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Handgun Safes - Pro's And Con's

The number one reason that gun owners make their purchase of a firearm is to protect their family and home. The 2000s started a new conversation about how to protect our family and home from our firearms. 

For a conversation like this to become mainstream media, unfortunately, several incidents occurred before we started to see that there was an emerging issue, especially when it came to kids and their curiosity about firearms. And why wouldn't they be curious? Television and video games reached a pinnacle without limits of violence and exposure to death, frequently by some sort of firearm. This fiction and fantasy of entertainment does not show real-life self or home defense, giving young viewers a skewed sense of reality. 

Being a lawful gun owner is not the same as being a responsible gun owner. You have to take responsibility, and that cannot be governed by purchasing a permit. When it comes to having kids of any age, and firearms in the house, you must parent. When I was younger, one good butt-whopping was enough to instill in me to not go within 5 feet of a gun. Safety was considered a rifle or shotgun propped up by the living room door or on a wooden rack mounted to the wall. Things aren't like that too much anymore. Society has changed and it always will continue to change.

As firearms technology continues to evolve and give us some really great firearms and accessories, society has transitioned away from trusting a whopping to work and has now generally accepted firearm locks and safes as the standard of responsible gun ownership.

Hornady Rapid Gun Safe


The obvious argument against placing your firearm in a gun safe is how quickly and easily you are going to be able to access it when things go from peaceful to fearful in a split second. When you hear glass breaking in the middle of the night, and you awake from a deep sleep, your startle response and immediate rush of adrenaline may make it difficult to fidget around with keys to unlock a firearms' safe.

If you are self-aware and know that your motor skills are not the best in stressful situations, you may choose not to have a gun safe at all. As firearms technology continues to advance so does gun-safe technology. We still have our traditional options of key and code open safes, but we also have very modern biometric and electronic gun safes.

So let's look at the PRO's and CON's of gun safes overall. Ultimately, the responsibility is the gun owners. Keeping kids away from firearms is paramount. Not only do gun owners face a catastrophic event if they do not keep their guns locked up, but they also risk criminal liability. You can and likely will be charged in an incident where a child gets ahold of a firearm and causes death or injury to themselves or another child or adult. No one wants either of those possibilities to happen, so let's talk about it.

Let's start with the CON's of placing your firearm in a gun safe. I feel ya on this one. It was not an easy sell for me either. 


  • Electronic access will wear out, especially keypads. Over time, connections could become corroded.
  • If you don’t access your firearm frequently, your keypad code or dial combination could simply get lost in all of the other passwords and codes that we humans keep up with in this modern era. In other words, you just simply forget what your gun safe code is. You will have to pay for a locksmith to get into it.
  • Most folks just want a place to lock their handgun up in. Gun safe companies are aware of consumer opinions and have given the consumer what they want. This means in some instances, thinner steel walls and not a true "safe". I cannot tell you the number of break-in calls that I responded to as a police officer where the bedside gun safes were pried open and the contents removed.
  • Most handgun safes are portable. They are smaller than floor safes and are not anchored to anything. Anyone could pick up and remove these smaller safes with your firearms in them.
  • They also may not be as fire retardant as you think. Don't place your important documents or other valuables in anything other than a real safe. Make sure that your purchase is a suitable container for the contents that you intend to store in it.
  • A dial combination lock on your gun safe can take an additional 20 seconds to access your firearm, and that is if you don't make any mistakes.
  • Handgun safes should still be hidden. Placing your firearm in a gun safe doesn't in and of itself make your firearm "safe". The best protection for your kids and from thieves is to hide your gun safe. In addition to going to your hiding spot to retrieve your firearm, you now must also enter a code, combination, or fingerprints for biometric entry.
  • You must think ahead to save money. If you own more handguns, you need a bigger handgun safe. If you only have one or two handguns and that is all that you will ever need for your comfort level of home protection, then a regular handgun safe will be fine. Be sure to check the maximum capacity when you are looking at gun safes.


  • As long as the CONS list is, all the negatives about owning a gun safe do not add up enough to prevent a responsible gun owner from purchasing one.
  • You cannot put enough value on your child's life to equate for any potential tragedy that could occur. In most cases, a good handgun safe will cost under a couple of hundred dollars but save you an uncompensatable amount of worry when you are away from home.
  • Some states offer tax rebates for purchasing a gun safe.
  • Some insurance companies offer discounts for owning a gun safe.
  • Owning a gun safe protects the gun owner from some legalities. If someone breaks into your home and steals your firearms, you can show that you took measures to store and properly secure your firearms. 
  • Storing your handguns in a safe could also prove to be helpful when disputing your insurance claim after a break-in.
  • In a lot of states, it is the law to keep your firearm in some sort of locked device, even when children are not present in the home.
  • Some thieves will see a handgun safe as a deterrent in taking the safe or prying the safe open (or they may just see it as a challenge).


Visually, the list of CONS, when it comes to owning a handgun safe, is longer than the list of PROS. However, without a doubt, the value of owning a handgun safe cannot be measured as it relates to the safety of our homes and the precious children and family members within them.

Bulldog Electronic Pistol Safe

The solution is to go ahead and get a handgun safe, the peace of mind is worth every penny that you will spend. The mitigation to increased access time in an emergency is to practice. Yes! Practice opening your safe and retrieving your firearm as much as you practice with the firearm itself. After all, you cannot make "the shot" if you cannot get to your gun.