What Gun Safe Should I Buy
Those who take their firearms seriously should also approach how they store them with the same gravity as they would dialing in a shot or scrubbing a bore to a mirror shine. Which is why, sooner rather than later, a gun safe should top the list of firearms necessities.
what gun safe should i buy
It's generally not an investment to take lightly since gun safes are expensive and the importance of the service they'll provide you and your collection. But, taking a studied approach, developing an understanding of exactly what they offer and weighing each one's benefits is certain to make your money well spent and give you priceless peace of mind.
Generally speaking, there are two primary threats to firearms in the home: fire and theft. For the most part, gun safe companies and the media pump up the former over the latter as the greater of the two and they're not off base. A house fire is, overall, a greater statistical danger. That said, these statistics are subjective; there are certain corners of the country where crime burns hotter than house fires. Ideally, just to be on the safe side, you should shop for a gun safe that protects against both.
An additional point, while not a threat in a traditional sense, a gun safe also provides a way to control access to your guns, an important factor, especially if you have children. As Massad Ayoob points out in his book Gun Safety, realistically there is no way to gun-proof your home, so you must gun-proof your child by teaching them the respect and responsibility of owning firearms. Nevertheless, sometime in their life, they might have less-than-mature friends who formulate less-than-mature notions. Nipping catastrophe in the bud with Cannon, Winchester or what have you safe is well worth the investment.
Not all gun safes are created equal. In fact, not all gun safes are really gun safe. For the most part, there are two types of gun storage options: actual gun safes and gun lockers. Confusingly, for the sake of marketing juice, many gun lockers call themselves gun safes. Clear as mud now? There's no bright line between safe and locker, but if there is a major distinction it's fire protection. Gun safes have it, lockers don't.
The 350-degree Fahrenheit mark for internal temperature, the line where most companies certify their safes too, for an hour and beyond is a solid starting point. Additionally, a reputable retailer who specializes in gun safes is worth his weight in gold when it comes to finding which ratings actually live up to their billing.
Conveniently for shooters, shopping gun safe steel is fairly simple, given thickness is expressed in gauges. And just like shotguns, smaller numbers mean more. From there it's a cakewalk, the thicker the steel, the more protection.
Now you have your gun safe picked out and are confident about its security and fire protection, it's time to figure out how you'll access your treasures. For the most part, modern gun safes use three access methods: combination lock, electronic lock and biometric lock. As you've probably already guessed, they each have their own advantages and drawbacks.
Starting with the most traditional, the combination lock is the picture of simplicity and reliability. Merely spin the dial and unlock the door; the only weak link in the process is you and your faulty memory. However, if you're in and out of your safe a lot the process of left four, right two, left one gets arduous. Additionally, if you need a gun in a pinch, a combination lock is far from lightning fast.
How big you should go is a tricky proposition. It's easy to save money and buy for your present needs. A more prudent course of action is planning for the future and purchasing a gun safe that will handle guns you'll add to your collection. Yes, it is more expensive now, but cheaper in the long run, given it saves you from another safe purchase.
It's easy to get chintzy and play the odds with your precious guns. After all, nothing has happened up to this point right? But when you take a sober look at the threats your firearms face when not in use then the need of a gun safe becomes evident.
It's a small investment when compared to the potential loss of thousands of dollars worth of guns, not to mention the priceless sentimental value. There's only one granddad's deer rifle in the world that you of all the grandchildren were bequeathed. You should act like you deserve by treating it like the treasure it is.
Searching for the right safe is sometimes a difficult task. For over 26 years our goal at The Safe House has been to answer your questions in an honest and clear way that cuts through all of the hype of other sources.
With that being said , we feel it is our responsibility as professionals in the safe and security products industry to cut through the hype and misinformation that the internet is filled with and give you only the most important considerations as you search for a safe to satisfy your needs.
