11 Myths about Gun Safe Theft Protection

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This article is continued from the previous page… Click here to jump Back to the Beginning.

Myth:  My gun safe is so heavy, I don’t have to bolt it down.

This is one of the biggest myths.  Relying on the weight of the safe alone to keep it from getting stolen is naive.

Installing a gun safe without anchoring by bolting it down is like putting on a motorcycle helmet but not fastening the chin strap.  The un-anchored gun safe looks like it’s doing something, but at the first sign of trouble it’s going to disappear.

Anchoring Makes a Gun Safe Harder to Steal

Given enough time and the right tools, there isn’t a safe made in the world that can’t be broken into.  That’s why most thieves would rather take a safe or gun safe somewhere that they can take their time and make all the noise they want.  One of the most popular methods for attacking gun safes is just to steal the whole gun safe, as the example above where burglars made off with a 1500 lbs gun safe.  With lighter gun safes, it’s often easier to just take the whole safe then to break into it and then have to carry them all.  These thieves stole 15 guns in a 500 lbs gun safe that wasn’t anchored in place.

If 2 or 3 guys got it into your house with a truck, 2 or 3 guys can get it out too.   It may have taken the movers an hour or two to move it in, but most of that time was spent making sure they didn’t scratch your walls, floors, or the safe.  Burglars do not care about destroying your house to avoid going to jail, or even just for the fun of it.  You may be right that it’s almost impossible to get the safe out your complicated stairway without the proper equipment, but that doesn’t mean burglars won’t throw it down the stairs and through a wall trying. Career criminals are often very strong.  They may have spent years on the street fighting and years in prison lifting weights.  And they have friends.  They may be strong enough to just drag it out.

Most people assume it’s impossible to remove a gun safe because they don’t think like thieves.  Burglars usually adapt things they find around a home for all kinds of purposes.  If they need to get a gun safe across a floor they may throw it on a big blanket and drag it out.  Or they put it on something that will roll like pipes, golf balls, billiard balls, broken broom sticks, or the dolly in your own garage and roll it out.

If they know you have a gun safe ahead of time they may even bring some of those tools.  The majority of thieves don’t carry around tools to break into houses because they know they can incriminate them if they’re caught with tools and no reason for having them.  If a cop catches a guy walking around a neighborhood with a crowbar, it’s liable to get some attention.  But if he catches the same guy with a bag of golf balls or some sections of electrical conduit, he may know something isn’t right, but what can he do about it?

Gun Safe Door Pried Open after pushing it over

Gun Safe pushed over and pried open on the floor. It wasn’t Bolted Down.

Burglars can also use their vehicles in creative ways.  In this example, thieves stole two gun safes out of a house, putting one weighing 1100 lbs on the roof of their car. They used the owner’s son’s scooter to wheel the gun safe out the garage, but were interrupted by a neighbor as they tied it down using the straps they had brought with them.  Burglars can also pull a gun safe out of your garage with a tow strap and throw it in the back of a truck.  Thieves have ripped heavy commercial TL-15 safes holding narcotics out of drug stores with stolen tow trucks.

When there’s something worth stealing burglars can be very resourceful, so you have to think like a thief to prevent burglary.  Bolting down this cheap gun safe kept burglars from stealing it.

Anchoring Makes a Gun Safe Harder to Pry Open

Even if the burglars don’t try to take the safe, by not bolting down your gun safe you just made their life so much easier!  Their first move will be to push the safe over.  It’s difficult to get enough leverage to attack a safe door with a pry bar when it’s standing up.  When it’s lying down, they can use all of their body weight to jump up and down on any lever they have available.  Most of the pried open gun safes shown in this article were photographed standing up, but really were found lying down after the break-in.

Anchoring Makes a Gun Safe Harder to Hack, Saw, or Hammer Open

The door of any safe is the thickest part.  By pushing the safe over, they can attack any of the other five sides which are much thinner.  It also may be difficult to attack your vertical gun safe with an ax, sledgehammer, or other brute force tool.  With the gun safe pushed over, they can position it however they want and swing down on it with all their might.

Anchoring is Necessary for Safety

Another reason your gun safe needs to be bolted down is for safety.  Some safes, especially wide and shallow ones, will tip over if not bolted down.  The door of a gun safe is 30 to 50% of its weight.  When swung open, it can cause the gun safe to topple over and probably injure you severely and damage your guns.

You spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on a gun safe because you were afraid of burglars, but you won’t spend another $40 to secure the thing?  It’s minimal effort and expense relative to the gun safe to secure it.

If you can’t bolt it down, I have some other ideas about how to build a gun safe anchor or improvise one.

Back to the Beginning


Myth:  Gun safes intimidate thieves.

