I’ll preface this article by saying that there are some excellent budget safes available. For handgun owners who need quick-access, vehicle, portable, and general home solutions, you’re in the right place. I’ve put together a collection for you that delivers a ton of value for the money. In this guide, I share the five best budget gun safes currently on the market.
If you’re here to buy the best budget long gun safe, unfortunately, it’s necessary to go a couple of rungs up the ladder to the best mid-range gun safes. The fact of the matter is there are no good cheap long gun safes I would personally recommend. Now, for pistol owners, every safe in this article is a solid option.
Let’s start with an overview of my five picks below before we go over the reviews of each safe. In just a few minutes, you’ll have a clear idea of your options and which safe(s) will take care of your needs.
|#1) Stealth Portable Handgun Safe||
|#2) V-Line Top Draw-Handgun Safe||
|#3) Hornady RAPiD Safe 4800KP||
|#4) awesafe Biometric Gun Safe||
|#5) Stealth Biometric Handgun Hanger Safe||
Best Budget Gun Safe Reviews
As you can see, there are certainly some good brands in this price range, including Stealth, V-Line, and Hornady. You’ll be happy to hear that Stealth and V-Line safes are both made in the USA. In addition to those pluses, you also have a wide variety of access options, from biometric to simple mechanical locks.
Personally, I prefer mechanical locks by Simplex because they’re the perfect blend of security, simplicity, and quick access. However, a lot of folks like biometric and RFID locks for the quickest access in the event of an emergency or home intrusion. If you’re a parent, quick-access Simplex locks give you fast access, and they’re not prone to pick attacks like most budget gun safes.
Now, let’s go over the reviews of each model.
#1) Stealth PS1208EZ Portable Handgun Safe
Stealth’s model PS1208EZ pistol box is essentially a budget version of the popular Fort Knox pistol box. The advantage of this safe over the Fort Knox model is the handle that makes the PS1208EZ great for use as both a portable and indoor safe. If you plan to install it in your bedroom as an under-bed or quick-access bedside safe, there are 4 pre-drilled mounting holes.
Another reason I chose the PS1208EZ as my #1 pick is the heavy-duty steel. Of the five models in this guide, this model sports the heaviest steel at 14-gauge, which is about as good as it gets for the money.
Several final highlights of this model are the Simplex push-button mechanical lock with 1,081 possible combinations, a gas piston assisted door, the anti-pry clamshell design, a high-density foam interior, and a secure 1.5″ chrome locking bolt. Overall, this model is the most secure of the five, especially since there’s no keyhole that’s prone to pick attacks.
- No need to rely on battery power
- No override keyhole to pick
- Anti-pry clamshell design
- Heavy-duty 14-gauge solid steel body
- Fits up to 2 handguns
- Quick-access Simplex lock that’s easy to program
- Pre-drilled holes to mount it under your bed or in the top drawer of a nightstand
- 100% made in the USA and backed by a 1-year warranty
- No interior lighting
- The chance of being locked out if you forget the combination
- Not quite on par with Fort Knox or V-Line BRUTE pistol boxes
#2) V-Line 2912-S BLK Top Draw-Handgun Safe
If you’re on the hunt for the best quick-access budget nightstand gun safe, this is it. Like Stealth, V-Line safes are made in America, and what I like about V-Line is the affordability of its models without sacrificing quality. The 2912-S model functions very similarly to the Stealth model above with a Simplex push-button mechanical lock and clamshell opening.
A couple of key differences between this model and the Stealth model above are this safe is lower profile, the lid sits further down the body of the safe for enhanced pry resistance, and it’s 16-gauge rather than 14-gauge steel. Additionally, this safe is a good choice for California residents who must comply with California Penal Code Section 12088 for firearm safety devices.
One last feature I really like is the optional quick-release mounting bracket that allows you to transition this model between a fixed, portable, and/or vehicle gun safe. As far as capacity, the interior houses up to two handguns depending on their sizes.
- Made in the USA
- California-approved as a firearm safety device
- Reliable Simplex lock that’s easy to program
- Zero reliance on battery power or a backup key
- Sturdy construction that stands the test of time
- The perfect low-profile nightstand gun safe
- 1-year manufacturer’s warranty
- 16-gauge steel
- The quick-release bracket is sold separately
- No keypad light for nighttime access
#3) Hornady 98141 RAPiD Safe 4800KP
Now, let’s get out of Simplex lock territory and enter the RFID realm. For fans of quick-access safes, it doesn’t get much better than RFID access. With RFID tech, you have the option to open the safe with different items simply by holding them up to the safe. Once you program the included RFID tags, you’re all set. Each Hornady RFID safe includes an RFID wristband, key fob, and stickers for multiple entry methods.
