With crime rates on the rise, it is a smart idea (and a constitutional right) to keep a firearm for protection in your house. Crooks who break into your house with the intention of theft or worse won’t be nice enough to let you call the police, so it is better to be safe than sorry.
That being said, a pistol lying exposed on your bed stand (or under your pillow) can be just as much of a hazard to you and your family members, especially if you’ve got children around the house. The most sensible approach to keeping a weapon close by without risking yourself or others is a small gun safe, but there are so many different kinds available right now that it can be hard to pick the most suitable one.
Being the consummate gun enthusiast that I am, I’ve put together a guide that will help you choose the best bedside gun safe for yourself, so you can sleep easy with your gun right next to you without risking it falling in the wrong hands.
Sentry Safe Biometric Quick Access Pistol Safe Model
3.2’’ x 12.0’’ x 9.9’’
GunVault SV500 SpeedVault Handgun Safe
3.5’’ x 13’’ x 6.5’’
5 years (fire / theft)
Hornady Security Rapid Gun Safe, Black
3.5’’ x 15.5’’ x 9’’
Fort Knox FTK-PB Pistol Box Handgun Safe
4.25’’ x 12.5’’ x 10.375
Gunvault MV500-STD Microvault Pistol Gun Safe
2.5’’ x 11’’ x 8.5’’
5 years (fire / theft)
For those who require a simple, affordable solution for keeping their pistol secure by their side as they sleep, there are a number of workable sub-$100 options available. Naturally, these will have thinner bodies, say 16 or 18 GA, but they are more than enough to get the job done for this particular application. For this kind of safe, I’ll advise you to stick with a mechanical lock since cheaper electronics is prone to failure.
Here’s an affordable option for those who want sturdy essential security, along with rapid accessibility, from their bedside safe: the SentrySafe Biometric Quick Access Pistol Safe is made from thick steel, and packs a biometric lock that can be programmed to open only to your fingerprint.
The 12 gauge steel construction is a remarkable feature for the price at which this safe ships, and provides excellent structural integrity and burglar proofing in conjunction with the pry-resistant door.
In situations where you need instant and discreet access to your firearm, the biometric lock, combined with the safe’s compression gas strut come in handy: the safe opens without a sound, so the intruder isn’t alerted as you prep for self-defense.
Note that there is a standard electronic keypad (noiseless) combination mechanism for opening the lock as well, which could be useful in case you wanted to give someone else access without having to be physically present. I would’ve liked the keys were a bit more tactile though, since the present ones don’t allow you to enter the combination very quickly.
A word of warning: biometric safes have trouble working with dirty or faded fingerprints, and this one is no exception: there have been a number of complaints of the biometric mechanism failing to recognize the owner’s prints even after several continuous attempts. Furthermore, this safe drains batteries pretty fast, so you may want to stock up on some high quality Energizers!
The safe does come with a one year warranty though, so you’ve got plenty of time to try it out and get it replaced in case it develops a flaw.
The SV500 SpeedVault is one of the most low profile yet dependable bedside gun safes I’ve come across: made out of an arguably thin layer of 18 gauge steel, it nevertheless manages to impress thanks to its high strength lock, multiple mounting options and stylish design.
The high strength locking system makes the safe practically invulnerable to hand tool based pry attacks, and while the 18 gauge steel body is a bit off-putting, you need to remember that you’ll be positioning this safe next to your bed, where it would be impractical and improbable for a burglar to break it via a power tool!
Speaking of positioning, the safe can be mounted in a number of orientations, so you can set it up in a manner that offers you the greatest accessibility; in fact, you could even mount it horizontally under the bed if you wanted to! The interior is lined with soft foam to minimize rattling and prevent scratching / bumping. There’s a white light built into the interior that activates whenever you open the safe – depending on the situation, this could be an asset or a liability!
The safe incorporates a quick access electronic locking mechanism that runs on a single 9V battery, which is pretty standard fare. You also get a couple of override keys in case the electronic mechanism fails: this is a good thing, considering that battery drainage is the chief issue associated with this safe. Also, the SV500 emits a mechanical whine each time you lock or unlock it, which is a bit detracting from its general aura of understated utility and discretion.
In spite of its remarkably low cost, this safe comes with a 5 year warranty for fire and theft from the manufacturer, which is, in itself, well above the industry standard even for higher priced offerings.
Sporting a unique RFID locking/unlocking mechanism alongside a reasonably secure construction, the Rapid Gun Safe from Hornady is one of the best quick access gun safes around right now.
The safe uses a radio frequency identification system to activate / deactivate its locking mechanism: the manufacturer provides you with an RFID bracelet, card and key fob that you wave in front of the reader to give you instant and completely discrete access to your firearm. There’s also a standard programmable key code entry option and a backup key in case you’re not able to gain access via the RFID.
