While we have assembled a comprehensive directory of more than 1,500 online stores and a product database with more than 30 million items (in the past but no longer), I’m still amazed at how difficult some products are to find online. For example, I still receive “where can I buy?” shopping questions that initially stump me and require some research. Here is a question I’ve received numerous times over the years that I felt it was worthy of a detailed answer. I’ve summarized the question below:
Question: “Where can I buy a quality American-made gun safe that can be shipped to my home and won’t cost a fortune?”
My Answer: This question essentially has a three part answer dealing with shipping, price, and the country of origin (since my research suggests that an American-made gun safe indicates a higher level of quality). Let’s look at these three gun safe factors in more detail.
Gun Safe Shipping
I expected shipping to be a problem for quality gun safes with high fire ratings because they frequently weigh more than 700 pounds; however, virtually all online retailers carrying gun safes will freight ship them to your door with a minimum of hassle and cost. The bottom line, shipping gun safes does not appear to be a problem. In fact, many times the cost of shipping the gun safe is built into the price so the retailer advertises them as “free shipping gun safes.” Some retailers also offer premium services for unloading and setting up the gun safe in your home.
Gun Safe Country of Origin (American-Made vs. Imported)In conclusion, it seems that shipping will not be a serious issue in deciding where to buy your gun safe. I would recommend making sure you are home when the gun safe arrives so you can direct the shipping crew where to unload and install your new gun safe. Given the enormous weight, you most likely will not want to move the gun safe once it is installed.
Gun Safe Prices
The price of gun safes vary from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars depending on your choice of features. The wide variety of options includes custom pin-striping, gold plated handles and hinges, built-in dehumidifiers, electronic locks, thicker metal, deluxe interior upholstery and many other features that will significantly change the price of your gun safe. Price seems to be directly related to the gun safe’s quality — including the thickness of the metal walls, the type and placement of defensive bolts, the fire protection materials and rating and so forth. Price also includes cosmetic features such as the exterior finish, decorative hardware used, interior shelving and gun configuration options.
It seems the old adage of “you get what you pay for” definitely applies to gun safes and should be considered before making a purchase. Therefore, I recommend paying special attention to fire protection ratings including the tested BTUs, the type and amount of fireboard (or ceramic or glass wool) within the safe’s walls and the length of time the gun safe can withstand a fire of at least 1200°F. Other factors to consider when comparing gun safes are locking mechanism designs (including electronic vs. mechanical dials), placement of drill-proof armor plates, hinge placement (a thief should not be able to gain access to your gun safe by cutting off the hinges), use of pry-proof doors, placement of locks and locking bolts, and the type of heat-expanding or other seals used on the doors. Remember that weight generally increases as protection increases (heavier gun safes generally means more protective steel and heat shielding were used) so be sure to balance this with your needs.
One other thing I read about that relates to gun safe weight and fire protection is where you intend to place the safe. Careful attention should be made regarding gun safe placement. If upstairs, the weight can be a problem for some floors. Likewise, in the event of a fire, the safe is likely to come crashing down through a burning floor which could severely damage the contents and the safe’s ability to protect them from further damage. Similarly, a non-water-proof gun safe placed in the basement could get water in it from firefighters responding to a house fire (or to flooding). [Please note that waterproof gun safes are rare.] Under this scenario, burning debris would also fall on the safe and may block quick access. With water inside the gun safe, the guns would likely rust before recovery efforts could be made after the fire (or flood).
Gun Safe Country of Origin (American-Made vs. Imported)
Regarding the country in which the gun safe is made, I did not find any widely-sold imported gun safes that would be considered anything other than budget or entry-level. On the flip side, I also did not find any American-made gun safes that would not be considered on the higher side of quality. In general, it would be easy to argue that higher prices equate to higher quality which was generally reserved to American craftsmanship.
So, with the above factors considered, where does one buy a quality American-made gun safe at a good price? Here are some options I found in my research.
1. First, I searched our compare products tool [temporarily offline] for the term “gun safe” which delivered more than 500 matches from more than a dozen stores. These results can be further refined by price, store, brand and other options. While the pricing information, descriptions and images are very helpful, unfortunately, there is no way to narrow the results down by country of origin. That means you have to read individual gun safe descriptions in the hope that the retailer lists if it is made in USA or imported.
One shortcoming of our product comparison tool is that we’re at the mercy of the retailer’s database. If they don’t list the country of origin then we can’t share that detail. Likewise we can’t show products from retailers for which we don’t have access to their product catalogs. In this analysis, I noticed a few retailers absent that I expected to see — namely Cabela’s and The Sportsman’s Guide, both of whom sell gun safes.
2. I still wasn’t satisfied that I had found all American-made gun safes available online so I did some additional research and discovered a few other sources with additional details. The following companies manufacture and/or sell American-made gun safes (be sure to read individual descriptions to make sure a particular model is actually American-made since some have multiple lines that include cheaper imports and quality American-made gun safes). Many of the links below are manufacturer web sites which offer detailed product information and even videos on their gun safe features, options and technical specifications. Others are sellers with additional information, photos and brand comparisons. Listed alphabetically —
- Bear Safes (rugged gun safes built in Oklahoma [h/t to gregor the large for recommending them on 2014-Jan-14])
- Browning (gun safe manufacturer — not all American-made)
- Champion Safe Co. (manufacturer of “American-made steel” gun safes [h/t to gregor the large for recommending them on 2014-Jan-14])
- Fort Knox (gun safe manufacturer)
- GunSafes.com (sells many American-made gun safe brands)
- Heritage Safe Company (gun safe manufacturer)
- Homeland Safes (gun safe manufacturer)
- Invincible Gunsafes (gun safe manufacturer)
- Liberty Safe (gun safe manufacturer)
- Patriot Safe (gun safe seller & manufacturer — all but the tactical box was American-made — appears to be out of business [2015-Aug-17 update])
- Rhino Metals (gun safe manufacturer)
- Sportsman Steel Safe Company (gun safe seller & manufacturer)
- Sturdy Gun Safe Manufacturing (family-owned and American-made gun safe manufacturer; especially thick steel walls & innovative heat shielding; be sure to watch their videos!)
- Vault Pro (American-made gun safes and vault doors [h/t to Tony for recommending them on 2015-July-11])
- Zanotti Armor (gun safe seller & hand-made American gun safe manufacturer with innovative interlocking designs for maximum mobility)
3. My conclusion is to do your homework and choose a gun safe that is best for your specific application. Once you have found the gun safe manufacturer you like and the model you want to buy, shop around for the best price. Don’t forget to factor delivery costs into the equation for the best gun safe deal you can find.
Please note that this article may be updated as new information becomes available. Disclosure: some of the links in this post are affiliate links.
Some links and list commentary updated on 2015-Aug-17 with additional updates on 31-Mar-2018.