Gun Safes: The difference between "Safes" and "RSC's"


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Trebor
March 27, 2008, 10:55 AM
I've been researching secure storage now that I've moved into a house and can set something up for the long term (like 10 to 30 years).

Some of the best info I’ve found has been right here on THR. I want to especially mention and thank member’s a1abdj and CB900F. They are both safe technicians and provided much good info.

This post is based on the info they provided and the other research I did on the web. If anyone in the safe industry has any comments or corrections, please feel free. I am not a locksmith or safe tech, so this is just my understanding after my research. I just wanted to put all the info I learned in one place.
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Once you have more then three or four guns, especially long guns, it's time to start looking into a large container to store them all securely.

Notice I said "container" and not "safe." That was deliberate. The majority of what are commonly called and sold as "Gun Safes" are actually UL (Underwriter's Labratory) listed as "RSC" or "Residential Security Containers" and not actual safes. This includes the "safes" available at big box stores like Academy, Gander Mountain, Sam's Club, etc, with brand names including "Liberty," "Winchester", "Browning," etc.

So what is a RSC, and how is it different from a true safe?

Simply speaking, a RSC is a large, sheet metal box with a lock. The metal for the sides and doors is typically 12 gauge or 10 gauge. That's pretty thin folks. The actual door or walls may be thicker due to the addition of gypsum wallboard or similiar materials designed to reduce (not eliminate) the effects of heat or fire. The other advantage, from a seller's point of view, is this type of "composite" or "clad" construction makes the door and wall look thicker and more secure to the average buyer and helps with sales.

The locks are usually UL rated and offer good security. The weakness is in the actual body of the unit.

The UL RSC classification means that any specific RSC labelled container will resist forced opening for up to *five* minutes by an attacker using simple, non powered, hand tools. We're talking screwdrives, hammers, and pry bars LESS then 18" long. RSC's are not rated against any attack by power tools or any attack lasting longer then five minutes.

Five minutes, that's it, and that's with just hand tools. And that's assuming a more or less amateur attack. To a pro, it might as well be unlocked. This attack does allow the attacker to knock the RSC over. It is much easier to get through the back or sides then the door or lock. The welded corners are especially vulnerable. For maximum security, RSC's should always be bolted down to keep them from being tipped over and attacked at the weak points.

Now, as long as you understand the limitations of a RSC, and don't pay too much for one, they do have a role. A RSC will protect you from your kids or unauthorized guests getting into your firearms (unless they are willing to destroy the safe to do so. Not likely if they just want to "play with daddy's guns.")

A RSC also helps protect you from quicke "Smash 'N Grab" burglaries, of the type typically done by teenagers and other 'ner do wells. The "smash 'n grab" robber wants to be in and out as quickly as possible and often won't take the time to try to defeat a RSC. You can add to your security by hiding the RSC to make it less likely they'll even find it in a quick run through the house. Remember though, that if the "smash 'n grab" robber does decide to attack your safe, it's only certified to hold up for five minutes agains the very tools he probably used to break into the house in the first place.

Even though RSC's advertise fire protection, my sources tell me not to rely on that. At best, a RSC will help protect your firearms from a less-then-complete house fire. The shorter duration and lower the heat, the better. Don't trust the ratings advertised by the manufacturers though. The only consisent, reliable and independant fire rating that means anything is the UL 1 hour (or better) ratings. Unfortunately, there are no RSC's that meet this rating as the standard materials and construction required to offer this kind of protection are too expensive for RSC use.

Don't get me wrong though. Any fire protection is better then none, just don't believe the manufacturer's claims and don't rely on a RSC to keep vulnerable items like paper documents, jewlry, or electronic media safe, even from a smaller fire.

Enough about RSC's, let talk about true safes.

By comparasion a true, "B rate" (construction graded) safe will have a 1/4" steel body and 1/2" plate door, minium. That's the low end of a "true" safe and is based on construction materials, not resistence to attack. Some "B rated" safes may also have the UL RSC classification if the manufacturer choose to spend the money to submit that model to UL for testing. While these safes have the RSC classification, any RSC made to "B rate" construction standards will be head and shoulders above any other RSC rated container.

UL also lists safe with "TL-15", "TL-30," and higher ratings. This is a measure of attack resistence against attacks using power tools. A "TL 15" rated safe will resist attacks for 15 minutes, a "TL 30" for 30 minutes, etc. That extra resistence does come with a price though as the heavier materials used in the construction and better build quality add significantly to the expense.

