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Our Gun Safe Buying Guide

What should you consider when purchasing a gun safe? While security and natural disaster protection are important they are not the only considerations when looking for a good locker for your firearms. There are other considerations which are also important. This will help to find it best.

1. Rust protection

Sad as it may be many firearms will rust. Many people who have left their weapons in a cupboard return sometime later to find a thin film of rust on the outside (and inside!) of the weapon. Rust protection is a serious issue, and your weapons can rust both outside a safe and inside.

Of course, if you don’t own a good locker then rust protection is up to you. But if you do then that locker should also protect your firearms from rust.

One of the most important aspects of rust protection is that there are solid and effective seals around the inside of the door. Any quality gun safe should be fully sealed, this should be part of the fire protection & kids safety.

But if your safe doesn’t have any seals around the door it’s extremely important, particularly if you live in a moist and humid environment, that you attach seals to help prevent the entry of humid air.

A Palusol door seal will help keep moisture out of your safety as well as provide some fire protection. No door seal at all is a disaster in a fire, and it allows moisture to get in increasing the risk of rust.

Palusol is an expandable material which is triggered by heat. As it heats up it expands enormously increasing pressure in the seal and thereby helping keep it out.

And a few extra steps to prevent rust are useful. Gun socks will help keep water away from that precious metal and there are also rust protection products such as Boeshield T-9 or use a dehumidifier. 

2. The hinges on the gun safe

The door of a safe is always hinged so that you can open it. Some have interior hinges and others have exterior hinges. Which is best?

Many people assume that interior hinges are best because a potential thief is unable to get at the hinges and break them. This, in fact, is not necessarily the case.

The hinges are only present on the safe to allow for the opening of the door. Even if a thief is able to cut the hinges this in no way compromises the security of the safe, or at least compromises the security of a good one. Even with the hinges cut a good cabinet will stay locked, and any thief will be unable to open the door without breaking the locks. There are, however, exceptions to this amongst the cheaper and lower quality safes, particularly those with limited door bolts.

Interior hinges restrict the range of movement of the door and can make the safe less user-friendly. Exterior hinges allow for a greater range of movement of the door. Some exterior hinges even allow for the removal of the door, which may be necessary, for example, if the locks need servicing.

Hinges are not a part of the security system of any good locker. 

3. Metal thickness

The overwhelming majority of security in a safe is created by two factors. The strength and thickness of the metal that it is made from and the quality of the door and number and quality of the door bolts. 10 gauge steel is adequate, 8 gauge or thicker is better. Of course the thicker the steel the more expensive the locker.

Just about any steel can be penetrated eventually, but the thicker the better. For example, 12 gauge single panel steel can be penetrated with a blow from a simple fire ax.

Despite the fact that just about any steel can be penetrated more resistant steel will deter most thieves. The majority of burglaries are by thieves looking for a quick pick up. They want to grab anything of value and run. If a few attempts on the safe aren’t effective they will go for something else in the house. They are unlikely to bring tools such as concrete saws with them just to cut through a very solid safe.