Things to Consider Before Buying a Gun Safe

Just how important is it to own a gun safe these days? Here’s the truth: more people own guns these days than ever before. You are probably one of them and to many, it’s almost seen as a necessity. Our reasons to own one differ but regardless of the reason you use your gun for, safe storage is a must.

Guns were designed just for that. They may be bulky and expensive but the best ones will keep your guards organized and safe. Even your loved ones will be secure and free from harm when you have a gun safe in your home.

More reasons as to why all gun owners need a gun safe include:

  • Safety from theft
  • Safety from fire damage
  • Stores the gun together with accessories

Of course you will want to own a great gun safe and we are here to assist you to make the right decisions. First off, if you have more than one gun, compile a list detailing each of them.

Also compile a list of all the gun accessories you have including rings, scopes, grips, speedloaders, magazines, and such. Add on to that every other item you feel will be safe enough in the gun safe. This could be anything from binoculars, conversion kits, shooting glasses to bi-pods, multi-purpose tools and so much more.

There are plenty of things to consider before moving on to purchasing a gun safe. We hope that through our list, you will save yourself from the pain of having to sort through dozens of collections by finding out what really makes a great sun safe or rather how to choose the perfect gun safe.

Item value

How valuable your guns and accessories are will influence your choice of a gun safe. If the items are extremely valuable, you will certainly go for a safe with advanced security features and vice versa. It’s also recommended that you calculate the replacement value of the said items and use the comparisons to narrow down on a proper choice.

Construction

Steel forms the most important and costly part of a gun safe. It’s what keeps the burglars and other bad guys away. Both the door and walls should have a significant thickness of steel.

Walls thickness: The wall’s thickness, as well as the shell strength, should be at the top of your list. To be precise, a proper gun safe will have a thicker and bulky 12-guage steel. Some even use a 10-gauge steel which is even thicker and stronger. Keep in mind that higher gauge number means the steel is thinner.

The gun safe’s door outer sheet should not exceed 7 gauge. And while checking the steel thickness don’t fall for the ‘total door thickness’ descriptions, it’s a trap; only look at the steel’s thickness.

When the exterior is strong, there will be no break-ins and more importantly, all your guns, rifles and accessories will be safer. If you are lucky enough to find those with concrete amalgamate linings, your items will even be safer.

SafesBody wields: Another aspect to look out for is the body wield. Properly welded seamless joints guarantee more protection. For the cheaply-priced safes, robotically welded joints are the preferred option as opposed to those joints welded by an individual. You can always check with the manufacturer to confirm this.

Bolts holes: Proper bolt holes will also add to the protection. Ensure they are well spaced and located near the edge of the base so as to secure the safe firmly to the ground. Those that have holes placed at the center aren’t an exactly good option.

Size and Weight

Gun safe capacity: Advertised gun safe capacity can be misleading. More often than not, the advertised capacities hardly put into consideration extra features the guns may have, for instance, pistol grips, mag wells or long barrels.

Further, those with better fire protection tend to have thicker walls that eat into its internal space. So you may end up with racks or a safe interior that only keeps probably half of the advertised capacity.

It’s best, therefore, to always read the reviews and dig up the features to ensure they are categorical on the gun capacity. Better yet, you can opt for a gun safe without an interior or you can go ahead to install the racks on your own.

If you see the possibility of your guns collection growing in the future, it will be best to go for the gun safe with more room.

Installation and dimensions: In the case where you look to install the safe in your house, there are a couple of different ways you can go about it. Sometimes the sizes end up an inch more or less than advertised. So if you are unable to visit a showroom to get the measurement, you can buy it first and come to install it later.

Weight: A heavier safe won’t be easy to lift from one place to another. That’s their major downside but for security purposes, a heavier safe is definitely a great choice. Gun experts also recommend that you consider the weight of a safe before making a purchase. A good example is a biometric rifle safe, some weigh up to 2500lbs. Most average RSC safes will have an average of 750lbs and that will do just as fine because it will be good for space and at the same time weighty enough to be easily carried around.

Fire and burglary protection

There a couple of states such as California where it’s mandatory to only own a gun safe that complies with the state’s DOJ requirements or has the UL Residential Security Container Rating (RSC).

RSC gun safes: UL 1037 Residential Security Container (RSC) is the minimum rating while Exceptional UL 1037 RSC rated safes are those that can resist against extreme attacks. A B-rate is the lowest level of solid protection you can have against extreme attacks. A B-rated safe will have a 1/2-inch plate steel on its door while the walls will have ¼-inch plate steel.

Cropped view of a man cleaning his gunIf you need more protection, you can always opt for the higher-rated safes. Just in case you aren’t sure which rating is right for you, please seek to know from your state or the insurance company. Keep in mind that some of the cheap gun safes rarely have an RSC rating and such unreliable safes are no better than a typical gun cabinet or closet.

Hourly fire rating: A safe that can survive up to 1-hour of fire should be your staring point, if you can afford one with an even higher rating that’s great. Those that can’t put up for one hour could be a huge risk because it usually takes hours to calm down a raging fire. However, if you can’t afford a safe that can meet the 1-hour rate, opt for the longest fire protection rate you can get at your budget. Ensure the fire protection is U.L rated or it’s been verified through an independent laboratory test.

Frequency of opening the safe

If you intend to use your weapon more often, perhaps daily, this will largely influence the type of gun safe you opt for. Same applies if you don’t intend to use it frequently. And this can take place in two ways.

First off, you can have your safe installed far away from your living areas if you won’t be using the gun frequently or you can opt for a separate handgun safe if you need your gun alongside you often.

Secondly, you can make the selection based on the type of locking mechanism. Here’s a closer look at locking mechanism.

Type of locking mechanism: With many options available, it’s only fair to find out the good in each locking mechanism. A biometric lock is pretty fast because it only takes a touch of your finger to have it open. The same feature also makes them incredibly safe.

Quality electronic and dial locks that are U.L rated are sure to give you excellent protection. However, not all electronic locks are EMP resistant.

Redundant locks on the other side allow you to enjoy the good from both sides. They are a blend of an electronic and mechanical lock. You can always switch to the other one if one of them fails. If you intend to go for a mechanical lock, make an effort to have it serviced regularly.

Pricing

Prices of gun safes differ based on the manufacturer, brand, size, looks, the type of gun safe, security features, amongst many other factors. What’s more important is to take your budget into consideration when making a selection.

If you own guns and accessories that fall on the higher side of the price scale, you have every reason to purchase an advanced secure gun safe and that should cost probably 10-30% of the replacement value of your items.

Spare parts/maintenance: While making the purchase be sure to check out the availability of spare parts and maintenance services. You don’t wish to end up with a safe you can’t probably find a replacement electronic keyboard or biometric lock. Also, the earlier you make your purchase the better because steel prices and the prices of other materials that make up a gun safe seem to be on gradual upward trend.

Be careful not to fall for the cheaper low-quality ones. Also worth mentioning is that there are some cheaper safes that are equally great as the expensive one.

Gun safe insurance

Want to insure your gun safe against fire, theft or other factors? Just ensure you give your insurance company a call beforehand. And keep in mind that your gun safe will only be insured if it meets the set minimum requirements by the insurance company. However, some don’t recommend this move for the reason that your frequent premiums (for lower-priced safes) could over time total up to the amount you would pay for an advanced and extremely safe gun safe.

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