There are also "E" and "F" construction ratings that are roughly comparable to the TL 15 and TL-30 UL ratings. These safes have not been submitted to UL for testing though (typically due to the expense of doing so).

Be aware that "burgler resistent" and "fire resistent" safes are two different things designed to do two different jobs. Typically, the construction methods and materials used for fire resistent safes don't offer much protection against forced entry and the burgler resistent safes don't offer much fire protection. The two goals are mutually incompatable to some extent. There are dual "burgler/fire" resistent safes available. My understanding is that they would protect adequately against either danger, but not as well against each specific threat as a safe designed specifically for that purpose.

Now the bad news. Typical B rated or better safes are *generally* much more expensive then RSC's. In most cases, the higher the rating, the higher the price. However, there is often a price overlap between the more expensive, "high end" RSC's, especially at full retail, and some of the lower end B rated safes. For about the same amount of money you can significantly improve your protection by looking for a B rated safe instead of some of the more expensive of the RSC's.

How much money you should spend depends on what you need to protect, from who, and the value of the items you want to protect. It makes no sense to spend $3,000 on a safe to hold $1,000 worth of Mosin Nagants or Mausers. Conversly, it's "penny wise and pound foolish" to keep a $10,000 collection in a $500 RSC.

A RSC is going to be easier to find, easier to move, and will protect you from unauthorized access and quick smash 'n grab robberies.

A safe is going to be a little harder to shop for, harder to move and install, usually be more expensive (but not always) and offer increased protection against a determined thief or an attack with power tools.

The best advice on RSC's I got from a locksmith and Safe Tech was this: Since the majority of RSC's offer essentially the same level of protection, you should get the least expensive RSC you can find that meets your needs.

If you compare RSC's that are the same size with the same storage capabilities, the more expensive models usually just have better finish, nicer trim, or more "features" that don't really make them more secure. So why pay more for things that don't help? He recommended the "Winchester" labelled RSC's available at Sam's Club for a good value in a RSC.

For safes, the brands I've been told are good and are commonly available include American Security and Graffunder. There are others as well, but those seem to be more common and a good value.

Another option is to hunt for a used commercial safe, usually from a Lock and Safe dealer. These will be made to "B" standards as a minimum and offer a significant savings over a new model. I looked at some TL 15 rated safes yesterday that were only $1,000. That's about a $5,000 savings over a new example. The downside is that they aren't configured for guns so you will need to hunt to find a unit tall enough for long guns. You'll also need to build or buy the gun racks yourself as the safe will either be empty or have simple shelves. (I passed on the TL 15 safes as they weren't long enough for rifles. They would have worked great for a large handgun collection though)

As with any business, used inventory turns over constantly. To find a used safe call around to local "Lock and Safe" stores. Use the yellow pages and google. Find out what warranty they offer and don't forget to ask about the cost for delivery and installation. Also make sure your floor can hold a heavier, "real" safe, as they can weigh up to several thousand pounds empty, depending on size and materials.

One last thought. Whatever you pick, RSC or safe, go with a good quality mechanical lock, not an electronic lock. If you don't believe me, talk to a few locksmiths. If you open your gun safe on a regular basis, all electronic locks WILL eventually fail. A mechanical lock, properly serviced, will last a lifetime. (Yes, mechanical locks do need service. How often depends on how much they are used. You don't service an electronic lock. You just cut it out and replace it when it breaks)

. Here's a list of threads here on THR with info on safes and RSC’s. Once again, pay particular attention to the posts by a1abdj and CB900F:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...=Google+Search

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exar
March 27, 2008, 11:05 AM
He recommended the "Winchester" labelled RSC's available at Sam's Club for a good value in a RSC.

Good suggestion. I own the 24 gun RSC Winchester with digital lock from Sam's Club and it has worked out great for me. Even that RSC took me and 2 other full grown men to move it efficiently. I think it's a great deal for what you get.

1KPerDay
March 27, 2008, 01:24 PM
Thanks for the info. I have a big, heavy RSC but I'm out of room...

GhostlyKarliion
March 27, 2008, 02:07 PM
very nice write up, good job, +10 for you!

