What to Look for in a Gun Safe – 7 Questions and Answer to Guide You

What to Look for in a Gun Safe

The moment you decide to invest in a gun(s), purchasing a gun safe also becomes important. This is the only logical way to minimize the possibility of accidents or loss of firearms. Buying a safe however, is not always a straightforward process. You need to first familiarize with a couple of recommendations, regulations and marketing techniques in order to make an informed choice. Let us briefly take a look at what to look for in a gun safe – as detailed under the following 7 questions.

What Is the Right Gun Safe Capacity to Go For?

Something you may not be aware of is that gun safe manufacturers have a habit of bragging about the large number of guns they can squeeze into their safes. Unfortunately, what may be advertised as high capacity may not always meet your expectations. It may look big from the outside, but once you open it, it’s interior design and racks might be quite congested. This can be a bother especially if you have guns with wide fore-ends and long barrels. Therefore, if you own quite a number of large guns and you really don’t want to take chances with space availability in the safe, you might want to consider investing in a safe with no interior features (so you can install the racks yourself) or at least insist on seeing the interior beforehand just to confirm its spacious enough.

Does It Meet Safety Ratings?

If you live in the US, you will want to invest in a safe that meets a minimum rating of UL 1037 RSC (Residential Security Container). This ensures you can get insurance cover from your company. Also, unrated gun safes may generally have questionable lock quality which means they can actually be compromised and you end up losing your entire gun cache. One thing you should always remember is that although RSC rated gun safes are quite expensive, they can offer that much needed extra protection for your valuables.

How Much Are You Willing to Part With?

How much to spend on a new gun safe is yet another important question you need to ponder upon. Well, while you can easily find cheap low-end safes on the market, you should always remember that cheap is expensive. You don’t want to secure your $10,000 worth of guns in a rickety container. Likewise, you don’t want to break the bank all in the name of getting a safe. So what’s the fairest price? Well, our recommended price range is between 10% to 30% of the value of guns you want to protect. So if you have $5,000 worth of guns, then you can go for $1,5000 worth of gun safe.

What's the Ideal Gun Safe Weight?

A general rule is that the heavier the material used to construct the safe, the reliable it is. That is why safes made of concrete amalgamates and steel are ranked as the most reliable. But at the same time, some RSC gun safes are light – yet still categorized as reliable. Are they really safe? Well, yes because modern technology has enabled manufacturers to maximize on available resource to build lighter yet effective units. The best way to determine if a safe is worth its weight is by comparing its height-weight ratio. For instance a 60 inch tall gun safe (RSC) can weigh anywhere between 500 and 800 lbs. Anything below 300 lbs would be questionable.

What Quality of Steel Is Used?

Steel is usually the most valuable component of a safe as it provides resilient burglary protection and withstands damage remarkably. However, there are some cases where manufacturers produce substandard steel and use it to make commercial gun safes. Some use misleading tactics such as “thick robust doors” but what they don’t tell you is that only a thin part of this door is actually made of steel. Others even boast of providing 2 inch of steel thick walls only to use a 14 gauge piece of steel combined with layers of drywall. The recommended minimum guidelines of steel usage are as follows.

  • Door Outer Sheet – Should be at least 7 gauge. Remember, even a thin looking 7 gauge steel is better than a thick-looking composite door that’s made of 12 gauge steel wrapped around some weak material.
  • Steel Wall – When it comes to steel wall, the best variety to go for is one that provides at least gauge 10 of steel. Anything above that i.e. gauge 11, gauge 12 onwards is only best for warding off petty criminals.

Remember that the gun safe market has become quite competitive of late and some manufacturers may try to maximize on business returns by compromising on a couple of things. So always be watchful.

Does It Have Adequate Anchor Holes?

These holes should ideally be located at the outermost corners of the bottom surface of your gun safe. Be on the look-out for cheap safes that have holes in the middle of the base (avoid such at all costs). Anchor holes should be firmed up to make the bolts harder to remove. Once again the issue of quality of steel used comes into play because even a A 1/2 bolt wouldn’t be useful if reinforced against a 12 gauge steel.

How Reliable Is the Door?

You are much safer with a simple steel plate door than a modest looking composite door. As such, it is important to stick your head inside the safe just to make sure that it meets this crucial criterion. Besides that, you want to check out the door jamb – this is basically a sheet of metal edge that provides extra support. Another thing to look at is the gap between the door and the wall. A good safe is one with a gap so thin that you can’t even fit a credit card through it. Some poorly made units have huge door gaps that can easily get a pry bar in (once again avoid such).

Also, check the hinges. Some safes have internal and external hinges – and this is a plus as they offer additional security. However, if you find a safe with only internal hinges, you may want to check if the part of the fire lining is cut out.

Last but definitely not least, look for a gun safe with door sealing. Without a door seal it will be difficult to keep moisture off your guns even if there is a dehumidifier inside.

What to look for in a gun safe is a question that bothers many gun owners. But as it turns out, you can always find a good unit by asking yourself the seven important questions mentioned above. That way, you can get a gun safe that is not only safe, but also reasonably priced and above all burglar-proof.