8 Best Car Gun Safes of 2021

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gun safe with pistol by car driver seat

Keeping a firearm in the vehicle is generally considered a controversial choice.

However, sometimes there are legitimate reasons to store a gun in your car.

Perhaps you’re traveling across state lines, or maybe you have a concealed carry license and need to visit the federal property, such as the post office, where CCing a weapon is illegal.

And in this situation, a good vehicle gun safe is the optimal solution here, as it allows you to safely stow your firearm for a little while. Although you still shouldn’t keep a gun in there permanently.

However, just bolting a big ol’ safe to your car’s trunk isn’t always the best choice. That’s why there are purpose-built vehicle safes!

Check out these options.

Some are portable and some are permanent installations. Each safe will be rated on how secure they are, how easy they are to hide, and what they can store inside. You’ll also find tips on how to choose and use these car safes.

Some car safes are custom to specific vehicles. If that’s the case, we’ll let you know!

All of these safes will help keep your gun safer than tossing it into the glovebox!

8 Best Car Gun Safes of 2021: Outdoor Empire Reviews

  1. Best Overall: Vaultek VT20i Biometric Pistol Safe
  2. Best for the Money: Tuffy Under Seat Security Drawer
  3. Best Budget Pick: Bulldog Cases Car Safe
  4. Best Quick Access: Hornady 98210 Rapid Safe
  5. Best Permanent Quick Access: Stack-On Quick Access
  6. Best Hidden: Tuffy Console Insert
  7. Best for Car Trunks: Fort Knox PB1 Handgun Safe
  8. Best for Long Guns: SecureIt Tactical Fast Box
  9. Best for Trucks: Tuffy Full Width Under Seat Lockbox

Check out the table below to compare our top picks at different price points!

CategoryBest Budget PickBest for the MoneyBest Upgrade PickBest for Long Guns
Product
Bulldog Cases Car Safe with Mounting Bracket
Bulldog Cases Car Safe with Mounting Bracket

Tuffy Under Seat Security Drawer
Tuffy Under Seat Security Drawer

Vaultek VT20i Biometric Pistol Safe
Vaultek VT20i Biometric Pistol Safe


SecureIt Tactical Fast Box

Mounting StylePortable safe inside mounting bracketPermanent under car seatPortable or permanentPermanent
Entry MethodsKeyKeyFingerprint reader, keypad, key, phoneKeypad, key
Vehicle Model SpecificNoYesNoNo
Exterior Dimensions (LxWxH)8.7″ X 6″ X 2.5″17⅜” x 7¾” x 3¾” 11.5" x 9" x 2.6"40" x 13" x 6.5"
Capacity1 compact handgun1 handgun and 1 spare magazine1 handgun and 1 spare magazine1 carbine length gun strapped (47" model can hold longer guns), 2 guns loose
What We LikeCheap (<$30), mount anywhere, removableSecure, no drilling, reasonably pricedVersatile (portable, permanent, or temporary), entry optionsPadded interior, can also go under bed or in a closet
CostCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price

Best Car Gun Safes for Pistols

1. Best Overall Car Handgun Safe: Vaultek VT20i Biometric Pistol Safe

Vaultek VT20i

Specs

  • Mounting Style: Portable or permanent
  • Entry Methods: Fingerprint reader, keypad, keys, and phone
  • Vehicle Model Specific? No

Overview

Vaultek is one of the best manufacturers of biometric gun safes and the VT20i is their most well-known model.

It’s good as a portable gun safe that can be secured in your vehicle with the 5mm steel security cable. If you prefer a more permanent installation, it comes with the hardware necessary to mount it in a hidden location.

The cable can only slow down thieves, so it’s only a good choice if you want to move the safe between your vehicle and home. Otherwise, take the time to permanently mount the VT20i someplace out of sight.

There are four entry methods: Biometric sensor, keypad, and manual keyed entry. The biometric fingerprint scanner is more reliable than many models but it can still erroneously not read your fingerprint if it’s sweaty or too dry.

You can also use an app on your phone to unlock the VT20i. Pairing the two devices does take some time, so this is not exactly a self-defense feature.

