Want the quickest access gun safe to protect yourself and your family?
Find out my recommendations for all budgets…then see the safes in action with my actual home defense and CCW pistols.
And finally, learn the top criteria I used in selecting my personal bedside gun safe so you can apply it to your home situation.
And now we have a full YouTube video on our favorite safes that we cover in the article:
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Without further ado, here’s our favorite picks.
Summary of Our Top Picks
Table of Contents
Best Bedside Quick Access Handgun Safes
1. 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.
And each and every one loves it after install.
“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.
*2023 Update*: 7 years worth of usage and going strong for my simplex safe.
Also picked up a second upgraded one! More details below in the Protectionsection.
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.
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.
2 years in of nearly weekly use…it’s still going strong with no messups. Plus the foam is still good even after some oil dripped out from my gun.
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.
I got a second one recently that is upgraded with a plate behind the Simplex lock that guards against smash attacks.
Plenty of space for my full-size Glock 17 and extra mag.
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.
4 pre-drilled holes on the bottom for easy mounting.
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. It does slowly go away in a few months though.
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.
However the newer version fixes this as well with a better lifter too.
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.
2. Vaultek DS2i Smart Station
The Vaultek Smart Station sits on my work desk as a discreet tabletop alarm clock which just happens to hold a H&K VP9 with an extra mag.
Besides the clock and safe aspect, it also gives you temperature and humidity data…plus a wireless charging option at the top.
Reliable: Access is via biometric finger scan, capacitive buttons, Bluetooth app access, or even a single press “Nano key.” The biometrics are top notch with scan and drawer open in under two seconds. See it in action here:
Adequate Protection: Coming in at around 10 lbs, the unit feels sturdy and the rubber feet prevent any unwanted side movement. You could probably pry into it with the right tools and time but this safe depends more on being hidden in plain sight.
Space: As shown above it can hold a full-sized handgun and an extra mag with ease.
Mountable: You’ll probably want this in the standard position which works great for bedside or work desk applications. It does come with a cable tether to prevent someone walking away with it easily.
The app is also great with customization of the front data, lights, sounds, etc. And lets you know the history and tamper attempts.
The only con I can give is that you need to have installed the app to enable temperature and humidity on the front panel.
Overall…my favorite for a discreet and tech-heavy handgun safe.
3. Awesafe Biometric
Looking for an affordable electronic safe that reads fingerprints AND has buttons?
Reliable: I’m still a fervent supporter of pure mechanical…but this nice biometric lock is still great depending on your own personal preferences. Otherwise there’s still the backup of buttons.
Adequate Protection: Definitely less robust feeling than the Fort Knox but it’s still acceptable. The lid is pry-resistant but given enough time and some tools someone can get in.
Space: Good amount of space to fit whatever you’ll likely need next to your bed or closet.
Mountable: Comes with holes in the back to mount or add a safety cable.
Overall a great budget option that’s electronic but has decent fingerprint capabilities and also buttons.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
4. GunVault SpeedVault & 1000S
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.
5. Vaultek V20i & V10i
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.
Mountable: Comes with two pre-drilled holes and screws. Plus cable attachment.
We’ve also reviewed their newest and biggest version…the MXi Handgun Safe.
Want more fingerprint-activated gun safes? We have our roundup of the Best Biometric Gun Safes.
6. Vaultek LifePod & LifePod 2.0
A relatively newcomer from Vaultek…the LifePod.
It’s what I use when I travel by car since it’s portable, discreet with its slingbag, and still able to be tethered down when you’re staying put at a hotel or Airbnb.
I leave it unlocked if it’s just me where I’m staying, but otherwise I unlock the latches and leave it still requiring a code to open.
Here it is in action!
It’s pretty compact but holds enough for my needs…a compact pistol with light and a mag on the side.
Quick Access: Have a little more protection with the latches, or leave it with just the key option.
Reliable: No problems with very wet fingers since the keys are capacitive and there’s no fingerprint option. Note you’ll have to
Adequate Protection: Heavy but not too heavy. Slingbag also offers some cushioning. Has survived quite a few falls. Older generations had a physical exploit but Vaultek quickly remedied it and sent owners retrofit kits. Fastest company response I’ve seen!
I highly recommend the Vaultek Lifepod for a traveling quick access case.
There’s also the larger LifePod 2.0 now that can hold two handguns.
Or some other goodies if you use their tray instead of foam.
I use mine to hold my holstered CCW gun when not in use. The main purpose is to keep it away from the little ones or wandering eyes.
Check em out here:
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.
Hopefully, I helped you out a little in choosing the right bedside gun safe for your purpose.
Looking for long guns or bigger safes? Check out our huge Best Gun Safes article!