Best Gun Safe?


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-C4-
June 15, 2007, 10:06 AM
Fort Knox, Liberty, Sturdy Safe, Zanotti? What is the best safe company out there currently?

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marsh1
June 15, 2007, 10:56 AM
This might help.


http://www.6mmbr.com/gunsafes.html

a1abdj
June 15, 2007, 10:59 AM
None of those listed are the best safe company. In fact, all of those you mentioned are gun safe companies....not safe companies.

If you could give me a better idea what you're looking for, I could probably point you in a better direction. Nobody makes the best safe, as there are different safes better for different situations.

Edited to add:

You will hear lots of people tell you how great their safes are, yet they've never actually used their safes.

When you buy a firearm, it's designed to shoot. You take it out, shoot it, then base your opinion on variety of factors, including how it does its intended job. When you buy a car, you drive it. That's what cars are designed to do. People then state their opinions on cars, and how they do what they are supposed to.

Safes are designed to protect against burglary and fire. If your safe has never been burglarized, and never been in a fire, how do you know how good it is? Basing your opinion on price or looks has nothing to do with how good of a safe it really is. Basing your opinion on a manufactuer's claim also has nothing to do with how your safe will actually perform when put to its intended use.

cheygriz
June 15, 2007, 12:03 PM
Since I'm not an expert on safes, before I bought, I asked a couple of locksmiths who are experienced with them and, for what it's worth, they BOTh recommended Fort Knox!

-C4-
June 15, 2007, 12:21 PM
a1abdj:

Going to use it to store my guns, silver, jewlery, etc and important papers. I am looking for something that is going to be pretty good in the security department (not top of the line) but will have a lot of fire protection. It is going into the basement so looks aren't really an issue, but I also don't want to break the bank. Thoughts?

RNB65
June 15, 2007, 01:36 PM
I think you're going to find that anything sold as a "gun safe" is going to have such thin sidewalls that a determined thief can beat a hole through it with an ax or sledgehammer n a matter of minutes. Most cheap gun safes are made of 12gauge steel (10/100ths of an inch thick). Better ones are made with 10 gauge steel (13/100ths). A few are made with 8 gauge steel (16/100ths). AMSEC is often considered the top of the line RSC, but none are going to give a great deal of protection. Stay away from Liberty. Search this site for info on Liberty gun safes to find out why.

leadcounsel
June 15, 2007, 02:29 PM
VERY VERY happy with the quality and affordability of my sturdy safe. www.sturdysafe.com

xjchief
June 15, 2007, 03:25 PM
I just bought a Patriot gun safe for about 1800 delivered. It is 10ga steel and fire lined with shelving included. You can spend as much or a little as you like on these things. They all brag about being the best but from what I hear an experienced safe cracker can get into all of them fairly quickly. UL certifies most locks in mere minutes before they can be compromised by a pro.

http://www.sturdysafe.com/safe_gauge316-1.jpg

I'm not really sure that the extra metal helps a whole lot. May take a drill an extra minute to get through and will increase the weight of the safe if you don't bolt it down.

I'm certainly no expert but I shopped around a bit and decided that for my collection of guns the safe I got would be adequate. If you've got a very expensive collection you may want to consider a high end safe or a vault room type enclosure.

-C4-
June 15, 2007, 03:31 PM
RNB65: Tried looking around for posts on liberty safes, but didn't see any horror stories or anything. Particular posts?

RNB65
June 15, 2007, 05:11 PM
Here's one thread where Liberty safes get discussed a bit. There are others if you search here, TFL, and other gun sites. I've read too many critical comments about Liberty safe's to ever consider buying one.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=221434&highlight=rsc+liberty

a1abdj
June 15, 2007, 06:49 PM
Going to use it to store my guns, silver, jewlery, etc and important papers. I am looking for something that is going to be pretty good in the security department (not top of the line) but will have a lot of fire protection.

The first problem is that you're looking for a safe that does a little bit of everything. They do exist, but they are typically expensive, and gun safe companies don't build them.

Guns go in a gun safe. The silver, jewelry, and etc. may be able to go into a gun safe, depending on the value of the items. Important papers need to go into a seperate fire rated unit (gun safes carry no meaningful fire rating).

