If you have guns or even a single gun, you should purchase a gun safe. But, unfortunately, not all gun safes are alike in quality. While you may be tempted to find the cheapest gun safe you can find, this is not a good idea. As we will illustrate below, cheap gun safes are extremely easy to break into.
Don’t succumb to the temptation of a cheap gun safe. Read this article, and then find yourself a well-made and secure gun safe.
Problems with Cheap Gun Safes
So far we have emphasized the need for a good, high-quality gun safe. But, you may be wondering why exactly that is necessary. The quick answer is that cheap gun safes are very easy to break into.
No safe is unbreakable. However, some safes are much easy to break into than others. The longer it takes a potential thief to break into your safe, the more likely they are to leave it alone. Below are two common ways that thieves open gun safes.
Breaking in with a saw
As you can see from this video, you can easily break into a cheap safe with a saw. This saw can cut a safe door, the circle saw used in the video cuts the cheap steel safe in half in just two minutes. It doesn’t matter what type of lock you have on the safe if it can be cut open by a circular saw.
The best way to prevent this type of break-in is to purchase a gun safe made of high gauge, thick steel. The thicker and stronger the steel, the harder it is to cut with a saw.
Breaking in with a prybar
Circle saws are extremely loud. They would make it hard for someone to break into your gun safe stealthily. However, there are other ways to open a cheap safe. This video illustrates how to use a pry bar to open a cheap safe. In fact, using a pry bar to open the door is an expert recommendation for what to do if you lose the key.
There is always a “prying space” between the safe door and its body. The better safes have a small amount of prying space. Cheap safes have a lot more prying space. The more prying space there is, the easier it is to use a pry bar to open the door. There is more room for leverage for the prybar.
How Top Brands Protect Your Gun Safe
In addition to the features mentioned above, high-quality gun-safe manufacturers can take steps to increase security.
Become Quality Rated
Most gun-safe manufacturers will have a safety rating on their products. These ratings tell you, the customer, exactly how secure the safe is. The best-known quality rating for gun safes is the Underwriter’s Lab (UL). There are a few UL ratings that apply to gun safes. For example, make sure that the lock is UL rated as well.
Gun safe specifically receives a rating based on how hard it is to break into them. The resulting rating tells you what tools the safe protects against and for how long it will withstand them. Look for the UL rating of your gun safe specifically, as it will tell you the exact amount of security you will receive.
The common UL safety ratings for gun safes are as follows.
- RSC (Residential Security Container)=Working time of five minutes with multiple tools on all sides of the safe.
- TL-15=A limited amount of protection against hand and electric tools for fifteen minutes.
- TL-30=Some protection against electric and mechanical tools for at least thirty minutes.
- TRTL-30=Protection for at least thirty minutes against electric and mechanical tools, which includes torches and cutting tools.
- TRTL-60=Same tool protection at TRTL-30 but for at least sixty minutes.
- TXTL-60=Sixty minutes of protection against all tools and explosives.
Multi-Directional Bolts and/or Bars
Another way that a manufacturer can add to the security of their product is to add multi-directional bolts or bars. The more directions the locking bolts or bars have to move, the harder it will be for a thief to open the safe.
Often, modern gun safes will include bolts or bars on the door opposite the hinges and on the top or bottom. Thus, if a thief gets one set of bolts open, they still have not completely opened the safe. This adds time to the break-in, which further protects your weapons.
Features of the Top Gun Safes
All types and styles of gun safe come with their own pros and cons. However, you should always look for a gun safe that is as secure as possible. The following features are common in the best quality gun safes.
Fireproof and Waterproof
While being fireproof and waterproof does not have much to do with the security of your gun safe, they are worth mentioning here. Your safe must be both fireproof and waterproof. Fires and floods unfortunately happen. You want to ensure that your firearms remain safe even during the worst conditions.
A good rule of thumb is to purchase a fireproof safe that will withstand 1200 degree-Fahrenheit temperatures or more for at least an hour. The gun safe should be completely watertight as well.
Thick Steel Construction
Thick steel construction is essential for a secure gun safe. There should be thick steel on the outside of the safe. The bolts and hinges should also be of high-quality steel.
Look at the gauge and the thickness of the steel. A gauge of 11 or 12 is preferred in the best safes. You will want a door at least ¼- or ½-inch thick. Armor shielding is also a feature you should look for.
Large and Heavy
The larger and heavier a gun safe is, the harder it is to move. That may be a pain for you. However, it discourages criminals from just taking your entire safe with them.
The exact size you choose will depend on the type and number of firearms you own. Always purchase a gun safe a little bit larger than you think you need. You want to be able to add guns to your collection without needing a new safe. Even if you have few firearms, you don’t want them crowded in the interior. We recommend a heavy safe of 750 pounds or more. You should also consider a gun safe that is at least 58-inches high, and 36-40 inches wide.
Palusol door seal
A good door seal is essential for a secure gun safe. The best products use Palusol door seals. These prevent moisture from entering the safe, which ensures your weapons will not rust or corrode. A full Palusol door seal is also heatproof, which blocks fire and smoke from entering the safe.
A good door seal can make your safe hard to break into. It ensures the door is completely flush with the walls of the safe. This can be hard for crowbars and prybars to gain purchase on the door.
Types of Gun Safes
Most gun owners will know what a gun safe is, but for those of you unfamiliar, here is a description.
Gun safes are a type of safe that houses your firearms, ammo, and accessories. There are actually many different types of gun safes. Below are the most common.
These gun safes only unlock after reading authorized fingerprints. You place your entire hand on the screen of this type of gun safe. Biometric gun safes are the most expensive and the most secure on the market.
This type of gun safe uses a keypad. You have to enter a security code to open the lock. Anyone with the code can open the gun safe, but you can always reprogram the keypad if you think the code has been compromised.
Wheel and Pin
These gun safes use the same mechanism as a bike lock. There is a wheel with numbers that you have to align correctly to open the lock. Wheel and pin locks can fail, but high-quality ones are also resistant to fire and floods.
The most traditional type of gun safe uses a key to open. Whoever has the key can open the gun safe. If you lose the key, you must contact a locksmith to change the lock for you.
For security, some gun safes have multiple types of locks. There may be a wheel and pin and key lock on your gun safe, for example. The extra locks provide more security but can make it harder for you to open the gun safe in an emergency.
You will also find gun safes of all types in many different styles. Some gun safes are made to fit under your bed. Some go in the corner or on the wall. Some are made to be hidden in plain sight—often these are made to look like furniture. You can even find gun safes for your car.
Gun safes are essential for any gun owner. But gun safes are not created equal. Some are demonstrably better than others. Your firearms are dangerous weapons. You do not want them to fall into the wrong hands.
That is why it is so important to purchase a high-quality gun safe. As we have shown throughout this article, cheap gun safes are just too easy to break into. Follow our suggestions to find a high-quality and secure gun safe of your own.