A Man And His Gear’s Criteria for buying a gun safe
Buying a gun safe is getting harder and hard over time. With more manufacturers being formed, and the ability to build overseas, it is becoming increasingly possible for people to build safes.
With that comes the decision as to which one should be purchased. It also means that a buyer needs to be educated on what to look for when buying a safe! Below are 7 things that I look for when buying a safe to keep things safe in my home.
These criteria will be seen throughout A Man And His Gear while I review gun safes and pistol safes.
Get a safe with a Quality Locking Mechanism
The locking mechanism is one of the most important parts of any safe, whether it be a full size safe, a pistol box, or a gun cabinet. Without a quality lock, it can fail at any time, leaving your firearms on the inside, and you on the outside. This isn’t a winning formula when someone is breaking into your home.
Some good brands of locks to keep an eye out for when shopping are SecuRAM, S&G (Sergeant and Greenleaf), La Gard, Kaba Mas, and a few others. A good rule of thumb is to keep an eye out for a brand, most locks that lack in quality do not display their name on it.
Pro-tip: Which lock is best for you?
E-Lock (Electronic Lock, Digital Lock) – Best for if you need quick access into your safe, whether that be to access it regularly, or if you intend on using this for your self protection weapons.
Mechanical Lock (Dial Lock) – Best for people that keep their self protection weapon in a quicker access spot like a pistol box. Good for people that don’t get into their safe often.
There is a lot more to the different locks, and I write quite a bit about them.
Steel quality and thickness
Without good quality steel a gun safe isn’t a gun safe. This is what keeps burglars from getting to your valuables. The thicker and better quality the steel is the longer it will take to get into the safe, buying you more time and is more likely to make the offender give up and move on.
I personally believe that a 12 gauge steel safe is where safes begin to be considered a decent safe. 14 gauge and thinner can be easily accessed by prying, bending, cutting and getting in with blunt force. Here is a list of quite a few safes listed by gauge of steel.
Multiple layers of steel, also known as inner steel, further makes a safe more secure.
Interested in seeing a list safes by their gauge of steel? Check it out here.
A Fire rating that suits you
Fire ratings have become synonymous with gun safes. However not every safe comes with a fire rating, or may even come with too much!
If you were to live two minutes from a fire station, you may not need more than just the industry standard 30 minutes at 1200 degrees. However if you live in a rural area 2 hours from a fire station, or any help, a 2+ hour fire rating may be called for.
Not all fire ratings are created equal though, cement is a great way to keep the heat out, while certain cheap Chinese fire boards may not stand up to what they are advertised as.
There is of course, a lot more to a fire rating.
Also please keep in mind that fire ratings may also not be necessary for everyone, some people only need burglary ratings. That is why some companies like Zanotti or SecureIt with their Answer Ultralight safes don’t offer this.
While not as common, there are also safes with a “waterproof” rating
There are many different features that a gun safe may have to better enhance how well a safe will handle an attack.
This includes features like a bolt shear, re-lockers, slip clutch, anti-pry tabs, bolt down kits, and different types of hard plates.
Sometimes this part of looking for a safe is what may set very similar safes apart from each other, and it is up to you as the consumer to decide which is most important to you.
Liberty has even launched some cool security features in the way of military style locking bars that are a new development.
USA made gun safes are well known to have some of the best security features. Check out a list of manufacturers that make these.
Gun Safe Warranty
My wife can attest that I very much enjoy the idea of a warranty. Getting to have someone fix something for me for free that I otherwise would have to do myself is just awesome.
In the safe world there are many “lifetime warranties” however there are many that won’t cover parts like the locks, paint, fire or water damage and more. There are also companies that only offer 1 year, 2 year, 5 year warranties that may be more beneficial than a lifetime, or maybe not! This is very important to look at, just like when you buy a car.
Liberty has a great warranty on their products, their entry level Centurion might just be for you.
Aesthetics of the Safe
Yes, to many this may not seem important. However now days gun safes are starting to become a piece of furniture to many. Because of that the paint, handles, decals, proportions, finial pull handles and even the hinges (external or internal) can all matter. This of course will be highly opinionated, but hey – this is my site.
Browning does a great job of keeping an eye on the market and adjusting to what customers want, check out their changes for 2019.
Gun Safe Size and dimensions
While this isn’t something I rate a gun safe on, as this is completely a personal preference. Make sure to get the right sized safe for you and your home!
Additional Features when buying a gun safe
Outside of security features like discussed above gun safes can come with a plethora of features. This may be things like Rhino’s swing out rack, or Browning’s Axis shelving/DPX Door system.
No matter what safe you get, if you can’t use it the way you want. Or maybe adjust it down the road to fit you better at that time, what is the point in owning it?
One of the biggest issues with safes are the corners of the door. That is where corner bolts come in! Make sure to keep an eye out for these.
Another cool feature that not all gun safes is the ability to be a tear-down unit. Modular gun safes are quickly becoming more popular among those who move a lot! Snapsafe Titans or Zanotti Armor is a great option for this.
Non-Feature Related things to look for when buying a gun safe
When shopping, things may get kind of confusing. Make sure to keep an eye out for the below things.
- Manufacturers are constantly launching new products, and discontinuing old products. Make sure to compare their new line with the old. Browning just launched a bunch of 2019 safes.
- Another great thing to keep an eye out for is a good value on used safes. There are up sides and down sides to this. Reading through this article may help you understand if this is a good idea for your situation.
Now that you know everything to look for when researching the safe you want to buy. Let’s sift through some of the things you shouldn’t listen to. Check out these myths about gun safes.
Make sure when you find the gun safe you are looking for to look into the best way to buy it.