December 6, 2022

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Best Car Gun Safes (Review & Buying Guide) in 2022

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Whether you’re out on the open road or just commuting to work, it never hurts to pack a gun safe for your vehicle. Compact and typically portable, such useful storage goodies can transform your center console or door pockets into miniature vaults for documents, personal items, and small arms for personal defense. We hope you’ll never have to experience the latter, but it’s best to always be prepared. Maybe you need a safe place to store emergency items when roughing it in the wilderness, or perhaps you’re looking to store some protection when visiting unknown places. However, buying one can be easier said than done as the market is brimming with unique and ingenious gun safes. 

We’ve combined our real-world experience with swaths of consumer feedback to curate this list of the best car gun safes available for purchase. Consider some high-tech, biometric safes or even a vault tailored to your specific vehicle. Take a gander and happy shopping!

Methodology

Task & Purpose strives to deliver the most informative yet honest reviews on every product we review. While it’s not always feasible for us to source every product we’d like to get our hands on, we still manage to combine real-world experiences with strenuous research, diving deep into expert opinions and consumer reviews. Consumer input found on major retail sites such as Amazon, as well as the manufacturer sites themselves, serve as invaluable treasure chests of knowledge with real-world stories. Products with little-to-no test data, consumer feedback, or available stock are often ignored as we heavily lean towards products with proven performance that people like us can actually buy.

Perhaps the most customizable option on this list, the Console Vault Vehicle Safe is an ingenious method of integrating a lockable security cubby into your vehicle. You can have a model tailored to nearly any vehicle, especially most trucks and SUVs. Sizes vary to fit most center consoles and even under the cushions of bench seat trucks. While some models may be restricted in terms of locking method based on the vehicle, most will allow you to choose from a simple barrel lock or a three- or four-digit combination. The HeavyGauge steel construction results in a look that is straight off the auto manufacturer line, and it’s reportedly highly resistant to drilling and prying.

As one of the most critically-acclaimed entries on this list, it’s hard to find many faults outside of a few nitpicks. For starters, it’s a fixed design, meaning it’s not as simple to simply pull out and take on the go on a whim. Gun fitment is highly dependent on your exact model and some safes are forced to adopt shallow dimensions in some vehicles. Additionally, not every vehicle has a model of Console Vault for it, so make sure your car is on the list.

Product Specs


  • Dimensions:

    Varies greatly; see specs for specific vehicle

  • Weight:

    Varies greatly; see specs for specific vehicle

  • Lock:

    Manual keys, 3-digit combination, 4-digit combination

  • Material:

    Cold rolled steel

PROS

Licensed Ford partnership for Blue Oval fans

Broad range of vehicle-specific applications

Choices of key or combo locks

Incredibly rigid construction

CONS

Gun fitment highly dependant on specific safe

Not quite available for every vehicle on Earth

Relatively expensive

No fancy-schmancy techno-wizardry here — the Hornady Lockbox is a good old-fashioned box for simple folks who demand a good old-fashioned box. You get a single lock with manual keys and three sizes to choose from. Thankfully, they’re all well-constructed with dense steel shells, offering greater protection than less expensive plastic competitors. At less than six pounds, it hardly weighs anything, a plus if you have to take it elsewhere, and its largest sizes are roomy enough to conceal 1911s and four-inch revolvers. As an additional courtesy, you get a security cable that may be used to anchor your safe to the seat rail of a car.

You do get what you pay for at this price point, and what you get are some slight compromises in its build quality and gun fitment. Some owners have noted that some especially thick handguns may create a gap that is just big enough to potentially exploit. Do your measurements first. Multiple owners have also reported some annoyingly cumbersome locks. In the best-case scenario, one owner remedied theirs with a drop of gun oil. Worst case scenario, a few owners have had their locks completely break apart.

Product Specs


  • Dimensions:

    9.50 x 6.50 x 1.75 inches (large), 10 x 7 x 2 inches (x-large), 10.25 x 8.00 x 2.75 inches (Alpha Elite)

  • Weight:

    4 pounds (large, x-Large), 5.85 pounds (Alpha Elite)

  • Lock:

    Manual keys

  • Material:

    16-gauge steel alloy

PROS

Fantastic price point

Incredibly compact size in smallest trim

Choice of sizes to fit your use

Security cable for anchoring to vehicle

CONS

Somewhat finicky lock

Storing thicker handguns may create vulnerable gap

Tuffy’s Console Security Safe presents itself as a strong, dependable value among console-mounted safes. Like the Console Vault it competes with, it offers thick steel construction with a clean finish that looks like it could’ve come from the auto manufacturers themselves. Unlike the Console Vault, it’s capable of being affixed in place or easily removable and can be applied to an even broader range of vehicles including some off-road novelties from as far back as 1950’s Jeeps (see Tuffy’s website). The product has received continuous praise for the rigid construction of its welded steel body and room for two handguns, should you desire. Price Varies greatly by vehicle, but typically runs anywhere between $170 and $210. Universal models for rarer and more obscure vehicles exist for anywhere between $250 and $360.

