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My advice on buying a gunsafe

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by PlayboyPenguin, Nov 26, 2009.

  1. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    I keep getting asked for advice on buying a gunsafe. Especially when people see how I have mine set up in other threads. "How much should I spend?" and "How high a firerating should I get?" and "How big should it be?" and "How durable does it have to be?"I always base my advice on the advice I received from a friend. That advice is as follows.

    Price:
    This part is completely subjective. Spend as much or as little as you like as long as you are actually getting what you are paying for and the features truly meet the needs you think they are meeting. Pay for size, durability, looks, internal layout, etc...but do your homework first.

    Firerating:
    Here is a little secret that most safe manufacturers (or dealers) will not share with you. I have a few friends that are firefighters and one who is an ex-firemarshal turned fire specialist for an insurance company. They all say that the ratings these companies give their products are so bogus. They are given a set of criteria to meet but then not monitored at all on how the reach that criteria because UL does not have the means to test the products themselves so instead allow the manufacturers to do it. They all say they have NEVER opened a home safe that has come in contact with fire where the contents were salvageable...not matter what the fire rating. In fact the friend who was the firemarshal says a fire rated safe might survive a few extra minutes or being a few extra inches closer to the fire but nothing really worthwhile. His advice was buy a cheaper safe and put the extra money towards better insurance. That is advice I took. I have a modest safe but excellent insurance. The $1000 (minimum) I saved on my safe pays for about 20 years worth of the $60,000 rider I have on my gun collection. I am covered for theft or flood this way too. A firerating does not do that for me.

    Size:
    This is also completely subjective. There is a lot of truth to the advice to buy the biggest safe you can afford. Guns tend to add up fast once you have a safe and you would be surprised what else you can keep in there. I personally did not buy as big as I could afford for one reason. I am a bit OCD and the size of my safe helps me limit my buying. Once my safe is full I cannot buy anything else until I make a space for it. That really gives a control mechanism over my compulsive buying. You might not have that problem.

    Durability:
    Once again I defer to people with more experience than me. When I bought my safe for my business (which was really expensive) I asked the guy about home safes. He told me the difference it takes to break into a $10,000 safe and a $500 safe is just a couple minutes with a common grinder. He said the $500 home safe will keep out 99% of home invaders and the $10,000 safe will keep out 99.5%. Once again, spend the money on insurance. It will serve you better in the end.

    Anyone else agree , disagree, or have anything to add?
     
  2. johnharris11

    johnharris11 Central Point Member

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    PlayboyPenguin thanks for that bit of advice. I have been thinking of getting a safe lately and the fire-rating was a big issue of mine. Your advice will help me make a better decision and save me some money. I already l really great insurance through USAA.
    John
     
  3. d1esel

    d1esel Ridgefield WA. Member

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  4. actionflies

    actionflies Beaverton, Oregon Member

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    Excellent advice! Fire rating are useless to me because I will not risk my life or family trying to save my guns. I think most theft are done by local punks/your neighbor or meth losers which are not professional theives. Buying good insurance is a smart idea.
     
  5. crosse

    crosse Bellevue Active Member

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    sounds like sound advice that corresponds with the little i do know about gun safes.
     
  6. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    For those contemplating buying a smaller Sentry type of "home/document" type safe for storing handguns...the ones you can buy at Wal-Mart or Bi-Mart for a'round $100 to $180 and are about the "right size" for a handgun or two...

    Find out what is the composition of the insulating materials. If it is concrete which is generally what is found in lesser expensive safes then DO NOT BUY THEM! Concrete is manufactured with water, Portland Cement and other ingredients. Portland Cement when mixed with water hydrates. As it hydrates it begins to harden and under some conditions it will take up to 50 years before the concrete is fully hardened.

    What does this mean? It means as you seal up your expensive metal watches and firearms inside this safe; moisture is being hydrated from the concrete creating a very humid and damp micro atmosphere which can and may ruin any metal objects stored/sealed up inside. This is why they call them "document" safes and not gun safes. Read the owner's manual - generally the more reputable brands will warn you against storing metal items.

    Check first!
     
  7. bradley

    bradley salem area Member

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    I agree with the fire rating, However I will say buy as big as you can, this hobby has a way getting bigger. Speaking from experience it sucks to buy one and sell it to get a bigger one, just to find out in 5 years that that one isnt big enough either. BUY BIG, you can always use the extra space for jewelery boxes, computers or what not when you got on vacation.
     
  8. ricsha

    ricsha Oregon Coast - Lincoln City Member

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    More excellent advice, and another reason to be glad I found this forum. Thanks.
     
  9. raindog

    raindog Portland, OR Active Member

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    I have heard/read that Liberty safes are different in this regard. Their testing is much more rigorous and the lab they use is non-sycophantic. Perhaps why their safes cost twice as much...

    http://www.libertysafe.com/learnmore.php?sid=5&pid=84

    They do make quite a lot of discussion about comparing their safes to the competition, specifically on the subject of bogus testing:

    http://www.libertysafe.com/learnmore.php?sid=5

    That said, I have no knowledge other than what I've read and heard.
     
  10. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    The reason I bought a safe is to keep the average meth head from getting access to my guns. I have no illusions if my house burns down that any of my firearms will survive intact. That's why I have insurance. That being said I bought the biggest safe I could with reasonable fire protection in case the fire dept got there in time to stop the worst of the damage.
     
  11. A2theK

    A2theK Olympia Member

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    Cougfan - You do have an additional "sports equip" policy on you HO insurance don't you?
     
  12. rudedog04

    rudedog04 oregon-roseburg Member

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    i have a fire safe in my fire safe ins cant replace pics and other thing my parents left me my favorite feature ion my safe is the greenleaf digital lock i find myself in and out of my safe alot, so i wouldnt be happy with the combo dail also there the lighting and the humidty rod i like the rope lighting kit with the prox switch also im thinking about some kinda music when i open it. lol maybe something from acdc like that highway to ----
     
  13. A2theK

    A2theK Olympia Member

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