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Breaking into a gun safe - UL testing

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by Shrock, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. Shrock

    Shrock New Member

    I've been researching safes on and off for years. I cut, weld and bend metal for a living and I know I could easily get into most gun "safes" in a few minutes. I can't imagine gathering up all my most valuable things and putting all my eggs in one of these straw baskets.

    Anyway budgets vary, but here is my plan and reasoning.

    I'm going to get two instead one one huge one. One will be a real safe, TL-30 rated AmSec RF6528. The other will be a decent/respectable. Probably Amsec BF, Zycan, or Sturdy safe.

    How ever hard it is to get into anything, getting into two will be harder and take a lot longer.

    The most valuable stuff goes into the TL-30 unit. The more commodity stuff goes in the other, AK's, basic .22's, pump shotguns.

    After beating up Amsec for a while, I finally got an answer of the metal thickness on the TL-30 rated RF6528. I forget the exact number but is was around 11ga. I did not like that answer. You can't fake UL ratings though. I was told it was filled with a special high security concrete like material with chunks of metal and other secret sauce. I didn't really trust that. I know metal, but nothing about that stuff. (Note, the fill in this model is not at all the same as the fill in the BF series.)

    Anyway, for anyone who has researched true high security safes, I found a gem. Here is a video of an actual UL labs TL-30 test taking place. You can see they get the outer skin off pretty fast, with a tool pretty similar to what I would pick. I was amazed at how strong that stuff underneath was though, even against two guys with two handed sledge hammers and well thought out power tools.

    Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtbGUbeM860&feature=BFa&list=FLO_x13y4Tw_zsKJWRHIe9BA&lf=mh_lolz
  2. heeler

    heeler New Member

    You should do a lot more research before you discount the effectiveness of composite materials used in safes that achieve a UL TL-15 or TL-30 rating.
    Amsec makes a very well built UL rated TL-30 safe as well as TL-30X6 safes.
    Other makers use pretty much the same approach because thick steel is expensive stuff.
  3. a1abdj

    a1abdj New Member

    One of the benefits of a composite safe is the alternating materials. You can be into steel one second, then concrete, then ceramic, then carbide, and back and forth. All of these materials have tools which are ideal for dealing with them, but running into the next may leave you dead in the water.

    The "concrete" fills on these safes are very, very tough.


    I should also add that AMSEC just came out with their most recent price list. As always, there were price increases with the gun safes. The RF6528 was lowered in price enough to save any potential buyers a good chunk of money. The prices go into effect Feb. 6th.
  4. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

  5. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 New Member

    Get a big cheap one and put your cheap stuff in it.

    Get a small good one and put your good stuff in it.

    If you were the average uninformed burglar, which would you go after?
  6. weeniewawa

    weeniewawa New Member

    buy a big cheap one,and a great small one

    put the little one inside the big one and they will be too tuckered out and discouraged to attempt the inner safe when they finally get it and leave
  7. 7.62 Nato

    7.62 Nato Member

    The one I could take out the easiest to work on at my leisure.
  8. newfalguy101

    newfalguy101 Active Member

    Frankly, the fact it took two experienced guys 30 minutes to break in seems like a very good indicator of just how long ( if ever ) it would take an average everyday burglar to do the same.

    Think about it this way, the majority of burglars wont be lugging saws and sledge hammers.....
  9. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 New Member

    You know yer supposed to bolt them things down right?
  10. heeler

    heeler New Member

    Yes,you are right newfalguy.
    And it should also be noted that what I have read about these time tests is that not only do the UL guys that test these safes have the blue prints indicating exactly the best place to attack the safe and perform the task the clock also stops when they stop to change tools,blades,etc.
    If what I read is true then it takes considerably longer to get into one of these safes than a mere 30 minutes.
  11. a1abdj

    a1abdj New Member

    This is correct.

    The guys working the safe over are professional safe crackers. They have access to any infomation they would like ahead of time, including the opportunity to inspect the safe prior to the attack.

    The clock only runs while the safe is being attacked. If they stop to change tools, blades, bits, etc, the clock stops.

    Opening the safe prior to the clock running out will cause the safe to fail the test. Getting a six square inch hole through the rated surface will also fail it.

    Not all UL rated safes are equal, even if their ratings are. If a safe is submitted for a 30 minute rating, and it would last 30 minutes and one second, it passes. Another safe could last for 45 minutes, and get the same rating.
  12. Elessar

    Elessar New Member

    What I still can't wrap my mind around is that the T-15 rated HS safes have a full 1 inch thick plate steel bodies and door, yet the RF safe with the thin steel body gets the T-30 rating. That is some serious secret sauce in that fill.

