There are gun security containers, gun safes, and gun holders; each one delivers a different level of protection. When deciding which device to purchase you have to consider the reasons you want the device, and there are many.
Top-Rated Gun Safe List:
|Photo||Product name||Feature||Pros||More info|
|1. Stack-On QAS-1512 Quick Access Safe with Electronic Lock||This is the Stack-On QAS-1512 Quick Access Safe with Electronic Lock||More Information|
|2. GunVault MV500 Microvault Pistol Gun Safe||This is the GunVault MV500 Microvault Pistol Gun Safe||More Information|
|3. Cannon Safe E913-CPAN-17 the Edge Mini Personal Safe by Cannon, Black||This is the Cannon Safe E913-CPAN-17 the Edge Mini Personal Safe by Cannon, Black||More Information|
|4. Liberty HDX-250 Smart Vault Biometric Safe||This is the Liberty HDX-250 Smart Vault Biometric Safe||More Information|
|5. Winchester Safes Defender by RFID Handgun Safe, Flat Black, 1 gun capacity||This is the Winchester Safes Defender by RFID Handgun Safe, Flat Black, 1 gun capacity||More Information|
|6. Fort Knox PB1 Handgun Safe with 13.5 Inch Dean Safe Pistol Sock||This is the Fort Knox PB1 Handgun Safe with 13.5 Inch Dean Safe Pistol Sock||More Information|
|7. VAULTEK VT20i Biometric Handgun Safe Smart Pistol Safe with Auto-Open Lid and Rechargeable Battery||This is the VAULTEK VT20i Biometric Handgun Safe Smart Pistol Safe with Auto-Open Lid and Rechargeable Battery||More Information|
|8. Homak 8-Gun Security Cabinet, Gloss Black, HS30103660||This is the Homak 8-Gun Security Cabinet, Gloss Black, HS30103660||More Information|
|9. Stack-On 18 Gun Convertible Cabinet||This is the Stack-On 18 Gun Convertible Cabinet||More Information|
|10. New and Improved Steelwater Standard Duty 16 Long Gun Fire Protection for 60 Minutes AMEGS592216-BLK||This is the New and Improved Steelwater Heavy Duty SW592216||More Information|
|11. Sentry Safe Fire and Water Safe, XX-Large Fire Resistant Digital Safe, 4.7 Cubic Feet, EF4738E||This is the Sentry Safe Fire and Water Safe, XX-Large Fire Resistant Digital Safe, 4.7 Cubic Feet, EF4738E||More Information|
|12. Mesa Safe Company Model MBF3820E Burglary and Fire Safe with Electronic Lock, Hammered Gray||This is the Mesa Safe Company Model MBF3820E Burglary and Fire Safe with Electronic Lock, Hammered Gray||More Information|
As you can see, the type of security device must match your needs, and basic gun containers are not safes, they are not close to a safe. In fact, any gauge over 12 is easily broken into using conventional tools. Real safes are made of extremely thick materials and come with many countermeasures. Basic gun containers and home security devices are used to protect the gun from children and unwanted touching, but not from thieves. After all, a small thin metal box can be picked up easily, or pried open with the right tools.
Single handguns can be contained in easy to access metal holsters, and you can have more than one secured around your property. A full gun safe with fire and waterproof characteristics are heavy, large and requires proper location securing.
After you have decided which security device you want, you can then add additional features for a better storage environment. These additions include dehumidifiers, lighting units, and power sources.
Dehumidifiers are used to create a dry atmosphere that will protect your gun’s metal from corrosion. There are two types of the dehumidifier, silicone gel and heating elements; both work well. The silicone gel models are stand alone and don’t need a power source; you just need to replace the gel balls once in a while. The heating elements require a power source but provide a balanced heat that dries out all moisture. Essentially, gel dehumidifiers can be small, while electric ones are usually long and rod-like in shape.
Isn’t it frustrating to not see all the nooks and crannies in your safe? Lighting is imperative for medium to large safes, and a good safe lighting system is motion operated. This means it’s standalone that lights up every time you open the safe door. A good lighting system will be small enough to sit in all safe areas, can be fastened by magnets or sticky surface and will most probably be LED.