If there are complaints to be had, there could be the singular option of a manual key which has raised concerns over it being tampered with, but the 10-tumbler design should mitigate that. One owner has managed to swap out the manual key with a Tuffy combination lock, so that option exists for those who aren’t deterred by a little extra coin and effort.

Product Specs:


  • Dimensions:

    Varies greatly; see specs for specific vehicle

  • Weight:

    Varies greatly; see specs for specific vehicle

  • Lock:

    Manual keys

  • Material:

    16-gauge steel

PROS

Broad range of vehicle-specific applications

Can be fixed in place or easily removed

Easy to source through many retailers

Less expensive than more premium console safes

CONS

Even cheapest model is pricier than portable safes

Questionable resistance to prying

Only one choice of locking mechanism

Best for Overland Adventures

A superb choice for the outdoorsman looking for quality storage solutions, the Vaultek Lifepod 2.0 delivers incredibly robust security and build quality in a portable size. It’s quite featureful with a security cable for anchoring to a seat rail or perhaps somewhere inside a camper. There is also an interior tray for placing accessories or other valuables; however, a few consumers report that using the tray inhibits their ability to stack handguns or store certain larger firearms. The interior is illuminated, and pressure latches and rubber gaskets create an airtight, waterproof seal. The 2.0 generation reportedly addresses prior issues of being easier to pry and defeat the keypad.

A few consumers have noted a few build quality issues such as a finicky keypad — which they still believe to be far more reliable than the biometric safes they’ve owned — and cumbersome manual locks. One owner reported that their interior light failed to operate. Such quality concerns are few and far between with most owners raving about the overall robustness, but the issues do seem a tad less forgivable considering the Lifepod 2.0’s steep price which rings in at over $150.

Product Specs


  • Dimensions:

    12.25 x 8.50 x 2.87 inches

  • Weight:

    3.3 pounds

  • Lock:

    Keypad

  • Material:

    “Impact-resistant proprietary material blend”

PROS

Waterproof, airtight construction

Surprisingly lightweight

A nice dose of security and packaging features

Can store multiple handguns

CONS

On the pricier end of portable safes

Can only program a four-digit code

Few reported build quality issues

A popular pick for those looking for the added high-tech security of a biometric system, RPNB’s Quick Access Biometric gun safe is a well-rounded and affordable choice. While larger than the Hornady Lockbox, it’s still slim enough to carry in vehicles, which some consumers specifically purchase this product for. The security cable allows for anchoring to items like seat rails, and the carbon steel body has proven incredibly strong and difficult to bust. As a portable gun safe, the scanner is powered by batteries which can be overridden with traditional manual keys in the event that they run out of juice.

Be wary of issues people have had with programming the scanner. Some have reported that family members have been able to pop the lock without ever programming the scanner themselves. A few others have reported having to input their fingerprint multiple times to open or couldn’t get it opened at all. A third bandwagon expressed confusion as their safes have worked flawlessly, so it’s best advised to take your time and exercise caution when programming your gun safe’s scanner.

Product Specs


  • Dimensions:

    11.80 x 7.80 x 2.20 inches

  • Weight:

    5.8 pounds

  • Lock:

    Biometric scanner

  • Material:

    16-gauge steel alloy

PROS

Manual keys in event of biometric scanner fault

Compact size

Program up to 20 fingerprints

Security cable for anchoring to vehicle

CONS

Some hiccups with biometric scanner

In a complete, polar-opposite departure from the simplicity of the Hornady, RPNB’s RP19001E Quick Access gun safe is about as high-tech as it can possibly be. Need quick access to your firearms? You got it — and you’ll get to choose one of four to five methods of doing so. The automatic lid is set free by either a manual key, a key fob, a card, a four-button keypad, or an optional biometric scanner. While large, it’s slim enough to be carried inside larger vehicles and roomy enough to store a pair of smaller handguns. One consumer noted that you could even stack your guns and still manage to close the lid. Overkill? Definitely.

