The First Questions to Ask Yourself


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There’s
simply no question that a gun safe is the best way to store your firearms. But
even though many gun owners are fully aware of that fact, they still don’t take
the time or spend the money to actually go out
and buy one.

You
don’t want to make this same mistake if you are a gun owner. There are many
reasons to owning a gun safe, from keeping your firearms and other valuable
possessions protected from house fires and burglars alike.

In fact, getting a gun safe is a critical and yet overlooked aspect of better preparing yourself for disaster as well. This is because in
the event of a serious grid down disaster scenario, the very last thing you
want is for your firearms to be left out in the open.

Before
you dive too deep into the shopping experience,
there are some questions that you need to ask yourself. These include:

Here’s something you should know about gun safes: the advertised capacity of a safe is very rarely the actual capacity of the safe.

Gun
safe manufacturers will often brag about their safe being able to carry fifteen
to twenty long guns in it, when in
reality, the safe will really only be
able to hold half that amount.  Long guns
will take up even more space if they either have optics or protruding pistol
grips.

As
a golden rule, take the advertised capacity of a gun safe and divide that
number by half to get an idea of how many rifles and shotguns you should be
able to fit inside.

Don’t
forget about your handguns as well. Most safes should have pockets or sleeves
stitched to the inside of the door for holding handguns, and they should also
have shelves on the inside of the safe for you to store more handguns as well.
If necessary, you can also set your handguns on the floor by the stocks of the
rifles and shotguns.

Another important note about gun safe capacity is the manufacturer often advertises the outside dimensions and not the interior of the safe. The exterior matters for delivery and making sure the safe fits in the spot you have picked out for it, however, the interior dimensions are far more important in giving you an exact figure on how much space you got within the barrier.

While
added fire protection is a nice feature,
it does require thicker walls of the safe, which then cut into the interior
surface area. So you have to decide if you would rather have more space in the safe, or more fire protection.

Last
but not least, make sure that your safe has room to store other valuables as
well. Examples of items besides firearms that people like to store in their safes
include jewelry, money, important documents, passports, and certain family
heirlooms.

Safes are constructed with different materials including steel, concrete amalgamates and RSC. Though it is not feasible to cut into the safe and examine construction material, you can get a good representation of the quality of it based on weights. General logic applies that the heavier the safe, the more heavy-duty materials were used to produce it. Therefore, it will be harder to break into.

Gun
safes that are priced about the same yet have distinct weight differences are usually based on other construction
features. For example, a fancy interior, chrome plating, or glossy enamel paint
may account for the steeper price of a lighter weight safe. While manufacturers
of gun safe can use all kinds of marketing gimmicks to sell their products,
they cannot mislead customers when it comes to weight – therefore it is your
best objective analysis of the quality of construction.

The
more steel, the better yet also, the higher the price
tag. Cheap and unreliable safes often attempt to cut corners first with steel,
since the material is expensive to purchase and mold. However, steel is
essential to theft protection, and the
doors must be equally strong in connection to its walls.

One of the most critical factors when selecting a gun safe is the type of lock it has.

There
are three common options for a gun safe
lock: electronic lock, combination lock, and a biometric lock.

Out
of these options, the combination lock is easily the most traditional as well
as the most simple. You simply need to spin the dial a few times, and you’ll be
able to unlock the dial a few times to get inside. This system works, but it’s
also slow.

Electronic
locks, in stark contrast, are much faster. You simply need to type in a code,
and you can get inside. But the downside is that electronic locks obviously require electricity, and most are
battery operated. If the battery runs out and you need to access your guns,
you’re out of luck until you can replace it.

A
biometric lock is similar to an electronic lock but requires your fingerprint
to get inside. The main advantage here is that you don’t run the risk of
forgetting a password, and there’s no possible way for a burglar to figure out
the password either.

Another
option is a combination lock. Some gun safe
manufacturers will combine an electronic lock with a biometric one, for
example, enabling you to have multiple options for getting inside.

The next important quality to consider in a safe is the fire rating, which besides a burglar is by far the most significant threat to the contents you hold within it.

As
a golden rule, you should buy a safe that will withstand a fire for a minimum
of a one-half hour, because this is the
average length of a house fire in America (and at a temperature of eleven
hundred degrees Fahrenheit).

But to be on the safe side (pun not intended), you may feel more comfortable going with a safe that will properly shield the inside contents from fire for at least an hour.

One
of the most important qualities when searching for a safe, but also one that
people often overlook, is corrosion resistance.

Believe
it or not, but a gun safe can become harmful to the guns you store inside. This is because if moisture gets trapped into
the interior of the safe, it’s going to wreck
absolute havoc on the firearms and cause them to rust.

Fortunately,
gun safes these days commonly come with a variety of defenses against
corrosion. Examples include heating bars (which will need to be plugged into an electrical outlet), as well
as copper-colored anode sheets that can
be installed in the safe as well, which will become the target of corrosion
rather than your guns and other metal valuables.

Did you know that gun safes actually have their own standards and burglary ratings?

You
should never settle for a safe that does not at least have a UL 1037
Residential Security Container Attack Level 1 (RSC-1) rating. An RSC-1 rating
indicates that the safe was able to withstand a
one-man attack with basic hand tools and a ¼ drill bit for five minutes.
There are higher ratings for gun safes than RSC-1.

Certain
states like California also have specific legal requirements for homeowners
with a gun safe. You can learn more about what rules, if any, your state has by
checking with a government office.

Hopefully, by now, you have a good idea of the different qualities that you need to look for in a gun safe. Go with a safe that has each of the qualities we have covered above, and you should be good to go.

This article has been written by Sam Bocetta for Prepper’s Will.

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Just because a gun safe is somewhat safe from fire beware that it may not be waterproof which is where much of the damage can come from when there is a fire…..the fire hoses. Often safes have holes in the bottom to bolt it to the floor but these bolt holes will let water in if it gets deep enough. Also, the door needs to have a water seal to keep water out as well. I did have my safe in the basement and then had a 16″ flood of water in it which was in my safe as well. Several rifles were damaged. I did have the safe about 4″ above the floor but still had about a foot of water in the safe. Funny thing was that when I pulled the butt plate off my deer rifle, which had a synthetic stock on it, there was about a cup of water in it.

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