What’s the point in providing a storage solution for your gun if you don’t have one for your ammunition as well. Ammunition storage can be small for the solo handgun, and be a pouch or just place for placing the ammo box, or it can be a designer rack, door pouches and more. Whichever design you go for, an ammunition rack or space to store your ammunition is mandatory, this way, you know where your gun is, and you know where your ammo is, making retrieval easy, fast and secure.
You will notice that the smaller devices do not come with additional features since they are in most cases too small to support a light, dehumidifier or both.
This review covers two types of gun container, the small handgun security devices, and the larger rifle cabinets and safes. This is not a comparative review, it is more of a guide for the best gun security devices on the market today, where the leading models are presented to you for your consideration.
I have also added additional features where necessary, and the end of this guide is a bonus section that presents lighting and ammo storage products that also lead their field and should be considered as an additional item for any option you choose to buy.
Best Gun Safe Reviews:
- Top-Rated Gun Safe List:
- Best Gun Safe Reviews:
- 1. Stack-On QAS-1512 Quick Access Safe with Electronic Lock
- 2. GunVault MV500 Microvault Pistol Gun Safe
- 3. Cannon Safe E913-CPAN-17 the Edge Mini Personal Safe by Cannon, Black
- 4. Liberty HDX-250 Smart Vault Biometric Safe
- 5. Winchester Safes Defender by RFID Handgun Safe, Flat Black, 1 gun capacity
- 6. Fort Knox PB1 Handgun Safe with 13.5 Inch Dean Safe Pistol Sock
- 7. VAULTEK VT20i Biometric Handgun Safe Smart Pistol Safe with Auto-Open Lid and Rechargeable Battery
- 8. Homak 8-Gun Security Cabinet, Gloss Black, HS30103660
- 9. Stack-On 18 Gun Convertible Cabinet
- Stack-On SPAD-12 Electronic Safe Dehumidifier, 12″
- 10. New and Improved Steelwater Standard Duty 16 Long Gun Fire Protection for 60 Minutes AMEGS592216-BLK
- 11. Sentry Safe Fire and Water Safe, XX-Large Fire Resistant Digital Safe, 4.7 Cubic Feet, EF4738E
- 12. Mesa Safe Company Model MBF3820E Burglary and Fire Safe with Electronic Lock, Hammered Gray
- Bonus: Safe Lighting Options
- Safe Buying KPI’s
- Gun Safe 101
Small Handgun Vaults
Stack-On is a brand name known to everyone; they are specialists in containers technology and compact storage. This is their handgun security device that perfect for securing your guns against tampering hands.
This model is not safe; it is a gun cabinet designed to secure your weapon against unlawful use while not on your person.
This model comes with a backlit biometric fingerprint scanner that can hold up to 20 individual fingerprints and is back up by a backlit electronic lock that stores a 3-8-digit code combination and comes with a backup key for emergency use. Essentially, it is a very secure device that offers quick access for authorized people.
The keypad has a silent mode, and the safe door opens instantly when activated. The interior has a removable shelf, and the device comes with mounting hardware for secure installation. The lock comes with a low battery warning light.
- Lock Type Backlit Biometric Electronic
- External Dimensions: 10 x 12.25 x 8.25″
- Internal Dimensions: 75 x 11.25 x 6″
- Weight 18 lbs.
- Interior Volume 4 cu. ft.
- Shelf Count 1
The MicroVault is a small and lightweight security device not be used as a safe. This is a gun security device for easy access in an emergency, or for storage to protect against unlawful use when not being carried. However, this device is made of very thin steel and is not safe.
Since this is a lightweight device, it can be carried on the person, and it can also be secured in a specific location using the steel security cable as extra anchorage.
This is the perfect small weapons security device for home, and when traveling, great to place under a car seat, secured with the cable.
The interior comes with a protective foam lining.
- Interior Dimensions 2″ x 10.75″ x 6.5″
- Weight 4 lbs.
- Material 20 Gauge steel
- CA DOJ Approved Yes
- Low Battery Warning Yes, Audio & LED
- Backup Override Key Yes
- Battery Usage: 1-9V
- Lockout Mode: Yes
- Mounting Option: Yes
- Security Cable: Yes
- Soft Foam Interior: Yes
- Tamper Indicator: Yes
This is safe; it is made of 10-gauge steel which is thick enough to give it a safe classification. When secured properly in a hidden location, and secured using the anchor bolts, this device will hold your handgun and ammunition, as well as valuables.