Ergosphere
April 11, 2008, 08:04 PM
Trebor, there are some RSCs available (e.g. Sturdy (http://www.sturdysafe.com/minuteman.htm) safes, or Sportsman Steel (http://www.sportsmansteelsafes.com/arsenal_gun_safes.htm)) that have fairly heavy walls (1/8", or 7 or 8 gauge), optional ceramic fireproofing (which provides an additional, but thin, interior steel wall), good mechanical locks, re-lockers, etc. Are you really saying that these are no better than a ~$400 Wal-mart RSC?

Also, your link is broken...

lonegunman
April 12, 2008, 01:26 AM
I pondered a Sportsmans Steel vault door but could not make myself pull the trigger. They have the nastiest reputation for customer service.

My brother bought a safe from them, likes the quality, but they have zero customer service. Any hint you have a problem and you get a dial tone two seconds after you open your mouth.

Trebor
April 12, 2008, 02:22 AM
Trebor, there are some RSCs available (e.g. Sturdy safes, or Sportsman Steel) that have fairly heavy walls (1/8", or 7 or 8 gauge), optional ceramic fireproofing (which provides an additional, but thin, interior steel wall), good mechanical locks, re-lockers, etc. Are you really saying that these are no better than a ~$400 Wal-mart RSC?

I'm not a locksmith or a safe tech. I'm just restating what I've learned from my research from THR and other places on the web.

It seems logical that a RSC with 8 guage steel would be better then one with 10 or 12 gauge steel. I don't know enough to say if that is really the case or not. They might be better, or it could be that all RSC's are still essentially equal when compared to a real safe.

Maybe one of the safe guys here can chime in?

Btw, which link is broken?

Ergosphere
April 12, 2008, 06:44 PM
Here's a list of threads here on THR with info on safes and RSC’s. Once again, pay particular attention to the posts by a1abdj and CB900F:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...=Google+Search

That just takes me to Google's main page...

davidconatser
April 12, 2008, 09:48 PM
After reading the threads on THR and doing some shopping, I settled on an Inkas 4520 http://www.inkassafes.com/products.html?pid=18

The big advantage of this 1500 pound RSC is that it has the same construction as the TL-15 and has a 1 hour fire rating from UL.

The other big advantage is that a banking supply company about 70 miles from here would deliver and set it up for me. And they are extremely pleasant folks. I would highly recommend them to anyone within reasonable distance of Bowling Green, KY.

http://www.bankersstore.com/

They also carry AMSEC and other brands, but the Inkas was the best safe for the money by a good bit.

Trebor
April 13, 2008, 06:11 AM
Here's a list of threads here on THR with info on safes and RSC’s. Once again, pay particular attention to the posts by a1abdj and CB900F:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...=Google+Search

That just takes me to Google's main page...

I'll check later and see what I can do about fixing that. Thanks.

I'm headed back to bed now though.

Btw, DavidConatser, thanks for that info on that Inkas. There's no price listed on the webiste. Can I aks how much it is?

GhostlyKarliion
April 13, 2008, 10:19 AM
http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-191886.html

here ya go, very intresting reading

fearless leader
April 13, 2008, 12:20 PM
Thank you for the insight on the "Gun Safe" industry. I apparently did everything wrong. I have an electronic lock, and an RSC.

I remember speaking to a man who told me he had been incarcerated for burlary, and used to make a good living at it. I don't recall who he was, or why we were talking, but I asked him about gunsafes in particular, seeing how I had just purchased one, and he didn't know me from Adam. I asked him if he could get them open and about how long it takes. His reply worried me because he said they were easy to get into, especially the Homak security cabinets, needing only to drive the pin out of the piano hinge. :uhoh:

He didn't tell me how he opened regular RSCs, but he said it only took a few minutes.:what:

The best safe is one the crooks can't find.:)

davidconatser
April 13, 2008, 01:35 PM
Btw, DavidConatser, thanks for that info on that Inkas. There's no price listed on the webiste. Can I aks how much it is?


It was $2059.58 all total after taxes.

Delivery was extra, but he drove 140 miles round trip and placed the 1500# safe exactly where we wanted it and took away all of the packing material. Well worth the extra $200.

a1abdj
April 13, 2008, 06:52 PM
Trebor, there are some RSCs available (e.g. Sturdy safes, or Sportsman Steel) that have fairly heavy walls (1/8", or 7 or 8 gauge), optional ceramic fireproofing (which provides an additional, but thin, interior steel wall), good mechanical locks, re-lockers, etc. Are you really saying that these are no better than a ~$400 Wal-mart RSC?


