I’ve been doing a lot of reading online about gun safes and the water is getting a little muddy to say the least. I would like to hear what safes members are using and why. I am looking for something to fit in a closet to hold a few hand guns, a couple long guns, ammo and personal effects. Would prefer American made with good fire protection. Thank you for the help, Michael
I own a Champion Medalist safe. It fits in my office closet and has an electronic lock. The battery on the electronic lock can be replaced without opening the safe. It is fire-rated to 1350* Fahrenheit for 60 minutes.
There have been a few previous threads about safes on here if you do a search. Here are a few things I learned while researching the topic a few years ago-
Most of the safes you see in the stores are expensive lock boxes only capable of stopping smash and grabbers. You have to spend well over $1k to get a safe that will slow down a determined thief and many of those 1k plus safes are just fancier looking lock boxes.
You need to spend upwards of $5k to get a safe that could deter a thief with the proper power tools and even that would only slow them down for awhile.
The fire protection in most safes will not keep your firearms and personal papers from being damaged in many fires that burn long and/or hot enough.
Storage capacities are highly overrated. If a safe says it holds 10 rifles it will likely fit 5 or less along with your other personal items. Most people regret not getting a bigger safe because we all end up getting more firearms down the road:)
The minimum recommendations for a safe that would really slow down your typical determined thief are 10 gauge or thicker walls and a 1/4” or thicker door. Don’t confuse the thickness of the door with the thickness of the steel used in the door. Some manufactures brag about their 5 inch thick doors but they only have a layer of 14 gauge steel. A safe with these minimums can cost over 2k. I’d go for at least 12 gauge steel all around if you are on a tight budget.
Champion safes like the one @OldGnome has are well regarded. They also have a slightly fancier Superior line and a budget Safe Guard line. All made in the US.
Sturdy Safes are US made and have a good reputation.
Steelwater heavy duty safes are not US made but seem like the best bang for the buck out there. They have electronic locks but come with a high quality key backup in case the electronics fail from age, EMP, or the sun burping in our direction.
@Shamrock is correct about slowing thieves down, rather than stopping them. If a thief has the proper power tools, no safe - by itself - is going to prevent him from breaking into a safe. The keys are how much noise is he going to create and how long will it take?
My safe is positioned so that it cannot be pried open without first destroying a portion of an interior wall. It is also bolted to the floor. I have a home security system, adding to the multiple layers of security.
Further, the number of people who know I have a safe (and where it is) I can count on the fingers of one hand.
Great post @Shamrock
The only thing I can think to add is even though a company builds safes in the US doesn’t mean all of their offerings are US built. An example is my Winchester safe that came from China. My understanding is most Winchester branded safes are US, but mine is not.
I bought my safe a number of decades ago. It was a “top of the line” Browning back then. I’m not sure what it’s actual weight empty might be, but it was heavy enough that 3 strong guys could not pull/push it up a stair case using a hand truck. I think with safe’s one gets pretty much what he/she pays for. I do not worry that a thief would have the proper power tools with them to break in. They would have to suspect that the value of the contents would really be worth the effort and I do my best not to put forth any hints on value of contents or even value of items in the home. Don’t look like a worthwhile target.
How secure do you want it?
Just to meet local ordinances, I bought a Stack-On for less than $150.
Any comments on the SnapSafe? Its original “Titan” model allowed you to assemble it inside a walk-in closet in a half-hour with no tools, and had a higher fire resistance rating than the Browning “Presidential” model at the time.
Most seem like layered steel built in China. I think that a cardboard box that looked like a safe would deter most…
I have a couple of Secure-It products installed in different rooms. Watch their YouTube videos on ease of opening the sides of traditional safes, the oxidation factors caused by today’s “fireproofing” techniques, and the sheer localized weight factors requiring “3 strong guys”. If you live in a wildfire prone area, I understand the want/need for fireproofing, but if you’re just trying to slow the intruders down, secure from young’uns, and/or have quick access if needed, check them out. The Marines seem to like their products, even though they’re Made in China.
Check out a local dealer (a dealer in safes—not drugs) for trade-ins. You should be able to find a higher rated safe that’s been traded in for a larger replacement for about the same as a much lower rated new safe from a big box.
Mechanical locks are preferable.
Whatever you get bolt it down and position it so a chain cannot be wrapped around the safe,
Layers of safety are requisite—lighting, good doors and locks, an alarm, video cams, a dog are all good----the more the merrier.
My 2-cents anyway
I’ve heard nothing but good things about SnapSafe. Very popular with apartment dwellers who move a lot as they can be installed in impossibly small locations (i.e. difficult to remove,) then disassembled and taken with you on moving day.
I would prefer a safe to be lag bolted in place but good luck finding an agreeable landlord.
It’s a solution if you have those kinds of issues
you can’t count how many know now !!
You only know “OldGnome” owns a safe.
You don’t know “I” own a safe. You don’t know where it is.
I don’t have any direct experience with the SnapSafes but was seriously considering the Titan when I was thinking I wanted the safe upstairs. They look good and if I ever outgrow my current safe I’ll likely get one of these or something similar for upstairs.
Wait for a sale and use a coupon and a credit card that gives you cash back.
Is that before or after the surgery to remove the additional mutant appendages, or before or after the axe incident?
Michael, you do also ask people what vehicles they bought and why? I’m just curious if this is a thing for you before making a decision to purchase something? I mean to me, when I purchased any of the safes I bought, only I knew how many weapons I needed to store, what other things I’d keep in it to consider the size I needed, the dimensions of the space where it was going to ensure I bought a safe that fit the area, if the fire rating was important or not and everything else. So, what exactly are you looking for from random people who have no clue of any of the details I just mentioned? Sorry, I ran out of coffee today and I’m cranky.
Thanks for the input. Was just looking for a little help sorting through all the information out there in regards to sizes and features and what to look for and what to watch out for. Thanks again.
I want to thank everyone for their input and helping me decide on which safe to purchase. I ended up going through a local locksmith/safe store and went with the Hollon Black Hawk Safe. It had all the features I was looking for in my budget. I also like dealing with a local vendor over a big box store. Thanks again everyone.