It may not be possible for every gun owner to shell out thousands of dollars on an uber-cool, feature laden product to store their collection in, but as a serious gun owner myself, I’ll have to concede that $1000 is a price bracket that is necessary to get an acceptable degree of protection for your firearms.
Unfortunately, the market also has plenty of ineffective junk floating around priced at $1000, and someone who doesn’t know what to expect and what to watch out for in this price range can be fooled into making a bad investment.
I’ve taken it upon myself to create this guide to help you choose the best gun safe under 1000 for yourself: armed with the information I’ve collected and condensed, you’ll know exactly how to tell a good product apart from a bad one..
Dimensions (h x w x d)
Maximum Gun Capacity
Mesa Safe Company MBF5922E 7.9 Cubic Foot 14 Rifle Gun Safe with Digital Lock
59’’ x 22’’ x 20’’
14 Long Gun
Steelwater Heavy Duty 20 Long Gun Safe Fire Protection for 45 Minutes
59’’ x 28’’ x 18’’
20 Long Gun
1 Year Repair Warranty + Limited Lifetime Warranty Against Fire and Theft
Blue Dot Safes Second Amendment Fire-Resistant Gun Safe
72’’ x 40’’ x 27’’
51 Long Guns, 8 Gun Holsters, 5 Ammo Pouches
1 Year Factory Warranty
Steelwater Standard Duty 20 Long Gun Fire Protection for 45 Minutes AMEGS592818-blk
59’ x 28’’ x 18’’
20 Long Guns
1 Year Repair Warranty + Limited Lifetime Warranty Against Fire and Theft
Format USA AA19 24 Gun / 30 Minute Gun Safe
59’’ x 28’’ x 20’’
24 Long Gun
1 Year Warranty Against Defects + Lifetime Warranty Against Theft and Fire
Gun safes are available in all price ranges, from humble $500 offerings to top-of-the-line $3000+ models. The former will force you to compromise on essential features, whereas the latter will be a huge expense that simply may not be worth it for you.
The $1000 price point is balanced in that the manufacturer has plenty of freedom to include essential protection against both theft and fire, while also giving you a healthy warranty so you can use your gun safe without worrying about what would happen if it failed.
While these safes are generally quite sturdy and dependable, even if a fault is discovered and the product has to be sent for repair / replacement, it will seem less like a loss as compared to a super expensive safe that you were counting on to be flawless in its design and operation.
I say this after having owned a state-of-the-art Browning that developed an issue in its locking mechanism which had to be corrected by a company sent locksmith – the bad taste this left in my mouth ensured that I purchased a much less expensive, standard gun safe the next time.
At this price point, you should look for at least a 12 GA thick steel construction. If you’re really short on cash, you could choose a 14 GA thick product, but anything thinner than this indicates a manufacturer skimping on features to maximize their profit, and is therefore not worthy of your patronage.
12 GA steel is sufficient to withstand most hand tool based attacks, and can even put up against power drill based for a considerable amount of time, but if you can find a thicker gauge that fits your budget, you should definitely go for it. You may even find a safe that backs its quality through a third party rating.
Multi-directional locking with at least half a dozen thick locking bolts (1’’+ locking bolts), is a staple in a good gun safe under 1000. This translates into superior resistance to pry-attacks.
For the lock itself, you can expect a quality device (the better ones will be UL Listed or CA DoJ rated) backed by a reinforced steel hard plate to safeguard against drill based attacks. Additionally, depending on the exact pricing, these safes may contain auxiliary relocking protection which will secure your belongings in case the burglar is able to break the primary locking mechanism.
A fire safety rating of 1200F for at least half an hour is the minimum you should expect from a weapon safe in this price range. The closer you get to the $1000 mark, the higher this rating will get, both in terms of temperature and timing. It is also likely that the product will feature a heat expandable door seal to prevent smoke from entering and damaging its contents.
You’ll have plenty of freedom to choose a product that matches your requirements e.g. if you live close to a fire station, you don’t have to spend a whole $1000 on a safe that provide an hour or more of fire safety.
While these safes will lack the slick customization features present in the ultra high-end models, you should still look for adjustable shelving and, in the pricier options, door panel organizers that let you store pistols and ammo boxes for quick access. Molded barrel rests for properly storing your weapons are another feature to look out for.
Obviously, $1000 is not the kind of price range where you’ll likely get built-in power sockets and input jacks in the interior.
