: buying a gun safe

08-24-10, 02:28 PM
Does anyone have any advice on which brand of a gun safe to buy? I have looked at Paragon safes and some at a Gander Mountain store. Any advice is appreciated.

08-24-10, 03:08 PM
I think you posted this a couple of weeks ago - get to the American Security site - I have 2 and they're a good buy for the money. They'll ship your choice to your local gun shop or you can have the gun shop drop ship it to you. Heavy.

08-24-10, 03:37 PM
When you're buying a gun safe you're spending money on 3 main things: insulation, security, and size. The rest of your money is wasted on brand names and fancy paint finishes.

With regards to size: buy TWICE what you think you need. Thank me later when you fill it up and are looking for a bigger one.

With regards to security: the more bolts you have on the door the better off you are. Likewise, the heaver the gauge steel in the door and walls, the better off you are. Some safes just have bolts on 1 side of the door, some on 2 sides, some on all four sides. Safes made out of thicker steel with bolts on all four sides of the door are difficult to break into.....not impossible. With enough time and energy I could break into any safe. But generally criminals don't want to devote an hour to cracking a safe open. Get more bolts and heavier steel.

With regards to insulation: weight is your friend. Look for UL or OPL fire rated safes. Be weary of other fire rating methods. The material used to insulate most safes is ceramic. Ceramic is heavy. My safe (empty) weight ~800 pounds. You will see almost all safes advertise they're rated for a 1200 degree fire for half an hour, 60, or 90 minutes. It's a generic stamp they put on fireproof gun safes. One company I found advertises their safes will withstand a 2000 degree fire. This is bull-butter.....there's no way they can even test for that level of heat. Steer clear of this company.

With regard to insulation it's more important to know the maximum internal temperature rise of the safe in a 1200 degree fire over 30, 60 minutes, or 90 minutes minutes. Example: my 800 pound safe has a guaranteed maximum internal temp rise of 250 degrees over 60 minutes in a 1200* fire. I looked at some less costly safes that weighed 300-400 pounds and had a maximum internal temp rise of 475* in a 1200* fire over 60 minutes. Ask yourself which oven temp you want your guns and important papers cooked in.

FWIW I store my important papers inside a Sentry fireproof safe box (bought at any office store, wal-mart, etc) and store that fireproof box inside my fireproof safe to give them every opportunity to survive a fire. In my mind it's double protection. Paper will turn brownish-black at temperatures of 350-400*.

Spend your money on size, security, and insulation. You will get what you pay for. Any safe will be better than no safe at all.

08-24-10, 03:43 PM
Here's a decent article that Google drummed up:

Keep in mind this is an advertisement for a particular company, but it illustrates a good point.


08-24-10, 05:08 PM
Post #3 is perfect advice.

My 2 American Security safes (one tall 16 long gun, one short pistol and family papers) have good fire protection, a bunch of 1" active and passive bolts and are lag screwed to the first floor joists. Upstairs, bolted into the blind corner of a closet, is a simple TreadLock slidelock steel gun cabinet for long guns and ammunition (I load a lot), but the TreadLock will only keep an honest person honest - it's not a "safe" per se.

Even at that, a burglar usually won't take the time/noise to try and open a decent lock cabinet, even less so, a real safe. Unfortunately our society has a much larger percentage of "smash and run" robbers than Al Capone safecrackers.

08-24-10, 07:48 PM
thanks for the help sub and rolex, I thought the other post was removed. I want to use it for guns, watches and knives. I found out my neighbors house was broken in last month.