View Full Version : Ammo safe

April 1, 2013, 03:25 PM
Hi folks,

My father recently picked up a safe at Staples. This is the link to show the model we got:


Anyway, he opened it once and we can't open it again. Thank God the ammo wasn't in it at the time. We live in a condo so he wanted to place my ammo in a fire protected safe down in the storage area. I was game until I saw how hard it was to open. I need to able to get to my ammo without it being a major production, so we're returning it. My question - what ELSE can I get that's reasonably priced and this size? Thank you in advance.


April 1, 2013, 03:37 PM
Why need a safe for your ammo?

I need to able to get to my ammo without it being a major production will you need it in a hurry for SD? If so no matter how easy it is it will probably take too long for a SD situation.

If the safe is sturdy and seals well then you could be in trouble w/ a fire cooking off rounds inside the safe.

April 1, 2013, 03:43 PM
Well I live in a condo and my father had concerns about liability. I do have ammo in the drawer by my night table for self defense. This is to store the amount that I have saved for the range. The safe my father got seemed like a good move but when we tried to open it, neither of us were able to do so. I need something that I can actually access without it turning into a major event. Shouldn't I be able to open an ammo safe fairly easily? If I'm going to the range for a morning of shooting, I don't want to have to get help just to pry it open...


Lucas McCain
April 1, 2013, 03:51 PM
Good safe locks have and automatic blocker provision provided. If the safe is say dropped, tipped over, or had the locking mechanism hit sharply with a hammer the auto block is deployed and it will not open. The only way to get it open is to get a qualified and certified lock smith for that particular brand and he will have to drill the lock and get the pin out. There is a lot of paper work with it also. You have to prove you are the owner.

April 1, 2013, 04:01 PM
My ammo wasn't inside so thankfully that's not a situation I need to worry about. If I had gone with my father, I would asked them to demonstrate how to open it, but coulda, shoulda, woulda...we just need to find another alternative for storage.

April 1, 2013, 04:26 PM
I was just reading some of the reviews I didn't see to many people liking it! Some same d push down on the lid and try unlocking it? I'd look around for a better safe!

April 1, 2013, 04:28 PM
Pop into Lowes see what they got might be better with a front opening safe?

April 1, 2013, 04:33 PM
Good suggestions, thank you. Believe me, if I knew this safe opened in such a strange way, I never would have bought it, but my father went out and just chose this himself. I'll try looking at Lowes....

April 1, 2013, 04:40 PM
I have a couple year old model of this one

I have had no problems at all with it, and it serves it's purpose 100%


April 1, 2013, 04:46 PM
Your link shows a key operated fire box.

Do you have the right keys?

April 1, 2013, 04:50 PM
We did; the key worked fine and went in without a major ordeal, but we couldn't figure to save our lives how to get the safe to open. I'm inclined to think I'll need to spend at least $200 for a good model.

April 1, 2013, 04:53 PM
The ad says waterproof, try pressing down on the lid compressing the seal. Then turn the key.

April 1, 2013, 05:00 PM
Would definitely buy the best you can afford not saying more money is better of course look around read reviews etc . Call around and ask questions post up what you decided on!

April 1, 2013, 05:19 PM
Will do...thanks people. :)

April 2, 2013, 09:15 AM
If your condo storage area is anything like the ones I've seen, with lockable cages that others can see into, and easily break into, you better get a safe that can be bolted to the floor. A viewable safe is an attraction and carrying device for would-be thieves.

April 2, 2013, 11:30 AM
This is exactly what you need, and at a heck of a price, too:


April 2, 2013, 09:13 PM
@ Laura (Mastrogiacomo):

Short response: Your Father's Sentry "fire-safe" should NOT be hard to open! And it's probably NOT defective. :-)

Verbose Mode response:

I have one of those larger black Sentry "Fire Safes" like your Father got (but the one that is NOT waterproof-rated): It fits nicely in my Cobalt S852C Class-B burglary safe (not fire-rated) with space on top of the Sentry (and on the side of it) to put some other stuff. While that "other stuff" is not fire-protected (even if only for 30-minutes) at least it's in a more serious "safe" than most smaller fire-rated "safes" since my Cobalt has a 1/2" steel plate door and 1/4" steel plate body -- the fire-rated "safes" are much thinner steel and not hard to pry open. A Class B burglary safe is harder.

Note: I keep using quotation marks around the word "safe" because really, these all are just RSCs, not REAL safes. Still better than "hiding" stuff under a bed or in a closet. ALL of us should have SOMETHING to use in an effort to secure our stuff, ESPECIALLY guns (and especially nowadays, with guns AND ammo sources drying up) -- not to mention letting criminals have TOO easy a time stealing stuff.