Since these are full sized long gun safes we’re talking about, they’ll be quite heavy, so it will be impossible for a couple of burglars to carry them off easily.
Still, if you’re leaving the safe in a shop / office overnight, a determined gang of crooks may be able to drag the safe off with your prized weapon collection inside – that is, unless, the it has pre-drilled mounting points which can be bolted to the floors and/or walls of the venue. Fortunately, many $1000 price bracket products will incorporate this feature, and may even come with their own dedicated mounting hardware.
These safes, besides being satisfactorily functional, will also be easy on the eyes – you can easily integrate them into existing home décor. This is something you won’t find in cheaper models, which tend to stand out in the living room, and are normally more suited to store rooms / garages.
Expect a minimum of 1 year of warranty, which covers repair and replacement of a faulty product. You may find that separate warranties are offered for manufacturing faults, and damage due to fire or theft.
Sporting a thick all steel build, and a hefty fire rating of 1750F/1 hour, the MBF5922E is a formidable yet affordable offering from Mesa which provides an ultra-secure storage solution for the owner of a small collection of firearms.
The door of the safe is 5 1/8’’ thick, and the rest of the body is 1 ¾’’ thick, sufficient to foil breaching attempts employing power tools and sledgehammers. The structural integrity of the safe can be judged by the two story impact rating it carries.
Its digital keypad lock is strengthened by a drill resistant hard plate, and an auxiliary relocker that kicks into action when the primary locking mechanism is breached: both features will make it a nightmare for a burglar to brute force the lock.
The product utilizes an expandable seal which activates as the temperature increases in a fire, preventing any smoke from entering the interior and damaging your precious belongings.
The safe’s pry resistance is superb: 1.5’’ dia. steel locking bolts and dead bolts (12 total) arranged into four locking points will be more than sufficient to stopper an attack with a powerful crowbar. Four pre-drilled anchor holes (along with complete mounting kit), allow you to fix the safe to the floor / walls for added security.
The fully upholstered interior can hold a maximum of 14 long guns according to the manufacturer – but 8 to 10 guns is closer to the truth. The included door organizer lets you store items that you’d like to have rapid access to. A power cord comes out of the rear, so you can hook up any accessories without having to drill a hole into the back of the safe.
The majority of consumers have been happy about the safe’s performance and reliability, with only a few scattered complaints about minor design flaws. These can be handled by the included limited lifetime warranty.
If you require reasonably strong, fire-proof storage for around a dozen firearms, you may want to take a look at this product from Steelwater.
The safe has a 12 gauge body thickness, alongside a 4.75’’ thick composite steel door, enough to resist power tool based attacks for a respectable amount of time. Pre-drilled 1.5’’ diameter holes allow you to anchor the safe to a more permanent spot.
An EMP Proof Electronic lock system secured by an extra-large hard plate and a spring loaded relocker will foil any attempts made using drills, firearms and electro-magnetic pulse generating technologies. The safe has 6 active lock bolts with an extra 3 inactive bolts for securing the hinge side of the safe. The bolt mechanism is gear driven to provide even more protection against punch, drill and pry attacks.
The safe offers a respectable degree of fire protection: 1550F for 45 minutes, enough to protect your belongings in an inferno, if you live relatively close to a fire station. Furthermore, heat expandable door seals keep the smoke from entering and damaging your belongings.
The manufacturer quotes a maximum capacity of 20 long guns for the safe’s interior, but also indicates that realistically, you’ll be able to store 12 to 16 full sized weapons in it. The interior has 4 removable / adjustable shelves to allow you to customize the storage to your needs. Also included is a complimentary dehumidifier and a dry pack, excellent value for the money in my opinion.
The safe comes with a 1 year in-home repairs warranty against manufacturing flaws, as well as a lifetime warranty against burglary and fire. The 1 year repairs warranty does seem a bit stingy, but there have been no noticeable complaints about the product malfunctioning, which indicates that it won’t be especially necessary for most consumers.
With its remarkably affordable price-tag and exceptionally roomy interior, this relatively unknown offering from Blue Dot is a sound choice for a budget minded owner of a sizeable collection of firearms.
Made from standard 12 gauge steel, the safe provides protection against power and hand-tool attacks to a reasonable degree. You can secure your weapons even further by bolting the safe down using the two anchoring holes which come drilled into it.