In some cases, we suggest that a buyer purchase more than one safe. You could get a fire/burglary unit for the papers and valuables, and a gun safe for the guns.

If the total value of the safe's contents are in the $10,000 or less price range, and your paperwork is in quantities small enough to go into a small fire rated box, then a single gun safe would probably still work out for you.

It is going into the basement

Does the safe have to go down any stairs? Do you have a walk out? If you have a walk out, can you drive to it?

so looks aren't really an issue, but I also don't want to break the bank. Thoughts?

If you have a walk out that you can drive to, I'd probably take a look at some used commercial safes. These types of safes will often carry meaningful fire/burglary ratings, and are much better designed to protect their contents.

Different people have different meanings of "break the bank", but you can often get high quality used safes for $1,500 to $3,000. People regularly spend more than that on a typical gun safe.

I might also take a look at the AMSEC BF series, as they are in the same price range, but built better than many of the other gun safes on the market. If you're willing to spend a little more, Graffunder builds a very nice safe.

If you elect to look at used safes, I would be more than happy to provide you with the contact information of companies in your area that would deal with used units.

LoadedDrum
June 16, 2007, 06:14 AM
a1abdj-

Is there a brand and model you would you recommend if one had the intent of getting a used commercial safe (some of a caliber that you would feel offer real security) and converting it to a gun safe? Also what sort of fire insulation do commercial fire rated safes use? Thanks.

a1abdj
June 16, 2007, 01:06 PM
There are so many safe manufacturers out there, and many of them build quality products. The used safes you may be looking at could range from antique, to modern day, with both giving you good levels of fire and burglary protection. If you are looking at these safes at a safe company, the people there would be better able to point out the differences, and explain how that would impact your use.

The fire rated safes will cost less than the burglar rated safes. If you choose to look at the burlgar safes, then you will want to stick with those using "composite" construction, as they offer some fire protection.

PAshooter
June 16, 2007, 02:42 PM
All of the "big name" manufacturers turn out a good product. I ended up going with Fort Knox based on my dealer's customer service. Been very pleased with my choice.

cloudcroft
June 16, 2007, 03:02 PM
Most safes are the same re: features and quality for a given price-bracket.

Consequently, any brand in your price-range will do...you just need to like the color and the lettering on the front!

So just be clear on your budget and start looking at assorted brands in your price range. Also consider the warranty...Cannon safes has a good warranty as they pay RETURN shipping if your safe gets trashed...read it. NOW, Liberty does, too...I guess playing catch-up to Cannon.

But MY Liberty is NOT included in the new warranty. Outrageous.

-- John D.
Liberty Presidential 25 and Sentry G4211...soon to get the Winchester safe (about $590) at Sam's Club.

Yes, I call them safes, not RSCs. So do they.

Sir Aardvark
June 16, 2007, 04:08 PM
a1abdj mentioned Graffunder:

http://www.graffundersafes.com/

The cheesiest weapons safe they make has 1/4" plate outer body. They also have 1/2" plate and 1" plate weapons safes that all include fire insulation.

Most of the Residential Security Containers (RSC) have 10-gauge outer bodies.

If I knew then what I know now, I would seriously consider getting a Graffunder - hey... if I keep buying more guns, I'll need a new safe anyways!

hso
June 16, 2007, 06:19 PM
a1abdj is the acknowledge authority on safes and gun safes here and you can trust any advice he gives you.

CB900F
June 17, 2007, 12:25 AM
Fella's;

You want a quote on a Graffunder, drop me a PM. I'm a locksmith specializing in safes & sell Graffunders.

If you do a search on the term RSC, you'll pull up quite a few posts, concentrate on the earlier posts, or go to Pax's site: www.corneredcat.com, there's an article there that covers securing firearms in the home.

900F

thebaldguy
June 17, 2007, 12:34 AM
I actually saw several Graffunder safes today. This store had several of the lower end models, and cross cut samples of the high end ones. I now know the difference between a RSC and a safe.

We looked at one that weighed 2400 lbs., and cost $6400.00. I figure you could put at least $6400.00 worth of valuables inside for safekeeping. I almost passed out when my girlfriend agreed that $6400.00 didn't seem like too much for security.

