No matter if you own one gun or many, you need a gun safe. The type of safe that you need depends on what you want to do with your safe.
If your gun safe is just to hold family heirlooms that are rarely used, you will need a safe mainly to preserve them. That means that how quickly you can get into them will not matter. If you are trying to keep your children out of them, but you still want to have them ready to defend the house with, you are going to need a safe that is difficult for your child to get into, yet easy for you.
For some people, a gun safe is an important way to keep more than just their guns safe in case of home invasion, fire, or even water damage. This is a list of 6 key features that you will want to look for in a good gun safe. It is not an all-inclusive list. Your individual needs may mean that you need to look for something that isn’t on the list. However, if this is your first time buying a gun safe, you should be able to get a general idea of what to look for.
1. Locking Mechanisms
You have your choice of locks. You can choose a digital lock that allows you to pick your own passwords. Digital locks allow you to freely change your password as you need. They are, in general, easier to use and harder to break into. You have dial locks, which are more of a traditional style. The bonus of dial locks is that you do not have worry about changing batteries, but they are harder to reset if your password is compromised.
Besides the actual lock that keeps the door shut, a good lock has series of backup locks called re-lockers. These re-lockers engage when the lock is being tampered with. They shoot out of the side wall of the safe into predrilled holes in the door. They remain locked even when the lock has been compromised. If the back plate is compromised they lock permanently and irreversibly.
2. Hard Plates
Basically, a hard plate is the second line of defense in any gun safe. It is a hard plate that is placed between the lock and the re-locker. It is designed to keep the lock from being compromised by enduring the shock of the force being used to break into a lock. There are some safes that utilize the hard plate to engage the re-lockers. It makes them almost impossible to break into.
3. Fire protection
All safes are going to have a fire rating. These fire ratings will vary, but for the most part, they are at 30 minutes. A 30-minute fire rating is a little low. It means that it can withstand the maximum heat of a normal home for only 30 minutes. If you leave in an urban area, this will probably suffice. However, if you live in a suburban area it could take that long for the fire department to get there. You should go with at least a 60-minute fire rating.
You also want to make sure that it has insulation to keep the temperature steady within the safe itself. This insulation should be in between the walls of the safe.
Heat expanding door seals are also very important. You want your safe to have a seal that expands in the heat so that it creates an air proof seal throughout the cracks of the safe.
4. Water Protection
Most damage does not come from the fire itself. Most damage to safes during a fire comes from the water that is used to put the fire out. You want your safe to have a lining in it that is waterproof. This means that it will seal and keep out all amounts of water when any heat is detected. A good safe will offer some protection in normal home flooding, but if you do live in a flood area you may want to invest one with a heavier water protection rating.
When you are looking for a safe, size is very important. The way to determine what size you need is to measure the space in which you want to place it. Then you need to take an inventory of the guns that you already own, ones that you would like to own, and everything that you want to store with your gun. You need to measure your longest gun to make sure that it can accommodate all your guns. You can decide how you are going to mount your safe to your home once you figure out how big, or small, safe you will need.
The way that you want to store your guns is a key in determining your safe. Some safes will have clips to hold your gun on its end with the nozzle pointed up. Other safes will hold your guns laying down. It is up to you how you want them stored.
You also need to decide what kind of secondary compartments that you are going to need. You may want to store your ammo, straps, and scopes in their own drawer within the safe. You could also need a place to hold irreplaceable items within your safe. There are some safes that come with optional additional compartments to store personal paperwork safely.
One of the things that aren’t on the list are the options of permanent safes. You can have walls built around your gun safe. You could choose to have your gun safe place on the floor. The thing about gun safes, or safes in general, is that it is such a personal choice. You need to consider all your options, research your favorite choices, and understand all extras before buying a safe. This is a costly investment that is meant to protect other costly investments; you would be wise to let this decision take the weight that it deserves.