The keypad is a standard alpha-numeric pad, giving you enough code combinations to choose from. What makes this stand out is the design colors that The EDGE MINI Personal Safe by Cannon™ delivers and take into account personalized design considerations.
- Interior Color Tan
- External dimensions: 8″ x 13.8″ x 11.02″
- Weight 38 lbs.
- Keypad: Digital
- Handle: Twist Keypad
- Bolts: 2
The HDX-250 Smart Vault is a small single handgun vault that is designed to secure your weapon from tampering and unlawful use. It is not safe but comes with 14 Gauge steel, so it is borderline secure from directly forced tampering.
The biometric lock is a great addition, and it opens the lock in under 2 seconds, and without multiple fingerprint re-scans, which can happen with many cheaper scan models. You can store up to 15 individual fingerprints, and when the door opens, it has an internal light that helps you see every corner of this vault.
The Winchester Safes Defender is a unique solo gun vault that provides ample security measures for home and for transportation. It is an RFID activated lock that combines an RFID tag with a code, to provide double protection.
This model is made of 14-gauge steel and meets ASTM International Standard F2456 Specifications for Youth-Resistant Firearms Containers. This means that this is not safe but a childproof locking vault for home security.
The Defender® RFID Handgun device comes with 5 RFID tags, an AC power cord, and a 1,500Lbs security cable, making this a powerful, easy to access secure gun vault.
- Exterior Dimensions – 2.9″(H) x 8.7″(W) x 12.7″(D)*
- Interior Dimensions – 2.2″(H) x 7.7″(W) x 9″(D)
- Weight – 9.15 lbs
The Fort Knox PB1 is a straightforward simple lockbox, that comes with high-grade safe style protection in its solid 10-gauge steel box and lid. The locking mechanism is the simplex lock, which is quite basic and great for fast activation. However, a simplex lock is not the safest of mechanisms since it contains only 1,081 combinations.
On the upside of things, this amazing little gun vault is actually tampered proof and solid enough to withstand burglary attempts, at least long enough when not using power tools. The door is a 3/16” plate of steel, so it’s extremely resistant to basic tampering. The inside is lined with soft carpeting that protects your gun from scratching.
- Material 10 gauge Steel
- Door 3/16″ plate steel
- Lock Simplex® Mechanical
- Interior Foam Lined
- Internal dimensions 10 1/4″ x 3 5/8″ x 8 1/4″
- Anchor holes: 4
- Weight 22 lbs.
The VAULTEK VT20i Biometric Handgun vault uses a biometric locking mechanism with a high-resolution scanner to accurately open this device. It can store up to 20 individual fingerprints and has a smart app interface that will track the locks usage.
This model comes with a sound control for stealth, and an adjustable internal LED light. The keypad is backlit, and there is a proximity sensor that will activate the backlight when you come to open the device. This model is made of a lightweight 16-gauge steel, so it is not impregnable and is only to be used as a security device against children and fast tampering conditions.
This model features a double locking security method and has a 40,000-combination push button code option. The Vaultek® exteriors come with design configurations, and they are all painted in a durable powdered coating.
This device comes with a power cable as well as a security cable, and the inside can be lined with a thick foam.
- Non-Absorbent Foam
This is a non-reactive, dense closed cell foam that is water resistant and acts as a two-piece interior upgrade, where you can store a gun and ammunition together.
This is a dual cell rechargeable lithium-ion powerpack that holds 6,000MAH and provides an extra 4-6 months of back up power in the form of an external power pack. This device is magnetized to stick to the vaults surface.
- Exterior Dimensions 5″ X 9″ X 2.625″
- Interior Dimensions 11″ X 5.75″ X 2″
- Material: 16-Gauge Steel
- Weight 2 Lbs.
- Fingerprint Storage 20
- Biometric Scan Speed 40 FPS
- Sensor Area: 9mm x 9mm
- Sensor resolution 176 x 176 pixels @508 DPI
- Keypad: 5 button
- Code Length 4-8 digits
- Battery: 18650 rechargeable lithium-ion, 3.7V 2200MAH
- Battery Life: 3 months on a single charge
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth® 4.2 with BLE PHY
This is a full-length rifle security cabinet; it is not a safe and I used to secure weapons against unlawful use within the home or business, but not secure enough to withstand forced burglary attempts using standard tools and power tools. The body is made of 1.2mm steel.
