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Old March 6, 2019, 05:30 PM   #1
Tallest
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Tender Stranger in the Wild World of Safes

Forgive me if I am posting on the wrong form.

My wife and I recently had our first child, and while he isn’t running around and grabbing anything he shouldn’t yet, it has started us thinking about getting a safe. Up untill now my guns have mostly hung on the wall or stayed in drawers that are either locked or difficult to access. But with the increase of documents, and with hopes to expand the collection, I would like to explore getting a fairly good quality safe for, at the most, 20 long guns.

So I am interested in knowledgeable opinions. What brands are good? What should I look for in reviews, certain issues or configurations to avoid? Recommendations to certain vendors? Should I be open to something used?

Basically, if you have (or have had) a safe, and you have an opinion, please share! Thank you in advance!
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Old March 6, 2019, 09:27 PM   #2
reynolds357
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In the safe world, you get what you pay for. Most of the brand's make high end all the way down to junk.
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Old March 6, 2019, 09:38 PM   #3
NoSecondBest
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Just about any safe is burglar proof as far as the average smash and grab crackhead coming into your house. All of them can be opened by a skilled safe cracker. Some as quickly as twenty minutes. In the real world, safe crackers aren't coming into your house. I have a lot of family on police agencies. It's usually a computer, ipod, jewelry, and anything easily grabbed in a few minutes in your house. All that being said, get one with an electronic lock instead of a tumbler system. Some have both systems on the safe. The nice part about the electronic ones is they are a lot faster to open when you want to get in them. Also, with the number of possible combinations available, the odds of anyone getting lucky is beyond remote. If it's going downstairs you can get away without fire proofing which adds several hundred pounds to the weight of the safe. It's usually just concrete used for fire proofing. Look for internal hinges and a flange locking mechanism if you want a bit more securing. One final thought: when they say "holds x amount of guns" you can cut that figure about in half. Yes, you can get that many in there, but at the cost of banging them all together due to no room for them to get in and out. Good luck.
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Old March 7, 2019, 08:34 AM   #4
BillG174
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The brand names of Liberty and Fort Knox are popular high quality safes.
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Old March 7, 2019, 09:15 AM   #5
MC 1911
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I have a Liberty Colonial 50 that I'm very happy with. It has a dial & no electronics which I prefer. I got it for better then half price from a locksmith co. that deals in new & used safes.

I'm in the Valley as well!
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Old March 7, 2019, 09:23 AM   #6
FAS1
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Congrats!

Your budget will make a difference on what to consider. Buy the best you can afford and buy a separate document safe since the way it protects documents from fire is different from what you want for your guns.

You can get a portable document safe and place it inside the gun safe if you prefer.

AMSEC and Sturdy Safe would be worth considering. Zanotti Armor if a modular safe is an option to consider.

Buy a mechanical lock for reliability over many years.

Don't forget a "Simplex" lock quick access safe for your home defense gun. Mine is bolted to my bed frame.
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Old March 8, 2019, 09:22 AM   #7
RedHoundTargets
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I’ve recently been looking at safes again as I too have a wee lad now. I’ve found this site to be pretty informative and have good points to consider.
Www.gunsafereviewsguy.com

Any storage container can be broken into with enough time and the right tools. There are videos available of people breaking open multi thousand dollar “safes” in under 5 minutes with nothing more than a pry bar. Many of the most common safes are made of a couple layers of thin steel with what is essentially drywall sandwiched in the middle. That’s how they keep the price affordable. From what I’ve gathered, the two most important things are thicker steel, and smaller gap between the door and frame.

So it comes down to what your goal is: do you want a ‘true safe’ that will keep out a determined attacker with metal cutting tools for hours but costs a boatload and weighs tons? Or do you just need something lockable that will keep your child from getting in, and prevent a quick smash and grabber from easy access?

If the later is all you’re looking for you might be happy with a security cabinet such as one from Stack-On that if you’re patient can be found for under $100 depending on how big you need. If you need solid keep-everybody-out safe then it could be $3k even for a small one plus big delivery and installation charges since it weighs so much.

Good luck on your search. I’m still trying to figure out what I want, too.
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Old March 8, 2019, 12:30 PM   #8
labnoti
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Don't buy a "safe" or Residential Security Container (RSC), which is typically a 14 gauge sheetmetal box with gypsum drywall lining. Just buy the sheet metal box for a tenth the price. The cheap drywall doesn't add anything for you, and besides costing more, it weighs a lot more and makes it very difficult to move.

