A full size gun safe is a great thing to have if you need to keep a collection of firearms safe and secure, but its very size means it’s not easy to position for maximum convenience. Usually they end up in dens or closets, which is not ideal in the event you need to get to a gun in a hurry. If you’re concerned about home protection you need a safe that will hold the gun you need and can be placed where you can get to it quickly. You also want a compact gun safe that’s simple to open even when circumstances aren’t ideal.
Luckily there are a range of good quality portable gun safes on the market. The smaller size doesn’t mean you have to compromise on security or ease of use; a good compact safe will be just as solidly built as a full size one and will have a modern, quickly operated lock. Here are two of the best compact gun safes you will find.
TOP PICK: Sentry Safe QAP1E Quick Access Safe
The Sentry Safe Quick Access Pistol Safe is designed to securely hold a single handgun but allow easy, rapid access in an emergency. It includes a couple of nice features to make it especially easy to use in the dark. So if you’re after a good compact safe for your pistol, we think this is your best option.
This model really seems solidly constructed; especially when you consider its size. It’s made from 12 gauge steel, so while it probably wouldn’t stand up to a determined attack with cutting tools it certainly shouldn’t be possible to pry or break it open. All hinges and screws are concealed and the lid closes flush to prevent a lever being inserted under it. The quality of construction goes beyond the box itself, too. A gas strut opens the door smoothly and quietly, so you can get access one-handed even if the safe is mounted in a confined space. Mounting is easy; there are two pre-drilled holes in the base of the safe, and thanks to its design it can be mounted flat on a shelf or easily bolted to a wall.
The lock is operated by four backlit buttons, so it’s easy to operate in the dark. It’s simple to program with your own security code, and there’s also an override lock if you forget the code or the batteries (you’ll need four AAs) go dead. If you forget the code, there’s a reset button to let you clear it. A nice touch is that this is inside the door, beside the battery compartment; in some safes it can be accessed from outside with a paperclip, which is an obvious security failure. With the QAP1E, on the other hand, you’re not getting in unless you know the code or have the key.
Because of the safe’s design, the lock mechanism takes up some space along the front, but when the lid is opened you have access to a 12 x 9.9 x 3.2 inch compartment, which has a foam lining to protect your pistol from knocks and scratches. It’s easily big enough to hold a large frame revolver or a full size semiautomatic along with spare magazines or a box of ammo.
The SentrySafe QAP1E is perfect if you’re looking for a small but secure container you can open quickly. As well as good sturdy construction it has a great level of attention to detail. You can see that real thought has gone into putting it together.
RUNNER UP: GunVault NV200 NanoVault
The GunVault NV200 Nanovault is the perfect solution for storing a single handgun. It has an extremely slim, flat profile but will still take a full-size 1911 pistol. A high density foam lining holds your gun in place and protects it from scratches. The GunVault Nanovault can also be quickly secured to any solid object using the included security cable; just wrap the cable round it, place the end in the recess inside the Nanovault and lock it.
To minimize its bulk the Nanovault uses a key lock, supplied with two keys. Of course this means you need to keep a key accessible if you’re going to be able to get at your gun quickly, but on the other hand key locks are the most reliable; there’s not much chance of anything going wrong. That makes the Nanovault as dependable as it is secure.