Like any big purchase, if you want to buy a safe you’ll be happy with, you’ll want to do your research. Safes come in a variety of makes and models, and it’s easy to get lost in all of it. We’re here to make it a little easier. Here are five features you’ll definitely want in your gun safe.
#1: UL Listed Locks
The lock is the heart of the gun safe. You need a good one if you want to keep thieves out. The best locks are UL listed locks—meaning that the locks have been tested and certified by Underwriters Laboratories. It’s an organization that’s been around for more than a hundred years, and they’re the gold standard for safety and reliability testing.
These locks meet the rigorous UL requirements, and will do their job when the pressure’s on. So, don’t consider a safe unless the lock has that UL seal of approval. Bonus points if it has an internal hardplate for thwarting drill attacks.
Having a quality lock is a good start, but even the best locks can be defeated if a thief is determined enough. That’s why relockers are important. Relockers are fail-safes that engage in the event the lock is defeated. Once the lock is destroyed, the relocker kicks in to keep the safe locked. That way, even if the thieves completely remove the lock, the bars or bolts don’t disengage.
There are two types of gun safe relockers: internal relockers (which are built into the lock) and external. Ideally, you’ll want a safe that has both, but don’t consider a safe that has neither.
#3: Multi-Directional Protection
Basic safe designs only have locking bolts or bars on the side of the door opposite the hinges. That means if thieves can pry the door past those initial bolts or bars, they have it open. More advanced designs have bolts on the top and bottom, further protecting against pry attacks. The best designs also have bolts on the hinge side, protecting that side as well. In short, the more sides with bolts or bars, the better your protection.
Protection from thieves isn’t the only reason people buy gun safes. Another major reason is to protect valuables in the event of a fire. The way this is done is by installing layers of fireboard in the walls, door, floor, and ceiling of the safe. The more layers, the longer the safe will protect against fire.
Be aware, though: unlike locks, which are UL tested, there’s no standard system for testing fire ratings. Some brands exaggerate their fire ratings, listing a temperature or a length of time that their safe can’t actually withstand. Don’t just rely on the listed fire rating… check to see how many layers of fire-board the safe actually has.
#5: Interior Versatility
A safe’s quality isn’t solely based on how well it holds up. There’s also the usability to consider. You’re going to be putting a lot of things in your safe, so you’ll want the interior space to be able to accommodate those things. A safe with an adjustable interior is the best option. It will allow you to change things around to match your collection as it grows.
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