The more steel the better, but you're still talking about thin materials. The additional material isn't buying much more additional protection.

Airplanes are expensive, and made out of aluminum. If I came along and started building airplanes out of aluminum foil, I could sell them for less money. Another company could come along and use two layers of aluminum foil for theirs and claim that their plane is better than mine.

Would you trust your life to the double layered aluminum foil airplane?

The big advantage of this 1500 pound RSC is that it has the same construction as the TL-15 and has a 1 hour fire rating from UL.

I have a problem with any safe company that uses "like" in their description.

If their safe was "built like a TL-15" it would be a TL-15...but it's not. I see gun safe companies advertising that their safes are "built like a bank vault". Again....not really.

davidconatser
April 13, 2008, 07:44 PM
I don't own stock in Inkas and am not pushing it.

The Banker's Store where I bought it carries AMSEC and other safes. The cost of the Inkas ST4520 is about the same as the ANSEC BF6030, but while the Inkas is smaller it has E-rated construction and weighs 70% more.

Inkas makes a TL30 series, but it costs about $700 more if I recall correctly.

There are lots of choices. And lots of salesmanship. That is what makes America great.

Some choices are clearly poor ones. Too much money and not enough protection; but among the well built safes and RSCs there are plenty to choose from and many companies we can be proud to do business with.

For a 62 year old guy in rural western Kentucky, having a nice young man deliver and place and set up the safe was a major selling point.

Kindrox
April 13, 2008, 09:58 PM
I spent $1500 on a Liberty gun RSC about 8 years ago (when I did not know better) and feel ripped off today.

I learned my lesson and when it becomes a bigger priority I will get a used safe to replace the Liberty.

I did find a good sized TL30 safe for a good price and have it. It's not big enough for rifles, but anything else of value goes in the TL30. It's all steel, about half the size of the Liberty RSC and about twice the weight.

There are a lot of real safes out there, available for much less than an RSC. Frankly I don't understand people buying new RSCs when used safes can be had for a lot less money and give a lot more security.

vynx
April 14, 2008, 12:26 AM
Trebor - I went through this process a few years ago.

I decided if I was going to get an RSC the Winchester from Sams club was it. Honestly, for my needs and where I live that would most likely be enough.

Instead I bought a used TL30. Its huge and weighed 3,725 empty. I actually have a smaller cheap fire proof safe (its called fireflyer and is a cheapie - I got it free from someone who was moving) on the floor inside of it for paperwork and fireproof stuff. The shelves that were inside the safe when I bought it are thicker and heavier than the steel on the outside of most RSC's.

It isn't fire proof, fire resistant or anything like that but where I live the avg. fire lasts only 23 minutes so fire resistance was low on my priority list.

Its definetly overkill but the peice of mind it gives me makes it all worth it.

Downr@nge
April 15, 2008, 03:55 PM
What about a small "real" safe as described in this thread? Something say, 1' by 1'. Do they sell these types of safes? What are the typical costs of these types of safes?

theotherwaldo
April 15, 2008, 04:32 PM
I have a problem with "safes" that hasn't been mentioned yet.

Rust.

A properly made concrete-and-fiber-cored safe both traps and exudes moisture while preventing air circulation. A poorly-made 12-guage steel box offers almost as much real protection while allowing air circulation and not generating and trapping moisture.

Properly made safes cost more than $3,000.00, while basic gun boxes cost under $300.00.

Guess which I opt for?

Trebor
April 15, 2008, 05:10 PM
What about a small "real" safe as described in this thread? Something say, 1' by 1'. Do they sell these types of safes? What are the typical costs of these types of safes?

Do a Google search for "Safe and lock sales + 'your state' " or a similiar search. You want to find the safe and lock sales or technicians in your area.

Once you've found them, some of them will have websites with new or used safes. Other times you'll have to call to see what's available. There are all sorts of sizes availalbe and varying degress of protection against fire or theft.

I don't sell safes so I can't talk about pricing with any confidence. Just by talking to guys in the trade though I can tell you that a used safe is going to be much cheaper then a new safe. The trick seems to be to start calling around and keep checking back into one of your local sellers has what you want in stock.

