While your firearms may be a source of great pride, enjoyment and protection, they can also be a threat to your family. Accidental shootings have been in the headlines regularly, for decades. It’s all too easy for a child to find a gun and pull the trigger, harming themselves or another accidentally. If you choose to keep firearms in your home, a gun safe is a tremendous choice and can help ensure that your family remains safe and sound. What should you look for in a gun safe?
Most safes on the market today will do a good job of protecting your guns from curious children. What all of them won’t do well is protect your guns from burglars. Many criminals get their hands on weapons by breaking into the homes of known gun owners and stealing them.
When protecting your guns from theft, all safes are not created equal. Here’s what to look for when you’re buying a gun safe.
Make sure it can be bolted down. The most important thing a burglar needs in order to crack a safe is time. And they won’t get that in your house. That’s why most burglars will physically remove the entire, unopened gun safe to a more secure place, where they have unlimited time to get it open. Even very heavy gun safes can be moved–many burglars bring dollies with them just in case. That’s why it’s crucial to avoid buying a gun safe that can’t be bolted to the floor–preferably a cement floor.
Look for an alarm. Some safes come with automatic alarms that go off the moment someone tries to break into your safe. If your gun safe is bolted down and the thieves decide to take a crack at it in your home, the alarm will put a great deal of pressure on them to get done in a hurry. It could put them off stealing it altogether.
Make sure the housing for the lock is protected. Some burglars will try to drill into your lock in order to get it open. Some safe manufacturers create ingenious ways to keep that drill from hitting the interior housing for the lock. One way involves two thick metal plates with a layer of ball bearings between. When a drill hits the ball bearing layer, it can’t move forward–there’s no friction. The ball bearings often break off the drill bit as well. Other manufacturers design other ways, such as angled plates to deflect the drill bit away from the lock house.
Look for a relocker. This is a device that will cause the lock to close again if it is broken open. It won’t protect the contents of the safe forever, but it is very effective in making the break-in process more complicated–which is a definite deterrent for burglars.
Look for as few welded seams as possible. Amateur thieves will try to break through your lock to get to your guns. But the real pros know that your safe’s weakest points are where the metal has been welded together. To stop burglars from attacking your seams first, look for a safe that has as few exposed seams as possible.
Thicker is better–and not just on the door. Look for a safe with a good metal thickness–no thinner than 10-gauge–all around. Many safe manufacturers will produce safes with thick doors but thin bodies. A safe cracker with any skill will know which safes are vulnerable in the body–and will bypass the door to go in through the side or roof of the safe. Make sure your sides, top and bottom are just as thick and strong as your safe’s door.
Hinges should be on the inside. Exposed hinges are another point of attack for anyone trying to break into your safe. If your hinges can be damaged or removed, the door can be broken into. Many safe manufacturers will advertise super-strong hinges, but no matter how strong a set of hinges are, they’re better off if the thieves can’t get to them.
Look for a warranty. Only buy from a safe manufacturer that has confidence in its product. The best warranties will replace or repair your safe for free if it is damaged by a break-in attempt–although many will ask that you ship it back with a police report.
The bottom line is that you can’t have too much safe. Buy a safe that will accommodate your gun collection as it grows. Most importantly, don’t think cheap when it comes to the safe that’s supposed to protect your valuables–because you’ll get what you pay for. You can’t expect a £50.00 safe to do a good job protecting £10,000 worth of firearms–buy a safe that does justice to your collection. If you do, your guns should stay safe and secure.
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