Unsafe GunSafes - Forbes July 27 2012

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Aug 18, 2007
A fairly damning bit of reporting in Forbes Magzine, in the article

The videos of the three year old popping and jimmying the safes to open then in a matter of seconds is eye-opening.

The author examines a tremendous lack of real security in several small gun safes, including from Stack On and AMSEC. He also followed up with management at A Wal-Mart, Dick's, Cabela's, all to no avail.

The conclusion of the article is that all of the small gun safes from Stack On are designed by teams with no knowledge of security processes or standards.

Essentially , he recommends buying safes from safe companies, not from sporting good stores.
As bad as that is that the child can open it (and that's definitely bad) does anyone out there really think these light gauge "safes" with non UL rated locks really offer any real security.
Come on!!!
Often these devices are bought for the purpose of legal compliance with firearm security regulations. They meet those requirements, so it is the requirement that's actually faulty, not the device.
Here's the report that the Forbes article was based on. You do get what you pay for and somewhere I saw that the Stack On that was in question was bought for $36.00! How much security can you expect for that? The CA DOJ standards are referenced and show how adding cost and government involvement doesn't mean a better product. I have always been curious what products submitted to the CA DOJ have failed as it seems everything that has been submitted is approved. The issues in this article don't even fall into any of the testing categories used since they are based on using tools for entry.

At the other extreme was the posting a while back on another site that contended that nothing less than 5" armor plate walls and a 12" armor plate door with 3" locking bolts should be considered for even minimum security. And that was only if it were buried in hard concrete inside a mountain with sensors and a 2200 volt electric fence.

While those inexpensive "safes" provide little security, moderate cost safes do provide enough protection to defeat the average break-in artist. Few teen age punks looking for money for a drug fix will bring along heavy duty plasma cutters, torches, and explosives. You don't need Fort Knox and an armored division; you need a good enough safe to encourage the punk to take his business elsewhere.

One of the silliest things I have seen was the fellow who had installed a vault door, combination lock, etc., on his gun room. Great idea and I have seen those widely advertised. But a foot from the steel door and frame, there was nothing but 2x4's and 3/8" dry wall anyone could kick a hole through! But the vault door sure was impressive.

I plan to thwart criminals by having about 20 single shot shotguns and bolt 22s in the back of the closet. Maybe they will carry those and leave my good stuff alone. I really expect little "safe" out of anything that I paid less than $200 for. Should a 4 year old be able to open it? No. But a detemined criminal will.
While those inexpensive "safes" provide little security, moderate cost safes do provide enough protection to defeat the average break-in artist.

But they're not talking about moderate cost "safes". They're discussing handgun safes that are supposed to keep your kids out, not the gang members.

If there is a design flaw that makes bouncing these things pop then obviously you need to anchor them against your kid bouncing them or purchase a better quality residential security container that doesn't have this flaw. It also allows you to test them in the store to determine if they have this flaw. If it fails the bounce test, take it back. If it passes, consider whether it meets your minimum needs.
I just want something to keep the little one out, yet keep a handgun semi-accessible. This throws a wrench in my HD plans.
You still have a lot of good options available that do a better job of both. Just need to stay away from the cheapest electronics and container construction. They will cost a little more money, but the value will be a lot more.

All of them should be bolted down.
Here's another concerning problem Tobias found regarding the Simplex series of locks. Scroll down about 1/3 of the way ...

Simplex Article

Statement at the end of the article:
"KABA has stated that modifications were completed on or about September 19, 2010 in order to minimize the security vulnerability to the Simplex. However, this does not mean that locks which were purchased after that date are in fact secure. This is because old stock may still be sold by dealers. You should determine whether any locks that were purchased after that date have been modified to thwart the threat from strong magnetic fields."
My view is that there are "safes" and there are "storage boxes". Calling a storage box a "safe" is the real problem.
Security expert Bruce Schneier recently commented on this Forbes article, and provided a link to an extremely informative and informed presentation at the hacker con DEFCON all about gun safe security. The following comments and links are quoted directly from Schneier's blog and security newsletter, Cryptogram.

When you go to the DEFCON 19 link download the full video of talk and slides. Slides alone (PDF or video) are not enough information. The presentation takes about 45 minutes. (Be aware that Deviant is a bit blunt, and his language might not be considered family-friendly. He is, however, a very knowledgable expert on locks and lockpicking and safes, and is also a firm 2d Amendment and RKBA supporter and practitioner, as will be apparent.)

In a long article about insecurities in gun safes, there's this great
paragraph: "Unfortunately, manufacturers and consumers are deceived and
misled into a false sense of security by electronic credentials, codes,
and biometrics. We have seen this often, even with high security locks.
Our rule: electrons do not open doors; mechanical components do. If you
can compromise the mechanisms then all the credentials, encryption,
fingerprint readers, and other gizmos and gimmicks mean nothing." In
other words, security is only as strong as the weakest link.
or http://tinyurl.com/cuxuosl
DefCon 19 talk on the security of gun safes.

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The cheap gun safes should slow the burglar down long enough for the cops to show up, your entire house should have a security system, look how much you saved on that Wal-Mart gun safe ;)
I only have one Stack-On safe inside my 30 gun Winchester safe. I use it mostly as an ammo box to keep the ammo dry and a little safer in the event of burglary or fire. I have no delusions that it will hold up to severe abuse.
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