You'll have to remember to ask what warranty they give on a used safe and figure in the costs of delivery and installation.

a1abdj
April 15, 2008, 07:22 PM
I have a problem with "safes" that hasn't been mentioned yet.

Rust.

A properly made concrete-and-fiber-cored safe both traps and exudes moisture while preventing air circulation. A poorly-made 12-guage steel box offers almost as much real protection while allowing air circulation and not generating and trapping moisture.

Properly made safes cost more than $3,000.00, while basic gun boxes cost under $300.00.

Guess which I opt for?


There are a variety of construction methods when it comes to safes. Many of these methods are specific to the purpose of the safe.

A fire rated safe is going to have an insulation which may cause moisture problems. A burglary rated safe is usually heavy steel plate or "concrete" composite unit. The burglary safes do not have the same moisture issues.

A 12 gauge box will not offer anywhere near the same protection as a true safe. If this were the case, your local bank branch would be using a $500 gun safe.

I don't sell safes so I can't talk about pricing with any confidence. Just by talking to guys in the trade though I can tell you that a used safe is going to be much cheaper then a new safe. The trick seems to be to start calling around and keep checking back into one of your local sellers has what you want in stock.

You'll have to remember to ask what warranty they give on a used safe and figure in the costs of delivery and installation.

As a general rule of thumb, you can buy a used safe for about 50% of the cost of a new safe. We offer 90 day warranties on all of our used safes.

You can buy used safes that are in usuable but rough shape, or you can buy used safes that have been completely refurbished.

If you need any help tracking down a safe company in your area, send me a PM and I'll see if I can point you in the right direction.

Markbo
April 15, 2008, 07:44 PM
RSC's are lighter, thinner, easily moved and easily defeated and don't have modular interior capability. Why would you want to store valuables in it again?

The TL type safes are just that - safes. They were designed for the jewelry industry. Think Zales and small private jewelry shops. They're weight can be measured in tons and they are typicall 3 to 8 times heavier that 'Gun Safes' as sold today. They are very expensive by comparison and are NOT automatically rated for fire protection or to protect media, i.e. film, CD's, etc.

Also because of their massive sidewalls, their interior dimensions can be suprisingly small compared to a smilar sized gun safe. The good news is they cannot be easily moved (including move in), can only be placed on a cement foundation floor and fire protection usually has to be added, which restricts interior dimensions even further and usually come with welded, i.e. non modular interiors. Sound like something good for rifles or for jewelry? BTW, they are for the most part roughly finished and painted a beautiful shade of industrial gray. Hope it matches your decore.

Gun Safes on the other hand usually come with automotive grade finishes and can be had with gold accents, wildlife scenes and even custom murals and paint schemes. They nearly universally come with modular interiors with components wrapped in soft carpet like material. Many come already with internal lighting and if not, 'rope lighting' makes an excellent and easily accomplished addition. They typically weigh 600-1200 lbs, can be bolted to a cement foundation and by most accounts can be defeated only by someone with a lot of time that knows exactly what they are doing, i.e. with a welding machine or plasma cutter through a side wall - not unknown to the thief that this risks ruining any valuables found inside.

If they are unbolted and hauled off it takes either specialized equipment, 4 to 6 very strong men or both. That wouldn't attract any attention by the neighbors, would it? They can be had with fire protection ratings approved by UL that clearly indicate they can withstand a typical house fire and not harm the contents - meaning the house can burn down around them and your stuff will still be OK.

Soooooo... what's the big debate about again?

p.s. if you are worried about moisture and rust, you may not be familiar with terms "dessicant" or "Goldenrod" and are probably not familiar with some oft used firearms maintenance items called "gun oil" and "rust preventative". Look into them and I think your worries will be found... unfounded.

WayneConrad
April 15, 2008, 07:49 PM
Markbo, I think you've introduced a third type of critter we haven't talked about yet.

As far as I know, so far, we've talked about RSCs, and safes. I thought that all currently marketed "gun safes" were RSCs.

You talk about "gun safes" as though they are a third type of critter, not just an RSC with a fancy paint job and better marketing. Did I misunderstand you?

Markbo
April 15, 2008, 07:53 PM
Not officially Conrad... I just meant to describe them as they are commonly known and sold by that term. What they are officially to the security and safe industry is kind of unimportant to me.

