7 Best Gun Safe Alternatives in 2021 (Reviews and Buying Guide)

The very definition of a gun safe is that it keeps the gun safely away from those who shouldn’t have access to it.  A gun safe allows you to secure guns from curious hands and malicious parties.

On the other hand, a complex or poorly made gun safe is useless, if you can’t access the guns when seconds count. Yet you don’t have to spend a fortune to protect your firearms. Here are some of the best gun safe alternatives.

Top Choice
AmazonBasics Home Keypad Safe
AmazonBasics Home Keypad Safe
  • Electronic keypad 
  • Carbon steel build
  • 1-year warranty
Best Budget
VAULTEK Brand LifePod Travel Case
VAULTEK Brand LifePod Travel Case
  • LightWeight
  • Latch design
  • Waterproof case
Best Value
SentrySafe Model QAP2EL Gun Safe
SentrySafe Model QAP2EL Gun Safe
  • Digital keypad 
  • Interior foam
  • DOJ certified 

Top 7 Best Gun Safe Alternatives Review


01. AmazonBasics Brand Home Keypad Safe, 1.8 Cubic Feet


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Amazon Basics is the Amazon generic brand of top selling products. Amazon offers gun safes in a variety of sizes. We’re recommending the 14 inch by 13 inch by 20 inch gun safe that is just a gun safe. We don’t recommend the model that throws in shredder or other safety accessories.

Features

This gun safe is large enough to hold several pistols. This gun safe is opened by using a standard keypad. You can program it to have the access code of your choice. Be careful when you change the batteries, because it has to be reprogrammed. 

It is hard to find instructions to reset the passcode from the default. One point in favor of this unit is that it has pre-drilled mounting holes. This allows you to securely mount it to the wall or floor of your home, making it harder for someone to steel.  

This is on top of the live-door bolts and concealed hinges that are pry-resistant. Note that these gun safes are not water proof or fire proof. They should not be used to secure your important papers.

Issues

The gun safe can’t be opened without the key if you haven’t programmed the key pad or the pad is not working. (For example, when the batteries are dead.) This means you don’t want to lose the keys. If the door is knocked hard enough to bend the hinge, you can’t open it at all.

On the other hand, if the hinges are cracked due to a hard impact, the door can come open. That can be enough to render it useless if it is damaged during shipping or installation.

Pros
  • Ready to be secured to your wall or floor
  • Can be used to hold several pistols
Cons
  • Hinges are a weak point
  • Reprogramming the combination is a challenge

02. RPNB Brand Gun Security Safe


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This gun safe is designed to either only open if you have the right fingerprints or right RFID key. We recommend the RFID keypad version, since that is harder to break into than a traditional lock and key version but also gives you instant access. 

Features

Yet it also comes with two manual keys so you can get in when the RFID reader isn’t working. If you decide to enter the pass code, the keypad is backlit. This allows you to access your belongings even if you lose the RFID key.

On the other hand, this unit comes with an RFID key fob as well as an access card. This means you may be able to access the gun with the fob on your key ring in an emergency.

If you choose the fingerprint version, you can program up to ten people’s fingerprints. It has pre-drilled mounting holes so you can mount it to the wall or floor. Unlike most rival products, this one even comes with two anchor bolts.

It has dual-layer steel housing and pry-proof walls to make it almost impossible to break into with a crowbar. It is both secure and durable.

Issues

You need 4 AA batteries to power the keypad. The unit doesn’t come with any. However, this is a minor issue. Programming it to recognize your fingerprints and a passcode of your choosing is easy. The problem is that it doesn’t consistently recognize your fingerprints.

You have to get your finger just right to have a chance of being read. You have to enter the pass code rather quickly for that to work. Only the keys are consistent.

Pros
  • Multiple secure access methods
  • Secure and durable
Cons
  • Fingerprint reader is inconsistent
  • Pass code can be problematic

03. VAULTEK Brand LifePod Travel Case


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This cheap gun safe alternative is designed for travel. It is a portable electronic lockbox. That may let you take your pistol to the range if you live in an area that requires you to have it in a lockbox to take it in your car.