The electronics are powered by a lithium-ion battery that can last for four months on one charge or it can be plugged in permanently. Both the keypad and inside light up when you use them, so you won’t have to fumble around for your gun in the dark.

The interior of the VT20i is large enough for a full-size handgun, such as a 1911, as well as a spare magazine or two.

If you want to save some money then you can buy the VT20, which is the same as the VT20i except it doesn’t have the biometric finger reader.

Pros

  • Four entry methods, including biometrics, a smartphone app, and a keycode
  • Can be portable, permanently mounted, or temporarily mounted with a steel security cable
  • Large enough for a full-size handgun and a spare magazine

Cons

  • Expensive for the size and materials
  • Fingerprint readers can be finicky

Recommendation

The Vaultek VT20i is a great, small gun safe that can be permanently mounted in your car or used as a temporary car safe with the included security cable. Four entry methods get you access to your stored gun quickly or reliably.

2. Best Car Gun Safe for the Money: Tuffy Under Seat Security Drawer

Tuffy Under Seat Security Drawer

Specs

  • Mounting Style: Permanent under car seat
  • Entry Methods: Key
  • Vehicle Model Specific? Yes

Overview

Tuffy has a line of Under Seat Security Drawers that are hidden car gun safes that fit underneath the driver’s side car seat.

This covers many different model numbers. For example, the 251-01 fits Jeep Wrangler (TJ)s from 2003 through 2006, and the 335-01 fits Ford Explorers from 2011 onward.

This narrows down who can use these vehicle safes. However, if they fit your vehicle, they will fit well!

The safe itself is locked with a key up front and, when unlocked, has a pull-out drawer. You can’t remove the safe from under the seat without unbolting it.

Installation can be awkward sometimes as you need to partially remove the seat to install the unit, but this does make defeating the safe harder for thieves as well.

Note that if you have a power seat, you need to be careful how you position the wires and may lose part of the adjustment range.

Also, the drawer’s size is limited by the car model, so not every Tuffy under-seat model can fit all handguns. Compact pistols will generally fit, though!

Pros

  • Fits your specific vehicle model
  • Offers secure, permanent storage under the driver’s seat

Cons

  • Can interfere with some power seat wiring
  • Storage area depends on the specific vehicle

Recommendation

Tuffy’s Under Seat Security Drawers are excellent gun safes for specific car models.

3. Best Budget Car Gun Safe: Bulldog Cases Car Safe with Mounting Bracket

Bulldog Cases Car Safe with Mounting Bracket

Specs

  • Mounting Style: Portable safe inside mounting bracket
  • Entry Methods: Key
  • Vehicle Model Specific? No

Overview

The Bulldog Cases Car Safe with Mounting Bracket is two pieces of hardware in one package.

The actual safe is a small portable gun safe that’s locked and unlocked using a barrel key. Not the most secure system in the world, but no lock can defeat every thief.

There’s also a mounting bracket box that encapsulates the safe.

The idea is for you to mount the bracket in your car and remove the safe when you’re not using it. There’s a security cable to lock the safe inside the bracket when in use.

This vehicle safe is small enough to fit almost anywhere. Some people put it in the glovebox, in the center console, attach it to their tailgate, stuff it under the driver’s seat, etc.

The included screws aren’t very good, so you’ll want to replace them with higher-quality machine screws as soon as possible.

Also, the storage area limits your handgun selection. A Glock 17 is both too long and too tall to fit. A Glock 26 will fit, however.

Pros

  • Can be mounted anywhere
  • Removable

Cons

  • Only fits compact handguns
  • Poor quality included screws

Recommendation

Bulldog Cases’ Car Safe with Mounting Bracket is a small, inexpensive piece of hardware for securely hiding a compact handgun in your vehicle while maintaining portability and without spending money on unneeded features.

Compare prices at: Walmart

4. Best Quick Access Car Gun Safe: Hornady 98210 Rapid Safe Vehicle with RFID Lock

Hornady 98210 Rapid Safe Vehicle with RFID Lock

Specs

  • Mounting Style: Air bladder and cable
  • Entry Methods: RFID, keypad, keys
  • Vehicle Model Specific? No

Overview

Hornady’s Rapid Safe Vehicle with RFID Lock, model number 98210, is a vertical pistol safe that’s designed to be installed next to your car’s center console.

