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August 29, 2016

Finding The Best Car Gun Safes On The Market

There’s no such thing as being too safe on the highway, which is why having a firearm close at hand is a smart idea to protect both yourself and your car. While you will seldom need to actually use it, the guns presence alone can act as a powerful relaxing agent when you’re driving along a lonely stretch of road in the middle of the night. As much as this is a good idea though, you can’t exactly keep it on the dash because it’s a hazard to other passengers and travelers, and more importantly, because it is prohibited in most states.

A car gun safe is the perfect solution for carrying around a concealed weapon to use in case of emergencies, without appearing conspicuous or risking the safety of other travelers. I’ve written this guide to help you select the best car gun safe for your needs.

Top 5 Car Gun Safe Comparisons

Model

Steel Thickness

Locking options

Warranty

Price

Our Rating

GunVault GV2000C-STD

16 GA

  9V electronic combination lock

1 year limited

$$

Console Vault Universal 1007

12 GA

 Mechanical barrel key lock

1 year limited

$$$$

Homak HS10036684

1.5mm

4xAA electronic lock

1 year limited

$

Fort Knox PB1 Original

10 GA

4xAA electronic lock

Lifetime

$$$$$

SHOT LOCK 1911

14 GA

Mechanical combination lock

1 year limited

$$$

Why do you need a car gun safe?


For interstate travel

It is forbidden by law to carry a weapon hidden in your glove compartment or under your seat. In addition to this, with the recent spate of gun-related crimes in the country, law enforcement officials are already on edge, and it wouldn’t be wise to give them a reason to react in an undesirable manner by carrying a concealed weapon into an inspection zone. Most states require the firearm to be kept in a place from where it is not immediately accessible, and a gun safe fits the bill perfectly.


For preventing theft and its consequences

Consider this: you leave your car in a parking lot outside the local shopping mall and head inside. You’ve put your gun in the glove compartment. When you return, the glove compartment is empty. If the thief uses the weapon in a negligent manner, you may end being a part of the consequent investigation. Although the chances of getting charged for a crime are slim, you could be held liable if the weapon was mishandled by a juvenile in a harmful manner. At the very least, you would be flagged by the government.

A situation like this can be avoided by keeping the weapon in a secure gun safe from where it is only accessible to you.

For eliminating any chances of damage due to negligent handling

If you’ve got a loaded weapon stashed in your glove compartment or tucked under your seat, you’re taking a major risk: an unwitting passenger (perhaps a child or even a curious adult) could discharge the weapon negligently, which could result in serious harm to themselves and to others.

Keeping the gun locked in a safe will completely remove this hazard and ensure no loss of life or property occurs because of a weapon you own.

How to choose a car gun safe?

Structural integrity

Car gun safes, by virtue of their small size, are vulnerable to brute force attacks. It is true that even the best gun safes for your car will fail after prolonged, continuous attempts at breaking them open e.g. with a hammer or crowbar. Your goal, then, should be to go for a safe made out of reasonably thick steel such as 16 GA or higher, and with a design that makes it as hard as possible for a burglar to crack it open with physical attacks.

Locking mechanism

There are several different lock varieties available with these safes, including mechanical dial, mechanical push buttons, and electronic pin code and thumb-scanning. Personally, I’d advise you to stick with a mechanical lock if your priority is security and reliability. Electronic locks are better suited to those who want quick access, but they are notorious for being easily breakable.

Size

Depending on how big your firearm is, you’ll need to select an appropriately sized gun safe. Obviously, a bulky .357 magnum revolver will require considerable storage capacity, but bear in mind that the bigger you get, the more difficult it will be to position it in a suitable place in your car. You’ll also want to consider the interior space your car offers while making this decision.

Remember, if you don’t have it in a convenient location e.g. under your seat or on your dashboard, you may not be able to get to it in time when needed.

Mounting options

The majority of pistol safes come with one or both of the following mounting options:

  • Security cable

The security cable is much easier to install, and also gives you more freedom in where you can position the safe in your car. On the flipside, it isn’t the most secure option; if you’re looking for a cable mounting safe, make sure you choose one that has an extra-thick, preferably stress tested cable.

  • Drilled holes

Mounting a safe in this manner is a bit cumbersome, and you’re limited in where the safe can go. However, in terms of security, this option is far superior to the cable route: a thief would find it easier to use a bolt-cutter on a security cable, than to remove several nuts and bolts to free up a drill-mounted safe.

You should try getting a safe that can be mounted from several of its sides, to give you the greatest degree of freedom in terms of placement.

Warranty

These products aren’t in the same league as full-sized, heavy duty gun safes, so manufacturers tend to offer minimal warranties with them (some of the cheaper products may have none at all!) In any case, the industry standard right now is 1 year, and this is what you should look for at the very least.