This durable, water-proof travel case could also be used to secure a gun stored in a drawer or a corner of your closet, though the case is obviously something someone could steal if they found it. We already said this is a gun case designed for travel.

Features

It is one of the few on the market that meets TSA guidelines. This means you can take your gun on the plane or train. The Vaultek Lifepod case is small enough to carry in a backpack or keep in a desk drawer. This means you could safely take your firearms camping or even carry them in your glove compartment. 

Note that it is only large enough to hold a single handgun. The rugged lock box won’t pop open in a car crash or if dropped on the ground. If you drop it while camping, it will float as long as it contains less than two pounds of cargo. It can be opened via the backlit keypad or using keys.

Yet the key hole is not an access point for thieves, because it has an excellent anti-picking feature. You need a 9 volt battery to power the keypad. That doesn’t come with the case. You can also use a micro-USB port to power it.

Issues

It can be hard to change the code from the default. It is designed to hold a single handgun. However, it can’t hold a large Glock or a magazine extension.

Pros
  • You can truly travel with it
  • Water proof, shock-proof
Cons
  • You may not be able to change the master code

04. Barska Brand Biometric Rifle Safe


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This “gun safe” is designed specifically for long rifles. It is a whopping 52 inches tall. At 9 inches wide by 10 inches deep, it has the space to hold two to four rifles. You can also insert a shelf that comes with it to hold accessories or ammo.

Features

Gun safes are often reviewed and approved by various government agencies. This gun safe is DOJ approved. It may be secure, but it also lets you access your guns in just a few seconds via the fingerprint scanner. 

It even has a quiet mode so that it won’t beep when you’re getting your guns in response to a strange noise downstairs. There is also a set of backup keys in case the biometric panel isn’t working.

The small footprint means it can sit on a shelf in the closet or fit between two book cases. It has pre-drilled holes for easy mounting, and it comes with concrete mounting hardware. It even comes with 4 AA batteries required to operate it.

Issues

You must register your fingerprints before you use the safe, if you want it to open up again. Getting it programmed can be a hassle, and the fingerprint reader can take multiple tries. Resetting it may or may not solve this problem.

The manufacturer warns you to mount it before you open it and program it. Why? Because it is heavy and may tip forward when you open it, if it isn’t mounted to the wall or floor. Yes, it is prone to tipping over if it is standing by itself.

Pros
  • Comes with all the hardware you need
  • Long enough to hold rifles
Cons
  • Biometric reader is finicky
  • Top heavy

05. SentrySafe Model QAP2EL Gun Safe


This gun safe is large enough for two handguns. At 10 inches by 16 inches by 3 inches, it could also hold one gun and some ammunition. It is also large enough to hold larger handguns and guns with a magazine extension.

Features

This gun safe is unusual for having interior lights so that you can see what you’re doing. Those seeking cheap gun safe alternatives can even buy the same model without the interior lights, since that’s somewhat cheaper. 

The light is intended to help you access it while keeping the room lights off. That’s why the manufacturer recommends it for use by your bed. It is also small enough to fit in a bedside drawer.

It can be opened via the access pad or with a key. If you live in California, you’ll be glad to know that you’re allowed to own this gun safe. It is California Department of Justice certified.

Issues

Note that you need four AA batteries in it for the key pad to work, and these don’t come with the gun safe. The problem is that it may not open at all without working batteries, even if you’re using the keys.

Furthermore, it eats batteries. You may be replacing the batteries every two months though you’re not having it open so that the light is on all the time.

Pros
  • Can hold larger handguns
  • Ideal for storing a bedside gun
Cons
  • Burns through batteries
  • Can’t open it if the batteries are dead

06. AmazonBasics Brand Quick-Access Firearm Safety Device


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This is the second Amazon Basics firearm storage container to make our list. One point in its favor is affordability. You get a solid 16 gauge steel case designed to hold a single pistol. And that’s good enough for some people.

Features

It has a programmable electronic keypad. It gets points for being quiet to use. You can also open it with the backup key. The keypad is backlit. It comes with pre-drilled holes for mounting it to a wall or the floor.

