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There are a lot of reasons why someone may need a car gun safe.
Maybe you find yourself out running errands and realize that you need to visit a gun-free zone, like the post office or your kid’s school. Or maybe you like road trips but sometimes have to drive through places that require that guns are locked up in cars.
Whatever the reason, we’ve got you covered with this guide to the best car gun safes.
In it, we’ll cover our top picks for the best car gun safes, then go over everything you need to know to choose the right one for your needs.
To give you a sneak peek, my top pick is the Hornady RAPiD Safe Vehicle Safe because it offers fast, easy access and is designed to secure well in a vehicle.
Also Read: 7 Best Bedside Pistol Safe 2022
Here Are the Best Car Gun Safes (Our Picks)
Hornady RAPiD Safe Vehicle Safe
Our overall top pick is the Hornady RAPiD Safe Vehicle Safe.
I’m into Hornady’s RAPiD Safe line in general and this one is specifically made for use in cars.
What sets RAPiD Safes apart is that they use RFID technology to grant access to the interior of the safe. The RAPiD Safe Vehicle Safe comes with an RFID watchband, an RFID key fob, and two RFID stickers, giving you plenty of options for how to get into the safe.
Simply wave the RFID chip over the safe and the safe will pop open. I like the key fob since if I’m driving, I’m obviously carrying my keys.
The safe also comes with two circular keys for a mechanical override.
The safe is designed to sit against your center console, just in front of the seat. To hold it in place, there’s an inflatable bladder which you stick between the passenger seat and center console, then pump up. This allows the safe to be used with virtually any car or truck. The bladder even has a neoprene cover to ensure that your vehicle’s surfaces are safe.
This placement is incredibly convenient, keeping your pistol in arm’s reach. The safe itself is slim enough that it’s not taking a lot of space from the passenger. It measures just 12” x 6.4” x 2.2” on the exterior.
The downside is that it’s pretty obvious from with window. If I were using the RAPiD Safe Vehicle Safe, I’d be sure to leave a spare coat or jacket in the car that I could casually drape over the center console to block it from view. Since the safe is pretty slim, it shouldn’t be too obvious that the jacket is hiding something.
The safe does come with a security cable but cables can be cut, and even if the cable successfully prevents theft, you probably still want to avoid a smashed window in the first place.
Speaking of cables, the Hornady RAPiD Safe Vehicle Safe comes with a cord that you can plug into your car to power it. If your car is anything like mine, though, your car’s outlets are already taken up by phone chargers, so the safe also takes four AA batteries. This also has the advantage of being a little more discrete than a cable snaking its way under a coat or jacket.
With multiple options for access, including a key fob, watchband, and two stickers, the Hornady RAPiD Safe Vehicle Safe is incredibly convenient. The downside is that it requires an extra step, actually covering the safe, to keep it discrete when you’re away from your vehicle.
GunVault MicroVault MV500
The GunVault MicroVault MV500 is another one of my favorite safes, both for home and in the car.
With external dimensions of 11” x 8.5” x 2.25”, it’s similar in size to the Hornady RAPiD Safe Vehicle Safe. It doesn’t have the air bladder though, so it’s better for sticking under the seat. The included steel security cable can be attached to the seat to help prevent the safe from walking off.
The No-Eyes Keypad is especially handy for under-seat storage. This electronic combination system has four finger grooves to guide your hand into place to hit the combination pads without looking. The safe allows for more than 12 million possible combinations.
Like any electronic safe, the MV500 requires power. In this case, that’s a 9-volt battery. When the battery gets low, an LED low battery warning will come on. Of course, there’s also a backup override key.
The safe weighs 4 pounds, so it’s still pretty portable.
The interior is padded to help keep the contents of the safe protected and in place. With interior dimensions of 10.75” x 6.5” x 2”, it will fit a full-size handgun, but not much with it. If you want something similar but with more space, you can try the GunVault MicroVault MV1000.
Finally, the MV500 sells for right around $100, making it a far more affordable alternative to the RAPiD Vehicle Safe as well.
The GunVault MicroVault MV500’s No-Eyes Keypad and slender size make it ideal for easy access to your firearm, even with the safe stored under the seat.
Titan Gun Safe Pistol Vault
Security cables are all well and good, but if your would-be thief happens to have come prepared for the job with cable cutters, they’re not much good.
