One of the most important accessories every gun owner should have is a reliable gun safe. Parents of small children should be especially careful when selecting a safe to prevent any horrific accidents. In this guide, we share our best quick access gun safe picks along with reviews of each safe.
Each of the models in this guide is ideal for use as a nightstand gun safe to safely store a pistol in your drawer. The key here is quick access. Depending on the level of security and ease of access you desire, there are more than enough options in this guide to suit your needs.
Let’s start below with an overview of our top 5 picks that lists the types of entry for each safe along with other key specs to consider. Also, if you find that the listed interior dimensions are too small for your needs, most of these safes are available in various sizes. We listed each of the models available for each safe in the chart below.
Best Quick Access Gun Safe Reviews
Now that you have an idea of how each safe operates, let’s take a closer look at why we chose these models as our top picks. Under each review below, we list the pros & cons of owning each safe according to current owner reports and any information we feel is necessary to help you make the most informed buying decision.
#1) Vaultek VT20i Compact Safe
Currently, there are several Vaultek VT models available. There are the VT20i and VT10i that both feature biometric locks. Then, there are the more affordable plain VT models that skip the biometric lock feature. For gun owners who want the widest variety of access options and the quickest access, the VT20i is the ideal choice.
Of the safes in this guide, Vaultek is the only company that currently offers a phone companion app that’s actually quite useful. The app allows you to open the safe with a simple swipe, track opens, monitor battery life, and manage user accounts. Next, the biometric fingerprint scanner allows for lightning-fast entry with the option to store up to 20 unique fingerprints. This is an excellent option to avoid having to rely on a single finger in case of an emergency.
The illuminated keypad makes the safe easy to access at night, and there’s even an option to access the safe with the included keys. The base package comes with everything you need to mount the safe along with a security cable. Several final highlights are the lightweight yet durable steel construction, the six-month battery life on a single charge with normal use, and upgraded anti-theft features including new interior security brackets.
- The only safe in this guide with Bluetooth access
- High-quality craftsmanship and heavy-duty materials
- A discreet safe that’s perfect for storing in a nightstand drawer
- Ample anti-tampering features
- The responsive LED lighting makes opening the safe at night a breeze
- Awesome battery life
- An interior LED light (adjust the brightness using the app)
- Well-written clear instructions with illustrations
- The safe may need to be flat to read fingerprints
- Several complaints about the paint flaking off the numbers
- Parents may want to stick with a safe with fewer access options
#2) Fort Knox Original Pistol Box
The most secure and diesel quick-access gun safe on the market is the Fort Knox Original Pistol Box. Unlike the other safes in this guide, the Fort Knox offers rapid access without electronic parts or fancy phone apps. Both old-school gun owners and new owners will appreciate the build of this box with its 10 gauge steel uni-body shell. Plus, the 3/16″ door is no joke.
If your nightstand drawer has the room and strength to house this safe, it’s possible to mount it directly to your drawer for easy access. With the Fort Knox safe, there’s only one way to access it, which could be a good or bad thing depending on who you ask. If one thing is for sure, the Simplex push-button mechanical lock is very reliable and gives you 1,081 combination options.
Another thing we really like about this safe is it’s made in the USA and comes backed by a lifetime warranty. Also, it’s built to exceed California DOJ firearm safety device requirements with flying colors. Several final features we want to highlight are the interior egg-crate foam lining, there’s enough room for 1-2 handguns, and the gas-strut-assisted wrap-around door with a heavy-duty tamper-resistant hinge makes this beast virtually impossible to break into.
- The most secure quick-access gun safe in our guide
- No reliance on battery power or a biometric scanner
- The gas struts make opening the heavy door easy and keep it propped up when open
- Easy to program your own combination
- A roomier interior than the other safes in our guide
- The interior is very well padded
- Made in the USA with a lifetime warranty
- Heavier than the other four safes in our guide
- Access is not quite as fast as the other safes
- Too large for some nightstand drawers
#3) Hornady RAPiD Safe
Another excellent option is the Hornady RAPiD Safe series. The main feature that makes this safe unique is its RFID capability. With this safe, there are several options to use the RFID to quickly access your handgun. Each safe includes a key fob, sticker, and wristband that all activate the RFID. Simply choose your preferred method of entry or attach the sticker to your phone to access the safe at any time.
The really cool part about RFID is it allows for touch-free entry, similar to the Bluetooth option offered in the Vaultek safe. If you don’t like the idea of RFID or don’t have the sticker, wristband, or key fob nearby, there’s also the option to access the safe via keypad or manual key. The safe allows for up to five programmable RFID tags.