The Homak HS30103660 comes with a nice textured gloss black finish with 3.2 mil powder coat paint that provides extra protection against corrosive substances. This model holds up to 8 rifles and ammunition and has a 4-way locking system that comes with 2 live action locking plates and full-length piano hinges securing the door to the cabinet body.
This model comes with formed plastic barrel rests that attach to the interior wall with adhesive backing, and the unit can be secured to a wall using anchor bolts.
This is another great Stack on the model, in this instance, it is their 18 Gun Security Cabinet. This model features a 3-point locking mechanism that sits inside a welded steel construction, and the interior holds plastic molded rifle holders for extra protection 4 half-width adjustable and 1 full-width removable shelf, that are all foam padded.
This is a cabinet, not a safe, and is secured with by a machinal key. You can store many items inside this cabinet as well as rifles, but remember, this is a tamper-proof secured by one lock, it is not safe for securing valuables and important documents.
100 cubic feet electric 12” gun safe dehumidifier rod
The Stack-On 12” electronic dehumidifier is the perfect addition to the 18-gun cabinet, and is designed to sit in all their medium sized models. This rods dimension is 14.1″ x 4.8″ x 1″. With easy installation, you just place this rod inside the cabinet in a position that will not cause you discomfort when placing or taking out a weapon. Remember that electric dehumidifiers are hot, so be careful not to touch it when it is on.
- External Dimensions: 21” x 18” x 55″
- Weight 96 lbs
- Lock Type Double-Bitted Key Lock
- Color Black
- Interior Capacity 9 Guns and Storage or 18 Guns
- Shelf Count 5
- Barrel Rest Molded
The new and Improved Steelwater Heavy Duty SW592216 model is safe. In fact, it is a fireproof safe, making it an extremely attractive security device to have at home. I will protect your weapons, ammunition, and valuables from 1,875oF heat for up to 60 minutes (1 hour) as well as secure them against smoke.
Since this is safe, it comes with safe level security features, and these include 10 x 1 ½” locking bolts, which are impressive in size and are connected by a gear drive linkage system that is secured in a 4 ¾” composite door. This door is designed to be pry proof and provides ample protection against prying, punching, and drill attacks.
The lock has an EMP protection cladding so no Hi-Tec EMP devices can knock out the electronics. The re-locking device comes with an internal spring-loaded re-locker that makes sure the door remains sealed when the lock is punched out. The hard plate body is made of drill resistant steel alloy. The composite body and door contain a double layer of fireboard.
This model comes with 4 x ¼” reinforced bolt holes for extra strong anchoring onto concrete or wood floors.
The door opens to a height: 53 ¼” x 15 7/8″ and comes with heat activated door seals that expands up to 8 times its size when heated. This seal is also smoke and waterproof.
This model comes with a pre-drilled dehumidifier hole for installing a standard dehumidifier without affecting the security and integrity of the safe. The interior is covered in a grey upholstery, and there is a two-section gun rack that can store 8 long guns per section. There are also 4 adjustable and removable shelves for additional storage configuration.
While this safe comes with a 200gra dehumidifier gel pack, I suggest you invest in the Dri-Rod 12” Electric Dehumidifier that provides excellent dehumidifying properties with an area of 100 ft3.
- Outside Dimensions: 59″ x 22″ x 16″ (Add 3″ for handle)
- Interior Dimensions: 55 3/4″ x 19 1/2″ x 10 1/2″
- 1 x Full length shelf 9″ x 8″
- 3 x Small shelves 9″ x 8 1/4″
- Maximum Long Gun Capacity: 16 (8/8)
- Average Long Gun Capacity: 8 – 10
- Weight: 380 lbs.
The EF4738E is another perfect example of good gun safe properties. This is an ETL Verified water resistant container, that can withstand 12″ of water for 72 hours. It is also ETL fireproof and can withstand 1,400oF for up to 30 minutes.
Apart from this great feature, it comes with a battery powered digital lock that has a programmable 1-8-digit code. The lock operates a 5 live lock bolts and 4 dead bolts in combination.