Titan knows that and designed the Pistol Vault accordingly. Rather than a security cable, the Titan Pistol Vault comes with two mounting plates, allowing you to mount the safe directly to the interior of your car.
The ability to mount the Pistol Vault within your vehicle is great, but sometimes you might want to secure the safe somewhere temporarily, like inside a hotel or rental car. In those situations, you’ll probably still want to be able to use a security cable. If you do want to use your Titan Gun Safe Pistol Vault in temporary locations, Titan does make a security cable that’s specifically designed to go with the Pistol Vault.
And speaking of accessories, you may also appreciate the Titan Ammo Box, which attaches to the side of the Pistol Vault and holds a spare magazine or speedloader. This provides extra ammo storage. It also allows you to easily comply with laws that require that firearms and ammo are stored separately, while still keeping your ammo handy.
These aren’t the only things that help the Titan Pistol Vault stand out though. Titan wanted gun owners to be able to access their guns quickly and reliably, without dependence on electronic components or even keys. With that goal in mind, they designed a push-button combination lock.
The push-button system is very fast to use, just like that of the GunVault MV500, and allows for more than 2000 different combinations.
Another neat feature is the Elevator holster rack system. This system holds your firearm in place within the safe. Then, once you’ve opened the safe, it ensures that the gun is in position for you to quickly draw with a positive grip. The Elevator holster rack system is compatible with virtually any handgun, even with most accessories, like lights or optics.
Between the combination lock and the Elevator holster rack system, Titan advertises the Pistol Vault as “the world’s fastest gun deploying safe” and, honestly, I can believe it, even with the speed of electronic safes.
The body of the safe is made of mil-spec steel alloy for durability. The body measures 12.5” x 8” x 2.5” (or 2.75” including the knob) without the Ammo Box. With the Ammo Box, the safe is n extra 2.5” wide, for a total width of 10.5”.
The Titan Gun Safe Pistol Vault allows for incredibly fast access and a positive grip, while also providing an extra level of security with the ability to mount the safe to the interior of your vehicle.
Fort Knox PB1 Original Pistol Box
The Fort Knox PB1 Original Pistol Box is another fully mechanical option and it’s even more rugged than the Titan Pistol Vault.
The body of the safe is made from thick, 10 gauge steel with a powder coat finish and is protected by a lifetime guarantee. Like the Pistol Vault, it doesn’t come with a security cable. Instead, there are four pre-drilled mounting holes to allow you to mount the PB1 directly to your car’s interior.
It’s a pretty big boy, though, so that can be a limiting factor for where you can mount it. It measures 12.5” x 10.5” x 4.5” on the outside. Plus, the safe opens from the broadside at the top, not the narrow front, so that requires even more room.
On the other hand, that hefty size is great for what you can put in it. With interior dimensions of 11.625” x 10.25” x 3.625”, there’s room for a full-size pistol, plus some extra small items, like a spare mag, jewelry, or some cash. You just might need to put the safe in the trunk.
It has a push-button mechanical combination lock. It’s very reliable, but in my experience, it’s not as quick to open as any of the three previous safes that we’ve discussed.
Between that slow speed and the large size, the PB1 may be better for when you want a safe to drop your gun in while you’re away, rather than one that will allow you quick, easy access when you’re in the front seat.
It provides 1,081 possible combinations, which isn’t as many as others but is still plenty.
The Fort Knox PB1 Original Pistol Safe is incredibly rugged and secure, but it gets points off for slower access. The safe’s large size is great if you want to be able to stow a few things at once, but does make it tricky to find placement within your vehicle.
All the previous car gun safes are great, but sometimes you want something simple and straightforward.
The SentrySafe PP1K is a basic, lockbox-style safe with no combinations or electronic components to fuss with. Typically selling for less than $100, the PP1K is also a very affordable option.
The only way to get into the safe is to use one of the two tubular keys that it comes with. You can keep one key with your car keys and keep the other one elsewhere as a spare or give it to your partner.
It’s made from solid steel and has a pry-resistant door. A steel tethering cable keeps the PP1K in place when you need that and the carry handle makes it more portable when that’s the goal.
With exterior measurements of 11.3” x 10” x 3.3”, the safe will easily fit underneath most car seats. The interior has compression foam lining and measures 9.8” x 7.3” x 3”, big enough to fit a single full-sized pistol.