An inflatable air bladder attached to the safe goes between the center console and the seat to help hold the unit in place. It’s covered in Neoprene to protect your car’s finish and can be swapped to fit either the driver’s side or the passenger’s side. An included steel cable enhances security.

You can use a barrel key to unlock the safe or punch a code into the keypad. The real strength is in the RFID system that unlocks the safe when the RFID-enabled key fob is near, such as when you’re sitting in the driver’s seat, so you can just open the safe without having to manually unlock anything!

This is even faster than using a biometric fingerprint reader.

The side of the safe falls to the side when it’s open. This design means that the Rapid Safe isn’t as hidden as it could be but it does make getting to your gun quick and easy.

However, it won’t fit every vehicle configuration. Also, the Rapid Safe isn’t designed to be a permanent gun storage solution. The cable and barrel lock will slow down thieves but cannot stop them entirely.

The electronics are powered by either four AAA batteries or the included 12-volt car adapter.

Pros

  • Contactless unlocking via RFID so you won’t be slowed down if you need to get to your gun in just a few seconds
  • Holds your pistol vertically for quick drawing

Cons

  • Doesn’t fit all vehicle models
  • Not as hidden as other vehicle safes

Recommendation

The Hornady Rapid Safe for vehicles has a great design that allows for rapid, hands-free access to your gun, but it won’t fit every car model.

Compare prices at: Bass Pro ShopsCabela’sWalmart

5. Best Permanent Quick Access Car Gun Safe: Stack-On Quick Access Pistol Safe

Specs

  • Mounting Style: Detachable from permanent bracket
  • Entry Methods: Code or fingerprint reader, keys
  • Vehicle Model Specific? No

Overview

Vertical safes are great choices for when you want easy access to your firearm while remaining seated in the driver’s seat.

The Stack-On Quick Access Pistol Safe is a thick and secure safe that can be bolted to your truck’s floor or a vertical surface. Either way, it holds your handgun with the grip straight up until you open the safe, at which point the door drops open to a 45-degree angle for an easy draw.

You can fit a full-size handgun and one spare magazine, but nothing else.

The Quick Access Pistol Safe comes in two models: The QAS 1514 and QAS-1514-B. The first model has three buttons for entering a keycode. The -B model has a biometric finger reader.

Both models can be opened with a key if you cannot use the electronics for whatever reason. Don’t worry too much about dead batteries because there’s a low-battery alarm to remind you about changing them.

The electronics are loud. However, you can disable the beeps by holding your finger on the scanner for over ten seconds.

That’s not the only quirk. Make sure to read and follow the directions in the manual.

For example, if you don’t leave the key in the lock while programming the electronics, the lock can jam! You can reset the jam by accessing it from the inside (there are two screws in the top of the unit).

As for mounting the safe, it comes with a bracket that holds onto the lower portion of the safe. Installing the bracket is permanent but you can remove the safe from the bracket.

You’ll need a section of your vehicle that’s 4.25″ wide, 8″ deep, and 14.5″ high in order to hide the QAS-1514.

Plus, the California Department of Justice has certified this safe as a Firearm Safety Device.

Pros

  • Available in both keypad and biometric models
  • Versatile mounting options

Cons

  • Has some not-so-obvious quirks you need to navigate when setting up the safe

Recommendation

The Stack-On QAS-1514 is on the large side but is a great vertical safe. Once you’ve set it up correctly.

6. Best Hidden Car Gun Safe: Tuffy Console Insert

Tuffy Console Insert

Specs

  • Mounting Style: Inside center console
  • Entry Methods: Key
  • Vehicle Model Specific? Yes

Overview

Tuffy has another great product for hiding a gun safe in your car. The Console Insert line of products hides a gun safe in your truck or SUV”s center console, where it’s completely invisible from both the outside and inside of the truck!

Most under-seat lockboxes can potentially be seen if a thief knows what to look for, but not these! The Tuffy Box, on the other hand, is a secure lid for your center console that hides under the stock console lid.

