Best Gun Safe Reviews – Best of Firearm Storage

You may have done some browsing on the internet to try to find a best gun safe and found yourself finding more questions than answers. Questions like:

Do Guns With Biometric Locks Really Work?

Answer: It depends on what you’re looking for – see our description of small gun safes below.

How Much Storage Do I Really Need?

Answer: Buy more than you think you will need, as you’ll constantly find things you’d like to store in it as time goes on.

Which Brands Make The Highest Quality Safe?

Answer: Many of them do – read through to the section Manufacturer and Brand below.

Where Can I Find Reviews of Available Gun Safes?

Answer: You’ve already found them – browse through this site for our critical gun safe reviews!

Are There Any Safes That Are More Convenient To Move Around?

Answer: Yes. There are modular safes like the Snap Safe Super Titan that can be put together nearly anywhere in your house.

We’ve created this page as a guide to help guide you to answer these questions and possibly cover ones you haven’t even thought of yet.

We want to help you keep your home safe and protect your assets with our reviews, and find you the best deal while you’re at it!

We’ve created this page as a guide to help guide you to answer these questions and possibly cover ones you haven’t even thought of yet. We want to help you keep your home safe and protect your assets with our reviews, and find you the best deal while you’re at it!

Gun safes come in two main sizes. There are smaller safes that are made to hold one to two pistols, and larger ones that hold all types of firearms. Small gun safes also come in quick-access varieties in case of an emergency.

Also, if you’re hunting for a the best gun safe for your money, be sure to read our article on bargain gun safes here.

Best Small Gun Safe Reviews

Small gun safes can actually be large, with more than 1 cubic foot of storage space, or small enough to fit only one handgun and nothing else. They are generally not rated as fire or flood resistant, and obviously cannot store the same number of guns as a larger safe.

People tend to buy smaller safes to allow quicker access to small firearms for home safety. For smaller safes, you should consider if you want an electronic lock or more standard combination or keyed lock. Electronic locks available include those that are unlocked by entering a code or biometric locks that unlock by reading your fingerprint.

#1 SentrySafe Pistol Safe, Quick Access Biometric Gun Safe

Best Gun safe Review

The Sentry Safe Biometric Quick Access Pistol Safe is a smaller handgun safe which can be programmed to read fingerprints – it represents the latest in safe technology. If you worry at all that an entry code could be compromised (or that you may forget it!), this feature may be attractive to you.

The fingerprint reader of this best gun safe, which is also referred to as a biometric scanner, can be a great long-term solution because while memory can fail, your fingerprints will never change! It has memory to store the fingerprints of two people.

An entry code can also be used in addition to the scanner to open the safe in the event that you want to allow access to someone else.

Sentry Safe is a family owned company based out of New York and produces many different types of safes whose specialties primarily include water and fire proof safes; along with their top of the line gun safes. People who own this safe have overwhelmingly been very satisfied.

This Sentry Safe impresses with its small dimensions (it fits into bedside drawers…), its pry-resistant door design… and the speed with which the door opens. This safe has everything in terms of access finger scanner, push button combo, and a key. This is good because if the battery dies you can still open it with the key that is hopefully stored somewhere secure

Some Features 

A compression gas strut opens the safe and holds the door open, which, in combination with the fingerprint scanner, allows for one-hand access.

The gas strut itself is designed to be “whisper quiet” allowing the consumer to feel confident that, should the need arise, they would be able to quietly access their firearm.

The safe is comprised of 12 gauge of solid stainless steel, which is the minimum recommended thickness for any gun safe.

The choice of this gauge of steel illustrates well the gun’s purpose – it is meant to be portable, and a thicker steel would make moving it more cumbersome.

It also needs to be able to withstand a blow from an axe, so the minimum thickness was chosen to meet this need.

As the first review mentioned, the safe features pry-safe doors. This is done by creating a lip that overhangs the bottom of the safe so that a crowbar can’t be placed in between. In other words, there’s no way to get leverage to pry it open.

This highlights one of the features this safe offers that most gun safes don’t have – Three alternate ways of opening the safe: The Biometric scanner, The entry code, and a Keyed lock

However, the Biometric Quick Access Pistol Safe is a great option for those looking to secure there homes by storing their gun in an easy to access, small safe.

