What You Should Look For In A Gun Safe

best gun safe

If you own guns, you really should have a gun safe and there are so many good reasons that it isn’t even worth arguing. But what to look for in a gun safe?

You should get a safe that suits the number of firearms you own and the purpose – whether it’s for storage of all your guns and shooting gear or for a defensive pistol only. It should have at least a three-point locking system and ideally it should be fireproof though that arguably isn’t as important as the other two factors. The good news is you may not have to spend as much as you’d think.

Having A Three-Point Lock Is More Important Than How It Locks

best gun safe

One of the first priorities of a gun safe is a three-point lock, which matters more than the locking/unlocking mechanism. Dials, keypads, biometric, plain Jane mechanical locks…it doesn’t matter. What matters is the bits that actually LOCK the safe!

The gold standard for storing firearms is a three-point locking system, which uses three horizontal bars that extend into the door at the top, bottom and side of the door of a safe. When a three-point locking mechanism is opened – usually by turning a handle – the horizontal and vertical bolts retract, allowing the door of the safe to be opened. When locked, the door is effectively immobilized; you can’t get it to budge much in any direction.

Most cheap lockboxes use only single-point locking, which is basically a metal tab that rotates into position behind the door jamb when you use the key. Not only can these locks be easily picked, such storage devices can be battered into opening with a hammer and a good arm.

Two-point locking may be considered, but only with small pistol safes that lock via two steel locking rods. These should be of solid construction, with thick walls to ensure a sufficient lock.

In countries that require gun owners have safes (such as the UK and Australia) it’s often required that said safe be a three-point lock. Thus, it’s safe – pardon the pun – to say that you should ensure a safe has a three point lock.

Get The Right Gun Safe For You

gun safes

Just as important is selecting the right gun safe for you. Firstly, how many guns do you own or will be storing? Some people just have a couple of pistols, some people have that plus a couple of long guns, and some people have extensive collections.

Another thing to bear in mind is what the roles of your firearms are. Some guns are range toys or safe queens (plinkers, competition guns, custom guns you don’t dare shoot) others are working guns for the out-of-doors (scoped or iron sight rifles, shotguns etc) and some may be home defense guns. Some people have a larger long gun safe for the above and a separate safe for their home defense and/or concealed carry gun and concealed carry holster.

Some people just get one big safe and put all of them in there.

So it really depends on what you need from a safe and what kind of gun owner you are. Therefore, make sure that a safe (or multiple) is either the best for you and your lifestyle.

Consider A Fireproof Safe

fire resistant gun safe

Another thing to look for is a fireproof safe. A three-point lock and solid construction makes a safe theft-proof, as that ensures only those that have access can get into it, and getting the right safe (or safes) for you ensures you’ll get use out of it. Fireproofing ensures that if the worst happens, the contents will be safe.

This is especially true if you store ammunition in your safe. Some might argue it’s beneficial to store ammunition separately, but a lot of people get a big safe and store guns and ammo inside, in order to keep them out of tiny hands.

Fireproofing ensures that if an inferno takes place, your guns and ammunition will remain safe, even the interior of the safe heats up sufficiently to discharge a round. The more you’ve sunk into your firearms collection, the more you may want to ensure that your gun safe (or safes) is/are fireproof.

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Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for Alien Gear Holsters, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. He also contributes a bi-weekly column for Daily Caller. In his free time, Sam enjoys camping, hunting and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.
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Sir TuberKopf

Get all primers and gun power out of your gun safe, store those in a separate container. Store only sufficient ammunition with firearms that you can handle anticipated attacks or home invasion. If you can’t practicality carry it all while using said firearm, it’s too much.

Store ammo separately. Even in a fireproof safe, temperatures can ignite primers, powder and ammo, and thus damage or incinerate firearms and even possibly turn your safe into a giant bomb.

Military ammo cans are an excellent choice for primers, and ammo. If You have less than 25 pounds, leave smokeless powder on shelves in their original containers. In a fire smokeless powder will safely burn off, before the primers and ammo in their ammo box go off. That heavy wire used in the latch system of ammo cans is intended to stretch and bend allowing gasses to escape while containing the potential shrapnel. The military has used ammo cans for literally a half century for a reason.

Storing primers trick, add a Sheetrock liner to ammo cans used for primers for extra insulation, to insure primers are the last item to ignite, but first after cutting out the Sheetrock pieces, put them on a 300 degree oven for 3 hours, then let cool, and pack. This will dry out the Sheetrock and now the liner will also act as a descendant, protecting primers from humidity. Repeat the drying process annually or if the box is opened often, or left open for any long period.

These steps should go a long way to protect first responders, if there is a fire.

At most gun shows you can buy kits that allow padlocks on ammo cans to childproof them.

Be safe and have a blast…. or not!


If you really want to be “tactical” you can get a separate safe for all of your CCW badges, your belt clip CCW Badge holder thingie, and your neck chain CCW Badge holder thingie.

Jim Lagnese

Does the safe come with a picatinny rail?


That is one option, as is a bayonet lug.

Fred Miller

You really are hooked on costume jewelry, aren’t you? Do you flash your little toy badge before you pull you gun? “Freeze! I’m not a cop, but I have a gun!” By the time you pull and impress me with your wanna-be cop badge, I’ll have one put right in your eye


You might try learning to have a more “tactical” sense of humour.

Fred Miller

I do. I’ve read several of your replies to different threads and you refer to a badge in several of them. To me, that normally signifies you have a badge fetish. Okay, so I’ll admit I jumped the..well…gun. I just can’t ignore the opportunity to impose abuse. And we’re we’re walking….we’re walking.


It’s more than just CCW Badges, being a Sheepdog requires serious wardrobe upgrades.

CCW Badges,
Neck chain CCW Badge holder thingies,
Belt clip CCW Badge holder thingies,
CCW boots, (Similar to wrassling boots but with the letters CCW on the side)
CCW Masks, Because concealed means concealed,
And lastly my favourite, The CCW Pimp Cane.

Making fun of CCW Badges and Sheepdogs as well as making fun of the word “tactical” by deliberately overusing it is hard work at times.

Fred Miller



Is that the most “tactical” thing you could find to say in response? You’ve got a long way to go toward being a sheepdog.

Fred Miller

One of my friends purchased a soon-to-be sold for scrap safe from a demolished bank for next to nothing. It’s 6x6x6…damned thing is huge and weighs about 3 tons. He had his house built around it. It sits in a specially designed room in the basement. 10″ thick, waterproofed, steel reinforced, steel lined walls, ceiling and floor, I-beam frame with a 2″ thick, sliding steel door. He says if they can get through him, his two 176lbs. Great Danes, the door and into the safe, they can have whatever they want. I think somebody would have a better chance of winning the Powerball, having a period (if they’re male) and getting struck by lightning while getting sucked into the engine of a passing jetliner, myself.


“Having A Three-Point Lock Is More Important Than How It Locks”
It’s a system, all the parts should be roughly the same quality. There’s no point at all in having a three way latch if mythbusters has a show (and 50m youtube views) on how to trick your “biometric” lock with a piece of transparent tape. Neither is your one point latch worth an S&G spinner…. it’s a system. It all goes together. (And, as other posters have mentioned; a safe with ammunition in it is a bomb.)