4 Best Bedside Pistol Gun Safes for Quick Access [2018]

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Vaultek Opening with Finger
Vaultek Opening with Finger

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.

Table of Contents

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Safe Selection Criteria

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

Best Handgun Safes
Best Handgun Safes

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.

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.

Fort Knox handgun safe
Fort Knox Pistol Safe

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.

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.

*2018 Update*: 2 years worth of usage and going strong for my simplex safe.

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.

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.

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.

Editor's Pick
Fort Knox FTK-PB

Fort Knox FTK-PB

What’s your take on the Fort Knox?

Readers' Ratings

4.99/5 (111)

Your Rating?

2. 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.

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

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

3. 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.

Best Budget Safe
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.

4. Vaultek V20i & V10i

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

High-Tech Option
Vaultek VT20i

Vaultek VT20i

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

We’ve also reviewed their newest and biggest version…the MXi Handgun Safe.

Best Multi-Handgun Safe
Vaultek MX Series

Vaultek MX Series

Prices accurate at time of writing

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! Or looking for larger safes…check out our Best Safes for Handguns & Long Guns.

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John
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John

FAS1 – Piston assist door open (with holstered gun attached and ready to go), simplex lock and a ton of sizes as well as holster options.

What you reviewed was off the shelf big box store only.

Rudy F.
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Rudy F.

I have two that has the combination system…have both for more than twenty years, I mounted one under my truck seat anywhere I went, it placed in that safe, and it was really handy that location.

Jon
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Jon

I realize this article has been around a while, but I am just starting to look for a safe. I really appreciate the information here Eric, and I have read and enjoyed a few of your other articles. Thanks! I did want to warn people that the GunVault SV500 – SpeedVault Handgun Safe can be opened with a gum wrapper! Please see the video by Handgun Safe Research (it should be the first one in the Reviews on Amazon). It is pretty amazing. While doing research on other gun safes his videos have steered me away from a number of… Read more »

Jimbo
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Jimbo

The Hornady 2700 with card reader. Key or code is supper fast also has cable lock and stew down holes inside if you want to use them. Comes with key fob. Phone stickers, and a card that you program. Also key lock is a barrel type! The key code can be up to Six numbers if need be. Around $ 130 dollars on sale at optic plantic

Josh O
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Josh O

I have this model as well and very happy with it!! <1 second opening with RFID!

Iklwa
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Iklwa

I personally chose the bedside bolt-on Gun Vault (two, large handguns) with finger placement coded buttons. The key is in the big safe and I don’t have to worry about unauthorized access with an RFID key fob or bracelet.
The Gun Vault also alerts the owner to tampering with a flashing light and locks down for a specified period of time.
Another advantage because it completely encloses the handgun, an intruded will not know if it contains a weapon or not. Mine is literally bolted to the side of my bed.

Easy access and secure containment…it can’t be beat