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Discussion Starter #1
I am seriously thinking about purchasing a gun safe to store my guns and protect them from theft or fire. Any suggestions as to the brand or features I should be looking at?
 

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National Security. Buy the biggest, heaviest one you can afford with fire proofing. Get an electronic push button lock. You'll be amazed at what your wife will want to put in it, too.
 

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I won't recommend a particular brand but I will give you some general advice. If you want fire protection simply examine the UL fire rating for the safe. What you are looking for is hours and temperature. Obviously the higher the hours and temperature the more secure your items will be from fire.

Buy a safe of correct size. Don’t try to cram a twenty-pound ham into a five-pound can. You will end up marring your guns when they inevitably bang together as you try to squeeze then in together.

Do not believe that a safe will stop a determined thief. I promise you that I can gain entry into any gun safe that I know of on the market today in less than an hour. If nothing else I can cart it off, yes even the big ones, and work on it at my leisure. What a gun safe does is protect your valuables from Johnny the neighborhood teenage burglar, and Jack the average Junkie. With that in mind I personally believe that fire rating is the most important factor in a safe. High security and high fire rating are of course the best but if your budget is such that you can’t have the best of both then look for good fire protection.

Bolt it down! Use those holes in the bottom of the safe to secure your safe to the floor. I have ¾” bolts through the floor into ½” X 2” X 3’ steel plates that overlap the two adjoining floor joist. The bolts extend through the plate and are secured in place with washers and nuts that draw the plate hard up against the joist and pull the safe hard down to the floor. Yes, someone can get into the crawl space under my house and unbolt the system but like I said Johnny and Jack are not that bright, determined, or prepared.

Next, use the lock. I just can’t tell you how many times I have read a report from one of my officers regarding a burglary where valuables were stolen from a safe where the victim didn’t lock the door because it was just too much hassle to use a key or work the combo.

Be careful about where you locate your safe. You will probably appreciate its looks and will want others to admire it also. This is not a good idea. Avoid high humidity areas or if that can’t be helped then look into desiccants or other moisture reducing devices.

Hopefully this will help you make a choice that works for you.
 

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Patrickl said it all. I got a browning "Morgan Fort" safe last year, probably the best money I've ever spent on my guns. It's in the basement, away fron prying eyes. Get as large a safe as you can afford -- somehitng "mid-sized" at least. They fill up quickly. Make sure it's fire rated by an independent lab, not the safe maker's own 'in house" laboratory. Yes, the wife will want to put things in it too, like wedding albums, her collection of old postcards, famiy jewelry, expensive cameras, etc. etc. And patrickl said it right when most safes won't protect you from professional burgulars, just local B&E types. A tool-rated safe is too heavy and expensive for most average home owners and gun owners to justify, IMHO. BTW, plan on spending at least $200 and probably cloer to $400 or $600 to get that safe delivered and installed up or down a flight of stairs...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Another thing I did not mention is that I will probably keep the safe in the garage which can get hot since I live in South Texas. Someone said to use a dehumidifier. The house really has no room left for a safe and it does not even have central air and heat (room air cons) so the garage might not be but a little worse than the house.
 

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I think Patrickl about covered it, but you might want to reconsider placing it in the garage. I've read suggestions made by insurance companies proclaiming that the garage is THE most likely place for a fire to start due to the fact that most people store combustibles and such in these places. The security in the average garage is also more easily circumvented, allowing easier access to the unauthorized.

And as patrickl also noted, the safe itself will not stop the most determined of scumbags. The important thing about a safe is the fact that you have taken the proper precautions to secure your guns in a manner that will preclude you from being held responsible for crimes committed with any of your guns IF they are stolen. In most areas YOU can be held responsible for most anything that happens with your guns if it is determined that you are not storing them in an a manner deemed acceptable by law. People who leave guns in drawers, on nightstands or even in fancy glass cases may be in for a suprise if they are stolen and used in a crime.
 

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Patrickl covered it fairly well. Keep in mind that safes, any safe, is just a security delay device. Given a little time, they can all be entered. Significant with this fact is that if a burglar finds you have a safe and he has time, he will likely blow off burglarizing the rest of your home because he knows the valuables, especially things that are really valuable, will be in the safe. At that point, the safe is a beacon to your goodies.

Gun safes are actually poor security devices. If you want real security, you need a safe that is more akin to what jewelry stores use which are large, very heavy, thick walled safes. Most gun safes do more for fire protection than actual security. Count on your properly secure behemouth costing many grand. Ideally you want one that has comparable protection on all sides including top and bottom. Heavily fortified doors just mean that the person needs to go through a side or back panel instead.

If you have a pier and beam house, you will need to have the floor area fortified to handle the extra weight.

If you have the time or expense, I suggest you find a way to install your safe such that people won't know you have it. My neighbor down the street has one located inside an old refridgerator in his garage. Another has his safe being used as part of the support for a work bench such that it doesn't look like he has a safe. Remember, people will have trouble stealing things they can't find.

Lastly, don't tell your friends or family that you have it. They don't need to know and everyone you tell will potentially cause a security problem.
 

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Originally posted by nmchenry:
Another thing I did not mention is that I will probably keep the safe in the garage which can get hot since I live in South Texas. Someone said to use a dehumidifier. The house really has no room left for a safe and it does not even have central air and heat (room air cons) so the garage might not be but a little worse than the house.
The garage is *THE WORST* place you could put a safe. 1) It is not temperature controlled. You will need to use a dehumidifier and more regularly oil your guns. 2) The garage is the easiest place for thieves to steel something because of the usual lack of security systems and/or the ease / lack of time it takes just being able to back a truck in and cart the thing off.

In your case, the lack of A/C in the house sort of negates reason number one, but only a little. The Garage still doesn't get any airflow. So, usually, you do circulate air somehow in the house and it is still cooler than the garage. Unless you regularly leave the garage door open with fans and the windows too. Of course, that just makes #2 all the more easier.

But, a safe is better than no safe. And if you have no room, the garage is better than outside. Certainly get the dehumidifier, and certainly bolt that safe into the cement.

Also, get a safe 50 percent bigger than you think you need. I have *NEVER* met anyone who felt they bought a safe that was too big. You'll *ALWAYS* find / buy things that you'll want to put in it...
 
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