelines
- Portable and easy to install
- Lock mechanism could be better
Conclusion About Handgun Safes
While car safes don’t offer the same level of protection as home vaults, they are necessary for all people who carry guns on a regular basis. If you keep them concealed and attached to a structural component of the vehicle, your weapon will be safe.
A car safe is temporary storage so it doesn’t have to be fireproof, waterproof, and absolutely unbreakable. After all, if given enough time, a dedicated thief will find a way to open just about anything.
However, that’s what car thieves usually don’t have – plenty of time. So, when properly conceived and mounted, a decent car gun safe will keep thieves and children away from your weapon.