​#2 BARSKA Biometric Safe - Small Safes with Electronic Locks

Best gun safe review

Advantages of an electronic lock include: They can provide easier and quicker access Electronic locks include some of the latest technology Tracking of invalid entry attempts and “lockdown” modes to disable entry after too many wrong passcodes are entered Our highest rated biometric safe is the BARSKA Biometric Safe.

This best gun safe stores up to 30 fingerprints, so you can allow access to multiple people. It also has plenty of room to store other belongings – and you’ll soon find out that there are plenty of things you want secured besides your firearm.

We really like this safe because it is top opening, making it more versatile – it can be stored anywhere a front opening safe can but can be easily accessed while it is stored in a drawer.

It also comes with emergency keys that you can keep at your office or in a safe deposit box in case someone else needs to access it in an emergency.

There are also pre-drilled holes pre-drilled holes in the safe that allow you to mount it to the floor, walls studs, or just about anywhere, to prevent anyone from being able to walk off with it.

However, you should understand that the fingerprint reader is battery operated and you will have to replace them on a regular interval. If you aren’t going to access your gun regularly or be able to change the batteries out, you’re going to end up using the key. In that case, you might as well have purchased a standard lock safe.

#3 Gunvault GV2000S Multi Vault Standard Gun Safe

Best Gun safe review

Advantages and Features

The Gunvault is opened by a keypad shaped like a hand, which is a feature especially if you need to open it in the dark – no trying to figure out where a certain number is at 2 in the morning!

It can be programmed to take whatever code you want, and it can also be opened by key if the batteries were to die on you. The keypad also shuts out all access (except by key) if a wrong code has been entered a certain number of times.

It is also a light unit that has plenty of storage capacity but slim dimensions. It can easily fit inside nightstand drawers or even a bed, if it’s on risers.

Disadvantages

This safe offers quite a few disadvantages, especially compared to the other safes we’ve reviewed. It has a 1-year limited warranty, and some online reviewers have found that their unit breaks after 18 months (isn’t this way too common with products these days?).

While the length of the warranty is pretty standard, the user experiences have fairly consistently found that it doesn’t last long enough to cover what are common problems. These problems include batteries draining very quickly, the door’s mechanical parts breaking so that it will not open, and the keypad itself failing completely.

It also has some clearance between the door and the frame (around 3/16 of an inch at its widest spot) that could allow enough room for a slim crowbar to pry it open.

At the same time, every product line of safe will have its problems, and no one manufacturer is exempt from producing a few bad units. Overall, this safe has highly positive reviews and many have recommended it for keeping children from getting ahold of their firearms.

The Verdict

You could do a lot worse that the GunVault GV2000S. It can keep children from getting into your guns. It can be mounted and easily stored in multiple places. It allows quick access with a convenient and well thought out lock.

It also has plenty of critics and it has the potential to be compromised if someone had the right tool.

We recommend this safe for someone looking to keep guns away from children – there are many people who would recommend it to do just that. If you are looking for a bit more protection, a bit larger of a safe may be what you are looking for – be sure to do your homework and base your buy off of what you really need – even if it means a few more dollars upfront.

#4 SentrySafe Security Safe, Medium Key Lock Safe, 0.31 Cubic Feet, X031

Best Gun safe Review

Security Safe is a company that has manufactured safes for over eighty years. They are committed to providing affordable safes while not jeopardizing the quality of their products. This company is primarily known for its affordable fire and water resistant safes.

However, Sentry Safe is also known for making convenient safes for the average consumer when in need of a quick place to store their valuables.

The Sentry Safe X031 Security Safe is a is ideal for those looking for a smaller storage space for valuables. This safe has a few different features that make it an ideal choice. The safety features on the product are quite popular and Amazon reviewers have only good things to say

Advantages For This Safe Include:

This best gun safe comes with bolts and can be mounted to the floor. In addition, depending on where you are trying to mount, the safe is also often able to be mounted to the wall.

Due to the small size of the safe there may be a concern that it would be easy for a thief to seize the safe and be able to quickly get away. With the ability to bolt it to the floor the consumer can feel much more at ease that the safe will stay where they had left it.