With this much tech, however, you’re bound to have some hiccups. A couple of owners have reported lid motors and locks acting up and refusing to open even after accepting their inputs. The fix? A good slap to the side did the trick. Not ideal, but they were rare instances. Its bulk means it could better serve others as a nightstand safe, but larger trucks and SUVs could still accommodate their cavernous interiors. My family’s Silverado 1500 and Highlander, for example, come to mind.

Product Specs:


  • Dimensions:

    14.25 x 10.83 x 3.15 inches

  • Weight:

    13 pounds

  • Lock:

    Manual keys, key fob, key card, keypad, biometric scanner (optional)

  • Material:

    Steel alloy

PROS

Every quick access method imaginable

Can store multiple handguns

Program up to eight-digit codes and 20 fingerprints

CONS

Heftier than other portable safes

Large size may not match with some vehicles

Rare automatic lid motor faults

Behold! Okay, so it’s more like a lockable drawer than an in-car safe, but this still deserves a peek and is something we know a handful of enthusiasts will greatly enjoy. The Decked Drawer System is a clever, multipurpose option for nearly all truck beds. Decked states that their systems are weatherproof, meaning they’ll help keep your priceless antique rifles from rusting in a torrential downpour. The drawers are composed of a dense plastic encasing a galvanized steel skeleton and are rated at holding up to 2,000 pounds of gear, which you’ll hopefully keep tidy using the included organizing bins.

It’s easily the most acclaimed product here with consumers praising solid construction, smooth operation, and the ability to carry damn near anything from rifles to tools. Aside from being inaccessible in emergency situations and being voted the burden-bearer of your entire friend group, the biggest gut-punch this product dishes out is the eye-watering price of nearly $1,500. Other complaints include an installation process that’s a tad lengthy and overcomplicated, and a few owners report that “weatherproof” doesn’t quite mean it’s completely waterproof.

Product Specs:


  • Dimensions:

    Vary greatly; see specs for specific vehicle

  • Weight:

    Varies; 220 pounds (estimated)

  • Lock:

    Manual keys

  • Material:

    High-density plastic, galvanized steel

PROS

Carries rifles, ammo cans, and pepperoni sticks

Relatively straightforward install

Can double as storage for camping or trade jobs

Become the pack mule for all your friends

CONS

The most expensive thing on this list

Bed access means it’s unavailable in an emergency

Become the pack mule for all your friends

Our verdict on car gun safes

That wraps up our list of some of the hottest car gun safes on the market today. The Console Vault Vehicle Safe lands Best Overall for its highly-customizable, well-constructed approach to in-car firearm security. Hornady’s Lockbox stands as the Best Value pick for offering stout construction and a choice of sizes for less than the cost of some used video games. And we honorably mention Tuffy’s Console Security Safe as another acclaimed entry with a flexible price tag. That being said, drop a comment and let us know what your favorite storage solutions are for in-car firearm transport. Just like with any buyer’s guide, we’re always looking forward to expanding our knowledge with you.

What to consider when buying car gun safes

Car gun safes all do the same basic thing, but they all seem to go about it quite differently. Some are big. Some are small. Some are almost permanent additions to your car, while others can be brought nearly anywhere else. From complex designs to brainless simplicity, here are just a few ways car gun safes can distinguish themselves.

Types of car gun safes

Biometric locking

These safes define themselves by primarily unlocking with a programmable fingerprint scanner. The technology is commonly found in high-end home safes, but there are plenty of smaller applications that can be taken in a personal vehicle. It’s often regarded as the most secure as it will only respond to the person (or people) who program it, but that’s also dependent on the construction of a specific safe and how easy it is to damage or pry. 

Many biometric gun safes available come in slim, portable packages, meaning that stowing them in a vehicle is effortless. That also means they have to be powered via batteries, so be cautious not to let yourself get locked away from your firearms because of some dead Duracells. Keep those emergency manual keys handy.

Portable

This encompasses nearly all available car gun safes. Compact, portable, and relatively inexpensive, these will give you the secure storage that you need in a package you can switch from car to car and even check-in for flights. They generally won’t be too cumbersome and may come in a variety of locks, but basic manual locks with a key tend to be the most common and reliable. Some models even have attached security cables for anchoring to wherever you decide to leave it.

In this range, keep a keen eye out for build quality, especially at the lower end of the price range. Many can be had with durable steel construction, but some could leave gaps making you susceptible to theft. Budget-friendly lockboxes constructed of plastic exist, but obviously won’t have the resilience of steel alloys.

Fixed

Fairly self-explanatory, these safes won’t be going anywhere unless you have the time to uninstall them; Console Vault and Decked products fall into this category as does technically Tuffy. They’ll be affixed in place, meaning that moving them will prove more of a burden, but they will typically have better storage abilities given their designs.

