Owning a gun is both a constitutional right in the United States and an enormous responsibility. Gun owners need to take steps to prevent firearms from falling into the wrong hands, while still ensuring easy access should the need arise. If you're a hunter or collector, you want to protect your investment as well as secure your rifles, shotguns, and pistols. Gun safes offer a solution.
For many gun owners, a basic home safe does double duty, providing a safe location for both handguns and valuables. This is a perfectly acceptable solution but does present a problem with accessibility. A home safe doesn't offer easy access to firearms, especially if the safe is located in an out-of-the-way corner of the house. Most handgun owners prefer to locate gun safes in their bedrooms. And, of course, rifles and shotguns simply won't fit into a standard-sized safe.
Types of Gun Safes
With this in mind, what types of gun safes will work best for you? Your choices include:
Under bed handgun safes
Gun and rifle safes and cabinets
Tactical under bed rifle safes
Under bed handgun safes are one of the most popular types of safe for guns, combining safety with accessibility. As such safes are generally small, they're also portable, making them an ideal choice for people who travel with their guns. Such safes can also be bolted to the floor or the underside of a bed for permanent storage.
Gun cabinets are tall, standalone safes designed with hunters and collectors in mind. Tactical underbed safes are essentially gun cabinets laid on their sides, so they can be tucked out of sight under a bed—an ideal choice if space precludes a standing gun cabinet.
For extra protection, consider a hidden bed safe. Built to match the dimensions of your bed, the home safe replaces your bed's box spring. Unless someone takes off the mattress, they'd never know the safe was there.
Additional Protection: Consider a Fireproof Safe
Why consider a fireproof safe for your guns? Statistically, the chance of a home fire is much higher than your risk of burglary, and even a small fire can destroy an entire firearm collection.
A fireproof safe is, more accurately, a fire-resistant safe. The safe's fire rating reveals how many minutes the safe will protect against a specific temperature—for instance, 30 minutes at 1500 degrees. Opt for the highest fire rating you can afford, as a large fireproof safe may be exposed to high temperatures for an extended time period.
In addition to a fireproof safe, consider a water-resistant gun cabinet—the fire department's water hoses can do as much damage to a gun as fire. A gun cabinet can also be equipped with the same biometric or fingerprint security systems seen on a business or home safe.
Protect your family. Protect your investment. It's the responsible choice.
Gun Safes FAQS
Q: Are gun safes fireproof?
A: The word proof means able to withstand. We would say that yes, most gun safes are fireproof. Just note that there are many factors that can affect how well the gun safe performs including the duration of the fire, where the safe is located, the temperature at which the fire burns, and how long it takes the fire department to get there to put the fire out. If a fire burns hot enough and long enough, any safe can be damaged or even destroyed if it doesn’t offer the right fire protection. If you are concerned about fire protection, make sure to look for longer fire ratings, thicker steel in the door, and body and fire/smoke seals around the door.
Some gun safe manufacturers typically use a drywall type material to keep the heat from burning up the contents. The more layers, the longer the fire rating. Others use a proprietary concrete composite material. The goal is to keep the internal temperature below 350 degrees F which is the critical temperature where the paper will start to char and burn. You also don’t want your guns to be damaged either. To test the gun safe, they stick the safe in a burn chamber and heat the external temperature up to their desired temperature. They put sensors on the inside to check the internal temperature. The internal temperature should not exceed 350 degrees F for the length of time they are testing the safe. Check the fire ratings to see how long the gun safe was tested for (30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 90 minutes, 2 hours). The longer the rating, the longer it should last in the event of a fire.
Q: Are gun safes waterproof?
A: Most gun safes are not waterproof. Sports Afield Gun Safes do offer some water protection in the event of a flood. For example, the Sports Afield SA5924P Gun Safe offers waterproofing in 2 feet of water for 7 days. For other brands of gun safes, we suggest putting items in Zip Lock Bags or Tupperware Containers to keep them 100% waterproof. We also sell waterproof bags to put paperwork and other items inside the safe. If you want to keep your rifles and pistols waterproof, we suggest putting them in waterproof bags as well.
Q: Are gun safes worth it?
A: Gun safes are a once-in-a-lifetime purchase. Are gun safes worth it all depends on your needs? Do you want to keep your rifles and pistols secure from someone breaking into your home and stealing them? What about keeping them locked up from family members and kids in the home? Do you want fire protection to protect your weapons, paperwork, and valuables? Gun safes are worth it if they offer the protection you are looking for and need.
Q: Are gun safes tax free?
A: Gun safes are tax free in the following states:
Tennessee (Tax Holiday through June of 2022)
We do collect sales tax on gun safes in other states that we collect sales tax in.
Q: What is the best brand of gun safe?
A: The top brands of gun safes include American Security and Browning.
American Security (AMSEC) is one of the most well known safe manufactures in the industry. They have a gun safe for every budget and even make some of their lines in the USA. They are one of the only companies to make a UL Listed TL-30X6 rated high security gun safe (link: https://www.safeandvaultstore.com/pages/burglary-ratings#TL-30X6).
