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Selecting a Gun Safe!

outdoorsforyou

New member
Joined
Feb 6, 2019
Messages
1
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!
 

eye95

Well-known member
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Jan 6, 2010
Messages
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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

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Location
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.
 

cloudcroft

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Jan 13, 2007
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Location
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 "Cobalt" (S852C) Class B burglary safe.

Sturdy Safes are American-made and probably the best "safe" (a RSC really -- Residential Security Closet) 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 Sturdy Safe (when I bought it Summer of 2015). Look at their YouTube videos re: forced entry: I thought the one where the forklift tried to pry the door open (forget 1-2 guys with a some serious crowbars) 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 Sturdy Safe WITH fire rating, IIRC), they just provide SECURITY: THICKER STEEL! The fire protection side -- if you want that -- 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).
:)
 
Last edited:

since9

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Jan 14, 2010
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Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
My Winchester handgun safe cost $35 in 2009. I affixed it to the studs using a very serious set of lag screws. I also distributed the interior load by using three successively larger case-hardened washers beneath the head of the lag screw on the inside of the safe.

If you're going to spend a grand on a gun safe, I would consider putting it in a hidden room. A friend of mine made a closet just a little bit smaller -- just enough smaller to accommodate his gun safe, accessible not from inside the closet, but rather, from inside the living room, behind a bookcase that looks, acts, and feels as if it's screwed into the wall... Until you release the hidden catch. Then it slides nicely sideways.

He built the hidden room himself for "about $140 in materials." The gun safe was put in place before he finished the room, so one would have to rip out studs and wallboard to remove the safe. That's if they ever even find it.
 

Ghost1958

Regular Member
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Kentucky
If a serious thief can find your safe, given 2 hrs time Max he will get into it or take it with him.

They will however stop a relatively honest lazy thief.
 

since9

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If a serious thief can find your safe, given 2 hrs time Max he will get into it or take it with him.

They will however stop a relatively honest lazy thief.
I used to work in the securities industry, Ghost, and I'm not talking about financial instruments. I know how to design and build safes and vaults that make the fictitious one depicted in Oceans 11 with George Clooney look like a crackerjack box. Bigger is not necessarily better. More complicated is not necessarily better. The best safes and vaults are the ones that cannot be found. Barring that, the principle goal of a safe or vault isn't to deny access. It's to slow access. It's the sensors and surveillance which alerts armed intervention to catch the thieves in the act.
 

eye95

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Jan 6, 2010
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13,539
Location
Fairborn, Ohio, USA
The primary purpose of the safe in my home is to deter the lazy thief.

Thieves around here are mainly junkies and other lazy low-life low-IQs. They’re gonna grab the TV and some other electronics and go. They’ll see the safe and think, “Too much work. I steal because I don’t like work.”
 

Ghost1958

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Nov 5, 2015
Messages
718
Location
Kentucky
There have been several cases in my area where it was apparent the home was cased as to if anyone was there during the day , and the thugs spent hours ripping out copper wiring ,etc . Granted its rural here where homes don't have me neighbors in sight.
 

since9

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There have been several cases in my area where it was apparent the home was cased as to if anyone was there during the day , and the thugs spent hours ripping out copper wiring ,etc . Granted its rural here where homes don't have me neighbors in sight.
Shame the owners didn't have a proper security system installed. Would have had the cops their in minutes to nab their thieving backsides. And I'm not talking ADT, Vivint, SimpliSafe, Frontpoint, Honeywell, and the rest. They'll deter casual thieves. I'm talking the kind of systems we used to install in federal reserve banks and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That was back in the late 1980s, but the sensor technology has hardly changed at all. Most importantly, however, is the placement, connectivity, and redundancy. Trade secrets. About ten years ago, a friend of mine asked me to review his warehouse security system. Lots and lots of gaps. We plugged them.

If you haven't gathered by now, I really, really hate thieves. I detest them with a passion. In fact, I've found the harder one works in life, the more then despise those who rob the fruits of another man's labor.
 

Ghost1958

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Messages
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Kentucky
Shame the owners didn't have a proper security system installed. Would have had the cops their in minutes to nab their thieving backsides. And I'm not talking ADT, Vivint, SimpliSafe, Frontpoint, Honeywell, and the rest. They'll deter casual thieves. I'm talking the kind of systems we used to install in federal reserve banks and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That was back in the late 1980s, but the sensor technology has hardly changed at all. Most importantly, however, is the placement, connectivity, and redundancy. Trade secrets. About ten years ago, a friend of mine asked me to review his warehouse security system. Lots and lots of gaps. We plugged them.

