Gun Safes 101
Gun Safes 101
Gun Safes 101

In the wake of the deadly February 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School which left 17 fatalities and many others wounded or injured, questions on gun violence and gun safety are once more brought to light.

While this tragic incident is a painful reminder of how crucial it is to review gun control laws and eligibility for gun ownership, responsible gun owners also know that in choosing to own a deadly weapon, they also have a serious obligation of keeping it secure.  This is not only to prevent unfortunate incidents as above but also to avoid the tragedy of accidental shootings and thefts.

Gun related tragedies, are in fact, not rare. Here are some alarming numbers - the risk of accidental shooting and death is four times higher in a home with a gun;  four out of ten (that’s a high percentage!) of gun owners do not lock of their guns; 25 % of children who live in homes with guns have accessed them without permission and more than 50% of the teens who committed suicide using a gun have found the weapon in their very own homes.

Storing firearms in a quality gun safe is a major step in increased security. It makes storing, organizing and accessing them a lot safer.

Gun-Safes-101 - 3 Things to Consider

There are many types of gun safes available in the market.  It can get confusing and when safety is a big issue, it is important to choose the right one for your needs.  What are the things you need to take into consideration before making your decision?

What are you storing in it?
The size and number of weapons you need to store will determine what kind of safe you need.  A wall safe, for instance, will not be able to carry a lot of weight and may only be suitable for a handgun.  You may have to consider a long gun safe with space for accessories or ammunition if you are an avid hunter and have a collection of rifles.

How much protection do you need against fire and water damage?
Fire and water damage are the two main threats to the safety of your valuables, guns included.  The proximity to the fire department , the vulnerability of your safe to fires or flooding will determine the safety features you want for the gun safe you are considering.

How much are you willing to spend?  
Budget is always a big consideration in the purchase of safes.  A quality safe is undeniably a major expense. But a safe with the features you need will more than pay for itself.  The years of use you get from it and the peace of mind your gun safe provides -- that you are not only protecting property but human lives, as well, make it a worthy investment.

Gun-Safes-101 -Kinds of Gun Safes

There are a variety of safes available depending on many categories. There are several distinct categories:

1)    Based on Dimensions or Size

The size of your gun safe will depend on what you will store in it.  There are different kinds of gun safes based on size:

Handgun Models.  As the name implies, these are designed to hold handguns. Due to their size, these can hold two to three handguns at the most.  In some cases, there are safes designed to hold a lone gun. Because of their compact size, they are also versatile and can be mounted anywhere.

Long Gun Safes. These are used to store rifles and other long firearms. Some models are designed to hold very long weapons and come with a height of 58 to 60 inches. However, these gun safes tend to be tall but not wide. Some models even have a slim footprint that can fit into a corner.  These are ideal for those who do not have a lot of free space around their homes.

Multifunctional Gun Safes. If you are a gun enthusiast with a collection of guns of different sizes, a multifunctional gun safe would work best for you. These have racks, as well a shelves or drawers to store guns, ammunitions and accessories. Multifunctional gun safes may also be used to store valuables such as jewelries and important documents.

Heavy-Duty Models.  Some long gun models and multifunctional safes are designated as heavy-duty models because they weigh more than average.  Many of this type of gun safes weigh over 1,000 to 1,200 pounds. Added weight is due to thicker walls and doors, translating to extra security.

2)    Based on Properties

Fireproof Gun Safes.  High temperatures do not melt thick metal walls of most safes.  However, these do not protect their content from damage from heat and smoke. Fire resistant safes provide this protection.  They are built with special layer of insulation, durable continuous welding and special door seals which expand when exposed to heat.  The level of protection of safes from fires can be assessed through their fire rating. Independent laboratories perform test to determine fire ratings.

UL Fire Ratings
UL-72 is an acronym for Underwriters Laboratories. This is the standardized test that rates the fire resistance and protection of gun safes. There are 3 classes on fire ratings based on what is intended to be protected:
  • Class 350. Safes with this rating should withstand temperatures of up to 350°F on the inside. These are designed to protect materials such as paper.
  • Class 150. The inside temperature of safes with this rating must be below 150°F.  Safes with this rating are able to protect paper and other non paper records such as computer disks and photos.
  • Class 125. The inside of the safe must stay below 120°F and are designed to protect everything mentioned above, as well as flexible computer disks.

Other fire ratings would have words such as “1350° for 60-minute safe” or “90 minutes at 1680°”.  These would simply mean that they could be subjected to the stated number of minutes to fires with the stated temperatures and the inside of the safes would not rise above 350°.


Waterproof Gun Safes. Less common than fireproof safes, waterproof gun safes are used by people in areas where risk of flooding is high.  Similarly, these are given ratings and are tested independently. The rating given shows how long they keep contents protected given the amount of water they are exposed to.

3)    Based on Lock Type

There are 4 main types based on lock types:

Dial Lock Gun Safes. This is the most basic type. The mechanical dial of the lock of this type is sturdy and thus can last a long time.

Electronic Keypad Safes. These have replaced the dial lock type in popularity. The advantage of this is the ease in changing passwords for maximum security. However, it is important to remember to change its battery to keep it running continuously.

Biometric Gun Safes. Fast gaining popularity as well, biometric gun safes provide greater security. It uses your fingerprint as a unique access code and is therefore hard to replicate. This offers both security as well as convenience because the need to change access codes frequently is eliminated.

Multiple Lock Safes. For people desiring a double layer of protection, multiple lock safes are a good option. Usually, these safes have a mechanical lock operated with a key, as well as a dial or electronic keypad.  While these offer improved security, there is a downside to using multiple lock safes. For one, they make it time consuming to unlock. Plus there is a risk of losing keys and forgetting pass codes or combinations.  

4)    Based on Installation Location

There are 2 other criteria to consider when buying safes
1) How effectively can they be concealed  
2) How easy can they be accessed by the owner

There are many types of safes based on these 2 considerations:

In-wall Safes. An in-wall safe is a secure option because it makes drilling from either side practically impossible. Safes of this kind are also easier to conceal behind paintings or other decorative elements in the house.

Hidden Gun Safes. These safes are incorporated into items normally found in the home such as traditional furniture or decorative items. It makes it harder for thieves or even curious household members to locate thus offering better protection.

Under Bed Safes. If you keep a gun mainly for protection, you would want to be able to access it immediately if needed. An under bed model is the best option. This type is free standing and can be grabbed and taken away. While this is an advantage when you need to move it, you must ensure that the safe you choose is also heavier to prevent intruders from dragging and carrying it away.

Corner Gun Safes. As the name implies, these stand in corners and the main purpose is to save space. Corner models are normally tall and are a good choice for keeping rifles.

5)    Vehicle Gun Safes

The last type of gun safes are for people who require a higher level of personal security or for their cargo.  There are 2 main kinds:

Car Gun Safes. Rather than hiding your gun in the glove compartment or under the seats, it is better to have a gun safe installed in your vehicle for greater security. Most models are portable but console mounted safes are likewise available. When shopping for a car gun safe, look for the same features you would want for a regular safe.

Truck Gun Safes. For people who regularly go hunting, truck gun safes are recommended. Some models can hold several rifles, including accessories and ammunitions. As with car gun safes, there are portable and console mounted models.

Dick’s Lock and Safe: We’ve Got You Covered For Safe Sales and Services

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