Maybe when I have a house with floors that can handle over 2400 lbs. of safe I can get one. I don't think it can go down a normal flight of stairs.

cloudcroft
June 17, 2007, 12:44 AM
Professional safe moving companies should have at least one "stair climber" (about 10-grand I've heard)...you'd be amazed where a REAL safe moving company can install safes. Besides, going DOWN stairs is a whole lot easier than going UP them!

Unfortunately, we have no such professional safe-moving companies in this town, just clowns. We're better off doing it ourselves.

-- John D.

Ala Dan
June 17, 2007, 07:37 AM
Quote from: RBN65

""Stay away from Liberty".

Care to explain further? I have a Liberty Colonial Series RSC that I'm very
happy with; as its done evertything that I have ever expected of it, not
withstanding a house fire or burgluary attempt. I "guard" my safe, as I
do my home; 24-7, with NO COMPRIMISE (not the H&K logo). There are
of age family members present 24-7, that most likely would be able to
reach the safe in time to kill or maim any perp that entered as an
"unwanted guess"; safice to say that they made it into my home in the
first place (ha-ha-ha). I won't discuss publicy my "other" security type
parameters; but you had better believe they are in place. Personally, I
have found nothing wrong with the Liberty safe model that I own~! ;):D

-C4-
June 17, 2007, 08:19 AM
a1abdj - dropped you a pm. I think the best idea may well be to get two different ones. One for the stuff with a good fire rating and one for the guns. There are just tons of companies out there it is hard to sort through all the "our safe is the best" BS.

CB900F
June 17, 2007, 09:22 AM
Ala Dan;

From the tone of your post to RBN65, it would seem that you consider your primary protection not to be the Liberty, but other defenses. As a safe professional I can assure you that my considered opinion is that the construction of a Liberty is second to many.

Until you get to the absolute top-of-the-line model, there is no plate steel anywhere on a Liberty. When you do get to that top-end safe, there's one little plate buried in the door that protects the lock mechanism on one side. Liberty uses a sheet metal wrap composit construction door. Yes it's thick, which in & of itself means nothing. Liberty's active bolts are not secured by plate steel. That's why there's so many bolts, they're held by sheet metal & secured, on the frame side, by sheet metal. Look at the gap(s) in the door of your Liberty between the door itself & the frame. I would not be surprised if you can stick the end of your finger in those gaps. That's not a good thing.

900F

aerod1
June 17, 2007, 10:17 AM
Best gun safe? Mine, because it was tested when my home was burglarized in December 1999. The perps (there was more than one) got away with all my electronics (computers, stereos, tv's, vcr's ect.). They tried to break into my safe and failed therefore saving all my guns and my wife's jewelry. I now have a security system and video serveillance systems on my home. Plus, there is very seldom a time when I am not armed with a firearm.
This happened while I was at work. I am now retired and spend more time at home.......with my firearms.:D

Ala Dan
June 17, 2007, 04:56 PM
Att: CB900F My Friend-

I respect your expertise in the RSC (safe) business. May I say that in my
area, we are much more likely to face the "smash and grab" crowd, than
we are profesional "safe crackers" armed with crow bars, power tools, or
any type hammers. Our problems lie with the "roper doper" crowd; look'in
for a quick fix. You are right, is saying that I rely heavily on my "border
security"; than I do my Liberty. If a perp makes it too the Liberty, he/she
has gone too far; and faces an immediate threat of death, as we would
not hesitate too shoot one of these "cowards of society"~! ;):D

fastattack
June 17, 2007, 07:54 PM
What safes are available to you? What are your requirements? How much of a budget do you have? Are you looking to keep bad guys out or just your kids? How much fire rating do you want? If the fire dept. is two minutes away, you don't really need a 60 minute fire rating (and associated cost).

I chose to get as much steel as I could afford with and S&G mechanical lock and a good fire rating. I could have gotten a larger safe with less protection but that was my priority. I stretched my budget and got a Ft. Knox and have been very happy with it.

One thing the safe guys will tell you is to get twice the volume you think you need because you WILL fill it up!

sm
June 17, 2007, 08:10 PM
CB900F
aerod1

What about safes that are not "gun" related. ;)

Reason I mention this is a buddy of mine bought from a Jeweler,retiring his Tann Safe.
About 6' tall, with the TR/TL rating being an hour, 3 timelocks, day lock, beefed up dial, glass in the door that when broken "locks down the safe, and "pigeon holes".

