Firearms are great for protection. But when you aren’t there to use them, even your guns need security. In order to keep your firearms safe, you need to invest in a quality gun safe. But your safe needs to be right for you and your needs. To purchase the right gun safe, here is what you need to know.
Intention to Protect
You need to know what you are protecting your firearms from. You need to know if you are trying to deter a burglar, protect from fire damage, or just prevent children from getting in. If you are looking to protect against all of that, even that is going to determine the best safe for you. The way that you get a safe that is completely wrong is by making the mistake of buying just any safe.
It is important to know what you are going to put in your guns safe. That means you know the dimensions of the safe and the type of protection that you want. Know how many rifles, handguns, magazines, and the amount of ammo are you looking to store. Pro Tip: Safe manufacturers will also claim that you will be able to fit more guns in their racks than is practical. And always get a gun safe that holds more than you have, so that you can grow into the safe.
A safe is an investment. That means that you need to be willing to spend quite a bit of money on the safe itself. Be prepared to spend 10% of the value of the safe’s contents on just the safe. Without spending that much, there is little reason for buying a safe at all. If you are not going to spend the money on actually protecting your firearms, then you should save the money for more guns.
After you know what you are looking to protect, and what you are looking to protect it from, you can look at the price ranges. Just so no one gets sticker shock, we are talking about thousands of dollars, minimum, for a safe that is going to make a difference. If you are just looking for something cheap, get a personal protection box. It will keep the kids out and can open quickly in an emergency. Do not compromise on quality for a better deal.
The way a safe is built is going to influence the level of protection it offers. You want high-quality metal, and you need it in the door and the safe body. 12-gauge steel is the highest you should go (as the number increases the steel is more malleable: i.e. 9 is better than 13). It is important that both the body and the door offer the same level of protection, as a thief will often attack the weaker steel. You also want to get a safe with a continuous weld, as spot welded safes have well-documented methods for forced entry. It is also important that there is not a gap between the body and the door of the safe when the safe is locked. The larger the gap, the easier it is to leverage the door and pry the safe open.
If you are worried about fire damage, you need to get a safe with insulated layering between the metal of the body as well as insulation in the door. The more layers of insulation, the longer the contents of the safe will be protected. Safes are fire rated by how long they can maintain a non-harmful temperature inside, under a certain heat, and for how long. These stats can get muddled, as some companies will test their safes at a higher temperature for less time, or vice versa. Pro Tip: place safe away from interior walls where the heat is the highest. exterior walls would be cooler.
Ease of Access
The better protected your firearms are, the more difficult they are to access. A safe with a combination dial is very secure, but it takes a long time to open. Digital dials are quicker to open, and the higher end ones are even EMP proof. But when the battery runs out, the safe does not open. When it doesn’t open, you will need to spend money on a locksmith, and maybe even a new safe. Some safes offer both a digital dial, and a backup combination lock, but now there are two ways to open your safe. Whatever method of entry gives you the hardest time, also gives a criminal the hardest time.
The issue with a higher level of safety for your guns is that it is harder to access them quickly during an emergency. That is why guns in a safe are not ideal for emergency use. If you need your weapon, you need it fast. If your goal is personal protection, it is better to get something concealed and sturdy enough to keep a child out of it. A safe is for what you want to protect, not for what you want to protect you.
The Right Dimensions
When you are buying a safe, you need to have some idea of where you are going to put it. Bolting the safe to the ground is essential, so it will need to be an area where this is possible. If your safe is not bolted down, you are at risk of the most basic and likely type of theft, which is that of the safe itself. If this is impractical because of the size of the safe, or the layout of the room, criminals will still try to tip it so that prying violent entry attacks are easier.
The safe dimensions should also ideally fit an area that is not highly trafficked, so as few people as possible will see it. The fewer people that see your safe, the better protected the safe is. Ideally, you should buy a safe that you can conceal fully. These considerations must be done before buying the safe so preparations can be made before initial safe installation.
With this information, you can buy the perfect safe for your needs. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Invest in a safe that protects and properly stores your firearms. And remember to keep your safe humidity free to decrease rust and wear on your guns. Guns make for a safe house, but safe guns make for a safer home.
By Ralph Goodman.
Pro tip: store ammo and guns separate if you are worried about fire and safety. In a fire the ammo will burn other items in the safe.