Gear Review: Top five quick access pistol safes for all budgets

A quick access safe provides convenient access to pistols while also properly securing it from children or other unauthorized individuals. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Responsible gun ownership entails locking up guns when not in use; but how do responsible gun owners balance safety with access? With a quick access safe of course! Pairing techy features that grant speedy access to pistols with designs that prevent prying hands, quick access safes provide gun owners with the perfect blend of security and efficiency in times of need. With a bevy of options to choose, has narrowed the field and come up with our top five picks for the best quick access pistol, listed from most expensive to least expensive.

1. Gunbox 2.0 — $289

The GunBox 2.0 comes with a biometric and RFID setup to allow gun owners to quickly access a stored firearm. (Photo: Gunbox)

The Gunbox 2.0 is by far the most technologically progressive quick access safe on the list, boasting RFID and biometric capabilities. The basis for the Gunbox 2.0 is that gun owners, in the heat of the moment, might forget combinations or lose the fine motor skills required to manually key in a code. The Gunbox safe takes the guesswork out by allowing users to place their finger on the fingerprint scanner or use RFID equipped keychains/cards to pop the top on the pistol safe. Though the Gunbox 2.0 is a snappy safe that opens quickly, the technological approach does have its downsides. Namely that biometric only works for some people and not with dirty or wet fingers. In addition, the Gunbox uses a charging cable and batteries, so that leaves room for failure if the unit suffers from dead batteries.

The actual build of the Gunbox 2.0 is sturdy. Constructed from diecast aluminum, it’s light enough to move from room to room but also resistant to prying hands. Featuring a hydraulic opening mechanism and interior LED light, the Gunbox also touts an audible motion alarm that alerts users if the safe is moved. The safe is also outfitted with USB charge ports that allow it to charge other devices, such as tablets or phones. Offering pre-drilled mounting holes and a tether cable (sold separately) the Gunbox can be either mounted or tethered for better security. Topping our list on the high end of the price spectrum, the Gunbox 2.0 is perfect for the gun owner who prefers a high end techy means to secure their pistol.

2. GunVault SpeedVault — $279

The SpeedVault by GunVault provides a stealthy means to store guns, mounting against walls and under desks. (Photo: GunVault)

The SpeedVault by GunVault delivers the most unique design on the list. While most pistol safes suffer from a boxy approach, the SpeedVault shakes things up with a rectangular, vertical design and digital combinational entry. The SpeedVault orients a single pistol in a manner that allows gun owners to immediately get a firing grip on the gun once the combination is input and the safe snaps open. Equipped with a light, the safe illuminates the pistol when the vault is opened for nighttime operation. As with any digital design, the SpeedVault is subject to its 9V battery; though the SpeedVault does sport an audible low battery tone to prevent lock-outs due to dead batteries. In addition, the safe offers a backup override key, preventing gun owners from being totally locked out of the unit.

Mounting to the wall, the SpeedVault’s advantage is that its unique shape can easily fit where traditional pistol safes can’t. Its shape paired with its steel construction grant users a pry resistant, sturdy safe that delivers on its promise of quick access. While not the cheapest brand on the market, the SpeedVault by GunVault is a solid option for users looking to circumvent the traditional box safe for something slightly unique.

3. Ft. Knox Original Pistol Box — $259

The Ft. Knox pistol boxes use a Simplex mechanical lock to safely stow pistols. (Photo: Ft. Knox/Facebook)

The Ft. Knox Original Pistol Box provides a heavy steel box paired with a Simplex locking mechanism. The Simplex system utilizes mechanical buttons providing positive feedback. Users pop in their code then turn the knob next to the buttons clockwise and the safe is open. The biggest advantage to a Simplex style safe is that it doesn’t use batteries, so gun owners don’t have to worry about getting locked out of their safe due to dead batteries. The downside to the Simplex locking system is that combinations are limited with only 1,081 viable codes.

The Ft. Knox safe is built like, well, Ft. Knox. It’s sturdy steel body offers a pry-resistant design that keeps guns or other small valuables secure. Four pre-drilled bolt down holes allow users to mount the safe for added security. Inside, the safe is lined with foam to protect guns and valuables. Though pricey at over $200, the Ft. Knox’s Simplex system and steel style grants gun owners piece of mind when it comes to stowing and accessing pistols.

4. Sentry Quick Access Digital Pistol Safe — $96

The Quick Access Digital Pistol Safe boasts a backlit digital lock for single handed access to pistols. (Photo: Sentry)

The Sentry Quick Access Digital Pistol Safe provides yet another digital design, but this time under $100. The quick access model by Sentry features a steel construction outfitted with a backlit digital lock for single handed access. The addition of a backlit to the actual digital keys is a nice addition for those that need to access their pistol or valuables in darkness. Battery-powered, Sentry’s safe suffers the same design flaw as its digital brethren in that batteries fail. Also, Sentry doesn’t equip its safe with any kind of audible tone to signify low batteries, so users have to remember to swap out batteries regularly on their own.

The Sentry safe is a sturdy option, heavy and perfect as a nightstand pistol safe. Sporting a pry resistant design, the safe is equipped with a compression gas strut that quietly and automatically opens the safe once the combination is keyed in. The lined interior protects firearms while the bolt hardware allows the safe to mount to a surface for better security. A more budget friendly option, the Sentry is perfect for gun owners who like a few high-end features but don’t want to pay a high-end price.

5. Stack-On PDS-1500 Drawer Safe — $40

The Stack-On is pry resistant with a user configurable combination lock. (Photo: Amazon)

A true budget friendly option, the Stack-On PDS-1500 Drawer Safe stores guns and valuables in a solid steel design. Pry resistant, the PDS-1500 is outfitted with an electronic lock dashboard that beeps with each press of the button – alerting users that a key has been pressed. The safe features a time-out period by which users are unable to input any additional combinations after three incorrect tries, This feature, while nice in theory, is the biggest disadvantage of this safe. If, in the heat of the moment, users incorrectly key in their combination they are locked out of the safe for the designated time, losing valuable minutes.

Battery operated, users are also responsible for remembering to swap out batteries. The Stack-On safe comes with pre-drilled holes for mounting and ships with fastening hardware. The Stack-On PDS-1500 is a decent option for gun owners on a tight budget who want a safe means to stow guns for under $50.

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