Now I have seen this exact safe "attacked", with a burn bar, and other tools and access denied.
It did require a Professional, as you two, to get the door, open, re "glassed" and everything, and repainted.

He just removed the shelves, handguns can also fit into the upper lockable safe.

He added a o-l-d floor Grocery Store safe for other items as well.
His kid when younger would drive that safe with the "steering wheel" handle, sorta funny, guess one had to be there to appreciate. :p

The last Tann I bought was $17,000 some years ago, this old boy got this used one for a good price.

Just thinking *maybe* not having 'gun' attached to the name, or marketing might assist some folks.
;)

ldfitch
June 17, 2007, 08:25 PM
I had planned on buying top-of-the-line Browning for approx $3k. Ran across Granite Safe Co in Ft Worth. They seem similar except Browing uses S&G electronic lock and Granite uses LG. Granite is also a bit cheaper and they are easier to deal with. Questions: 1. Comments Browning vs Granite. 2. S&G electronic lock versus LG.

CB900F
June 17, 2007, 09:32 PM
Idfitch;

If you're planning on spending that kind of money, why not investigate getting a real safe instead of an RSC? Both the Browning and the Granite are Residential Security Containers, or RSC's. The U.L. definition of RSC is posted on this site, just search. Or, you can trust A1abdj & I when we tell you that the RSC designation is just a polite way of saying "tin box".

I'd be happy to quote you a Graffunder & I'm sure that A1abdj'd be happy to quote you an AMSEC.

As for the locks, either is a good quality item IMHO.

900F

a1abdj
June 17, 2007, 10:36 PM
SM,

There are a few varieties of Tann safes, with the English Tanns being the better of the bunch. Some of these safes can be insured with millions of dollars in content depending on the rating. Some will carry UL ratings (US), and others will carry European ratings.

One of the things my company does is deal with custom safes. Whether the safe is being ordered new for a specific application, or if we are retrofitting a used safe for a new use. We have converted many burglar rated safes into gun safes. The safe shown below is a TL-15 plate safe that weighs somewhere in the 5,500 to 6,000 pound range. It will end up being a gun safe when I'm done with it.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v627/a1abdj/DSCN2548.jpg


1. Comments Browning vs Granite. 2. S&G electronic lock versus LG.

Granite builds safes sold as Winchester, Red Head, Granite, and Treadlock, and the Brownings are actually built by Pro Steel.

Both safes are OK, but neither is built heavy enough to be classified as a safe. As CB900F stated, you can get a real safe for not much more than what you're already looking to spend.

If you had to go with one of the two, I think the Brownings are nicer appearance wise. Granite tends to build a lot of lower end units (the ones available for $500 through Sams), and tends to overlook a lot of quality control issues.

As for the electronic locks, the Lagard electronic locks have a better reputation amongst locksmiths when compared to the S&G electronic locks. Although both locks are electronic, and thus prone to failure, the S&G locks tend to fail at a much higher rate.

cheygriz
June 18, 2007, 08:07 PM
Bear in mind that ANY safe can be opened.:what::what:


The purpose of a gun safe is to prevent the "crime of opportunity" type burglar from getting to your guns. Most commercial gun safes, including Liberty will do that.

The typical burglar wants to be "in and out" in as short of a time as possible to diminish the risk of capture. The "safe" is to slow him down, not to completely stop a professional. If a "professional" knows that you have a high dollar collection, and he has carefully targeted your home, he will bring the proper tools and skills, and no safe made will stop him. Gun safes are to stop the "typical" criminal and they do a geat job of that.

CB900F
June 18, 2007, 09:20 PM
Cheygriz;

Not quite right. True, any safe can be opened, after all we, the USA, got into the national vaults of Iraq. But, don't try to tell me the heist wasn't noticed. :neener:

The better true safes can, & frequently do, make it such a PIA for the bad guys that they do go elsewhere. When the bad guys realize that it's gonna take time, make noise, and draw unwanted attention to open a safe they usually try to remove the whole thing from the owner's property. As has been discussed on this site many times, there are ways to make that very difficult also.