While the RFID system is undeniably fast and slick, it can be a hazard in a house where there are young children who could gain access to the tokens and open the safe.
As for its core construction, the safe has a 16 gauge body and a strong quarter-inch dual-lug locking mechanism; both features work together to yield robust theft protection and structural strength. If you’re looking for even more protection, the product also comes with a 39’’ security cable rated at 1,500 pounds – you can use it to tie the safe up to an immovable object for added security.
The RAPiD runs on AC power, and can optionally be powered via the included battery pack if so needed. The ability to power itself through mains electricity means you don’t have to worry about replacing the batteries every few months, an issue that seems to plague most handgun safes packing modern electronics.
The manufacturer touts its RAPiD sleeve as an interior feature that lets you access your firearm at the perfect angle, but there have been a number of complaints about it malfunctioning, so I’ll recommend that you remove it for maximum reliability in case of an emergency. Removing the sleeve will also free up interior space, allowing you to store bigger handguns.
The safe comes with a standard 1 year warranty from the manufacturer.
The safes that I’ve reviewed above are all impressive by virtue of their advanced electronic locks and also the ease of access they offer, however, some of us may require a bedside handgun storage solution that focuses on raw protection and reliability more than anything else: as someone who has had to stay in questionable motels with decidedly unsavory next door neighbors while on the road, I know. The FTK-PB Pistol Box from Fort Knox is one of the best nightstand gun safes to match these requirements.
Incorporating an ultra-durable 10 gauge steel body and a traditional Simplex locking mechanism, this safe is designed to thwart the attempts of even the most seasoned of safe cracking / breaking thugs. The massive 3/16 inch lid is unlocked by a combination entered via a mechanical push button system (a total of 1081 possible combinations are allowed).
Theft protection is further enhanced by a concealed tamper-resistant hinge under the door. If you want to beef it up even more, the Pistol Box comes with four pre-built holes for securing it to a mounting surface. Unfortunately, there’s no built-in option for looping in a security cable, and creating your own cable hole will require a power tool given the safe’s incredibly thick build.
To facilitate quick access to your weapon, the lid utilizes a gas strut to enable it to open quickly and stay in place after unlocking; a few users have experienced trouble with this particular mechanism though, which indicates QC issues in the safe’s manufacture. I’d advise you to thoroughly test the product for defects and avail the lifetime warranty that comes with it, in case you find any.
Speaking about the interior, you’ll find that the thick foam lining makes for a safe storage place for your handgun (even one of a heavier variety). A silver powder coat finish gives the safe an understated, traditional look.
The MV500 provides a cheap bed side storage option for your pistol: It achieves this by foregoing a thick steel build in favor of a slimmer 20 gauge construction, which is still sturdy enough to stopper a break-in attempt made using bare hands.
The high strength lock is advertised as being practically impervious to pry attacks, however, I wouldn’t bet my money on this safe holding out against a seasoned burglar because they would simply go for its relatively weak body. I recommend it only for those who wish to keep their pistol out of the reach of kids.
A praiseworthy feature of this safe is its unique No-Eyes® electronic keypad, with its finger shaped outlines that let you identify the push buttons even when it is dark. The lock can also be accessed by means of two backup keys in case the electronic mechanism (which runs on a 9V battery) fails, which is useful, considering that users have had problems with the push buttons after a while.
The safe’s interior has a foam lining to protect your pistol from bumps and scratches, and an included tying cable allows you to secure it to an immovable object. A 5 year limited warranty covers the safe against damage from theft or fire.
Note that this safe also comes in a biometric lock variant, which I would advise you to avoid, since several people have experienced difficulties with it. In a safe this inexpensive, it isn’t really a surprise though.
As with all other types of gun safes, choosing the right one for your bedside is a matter of individual requirements above anything else. If you need a safe for protection against burglary, go for one with a thicker gauge construction and a strong lock. Conversely, for those who simply wish to block kids’ access to their handgun, a cheaper electronic safe will do fine.
However, a requirement that holds true for all bedside gun safes is a rapid and convenient access. If a safe manages to combine this with robust construction and reasonable pricing, it will be useful to the greatest segment of handgun owners.
In my opinion, the Hornady Security RAPiD Gun Safe is the best bedside gun safe because it manages to do exactly that and then some: its 16 GA body and solid locking mechanics provide decent safety against theft; it can run on both AC and DC power; it is affordably priced; and most importantly, it uses a dual RFID tag / electronic keypad lock activation/deactivation system for convenient and redundant access. The 1 year warranty period may seem a bit small, but is more than enough to thoroughly test this kind of safe for potential flaws.
Guns and Security provides reviews, guides, news and entertainment for gun and survival enthusiasts.
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