And for greater stealth, you can buy dividers that fit on top of the safe so it’s hidden from view even with the center console’s lid up. How’s that for stealth?

You do have to purchase the model that matches your specific vehicle. For example, the 354-01 fits Dodge Ram 1500 Crew Cabs from 2019 onward, but it doesn’t fit the Ram Longhorn. Installing this safe may require drilling into your center console.

Not all models will require drilling, though. The 315-01, for ’09 to ’14 Ford F-150s with the Flow-Thru console, is easier to install for most years.

Installation can be tricky. However, once the Tuffy is installed, you don’t have to worry about it coming out. And fortunately, there are plenty of YouTube videos on how to install these console inserts.

Also, you’ll lose a lot of storage space by installing one of these console inserts.

Pros

  • Can be hidden under a center console divider and is hidden by the stock console lid
  • Models available for many trucks and SUVs

Cons

  • Fit isn’t always exact and may require modification
  • Storage volume varies depending on your vehicle’s model

Recommendation

Tuffy’s line of Console Insert lockboxes are great for hiding a safe inside your vehicle’s center console so thieves casing your vehicle can’t tell that there’s a safe inside.

7. Best Car Trunk Pistol Safe on the Market: Fort Knox PB1 Handgun Safe

Fort Knox PB1 Handgun Safe

Specs

  • Mounting Style: Permanent
  • Entry Methods: Simplex mechanical keypad
  • Vehicle Model Specific? No

Overview

The Fort Knox PB1 Handgun Safe is a heavy-duty safe that’s good for permanent installation in your vehicle.

It’s made from 10-gauge steel, which is extremely thick for a safe this small. Or even larger safes!

The lid is designed to resist prying, and even the entry method is extra durable. It’s a push-button Simplex “keypad” with no electronics that will outlast most other locks.

The gas struts open the lid smoothly once you enter the correct code.

The interior is large enough for multiple handguns and spare mags for each one, or whatever else you’d like to put in there. The PB1 comes with foam thick enough to keep them from rattling around and scratching each other.

However, to use the PB1 properly, you need to permanently mount it to your vehicle. It’s 13.5″ wide so you may have a hard time finding a hidden place for this safe unless you stick it in your trunk. Don’t forget to take the size of the lid into account.

Pros

  • Extremely theft resistant
  • Fits multiple handguns and extra magazines for each one
  • The mechanical locking method will outlast electronics
  • Very thick steel

Cons

  • No backup keys so make sure not to forget your code
  • On the larger side and is hard to hide
  • Requires permanent modification to your vehicle for installation
  • Slow access compared with other car safes

Recommendation

The Fort Knox BP1 is approved by the California Department of Justice, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a reliable and heavy-duty small permanent pistol safe perfect for your car or home.

Best Car Gun Safes for Long Guns

8. Best Long Gun Car Safe: SecureIt Tactical Fast Box Model 40 Firearm Storage

Specs

  • Mounting Style: Permanent
  • Entry Methods: Keypad, keys
  • Vehicle Model Specific? No

Overview

The SecureIt Tactical Fast Box Model 40 is purpose-designed as a safe to hold a single tactical firearm in a vehicle such as a police cruiser or SUV.

It’s also versatile enough to work as a bed safe or vertical safe.

The Fast Box has an internal length of 40″, which means that you can fit almost any AR-15 and self-defense shotgun inside. Longer guns, such as a hunting shotgun with a 28″ barrel, probably won’t fit. (Source)

The internal width of 11″ is large enough to store an AR-15 with a scope attached and a 30-round magazine loaded, so you’ll be ready to act as soon as you open the door!

You can fit a second long gun inside as well. However, you can only secure one firearm, so think of the Fast Box as a single gun truck safe or a double gun bed safe.

The Fast Box’s door opens by either using the keypad or unlocking with a key. The floor is Neoprene and there are two quick-detach nylon straps to hold the rifle in place so it won’t bounce around as you drive along rough roads.

You will need to permanently mount the safe by drilling through your vehicle’s undercarriage or into the trunk’s floor.