Some console safes may reconfigure the entire console into a miniature bomb shelter for your valuables with the entire square footage of space at the expense of obliterating your normal center console storage. Larger safes exist to fit entire rifles into the back ends of SUVs and pickups plus room for gear and ammo, but they hold the obvious drawback of being far less accessible in a cinch during emergencies. More often than not, this will also be the most expensive type.

Key features of car gun safes

Locking mechanism

There are quite a few different locking mechanisms you could opt for which seem to vary in quality and reliability. 

Keypad and biometric scanners are trickier to defeat with the latter being regarded as far more secure, but they are powered and often require batteries. Keys and combinations have been far more reliable according to many customer accounts, but be aware of the quality of your lock. Some cheaper models sometimes ship with complete nuisances of a lock with stiff action and even falling apart altogether.

Fortunately, there are known workarounds for some common complaints. A drop of gun oil, for example, has been a proven fix for some stuck locks, and most electronic mechanisms include manual keys as a backup.

Size 

Here is a crucial factor in determining which product is right for you. For some, it may be the single most important. Buyers must take a gander at their firearms and their possible storage locations and decide which gun safe is the right size for their needs.

Some folks may be packing some serious big irons, so a Hornady Alpha Elite Lockbox or an RPNB RP19001E would be a more viable option. Or, perhaps the potential buyer is looking for a gun safe that fits their compact car which may not have such generous interior volume.

Also account for the interior volume of a gun safe which should always be disclosed in the product listing. You might snag a case based on its external dimensions that seem as though it would fit like a glove, only to see you’re a quarter-inch short. 

Material

Keep in mind what material your chosen gun safe is composed of, especially as you dip down into the lower price brackets. It could be a thick, high-carbon steel alloy or it could be cheaper plastics. Some materials are better resistant to flexing when pried at or can be defeated with a power drill and enough brute force. 

Higher-end and most mid-grade products will almost always be constructed of some sort of alloy, typically 16-gauge steel unless stated otherwise, thus delivering some added peace of mind for their price tags. As materials get stronger, it’d be wise to start looking at other variables that could affect security such as the quality of locks and hinges, etc.

Pricing considerations for car gun safes

Pricing for portable car gun safes may range from mere tens of dollars to well over $100. The higher end of that scale will present you with the best construction and an abundance of locking mechanisms including biometrics, keypads, and key fobs. Some may have lighting to illuminate the interior or keypads when entering codes. Conversely, you can get simple lockboxes with a basic key and simple construction for anywhere between $20 and $40, but build quality may not be so bulletproof on a few models within that realm.

For those with deeper pockets, premium fixed safes like those from Console Vault or Tuffy typically ring in at $200 to $300 before options. Drawer systems for carrying rifles and gear can vary greatly based on options, but systems like those from Decked start at nearly $1,500. Such offerings are surely for the dedicated enthusiasts, but tradesmen have found value in having them pull double-duty as bed-mounted tool boxes.

Tips and tricks

As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and car gun safes. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.

  • If you choose to legally add a portable gun safe to a camper or RV, consider hard mounting it in a drawer using the hardware that some models include.
  • For Pete’s sake, many of the complaints of people letting their electronic locks die and getting barred from their guns can be fixed if you keep the manual keys nearby. Don’t ever lose them.

FAQs on car gun safes

You’ve got questions. Task & Purpose has answers

Q: Can you keep a gun in a glove box?

A: From a safety standpoint, most experts do NOT recommend storing a gun in the glove box, especially if it’s not a locking glove box. From a legal standpoint, the country is divided on the issue. However, in most states, you can conceal a firearm in your glove box if you are permitted to concealed carry. 

Q: What size should my vehicle gun safe be?

A: That is completely up to your specific use case. Look at one that will fit your firearm(s). How many mags will you carry? Does it have large accessories? Then check where you intend to store it. Find a safe with the right dimensions for that spot.

Q: What’s the safest way to transport a firearm in a vehicle?

A: Unless you’re specifically (and legally) keeping it in your car for defense purposes, it shouldn’t be loaded and hot. Keep it locked up in a hard case and away from where passengers or thieves could tamper with it. It should be unloaded with ammo stored away from the gun.

Q: What is the difference between a car gun safe and a console safe?

A: A car gun safe encompasses most lockable storage solutions whereas console vaults/safes specifically refer to fixed storage within a vehicle’s center console. When installed, it will replace or take up a good chunk of the original space with a safe that’s integrated with the car and out of sight.

Task & Purpose and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Learn more about our product review process.



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