Top 5 Car Gun Safe Reviews

GunVault GV2000C-STD Pistol Safe Multi Standard

  • Dimensions: 7.9’’ x 10.1’’ x 14’’
  • Steel Thickness: 16 GA
  • Locking options: 9V electronic combination lock
  • Warranty: 1 year limited

The GV2000C combines decent core security features with several innovations to create a handgun safe for the 21st century. Sporting a steel body construction and a high-strength locking system, it offers adequate protection for your weapons while you’re on the go. The manufacturer has made a point to keep its fittings as tight as possible to minimize successful pry attacks.

The California DoJ certified locking system uses ‘learn buttons’, a feature that lets you program it with one of 12 million unique access codes. The lock operates on a 9V battery, but also comes with an override key in case that fails. A built in computer detects invalid entry attempts and blocks access after several consecutive ones are made.

The No-Eyes® keypad comes with outlines where your fingers can fit, so you’ll have no trouble identifying them if you need to access the safe’s contents in the dark. It can also optionally provide audio feedback as you push the buttons, if so required.

The interior of the safe is lined with soft foam to prevent damage to its contents as you’re driving on a rough road. An ABS plastic removable shelf allows you to compartmentalize the interior so you can store a pistol as well as other valuables at the same time. The safe has been designed to be mountable from nearly all directions. For a little extra mula (I’m not a fan of this bit), you get a 6’’ mounting cable for even greater security.

While the relatively small body thickness (16 GA) may not appeal to purists, it still gets the job done for most small handgun owners, and more importantly, it keeps the price reasonably low. The safe comes with a 1 year warranty.




What We Liked

  • Reasonably priced.
  • High strength CA DoJ approved electronic lock w/ override key.
  • 12 million unique combinations, w/ invalid entry penalty.
  • No-Eyes® lets you access the safe in the dark, or without having to look.
  • Interior can be split into two portions if needed.
  • 1 year warranty.

What We Didn't

  • 16 GA steel body thickness isn’t the strongest.
  • $$ extra for security cable.

Console Vault Universal 1007

  • Dimensions: 4’’ x 7’’ x 11’’
  • Steel Thickness: 12 GA
  • Locking options: Mechanical barrel key lock
  • Warranty: 1 year limited

While Console Vault has a reputation for developing tailor-made gun safes that fit into specific car models, this is one of their more broadly applicable offerings, as indicated by the ‘Universal’ in its name. This safe offers excellent fundamental firearm security in a low profile package, making it a great choice for those gun owners for whom discretion during travel is the main concern.

Made out of high strength 12 gauge steel, and incorporating a drill resistant barrel key lock, this safe will give even a seasoned burglar a run for their money. The 3 point locking system with its bank vault style hinge latch pins lends it superb pry-resistance as well. In addition to its compact size, the safe comes with an add-on ‘Cloak’ option, that disguises it as a drink holder and storage tray, which adds an extra layer of security to its already impressive repertoire.

Since this is a low-profile safe, you won’t be able to store bigger handguns inside it. Also, it doesn’t come with any pre-built mounting holes or a security cable. The safe is accompanied by a 1 year limited warranty.




What We Liked

  • Low profile design.
  • Strong 12 gauge steel construction.
  • Bank vault style triple pin hinge locking mechanism impedes theft attempts.
  • 1 year warranty.

What We Didn't

  • No pre-built mounting options or security cable.
  • Won’t allow storing bigger handguns.

Homak HS10036684 Medium Electronic Pistol Box

  • Dimensions: 7.5’’ x 10’’ x 5.5’’
  • Steel Thickness: 1.5mm
  • Locking options: 4xAA electronic lock
  • Warranty: 1 year limited

Packing a rugged steel construction and a programmable electronic lock, the HS10036684 is a cheap secure storage solution for those who want to keep their handgun concealed and out of reach of unauthorized individuals.

In terms of structural integrity, there’s no doubt that its 1.5mm thick body does the job well, to the point that you’ll need a large crowbar to pry it open. The electronic lock is a whole different story though:

The good thing about the lock is that it has a 15 minute penalty lockout feature after 3 invalid entries are made. It can also be overridden by means of a 9V battery in case the default 4xAA batteries fail. However, there have been a number of complaints about the electronics failing randomly and locking the owner’s access for good. Also, the lock can be easily cracked by someone who knows what they’re doing, as is evident from the numerous cracking tutorials out there for this particular safe.

For what it’s worth, the manufacturer throws in a 1 year limited warranty, that you can avail in case things go south with your purchase.