I don't know nor have I read anything by a1abdj and CB900F. My post was simply to show how I think of the different types and tell how well they do what I theink they do.

I would never buy one of those sheet metal Academy/Sams club units to store anything more valuable that hand tools or something needing safe storage like chemicals, gun powder, primers, etc.

trickshot
April 15, 2008, 07:54 PM
If you bought a real safe and boxed it in on all four sides with several layers of drywall, would you then have something that will protect your guns against both fire and burglar? I was thinking of building a special closet lined with several layers of drywall to put a safe in, and the door to the closet would also be lined with several layers of drywall.

WayneConrad
April 15, 2008, 08:00 PM
Markbo, You need to read what a1abdj and CB900F have written. You've been snowed by marketing. Those fancy "gun safes" are still sheet metal units underneath. Thick sheet metal, maybe, but still sheet metal.

Markbo
April 15, 2008, 08:08 PM
And?


What's your point? You think one of the thin sheet metal boxes or the 4" thick walled jewelry safes that can't hold rifles are better alternatives? But... I will do some searches on those two and read what they have to say... I don't claim to know as much as industry experts. Just going by personal experience.

WayneConrad
April 15, 2008, 08:12 PM
A little thick with the sarcasm there, bud. :) My point is that there are other alternatives. They will talk about them, more intelligently than I can. That's why I suggest you read what they wrote.

Markbo
April 15, 2008, 08:15 PM
I'm already on it... searched for a1abdj first and am reading those threads. That will take a long while, so I am out for today on this one.

WayneConrad
April 15, 2008, 08:26 PM
When you're done, if you end up any less confused on the subject than I am, do me the favor of educating me, k? :)

Stevie-Ray
April 15, 2008, 11:13 PM
Good suggestion. I own the 24 gun RSC Winchester with digital lock from Sam's Club and it has worked out great for me. Even that RSC took me and 2 other full grown men to move it efficiently. I think it's a great deal for what you get.I own one of the Granite Security Winchesters from Sam's as well. I consider it a great buy. It took 3 of us to muscle it into the house also. Guess I'm not as young as I used to be.


If they are unbolted and hauled off it takes either specialized equipment, 4 to 6 very strong men or both. That wouldn't attract any attention by the neighbors, would it? They can be had with fire protection ratings approved by UL that clearly indicate they can withstand a typical house fire and not harm the contents - meaning the house can burn down around them and your stuff will still be OK.

Soooooo... what's the big debate about again?

I would never buy one of those sheet metal Academy/Sams club units to store anything more valuable that hand tools or something needing safe storage like chemicals, gun powder, primers, etc.I guess I don't understand this. Seems like on one hand you're extolling the virtues of RSCs over actual safes and then go on to slam one of the best deals on the market. If you think the Brownings and the other "prettier" RSCs on the market are worth 4 times the price of the Granites because they are far more secure, I think you're sadly mistaken. Buy a safe if that's what you really want. But when looking at RSCs, don't think that a higher price automatically means more secure.

hamourkiller
April 16, 2008, 02:28 AM
A pro is going to get your stuff! Even if he has to screw a pistol in your ear to entice you to open your own safe.
I elected to go with layered security.
Security cameras around the house plus interior rooms.
Alarm system on house entry points.
Long pantry behind the Kitchen wall, with Large RSC "Safe" at end of pantry.
With shelving and extra food, a person would need to tear down and clear out a bunch of stuff to move the safe, or gain access to the sides.
Each layer adds time to defeating the safe or alerts me to some ones un-authorized presence.
I decided a "Pro" who wants my stuff badly enough will get it so the last layer is insurance.
I feel comfortable that I have as much protection as I can reasonably get at this time.

jakemccoy
April 16, 2008, 03:26 AM
Pros will get your stuff. There was a recent case in California where thieves hauled off a 2,000+ pound gun safe. Lots of guns were inside.

A high security safe to me would be a strong safe cemented into the ground with a false floor on top. Moving it would require destruction of the house and a sizable crane. The weak link would be the door. Rock on.

My gun collection is decidedly small because of this whole safe issue.

Trebor
April 16, 2008, 03:39 AM
Yes, if you are specifically targeted, a pro can get your stuff. If nothing else, like you mention, by holding are a loved one at gun point.

