Best Bedside Gun Safe for Quick Access [2018]

Want the quickest access safe to protect yourself and your family?

Learn the top criteria I used in selecting my personal bedside gun safe so you can apply it to your home situation.  Then followed by recommendations for all budgets.

Then see the safes in action with my actual home defense pistol.

If you need quick access to our quick access safe recommendations, here it is:

Top PickFort Knox FTK-PB Simplex Handgun Safe 
Budget FriendlyStack-On PDS-500
Perfect for the Home OfficeGunVault SpeedVault
Technologically AdvancedVaultek VT20i

Safe Selection Criteria

Selecting a gun safe might be actually harder than what you went through selecting your handgun.

There’s so much stuff out there across so many price ranges.  I’ll try to make it easier by going through my top criteria when selecting my actual bedside gun safe.

  • Quick Access: My home defense pistol will be going in this safe and in a defensive situation, I want to be able to access it in around 1-2 seconds.
  • Reliable: I’ll likely be groggy and fumbling around in the dark.  Is the safe 100% reliable and easy to use in that state?
  • Adequate Protection: Expensive and less used guns go into my larger and more secure safe.  This bedside version is just to deter smash & grab burglars or to stop a nosy guest.  I’m not looking for extreme child or fire protection here.
  • Space: Enough of it to hold a full sized handgun like my Glock 17.
  • Mountable: I make sure that the safe is small enough to be mounted high the closet or nightstand drawer so it’s harder to access for small children and won’t just walk away with someone.

Best Bedside Gun Case: Fort Knox FTK-PB

Through all my research and asking around, I ended up with the Fort Knox FTK-PB Simplex Handgun Safe after a less than optimal buy or two.  It met and exceeded all the criteria I had set out for myself.  I do not regret my decision and I tell all my new gun owner friends to get their own.

Fort Knox FTK-PB

Fort Knox FTK-PB

Prices accurate at time of writing

Quick Access

“Simplex” means that instead of electronic keys, a rotary dial, or biometrics, it uses mechanical buttons that provide good feedback and allow me to open the safe in around 1.5 seconds.

All I do is put in my 2-stage code and turn the knob clockwise.  An example of a 2-stage code would be pressing the 1st and 3rd button simultaneously, followed by pressing the 5th button.

I also like that I can previously input the code and turn the knob clockwise but not actually open the top.  This means you can have super fast access to it at night if you open it before you go to bed.

Fort Knox FTK-PB Simplex Open
Fort Knox FTK-PB Simplex Open

Reliable

I wanted something that, like my self-defense gun, would “always go bang.”  The Simplex lock is American made (as is the entire safe) and does not need batteries, like so many of the popular safes out there, need for electronic keys or biometrics.  Also, no beeps and reading errors that could get you killed.  There’s a lifetime warranty too.

Adequate Protection

The safe is really heavy (~20 lbs) since it has 3/16″ steel doors and 10 gauge steel bodies.  I feel confident if it ever fell off a truck, or got attacked by a crowbar, it would put up a good fight.  I also like that the corners and sides are folded in to make prying much harder.

Fort Knox FTK-PB Corner
Fort Knox FTK-PB Corner
Fort Knox FTK-PB Inner Corner
Fort Knox FTK-PB Inner Corner

Space

Plenty of space for my full-size Glock 17 and extra mag.

Inside Fort Knox FTK-PB Handgun Safe
Inside Fort Knox FTK-PB Handgun Safe

There’s also two layers of foam underneath my gun and I feel confident that you could put at least one more full sized pistol in there if you wanted.

Fort Knox FTK-PB Double Foam
Fort Knox FTK-PB Double Foam

Mountable

4 pre-drilled holes on the bottom for easy mounting.

Fort Knox FTK-PB Fastened
Fort Knox FTK-PB Fastened

Cons

It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close.  The first few things I don’t like are nit-picky but the last one can be a deal breaker for you.

First is that it’s susceptible to water damage.  My wife left a cold cup of something in the top left which formed condensation and left a pattern.  I’m just glad it’s kind of cool looking.

Fort Knox FTK-PB Simplex Handgun Safe
Fort Knox FTK-PB Simplex Handgun Safe

The foam around the hinge gets in the way of closing but is easily addressed by just cutting it off.  Here’s the finished product.

FTK-PB Hinge Foam Cut
FTK-PB Hinge Foam Cut

And the potential deal breaker is that it only has 1081 combinations that any smart child could try in a relatively short amount of time.  However, if you don’t have kids yet, or plan on concealing the safe, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

Pretty Good Bedside Gun Safe: GunVault QuickVault & 1000S

What I recommend to people who want pretty good quality but at a lower price point.  The GunVault SpeedVault and the GunVault 1000S are top sellers with great reviews for electronic locking safes.

GunVault SpeedVault

GunVault SpeedVault

Prices accurate at time of writing

Because of the angle of the SpeedVault, it is the front-runner for mounting under a desk in a home office for example.

GunVault 1000S

GunVault 1000S

Prices accurate at time of writing

Quick Access: Quick access in the 2-second range.  Video later shows slight speed reduction in taking out a handgun for the side opening models such as the 1000S.

