You’re a responsible gun owner who recognizes the importance of protecting your family, community, and business. And you also know that safely and correctly securing your firearms and valuables is an important part of being a responsible gun owner.
Maybe you already have a gun safe that’s too small for your growing collection, or you haven’t bought one yet. If you’re considering upgrading your gun safe or buying your first one, consider some things before purchasing. There are many options for gun safes, misconceptions, and opinions out there, so we want to steer you right.
Gun Safe Buying Checklist:
- Is it large enough to store my collection and other valuables?
- Is it fireproof?
- Is it tamper-proof?
- How’s the door construction?
- Lock mechanism?
Many gun owners that have purchased a gun safe previously or are considering purchasing one currently don’t buy one that’s large enough to accommodate their gun collection or other valuables. A consumer survey found that this is the most common mistake many gun owners make when purchasing a gun safe.
A recent study shows that there are 393.3 million guns in the US, and the average gun owner owns eight guns. Many gun enthusiasts own even more. And, if you also are trying to build your ammo reserves and store other valuables, purchasing a gun safe with enough room to grow is advised.
Don’t Be Thin-Skinned, Go Thick
The old-fashioned, glass-encased gun “safe” might be great for showing off your collection, but it doesn’t provide discreet, safe, secure gun storage. Equally ineffective are thin metal safes or storage lockers that are easy for almost anyone to breach. Any kid or burglar with a screwdriver and some time to kill can break into a light, cheap gun “safe.” Don’t be a victim.
Most gun safes come in five gauge or thickness levels–seven, ten, eleven, twelve, and fourteen. Seven is the thickest, and fourteen is the thinnest. Most experts recommend going as thick as possible to deter thieves and harden your protection as much as possible.
Technically speaking, because most safes are made of metal, they all have some degree of fire resistance or protection, but the more fire protection, the better.
Most experts agree that at least one hour of fire protection is the minimum requirement for any gun safe. The placement of the safe, temperature of the fire, and duration of the fire, are the other big factors that impact a safe’s protection of its contents.
Also, consider what types of items you’re storing in your gun safe. When considering a gun safe to also store digital media, currency, papers, or other valuable items, you want to consider your safe’s fire-resistant qualities and ratings.
Fire-resistant classifications are rated by the Underwriters Laboratories or UL; they base their classifications on the test’s type, length, and severity.
The UL classification ratings are:
- 350-4 hour
- 350-2 hour
- 350-1 hour
- Insulated record container 350-1 hour
- Insulated record device 350-1 hour
Cracking Under Pressure
Again, technically speaking, with enough time, force, and the right tools, any safe can be cracked. That being said, most thieves won’t have the six hours or more that it takes to crack a safe or the expensive tools one needs.
The most sophisticated thieves might use a plasma cutter, a device that uses high-velocity ionized gas to create extreme heat, heat that’s capable of cutting through metal. Some safes can even be cracked with a crowbar.
Most sturdy, burglar-resistant safes are made of steel alloy composed of iron and carbon. The carbon and steel combined make the steel more resistant to bending and force. Any safe, even a bank safe, can be cracked if the thieves have enough time, tools, and diligence to see it to the end.
The best defense against safe crackers is ensuring they can’t find the safe or that it is monitored. Anchoring the safe to cement can help slow down the thieves as well. Even these things will not stop the most motivated thief from stealing the safe and taking it with them – safes that weigh 500 pounds have been stolen. Still, and if you can afford it, buy the best safe you can.
Lock Her Up!
The optimal lock configuration is redundant, which combines a mechanical and electronic lock. Higher quality dial and electronic locks will carry a UL-rated level of protection, and some electronic locks are EMP-resistant. As we’ve previously discussed, all safes have vulnerabilities. It’s about buying a safe with the best design and features available and for a great price.
Here are the most common gun safe locks:
Manual Safe Locks (key locks)
This is the standard solution, and the manufacturer typically includes two keys. This is the simplest configuration, especially if you have trouble remembering combinations.
Electronic Safety Locks
This option doesn’t need a key; just remember the combination.
Combination Lock Safes
This is the old-fashioned or most common locking mechanism. You turn the “dial” to the left and right, landing on numbers. Some also require a key.
Biometric Safe Locks
This is the latest trend in safe locks and uses a scanner to read the authorized user’s fingerprint. No need to remember the combination or find the key.
Access When You Need It
A good gun safe should also be easily accessible to the user. Consider your access needs and placement in your home or business. Many safes are made to be accessible from a wall mount, from a closet, inside the floor, or mounted to a hard surface like a concrete floor. The important thing for any gun owner is being able to access his firearms quickly and with minimal thought.
Homak Has The Right Gun Safe For You
Since 1947, Pennsylvania-based Homak has been manufacturing superior and versatile tool storage cabinets, workbenches, garage furniture, safety cabinets, steel lockers, gun cabinets, fire-resistant safes, ammo storage boxes, and more.
Check out our line of 36 various First Watch brand gun safes, cabinets, and other personal security boxes; we have the right safe option to fit your needs and budget.
All our First Watch gun safes and cabinets carry a one-year warranty, and some models carry lifetime warranties. Many of our models feature tubular lock systems, two-way locking systems, and epoxy coatings; some are fire resistant up to temperatures of 1,400 degrees for 75 minutes and more. Check out our selection, or if you have questions about which is the best safe for you, give us a shout. We’re here to help.