This safe comes with 2 keys for entry. This is ideal for consumers who are leery about using an electronic lock. Some consumers feel uneasy with electronic locks and feel more secure with a traditional keyed lock. For the less technological consumer this would make this safe more appealing.

Consumers have reported that looks are deceiving when it comes to this safe, and that there is quite a bit of room for the size of the safe. You can conveniently store electronics, handguns, ammo, jewelry or important documents.

This safe includes a 6 lever key lock and 2 live locking bolts which makes breaking in extremely difficult.

A potential disadvantage for this safe is that it is not fireproof. Because of this, and because it has a no-frills lock, it doesn’t cost as much as other safes. It’s still a high quality product – it’s just important to know why it’s considered a budget buy.

This safe would be a good option for a dorm student or for use in a night stand to keep your firearm or to just store valuables away from prying eyes. This option is completely electronic free so it may also be ideal to store valuables in a vacation home, or to let guests use in your home as they would easily be able to return the keys when they have left.

Also, some folks who bought this safe have reported that they couldn’t operate the lock. Most of the time, it turned out that they were just not closing it exactly right. With safes this small, the locks are fitted very snugly to prevent them from being pried open.

As a result, it can take some playing with it at first to learn the trick to getting it closed. It may not be incredibly convenient, but it’s how the manufacturers ensure this safe is secure.

This safe has received an overwhelming amount of positive reviews, so if you are looking for a simple and small safe the Sentry Safe X031 Security Safe is the perfect option.

#5 The GunBox Biometric Hand Gun Safe

Best Gun safe Review

It’s not often you get to describe a gun safe as cool, but the Gunbox Biometric Version fits the bill. I mean, just look at it – it’s a well designed machine that looks like it dropped out of Star Wars.

It has a sleek, white exterior with a black band running down the front and a simple fingerprint scanner. While it might not be able to hold a lightsaber, it does feature the latest in actual technology and represents one of the very best handgun safes out there.

It does come at a fairly steep price compared to other comparable gun safes, but we HIGHLY recommend it because its advanced technology provides superior protection.

Some of Its Features Include:

It can be opened by fingerprint, RFID wristband, ring, or sticker. If you’re unfamiliar with RFID, it’s a technology used by businesses to track inventory or as a security measure.

Use of it in this safe means that you can simply slip on a ring and wave it over the lid and like magic, it pops open! If you feel that there’s a chance that use of the ring might compromise the security of the safe (ie. if you use the sticker and think it’s likely that your teenagers have figured out where you keep it), then you can disable this option.

If you choose to use your fingerprint only to open it, you can set it so that it requires multiple fingerprints to open so that you can be absolutely sure that it only opens when you are present.

An aluminim alloy shell that is rated at aircraft strength. This is important as comparable many safes its size have thin steel walls that don’t represent much of a challenge to a prepared intruder with an axe.

It is also very heavy as a result, which is good because you don’t want it moving around too much!

It also has a loud alarm that can be set to sound if the safe is moved at all. This will help give you peace of mind that your kids haven’t touched the safe – as soon as they hear the alarm they’ll go running – and as soon as you hear it you know what is happening!

If that’s overkill for your situation, you can also set the motion sensor to simply display a red light if it senses movement.

Keeping batteries charged can also be less of a worry with this safe. This is because it has two USB ports that can be plugged into a computer or wall outlet with a USB converter. It also can run on batteries if you want to take it on a trip and store guns in a car or hotel room.

Overall, we feel like we can’t give this safe a high enough rating. It’s top notch and worth every penny. Of course, it takes quite a few pennies to purchase, and there are plenty of good options out there for a smaller price that will still meet most of your needs.

But for a bulletproof gun storage solution – go with the Gunbox Biometric Version!

Large Gun Safes

For those who own shotguns and rifles, a large safe is necessary to store their guns, and we’ve provided for them as well. These safes are very heavy, with some weighing a ton or more, depending on the thickness of the steel.

Steel thickness is talked about in terms of gage – such as 12 gage or 10 gage steel. The smaller the gage number, the thicker the steel is, and the heavier it is too. It has been rumored that 12 gage steel can be hacked through with an axe from the hardware store.

However, the weight of safes made from 12 gage steel is more manageable, while 10 gage or thicker steel safes will likely require professional movers to maneuver it into a basement.