Currently, there are several versions of this safe available wit the 2600KP model being the smallest and the 4800KP being the largest. One feature we really like for rapid access is the spring-assisted lid. Once you slide open your drawer and activate the RFID, you’ll have access to your weapon in a hurry. Lastly, this safe is built for safe use around children and meets ASTM International safety standards (ASTM F2456 – 19a) for child & pry resistance.
- Superfast touch-free entry using RFID tech
- Base package includes a key fob, sticker, and wristband
- Excellent battery life with an AC power option
- A good choice for parents who want an extremely secure gun safe
- Opens quickly and silently
- Easily installs in almost any nightstand
- Reliable bedside protection
- Very reasonably priced
- Too small for some full-sized handguns
- An interference issue reported between the RFID sticker and some smartphones
- Several reliability issues reported
#4) SentrySafe Quick Access Biometric Pistol Safe
For fans of biometric safes, this model by SentrySafe is certainly worth a look. The greatest advantage of this safe is the easily-visible quick swipe finger pad. No matter what time of day, you’ll be able to access your firearm in a hurry and silently with the help of the compression gas strut. Also, the door design makes this safe the ideal bedside gun safe for owners who desire singlehanded access.
In addition to the fingerprint scanner, there are the options to access the safe by programming your own combination with the silent digital lock or with the override key. The included bolt-down kit makes this safe easy to place in a nightstand drawer, on a bed frame, or even for use as a quick access wall-mounted gun case. If you choose to hang the safe vertically, it’s wise to use a magnetic gun mount to secure your gun and for quicker access.
A couple of drawbacks to consider before choosing the QAP1BE safe are that it’s not as secure as the Fort Knox safe, and there are some complaints about the struts wearing out. One easy fix for the strut problem is to install your own spring by feeding it around the strut, and the beauty of this fix is it requires zero disassembling of parts.
- Amazingly quick single-handed access arms the user in just a couple of seconds
- Very easy to set up
- The biometric scanner is reliable and quick to read prints
- California DOJ Certified
- The soft interior lining prevents scratches on your handguns
- Near silent operation with no metal to metal contact
- Heavy-duty construction, doesn’t feel cheap
- Not as secure as a Fort Knox safe
- Complaints about the strut wearing out
- The scanner must be woken up before it reads prints (to conserve battery life)
#5) awesafe Quick Access Biometric Pistol Safe
A good budget alternative to more expensive quick access gun safes is this one by the lesser-known awesafe brand. You probably already noticed that the design is very similar to the SentrySafe model above. The awesafe model also features a biometric fingerprint scanner, a gas strut, digital keypad access, and an option to open the safe with an override key.
One feature this safe does have that the SentrySafe does not is an interior LED light that makes nighttime single-handed access easier without the need to modify the safe or buy a separate light. The box itself runs on 4 AA batteries, and a quality battery should last at least a couple of months. Once the batteries are low, the box will alert you that it’s time to replace them with a flashing red light.
The biometric scanner allows for up to 30 fingerprints to ensure both you and your significant other have full access to the safe. Plus, there’s the option to program up to 5 combinations with the keypad. One good tip is to register the same finger several times from different angles to avoid any issues with the scanner. Finally, it’s nice to see that awesafe backs this safe with a 1-year warranty since the company is less established than the brands above.
- Features an interior blue LED light unlike the SentrySafe QAP1BE model
- The easy setup process takes about 5 minutes (be sure to program your fingerprints right out of the box since the default setting accepts all fingerprints)
- The brightness of the light is perfect for clear yet discreet nighttime access
- Truly quick access in just about one second
- High-quality, sturdy metal construction
- Excellent value for the money
- Functions perfectly as a nightstand gun safe
- Not as high quality as the other brands in our guide
- Easier to break into than the Fort Knox safe
- Several closing/latch issues reported
When choosing the best quick access gun safe for your home or nightstand, it’s important to consider how much you value security over convenience. Parents may want to stick with the Fort Knox nightstand gun safe for ultimate security. With a little practice, you’ll figure out how to access your firearm as quickly as possible without the need for a biometric scanner.
For gun owners who dig all the bells & whistles, there are certainly some awesome safes in this guide to consider. While some people will find the Vaultek phone app to be excessive, others will find it quite useful. Regardless of which route you take, housing your handgun in a reliable safe is the right decision.