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4 Absolute Points You Must Check Before Buying a Gun Safe

Updated on February 29, 2020
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Levis Herrmann is a safety adviser as well as a passionate blogger. She made thousands of articles related to safety tools & weapons.

There are numerous elements you need to consider before purchasing a gun safe. There is a great variation in the quality of safes provided by the various manufacturers on the market; this article will aim to give you a good general understanding of what you need to look out for when choosing your safe. There are four main areas to investigate when shopping for a safe; these are safe-thickness, type of lock, fireproofing and security rating.

Safe Thickness:

The thickness of a safe’s walls and doors are essential to its overall security. The thicker and denser the walls and doors of a safe are, the more difficult it will be for a burglar to drill through. Safes should always be made from steel, be very wary of a safe that is made from anything but solid steel. Lower gauge steel is preferable; seven-gauge steel is significantly denser, and therefore more difficult to drill through, than twelve-gauge steel. A safe should have at least a half-inch thick solid-steel door and a body of at least a quarter of an inch thick, any less will offer relatively little security.


All quality safes will come with a fireproof rating that will tell you up to what heat your contents will be safe at and for how long. A safe should be fireproof up to twelve hundred degrees Fahrenheit at least, as this is the average temperature of a house fire.

You should be wary of fireproof ratings that are provided by the company themselves, as they may be inaccurate, any fireproof rating provided by an independent company, such as Underwriters Laboratories (U.L.) or Intertek, can be trusted as an accurate representation of a safe’s fire protection.

Different Types of Gun Safe Lock
Different Types of Gun Safe Lock

Type of Lock:

There are four main types of locks available to a safe owner; these are key, mechanical, electronic and biometric. Key locks are the easiest to pick and offer no security against an experienced burglar. Mechanical locks, also known as combination locks are incredibly secure and require no maintenance once installed, however entering the code into the lock can be time-consuming and easy to get wrong, which in an emergency, could be unfortunate.

Electronic keypad locks are more secure than a mechanical lock; however they require constant power, which means regularly changing the battery or having them connected to a separate power generator, which increases the level of maintenance required.

A biometric lock is the latest innovation in lock technology. The most common form of a biometric lock is a fingerprint scanner which only opens when presented with the correct fingerprint. Biometric locks allows quick access to a safe and are incredibly secure (as long as they do not have a key lock backup), however as they need power to work suffer from the same maintenance problem as electronic locks. When considering a lock you need to assess which would be best for your use.

Security Rating:

Any reputable safe company should have their safes tested by an independent testing laboratory. The most highly respected testing laboratory in the U.S. is Underwriters Laboratories (U.L.). They provide the industry standard for safe security and grant safes various ratings dependent upon how secure they are. U.L. security ratings come in many categories, but gun-safes usually fit into four types; these are RSC, TL-15, TL-30 and TL-30x6. RSC stands for Residential Security Container; this means that the safe is able to withstand an attack from burglars for at least five minutes on all of its sides with a range of tools. TL-15 means that the safe is able to withstand an attack from burglars for at least fifteen minutes with a range of tools. TL-30 can withstand an attack from burglars for at least thirty minutes and TL-30x6 can withstand an attack from burglars for at least thirty minutes on all six of its sides. You should consider how much security you require when assessing a potential safe’s security rating.

Before purchasing your safe you should understand that you are making an investment. You may think that saving money is important but your security is more so. When considering purchasing a safe, follow the above advice and you will find that your safety storage solutions are met and that your possessions are safe for the foreseeable and unforeseeable future.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 Levis Herrmann


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