However, if theft of your guns is a concern, the inconvenience of dealing with the weight of a sturdier safe is minor compared to the peace of mind of knowing your guns can not be stolen.

# 1 Blue Dot Safes Second Amendment Fire-Resistant Gun Safe

Best Gun safe review

Say you’ve been researching gun safes, and came across one called the “Second Amendment”. It’s a pretty bold claim to use a reference to the Constitutional amendment that gives the right to bear arms. You’d probably expect a few things of a safe with that name, like:

  • Manufactured in the United States
  • High Quality
  • Excellent Customer Service

Well, I’m happy to report that these are all true, and all that at a very reasonable cost.The Second Amendment safe was created by Blue Dot, which has been around since 2004. Although they are young compared to other safe companies, they are reliable to produce high quality gun storage.

For what you’d pay for a budget safe, you get the following with the Second Amendment:

The capacity to store up to 30 rifles and over 20 cubic feet total storage space. While not everyone needs this much space (and there is a smaller and less expensive model available that stores up to 24 guns), it is standard practice to buy a safe that is larger than you think you need.

This is because many new safe owners suddenly realize that there are actually many personal items they want to protect using their new safe, and planning ahead by buying a bigger safe helps to keep you from running out of room.

High end security features, such as 12 gauge steel thickness, a two-way locking system with bolts that hold behind the door frame in multiple directions, a drill resistant plate to keep the lock safe from tampering, and a weight of 650 pounds.

While many consider a high weight to be undesirable because it’s hard to get heavy safes down stairs, it is actually a security feature. Potential thieves can’t just carry it up the stairs and out of your house, and because they can’t just pry it open, your risk of losing your valuables is lower.

There are also two predrilled holes in the floor of the safe to bolt it to the floor that further help to keep it firmly in place.

Advantages

The fire protection offered by this best gun safe is for 1-hour up to 1,700 degrees – enough to withstand most residential fires. It also comes with door-hanging organizational pouches and shelving that allow you to store handguns and other valuables.

Also, when you order the safe that is 59x28x20-inches and it is fulfilled by Amazon, shipping is free! That’s an unbeatable deal!

The owners of this safe sum it up best Design seems solid and will last a lifetime.

Very nice safe. The specs on this safe are very good for the price paid. Fit, finish, and construction are all good​

Potential Disadvantages

There are some possible disadvantages to this safe. One is that it does not come with a backup key, so if you forget your code, there isn’t another way to get into the safe.

Some customers have been able to regain access with a master code by calling the customer service department and supplying proof of purchase.

Another potential disadvantage, depending on your personal taste, is the electronic lock. Some of us don’t like having to constantly replace batteries just to access our guns.

Blue Dot has actually received enough complains about this that they offer installation of a mechanical lock if it’s requested when the safe is purchased – a real win-win and proof of the high quality customer service they offer.

#2 Mesa Safe MBF6032E 14 Cubic Foot 30 Rifle Gun Safe with Digital Lock

Best Gun Safe Review

Mesa Safe Company is a relative newcomer to the gun safe industry compared to the likes of a Winchester or a Remington. They were founded in 1981 to start making high quality cash safes for businesses, but soon expanded into residential safes.

The founder, who still runs the company, started his working career as a locksmith, and using his hands-on, practical knowledge, oversaw the creation of reasonably priced and high quality safes.

One of the most popular safes they offer is the MBF6032E, which is Mesa MBF6032E Gun Safe given high ratings by those who own it. 

So enough talk – let’s get to the bottom line. What does this safe offer?

Fire protection up 1,750 degrees for 1 hour. Most residential fires are noticed quickly, especially if you live in a city or small town. If a fire happens at your house, it’s unlikely that it would last over an hour.

That is – unless you live in a rural area without neighbors for miles around. In that case, you may want a higher fire rating temperature and duration.

Weight of 650 pounds. While it may be a hassle to move this safe into your basement or storage space the first time, it’s weight makes it unlikely that it can be moved out of your house in an attempted robbery (unless they happened to hire a moving crew!).

It also comes with predrilled holes to allow you to bolt it into your basement floor, and if you do that, this safe won’t be going anywhere!