The body of the EF4738E is made of the composite steel structure that includes fireproof insulation as well as waterproofing seals.
The interior is covered in an upholstery lining to protect the valuable san weapons from scratching, and there is a bolt down hardware with anchor holes to further secure this heave safe into place.
This is a 110V AC powered gun safe dehumidifier comes in 4 size options, 36″, 24″, 18″, 12″. This rod covers up to 100 cubic feet.
- Exterior size 7 in H X 21.7 in W X 19.0 in D
- Interior Size 7 in H X 19.4 in W X 11.7 in D
- Capacity 71 cubic ft
- Lock Type Digital
- Peril Type Security, Fire, Water
- Weight 217 lbs.
- Material Steel-Cased Fire Insulation
The Mesa MBF3820E is an exceptionally safe; it is a fireproof safe that delivers maximum fire protection of 2 hours at 1830oF, which is hard to beat. This model comes with a lot of security features in mind, and the designers at Mesa spared no expense in delivering a near perfect gun safe configuration.
This all steel design comes with an advanced electronic locking mechanism that uses an internal spring loaded relocking device to secure this safe against tampering and forced entry.
The interior is covered in a durable upholstery material and comes with adjustable and removable shelving for internal configuration.
There is a USB port outlet strip that comes with 3 electricity sockets and 2 USB ports so you can control the machine and interior devices.
The body and door include heavy duty hinges, and there are 1” locking bolts set in a 4 ½” composite steel door that includes fire-resistant materials. The door is secured with deadbolts too, and there are 4 pre-drilled anchor holes for secure installation.
This is a classic spill proof silica gel gun safe dehumidifier that covers 340 cubic feet areas. The GERO Moisture Eliminators dimensions are 9.5” x 5.5” x 2” and it weighs 1.25lbs. while it is compact, it works perfectly well in all medium to large safes and in this case, will perform beyond what is required.
- Exterior: 40″ x 22″ x 22″
- Interior 36 1⁄2″ x 19″ x 16″
- Interior Space: 4 Cubic Feet
- Weight: 300 lbs
- Shelving: 2
- Lock Type: Advanced Electronic Lock MSL50
- Low battery warning
- Concealed emergency key system
- Wrong code penalty
- Easily change your personal code
- Lock activated by drill-resistant hard plate & punch-activated relocking system
Bonus: Safe Lighting Options
As I mentioned in the introduction, there are a number of additional products that can go well with most gun safes, these include lighting options, and here are a few of the best gun safe lighting options on the market today.
This is a Battery powered LED strip of light, in this kit, there are four lighting strips and a proximity sensor. These lights can be mounted with Velcro, or with the mounting hardware that comes with the kit.
The Stack-On SPAL 400 is designed for medium to large safes and is a great addition that is operated by 6 AAA batteries. Each strip houses 30 LED’s so you get a total of 120 LEDs in 4 strips.
This is a great fit; you don’t even need to use all the strips, sometimes one or two are enough. Once fastened in place, these will operate through the proximity sensor, which means that they will turn on when the safe is opened and off when it closes, providing perfect battery life expectancy.
This is another Battery powered LED array, in this case, its an easy to install unit that comes with a rotating head and is powered by three AAA batteries.
What is great about this model, is that it will fit all medium-sized safes easily, and if not fixed in place, can be made into a mobile lighting unit. This unit does not have a proximity sensor, so you will need to turn it on and off for operation.
This is a rope lighting unit that comes with a Velcro attachment and is fast to install and operate. This unit is powered by 8 AA batteries and will last up to 6 months with average use. The lights are encased in a PVC tube, and you get it with a motion sensor, which means it will only turn on when the safe door is opened and will turn off when the door is closed.
These are battery powered stick on LED lights that are perhaps the easiest, most versatile and least expensive of all the lighting options. They are definitely one of the more popular items being sold with safes. These small round devices, 3 in every pack, come with a light sensor and a magnetic base. You just place them anywhere you want, and every time you open the safe these little buttons of light will provide you with all the lighting you need.
These units are powered by 3 AAA batteries and produce 20 lumens each, so 3 of them placed in strategic dark spots in your safe will deliver a total of 60 lumens which is more than enough to see and find whatever you need.