We work with individuals and companies all over the U.S. for their security and safety needs. Many of our customers include state and federal agencies, jewelry stores, large corporations, local small businesses but our main focus are individuals just like you.
We have many customers that come to us wanting to protect a wide range of items, from Jewelry, Guns, Precious Metal, Baseball cards, Paper Money ,Important documents and other high value items. For these customers we would recommend a well built composite or a BF rated safe or greater.
We have provided the following industry guidelines for content value of the various levels of security that a safe can provide. These values are generally used for businesses for insurance purposes but are a good guideline for different levels of protection. Contact your insurance company for specific limitations
Please be aware that these ratings are subjective , some import safes that say they are TL rated are not and will not provide you with the level of protection that are indicated by the ratings listed. How do you know? Call us for more information.
Many customers have read that a fire rated gun safe will protect their important documents. This is only partly true, our recommendation is to look for a U.L. or a U.S. made safe with a CERTIFIED fire rating of 1 hour or greater. If you are thinking of placing any important documents or delicate items in a gun safe consider adding greater protection by investing in a small U.L. rated or U.S. made certified fire box you can place inside the gun safe for your paperwork and more delicate items.
Fire resistant safes do a great job of protecting paper documents (and even small amounts of cash) from heat and smoke damage, however, fire resistant safes use very thin metal (14-18 gauge) in the construction of the safe which makes them easy to defeat for a burglar. The metal is primarily used to hold the fire retardant material and can be easily punctured, cut or sawed with simple hand tools. Some of the cheap fire safes on the market today can be opened by simply dropping them on a hard surface.
We DO NOT recommend storing high value contents such as large amounts of cash, jewelry or precious metals, in a low cost fire safe. Over the past 26 years we have accessed many cheap fire resistant safes that customers have been locked out of for various reasons , our record is 30 seconds to pry the safe open with very simple tools . We have also seen those same safes easily broken into after the owners mistakenly thought the safe would protect their valuables against a burglary attack. The better choice is a burglar, fire safe or good quality composite fire safe that are burglar rated, or for content value above $10,000, look at a high security TL rated fire safe. These safes are engineered and designed to protect your valuables against both burglar attacks and fires.
If you have any special data or media that you need to protect against fire, a data/media safe is what you should consider purchasing. These safes will keep the inside temperature below 125 degrees as well as the humidity below 85%. Most data and media safes do not offer burglary protection . As an inexpensive option you can purchase a small U.L. rated fire lock box that you can place inside a larger fire safe ( Gun Safe) for your more delicate items, this is one way to protect you data / media without purchasing a more expensive data safe.
Pop quiz: What temperature does paper burn ? Answer 451 degrees . Fire Resistant safes and burglar fire safes should have a minimum of a 1 hour fire rating. Typically, a safe with less than a 1 hour fire rating will not provide adequate protection for paper or money in the event of a fire. A typical house fire burns in the 800 to 1200 degree temperature range ,if your safe is close to the starting point of the fire it would be subjected to higher temperatures than if it was in a different part of the structure. It is better to err on the side of caution and have a longer fire protection level to protect your items. Fire Resistant safes are great for protecting paper documents against fire for a limited amount of time BUT they are NOT recommended for protecting large amounts of cash or high value items from theft. When you want BOTH burglar and fire protection, look for a good quality composite-fire safe , burglar-fire safe or a high security TL rated fire safe.
Floor safes offer great security if installed in the floor surrounded by concrete BUT provide very little fire protection. Floor safes offer great protection for valuables due to the body of the safe being encased in concrete on all five sides. The reason they lack a fire rating is due to the door being exposed with no fire board to dissipate the heat. This leads to the contents being destroyed in a short period of time.
If you need to protect money or important documents, you are much better off purchasing a free standing Composite fire safe , burglar fire safe or high security burglar fire safe that has 1-2 hour fire rating and is anchored with multiple bolts into a concrete floor. This is a much better option than a floor safe. 041b061a72