Gun Safes: Top-10 Facts & Tips You Must Know

Liberty gun safe in the office

Are you thinking about buying a safe for your guns?

Gun safes are expensive. Also, there’s a lot of fluff out there about gun safes, so it’s wise to learn all you can about gun safes before you spend the money!

While you’re taking this journey and educating yourself about gun safes, check out these ten facts and tips about they’re all about.

You may just learn something new!

 

Top 10 Facts and Tips

#1 – Gun Safes Save Lives

toddler playing with the gun safe lock

You probably already know this, but it’s good to have this fact affirmed:

Using a gun safe can save a life.

Too often in the news do we read about a child who found an unsecured gun and accidentally shot either themselves or others.

People who are prone to suicidal thoughts may be tempted to take the fast way out if they know someone who doesn’t lock away their guns.

And criminals love stealing firearms.

Locking your guns in a safe will do a lot to help keep these devices out of the hands of people who either don’t know how to practice gun safety or who will willingly misuse them.

And if you have a friend who owns a gun and is feeling down, you can offer to store their gun in your safe until they get the help they need.

Again, using a gun safe can save a life.

 

#2 – Gun Safes Don’t Have to Be Slow

hand opening a Hornady gun safe

Many people have this image of a gun safe as a sort of lumbering device.

You have to uncover where it’s hidden and spin a combination dial until you’ve entered the right code. And if you’re stressed because you just heard a window break and a stranger is in your house, well, you’re not likely to get that code right on your first try!

Thankfully, there are a number of gun safes on the market that offer fast and reliable unlocking methods.

These are typically smaller safes that aren’t meant to hold all of your firearms. Instead, they contain a pistol or two, or maybe an AR-15.

Fingerprint scanners can open these safes quickly, if your sweat doesn’t cause them to fail that is.

Even better are safes that read an RFID tag for touch-free opening. The Hornady Rapid Safe line is an excellent example of this. I love their AR Gun Locker.

 

#3 – Rifle Safes Rarely Hold Their Advertised Number of Rifles

view of SentrySafe interior

Safe capacity is often given in the number of longarms the safe can hold.

12 guns. 18 guns. 40 guns. That’s a lot of storage!

But I’d be surprised if you managed to get that many in there.

This capacity is typically the number of cutouts for barrels to rest against. Real-world guns are wider than these slots, so it’s rare to fit 12 rifles into a 12-rifle safe.

I’ve found that you can typically fit about two-thirds to three-quarters the rated number of rifles and shotguns into a safe.

Guns that are wider than the stock will take up much more room, such as bolt-action rifles. Tall guns, such as hunting rifles with scopes or modern sporting rifles with pistol grips and magazines, will take up more space as well.

However, you’ll be able to fit a gun into every slot if all you own are .22 rifles and single-barrel shotguns!

 

#4 – The Basement isn’t the Best Place for a Gun Safe

gun safe moved to the basement

Many people think of the basement as a great place for a gun safe.

It’s out of the way, so thieves are unlikely to go down there. And if they do, good luck getting the safe up the stairs!

However, it’s rarely wise to store your firearms in a safe in the basement.

Why?

Two reasons, the first of which being climate.

The basement is often cooler than the rest of the house. This can increase the relative humidity, putting your guns at risk of corrosion!

Basements are also a horrible place for a safe that’s survived a fire.

House fires tend to fill basements with debris and contaminated water. Digging down into this to retrieve your gun safe is an arduous task.

And if your safe isn’t waterproof, then your firearms are likely floating in nasty water!

Speaking of fires…

 

#5 – All Gun Safes are Fireproof, but Also Not Fireproof

Liberty Presidential Series steel and fireboard view
Liberty Presidential Series steel and fireboard

Gun safes, being made of steel, are nearly impervious to all but the hottest fires. Hotter than your typical house fire, unless you have a collection of accelerants nearby.

But that doesn’t keep the contents protected. A hot metal safe will still radiate heat inside, cooking whatever lies within.

You might have a safe that survives the fire only to open it and realize that a wood stock inside ignited and torched the rest of your guns!

Safes rated for fire protection will have fireboard inside to provide insulation and absorb heat without transferring it inside.

 

#6 – Some Gun Safes can Connect to Your Smartphone

Vaultek VT10i connected to smartphone
Vaultek VT10i

Technology progresses ever forward, and gun safes have not been left behind.

There are multiple safes on the market that can connect to an app on your phone. The exact features differ but the owners of these safes all appreciate the app.

Vaultek is especially notable for producing smart safes.

 

#7 – Heavier Safes Are Better

men moving gun safe to truck

A thousand-pound safe can be a pain to get into your home and move around.

However, once it’s in place, it won’t be going anywhere.

Any safe lock can be defeated with enough time and the proper tools. A thief in your bedroom won’t have the time and tools to crack a good safe, so stealing the whole thing is their best shot at getting the goodies inside.

But if it’s a heavy safe?

Then they won’t have a choice but to leave it behind, keeping your gun collection safe.

 

#8 – Don’t Install a Heavy Safe on a High Floor!

Liberty gun safe installed in the living room
Install the gun safe on the ground floor.

One important fact to consider, however, is that heavy safes are a liability when located high in your home.

That’s because fires can weaken the structure upon which your safe sits. This can cause the safe to tumble down below, causing even more damage!

And your stairs may not be tough enough to handle the heavier safes.

You don’t want to put a hole in your stairs as you drag a safe up to the second floor!

 

#9 – You Shouldn’t Store Ammo in Your Gun Safe

open gun safe full of rifles

Nearly every firearm expert recommends that you avoid storing ammunition in the safe with your guns.

This isn’t just a silly safety rule to prevent negligent discharges. Ammo in a safe can be a serious liability.

Gunpowder has a lower ignition point than anything else you’ll be storing in the safe. If there is a fire that licks the walls of your safe, even a fireproof model may allow in just enough heat for the ammunition to explode.

 

#10 – Gun Safes Can Come With Legal Concerns

illegal legal written on paper strips

Several states have laws requiring firearms to be stored in a safe, or at least making you liable for the gun if it is stolen due to it not being in a safe.

And some states legally require you to store ammunition separate from your guns, which just enforces the previous point.

California is one of the states with the strictest firearm-storage laws. If a safe has been accepted by the California Department of Justice, it’s probably a good safe!

 

Conclusion

Gun safes are important safety tools and should be high on the list of priorities for any responsible firearm owner. However, buying a bad safe or using one improperly can cause problems.

The above tips will help you avoid costly mistakes as you pick out the perfect safe for your home!

Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson learned to walk in the mountains and has spent much of his life exploring the outdoors. He is equally at home in the woods, at the range, or on the gunsmithing bench, and loves to build guns almost as much as he enjoys shooting them. His travels have taken him to the four corners of the United States. Though his favorite hunting spot is in Alaska, Kansas deer taste better.

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