If you own guns, you really should have a gun safe and there are so many good reasons that it isn’t even worth arguing. But what to look for in a gun safe?
You should get a safe that suits the number of firearms you own and the purpose – whether it’s for storage of all your guns and shooting gear or for a defensive pistol only. It should have at least a three-point locking system and ideally it should be fireproof though that arguably isn’t as important as the other two factors. The good news is you may not have to spend as much as you’d think.
Having A Three-Point Lock Is More Important Than How It Locks
One of the first priorities of a gun safe is a three-point lock, which matters more than the locking/unlocking mechanism. Dials, keypads, biometric, plain Jane mechanical locks…it doesn’t matter. What matters is the bits that actually LOCK the safe!
The gold standard for storing firearms is a three-point locking system, which uses three horizontal bars that extend into the door at the top, bottom and side of the door of a safe. When a three-point locking mechanism is opened – usually by turning a handle – the horizontal and vertical bolts retract, allowing the door of the safe to be opened. When locked, the door is effectively immobilized; you can’t get it to budge much in any direction.
Most cheap lockboxes use only single-point locking, which is basically a metal tab that rotates into position behind the door jamb when you use the key. Not only can these locks be easily picked, such storage devices can be battered into opening with a hammer and a good arm.
Two-point locking may be considered, but only with small pistol safes that lock via two steel locking rods. These should be of solid construction, with thick walls to ensure a sufficient lock.
In countries that require gun owners have safes (such as the UK and Australia) it’s often required that said safe be a three-point lock. Thus, it’s safe – pardon the pun – to say that you should ensure a safe has a three point lock.
Get The Right Gun Safe For You
Just as important is selecting the right gun safe for you. Firstly, how many guns do you own or will be storing? Some people just have a couple of pistols, some people have that plus a couple of long guns, and some people have extensive collections.
Another thing to bear in mind is what the roles of your firearms are. Some guns are range toys or safe queens (plinkers, competition guns, custom guns you don’t dare shoot) others are working guns for the out-of-doors (scoped or iron sight rifles, shotguns etc) and some may be home defense guns. Some people have a larger long gun safe for the above and a separate safe for their home defense and/or concealed carry gun and concealed carry holster.
Some people just get one big safe and put all of them in there.
So it really depends on what you need from a safe and what kind of gun owner you are. Therefore, make sure that a safe (or multiple) is either the best for you and your lifestyle.
Consider A Fireproof Safe
Another thing to look for is a fireproof safe. A three-point lock and solid construction makes a safe theft-proof, as that ensures only those that have access can get into it, and getting the right safe (or safes) for you ensures you’ll get use out of it. Fireproofing ensures that if the worst happens, the contents will be safe.
This is especially true if you store ammunition in your safe. Some might argue it’s beneficial to store ammunition separately, but a lot of people get a big safe and store guns and ammo inside, in order to keep them out of tiny hands.
Fireproofing ensures that if an inferno takes place, your guns and ammunition will remain safe, even the interior of the safe heats up sufficiently to discharge a round. The more you’ve sunk into your firearms collection, the more you may want to ensure that your gun safe (or safes) is/are fireproof.