The reason why I recommend this safe in spite of its obvious flaws is its incredibly low cost which makes it a perfect choice if you’re only looking for a low-investment / short-term solution for securing your gun from children (or people who don’t know how to handle them safely). Anything more serious than that, and I’ll advise you to consider a better option.




What We Liked

  • Extremely cheap.
  • Strong 1.5mm thick steel body construction.
  • Penalty lockout feature.
  • 1 year warranty.

What We Didn't

  • Electronic lock has been known to fail randomly.
  • Electronic lock can be cracked with relative ease.

Fort Knox PB1 Original Pistol Safe Box

  • Dimensions: 4.25’’ x 12.5’’ x 10.375’’
  • Steel Thickness: 10 GA
  • Locking options: Mechanical combination lock
  • Warranty: Lifetime

This behemoth is perhaps the best vehicle gun safe for those who prioritize core security and storage space. The body is made from high strength 10-gauge steel, and with an all-steel lock as well, to stopper any attempts at brute force penetration. The lid of this safe is even thicker than its body: a formidable 3/16’’ to foil drill/hammer based attacks.

To ensure maximum reliability, the safe utilizes a 5-digit mechanical push button code in conjunction with a knob for its locking mechanism. The lock allows 1081 unique combinations, which would have been a problem if it were electronic; however, given the lock’s mechanical design, trying to crack the code by entering all combinations one-by-one is a daunting task.

Gas-struts make it easy to open the safe, in spite of its bulky lid. Given its spacious 4.25’’ x 12.5’’ x 10.375’’ interior, you can easily store a heavy duty handgun inside it. The interior is lined with a thick foam layer to minimize scratching / bumping of the contents.

On the flipside, the safe has to be mounted permanently, through its four pre-drilled holes. Considering its size, this means you can only mount it comfortably in your trunk, unless you drive a roomier vehicle such as a truck or SUV which can fit it under the seat.




What We Liked

  • Heavy duty construction protects against all kinds of theft techniques.
  • Mechanical lock provides excellent reliability.
  • Generous interior space allows storing larger handguns.
  • Lifetime warranty is a head above what the industry offers.

What We Didn't

  • Can only be permanently mounted.

SHOT LOCK 1911 Full Handgun Solo-Vault Safe

  • Dimensions: 9’’ x 7’’ x 2’’
  • Steel Thickness: 14 GA
  • Locking options: Mechanical combination lock
  • Warranty: 1 year limited

The Shot Lock Solo-Vault is one of the most balanced offerings in the car safe market right now: it offers solid anti-theft protection features at a very affordable price, and that too in a compact form factor that allows you to fit it in places where other safes can’t easily go e.g. along the central console. It can even be mounted by means of a security cord (not included).

Just like the pricier PB1 reviewed above, this safe utilizes a mechanical combination lock that accepts a key code entered via five buttons. More than a thousand unique codes are available for your choosing, and you don’t have to worry about the batteries running out or the mechanism failing (a frequent problem with electronic locks).

The compact build is made from 14 GA steel, which is more than enough to protect it from brazen burglary attempts. Note that because of its small size, you may not be able to store a larger handgun such as a .357 S&W inside the safe.

You also get a 1 year limited warranty with this product in case you run into problems, which are largely non-existent. The odd complaint I did come across was directed at the lock, so you may want to try the mechanism several times after you make the purchase, to weed out any problems and utilize the warranty while it is good.

In my opinion, this safe is the most suitable option for the average handgun owner looking for premium protection at a reasonable price.




What We Liked

  • Remarkably affordable for its features.
  • Sturdy 14 gauge body.
  • Compact construction allows the safe to fit even in awkward spots.
  • Mechanical lock provides reliable access.
  • 1 year limited warranty.

What We Didn't

  • A few complaints about the lock failing.
  • Size limits the kinds of handguns you can store.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve gone through this guide, I hope you’ll understand that when searching for a gun safe for your car, it is absolutely essential to consider your particular situation i.e. the interior space you’ve got, the size of the weapon you want to store and who you want to secure it from. For this reason, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Having said that, in my personal opinion, the best car gun safe for the average pistol owner will be the SHOT LOCK 1911 Full Handgun Solo-Vault Safeit has got a thick steel body secured by a reliable mechanical lock; it sports a compact build that allows for more versatile mounting options; and it is backed by a 1 year warranty in case things go south. Combine all this with a very economical price-point, and this safe is an instant winner.

Obviously, if you’ve got a bigger firearm that requires more storage space, you could always consider the Fort Knox PB1.

1 comment
John Ferrell - December 9, 2016

I like that you said that there is no such thing as being too safe. I think that if you get a gun then you should buy a gun safe with it. Do you think that your kids will be safe if you leave a gun around the house?

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