Hopefully, you won't be specifically targeted by a pro. For a random break in, the difference between a RSC and a safe is important.

And yes, layered security is best, and is part of my own plan.

But, please, can we leave this thread to JUST talk about RSC"s and safes? There's plenty of internet left to disuss other strategies and other issues on other threads.

And, anyone still confused about what is a "RSC" and what is a REAL safe need to read my first post more closely and follow up by searching for, and reading, the posts by a1abdj and CB900F .

heeler
April 16, 2008, 02:51 PM
I do not necessarily agree that you should buy the least expensive RSC since they are all essentially built the same.
Why?
Because they are not.
True some thin walled 12 gauge RSC will be easier to breach than a 10 gauge RSC.
But lets see just how easy it is to break into a 3/16th body RSC that comes with a 1/2 or 3/8 plate steel door with common hand tools that most burglars use to pry open your front door.
And just because the UL RSC rating is measured in five minutes working time DOES NOT mean that it only takes five minutes to get into one.
By now most of us has viewed the infamous Liberty safe video that was pried open by the two guys using a pry bar that most burglars would not even enter your home with.
And of course they used a very flimsy 12 gauge Liberty that has a twelve gauge door with absolutely no other plate steel reinforcement in it and it only had bolts on the door opening side of the safe....Excuse me,RSC.
So what i am getting at is there are some flimsy RSC's and there are some pretty stout ones on the market too.
True,you will almost certainly pay at least 3k for a decent sized(60x30x26-28)RSC.
But i have priced true gun safes such as the Graffunder(new,not used) in that size range and they are far more expensive.
And because of that 5k price tag(or very close to that price) it would equal the whole worth of my hunting rifles and optics combined.
So an RSC of at least 30x60x26-28 inches is best for me and frankly most of us.

Yes the heavier duty RSC's can still be breached,but they are going to work a whole lot harder to get into it than their weak sisters in the 12 gauge class will be.
How long??
Beats me but i dont think i could get into a 3/16th's bodied RSC with a door like i referenced in a mere five minutes using a small pry bar and carpenters hammer.
Take a good look at a Amsec BF or better yet their SE model.
Or perhaps a 3/16th body double walled FT.Knox or the 3/16th bodied Browning Platinum or Hertage Legacy.
All of them carry the RSC billing.
They are stout boxes and you would have your work cut out for you trying to breach any of those with hand tools in five minutes time.
I personally would pay to watch such a match up.

theotherwaldo
April 16, 2008, 03:48 PM
The main enemy of my guns down here on the border isn't the pro burglar, it's ma nature. The last hurricane took out the power lines and damaged most folks' roofs. The foot or so of flooding ran right in the doors of their slab-on-grade houses. When my neighbors opened their safes, water was dripping down the inside walls and their dessicant packs were moldy. Goldenrods don't work without power.

My guns were fine in their little tin boxes under my well-elevated mobile home's double steel roof.

Different definitions of security.

blindviper
April 18, 2008, 02:33 PM
After reading the threads on THR and doing some shopping, I settled on an Inkas 4520 http://www.inkassafes.com/products.html?pid=18

The big advantage of this 1500 pound RSC is that it has the same construction as the TL-15 and has a 1 hour fire rating from UL.

The other big advantage is that a banking supply company about 70 miles from here would deliver and set it up for me. And they are extremely pleasant folks. I would highly recommend them to anyone within reasonable distance of Bowling Green, KY.

http://www.bankersstore.com/

They also carry AMSEC and other brands, but the Inkas was the best safe for the money by a good bit.

While that safe is nice and heavy it lacks a nice fire rating. 350 deg in house fire is nothing it would turn that safe into a oven.

WARPARTY36
April 18, 2008, 03:55 PM
I just purchased a 40"x60"x28" with 3/16" sidewalls and a 3/8" door. I felt that for the money, it will do all that I need it to do. At 1350 lbs. and bolted to the floor, I think it will keep the smash and grab guys out (a pro will get in no matter what and choose neighborhoods other than mine). The 75 minute at 1400 deg. fire rating should be able to withstand a typical house fire(fire dept. response is about 3 minutes). Hopefully being bolted to the concrete will withstand a small tornado. I also feel that a "fire proof" box inside the RSC for pictures and documents is a good idea.

I think the house alarm will scare the smash and grab guys off, and if all else fails the RSC contents are insured.

