The Truth About Gun Safes & Things Manufacturers Won’t Tell You
It is impossible to find one safe that is the best. You should keep a few things in mind when choosing what you need and how much to spend. If your gun collection grows, the most prudent thing to do next will be to buy a safe for them. So, make sure you read this article carefully.
The Reality Of Fireproof Safes
Ratings for fireproof gun safes are 95% nonsense. Most of the time, the safe is flameproofed by placing a gypsum board inside its walls. Smoke damage can destroy firearms just as thoroughly as fire damage does, yet these safes seldom protect against it.
As long as you don’t surpass $5,000, fireproofing is going to be bad at best. The risk of firearm theft outweighs that of fire for the average gun owner. Security should be a priority.
In most cases, a safe must be enclosed on (ideally) five of its six sides by a structure that’s hard to breach, and it must also be bolted down. The chance of walking away with a two-ton safe may not seem likely.
But when you knock a safe over onto its back, you have far greater leverage to pry on it than when the safe is standing. Make sure most of the sides are difficult to access (except the front, of course).
Understanding Locking Bolts
80% of what’s said about locking bolts is bunk. Many of the lower-priced safes have locking bolts and pride themselves on being choky.
Using a locking bolt, the size of your pinky, they will secure them to the door. The locking bolt is not a locking bolt if it is not securely attached to the door. It’s the same as having a massive chain on your bike, secured with a zip tie.
Truth About Gun Storage Capacity
You should consider “can hold X guns!” as a generous overestimate. Unless you pack them tightly, most safes cannot hold the number of items they claim they can.
It is a very rare occasion when rifle racks actually make safe interiors easier to use and are generally sold as an upsell item as they are relatively inexpensive. You should purchase what you need after getting the bedside quick access gun safe.
Misleading Marketing Tactics
You shouldn’t watch demo videos where bulldozers smash safes and drop them from buildings. Although they’re neat, they tell you absolutely nothing about how good a safe is.
There are very few burglars with bulldozers and not many drop safes from buildings. As a result, they rationalize, “Oh, if it survived, then it can handle anything!” But that is incorrect reasoning. Burglars who hack off a corner of a safe and take the contents are an entirely different animal than ones who smash one with a truck.
Make a copy of the key or combination and keep it in a safety deposit box (they cost about $60 a year), or you better figure out how to open a safe without the combination. Don’t think about it. Just do it. You will save a lot of money using it the first time since a locksmith will charge a lot more to undo your mistake if it is even possible.
There’s no need to assume that a safe is made of super thick steel because it looks that way. Often, cheaper safes simply have a thin metal sheet folded and shaped into the illusion of one continuous piece, when in reality, it’s only a thin skin.
Under no circumstances is a gun safe under $5,000 capable of withstanding a serious attack by someone with tools. Tents aren’t forts, so don’t expect the opposite.
In most cases, a safe is not a great way to stop an attacker, but it will delay them long enough for them to realize what they’re doing doesn’t matter anymore. Despite their $10,000 price tags, even the biggest monster has a limit. It is impossible for anything to be impregnable.
Don’t Just Rely On A Gun Safe
You should never rely on a safe to protect your firearms alone. Before you can consider other aspects of your home security, make sure the rest is in order.
To ensure your home is secured on multiple levels, it is better to purchase a $5,000 safe and use the remaining $5,000 for home upgrades and repairs rather than buying a $10,000 safe.
Think Of Your Security Needs
Your most urgent security needs should be kept in mind. People often fall into the trap of saving for that $10,000 monster and then having nothing but a closet in the meantime.
Someone breaks into their home and steals everything while they’re waiting. An inadequate storage container is better than no container at all. It’s not useless to have a gun locker and a cheaper safe. Something that keeps people honest may be a better choice if you’re more concerned with your guests or children.
Gun Safe Expectations
Think about where this safe will be in five years, ten years, fifteen years, etc. Although that 372-gun safe may look good in your spare room right now, will you be able to take it with you if you decide to move in 5-10 years?
Is it possible to move it? You’ll have to factor in where you can move when moving a big safe, kind of as if it were a pet. There are companies that specialize in safe moving, but they charge hefty fees, especially when stairs are involved.
Manageable Interior Space
A common problem is “safe shrinkage.”. If you are ruthless in curating what you have, it can be impossible to get a safe with enough storage space.
