Choosing a gun safe is a serious decision. You want to make sure it provides the right level of protection and features a suitable amount of accessibility based on the contents being stored inside. With the number of models available on the market today, it can be hard to separate the good from the bad, and the great from the good. To help you explore your options and find a gun safe that meets your needs, here are some of the best gun safes of 2017.
- Two emergency keys provided
- Multiple user capabilities
- Removable shelf for organizing interior
- Pry-resistant door design
- Fingerprint doesn’t often have to be realigned to get a proper reading once the fingerprints are stored
- Users must scan each fingerprint multiple times (per manufacturer recommendation)
- Interior carpeting isn’t top of the line
- Isn’t designed to be bolted into place
- Key lock could potentially be picked
- No fire protection rating
The ArdwolfAS30 biometric safe features strong steel construction, making it highly pry-resistant and rugged. The door structure includes 5mm solid steel while the walls are double reinforced and include 2mm steel sheeting.
The biometric lock makes the contents readily available during an emergency, such as incidents requiring home defense measures. It also comes with two emergency keys, ensuring the interior can be accessed even if the batteries operating the fingerprint scanner aren’t providing sufficient power to unlock the door. The manual key lock for the safe is hidden behind the logo on the front of the safe door, limiting the chance of accidental discovery by potential thieves or other unauthorized users.
The door has two livedoor bolts for added stability and features pry-resistant concealed hinges to make brute force entry a challenge. The fingerprint access panel includes a wake button as well as LED indicator lights to confirm whether access is granted.An emergency exterior battery compartment allows a new battery to be installed should the interior batteries die, and key access isn’t an option.
The interior of the door houses the main battery compartment. In total, only 4 AA batteries are required to keep the fingerprint scanner functioning properly. The default reset button is also on the interior of the door, allowing the previously stored fingerprint information to be removed and new ones to be added.
On the interior, the Ardwolf AS30 has a carpeted floor, helping to prevent scratches and similar damage to the safe as well as the items stored within. There is a removable interior shelf, allowing smaller items to be well organized or the entire space to be occupied by a larger object. With a total of 0.33 cubic feet of storage, this biometric safe is suitable for handgun storage.
An Ardwolf AS30 biometric safe weighs in at almost 21 pounds and is 15 x 11 x 10.8 inches in size. This makes the safe relatively compact, but still sturdy. It can easily be installed inside cabinets and closets, making it easier to conceal than larger models. The exterior finish is a traditional black, making the safe discreet when installed in a dark location like a closet.
The safe can store fingerprint information for multiple users. It is recommended that each person records two or three fingerprints to improve the rate of correct identification. This includes scanning a single finger multiple times, slightly adjusting the position each time, to ensure the safe will open when accessed by an authorized user. However, user reviews suggest the fingerprint scanner is very robust and capable, and rarely requires a user to realign their finger for proper operation.
Users can follow the included instructions to setup the safe, and Ardwolf provides toll-free customer support should additional assistance be needed. However, the included instructions are relatively easy to follow, so most users won’t need help.
One thing the safe does not include is a mechanism to bolt it in place. This could leave the contents vulnerable in situations where the entire safe may be stolen. Additionally, it is possible the exterior lock could be picked by someone with the proper skills.
Overall, the Ardwolf AS30 Security Safe is a solid choice for a person looking to secure one or two handguns, or a pistol and other valuables.
- False entry protection
- Laser cut construction for limited gaps
- Seamless welding
- Ability to bolt the safe to the wall and floor
- Adjustable interior shelves
- Reliable fingerprint recognition
- Only one PIN code can be stored
- No fire protection rating
- Interior battery compartment features plastic door which could be prone to breakage
- Keypad is not backlit
For those interested in something larger, the Viking VS-50BLX comes in at over 40 pounds and has an interior volume of 1.94 cubic feet and has exterior dimensions of approximately 20 x 12 x 14 inches. It also comes with three fully adjustable shelves and interior carpeting, making it easier to organize contents, store multiple handguns, or use the safe for a combination of secure storage needs.
The safe includes an upgraded 500 DPI optical biometric fingerprint sensor for increased accuracy as well as an exterior keypad for PIN-based entry. The external LCD display shows information about available operations as well as the current battery status. Once the fingerprint information is stored, an authorized user can gain access to the interior in less than one second, making it an excellent choice for handgun storage when home defense is a priority.
Up to 32 fingerprints can be stored along with one PIN code, and the fingerprint recognition rate is considered by users to be highly reliable. Featuring non-volatile memory, the stored information is maintained even if the batteries run dead or are physically removed. False entry protection is also provided through the biometric keypad, placing the locking mechanism in a hold state after a specific number of failed access attempts have been detected.