Over 14 cubic feet of storage – enough space to store around 20 rifles. The number of rifles stored may be lower depending on if your rifles have scopes or are larger for any reason.

An electronic lock with relocking device. This means that you get the convenience of a modern keypad to open the safe, and the relocking device ensures that if the lock is tampered with, the safe goes into “lockdown” mode so that it can’t be unlocked.

The keypad is run on batteries, and if they ever run out of juice, they are easily replaced by removing the keypad putting fresh ones in the back.

It also comes with an emergency key so that if you are every locked out for any reason, you can still get access to your guns and valuables.

Adjustable shelving is included so that you can store other valuables in the safe, such as jewelry, important documents, and smaller handguns.

Mesa Safe also has fantastic and responsive customer service so that if you do have an issue with the safe, it will get resolved quickly. The MBF6032E is a fantastic choice for its price and won’t let you down!

#3 Snap Safe Super Titan Gun Safe Review

Best Gun safe review

Many people feel like a gun safe is not possible for them because of how hard they are to move around. With quality safes weighing in around 1,000 pounds, most people have to pay for a moving crew on top of the cost of buying the safe.

The cost of a crew can be well over $500 – so any safe that can be easily moved and still be high quality is a welcome addition.

Enter the Snap Safe Super Titan Gun Safe – a modular option that weights 425 pounds total (or 590 pounds if you get the XL), but ships in pieces that you assemble. And assembly of the safe is simple – watch the video below

It comes in two sizes – the Super Titan and Super Titan XL. The standard safe holds a maximum of 24 guns, while the XL holds 36 guns. Each of these safes has 7 gage steel wall thickness, so you don’t have to worry about anyone being able to hack their way inside.

Included is shelving which may or may not be necessary depending on your needs. If you have more than a few long rifles, it’s not likely that you’ll be able to use the shelves for much additional storage, so be sure to account for this if you had planned to store a significant amount of other valuables in the safe.

The Super Titan safes also are rated to 2,300 degree, 1 hour protection, so fires aren’t a problem. The locks are UL listed, meaning that they are certified to withstand attach by thieves. The door is held shut by 8 three quarter inch bolts that extend behind the door frame. In other words, this safe is no compromise in the name of convenience – it’s the real deal.

Advantages

If you live in an apartment and need to store firearms, this is absolutely the solution for you. No lugging a steel box weighing 1,000 pounds – this safe can easily fit in a closet and provide the same peace of mind as a traditional safe.

If you live in an apartment and need to store firearms, this is absolutely the solution for you. No lugging a steel box weighing 1,000 pounds – this safe can easily fit in a closet and provide the same peace of mind as a traditional safe.

There isn’t any need to stash this safe away in the basement, where moisture in the air may mean that you have to install and maintain a dehumidifier in the safe. It will fit into many normally sized closets and still be easily accessible.

Possible Disadvantages

Storage spacce in the safe is limited compared to traditional safes. This may or may not be a problem depending on the size of your gun collection and the amount of valuables you plan to store in the safe.

The cost of the safe is higher compared to comparably sized safes that are not modular. However, you should factor in that you will not have to pay a moving crew to take it down a flight of stairs.

Assembly can be a pain if you’re not inclined to tackle projects like this. Any handyman or even a handy friend should be able to help you get the safe together though.

Reasons to Be  a Gun Safe Owner

If you’re reading this article on gun safe reviews it’s likely you already understand how important it is to own a gun safe. But just in case, the following are some common and very important reasons to own a safe.

Floods

Floods can be very damaging to firearms for a variety of reasons. The first and most obvious is warping of the stock or grips. They can also have their finish taken off after extensive exposure to water. Less visible is water that is being held in nooks and crannies. It can cause long term corrosion and rusting, and can damage not just the waterlogged firearm but also any other items stored with them.

Even if you do not live in a place that never floods, you should seriously consider buying a gun safe that can protect against flooding if you are storing firearms in a basement. It only takes one burst water line to flood a basement, and if your guns are unprotected you’ll be looking at repairing or replacing your entire collection.

