Buying a gun safe to keep your valuable firearms secure is an important decision. A large safe is a once-in-a-lifetime purchase for most people, and it’s important to get one that suits not only your current needs but also your future needs.
The biggest regret of most safe shoppers is that they didn’t buy a big enough safe. Gun collections grow. Choose a safe with a listed capacity of one and a half to two times the number of guns you have to store. Most safe interiors are made to hold guns quite close together to maximize capacity. Rifle and shotgun bolts and bolt handles and bulky scopes can all ding the gun next to them. You’ll want to be able to leave an empty slot next to some of your guns.
If break-ins are rare in your neighbourhood, all you might need is an inexpensive safe to keep guns out of the hands of children, or to keep them locked away out of sight to keep honest people honest. If your collection is valuable, you’ll need to consider security features carefully. There are several things to look for. First, choose a lock that is UL (Underwriter’s Laboratory) listed. An internal, drill-proof hard plate helps protect a lock against drill attacks. A relocker locks the safe shut if the lock is destroyed. Finally, look at how many sides of the door have bolts. Most safes only have bolts opposite the hinges. The best gun safes feature bolts on both sides as well as on the top and bottom of the door.
A fire-resistant model can keep its contents safe long enough for the fire department to arrive. Unlike locks, which are UL tested, there is no one body that gives out fire ratings, and different manufacturers use different standards. Find out how many layers of fireboard are built into the walls when you’re comparing safes.
Electronic locks are practically standard now on the best gun safes, although some people still prefer old-fashioned mechanical locks. Most electronic locks run for years per battery, and can be unlocked manually if need be, and some can be quickly keyed in the dark if you need instant access. Biometric locks add an extra level of security because they require both the right fingerprints and the right combination to open.