Executive Gun Safe Lighting Kit w/ Motion Switch: Tactical Grade American Lights – 2,250 Total Lumens
If its light power you seek, then these 20” long tactical light strips will provide you with exceptional lighting power and are designed for safe security systems.
Each strip contains 20 LED lights that project 450 Lumens @ 3.85 Watts of power, and connect to the interior using pre-cut Velcro strips. This kit the Shadow Sensor™ automatic motion switch that detects movement and activates the light.
Safe Buying KPI’s
Before you go off and buy a lighting system for your gun safe, make sure you perform the following check first.
- Internal dimensions
Always check your gun containers internal dimensions, there is no point in buying a 12” strip of light if your safe is 11” long internally. Sure, the external dimensions might be 13”, but that doesn’t help you.
Make sure you can secure the lighting system easily, either by Velcro, adhesive tape, or magnets. You don’t want a lighting system, that requires drilling since this will compromise your safes integrity as well as give you unnecessary extra work.
- Power Source
Batteries are best, anything that requires a power outlet can be hacked, and also, when there is a power outage, will not work. Modern LED’s don’t need a lot of battery power, so you don’t need to worry about replacing your power source more than once every half a year.
- Lighting Power
Make sure your lights emit enough lumens to enable clear vision. This is size dependent, the large the safe the more lumens you want. However, do not exceed 200 lumens, since this will then become a blinding light, which is not the desired result.
- Lifetime Power
Battery Life should allow for a minimum of 6 months before replacing. Also, LED’s should last at least 25,000 hours before replacement.
The best activation is a motion sensor since this will operate when the door opens and closes. If you want full control, then a standard on-off switch is the option to go for, and if you want a door activated mechanism, then a door switch needs to be installed, which can be a bit of a hassle.
Guns need ammunition, and ammunition takes space. Sure, one box is not a lot, but will your mini safe hold a box of ammo? Also, if you have a medium sized safe, and you hold more than one type of gun using different ammunition, you need a proper storage solution that will separate the ammo and make it easy to recognize when taking a gun.
If you own a large gun cabinet or safe and you also happen to own an AR-15 style weapon, then you should consider a comprehensive magazine and ammunition holder. This model, the Mag Storage Solutions AR-15 Magholder is made of all ABS, it is both lightweight but sturdy and will hold all your extra ammunition cases in a fast a defective manner.
One of the biggest issues with AR15 type storage so damage to the magazines, this device removes that issue and you can store 30 round AR 15 magazines within a slip-in and snap-out design. You can also store .223 and .556 caliber magazines.
The G.P.S. Hook/Loop Universal Magazine Holder is a classic fabric pocket design for holding various sized gun magazines. Since storage is always an issue, storing your extra magazines safely is the solution provided here.
This model is fabricated using a hook and linebacking directly sewn to the backside which keeps your magazines in position. This is a perfect storage solution for all sized small to large sized containers, but not suitable for a micro or mini safes.
This is a special foam insulator and packaging material for your .50 Cal Ammo Can. This foam is designed to hold up to 24-pistol magazines and is a perfect and secure solution for medium to large safes. The foam is designed to fit seamlessly and snugly into any .50 Cal Steel Ammo Can (M2A1).
The magazine holes are engineered to hold all magazine types ranging from Glock 19 handguns to long rifles.
The EZ Magazine Holder is a classic fabric pocket holder for handgun magazines. This is a compact and stylish design that sits perfectly in all gun container types. It is designed to hold 3 magazines and comes with a Velcro backing making this item stick to nay carpeted lining with ease. The fabric is a thick synthetic that protects your magazines form damage, and you can either take a single magazine out or the whole pouch.
Gun Safe 101
There are the five core questions you need to answer, and they will lead you to the security device that is best suitable and appropriate for you.
- How many weapons do you need to secure?
One handgun or many rifles with lots of ammo. The difference can mean either purchasing a mini-container to a large home safe.
- What kind of weapons do you want to secure?
Handguns, rifles, shotguns, ammunition, explosives. The larger the weapon, the larger the device, the more unstable the material, the more secure a device is required.
- Are you securing against theft or just for restricted access?
For anti-theft you need a safe, not a container, for protection against tampering hands (children and such) a container or metal holster is enough.