The Viking VS-50BLX also comes with a backup key-based entry option and two keys, allowing the contents to be accessed even if the batteries die.
Seamless welding is used to support the laser cut steel construction, making the safe sturdy and limiting the gap between the main safe and the door. The motorized deadbolt locking system also includes two anti-pry insertion slots, making the safe less vulnerable to brute force entry. An interior LED light illuminates the contents when needed, making it easier to see stored items in adverse lighting conditions.
Another safety feature for use during emergencies is the ability to silence the sounds emitted when the safe is being accessed. This allows users to gain entry without any telltale beeping coming from the safe. There is also an additional sound feature that allows the safe to beep if the door is left unlocked for a period, alerting the safe owner that the contents are potentially vulnerable.
This Viking biometric security safe does feature points where the safe can be bolted to the wall or floor, with two holes located at the back of the safe and two in the bottom. The hardware for securing the safe is included, ensuring you have everything you need to properly install the safe upon its arrival.
However, the manufacturer does not recommend this safe for individuals aged 55 and older. Thinning skin due to aging can make fingerprints harder to read as a person ages. It is important to note that this issue could be present with any biometric safe, regardless of the manufacturer.
In the end, the Viking VS-50BLX biometric security safe offers suitable protection for most handgun owners interested in storing two to four guns depending on the other items that are also being stored. The ability to bolt the safe into place is a nice feature, and the seamless welds and laser cut construction help make the design pry resistant.
- Removable, adjustable shelving provides numerous storage configurations
- Can be bolted for a more secure installation
- Substantial amount of storage for rifles/shotguns alone or a combination of firearms
- Rack heights cannot be fully adjusted
- Keypad issues have been reported
If you need an option for storing a large number of firearms, including rifles, the Stack-On A-24 has a capacity of up to 24 guns. For organization, it includes three half shelves and one full shelf (all removable), making it easy to store a combination of rifles or shotguns, handguns, and other items. The interior features carpeted surfaces, including the provided barrel rests, to help prevent damage to any items stored in the safe. Additional door storage is also included, featuring sewn-in pockets and handgun holders as well as Molle strips for other storage options.
However, the rack height for rifle and shotgun storage is not adjustable. This means that rifles featuring accessories like scopes or bipods might not fit easily, and certain shotguns may be too short to avoid leaning them against the side.
The total weight of the safe is 361 pounds and the exterior dimensions are approximately 20 x 24 x 55 inches. The interior volume equals 9.25 cubic feet, providing a substantial amount of storage. The Stack-On A-24 also includes multiple points for bolting the safe in place and includes all necessary fastening hardware to complete the installation. The size is small enough to fit in many closets, allowing for a more discreet installation, though the matte black finish and chrome handles also make the safe attractive should it be left in the open.
Featuring an electronic lock, users can program a personalized three to eight digit code to control entry into the safe. The lock is backlit, making it easy to enter the code even in less than ideal lighting conditions. There is also a backup key, ensuring the contents can be accessed even if the batteries are dead.
It is important to note that some users have reported issues with the keypad. Specifically, that some of the numbers stop working after a period of time, requiring a request to the company for a warranty repair or replacement. However, the backup key does provide an alternative means of entry until repair or replacement arrangements can be made.
For added security, a drill resistant hardened steel plate is installed behind the lock, making it harder for thieves to gain access to any items stored inside. The Stack-On A-24 also features two-way locking using a total of three 1.5” live-action locking bolts and an additional two 1” dead bolts. The construction does not feature bolt holes.
In independent tests, the safe was shown to be fire resistant for approximately 30 minutes in fires reaching temperatures up to 1400 degrees F. The reinforced steel door features fire retardant materials in its construction, and the heat reactive door stripping expands to seal the door and protect the contents in case of fire.
The safe is also a California-approved firearm safety device, confirming it meets all requirements as outlined in penal code section 23655 and additional applicable regulations.
Overall, for those with a large firearms collection including a mix of rifles, shotguns, and handguns, the Stack-On A-24 Armorguard with electronic lock provides a range of storage options in a single safe. The safe can be securely bolted into place for added security, and limited fire protection is included in the design. It also meets the standards set by the State of California as a firearm safety device, helping gun owners confirm they are in compliance with any applicable laws and regulations.
Rating: 4 out of 5
The Bottom Line
Each of the gun safes reviewed above are strong contenders in the category. Depending on your precise needs, such as the amount of storage required and the kinds of firearms you want to store, one of the options above is likely to meet your individual requirements.