Fires

No one expects a house fire, so we should all be prepared in case they happen. If your gun collection is valuable to you, you should buy a best gun safe that can protect against fire for a prolonged period. Imagine that a fire is started while you’re out for a few hours – or worse yet, out of town on vacation. That fire could be burning for some time before it is reported, and your guns would not stand up to that kind of exposure to flames. Also consider that the water poured into a house by firefighters causes the same kinds of property damage as flooding, so a safe that protects against fire and flood is essential.

Children

Gun safes also give piece of mind that any young kids that live or stay in your home will not be able to access any of the pistols, shotguns, or rifles that you may own – and that kind of peace of mind is priceless. There have been too many stories in the news of accidental firing of guns by young children to ignore this aspect of gun ownership.

If you are buying a gun safe to keep them out of the hands of children, you need to watch the following video to understand just how capable they are at opening safes:

What adult would have tried dropping the edge of a safe to get the mechanism to unlock? And yet that 3 year old tried it, and if there had been something more lethal than screwdrivers in there he would have been in a world of trouble.

That video comes from this link which describes the shortcomings of some common brands – be sure to understand what you are buying before you buy! We show you that video to drive home the point that you should not consider bargain hunting when looking for a gun safe.

Buying firearm storage that is just part of owning guns, plain and simple.

Components of The Best Gun Safes

So let’s break down the different parts of a gun safe that separate the high quality ones from the rest. We’ll look into 5 different safe components in the following section. These components were the important factors used when evaluating the best gun safe reviews on this site. Then we’ll wrap up by making a recommendation for which gun safe performs best overall in each component.

But first let’s remember that these components exist for one reason, and one reason only – to stop thieves. Anything flashy or high tech looking has to be justified for that one reason, otherwise it’s just a showy thing that manufacturers use to raise the price of their safe.

There are generally many ways that thieves will try to break in to a safe:

1

The first way is to haul your safe out of your house so they can work on it later. Any safe can be broken into given enough time, and when a thief breaks into your house it is the one thing that he lacks. So taking the safe to another place so he has enough time to work it open.

You can keep your safe in place by bolting it to the floor and wall. Most safes have predrilled holes that you can take advantage of to get it fastened down. You can also drill your own holes if you decide there aren’t enough predrilled options available.

2

The second way is to pry the door open with a crowbar. The first preference of a thief would be to upend the safe so that it lays on the floor – this makes the attack more effective because it increases leverage.

Bolting the safe in place also protects against this, but ultimately the best defense is to increase the thickness of your safe’s door and walls. High end safes can have up to a 1/4 inch thick door, but these safes are very expensive and protect extremely valuable collections of up to $100,000 or more.

For a standard residential gun safe, this expense is likely not necessary, and a 10 gauge or less safe should be sufficient.

3

The third way thieves break in to safes is to saw in through the walls. The only way to guard against this attack is to increase the thickness of the safe’s walls – as you can see by now this is becoming a recurring theme.

But the steel is ultimately what stands between your valuables and the guy who wants to take them from you.

4

Another way safes are broken into is with a welding torch. These attacks are more rare as they require the thief to haul around an expensive torch that they must have the know-how to use.

It’s a riskier gambit for them and so is generally used only when they know the safe’s contents are worth the increased risk of getting caught.

5

One final common way to attack a safe is to drill into the lock so that the internal state of the lock tumblers can be seen. In layman terms this means that a thief would be able to drill and see when he has entered the right combination.

Many locks are made nowadays that have drill-resistant plates that ruin drill tips, making this attack useless

Wall Thickness

The first and most obvious deterrent to thieves is the thickness of the safe walls. Most folks believe that anyone looking to steal from your home are opportunistic, meaning that they are looking to take as much as possible in the smallest amount of time.

Sometimes this is referred to as a smash and grab type of job. Sure, a highly technical crew of professional robbers could easily defeat nearly any safe used by normal homeowners, but you have to stop and ask yourself – why would they be after your stuff? A few guns do not garner attention from professional thieves because the cost to get them is higher than the reward!

More realistically, a home thief is looking to use his big old axe to quickly hack through a safe’s wall. Then he’ll break out his big old pry bar and widen the hole he made with his axe. Then he’ll reach in, grab what he can, and be on his way. Maybe someone with a bit of knowledge of locks will be able to pick the lock and clean the safe out completely.