I am no expert on the subject, just one Okie's opinion.:)

Pole
April 18, 2008, 06:29 PM
While that safe is nice and heavy it lacks a nice fire rating. 350 deg in house fire is nothing it would turn that safe into a oven.


that's a UL fire rating on that safe.....it means the temp inside the safe won't get above 350 degrees when the temp outside the safe is 1700 degrees for one hour. That's a pretty decent rating.

MAKster
April 18, 2008, 08:18 PM
The problem with the fire proofing in RSCs is that almost all of them use dry wall. The way it works is that if the temperature in the safe reaches a certain level the moisture in the dry wall is released in the form of steam. That steam reduces the temperature inside the safe but turns it into a sauna. It will probably be structurally unsafe to enter the house for at least a day and then you will have to call a locksmith to drill open the safe. So when you finally get the safe open your guns have been soaking wet for 3 or 4 days and are rusted shut.

a1abdj
April 19, 2008, 12:10 AM
I have seen very few gun safes survive serious fires. As stated above, most gun safes use gypsum board for insulation. If this insulation method was so great, you would see it used in other types of safes as well.

Sir Aardvark
April 19, 2008, 01:03 AM
I pondered a Sportsmans Steel vault door but could not make myself pull the trigger. They have the nastiest reputation for customer service.

I can personally attest to the lousy service Sportsman Steel provides.

Kevin at Sportsman Steel promised me a safe in 3 weeks. 3 months later it still was not ready, despite multiple phone calls, etc.

Thankfully, my purchase with them was done with a credit card, so I was able to contest the charge and have my money refunded to me.

About a month after I cancelled my order, I got a call from a lady telling me my safe was ready and that I could come by and pick it up - evidently they keep lousy records too.

esmith
April 19, 2008, 01:29 AM
You guys are all morons. Only a real man has his house BUILT around a giant gun safe. Like a panic room yet on steroids. With 2 feet of solid concrete surrounding an interior room with a foot of solid steel for walls with a 5000 pound door that locks with 7 inch diameter bolts, i have you all beat! Can easily survive temperatures of over 100,000 degrees celcius for 50 millenia, yeah, thats right, celcius and millenia i said. You call what you have safes huh, more like cardboard boxes.

By the way did i mention i just bought a 20 gun safe from Stack-On? Gasp, it'll never last!

Regolith
April 21, 2008, 02:27 AM
RSC's are lighter, thinner, easily moved and easily defeated and don't have modular interior capability. Why would you want to store valuables in it again?

Because you live in an apartment that wouldn't support the weight of a real safe, and you don't have enough money for one anyway?

Look, it'd be nice if everyone could get a real safe. Problem is, that's not always possible. However, there ARE some RSC's out there that are decently priced that will stop "smash-n-grab" type attacks that make up the majority of home burglaries. It's sure as hell a lot better than not having anything.

Yeah, they won't stop dedicated thieves, but neither will real safes; the real safes just require a higher level of skill and time.

Markbo
April 21, 2008, 10:52 AM
Well I have re-done all the research I did when I bought my last safe and I have read a bunch of threads with a1abdj and CB900F's input. These two guys are safe builders so they surely know more than anyone else here about the subject.

However... I do not believe I have been snowed by marketing WayneConrad. I have made a choice based on security level and affordability. Neither do I think I am unclear on my choice Stevie-Ray.

I made my last choice - and would probably do so again now - based on the level of protections and what I can afford. Sure I would love to have a walk in safe. I don't have $6000 to buy one. I just don't. I am perfectly comfortable with the level of security I have in my Cannon Crown Series RCS and my original Liberty RCS. And Stevie-Ray I definitely think that Cannon is better security than the Academy level safes that I can move by myself.

Like some have said... Pros are going to get into anything they want to get into. Eventually. I have NO advertisements to anyone that I have a safe. I keep the shades drawn in the room one is in and the other in the garage is not visible from the street either. I'm a private person so I don't have many people in my house, so those that are are friends and I don't let anyone in that room or the garage unless they are 'gun guys'.

Maybe if I start making significantly more money in my second career will I consider a Graffunder or other giganto-safe. But in the meantime, the real world calls. It calls for compromise in spending money wisely. Such as I would love to buy a new Z06 Vette, but I will have to do with my '02 Lightning until the money comes rolling in.

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