If you have a larger vehicle and want to secure longer weapons then the Model 47 is also available at Amazon or Sportsman’s Guide. Those extra 7 inches may make it difficult to install in some cars or trucks, though!

However, the 47″ safe is a great choice for securing hunting shotguns or expensive trap shotguns.

Pros

  • Fits an AR-15 with a scope and a 30-round magazine without issue
  • Secures your firearm against soft padding using two straps so it won’t get scratched up

Cons

  • Doesn’t include any ways to secure a second firearm or additional magazines

Recommendation

The SecureIT Tactical Fast Box is an excellent permanent installation for your vehicle to store a tactical rifle or shotgun without worries. Get the longer model and your expensive trap shotgun will stay secure!

9. Best Truck Gun Safe: Tuffy Full Width Under Seat Lockbox

Tuffy Full Width Under Seat Lockbox

Specs

  • Mounting Style: Under the rear seats
  • Entry Methods: Keys
  • Vehicle Model Specific? Yes

Overview

When you think “truck gun safe,” you might think of a safe that fits into the bed of your pickup.

However, pickup beds are easy to get into by even the worst thief. The safest place to store your guns is in the cab.

The Tuffy Full Width Under Seat Lockbox, as the name implies, is installed underneath your truck’s rear seats. The safe goes all the way across the cab so you have enough room not only for handguns but also for rifles and shotguns.

You can also use the Tuffy lockbox to store work and hobby gear, too!

These under-seat lockboxes are specific to certain truck models and year ranges. For example, the 316-01 fits Ford F150 Crew Cabs from 2015 onward and can fit similar trucks such as the F350 SuperCrew.

The safe attaches to the seat brackets. It’s tall enough that installing it over a mat or even carpet (with some truck models) can make it slightly too tall for the rear sights to fold down all the way.

Pros

  • Long enough to store multiple rifles and shotguns
  • Nearly completely hidden when the seats are down

Cons

  • Floor mats can (but don’t always) make the safe too tall to fit properly
  • Only fits certain trucks

Recommendation

Tuffy’s Full Width Under Seat Lockbox is a truck gun safe that can fit multiple long guns and hides under the rear seat, making it more secure than a lockbox in the truck bed.

Why Buy a Car Safe for My Vehicle?

gun safe with pistol by car driver seat

A car safe is useful for securing a gun in your car for short periods of time.

There are multiple reasons why you may need to do this.

One reason is that some states require you to have your firearm locked in a vehicle when transporting the gun. Tossing the gun in a bag may not be good enough for these states and not all vehicles have a trunk!

Another reason is that people carrying a concealed handgun may have to enter areas where it’s not legal to carry their gun. In these cases, you don’t want to leave your pistol lying around in plain sight.

Note that it’s illegal to carry a firearm on post office property. This extends to the post office’s parking lot! People have been arrested for storing their pistol in their car while parked at a post office, so if you’re going to drop off some mail you want to park on public property, not federal property.

Also, vehicle safes are smart when you’re traveling to and from the range but need to stop for food, ammo, or gas. You might be out of sight of your vehicle and a thief can smash a window and grab the case in seconds.

Good vehicle car safes protect your guns from this very threat.

Does it Matter What Kind of Gun Safe I Buy for My Car?

Tuffy full width lockbox installed under the car seat

There are two basic types of gun safes for cars:

  1. Portable
  2. Permanent

Portable gun safes either have permanent mounting brackets or attach to a part of your vehicle using a steel cable. Sometimes both.

These let you load the gun into the safe while at home or at the range so it’s not obvious to onlookers what you’re hiding in your car.

Permanent installations are harder to steal, however. Big bolts attaching the safe to the car’s metal parts make the safe hard for thieves to remove.

Either type of car safe can help keep your firearms secured. However, which one is best for you depends on how comfortable you are with a safe permanently attached to your vehicle.

Car Safe Buying Advice

open gun safe between car seats

Gun safes meant for cars range from products under $30 to big expensive units over $300.

Which one is the best choice for you?

