If you have several guns, a firearm safe is essential for your home. Your rifles, pistols, scopes and grips are expensive investments. And while you may think your homeowner or renters’ insurance policy will cover your losses in the case of theft or fire, you may find that your firearm coverage is relatively minimal when you read the fine print. Some cover only up to $1,500 or $3,000 worth of equipment. Moreover, they typically will only reimburse you the market value, or the amount you paid minus years of depreciation, which is much less than you’d need to replace your guns.
A specialized safe is a wise purchase to protect your family and your property. When shopping for a version that would work for your home, consider the following factors:
How Much Do You Want to Store?
If you have just a couple of guns for personal protection, a modest locking gun case or small safe is likely all you need. But if you are an avid hunter, target shooter or collector, you likely will need something much larger and more secure. List of all the guns you currently own and then list all of the models you would like to buy in the future. Consider all of the additional equipment you’ll have, such as bipods or spare magazines. If you plan to store other valuables in the safe, such as necessary paperwork, jewelry or gold coins, you’ll need extra space to account for them as well. It makes financial and practical sense to buy one safe large enough for your needs and wants the first time around, rather than having to buy multiple safes later on as your collection grows.
Where Do You Want to Put the Safe?
- Choose a location in your home for the safe ahead of time. Consider what makes sense and how quickly you can get to it in an emergency; in some cases, you may decide to keep your handguns stored in your bedroom and the rest in a separate gun safe in the main living areas. Review the space’s dimensions and, if you’re considering having it on a second floor, check weight limitations.
Be Skeptical of Descriptions
- While many manufacturers boast how many guns their safes can hold, the number can be misleading. A safe listed as being able to store ten rifles may mean that ten can fit only if your guns are shoved together with no room for any holsters, ear muffs or other equipment. If you are going to fill the safe right away, also consider that you will have to take all of your guns out to get to the one you need, which can be annoying and time-consuming. Look for a spacious design that gives you some wiggle room regarding storage.
Consider Your Budget
Gun safes are expensive but are important to protect your firearm investments. There may be other things that are competing for your money, but a safe can keep your guns from being lost due to fire or theft. It makes sense to buy the most you can afford; you may be storing thousands of dollars inside. For just a few handguns, you can find safes for as little as $150-$200. But if you are a serious collector, large fireproof safes can easily cost into the thousands. This is a serious purchase that is worth savings for to get the best.
Make Sure it Can Be Bolted
A gun safe isn’t very useful if it isn’t bolted to the floor. A group of enterprising thieves can move even the heaviest of safes (and it has happened!). Look for a version that has at least four places for bolts; versions with just two can often be hammered free or the weight of the safe can be used to pull the bolts out. Look for ones that have the screw holes at the four corners rather than the center; that will make it nearly impossible for a thief to use a pry bar or crowbar to get under it.
Check the Door Gap Yourself
- Gun safes are one of the few items where you need to see it in person before making a decision. Some gun safes are created with significant door gaps around the edge of the door, making it easy to wedge open for a thief with a crowbar. Look for as little door gap as possible; ideally, the safe will have a recessed door so nothing can be wedged in the crease.
Find Out the Lock Rating
- Gun safe locks have various ratings that determine their security. Look for a safe with a rating of UL 768 Group II or higher. This means that your lock will stand up to attacks from your typical thieves. Also, consider a safe with an electric keypad. You may think these are easier to break, but they are actually extremely secure; the visible wires only affect the outside and, if damaged, won’t hurt the integrity of the lock.
While buying a firearm safe can make a serious dent in your bank account, it is well worth the cost to protect expensive equipment you rely upon on a regular basis. From rifles to pistols and scopes, a good safe will keep your investments from being stolen or damaged in a fire. Keep the above seven factors in mind to find the best safe for your needs.