SnapSafe Drop Box: Keep Your Bedside Gun Handy and Secure

Something goes bump in the night, and you need to grab your bedside handgun. The dilemma has always been how to keep it easily and quickly accessible but also safe from getting into the wrong hands when not in use. Maybe you have kids who aren’t old enough to be trusted around guns. Or maybe you just want the added peace of mind of knowing the gun is secure if someone breaks into your home or your kids have friends over. Whatever your need, you want to keep your gun handy in case it’s needed, but protected when it’s not.

One possible but rather cumbersome option is to keep your gun in a safe during the day and then move it to the nightstand or one of those holsters attached to the bed at night. Everyone else, including the kids, is asleep and unlikely to bother the gun, yet you can have it right where you need to grab it. This setup can be okay, but it has its limitations, one of which is remembering to take it out and put it back every night and morning. Even the steadiest creatures of habit sometimes forget.

A Bedside Safe

Another solution is a bedside safe. There are a ton of great options out there. Some hold multiple guns while others hold just one. Which safe do you need? Is one better than the other?

Snapsafe Drop Box Keypad Vault
The Drop Box by SnapSafe is an option for quick access to a single pistol that keeps the gun safe when it’s not needed.

A safe that holds multiple guns might be difficult to manage in the dark. You’ll be feeling around for the right pistol, the one you keep loaded and ready for the moment when it’s needed immediately. Can you put your hand directly on that one, especially under stress, knowing there is an intruder in the house? Will the other gun or guns get in the way, forcing you to untangle the puzzle before you safely and effectively deploy the one you need?

The Drop Box by SnapSafe is an option for quick access to a single pistol that keeps the gun safe when it’s not needed. A simple four-button combination instantly flips the safe open, with the grip at the top for easy grabbing and deployment.

The SnapSafe Drop Box is programmable for a 4 to 6-digit keypad code, providing security and quick access.

SnapSafe Drop Box Keypad Vault Specifications

Here are the raw specs, according to SnapSafe’s website:

  • Dimensions: 13.5″H x 7.5″W x 3.6″D.
  • Weight: 7.8 lbs.
  • Recognized by the California Department of Justice as an approved Firearm Storage Device (FSD).
  • Compact vault mounts under a counter or desk, or on the side of a nightstand for quick access to your handgun.
  • Programmable 4 to 6-digit keypad code provides security and quick access.
  • Features fast action, tamper-resistant drop-down door.
  • Protective foam liner safeguards your handgun from scrapes and scratches.
  • Constructed of 16-gauge steel for exceptional security.
  • The mounting bracket allows multiple orientations and is easy to install.
  • Selectable audible and visible low battery indicators.
  • Requires four AAA batteries (not included).
  • Backup key lock override.

I’ve used other similar safes before, albeit with slightly different designs, and I generally like the idea of having a loaded gun staged for rapid response. Equally, as a father of three kids, I appreciate the security of a safe that the kids and their friends can’t get into. I’ve used a safe from a different manufacturer for years for this purpose, one that sits horizontally under the bed with a front opening. The main advantage of that style is that the whole safe stays hidden.

SnapSafe Drop Box Keypad gun vault mounted to a desk.
The Drop Box is designed to be mounted to something sturdy, allowing the opening to drop open for access to your handgun.

While the Drop Box has similar features to my other safe, such as a four-digit entry code and a drop open door, it sits vertically, requiring it to be mounted on a vertical surface, such as a wall or the side of a cabinet or other furniture to operate as designed. Setting it on the floor or turning it on its side restricts the drop part from, well, dropping open, making retrieving the gun from inside a bit more challenging, if not impossible.

Mounted correctly, the safe has a bit of a forward cant to help drop the front out and present the gun so you can quickly grab it. This is especially helpful if you mount it under a desk or anywhere else where there will be a drawer or shelf above it. This slight tilt helps the gun clear the object on the draw.

The outside of the Drop Box is 16-gauge steel that feels like it will take quite a beating before it reveals the contents. The safe is not fire-rated, so there is no guarantee to protect it if your house burns down, but the sturdy construction looks like it will hold under many other stressful conditions.

Inside, firm closed-cell foam pad lines both the fixed box and the door, with rectangle cutouts for the muzzle and grip to sit inside. 

SnapSafe drop box gun vault with door open to allow access to the firearm inside
When the door pops open, the gun is presented with the grip facing toward the outside for easy retrieval and extraction.

Accessing Your Firearm

Getting into the safe is easy with one of two methods: a 4-to-6-digit combination that you can change anytime or via a supplied key.

drop box gun vault with keypad and key

The key takes longer, so SnapSafe recommends using the big keypad that sits from and center on top with gigantic white buttons that light up for nighttime extractions. After all, things go bump more often at night. I tried them both and agree that the code is faster and easier since there is no light at the keyhole.

SnapSafe drop box keypad lbuttons lit up blue

Drawbacks to the SnapSafe Drop Box?

Overall, the SnapSafe Drop Box is a great option for a bedside or tableside quick access safe option. However, there are two big drawbacks that might or might not be a deal killer for you.

First off, it has to be mounted. Unlike other small gun safes that don’t have to be mounted to operate, the Drop Box has to be attached to a sturdy surface via screws to get the drop box portion off the floor so it operates correctly. If the safe is sitting on the floor, the drop portion won’t drop, and the safe won’t open all the way. The only way to fix this is to mount it. If you don’t mind poking holes in your nightstand or desk, mounting it will be fine. However, if you don’t want to permanently alter your furniture, this gun holder is definitely not for you.

Second, it won’t properly hold anything smaller than a full-size gun. I tried with multiple guns, including a Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm, Springfield Hellcat Pro, and Glock 17 (small, medium, and large), and only the Glock 17 fit correctly. The other two almost fit but were not quite big enough to fully rest inside the rectangular cutouts. Once the door was closed, they wiggled around inside and dislodged from the foam fittings. The good news is most people use a full-size gun for home defense, so if you want to stage your home defense big gun in the Drop Box, it should work perfectly.

Aside from those few drawbacks, the SnapSafe Drop Box is a great option for keeping a gun handy and secure. At $181.99 MSRP, this steel case is a bit higher than some other bedside options, but keeping your gun right where you need it is worth the investment.

David Workman is an avid gun guy, a contributing writer to several major gun publications, and the author of Absolute Authority. A logophile since way back, Workman is a quickdraw punslinger and NRA RSO and Certified Pistol Instructor. He helps train new shooters on basic handgun skills and CCW requirements and is a strong advocate for training as much as practicable. "Real-world shootouts don't happen at a box range."

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