Is a Gun Safe Enough Protection for Your Family?

Gun safes are one option to protect your firearm from children, but they do not offer you quick, emergency access to your gun.

By Ralph Goodman – Whether you’re thinking of getting a gun or looking to properly store the guns that you already have, gun safes are sure to come up. It’s true that everyone should know about gun safety, but this type of information is especially important to gun owners. Anyone who owns a gun, or is thinking of purchasing a firearm, should know if a gun safe is enough protection for their family.

What A Gun Safe Offers

The biggest benefit a gun safe offers to firearms owners is a safe place to store their weapons and valuables. The safe can be opened with either a digital code or with a combination dial. Without these legitimate ways of accessing the safe, it will take tremendous force or skill to open a safe. All items within the safe can also use additional security measures for keeping your weapon safe.

When it comes to protecting your family, this is a way to keep your guns out of the hands of those without permission to use them. Hiding the safe will add even more protection because those without authorization to access your firearms will not even know where to look. These types of protections will also make sure that the guns are not stolen by external threats.

Gun Safe Concerns

An older safe that doesn’t work properly may further delay access to a firearm in an emergency.

A gun safe does not offer you quick, emergency access to your gun. When there is an immediate threat, a gun safe poses some challenges. You will be in a high-stress scenario attempting to remember a combination that many people forget under average circumstances. Any safe locksmith can tell you how frequently safe owners have this type of issue, along with complication due to faulty bolt work, disconnected safe handles, etc.

In the best-case scenarios, a safe with a combination dial takes approximately 20 seconds to open. If you’re very proficient with a digital keypad, you may be able to get the door open as fast as 10 seconds. (Count to 10 Mississippi for an unexaggerated display of just how long that is.) However, that is just to open the device in ideal conditions. It does not account for elevated heart rates, low visibility, etc. It also does not include the time taken to reach your weapon, let alone how long it will take to get to the safe itself. From there, you may still need to load your gun (if you’re practicing safe storage techniques).

Other Options

If you want to have quick access to a firearm for emergency usage, then you must use some other form of storage. This storage method must include some means of security. Owning a firearm without considering gun safety is extremely reckless and tremendously dangerous.

  1. Lock Boxes
Lock boxes are easy to move and store, but they offer poor security against theft.

Many people choose to use lock boxes to store their guns. These are easy to move and store. However, they offer very little security against theft. Due to how easy these boxes are to move, the gun can be stolen without opening the lock box. These types of containers are also not constructed from high-grade steel and are often very flimsy, so they are easy to break open (gun lock boxes can even be made of plastic). On top of not offering more security than a gun safe, they’re not any faster to open. (Often they require a key, which is even harder to use/find during an emergency.)

  1. Personal Protection Boxes

A personal protection box is made similarly to a lock box, but is designed to be opened much quicker. This offers much less security for your firearm than a safe and has similar theft concerns to a lock box. It’s often thought of as a concealment tactic rather than a security device. It serves the purpose of having a gun on hand for quick access, while still considering gun safety around children.

  1. Gun Locks

Traditional gun locks are not quick to remove and effective in warning owners of mishandling. If you’re interested in theft protection, child safety and tamper awareness, then you need a gun lock with a built-in alarm. A product like the ChildSafe1 alerts gun owners that someone is trying to use the weapon. An alarm can significantly reduce chances of the most common reasons for firearm accidents injuring any member of your family.


Even if you’re using a safe, you may still want to use additional protection on the guns stored inside. That way even if the integrity of the safe is compromised, the guns are still not fully accessible. So to answer the question of whether or not a gun safe is enough protection for your family, it can be said that a gun safe certainly does not offer all of the protections gun owners want. If there is a gun around that’s not in your safe, be sure it at least has some form of lock on it to prevent accidental use.

Ralph Goodman is a professional writer and the resident expert on locks and security at the Lock Blog — is a great resource to learn about keys, locks and safety. It offers tips, advice and how-to’s for consumers, locksmiths and security professionals.