    Even so, the HS still has about 2.5 inches of the fill, compared to the RF which has about 3.5 inches of it. If I understand this correctly then, that extra inch of fill exceeds the benefits of adding inch of steel plate....?
  13. armoredman

    armoredman Active Member

    I am in the market for a good safe, too...

    Here's a question nobody ever seems to ask - you come home and find your safe in the condition of that Empire in the pic, and yay! Your stuff is safe...how do YOU get it out now that the locking mechanism is ruined...Do safe companies offer services like that?
  14. a1abdj

    a1abdj New Member

    It doesn't matter what the material is, so long as the strength is there. An average steel plate safe with a TL-15 rating may use a 1" solid A36 plate body with a 1.5" solid A36 plate door. However, I have a few used Moslers with a TL-15 rating that use a 3/4" door. That 3/4" plate is an alloy that's got to be at least as strong as the 1.5" A36 plate.

    Composite safes tend to be lighter, stronger, and less expensive than steel plate safes. They also come with the added benefit of being fire resistant.

    That's exactly the type of service us real safe companies offer. =)
  15. Shrock

    Shrock New Member

    Heeler & newfalguy101, I think you missed the point of my post.

    "I was amazed at how strong that stuff underneath was though, even against two guys with two handed sledge hammers and well thought out power tools."

    I was impressed and plan to buy something built similarly.

    Elessar, I'm guessing the the fill on the HS is a primarily insulation oriented fill, like the fill in the BF. With all that steel they dont need a high-sec fill to get that rating. I agree, if it was the same fill as the RF, it would seem that it would easily make TL-30.
  16. heeler

    heeler New Member

    Shrock,I was referring about the statement you said you did not trust those materials.
    Generally,things we dont know about always makes us skeptical or suspicious.
    But it works and damn well.
    Frankly I would prefer a super composite over plate steel due to pricing,weight,and fire resistance.
    It's some bona fide tough stuff.
  17. Shrock

    Shrock New Member

    I think it is wise to be skeptical & suspicious. ESPECIALLY in the gun safe market. The intent to mislead is pretty obvious from some outlets. Before finding that video, all I had to go on was info from people selling safes and a UL test that I didnt understand completely and didnt trust it. After seeing the video, I was convinced.

    I just wasnt sure why you thought I should do more research when the whole point of my post was to show the results of the research into composite security materials. Anyway, I think we are on the same page about this.
  18. armoredman

    armoredman Active Member

    a1abdj, looking at your website - wish you could ship to AZ. :) I need a safe delivered AND setup, however, don't exactly have a dolly that can move a monster, but I don't want something the neighborhood kids can drag out the back door and down the alley weay to play with later.
    AmSec stuff is looking very good, better than the generic stuff I was going to buy.
    I don't have a big collection at all, am looking at the BF6032, what kind of protection can i expect?
  19. a1abdj

    a1abdj New Member

    I ship nationwide, and work with a network of guys in the safe business that are capable of moving safes. If you are near any major metro area, finding these guys usually isn't a problem. As you get further out, they are a bit more difficult to find. This also holds true with local dealers. If you needed me to point you towards somebody near you, I'd be happy to do so (if that somebody exists).

    I think the composite construction of the AMSEC puts it in a category of its own as far as gun safes go. You'll get better security and fire protection, but not the same type of protection one would expect out of a real safe. It is rare that a safe is attacked, but when it is, the door is usually the first target. That solid 1/2" plate will put up a heck of a fight.
  20. Shrock

    Shrock New Member

    Just to add a little more info to this, I think it is important to understand the various tests. What are they allowed do use to try to get into the box?

    Residential Security Container (RSC)

    1.) ....shall resist at least 5 minutes of attack that would defeat its purpose.
    3.) The tools used in the test are to include hammers, chisels, adjustable wrenches, pry bars, punches and screwdrivers. The hammers are not to exceed 3 pounds in head weight, and no tool is to exceed 18 inches in length.
    4.)....the attack is to be carried out by one operator.

    My takeaway from this. The hammers and pry bars allowed are SMALL. No power tools are allowed at all. Only one person is involved.

    For the TL-XX ratings. Tools include those above plus POWER TOOLS and full size hammers and pry bars. 15 min for TL-15 and 30 min for TL-30.

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