Reliable: Not as reliable in my opinion as mechanical Simplex locks, but tons of people swear by them.  I’d be comfortable using them if I were to unlock them before going to sleep.  Can turn off the key entry sounds for “stealth” mode.

Adequate Protection: Tight fittings and thick steel meet my requirements for protection against burglars and nosy guests.  12 million combinations so the possibility of someone brute force trying all of them are much less likely.  However, it still has a key override so keep it hidden.

Space: If it can fit a full-size 1911 style handgun, it will fit my Glock 17.  Other GunVault models are available for smaller or bigger storage needs.

Mountable: Easy to mount and the SpeedVault defines what it means to be a bedside or desk side safe with its ingenious opening mechanism.

GunVault SpeedVault Under Desk
GunVault SpeedVault Under Desk

Budget Bedside Gun Safe: Stack-On PDS-500

What I first chose as my gun safe due to its immense popularity on Amazon and its great reviews.  The Stack-On PDS-500 is a great budget safe but just be aware of its shortcomings.

Stack-On PDS-500

Stack-On PDS-500

Prices accurate at time of writing

Quick Access: Pretty quick access in the 2-3 second mark depending on your code.  However, I found the top opening door is smaller than the base, you can have occasional hangups of your gun.

Stack-On PDS-500 Open
Stack-On PDS-500 Open

 

Reliable: Not super reliable in my opinion.  I tested myself with late-night wake-up drills to try and open the safe and I found myself forgetting to hit the “*” key after my code.  The knob also sometimes does not work if you immediately turn clockwise…I found I had to turn counter-clockwise until it reset and then turn it clockwise for 100% reliability.  I’d only be comfortable unlocking it before I slept.

Adequate Protection: Decently heavy (~10 lbs) and seems pry-resistant.  Includes backup key access when you pry off the “Stack-On” nameplate on top to keep it hidden.  Older models seem to be easily picked with just a paper clip.  You can protect against this by getting a new lock or just super-gluing the plate.

Space: Fits my full-size Glock easily with extra space for a mag or two.

Mountable: Has bottom mounts.

The Sexy Tech-y Choice: Vaultek V20i & V10i

Want a reliable fingerprint and Bluetooth accessible safe that looks sweet?  Check out the Vaultek VT20i and VT10i.

Vaultek VT20i

Vaultek VT20i

Prices accurate at time of writing

We conducted a full review, but here’s the gist:

Quick Access: 4 easy ways to access your firearm: key, number code, fingerprint, or Bluetooth app.

Reliable: Fingerprint scanner was a little iffy when our fingers were wet.  But the other options were 100%.  If using this for your bedside gun safe…I’d stick with the number code.

Adequate Protection: Very robust feeling that resists drops and hits.  Plus pry-resistant.

Vaultek Abuse, Greenlight Shooting
Vaultek Abuse, Greenlight Shooting

Space: The smaller VT10i will hold most handguns with a mag or two to spare while the larger VT20i will accommodate 4″ revolvers and full-sized handguns with 3+ mags.

VT10i with Glock 19
VT10i with Glock 19
VT20i with S&W 686+ 4-inch
VT20i with S&W 686+ 4-inch

Mountable: Comes with two pre-drilled holes and screws.  Plus cable attachment.

Vaultek Cable Attachment
Vaultek Cable Attachment

Conclusion

Hopefully, I helped you out a little in choosing the right bedside gun safe for your purpose.  Here’s a video that compares the Fort Knox FTK-PB against the GunVault 1000S.  It was the final research that steered me towards the Fort Knox.

Need help selecting the gun to put in your quick access safe? We can help in our Best Handgun for Home Defense.  If you need home-defense ammo recommendations, we got you covered in 9mm and .45 ACP.

What did you end up choosing? Let us know in the comments!

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16 Comments on "Best Bedside Gun Safe for Quick Access [2018]"

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George
Guest

Thanks for a very informative article. How about one on bedside/under bed safes for an AR-15? Consideration would be enough space to put in a handgun eliminating a separate safe for the pistol

Michael
Guest

I like your initial selection of the Fort Knox Handgun safe. As a firearms instructor for GreenOps, we get questions all the time about quick access gun safes. I’ve had several over the years and within less than a year, they have all become unreliable. Most folks drop their handgun in a safe and don’t have reason to access. Because I use mine daily, I tend to find the flaws in them. Thank you for suggesting “Simplex” to your readers!

Lenny
Guest

Nicely written, easy to follow article; informative and to the point. Thank you for your research and for sharing.

Mark Wynn
Guest

Useful information on various models, thanks. I like the concept of a mechanical button lock … but $230 for a one-pistol safe is not cost-effective for me. I did buy a GunVault 1000 on sale. My concern is grandkids, not thugs with crowbars. If my home were broken-into and they found the safe, it means we weren’t at home and the gun wouldn’t do me any good.

Tim Lange
Guest

Just started shooting. Plan to get a pistol to use at the range. Many choices for home safes, but what about the car? Even if I have a CCW I think I want to be able to secure the pistol in my car so even if someone got in they could not take the pistol. Been looking for under the seat type safe, but have come up empty so far. The trunk is not an option, hatchback, with no steel to mount to. Any thoughts? Thanks, Tim.