A gun safe is safe storage used for firearms and other items. It comes in a variety of sizes and specifications. But the term “safe” is rather unrefined. What does a gun safe provide safety from? Well, it protects your firearms from getting eroded, provides theft or burglary protection, keeps out of reach from unauthorized personnel, protection from natural disasters occurrence in form of fire or flood.
7 Things to Consider Before Buying a Fireproof Gun Safe:
1. Fireproof Standard
In the United States, a company called Underwriters Laboratories provides certification related to safety to a wide range of customers of various products. With respect to gun safes, there are 4 tests performed by UL before issuing a quality assurance certificate of RSC (residential security container). All tests are timed and rigorous.
- Drilling lock’s tumblers and making lock act as a combination was entered.
- Punch in the shaft behind the handle to go around the locking mechanism.
- Cut a hole on the side in an attempt to side punch the locking bolts and snap it off.
- To jimmy the dial off and knocking off the locking tumblers allowing locking bolts to retract.
Once the product passes all 4 tests, the RSC certificate is issued for that model. You will usually find a sticker placed inside the vault door with wordings like “UL® Listed 8M10”. Some safes are only RSC certified for a certain period like a year or two while there are models that have lifetime certification with 100% warranty coverage.
Some gun safe manufacturers advertise their product is with the “DOJ approved” statement. DOJ is an abbreviation used for the California Department of Justice which entails detailed rigorous safety standards to be met by manufacturers before their product is safe and ready to be marketed. There are different certificates classifications issued by UL. For example, a fireproof gun safe that is rated as “350-1hour” or “350-2 hour” indicates that in an event of a fire the maximum temperature reached inside the safe (degrees Fahrenheit) and for how long (number of hours). When buying a fireproof gun safe does not only take account for the fire department to show up at your place but also take the best measure of time to be taken for them to put out the fire. The longest fire endurance tests performed by UL are for 4 hours at the temperature of 1700 Fahrenheit’s.
2. What Material is the Best
Fireproof gun safes are not magical its plain old physics being used for hundreds of years. They are built with high-quality materials that are able to withstand possible threats. On the outside, there is a whole lot of thick steel plates giving the armor a safety requirement to serve its purpose. The body is held together with large pins that secure any weak spots present. The inside of safe uses poured concrete made into thick walls to give protection against fire. The walls of safe are 2’’ to 3.5’’ thick in different models. Concrete is one of the most used materials and tested on fireproof safes. Also, there is Ceramic Wool and Fiberglass to serve the purpose of fireproofing. The combination of two uses high thermal resistance as a means of protection against fire. Its advantage is that it’s lightweight than concrete-based fire lining especially if the location where you want is weight sensitive. But on the downside, it has no protection against burglary or structural support.
3. Size and Space
There is again a variety of different models available to suit your needs in terms of how big you want a safe. There are safes that range from placing your more than 30 tall rifles to only a few small side weapons. Multiple shelves are commonly used in their design to make the best use of space. There are models that can also convert areas into shelves for storing pistols, ammo or other items. To give a nice finish to the safe it is often given a fully carpeted interior. Some of the many exterior finishes are available in the form of paint, matte finish and original steel metal body. The locks/handles on the safe are available from multi-locking spoke handles in different finishes (chrome, brass or black nickel) and large pull handles.
4. Lock Mechanism
The locks on the safe are of different variants. Some models come with electronic keypad combinations with a key, fingerprint recognizer, or the traditional dial combination locking mechanism. There are also hybrid dual dial and keypad locks available by some manufacturers for an extra price. Added features in electronics locks include multiple codes, time delay, and distress alarm.
5. Bolts on the door
Today’s bolt works on the fireproof safe are not only to be used to prevent pry attacks but manufacturers have able to develop it as a fireproofing agent also! Increased number of bolts on the door has proven to help maintain the original shape of safe in an event of a fire, keeping the door tighter and sealed longer. There are models with three and even four-sided bolt coverage. Whereas some manufacturer has replaced bolts with reinforced steel. This gives added protection against drill works to weaken the safe by cutting bolts. But with a reinforced steel plate in safe there will be no single point to drill.
For fire protection, the walls, ceiling, doorjambs, and door uses thick solid layers of usually 5/8” fireboard. A good fireproof safe has all four parts of the safe (walls, ceiling, doorjambs, and door) balanced layers of fireboard installed because heat and smoke in an event of a fire will always penetrate through the weakest link. Different manufacturers use different door seals. Some used fire expanding caulk also known as “Intumescent”, which expands at high temperatures blocking smoke and fire to penetrate from any possible gaps. The insulation is alone 2” to 3’’ thick in most safes that are built.
The starting price for fireproof gun safe models is about $50 which goes up to $2500. Factors like warranty coverage, customer service, and UL ratings play an extensive role in pricing. Although keep in mind that the cheaper models might not cover installation and delivery. Another tip before buying your safe, make sure you check their delivery times. Some handle shipments very quickly as in the same week whereas others may take up to 2 to 3 weeks.
Try to buy what you need. Don’t forget to look at the consumer reviews. Every fireproof gun safe has a different performance. What features do you need? What things should you understand before buying? Read reviews! Reviews help you understand the products you want to buy. If there are the features you need, take it. Try to get an awesome price!