Best Gun Safes
So you’ve purchased, or are about to purchase, a shiny new firearm. Or maybe you already have a few. Regardless, at some point, you may wonder “do I need a safe?” and “what safe should I buy?”
Before we can address that, we have to narrow down on safes in general.
Why Should I Buy a Gun Safe?
Unlike most things created for the consumer market today, properly cared for firearms will easily outlive their original purchaser. And unlike nearly every heirloom item, firearms will retain their value over time; some even increasing value as they age. So that means the firearms enthusiast should take the necessary steps to protect their firearms for the ages.
Protect Your Firearms From Theft
Firearms are tools that can be used to unequally distribute power in a situation. We’ve all heard the phrase “the man with the gun makes the rules” and that certainly holds true in any situation where one person has a firearm and the other does not. This fact makes firearms extremely valuable to those who are less inclined to gather wealth the old-fashioned way.
According to the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report, there were an estimated 1.4 million burglaries across the United States in 2017. In that same year, an estimated $151 million worth of firearms were stolen from homes, vehicles, and businesses.
Firearms are very valuable and thieves may target your home because they know you have guns.
Protect Your Firearms From Fire
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released a report stating that between 2012 – 2016 there was an estimated average of 355,400 residential fires per year. We all want to believe that such a tragedy will never strike, however, the statistics indicate otherwise.
A properly rated fire safe will provide a degree of protection to your valuable firearms collection.
Protect Your Firearms From Children
On their website, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia reports that 2,825 children were killed and 13,723 were injured, all by accidental gunshots. The unfortunate fact is that children are intensely curious and will spend far more time looking for a hidden firearm than an adult would. Their creativity and problem-solving abilities can easily outstrip the expectations put on them by adults.
What that means is high shelves, under mattresses and mounted on walls likely will not be sufficient to keep your firearm from accidentally killing a child, most likely your own.
Additionally, more than half of the States have laws on the books to criminally prosecute the owner of firearms involved in accidental injuries/deaths and not properly stored. Some of those states will even prosecute a firearms owner for negligent storage that doesn’t result in a discharge. Be familiar with what your state requires for gun storage.
As a gun owner, it is your responsibility to ensure your guns are secure.
Let’s Talk Gun Safes
Gun safes can generally be broken down into two primary categories: long-gun safes and handgun safes. All of these safes will carry a number of different ‘ratings’ which the consumer can use to determine what safe will work the best for them.
The best gun safes will carry a minimum UL 1037 Residential Security Container Attack Level 1 rating. Each RSC level represents a different degree of attack and the amount of time it should take to breach the safe. The standards for each RSC rating can be found at the Underwriter Laboratory’s RSC site.
Also rated by the Underwriters Laboratory, fire-rated gun safes will generally carry a UL fire rating in terms of time. A 1-hour fire rating means the contents of the safe will be protected should the safe be subjected to 1700 degrees for one hour.
Each fire rating varies by conditions and safe contents.
A word about UL ratings: having a safe rated by UL can cost manufacturers a substantial amount of money. With that in mind, not all manufacturers will have their products tested. The presence of a UL rating should instill confidence in the product, however, the absence of a rating does not mean the product is automatically inferior.
Many safes currently on the market are operated by electronic locks. These locks can be actuated by biometric fingerprint scanners or simple push-button combination pads. Regardless of the actual combination input, all of these locks are operated by a spring-loaded pin that inserts into a slot on the lock. When the correct combination is entered, a battery energizes a magnet which compresses the spring and opens the lock.
The key here is that battery life is directly related to the strength of the spring. To ensure longer battery life, manufacturers trade-off for weaker springs. This makes most electronic lock safes particularly vulnerable to intelligent attacks. In some cases, thieves can exploit this vulnerability and open your electronic lock safe in literal seconds.
If true security is your goal, mechanical locks are the most robust option.
Long-gun safes are gun safes designed for the storage of multiple long-guns. Typically, these safes will also have shelves inside for the storage of handguns alongside the long-guns, but primarily, these safes exist for long-guns.
Depending on the grade of safe and features desired, these safes will be very large and heavy. From a security standpoint, the heavier the better.
Long-gun safes are typically marketed based on the number of guns they can comfortably contain without jamming the guns inside.
Handgun safes will be different than long-gun safes in both design and function. Because long-gun safes contain large firearms, these safes can be heavy and well-protected. Handgun safes, however, are designed to be small and relatively portable; so they can’t be overly heavy or cumbersome.
Handgun safes are generally used by the gun owner who wants a means of securing their firearm in an easily accessed location, such as a nightstand or desk drawer. The upside of this arrangement is that firearms owners can keep their firearms where they want and still ensure a degree of protection from accidental gunshots.
The downsides are that small safes have poor fire protection and their inherent portability means a thief can simply grab the safe and walk away. Also, since the safe needs to be relatively light-weight, it can’t be constructed of the high-grade thick steel that will keep a determined thief out. With unlimited time and tools, thieves can open any safe.
With all these points in mind, let’s jump into it.
Best Pistol Gun Safe
AMSEC PS1210HD – $295.00
The AMSEC PS1210HD is a portable pistol safe constructed out of 10 gauge steel and equipped with a mechanical simplex lock. The container features continuously welded edges and the door is equipped with two solid steel dead bars.
Once unlocked, the door of the PS1210HD opens with the assistance of a gas piston, meaning you won’t have to struggle with a heavy door when trying to access your firearm.
FAS1 Handgun Safe – $269.00
Much like the AMSEC safe, the FAS1 is solidly constructed using 7 gauge steel for all sides and door, with continuous welding on all corners. Equipped with a push-button simplex mechanical lock, the FAS1 is designed to be mounted to a fixed object in the vertical position, such as next to a bed or desk.
Once the user enters their code and turns the knob, the door opens and reveals the firearm in a mounted holster. The holster is mounted in a way that allows the user to draw the pistol straight from the box.
Best Gun Safe for Long-Guns
Liberty Fatboy Jr. – $1,699
If you’re looking for a rated long-gun safe that won’t completely break the bank, look no further than the Fatboy Jr.
Constructed of 11-gauge steel, the Fatboy Jr. promises to safeguard up to 48 long-guns against theft or fire. Empty, each Fatboy Jr. weighs 778lbs and touts a 60-minute fire rating. All locks are UL-listed and 8 locking bars secure the door against attack.
To ensure optimal protection against theft, this safe needs to be bolted down.
AMSEC BFII7250 – $7,965.00
If money is less of an obstacle and is outweighed by desired security than turn your eyes to AMSEC’s BFII7250. This behemoth weighs 2,438lbs empty and can be configured to contain a variety of firearms, up to 75.
Boasting a UL RSC Level II rating and a 120-minute fire rating, the BFII7250 promises to provide the best possible security for your firearms collection. The outer walls are 2 ¼” thick and the door is composed of a solid ½” thick steel plate. Ten 1 ½” thick locking bars secure the door in place.
Protect Your Firearms
If you are serious about your firearms collection, then serious protection is definitely available. More importantly, there is an enormous degree of legal and moral responsibility on firearms owners to ensure their firearms are not used inappropriately.
Owning guns is a fundamental right; being responsible with those guns, however, is a fundamental requirement.