Gun Safe Reviews and Tips
Buying Tips For Finding a Quality Gun Safe Cabinet
When you buy a long gun safe, you want to be sure you’re not getting taken for a ride. Here are some qualities of high-quality safes that you should watch out for.
First off, you should expect to shell out about $1200 on up for a decent safe. Contrary to popular belief, the major makers long Guns know the best placement for hinges is on the outside (unless you’re buying a Grade 1 European safe – they place the hinges on the inside, and have solid construction, no complaints here). The reason American safe makers place the hinges on the outside is so that the thieves waste precious time attacking that area, as opposed to the lock itself. They’ll get nowhere on a quality long gun safe.
The interior should be, at the very least, 58-inches high. The reason for this is you’ll have clearance then for your 30-inch-long barrels, and will allow for shelving near the top for your smaller items. Other great features to watch for, though they may be installed after-market, are a rotational rack, and a stack of drawers for your smaller guns and other items. After all, if you’re going to shell out this much money, you may as well be organized to boot.
As to locking mechanism, the dials made by Sargent & Greenleaf®, whose parent company is Stanley Security Solutions®, are top-shelf according to many in the industry. They aren’t the only name in the industry, but if they were, your guns would be in good hands! If you want to go with a digital combination, make sure it’s a UL Listed Type II or better, or Type I (commercial grade electrical) lock. Anything less is risky business.
Do your homework as to fire-proofing material, and there are plenty of opinions on this subject. Many manufacturers are using the UL listing for fireboard (a.k.a. a thin layer of drywall) to list their safes as a fireproof gun safe. This isn’t exactly top of the line quality, so really inquire from your manufacturer of choice how they construct their fireproof gun safe doors, walls and floor. A thin layer of drywall sandwiched between two thin sheets of sheet metal isn’t a quality safe!
The weight of your fireproof gun safe – especially the fireproof gun safe! – should be at least 750lbs. The steel should be at the very least 8 gauge steel for burglary protection, the better models use fire cladding and solid steel plating. By the way, when buying a gun safe cabinet, the lower the gauge of steel, the thicker the material.
Security on your gun safe cabinet should be at least a UL-listed “RSC” (residential security container) rating – this is bottom shelf security and is not tested to withstand break-ins nor fire damage. This is the minimum rating, and should be able to buy you FIVE minutes under a theft attempt. Given minimal tools, in other words, a thief off the street will be able to crack open an RSC-rated safe.
Your better bet is to buy a European Grade 1, or UL Listed TL-15 or TL-30. There are other, higher ratings for safes that pass tests that UL conducts that include explosion endurance, impact resistance, 6-sided attacks, and torch attacks, but usually such ratings incur exorbitant fees and aren’t typical for residential use. For that reason they won’t be covered in our gun safe reviews, but know that if your gun safe cabinet has these ratings, you’ve bought a quality safe. One of the best fireproofing materials for fireproof gun safe construction is Palusol®. This material expands with heat and keeps out fire, smoke and usually water as well.
Be sure the exterior is rust-resistant as well – this safe should give you more than a lifetime of endurance. Also, gun racks, drawers, felt lined shelves, an interior lighting system, a bolt-pattern to secure it in place, and a dehumidifying system should all be included or at least installed at some point.