- Do you need fire and water protection?
If you need fire protection, you need a full fireproof safe, for water protection, some containers can provide this as well.
- Where will you secure them?
Do you need to secure them in your home for quick and easy access or at work, secured in a solid storage device?
I decide that I had to get rid of a lot of internet myths and crazy marketing PR gabble. As you know the internet is full of rehashed crap that uneducated individuals write up about various product specifications. One of these is metal gauges and gun safes.
So, I decided to be brutal with you and tell you right off; gun cabinets are not safes, they are not designed to protect the gun from theft. They are designed to assure that your children at home or your co-workers cannot access your weapons while being secured.
You have to be careful when reading some of the rubbish being spouted off on the internet, and here is your guide to understanding the language of security.
Insurance companies rate safes as “B,” which means that the outer shell must be made of ¼” plate steel or its equivalent. The most gun cabinets and boxes thickness will be 10 gauge, most are 12 gauge, and then there are the thin ones that are 16 gauge and above.
Just to understand what these gauges mean, here is a list, you will note that the higher the gauge number, the thinner the material.
As you can see, a “gun safe” boasting to have “Rugged and solid 18-gauge steel” means that the wall lining is 1.06 mm in thickness, this means you can take a good metal punch and hammer, or any standard house drill and whammo, you are through.
Construction Material Ratings
Now, to understand what the insurance ratings mean, let’s take a closer look at the requirements as set down by the insurance industry.
B-Rating: these must be made of steel up to ½” walls and 1” doors.
C-Rating: these must be made of steel at least ½” walls and 1” doors.
E-Rating: these must be made of steel at least 1” walls and 1 ½” doors.
OK, you can now see how much different a safe is from a vault or cabinet. In fact, the difference is like comparing a car to a submarine. You wouldn’t want to go underwater in a car, but this is what some of the internet scammers are trying to persuade you to do. They are misrepresenting boxes with safes and trying to delude you into buying a “solid” thin, weak box when you need a secure safe. On the other hand, if you are a seeking only a security device and not a safe, than any one of the thin application devices would be perfect, just don’t expect it to be safe.
Now let’s take a look at the various ratings that are being bantered about online. These ratings are paramount to understanding the level of security you are buying, and are relevant to all devices.
Anti-theft ratings are termed as TL class, (TL=Tool Resistant) this means that wherever you see the letters TL, you will know that it stands for the level of security that impedes forced break-in attempts. The tools that are referred to by TL are all hand tools, picking tools, mechanical or portable electric tools, grinding points, carbide drills, and pressure-applying devices.
- TL-15: must have a combination lock and withstand a break in attempt for up to 15 minutes.
- TL-30: must have a combination lock and withstand a break in attempt for up to 30 minutes.
- TRTL-30: must have a combination lock and withstand a break in attempt for up to 30 minutes including attempts with oxy-fuel and gas-cutting or welding torches.
- TRTL-60: must have a combination lock and withstand a break in attempt for up to 60 minutes including attempts with oxy-fuel and gas-cutting or welding torches.
- TXTL-60: must have a combination lock and withstand a break in attempt for up to 60 minutes including attempts with oxy-fuel and gas-cutting or welding torches and explosives.
These are tool ratings, and whenever you buy a gun cabinet or vault, make sure it has a TL rating of at least 15, this means it is actually childproof, and will withstand basic tampering.
Fireproof ratings are represented by the code UL 72. Just as with anti0-theft, there are different levels to this rating, and each level provides different heat resistance properties.
In general, UL72 refers to storage materials, such as paper and disks, but the temperature that these resists is also important to understand how your safe can resist heat. This heat can cause ammunition to detonate and burn wood or synthetic components in your weapons.
Let’s understand the UL ratings
- 350: protect paper products
- 150: protect magnetic tapes
- 125: protect flexible computer disks
When you buy a fireproof safe, don’t bother looking for a UL72, look at the temperature and time raring that the manufacturer claims. If it is above 1,200oF and for 30 minutes, it means that your weapons are secure in most fire situations. Anything above this is great, but below this level is not so good. Also, take note, most safes maintain a 350oF temperature inside, when there is a fire outside, consider this fact before investing in a fireproof unit.