Gun Safe Buyers Guide

A gun safe is a big investment—and it’s just plain big, and heavy. You should approach gun safe shopping as if you’re making a lifetime purchase, because you are. Once the safe is in your house, it’s there for good, and you don’t want to move it from room to room either. Here are some tips to help you buy the best gun safe for your needs—from choosing the right safe for your collection of rifles, shotguns, and handguns to getting the best gun safe for the money and picking the right spot in your house to store it.

  1. What Size Gun Safe Should You Buy?
    “The number one piece of feedback I get from dealers and consumers is they wish they had bought a bigger safe,” says Browning Safe Product Manager Nathan Chapman. It makes sense. Rifle and shotgun collections grow. Plus, people find all kinds of things besides guns to store in a safe. A good rule of thumb: Pick a safe that’s 1½ times as big as what you think you’ll need. Safe capacity is rated by the number of gun slots in the safe, which is not the same thing as how many guns it holds. Capacity is based on un-scoped rifles or shotguns. Scoped rifles, ARs, and shotguns with extended bolt handles all take up more room. So figure that in as you’re considering gun safe sizes. For hunters who have as many rifles as shotguns, you can expect a safe to hold no more than two thirds of the advertised capacity.
  2. Maximize Your Gun Safe’s Storage Space
    Choose a safe with adjustable shelves and interior. Chapman says that a modular system, such as Browning’s Axis system, lets you tailor the interior of your safe. Several manufactures offer storage on the inside of the safe door for the guns you use most often. One of the main reasons to spend so much money and make a gun safe is to accommodate all the things inside it, right? Therefore you should be able to maximize the amount of storage that is there inside the gun safe. It should allow you to store bulk ammo for all of your guns easily.
  3. Choose a Gun Safe with a Raised Floor
    One drawback of many safes is that guns can get dinged as much going in and out of the safe as they can in the field. A raised floor is a nice touch. It helps keep you from banging the toe of the stock against the bottom of the gun safe as you take rifles and shotguns out. They not only look good but also prevent any kind of scratches or permanent marks on the floor. Or else there can be serious damage to the floor, especially marble, which is very problematic.
  4. Don’t Let Your Gun Safe Go Up in Flames
    Every manufacturer offers fire-resistant safes. Be aware that fire ratings aren’t tested by a single outside source. Instead, gun safe manufacturers contract with independent labs, and as a result, their claims often conflict. Do your due diligence. In populated areas, home fires burn, on average, for about half an hour at 1,100 to 1,200 degrees. If you live in the country, far from a fire station and the nearest hydrant, you risk a longer fire. Burglaries are much more common than catastrophic house fires, but you still might want fire protection.
  5. What Kind of Gun Safe Lock is Best?
    Choose a safe with an electronic lock. Electronic locks become more popular every year. They are reliable, and less expensive to replace or repair than conventional locks if they are attacked. There are different kinds of locks that are available in the market. Starting with the most traditional, the combination lock is the picture of simplicity and reliability. Merely spin the dial and unlock the door; the only weak link in the process is you and your faulty memory. Electronic locks, on the other hand, speed up the process considerably, just punch in a code. Furthermore, they offer a number of unique features that make a gun safe extremely user-friendly and increase their security. Many are programmable for multiple user combinations, they don’t require a locksmith to change the code. You can do that yourself easily from your mobile phones.
  6. How Do You Keep Guns from Rusting Inside a Safe?
    If you live in a humid climate, you might want an optional dehumidifier for your gun safe. You can choose among electric, rechargeable, and non-electric desiccants to keep your guns from rusting in storage. The door, in most cases, is thicker than the body, given this is a main area of attack. And don’t get fooled by thickness measured with your naked eye. In many cases, those massive walls and doors are that way due to the fire barrier sandwiched between them. Honestly, a thin door might offer better security than something that looks half-a-mile thick. One final point, how all that steel is stitched together to become a gun safe is important too. Full continuous welding, as opposed to bolts or spot welds, makes for a sturdier gun safe door at all times.
  7. Where Should You Put a Gun Safe in Your House? – Many people keep their safes in a garage, says Chapman. They can be bolted to the floor to keep them from being moved. A gun safe dehumidifier is essential if you do choose to keep your safe in an unheated, un-air conditioned garage. Keep your gun safe a secret by keeping it out of sight of people who come to the front door, or may peek into a window. The basement makes a great out-of-sight spot, and the coolest place in the house during a fire is in the basement near an outside wall, away from the furnace. Be aware that even many of the best gun safes aren’t waterproof. If there’s a chance the basement will flood, put the safe somewhere else.
  8. How to Move a Heavy Gun Safe?
    Most gun safe dealers will arrange for delivery and setup. It’s money well-spent to let professionals move a chunk of steel that can weigh more than 1,000 pounds. If you must move a safe yourself, get an appliance dolly and two or three friends to help. Be sure any stairs can withstand the weight of a safe and the people moving it before you take a gun safe down to the basement. And be careful. Safes aren’t safe when they fall on top of you. They can cause very serious injuries to any person who accidentally drops it on their leg or hand.

Final Words

If you own a gun, then you should definitely use a gun safe to keep all the guns and it’s ammunition safe at all times. It’s a small investment when compared to the potential loss of thousands of dollars worth of guns, not to mention the priceless sentimental value. There’s only one granddad’s deer rifle in the world that you of all the grandchildren were bequeathed. You should act like you deserve by treating it like the treasure it is.

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