In any case what we’re trying to say is that the best way to prevent against a normal residential thief is to beef up your safe’s wall thickness! First thing you ought to know is that steel gauges work the exact opposite of how you think they ought to. As gauge numbers get smaller, wall thickness gets bigger. Below is a list of common gauges that are used in bes gun safes.

Steel gauge is the important number to pay attention to – some manufacturers will boast about having a door that is 5 inches thick or even 7 inches thick. But that claim is misleading – much of the space on a door’s thickness is made up of a frame that holds the locking bolts in place. A safe’s actual amount of steel is best represented by the gauge of steel that went into the safe walls

Click on image to see clearly

So you should run out and buy the safe with the thickest steel walls as possible, right? Well, not so fast. There is one huge drawback to buying a safe with thick walls, and that is weight. Buying a heavy safe limits your ability to place it just anywhere in your house.

Typically people place very large safes in their basement to make sure they don’t overload the load bearing walls and joists in their house. One of the drawbacks of putting a safe in the basement is that you can run into problems with humidity damaging your guns. It’s best to buy a dehumidifier if you do end up with guns in the basement.

Another important consideration when it comes to wall thickness is that thicker steel represents more overall steel. Steel represents a large portion of the cost of a safe, and the thicker the gauge the more you’ll pay for the safe.

To get a 10 gauge or thicker safe, you’ll probably end up paying in excess of $1,500. This may sound like a lot to pay for a gun safe, but consider that an average rifle, shotgun, or handgun costs between $500 and $1,000. If you are an avid sportsman, you’re likely to own a collection that cost you well in excess of $1,500.

According to the FBI, approximately 8,600,000 property crimes happened in the US. A small percentage of these are made up of home invasions, and violent home invasions in particular. The population in 2013 was estimated 316 million, so that gives a rate of 2.7% for property crimes.

As a gun safe owner, you have to ask yourself how much you are willing to pay to secure your gun collection for a risk of losing them that is less than 2.7% in any given year. As the value of a gun collection goes up, you are more willing to pay to mitigate the risk of losing your guns.

And of course if your collection is worth less than $1,500, then you wouldn’t consider buying a safe that is more than the amount you paid for your guns. For a typical gun owner, paying in excess of $1,500 is likely to be worth it because their gun collection far exceeds that amount.

So, in general, we recommend that you do the following when deciding the wall thickness of a potential safe:

Consider if you are willing to pay more for a thick-walled gun safe to lessen the risk of losing your collection – this will be mostly driven by the value of your gun collection.

Make sure that whatever safe you end up buying is manageable in your space. Can your home or apartment hold the additional weight in the space you plan to put it in? Also factor in the additional expense to hire a moving crew to handle placing a heavier safe.

The gauges of the safes reviewed on this site are listed in the following table:

Open Image in new tap to clear view

Fire and Water Proofing

Fire poses two main risks to your valuables in a safe. The first is by transferring the high heat of a house fire (around 1,500 degrees Farenheit on average!) through the safe walls to your safe contents.

Left exposed to a temperature that high, your guns won’t stand a chance. And that’s not to mention the fact that any important documents you may have stashed away as well will have completely turned to ash. And any ammunition stored could quickly pose another hazard to you and your family as they are liable to randomly fire off due to the extreme heat exposure.

The second is through direct exposure to flames that can be cause by holes in the safe. The biggest “hole” is caused by the door. However small it may be, there is a gap between the door frame and the door on every single safe. Also, many safes include a hole to allow a power cord through to charge electronics.

Hinges and Locking Bolts

It’s the hinges and locking bolts that hold a safe’s door in place. As we’ll see, it’s actually the bolts that are more important than the hinges.

A safe’s hinges appear to be one of its weakest points – after all, if you can get the hinges off of the door at your home, they can walk right in. Safe manufacturers have addressed this concern by making safes that have internal hinges. These types of hinges are expensive, as manufacturing them and incorporating them into the safe costs more than standard external hinges.

It also comes at the expense of storage space. Internal hinges cause the door to swing further into the safe to shut, meaning that either the safe walls need to be extended to accommodate the same amount of space, or you just deal with the fact that you can’t store as much in your safe as you had thought.