At this point, your living situation is probably not very stable, meaning in the next few years you could move, change jobs, change houses. At the very least you'll want to change the arrangement of your house and then a five or seven hundred pound RSC will be difficult or costly to move.

Get a locking steel cabinet. As an example, a Stack-On brand security cabinet runs from about $99 to $150 at Walmart, Cabelas, Tractor Supply etc. It's secure enough to keep children out until their old enough that you've trained them.

If you need more storage, just buy two. If you outgrow two, you can have three and they still cost less and are easier to move than one fancier safe that is just as easily outgrown, but not so easy to add capacity to.

A steel cabinet is also in actuality no less secure than RSC's costing 10 times as much. You'd have to pay at least $2500 a take a huge weight penalty to get something that is meaningfully more theft and fire proof. The lesser RSC's zip open with a battery-powered cutter just as quickly.

Save your back and your wallet for better things.

I second the advice for a simplex lock handgun safe. The best place to keep your EDC handgun is on your person at all times, but with little children you'll want to secure it when you're sleeping or in the shower. It can also be a good place to keep the keys to the gun cabinet(s) (unless they have combination locks).

Don't store valuables in the handgun safe, the gun cabinets or any gun safe. They're big targets. A small (insecure but fire-resistant) document safe is a good place to store important papers. Make copies or take photos of them. Store data offsite. There are online services for offsite data storage, but I prefer to keep hard disks at relatives' houses. You might be able to keep a hard disk at your workplace. Just rotate it out with a second backup you have at home.

Store valuables in a hidden safe. Gun safes are too big to hide. Depending on the value and your insurance policy, you might need a TL-15 or TL-30 safe. Better yet, keep your treasures in heaven.

Last edited by labnoti; March 8, 2019 at 12:53 PM.
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Old March 8, 2019, 08:18 PM   #9
Rangerrich99
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Plenty of good info here already. Just tossing out another company name. Superior Safe, the premium line of Champion safes. You get a little more for your money with Superior, (master series) such as a door that's 3/8ths of an inch thick and body walls that are 10 gauge, or thicker than most RSC doors.

Made in the USA, and seems you get a few more upgrades than you do with Sturdy or AMSEC for the same dollar.

However, as some have already stated, if all you're trying to do right now is keep curious children from getting their hands on things they don't yet understand, then a cheap Stack-On will do the trick until they get a little older.
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Old March 8, 2019, 09:42 PM   #10
603Country
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I bought a big one and had it bolted down in a secure area. Really heavy. I went with the dial type. What I have learned over time is to not spin the dials rapidly, which causes the numbers to drift slightly. Turn the dials slowly.

And whatever you buy will be too small, like barns, tractors, and the wife’s clothes closet.
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Old March 9, 2019, 02:38 PM   #11
wbbh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by labnoti View Post
Don't buy a "safe" or Residential Security Container (RSC), which is typically a 14 gauge sheetmetal box with gypsum drywall lining. Just buy the sheet metal box for a tenth the price. The cheap drywall doesn't add anything for you, and besides costing more, it weighs a lot more and makes it very difficult to move.

At this point, your living situation is probably not very stable, meaning in the next few years you could move, change jobs, change houses. At the very least you'll want to change the arrangement of your house and then a five or seven hundred pound RSC will be difficult or costly to move.

Get a locking steel cabinet. As an example, a Stack-On brand security cabinet runs from about $99 to $150 at Walmart, Cabelas, Tractor Supply etc. It's secure enough to keep children out until their old enough that you've trained them.

If you need more storage, just buy two. If you outgrow two, you can have three and they still cost less and are easier to move than one fancier safe that is just as easily outgrown, but not so easy to add capacity to.

A steel cabinet is also in actuality no less secure than RSC's costing 10 times as much. You'd have to pay at least $2500 a take a huge weight penalty to get something that is meaningfully more theft and fire proof. The lesser RSC's zip open with a battery-powered cutter just as quickly.

Save your back and your wallet for better things.

I second the advice for a simplex lock handgun safe. The best place to keep your EDC handgun is on your person at all times, but with little children you'll want to secure it when you're sleeping or in the shower. It can also be a good place to keep the keys to the gun cabinet(s) (unless they have combination locks).