If you want a simple, straightforward car gun safe that’s still secure enough to do the job, the SentrySafe PP1K might be perfect for you.
SnapSafe Treklite Lock Box XL
The GunVault MicroVault MV500 and the SentrySafe PP1K are both more affordable options, but if you’re shopping on a really bare-bones budget or just want the lightest possible safe, the SnapSafe Treiklite Lock Box XL may be the way to go.
What sets this safe apart, aside from the less than $50 price tag, is the fact that it’s made from impact-resistant polycarbonate. This allows the safe to be exceptionally lightweight, just 1.6 pounds. At the same time, it’s actually strong enough to be competitive with many steel safes.
This low weight also makes this a really good safe for air travel, especially if you go with the TSA-approved combination lock version rather than the key lock version.
The external dimensions are 10″ x 7″ x 2″, so it’s a very low-profile safe that will easily fit under virtually all car seats. It comes with a security cable to secure the safe to your vehicle. The inside is foam-lined and will fit up to a full-sized 1911.
There’s also a non-slip rubber over-mold to help prevent slipping and provide further protection from impacts.
Whether you’re looking for a very lightweight safe or a very affordable safe, the SnapSafe Treklite Lock Box XL checks both of those boxes.
Hornady RAPiD Safe AR Gunlocker
When you think of a car gun safe, you don’t typically think of long guns. However, it’s an issue that does arise, so I wanted to make sure I included a car safe for long guns too.
When this happens, the Hornady RAPiD Safe AR Gunlocker has me covered. It’s the same platform as my top pick, the Hornady RAPiD Safe Vehicle Safe, and uses the same RFID system.
Like the RAPiD Safe Vehicle Safe, the RAPiD Safe AR Gunlocker comes with an RFID wristband, two RFID stickers, and an RFID key fob. It comes with barrel keys for mechanical override, but there’s also a keypad that you can use to access the safe as well.
At 50 pounds, it’s not exactly lightweight and it’s really not intended for portability. It’s pretty unlikely that someone will just walk away with it, but it does come with a security cable just in case. It also has pre-drilled mounting holes if you want a more permanent mounting solution.
With that said, if you only want it in your car occasionally and not taking up cargo space the rest of the time, it does have handles to help with moving it around. I’m built pretty small, so I struggle a bit with it, but my husband can get it loaded in and out of the back of my SUV without too much trouble.
The interior is foam-lined and will store two guns. If you need space for a third, you’ll want to opt for the Hornady RAPiD Safe AR Gunlocker XL. The safe comes with an AC adapter, but it’s designed to plug into a wall outlet, so you’ll probably want to use the battery option.
If you need a car gun safe for long guns, you can get the perks of our top pick but for your rifles and shotguns with the Hornady RAPiD Safe AR Gunlocker.
Buying Guide: Things to Look for When Buying the Best Vehicle Gun Safe
When choosing a car gun safe, there are a few things that you need to think about. Making sure to consider these factors before you buy ensures that you get the best possible car gun safe to fit your particular needs.
First things first, you need to consider the size of your car gun safe. That includes both the interior and exterior measurements.
The inside of the safe obviously needs to be big enough to fit your gun or guns. However, I personally prefer a car gun safe with a bit of extra room too. That allows me to also store other small valuables, like medications or small electronics, in the safe alongside my pistol.
In my case, I usually want a gun safe that holds at least two pistols. That gives me room for my pistol and a few other small items. Sometimes, however, my husband and I are traveling together, in which case we want room for two pistols plus other small items. It’s better to have too much space than not enough.
With that said, you also need your safe to be small enough to easily hide. We typically drive a Subaru Forester, so we have a good bit of space under the front seats to stow a car gun safe out of sight. If you drive a smaller car, you might need to sacrifice some of that extra room we talked about above in order to be able to fit your safe under a seat. On the other hand, a smaller car may imply a proper trunk, where you could keep quite a large safe, even a rifle safe, where it can’t be seen from windows.
Anyway, what I’m getting at is you need to think about the space in your car available for a safe. Break out the tape measure and jot down the dimensions of the space where you want to keep your safe so you know what you’re working with. Then compare those dimensions to the external dimensions of a potential safe before you buy.