Should you lose the RFID tags or not have them handy, the safe also features convenient keypad access and backup key access, though, override key access does come with its pros & cons. While it is convenient to have as a backup option and good to know you won’t be getting locked out of your safe, the keyhole is prone to pick attacks.
Having said that, this type of safe isn’t supposed to be Fort Knox. It’s supposed to house your pistol, keep it out of the hands of children, and give you quick access to your firearm whenever you need it. It irks me when people trash good pistol boxes because they’re easy to pick. As long you’re storing a pistol, which is what this safe is made for, and not your Rolex, this is a great quick-access handgun safe for the money.
- RFID is the quickest access
- Optional keypad access by programming a 4 to 6 digit code
- Built with heavy-duty 14-gauge steel
- Spring-assisted lid for clean access
- Includes multiple RFID tags
- Spacious enough for two pistols or a single large revolver
- California approved safety device
- Prone to pick attacks
- Easier to pry open than clamshell boxes
- Made in China
#4) awesafe Biometric Gun Safe
This pistol box by the relatively-unknown awesafe brand is my favorite budget biometric handgun safe. Of the budget brands I’ve researched and reviewed, awesafe delivers one of the most reliable fingerprint scanners that’s not made by Verifi. In total, there are three access methods including keypad, fingerprint, and manual key. Similar to the Hornady safe above, this safe also features barrel key access, which we already know is prone to pick attacks.
The goods news is you know for sure that you’re not getting locked out, and that’s definitely something to look for in a budget safe. The biometric fingerprint scanner stores up to 30 fingerprints, giving you enough slots for both you, your significant other, and/or additional family members. Plus, you may want to scan the same finger multiple times for the most reliable access.
Lastly, for California residents, this safe is not listed on the CA DOJ website as an approved safety device. However, for non-CA residents, this is as good as it gets for a budget biometric. A couple of final features worth mentioning are the integrated interior LED light, backlit digital keypad, gas struts, and the option to mute the keypad for silent nighttime entry.
- The cheapest biometric gun safe that’s worth owning
- Interior LED light and a backlit keypad for clear nighttime access
- Backed by a 1-year warranty
- Includes two lag bolts to mount it (makes a good top-drawer nightstand safe)
- Well-built, sturdy construction for the money
- Gas struts for single-handed quick access
- Program up to 30 fingerprints
- Not listed on the CA DOJ website
- Not as secure as the first two safes in this guide
- Fingerprint access is likely not to work 100% of the time on the first try
#5) Stealth STL-HH-SAFE-BIO Biometric Handgun Hanger Safe
Let’s cap this guide off with the most exciting option. Of the five models, you get the most safe for the money when choosing this model, and at the time of this writing, it costs just under a couple hundred bucks. The obvious advantage here is additional storage space and the interior gun rack that allows you to arm yourself in a jiffy. In total, the safe holds up to five pistols with two lying flat and three supported by the rack.
The interior rack features a layer of heat shrink tubing to protect your barrels and prevent scratching. Similar to the awesafe model above, there are three access methods: biometric, keypad, and manual key. Plus, this model also features a silent mode for stealthy keypad access at night. There’s an interior red LED light & backlit keypad for easy nighttime access.
The biometric fingerprint scanner registers up to 31 fingerprints. A couple of final highlights are the spring-loaded 3/8″ steel door, a security cable with keys for securing the safe to a fixed object, the new power port feature to avoid relying on battery power, and there are pre-drilled holes at the bottom for easy mounting.
- The largest capacity of the safes in this guide (store up to five pistols)
- Interior pistol rack for quick access
- Easily mount it beneath your bed as a quick-access under-bed safe
- Three access methods to ensure you never get locked out
- Register up to 31 fingerprints
- Heavy-duty spring-loaded steel door for one-handed entry
- An optional power port allows you to switch between plugging it in or using 9V battery power
- The barrel keyhole is prone to pick attacks
- The interior light could be brighter
- It’s better to bolt the safe down than rely on the included security cable for long-term use
When choosing the best budget gun safe, it’s important to stick with handgun safes or pistol boxes because finding a reliable long gun safe is next to impossible unless you’re shopping for a second-hand safe. For handgun security, there are plenty of options.
For parents and folks who want to avoid having their locks picked altogether, it’s best to stick with the first two safes in this guide that offer a single entry method using a Simplex mechanical push-button lock. Despite being mechanical, these locks offer quick access, and once you get the hang of using them, you’ll be able to open your safe in a hurry. Also, it’s not a bad idea to practice opening it with your code upon arrival.
Finally, California residents should stick with the Hornady and V-Line safes in this guide since they’re both listed as approved safety devices on the official California DOJ website.