The lock (which is a UL Listed Securam model) is protected from drilling attempts by a 5/16’’ thick drill resistant hard plate, and from punching attempts through the spring-loaded auxiliary relocker. Thanks to the 4 way locking system incorporating a total of 18 bolts, prying attempts are also impeded satisfactorily.
As far as fire protection is concerned, the 1700F/1 hour fire rating, in conjunction with an expandable heat seal, ensures that this product exceeds more than what is stipulated by the CA DoJ.
Perhaps the biggest selling point is the safe’s huge storage space: obviously you won’t be able to store all of 51 long guns as advertised – however it will be sufficient to accommodate around 30 – 40 rifles easily; and that is on top of the door pockets which can hold an assortment of ammo pouches and handguns for fast access.
A minor flaw I found with this safe was the inconsistent gap between its door and its body, which is indicative of slightly poor QC, however, in all other respects, this safe manages to surprise in terms of performance and quality, given its low cost – so much so, that I’m almost inclined to forgive it's rather fleeting 1 year factory warranty.
If you’re impressed by the reliability of Steelwater’s Heavy Duty 20 gun safe, but your budget falls short of its cost – you may want to consider the next best thing – the Standard Duty 20 Long Gun Safe.
Admittedly, this safe utilizes thinner 14GA steel for its body, but the manufacturer still manages to retain the reinforced 4.75’’ door, you still get a considerable level of protection against frontal theft attempts.
The spring loaded relocker and reinforced hard plate are also present, and although the latter isn’t the extra-large size of its stockier sibling, it still offers protection against drill based attacks on par with what the rest of the competition boasts. Surprisingly, this safe has 7 1’’ thick live locking bolts (on more than the 6 present in the Heavy Duty version) – the number of dead bolts on the hinge side remains the same at 3. The lock itself is identical: it is EMP resistant and operates on a 9V alkaline battery.
Besides the body thickness, the manufacturer has cut corners in two other aspects: the gear driven locking system has been replaced by a direct drive mechanism which isn’t as good at withstanding punch attacks, and the four pre-drilled holes do not have the extra 0.25’’ steel plate for added strength while mounting.
The safe also has fire safety features identical to its sibling: a rating of 1550F for 45 minutes, as well as intumescent heat expandable seal for keeping smoke out of the interior. This safe also comes with a 1 year warranty against manufacturing defects, and a lifetime warranty against fire and theft. Furthermore, you get a complimentary rechargeable dehumidifier with this product as well!
Made out of 12 GA steel and sporting a double-thick 6 GA reinforced door plate, this is one of the sturdier economy options for stashing away a moderately sized collection of firearms.
In addition to its thick build, the safe’s S&G mechanical lock carries a UL RSC rating thanks to its auxiliary relocker and hard plate protection, which is a promise that it will provide more than just a basic level of protection against hand and power-tool attacks.
The fire rating of this safe (1400F / 30min), is established using EN Standard 1047-1 – it may not be much, but you can count on it to provide its rated protection. The product incorporates a Palusol® heat expandable door seal to ensure that none of your guns get damaged by smoke entering inside. The same testing standard also stipulates that the safe has to survive a 9.15m high fall – a mark of its structural integrity.
The interior of the safe is standardly customizable – nothing to write home about, and it carries a 1 year warranty against defects, as well as a lifetime warranty against theft and fire.
Now that you’ve finished my guide – you’ll agree with me that the sub-$1000 price range is a fine place to start looking for a quality gun safe that yields best bang for your buck. Obviously, your exact requirements will dictate how low you can go from $1000 (or if you even need a product in this bracket at all!).
That being said, I’ll have to recommend the Steelwater Heavy Duty 20 Long Gun Safe as the best gun safe under $1000. It has a sturdy structure thanks to its 12 GA thick steel body, 4.75’’ thick door, numerous locking bolts and beefed up, EMP resistant electronic locking mechanism; all the features come together to provide exceptionally strong theft protection. The 1550F/45 min fire rating and the built-in heat expandable door seal ensures total safety of your possessions in the event of a prolonged blaze.
What makes it especially suitable though, is its quoted 20 long gun storage space which translates into an actual capacity for at least a dozen full sized firearms – at this price point, you’ll be hard pushed to find a product that combines critical security with storage room better than this.
The 1 year warranty may seem rather short, but if the dearth of complaints from users is anything to go by, you probably won’t even need it!
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