A roomy safe is easier to deal with than one you have to empty everything just to get to a single rifle. Even if you don’t use all the space, you’ll still be glad you bought more than you thought you needed.
Gun Safe Accessories
There are upsells that feature a variety of storage pouches, a dehumidifier, power strips, Velcro walls, etc. Prices will typically increase by several hundred dollars, or prices will be inflated by incorporating them. It’s not worth it. Almost always, stock units are cheap garbage that costs next to nothing.
Gun Safe Weight
Take the weight of the gun safe into account. It is more important to install safes in apartment buildings or on second floors.
Also, keep in mind that this choky gun safe might require some stairs, and even just one or two stairs from your garage to your house may be difficult to handle a one-ton safe.
Consider doubling its weight before you buy one, and be sure that your floor can actually hold the weight. When you start throwing guns in there, your floor will surely protest if it can barely support the weight of an empty safe.
Gun Safe Delivery
Take advantage of “white glove” delivery or installation services. Don’t let the price scare you. It can be done by two or three friends. It shouldn’t take more than three beers per person.
In spite of this, proper tools and experience are essential to doing a job properly. A bad outcome can have pretty significant consequences, especially when things go wrong. Having a one-ton safe sail through the drywall at the bottom of steps after laying three or four mullets would make for an awesome YT video.
Yet, what a big pain for a homeowner to watch that safe climb from the top of the stairs. After adding the cost of structural repairs and the cost of hiring professionals to move the safe, that’s a lot to pay to move the safe. Furthermore, the surgery for a herniated disc can cost upwards of $50,000, which is a lot of money or guns.
Locking Mechanism & Warranty
Consider whether the company will cover the cost of replacing/opening the safe if the electronics fail if you buy a safe with electronic locks and no key override. Walk away if they won’t.
You want the electronics to be warrantied no matter what, but if it’s your only option, take the warranty or walk away from it. Even though electronic locks are relatively reliable nowadays, they are prone to failure and shouldn’t be your only option for opening a safe.
When a liquid leaks onto the electronics, it can be permanently damaged or even just damaged if the safe is accidentally moved or opened when the door is opened. There is no immediate no to using electronics, but you shouldn’t rely exclusively on them.
Even the nicer biometric safes can fail – biometrics are easily confused, and even the nicer ones are not always reliable. Your best bet is a solid spin dial lock. That being said, new biometric gun safes are coming up each year with better and reliable fingerprint technology.
Theft Deterrent Features
A lock picker must possess very specialized skills. If someone has spent the time and effort to figure out how to hack into even a cheap safe, then he/she is unlikely to waste much time trying to break into your safe.
Although YouTube videos can show you how to get through a padlock or a front door lock, your safe’s lock is usually more secure, making entry more difficult. Key locks and key overrides for dial or electronic locks should not frighten you.
Hidden Gun Safes
It is not good to store guns in “hidden” containers, especially if they are merely protected by obscurity. Magnetic shelves and ottomans with secret compartments are hot right now but consider accidentally bumping one of those pieces of furniture and noting how heavily it feels. Children especially are curious about everything.
You should at least lock it with a key if you’re choosing a hidden solution. Anyone breaking in would easily locate hidden compartments by picking up heavy furniture and whacking it once or twice. The “security through obscurity” approach is not recommended for gun owners.
Check out a safe physically before buying it whenever possible. Test it by poking at it, prodding it, wriggling the lock, and looking at everything you can. If you are concerned about something, do your research. Find out if there are YT videos showing someone easily opening the safe.
In case you’re not yet in safe territory, job boxes are an affordable and sturdy alternative. With the right tools and a little bit of wood paneling, they can be made fairly impervious. Internal organization is the biggest challenge they face.
Make sure tools that could be used to get into your safe are placed in a secure container or in the safe itself (if you have room). The worst feeling is to learn the burglar cut/broke open your safe using the tools you used.
Safes that cost less than $1000 aren’t safes; they’re Residential Security Cabinets. A TL rating designated a correct safe, which indicates how long a hacker could use unlimited tools to gain entry. TL-15 (15 minutes) is the starting point.
Safes that cost $4000 might have TL-15 ratings. That being said, you should still buy a good gun safe even if you own just one handgun. There are plenty of good handgun safes out there.