Browning is typically known for their quality firearms but they also have gun safes built under their name by ProSteel. One of the best features of the Browning gun safes is their interiors. Their patented door organization system is one of a kind and also allows you to store rifles in the door. Some models even allow you to store rifles with scopes on the door.
Q: What is the most secure long gun safe?
A: If you are looking for the highest rated gun safe and you will be storing a high content value, you will want to look for something that has a UL TL-30 or UL TL-30X6 rating.
A: We may be biased, but we think you should buy your gun safe from SafeandVaultStore.com. We have been in business for over 70 years and offer one of the largest selections of gun safes online. Plus, since we live and breathe safes all day long, we know them like the back of our hands. We also offer Free Shipping on all our products. There are many local companies and big box stores that sell gun safes, but they don’t have the selection, they don’t offer the best price, and they don’t have the expertise.
Q: How much should I spend on a gun safe?
A: The amount you spend on a gun safe is totally up to you. But you should consider the amount of content value you will be storing inside. The higher the value you will need to protect, the more you should spend on a gun safe to protect it. If you have $100,000 you need to protect but you want to buy a $1,000 gun safe, that may not make sense. Things to consider should be how many rifles you want to protect, steel thickness in both the body and the door, the burglar rating, what type of lock you will need, and fire rating.
Q: What is a good fire rating for a gun safe?
A: We recommend looking for something that has a minimum of a one hour fire rating if you are in the city and a longer fire rating if you are out in the country. The reason is that if you are in the city, the fire department can get there relatively quickly to put water on the fire to cool it down. If you are in the country, it may take them longer which means you need something that will offer longer protection.
Q: What size gun safe should I buy?
A: Your first step should be to determine how many rifles you currently have that you want to put inside.
You will then want to figure out how many you think you may purchase in the future.
Figure out if you will be putting any pistols inside and if the gun safe has room for that on the door or if you will be putting them in a pistol rack on a shelf.
Guns are not the only thing you will store inside so determine what else will go into the safe.
Remember that the number of gun slots is based on un-scoped rifles or shotguns. Anything that has a scope, ARs, and shotguns with extended bolt handles could take up an extra gun slot so you will want to factor that in.
We suggest purchasing a gun safe at least 1-1/2 times as big as you think you currently need to attribute for future growth.
Q: How do I keep my guns from rusting inside my gun safe?
A: We recommend buying either an electronic dehumidifier that can plugin if the gun safe has a power outlet or a Silica Gel Dehumidifier Box. This will prevent moisture issues and rust, especially in a humid climate.
Browning also sells a Zerust Protectant Capsule that emits an invisible vapor that forms a barrier from rust and corrosion that forms on metal surfaces.
Q: Where should I put my gun safe in my house?
A: If you have a basement in your house, this is one of the best spots to install a gun safe because it is out of sight. Putting it in a convenient place such as a master bedroom, hall closet or secondary bedroom will allow you quick access to your firearms when you need them in an emergency. A garage is a popular place to put a gun safe, but you will want to make sure you have some form of humidity control. Also, making sure the safe is anchored to the concrete floor will prevent someone from breaking into your garage and being able to easily remove it.
Q: How do I move a heavy gun safe?
A: We recommend that you find a professional safe mover to move a heavy gun safe, especially if it is over 1,000 pounds. This way it is done correctly with no damage to the safe or to your property. If the safe is lighter weight, you can move the gun safe yourself with the help of some friends and an appliance dolly. Most gun safes with external hinges, the door can be removed which weighs 1/3rd of the safe weight. This will allow you to take the door off and move it into place and then move the body separately. Always be careful when moving a gun safe up or downstairs and make sure it is always secured.
Q: Should I bolt my gun safe to the floor?
A: Yes, we always recommend bolting your safe to a solid surface (either wood or concrete). Even if the safe is heavy, it doesn’t mean someone cannot remove it from your home. It is better to be safe than sorry. Bolting the safe down also prevents someone from tipping the safe on its back to get more leverage to try and pry on the door.
Q: Can I bolt my gun safe to a wall?
A: Gun safes are typically fire rated which means there are only holes in the bottom of the safe to bolt to a floor. Drilling holes in the back of the safe would void the fire rating. If you are more concerned about burglar protection, a gun cabinet without a fire rating may be a better choice if you cannot bolt the safe to a floor. This way holes can be drilled in the back to bolt it to a wall.
Q: Can I put a gun safe on the second floor?
A: Yes, you can install a gun safe on the second floor. The question is, how heavy can you go? We recommend trying to stay under 1,000 pounds for a gun safe installed on a second story. Anything more than that, you will want to determine if the stairs going up to the second floor can handle the weight of the safe, movers, and equipment. If the gun safe weighs more than 1,000 pounds, we recommend contacting a structural engineer to determine if your floor can handle the weight of the safe plus the items inside.