We all did it when we were young: we would try to find ways to get into whatever we could that we weren’t supposed to. So we all know the “tricks of the trade” for getting into our parents’ secure locations. Times have changed, however, and now with modern electronics and camera phones and social media, securing your valued items can be harder to do.
When you look to secure a firearm for safety you need to consider several variables. One would be how many firearms do you need to secure? Are you looking at securing your carry gun or all of your guns? Who are you keeping them secure from (kids, spouse, or the idiot that tries to break in when you are gone, the curious neighbor, etc…)? How fast would you need to access the secured firearms?
The questions go on and on. You need to think your way through what, when, where and why. I went out with a friend recently looking for a safe to secure his carry gun. He wasn’t worried about the possibility of someone breaking in and getting it; he was worried about his little girl. She is too young to know what it is or how to safely handle it, however she’s just old enough that she picks everything up and checks it out and plays with it. So we began looking into a safe that he could secure the firearm without compromising the ability to get to it if he needs it.
We looked at big multi-gun safes which weigh hundreds of pounds all the way down to wall mounted safes and bedside safes. There are tons of options. It’s almost confusing as to what will work or not. The best thing you can do is research, lots of research. Then go out and look at the ones you like. Some things to keep in mind when you are looking at safes are:
Size — How big of a safe do you need? If you are trying to store one gun, then you can look at a one gun safe. If you are looking to store multiple, plan for more space than you think you need. Guns tend to multiply (at least in my house they do) and if you purchase a safe that fits just what you have you will be scrambling for space when they do.
Locking mechanism — Make sure that locking bolts are sturdy enough to prevent a break-in. In this case, more is better and size does matter. Most good quality, full-size safes have at least 4 locking bolts. These locking bolts should be large enough to secure the safe so that a person would not be able to pry or cut through them.
The Lock — There are many variables to the locks that come on these safes. When considering these, you need to look at access not only for yourself but for another authorized adult, if you are not available. Electronic locks use either batteries or a constant power source. If the batteries fail or you lose power, you need to make sure you have a way to get into the safe (usually a back up key). You also need to make sure that you change the batteries at regular intervals. Of course, with manual locks, you don’t need to worry about anything but keeping that combination.
Just a quick side note on the Bio-metric locks: If you set a Bio-metric to yourself and something happens to you where you can’t get to the safe, and you need someone else to get in it for you. You may have problems.
Fire Rating — If you are getting a large safe, you may want to consider a fire resistant safe. Most fire resistant safes have both a temperature and a time frame for which they are rated. Keep in mind that most house fires can reach up to around 1200 degrees pretty quickly, so again, look at ones that will fit your needs.
Now here is the matter of where to put the safe. If it is a bedside-mounted safe, put it in an inconspicuous place where you can get to it quickly. Make sure you have room to access it and open it comfortably in the dark by feel only. That will ensure that you won’t have to struggle to get to your firearm if you need it. If you are installing a wall mounted or other smaller safe, make sure that you can access the safe at any time but that it is not obvious in its placement.
If you are bringing in a large multi-gun safe, think very carefully about where you are going to put it. Most larger safes are not only heavy but very cumbersome if you need to move it. You also want to make sure that you put it in a location where it will not be obvious. If you have guests over or a repairman is in your house, you don’t want people to know it’s there. Yes, I am proud of my collection of firearms. However since I want to keep them, I don’t tell everyone where they are at. If someone can see your safe, they can find a way to try to get into it. Put it where it is out of every day sight.
Safe gun storage is the responsibility of every gun owner. The use of a good quality safe is as important as knowing how to use your firearms. Most safes are built to last a lifetime and can keep your belongings safe and secure as well as keeping your family safe. Be sure to make an educated decision when selecting the best safe to keep your firearms secure.