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Selecting a Gun Safe!


New member
Feb 6, 2019
Gun safes are both expensive and potentially complicated, so I have been doing quite a bit of research prior to picking up one.

Mostly, I have been checking out this article on gun safes that buyer benchmark put together and I had a couple questions.

They mentioned that some doors can appear really thick, only to be filled mostly with insulation. IE the actual steel gauge is quite thin versus some other safes. Do you folks know what gauge is actually required? I assume a 12 gauge steel wall would be more than sufficient, unless you were trying to prevent torch cutting or high end tools from cutting into the safe.

Additionally, I always assumed (wrongfully) that gun safes are fire proof. However, it seems that most can only last roughly an hour or so from the heat before the inside components get destroyed. I was going to use the safe to store documents and such, but it looks like I may pick up a fireproof document safe for that dedicated purpose.

Anyone have any success in picking out a decent safe, with around a grand budget?

Thank ou!


Well-known member
Jan 6, 2010
Fairborn, Ohio, USA
I advise my customers to buy a fire box for their documents and put them in a gun safe.

Example: Assuming the fire box and the safe are both rated at 1400 degrees for 30 minutes, then the inside of the gun safe has to get to 1400 degrees for 30 minutes before the documents are damaged. That ain’t happening.

Firearms Iinstuctor

Regular Member
Jul 12, 2011
northern wis
Also just as important is the placement.

I placed mine in the basement built reinforced walls, door with added fire protection then downed sized the door way so one would have to tear the wall out to remove them from the room.

That is if they could get them loose of their anchors. They would also have a hard time using any type of pry bar. on them due to their location in the reinforced room.

I also recommend a couple of smaller safes to one big one. So if they force one they only get what is that one.

Time is the critical matter the more time one forces them to use the less they well get.

Any thing can be defeated.

Most burglars are the break-in and grab types.

Reinforcing and adding fire protection to the area the safe is in can be simple and relatively inexpensive if you can do the work your self.


Campaign Veteran
Jan 13, 2007
El Paso, TX
@ outdoorsforyou:

I do what eye said: Put my serious $$$$ into thicker steel, not fire protection.

Consequently, I have a "Sturdy Safe" (Model 2419) and a smaller Class B burglary safe ("Cobalt" S852C).

Sturdy Safes are American-made and probably the best "safe" (RSC really) value for the money, period: Even the $4K Liberty Presidential 25 I used to have would be EASIER (less time, too) to break into than my $1470 (when I bought it Summer of 2015) Sturdy Safe. Look at their YouTube videos re: forced enttry: I though the one where the fork lift tried to pry the door open (forget soem guy with a crowbar) was quite interesting. Sadly though, the 2419's price seemed to go up ~ $200 every time I visited their site so I went ahead (2015) and got one before they went up in price again (and they have). :)

Neither have any fire-rating (but you can get a Surdy Safe WITH fire rating, IIRC), they just provide SECURITY: THICKER STEEL! The fire protection -- if you want that -- side is provided by 8 small Sentry "fire safes" (clam-shell chests) stacked up inside (from Walmart, Home Depot, etc.). Most are the standard ones -- they only protect from fire -- but 2 are "waterproof" models (with rubber gaskets added) for important papers and such. These fire-safes have zero security (even if bolted down the lock pops open with little effort and a screwdriver) -- so get a serious steel "safe" (aka: "RSC") to store the fire-safes in.

Don't waste time, effort and $$$ on typical "safes" (again, they're really RSCs) found @ Big Box stores (Walmart, Home Depot, sports stores, Cabelas, etc.) and online everywhere: They may be fire-rated, but have thin sheet-metal steel and are EASY to get into. Get thicker steel (Sturdy Safe!) and the cheap Sentry-branded (or equivalent) fire-safes -- that combination is the simplest but WAY more effective (and smarter) solution as it's the best use of your money...at least for those of us who aren't your average bear (and living in Jellystone Park).
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