If you plan on leaving the safe in your car at all times, weight doesn’t matter so much. If you want to be able to take it from your car to your house, though, the safe needs to be light enough to make that an option.
Ease of Concealment
Let’s be honest: most people robbing cars aren’t smashing windows and hoping they’ll find something good inside. They’re looking through windows first, then forcing entry when there’s a surefire score. And what says “I have valuables in here” more than a visible safe?
If people can see it clearly through the window, you might as well paint “rob me” on your car. Avoid drawing attention by choosing a gun safe that can easily be hidden. Generally, this goes back to size. You need to be able to fit your safe under a seat or in the trunk of your car.
Now I realize concealing your safe isn’t enough to foil every single attempt of theft, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and all that. Concealment is your first line of defense, but not your only line of defense.
Which brings us to the next factor for you to consider…
By anchor, I mean how the safe attaches to the interior of your car. If your safe is just loose in your car, a thief can just take the entire safe, then deal with how to get inside of it at their leisure later on. To avoid that, you need the safe to somehow secure to your car.
A simple security cable is the easiest method and also the most common. With security cables, you have to open the safe to detach them, but they’re easy to attach and detach and allow for portability. On the other hand, they can also be cut relatively easily.
The other main option is a safe that bolts directly into the floor or trunk of your car or truck. These safes are harder for a thief to quickly remove from the car, but not impossible. They’re also much harder for you to remove without damaging your car or the safe, so they’re not nearly as portable.
As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to both. I typically prefer a safe that can be bolted into the car, then removing the gun itself whenever I’m home or otherwise able to carry it on my person. In addition to the added difficulty in stealing the safe itself, it means I always have the safe available in my car, even when I didn’t expect to need it.
The locking mechanism of a safe is one of its most important features and, just like other gun safes, car gun safes are available with a lot of different options for locking mechanisms.
If a burglar can’t just remove the safe from the car to deal with later, then trying to force the lock is generally the next thing they try. It is, after all, much easier than trying to force your way through the (usually steel) walls of the safe. You need a secure, reliable locking mechanism to make things harder.
Keyed locks are probably the most basic option and they may use either traditional or round keys. They’re reliable and easy to operate. You can throw the key on the same keychain as your car keys to make it easy to keep up with. There’s no need for batteries or a car adapter. Keyed locks seldom face mechanical malfunction.
The disadvantages? They aren’t slow to operate, but they usually aren’t particularly fast either. Keys can also be dropped or stolen, and if your hand is shaking, it can dramatically increase the amount of time it takes for you to access your gun. How easy it is to pick a keyed lock varies widely.
Mechanical Combination Locks
The mechanical alternative to a keyed lock is a combination lock. People often think of these types of locks as very safe. After all, a combination can’t be stolen (as long as you don’t write it down anyway), and with thousands of possible combinations, what are the odds of a would-be thief guessing your combination? However, if someone knows what they’re doing, it can actually be quite easy to figure out the combination by observing the mechanics of the lock.
In addition, combination locks can be slow to operate and selecting the right combination can require precision that’s difficult to muster up under pressure. For these reasons, I generally recommend against mechanical combination locks.
Electronic Combination Locks
If you like the idea of using a combination for entry, an electronic combination lock is an alternative. These locks have a keypad where you punch in the combination to get access to the inside of the safe.
Electronic combination locks are fast and easy to use, and there’s no need to keep up with a key. The keypad is often backlit, which makes this type of mechanism is even fast and easy to use in the dark.
The disadvantage of any electronic locking mechanism is the reliance on power.
Fortunately, most electronic safes do plenty to help ensure that the safe stays powered. They usually have an AC adapter or, for safes specifically designed for use in cars, an adapter that plugs into your car, plus a backup battery. If the battery is low, there’s generally a warning light that gives you plenty of notice to replace or recharge the battery.
However, if there’s an electronic failure anyway, you’ll be unable to use the keypad to access your safe. Sure, there’s usually a mechanical override, but if you try the electronic entry method first to discover that you need to use the mechanical override, you’ve already lost significant time.
Biometric locks, meaning locks that use fingerprint scanners, are the newest thing in safes, but like any new technology, they have a ways to go before they’re perfected. There’s also a wide range in the quality, and therefore reliability, of the technology used. Some biometric safes are a lot more reliable than others.