Well, a lot of it comes down to personal comfort. Do you feel comfortable leaving a gun in the car that’s attached by a steel cable that’s easily defeated by bolt cutters?

Probably not.

Gun safes that mount that way are best suited for when you need a car safe to legally transport the firearm and don’t plan on leaving the gun unattended in the vehicle.

In fact, it’s a good idea to never leave a firearm unattended in a vehicle unless absolutely necessary, but I digress.

Access Speed

driver holding pistol from a Hornady Rapid Safe

If you’re planning on being able to use the gun for self defense then you need a gun safe that allows for rapid access to your firearm.

The Vaultek VT20i and Hornady Rapid Safe are the best choices for this, since both of those models have electronics designed to open the safe at a moment’s notice.

If, however, you want to keep your guns as secure as possible then a safe from Tuffy or Fort Knox is your best bet.

Concealment

gun safe concealed in between car seats

Protection through obscurity should not be your primary line of defense against theft, but it is a good adjunct method for keeping your gear secured.

The best gun safes for cars can be hidden away so they are not visible when someone is looking through your windows.

Bigger safes can be hidden in the trunk, though this does make them harder to access in an emergency.

Small safes, good for a compact pistol, can be hidden in an area easily accessed from the driver’s seat, so they make a great choice for self defense.

If you’re willing to spend a little bit more then hiding a safe in your center console is another option. However, without something obscuring the top, thieves tend to check the center console and will see that there’s a safe inside.

If they have access to your vehicle for a long time then they may attempt to destructively remove the safe from your vehicle.

On the other hand,  many people have had success with a center console gun safe as most thieves will ignore seemingly empty vehicles.

Entry Methods

Fort Knox PB1 lock upclose

How do you want to get into your car safe?

A key is the standard entry method. Insert the key, rotate, and the safe unlocks.

However, this has several weaknesses.

If you lose the key then the safe is impossible to enter. Also, these locks can be picked, though that does require time.

Still, it’s generally a good idea to go with a safe that can be opened with a key.

A mechanical number pad, such as on the Fort Knox PB1, is perhaps the most theft-resistant entry method.

The mechanical device is impervious to picking and will not degrade because of heat. However, if you forget the combination, getting into the safe will be extremely difficult.

Electronic entry is generally the quickest method, though it is the least reliable.

Some number pads along with biometric scanners and RFID devices require electricity to function. If the battery runs out then you need to use an alternative, slower entry method.

However, these are the fastest ways to get to your gun if you encounter a situation where every precious moment matters.

F.A.Q.

FAQ

How do you install a gun safe in your car?

The method you need to use to install a gun safe in your car depends on the safe in question.

Generally, though, the safe itself will have pre-drilled mounting holes. You’ll need to drill corresponding holes into the vehicle’s metal structure and bolt the safe to the car.

It’s helpful to create a cardboard template of the safe’s mounting hole. Use this template to figure out the best position in your car. A center punch lets you easily dimple the center of where you need to drill.

Do police officers have a safe place to store their guns in a police car?

Police officers lock their firearms in their police car.

Sometimes this takes the form of a gun rack accessible from the front of the cab. The firearms are typically locked to the gun rack.

Some officers even carry carbines in the trunk of their police car, either on a rack or in a safe.

Can gun safes handle the high temperatures a car can reach?

Car gun safes are designed to handle the extreme temperatures your vehicle will reach in the summer.

This is why it’s generally a bad idea to use a high-tech gun safe meant for home use in your car, by the way. The electronics may not be able to handle the heat!

Low-tech safes, on the other hand, are impervious to heat and cold.

High temperatures, however, can affect battery life for even the most dedicated car safes. If this concerns you, get a vehicle safe with only a mechanical lock.

Recommended reading:

How Do Gun Safes Work

Best Home Gun Safes

Best Bedside and Under Bed Gun Safes

Native Ads
Andrew Jackson learned to walk in the mountains and has spent much of his life exploring the outdoors. He is equally at home in the woods, at the range, or on the gunsmithing bench, and loves to build guns almost as much as he enjoys shooting them. His travels have taken him to the four corners of the United States. Though his favorite hunting spot is in Alaska, Kansas deer taste better.

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