Locks

A safe’s lock is an extremely important part. Countless movies have been made showing a team of professional thieves trying to open a bank vault door by cracking the safe’s code. And this is for good reason – the lock is one of the weak points in a safe that can be manipulated to gain access to the inside.

The most obvious way a thief could do this would be to get the combination. If you leave the combination written down in an unsecure safe, it won’t matter how many security features your safe has – your valuables will be long gone.

Do not write down your combination unless you absolutely have to. If you do have to, keep it at another location than your home – a drawer at work is a possibility, and a safe deposit box at your bank is an even better possibility.

Locks are certified by an organization called the Underwriters Laboratory (abbreviated as UL). Generally certifications are either Group I or Group II, with Group I being the higher rating.

It’s unlikely that a residential gun safe will have a Group 1 rating because it provides a level of protection that commercial safes typically require. A Group 2 rating means that the lock provides protection against a semiskilled attack.

This means that the would-be thief would need to have had some training to be able to manipulate your lock and access your safe.

Ratings and Certifications

When reading about various gun safe, you may run across different certifications that a certain model has received.

Manufacturer and Brand

Much is made over a certain manufacturer or brand when it comes to buying expensive items. For example, when you’re buying a car there are certain brands that seem to be trusted more than others.

Such is the case with gun safes. Remington is a brand that’s been around for years and years and has manufactured many quality guns and safes throughout the years. Because of this, we can expect that they will continue to produce great quality items, right?

Well, to be honest, we don’t think so. In the modern business world, things can change very quickly. A company can be bought and sold nearly overnight, or new management can take over and change the overall course, or pressures from the market can force a company to make changes to stay afloat.

Any of these changes can cause the quality of a certain brand’s product to downhill in a hurry. If a company needs to cut costs to increase profits, they could easily do that by reducing the gauge of steel used in their safes but still charge the same price. Or use a cheaper lock that doesn’t even meet a Group II UL rating.

We believe that every safe should be evaluated on its technical specifications and not bought due to brand loyalty or reputation. A safe’s specifications are listed right on a retailer’s website, so it has never been easier or more convenient to see if a safe is everything that it claims to be or not.

This guide was written to help you evaluate safes based on their technical specifications so that you are able to buy a safe based on its actual performance, which is the absolute bottom line.

The following brands continue to produce high quality safes that represent good values for their price.

Winchester is a well-known company that started in 1866 and represents a significant part of US history. Forged in the wild west, their first gun was the appropriately named Model 1866. They contributed to the war effort in World War I with multiple models that assisted both the US and British. They then went on to produce the ubiquitous M1 carbine that helped the Allies to victory. So naturally, they now produce high quality gun safes to store the high quality firearms you buy from them.

Liberty Safe has been around since 1988 and sells safes under three brand names – Liberty, National Security, and Centurion. All safes sold by Liberty have a limited lifetime warranty, and if you check out their website you can see that they definitely stand by their products.

Mesa Safe Company is a company that’s been around since 1981. It was founded by a former locksmith and safe technician – so the design of the safes has been checked off on by a man who knows how to defeat a safe.

Cannon Safe is a great option that produces a quality safe. You can check out one man’s story on their website. He claims that a Cannon safe saved his Mickey Mantle signed baseball from a full-on house fire.

Blue Dot is a recently founded company that has been producing good quality safes. They were started in 2004 by Berge Jalakian. You may not have ever heard of Berge but he’s easy enough to get ahold of – you can find him replying to customer concerns on product forums online. They are obviously concerned that you end up a satisfied customer!

SnapSafe produces safes that are modular – that is, they come unassembled. This means that they are much easier to move around. You might even say it’s a portable safe, if there could ever be such a thing! While this isn’t for everyone, it is definitely for people who want to be able to put a safe on the second floor of their house.

Or anywhere really – the more traditional placement of a gun safe in a basement or garage works just fine too. Their safes are extremely high quality and they eliminate the headache of hiring a whole moving crew to get a safe just where you want it.

Stack-on is not a dedicated gun or safe manufacturer. They’ve been around for over 40 years producing a wide range of storage products – garage storage, craft storage, tool storage, and now gun storage. They offer the same features as more traditional gun safe manufacturers, such as fireproofing, electronic locks, and rating from the California Department of Justice Firearm Safety Device.

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