If you haven't gathered by now, I really, really hate thieves. I detest them with a passion. In fact, I've found the harder one works in life, the more then despise those who rob the fruits of another man's labor.
No alarm system would have helped these particular situations.

Police do not respond to any home alarm out here. Best response time is 30 min plus on after burner so there's really no point. Too many lightening strike or just power surge false alarms for them to waste time, gas, etc to respond to alarm call ins from out in the sticks.

Just an aside, I despise thieves too.
 

since9

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No alarm system would have helped these particular situations.
I think I've helped design enough successful high security systems to know what works and what doesn't.

Police do not respond to any home alarm out here. Best response time is 30 min plus on after burner so there's really no point. Too many lightening strike or just power surge false alarms for them to waste time, gas, etc to respond to alarm call ins from out in the sticks.
You're thinking old school. Currently, systems alert both the owner and the monitoring service with live video feeds. 911 then receives two calls from two sources reporting eyewitness accounts of a B&E in progress at the same address.

Response time around here for that is about 2 minutes. Compare that to about 3 hours for a noise complaint.

Just an aside, I despise thieves too.
Good! Glad we have something in common. :D
 

Ghost1958

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Kentucky
I think I've helped design enough successful high security systems to know what works and what doesn't.



You're thinking old school. Currently, systems alert both the owner and the monitoring service with live video feeds. 911 then receives two calls from two sources reporting eyewitness accounts of a B&E in progress at the same address.

Response time around here for that is about 2 minutes. Compare that to about 3 hours for a noise complaint.



Good! Glad we have something in common. :D
The residences I'm referring to didn't have a bank level alarm system. Alarm, monitoring call and maybe a couple of cameras at some.

In my area a B and E in progress, even from a resident MIGHT get a police response within a few hours, next day, or not at all if nobody is killed.

An alarm system calling from out in the area I live won't be responded to at all. Except by maybe an armed neighbor in rare cases.

Not saying your alarm systems don't work. In the 2 small towns nearest us alarms are responded too though even there less than 5 min is unheard of.

A constable friend of mine was beaten to death by 3 teenagers after calling for assistance in sight of a occupied city cruiser if that gives you any reference as to the eagerness of most LE here to respond to calls of any kind.

We just live in a fairly unpoliced , lightly populated very rural part of the state.

We probably have more in common than it appears. I think we just live in very different environments and circumstances.
 

solus

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Rem USSC [oh dear will since9 & eye95 know what that means...eh who cares!] has stated LE’s do not need to respond to citizens’ emergencies which was reafirmed by the courts regarding the Parkland debacle.
 

solus

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Can't we all just get along? Let's not go out of our way to poke at other members.
Of course, john tho truthfully i was trying to mitigate confusion especially after both august members mentioned publically expressed sincere confusion over the following nomenclature’s definition(s) in other forum’s threads

COTUS
RTKABA
and other significant discussion nomenclature.
 

since9

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In my area a B and E in progress, even from a resident MIGHT get a police response within a few hours, next day, or not at all if nobody is killed.
Oooh... That's not good at all.

An alarm system calling from out in the area I live won't be responded to at all. Except by maybe an armed neighbor in rare cases.
Back in 1994, I made a pact with my neighbor, a retired Army E-9. He wouldn't die stopping burglars at my house and I wouldn't die stopping burglars at his. Other than that, all bets were off.

Not saying your alarm systems don't work.
I've since come to understand you're not at all urban or even suburban. Different animal.

A constable friend of mine was beaten to death by 3 teenagers after calling for assistance in sight of a occupied city cruiser if that gives you any reference as to the eagerness of most LE here to respond to calls of any kind.
Indeed it does.

We just live in a fairly unpoliced , lightly populated very rural part of the state.
Aye.

We probably have more in common than it appears. I think we just live in very different environments and circumstances.
Aye! I think we're more or less on the same wavelength. We do go about things differently, though, and with different words. :)
 

Firearms Iinstuctor

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Messages
3,140
Location
northern wis
No alarm system would have helped these particular situations.

Police do not respond to any home alarm out here. Best response time is 30 min plus on after burner so there's really no point. Too many lightening strike or just power surge false alarms for them to waste time, gas, etc to respond to alarm call ins from out in the sticks.
A lot depends where you live on how police respond to alarms.

Seems like you Ghost live in the wrong area.
 
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