If you’re a gun owner, you know the importance of keeping your firearms secure. As well as reducing the risk of theft, it’s basic gun sense to keep weapons away from children and the best way to do that is with a gun safe. Unfortunately, safes can be expensive. But if the alternative is losing a $1,200 SIG-Sauer or worse – a tragic accident, it’s not something you can ignore.
The good news is that a decent safe doesn’t need to cost a fortune. A small but sturdy model will hold several handguns, your ammunition or the bolts from your rifles, and you can find a perfectly good one for under $70. Obviously at that price you won’t find all the features of a high end model, but here we review two inexpensive safes that will serve well for any shooter on a budget.
TOP PICK: SentrySafe X055
The SentrySafe X055 is a standard security safe with a keypad, so it’s simple to use. It has a solid steel casing that should resist most attacks with household tools; the main body is seamless, so there’s no obvious point to attack from, and the door is fitted with concealed hinges to deter attempts to pry it off. In many budget safes the lock is a weak point, but the X055’s door is fitted with an internal hardened steel plate to protect from drilling. The SentrySafe also comes with holes in the bottom and back and the hardware required to bolt it to a shelf, wall or floor. The safe weighs 19 pounds, making it a solid piece of equipment that offers great protection for the money.
The door is secured by a keypad electronic lock powered by four AA batteries (these aren’t supplied.) It’s easy to program it with a passcode of between two and eight digits. For protecting firearms, four digits should be the minimum. Two override keys are supplied, so you can open it if you forget the passcode or the batteries run down. Once the lock is secured, the door is firmly closed by two live bolts.
Inside the X055 is a single compartment, which provides 0.5 cubic feet of space. A carpeted floor helps protect the contents from scratches. The interior dimensions are 13.6 x 8.5 x 8.7 inches so it accommodates practically any handgun. If you want to store multiple weapons it would be simple to make a rack to hold them butt outwards; four 1911-size pistols would fit easily with some space left for ammo. Of course if you plan on using the X055 for rifle bolts, AR15 magazines or boxed ammunition, there’s plenty of room.
The SentrySafe X005 is a basic but sturdy design that gives an unbeatable level of security . It’s simple inside, with no gun or accessory racks, but you can easily turn that to your advantage and customize it to perfectly match your needs. If you need a small economical gun safe on a budget this one is not going to let you down.
RUNNER UP: Stack-On PDS-500 Drawer Safe
If the SentrySafe isn’t for you, a good law enforcement approved alternative is the Stack-On PDS-500 Drawer Safe. Despite the name, this also has mounting holes and can be floor or wall mounted. It’s constructed from 2mm steel plate with a 6mm door to deter drilling, and again it has concealed hinges. The lock is similar to the X055’s, with two live bolts, and lets you set a 4 to 8 digit passcode. This one will also lock down for a while after three failed code inputs, which is a nice bit of extra security. On the other hand the keypad has no lights, so it’s not the easiest to open in the dark.
The PDS-500 is slightly smaller than the SentrySafe, with dimensions of 11.7 x 8.6 x 4.24 inches. That’s still plenty room for two large frame or three compact handguns. At the price it’s being offered, it makes a strong case for being the best cheap gun safe available.