It also comes with the mounting hardware. There is no place to mount a cable to prevent someone from walking off with the gun safe if it is just sitting on a shelf.

Issues

The latch doesn’t always work properly. It may not close or may be hard to open. The programmable keypad buttons may stick. Problems like this tend to arise after a few weeks of use. However, if you can’t set a code beyond the default one, return it immediately because it will never work.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • No quirky biometrics
Cons
  • Latch issues

07. STANLEY Tool Box Model 037025H


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Some of the best gun safe alternatives are metal lock boxes intended to protect your tools from the weather and would-be thieves. This massive 50 gallon tool box is large enough to hold a large number of rifles, handguns and other firearms.

It even has space for ammo cans. The interior is 37 inches long, 22.75 inches wide and 23 inches tall. This is probably one of the best gun safe alternatives for those who want to go hunting and camping.

Features

That’s because it is portable. It is wheeled, and it has carry grooves on both sides. It has a deep tote tray for holding ammo or other accessories at the top of the tool chest. For some, the fact that it doesn’t look like a gun safe is a point in its favor. It could contain fishing gear or hand tools.

On the other hand, you could put those things on top of the guns on the bottom to help hide them. You gain access via lock and key. There is no risk of being unable to access your equipment because the batteries are dead.

Issues

Is it splash-resistant? Yes. It is water-proof? No. While this can secure guns stored in a shed or garage, it cannot be left outside unless you want to risk water seeping in and collecting in the bottom of the tote. The wheels are part of the reason why it is portable. The downside is that they sometimes pop off.

Pros
  • Portability
  • Lots of space
Cons
  • Wheel issues

FAQ's about the Best Gun Safe Alternatives


01. What are the Best Gun Safe Alternatives?

In theory, any locking case can serve as a gun safe. The list could include a metal lock box, a locking wooden wardrobe and a locking metal cabinet. However, most of these things won’t deter a thief very long.

And if you have multiple keys for the storage compartment, others can get into the gun safe or simply leave it open after accessing other things. The best gun safe alternatives are as secure as a heavy duty gun safe but cost less.

02. How much should I spend on a gun safe?

Gun safes cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars. Some brands cost more than others. Furthermore, you’ll pay more for a larger gun vault. That’s why a vault capable of holding several rifles costs more than one designed to hold just one or two pistols.

03. Are Fort Knox Safes worth the money?

Fort Knox Safes are named for the ultra-secure Fort Knox in Kentucky. They aren’t more secure than the average, good gun safe. However, their gun safes tend to have a nicer finish and other amenities. You can find more affordable gun safe alternatives.

04. Should I store ammo in my gun safe?

Ammo should be stored in a sealed container or an ammo can. The key is to store it where the air can’t reach it, so that the lead in the ammo won’t degrade over time.

Note that this doesn’t have to be in the gun safe. The ammo could be stored in an ammo can on top of the safe or inside of the safe.

In general, it is safer to store the ammo separate from the gun. Then it is harder for someone who gets access to the gun to get ammo and then shoot someone.

However, separating the two too far apart or having too many hurdles to jump over to reach both the ammo and the gun makes them useless when your safety is on the line.

05. Is Liberty a good gun safe?

Liberty is one of the top sellers of gun safes. They offer high quality gun safes at a reasonable price.

06. Where are Fort Knox safes made?

Fort Knox vaults are named after Fort Knox in Kentucky. These gun safes are made in the United States, but they aren’t made at the Fort Knox facility. That is actually a military installation. 

07. What is the hardest safe to break into?

The hardest safe to break into is one they can’t find. This is why hidden safes, assuming someone doesn’t tell them where it is, are among the best. The next best option is a safe that is embedded in a wall or floor, since that makes it harder to break into as long as the door itself is secure.

After all, it takes time to break it free and transport it if they really want the contents. Heavy duty safes that are very difficult to break into minus welding equipment are next on our list.

Final Verdict


The best gun safe alternatives will secure all your weapons from intruders, children and the mentally ill without making it impossible for you to access them in an emergency. It doesn’t have to store your ammunition and your important papers, though if it can, that’s a bonus.

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