Additionally, I have 7-8 other smaller Sentry Fire "Safes" -- most are the beige #1100 models, but 2 of which are their (gray/black) fire PLUS waterproof models. They ALL have the very same mechanism/simple locks, many use the same key (Sentry has a certain # of keys made for these so there's duplication sometimes) but they were never intended to be a SECURITY safe as they can easily be pried open with a screwdriver -- or easily carried away. Even bolting them down (which you can do as they have places to drill holes) would be a waste of time since they can be pried open. Consequently, they are only meant for SOME fire protection (30-minutes) within a protected/restricted-entry environment. Not for their own security as they have none. :-(

In reality then -- for security purposes -- these small so-called "fire safes" need to be kept inside a larger SECURITY type of safe. And that's exactly what I do...

I stack these small Sentry "fire safes" (more like "fire chests" if you will, as they are poor excuses for "safes") up on one side of my larger "safe" and the other side has vertical room for my 5-6 long guns. I choose "gun safes" (RSCs, as mentioned) on the amount (thickness) of steel used in them rather than its fire-rating because the latter type most often use very thin steel with the fire-stuff sandwiched between the thin steel. I'm more interested in SECURITY (reasonably priced, that is, I'm not rich, AND not TOO heavy for me to move by myself) -- how hard they are to get into - over fire protection, so I go with what are classed as "security-safes" (actually, they're all called RSCs) instead of fire-rated models. To make up for them not having any fire-rating, however, I chose these small Sentry fire-safes to give SOME fire-protection to my smaller items. Plus, since the larger safe has no fire-rating, there is more ROOM inside it compared to a fire-rated safe with the same external footprint. Whatever, my "safe" money $$ goes to buy more steel. Fire-protection is secondary (to me). Besides, I have Renter's Insurance, but at least I ALSO do my part to protect my stuff, too. We all should.

Anyway, I use the small Sentry "fire-safes" for ammo, handguns, important papers, sterling silverware, small electronic devices (etc.) storage.

IMO, the WISE way to use these small Sentry "fire safes" -- since they offer almost ZERO security -- it to spend your money on a larger safe that is more secure (made with as thick steel as you can afford, with NO fire protection, you get more of a "real" safe/RSC that way) and then use the Sentry "fire-safes" inside it.

I have NEVER had any trouble opening ANY of these Sentry "safes" except the times I tried to use the wrong key (as I have several of these safes, I have quite a few keys although (as mentioned earlier, some are duplicates) so something's definitely wrong with your Father's (if he is using the right key)! Well...MAYBE something's wrong with it -- see below.

And, of course, in a fire these Sentry fire safes are designed to have the lid "weld" itself closed, so you have to cut it open (destroy the "safe"). But that's how they're designed and is to be expected -- they aren't intended to be reusable after a fire as they "sacrifice themselves" to protect their contents. I've seen a video on how well they DO protect their contents and live up to their specifications. Impressive...

So IMO, your Father didn't make a mistake getting one as his reasoning was sound, but he does need to realize that they weren't meant to protect against criminals/forced-entry, just fire. It's not a security safe.

And yes, they SHOULD not lock themselves closed as their "locks" are just a simple latch, that's all! Only meant to keep the lid closed if you turn it over. Nothing more. ;-)

Either his was defective, or something else is wrong. I do NOT think it's defective. On some of these -- IIRC it's usually the waterproof ones only -- you need to PRESS DOWN on the lid to close and open them (due to the gasket) and if you don't it MAY be hard to use the key to lock/open them, but only mildly hard. That's just a design feature, not a defect. Try SITTING on the lid and then use the key to open it. That might work if it's the gasket needing compressing.

As for the other non-water-rated models, you have no such compression gasket since they are NOT meant to be waterproof -- the lids just solidly fuse to the body in a fire.

So, the model Sentry your Father got at Staples IS a waterproof model so it DOES have the waterproofing gasket I was talking about, so the problem may be as simple as that: Just press down hard on the lid when closing and opening, since in most cases it's "operator-error" when it comes to safes, not defective products. And that's true of so many other things, too. ;-)

I remember the time I tried to open my Cobalt safe (after a very long time since I last did it) and KNEW I had the right combination, but could NOT get it open! After about 15 minutes trying, I discovered that I FORGOT the FOURTH step: To turn the dial to the right after the last number was selected. Once I did that, it opened. Not the safe's fault, just mine, forgetting the proper dialing sequence of a S&G Type II combination lock!

Don't write-off these Sentry "fire safes" as they CAN be useful, even considering their limitations.

Good luck...