There are ways into the typical RSC in well under 5 minutes. In fact total time in the structure probably won't exceed 5 minutes & that specifically includes poppin' the RSC & lookin' the rest of the house over too.

900F

twenty711
June 18, 2007, 09:45 PM
I saw a Sentry safe on display with a broken hinge!

sm
June 18, 2007, 10:51 PM
a1abdj,
Thank you for your reply.
My experiences include the English Tann safes, with Million(s) of dollars worth of value to protect.
The one you shared a Picture of, I am familiar with one similar as well.

Custom safes converted , yes I quite understand this too.

My point in posting as I did was simply to share while some have budgets, and are limited by structures [size of room, the structure supporting weight of safe, etc) one "might" find a really great safe for the money, have someone like you to customize it a bit, and come out way ahead on "what they get for monies spent" over a Safe with a "gun name attached to it.

Steve

19112XS
June 19, 2007, 12:08 AM
Are there any notable points where any particular brand/model’s features and price come together to make good value?

Is Graffunder overpriced or proven high quality? Are there comparable manufacturers which charge less?

How expensive is shipping a 1000 lb. safe half or three-fourths of the way across the US?

Many thanks to our more knowledgeable contributors to this subject.

a1abdj
June 19, 2007, 12:51 PM
Are there any notable points where any particular brand/modelís features and price come together to make good value?

Safes are like any other product available for sale. Two safes may have the same rating, but one may be built better than the other. It's just a matter of comparing the individual features, and then comparing the price tag of each.

Is Graffunder overpriced or proven high quality? Are there comparable manufacturers which charge less?

Graffunder is a quality product.

One thing is for certain. When you are buying a safe, you are buying protection. Althought there are always exceptions, you get what you pay for. Cheap price = cheap product.

When you're buying protection, you shouldn't buy cheap. Would you wear the cheapest bullet resistant vest? Buckle up with the cheapest seat belt? Jump out of an airplane with the cheapest parachute? You should determine your need, then buy accordingly. We tell our customers that they can expect to spend approximately 10% of their contents on the proper safe to protect them.

How expensive is shipping a 1000 lb. safe half or three-fourths of the way across the US?

Not as bad as you might think. You can ship 1,000 pounds across country for less than $400. Keep in mind that the safes have to get there somehow. It doesn't matter if you order it and have it shipped, or buy it at the store down the street. Somebody is paying to get it there, and it will certainly be reflected in the price.

cheygriz
June 19, 2007, 03:37 PM
There are ways into the typical RSC in well under 5 minutes. In fact total time in the structure probably won't exceed 5 minutes & that specifically includes poppin' the RSC & lookin' the rest of the house over too.

I think 5 minutes is a bit overly optimistic for the average burglar. (after all, he's not a rocket scientist, or he wouldn't be a burglar.:p And even 10 minutes would assume that he had the proper tools and a working knowledge of gunsafes.

Joe Burglar wants to be "in and out" in less than 3 minutes, according to everything we were taught at the academy.

a1abdj
June 19, 2007, 05:31 PM
I think 5 minutes is a bit overly optimistic for the average burglar. (after all, he's not a rocket scientist, or he wouldn't be a burglar. And even 10 minutes would assume that he had the proper tools and a working knowledge of gunsafes.

If the average burglar knows how to operate a sledge hammer, then 5 minutes is about all you're going to get when it comes to keeping that average burlgar out of a 12 gauge gun safe.

Of course most burlgars aren't carrying around a sledge hammer. Make sure yours isn't sitting somewhere they will notice it. Most of the burglaries I've seen were made using tools found on the premises. Of course those that are specifically targeting a location tend to bring their own tools.

Joe Burglar wants to be "in and out" in less than 3 minutes, according to everything we were taught at the academy

If you only need 3 minutes worth of protection, then you shouldn't even waste your money on a gun safe. A $100 cabinet should provide that much protection.

Mannlicher
June 19, 2007, 05:36 PM
a1abdj Safes are designed to protect against burglary and fire. If your safe has never been burglarized, and never been in a fire, how do you know how good it is? Basing your opinion on price or looks has nothing to do with how good of a safe it really is. Basing your opinion on a manufactuer's claim also has nothing to do with how your safe will actually perform when put to its intended use.