Don't store valuables in the handgun safe, the gun cabinets or any gun safe. They're big targets. A small (insecure but fire-resistant) document safe is a good place to store important papers. Make copies or take photos of them. Store data offsite. There are online services for offsite data storage, but I prefer to keep hard disks at relatives' houses. You might be able to keep a hard disk at your workplace. Just rotate it out with a second backup you have at home.

Store valuables in a hidden safe. Gun safes are too big to hide. Depending on the value and your insurance policy, you might need a TL-15 or TL-30 safe. Better yet, keep your treasures in heaven.
Good advice. Now if you really want a high degree of security and don't want to shell out $35k for a serious safe, get a RSC with a good front door, bolt it to a slab then pour a concrete wall on either side and over the top. Put reinforcing bars in the concrete. This forces a thief to concentrate on the door, typically the most secure portion and protects the vulnerable sides and top of the safe, from a grinder attack.
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Old March 10, 2019, 09:08 PM   #12
Prof Young
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I have six safes . . . really.

I have two stack-on rifle safes and two pistol. Besides that I have two home safes, like you might buy at wal mart with the key pad combination. All total I have less than $300 invested in safes and my fire arms are as secure as they need to be. The Home safes are for my HD guns at two different places in the house. Also, I keep the keys to my stack-ons in one of the home safes. All of the safes are bolted to the wall so if someone wants to steal the whole safe it'd gonna be a bit of work. Beyond that everything save my HD and daily carry guns have a trigger lock on them. I'm teaching the grand kids to shoot and while they are all good kids I don't want any them to have access without me present. So, bottom line, it's not hard to keep your guns safe from the kids, or even the casual burglar.

Life is good.
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Old March 11, 2019, 08:57 AM   #13
Tallest
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Lot of good stuff here! I appreciate it.

I really like the look of some of the heavier, nicer safes, but I think those are going to be for down the road. Given the time of life, finances and temporary nature of the current living situation, I ordered a stack-on Cabinet over the weekend.

I'm still looking into options for the bedframe, though. I don't want to spend a ton, but I definitely want to spend what is necessary to function reliably, even in heat of the moment, adrenaline and all.
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Old March 11, 2019, 09:39 AM   #14
FITASC
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Quote:
The brand names of Liberty and Fort Knox are popular high quality safes.
Their upper end models are; their lower imported models, not so much. A lot will depend on the value of your guns; whether you are looking to simply keep them out of the hands of young kids or away from thieves.
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Old March 12, 2019, 10:10 AM   #15
dontcatchmany
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AMSEC (American Security).

I had a specific size requirement (small office). Found a model that fit my needs and got it way under its original price. Delivery to my back door steps was included. Dial and no electronics. Had to reinforce the flooring in the crawl space and had it bolted down.

21 handguns and 5 long guns and I could squeeze in a couple more handguns....but I AIN"T gonna buy no more.

I am comfortable that it will thwart the smash and grab burglar.
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Old March 12, 2019, 10:59 AM   #16
TXAZ
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I took a pretty analytical 'threat analysis' perspective in picking a safe, looking at Liberty and some of the other higher end ($$$ priced) safes, but went with a Costco safe that provides all the essential features those do but at less than 1/3 the price.

Goal of my gun safe:
Keep all little ones out.
Keep unauthorized adults out.
Deny access to 99% of common burglars.
Provide 30 minutes fire safety for documents stored within. (Local Fire Department response time is less than 10 minutes)
Mounted in a way to prevent tipping over accidentally or intentionally.
Electronic access: Wife can't easily spin dials.

Not goals:
Waterproof: We live on a hill top - the rest of North Texas will flood first.
4 Wheel Drive or D9 Caterpillar thru the wall: Not a likely threat.
Hermetically sealed. I'd like to not have to decompress / compress the air pressure to open it.
EMI / EMP / Nuclear proof. (having designed equipment to survive these, paying for this 'feature' is an expensive joke for a safe / contents thereof)
Humidity control. I bought a $20 Amazon safe heater that works well.

The safe is bolted to the floor and 'boxed-in' into a small semi-U shaped area that prevents turning or flipping the safe on it's side without removing the bolts into the floor and sliding it in one direction, and severely limits swinging any tool.
The safe is also integrated into the security system.

Yea, I could have spent $5K on a Liberty Modern 50 safe, but we got a similar sized safe that meets our needs from Costco, delivered and installed for less that 1/3 the price.

YMMV but I'm pretty happy with my lesser known brand of security container.
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