Gun safes provide safe storage for firearms and other valuables. Safes can protect against theft, fire and unauthorized use. Safes come in a wide variety of price points – with features and benefits also varying widely. If purchased wisely, gun safes can be an investment used throughout life and passed on to the next generation. Here are tips for buying the best gun safe for your needs.
1. Choose a safe size based on storage capacity and available space in your home
Determine the size and number of firearms that will be secured in your safe. Long guns can often be stored vertically while smaller firearms can be placed on adjustable shelves or on a door panel. Consider going for a larger safe if you think you will increase your collection over time. Consider other valuables like jewelry, heirlooms, and important documents that could also be safely stored in the safe. Balance storage needs with the space you have available for the safe.
Safe model numbers are often the width of the safe, the volume in cubic feet, or the number of long guns that can be stowed. Compare actual dimensions as manufacturers market gun capacity differently.
2. Choose an interior configuration option that works with your valuables
Think about how quickly you can access the safe and pull out the gun you want in an emergency. Gun rack setups and adjustable shelves can be used to safely organize firearms while minimizing damage to metal, wood, and scopes.
Some manufacturers, like Steelhead Outdoors, offer storage inside the door panel to maximize storage in a gun safe.
3. Determine the best “hidden” space for safe placement
You don’t want to announce to potential thieves that you have a safe full of valuables. Storing your safe in a garage allows neighbors and passers-by to see the safe whenever your garage door is opened. Basements and closets are often good locations for a gun safe. Keep in mind that the floor structure must be able to support the weight of the safe and its contents. When moving a safe, you will need to ensure that the stairs and doorways used during transport can support the weight of the safe and usually two adult movers.
4. Decide what level of fire insulation you prefer
Fire-insulated safes can withstand intense heat for some time before the heat enters the safe and affects the contents. Some fire-insulated safes are designed with thick steel walls and special gaskets that expand to seal the safe door and keep fire out when temperatures rise dramatically. Fire protection is like burglary protection in that nothing is invincible, but generally a more expensive safe offers more time.
Be aware that safe manufacturers use different testing methods and ratings – and every fire is different. No industry standard time and temperature ratings have been established and no consistent test method has been determined and approved by any independent third-party laboratory or testing facility.
7. Determine how you will handle moving the safe
Heavy fire-insulated safes are difficult and dangerous to move. Many safes can weigh from 600 to 1,500 pounds. Modular gun safes are a good option for installing and relocating a gun safe. Two people can more easily assemble, disassemble and move the modular safe panels when the safe needs to be moved. Steelhead Outdoors Modular Safety Panels can weigh less than 100 pounds. Unauthorized persons cannot disassemble a Steelhead Outdoors safe for access because the safe is assembled with hardware that can only be accessed from inside the safe, so it can only be disassembled after opening Door.
According to moving industry data, a moving company may charge a customer an additional $165 to $535 to move a traditional safe. If you attempt to move a traditional alone or with friends, there is a risk of physical injury. It is important to consider the safe weight on stairs, floors and vehicles so that they are not damaged.
If you plan to change residence or pass the safe on to another person, how you will move the safe is an important consideration.
8. Decide if you should also buy a dehumidifier
Moisture damage and corrosion prevention are important to protect safe contents. Standard drywall is used as fireproof insulation in traditional gun safes. Moisture trapped in the drywall will boil in the event of a fire. Although it may work well in fire tests, it causes corrosion problems in everyday use. Trapped moisture can be slowly released into the safe, potentially causing valuable contents to rust and corrode. This is the main reason why the use of dehumidifiers is so common inside gun safes.
Eliminating the need for a dehumidifier that requires electricity can sometimes be achieved by using different construction methods and different materials. Steelhead Outdoors safes feature a unique, patent-pending construction utilizing a two-stage insulation system. This insulation system does not retain moisture, so it cannot release moisture during daily use or fill the safe with steam during a fire. Dry ceramic fiber insulation rated at 2300 degrees F is combined with an interior metal panel with a radiant heat reflective coating on the back to create these unique insulating benefits.
9. Select a secure locking mechanism
Although no safe is theft proof, safe manufacturers are incorporating additional security features to thwart attackers and save valuable time. High quality gun safes typically use a mechanical or electronic lock. The type of locking mechanism is really a personal preference. Electronic locks are becoming increasingly popular. Steelhead Outdoors offers both mechanical and electronic locks.
10. Check your insurance policy for requirements and potential discounts
Some insurance companies offer a discount if a gun safe is used to store firearms and valuables. Also note that some insurance companies require firearms to be stored in a safe. This tends to be the case if a higher value firearm is insured and you want full coverage
Gun safes offer security, peace of mind, and should be considered a long-term investment. Find out if your local authority requires firearms to be stored in a gun safe to ensure you follow local regulations when selecting a gun security system. With some in-depth research, you can find the best secure solution for your current and future needs.