It's like anything else. You do your research, and then pay your money, and take your chances. A gun safe is insurance. Most of the time your insurance dollar buys you nothing more than peace of mind.

Sturdy Gun Safe, Mfg.
July 6, 2007, 12:35 PM
Basing your opinion on a manufactuer's claim also has nothing to do with how your safe will actually perform when put to its intended use.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I couldn't put it better myself. I'm really irritated right now at 2 popular safe companies who make outragous claims towards their fire ratings. They didn't test their safes at all yet say they will hold up at 2300 deg for 60 min with a weak 1/2 in layer of ceramic with sheetrock.

x.wolf
August 23, 2009, 07:13 PM
I love all the info here. I was wondering what your opinion of the sportsman safes was? They have some tl rated safes or pretty close to. The also have some of the features i need like outside hinges and a 60 minute fire rating or more. I was hoping to get a safe 72x40x 28 or close to that. I have too many long rifles that need some height in a safe. I have also seen some very interesting safe locks that were fingerprint activated or called a biolock. what do you think of this lock? If my safe doesnt come with the biolock i want can i get it to work on my safe with info from lock make or something like that?

CB900F
August 23, 2009, 07:32 PM
X.wolf;

Right now, I'd say bio-lock = problem. Great Falls MT. is a military town with a lot of Federal presence, to say the least. When the bio's first came out, a couple of Federal entities in town jumped on the bandwagon. They are no longer on the bandwagon & not at all anxious to buy another ticket.

Fire protection is not rocket science. If you put thicker and denser material between the heat source & what you want protected, you get better protection. Sheet metal & and sheet rock do not equal plate steel and concrete.

900F

Archery Ham
August 23, 2009, 08:03 PM
Why can there not be an added feature, like pepper spray or a tear gas to secure a safe's environment? Maybe that is too sci-fi.

CB900F
August 23, 2009, 08:54 PM
Archery;

That feature, tear gas in particular, used to be fairly common on higher end commercial & banking safes. We still occasionally run across safes that have it when we're servicing or repairing them. However, it only takes one AD clearing a bank during business hours, for the customer to rapidly lose interest in retaining the device.

900F

Archery Ham
August 23, 2009, 08:58 PM
Archery;

That feature, tear gas in particular, used to be fairly common on higher end commercial & banking safes. We still occasionally run across safes that have it when we're servicing or repairing them. However, it only takes one AD clearing a bank during business hours, for the customer to rapidly lose interest in retaining the device.

900F
Thanks for that info. I was not aware that those were in use.

I suppose it would be cheaper to have Otis Campbell around, sober, and full of baked beans.

a1abdj
August 24, 2009, 09:09 AM
I was wondering what your opinion of the sportsman safes was? They have some tl rated safes or pretty close to.

They do not sell anything anywhere close to a TL rated unit. A little searching around on the web will turn up horror stories about their products and customer service. Buyer beware.

eatont9999
August 24, 2009, 11:49 AM
Ooops, I AD'ed my safe! Tell that one to your pals at the range and explain why your eyes are red.

lebowski
August 24, 2009, 03:08 PM
If the total value of the safe's contents are in the $10,000 or less price range, and your paperwork is in quantities small enough to go into a small fire rated box, then a single gun safe would probably still work out for you.




Frank - can you recommend a fire box for this purpose?

a1abdj
August 24, 2009, 03:23 PM
Frank - can you recommend a fire box for this purpose?

Sentry. Inexpensive and readily available at any of your big box stores. They do use wet insulation, but their key locking boxes are encapsulated in plastic. Price ranges from $20 to $50 depending on size.

lebowski
August 24, 2009, 03:28 PM
Sentry. Inexpensive and readily available at any of your big box stores. They do use wet insulation, but their key locking boxes are encapsulated in plastic. Price ranges from $20 to $50 depending on size.


Thanks. So w/ the plastic encapsulation, the wet insulation isn't an issue for guns?

(obviously I won't be storing guns in the Sentry, a couple documents would go in the Sentry which would be placed inside a gun safe that also contains guns)?

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