When a biometric safe does work, the advantage is pretty significant: they’re very quick and easy to use. There’s no need to remember a code or keep up with a key. All you need is your finger. Most will save many fingerprints, so you can put prints from a bunch of different fingers or put your spouse’s fingerprints in too.
However, not all biometric scanners are great at reading fingerprints. Some require you to place your finger just so to read it as a match. Biometric locks also have the same problem as electronic combination locks, reliance on electricity.
Also Read: 7 Best Biometric Gun Safes in 2022
Construction & Other Security Features
Remember: choosing a car gun safe is about risk management. If a thief really wants to get into your car gun safe, they’ll do it. But most thieves are just looking for a quick, easy score. In the vast majority of cases, you can deter a thief by just avoiding the quick and easy part.
Part of that is having a safe that’s well made. Concealment is the first line of defense and a secure locking mechanism is second, but then comes construction.
To start, that means nice, thick walls from a durable material, usually steel. Thicker is more secure, but remember that comes at the expense of weight, so keep that in mind if portability is a factor that matters to you. Thin plastic is lightweight, but if the safe can just be crushed, that’s not very secure.
The walls aren’t the only security feature that matters though. The safe shouldn’t be able to just be disassembled and the door should be pry-resistant.
The primary job of a safe is to protect your firearm, so you probably don’t want it scuffing up your firearm’s finish either. Look for a safe with a soft lining so if your firearm slides, it doesn’t scuff the finish.
A compression foam lining is even better since it helps hold your gun in place, even if you’re forced to make a sudden stop or tight turn. This protects from both scuffs and impacts.
When talking about gun safes, some people want to talk about accessibility. I’ve even mentioned it a bit here, talking about the advantages of different lock types and where to keep your safe inside your car.
In my opinion, though, accessibility shouldn’t be considered a major factor for car gun safes. If you want access to your gun for self-defense while driving, get a car holster. A safe isn’t a substitute for a properly positioned holster, which will grant you access to your firearm way faster than a car safe and put your gun in position for a positive grip so you’re ready to shoot right away.
The exception to this is, of course, if your state and/or local laws require that a gun be stored in a safe while in a vehicle. Obviously, you should always comply with the law when it comes to your firearms.
To that end, it’s also a good idea to have an accessible car gun safe if you’ll be traveling across multiple states in your vehicle. That way, you can always lock the gun up to comply with local laws, even if you’d be allowed to have the gun out in your home state. And, if you’re not sure about local laws, you can put your gun in the safe just in case.
Now let’s take a look at a couple of common questions about car gun safes.
It’s a good idea to get a pistol gun safe that fits at least two handguns. That gives you room for your pistol, plus a few other small valuables, like your wallet. At the same time, it’s not too big and can still be stowed under most car seats. If your car is particularly small, however, you may need to limit yourself to a single pistol safe and find an alternative solution for any other items.
To start, Console Vault is a specific manufacturer of a particular type of car gun safe. While traditional gun safes are small lockboxes that attach to your car with bolts or a cable, usually under the seat, a Console Vault gun safe goes into the center console of your car.
Because center consoles differ between vehicles, Console Vaults are custom-made for the specific make, model, and year of your car. On the other hand, most car gun safes are far more versatile and can be used with just about any car.
It’s also worth noting that Console Vault primarily makes safes for trucks and large SUVs. They also don’t seem to make safes for cars older than about 15 years. Again, car gun safes are more versatile and the age of the car doesn’t matter.
My top pick for the best car gun safe is the Hornady RAPiD Safe Vehicle Safe.
The RFID technology is a fantastic way to get into your safe quickly and easily, and I love how it fits between your center console and passenger seat. It’s also secure and durable, with a foam-lined interior, to protect your firearm.
With that said, each one of the safes that we’ve featured in this guide is a high-quality option and you can’t go wrong with any of them. You just need to choose the one that best fits your needs and wants.
Fortunately, now you know everything you need to about choosing the best car gun safe, so choosing the right one for you should be no problem.
Corporal Dalton is a former Infantry Rifleman who served with 3rd Battalion 1st Marines. After leaving the Marine Corps, he started an online business where he focuses on teaching self-defense tactics. His two major passions are hiking and shooting guns. He has been a member of the NRA since he was 6 years old and is a strong supporter of the second amendment.