Gun Safe Skip Welds Hammered Open

This Gun Safe had crappy non-continuous welds and was hammered open in less than 3 minutes.  Still intimidated by this Gun Safe?

Most gun safe companies try to give you the impression that their gun safes’ imposing looks are sufficient deterrents to criminals.  Don’t believe the hype.

A couple decades ago, the daunting appearance of a gun safe may have been enough to scare thieves into finding an easier target, but not anymore.  Gun safe manufacturers have been cutting corners for so many decades now that the word is out.  Any thief can Google “safe cracking” or find YouTube videos to learn how to get into a gun safe.  Also battery powered tools are ubiquitous now.  A cheap cordless Harbor Freight saw will make short work out of a RSC gun safe.

I see many people buy a bottom level safe and say “it’s something to deter the smash-and-grab druggies, and nothing is going to keep out a professional safe cracker anyway”.  Both of those statements are true, but that generalization totally overlooks the Career Thief discussed below.

The Smash & Grab Junkie may be deterred by a gun safe or he may not be.  He may have heard about mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes in your state and want nothing to do with guns.  But even so, if he’s willing to steal money from his mom’s purse to get high, I’d guess he’s more than willing to trade information about your easy to break-in house with the huge gun safe for drugs or favors.

Once arrested and convicted, burglars have the highest rate of recidivism (further arrests and convictions) of all property offenders (burglars, robbers, thieves, car thieves, car jackers, etc.).  Criminals talk and share stories, especially in jail.

Safes in general are not intimidating and I’ll prove it to you.  If you heard that your next door neighbor had put in an expensive floor safe, what would your first thought be?  My first reaction would not be intimidation.  I might ask myself, “I wonder what he’s got in there that he needs a safe?”  Safes are intriguing.  Safes just scream “Look inside there’s something good in here!”

As soon as a burglar sees or hears about a big safe in a home, he knows guns are in it – probably at least a handgun, a shotgun, and a rifle.  He also knows that all the other good stuff in the house is probably inside too.  If he reads or hears about the name on the gun safe door before he breaks in, he probably has some idea of how hard it will be to get into it too.

Pretend that you’re a thief.  You just broke into a house and found a gun safe.  You now know that what you broke into the house for is probably inside.  You’ve got two choices, either leave the house and maybe come back later, or take a crack at it for a couple minutes.

Most thieves take a crack at it.  The average burglary is pretty short, but thieves who attack safes and gun safes seem to plan a little better than most.  Quite a few of the gun safe burglars I’ve heard about spend hours inside the house working on the safe.

Despite what some gun safe companies may lead you to believe, there is such thing as 100% security for your guns – except to not own them in the first place.  Given enough time and the right tools and skills, it is possible to break into anything.  Without giving away any information that isn’t already widely available on the internet, the most popular methods of gun safe attack are:

Gun Safe after Saw Attack

Gun Safe opened with Saw. Burglars attacked the door bolt work first, then realized it was much easier to just cut the top open.

  1. Steal the safe – You did bolt it down, right?  Remember, if they want what’s in the safe, they do not care about what damage they do to the house to get the safe out.
  2. Hammer the door – Almost every gun safe will get hit with a hammer during a burglary.  Unless the thief is purposefully testing the welds, this isn’t very effective.  Any UL listed lock attacked with a hammer should prevent the safe from opening.  I cover gun safe locks in the article What to Look for in a Gun Safe.
  3. Pry attack – About 3 in 5 gun safes have something jammed into the door in a burglary in an attempt to pry it open.  If they can tip the gun safe over and get enough leverage, they’re often successful.  You did bolt it down, right?
  4. Peel attack – Attacking the corner of the door or a corner of the safe with pry bars, sledgehammers, and chisels.  Once the steel is severed, they can peel back a corner of the door or side enough to get your guns.  You did bolt it down, right?
  5. Hack a side or edge – If the thief can get access to the side/top/bottom and has an ax or other brute force cutting tool they may put a hole in the wall.  You did bolt it down, right?  If he finds power tools in your garage you’ll probably never see your guns again.
  6. Skilled attack – An experienced thief might try lock bolt punch attacks, lock punch attacks, lock drilling attacks, or other stereotypical safe attacks.  These are not common.  It’s probably more likely to be attempted by a novice thief who found a drill and is trying some things he saw in a movie or YouTube video.
  7. Torch attack – The decline of the trades in the US means that very few people know how to use a torch any more.  It’s a shame for US manufacturing, but it does mean that these attacks are more and more rare.  Few thieves will drag a torch with them to attack a gun safe, but keep this in mind if you have a torch or plasma cutter at your house.
  8. Safe cracking techniques – The professional Safe Cracker thief type would use methods that a safesmith would use to open a damaged safe.  They may find templates or procedures to open damaged safes on the internet.  Once they reached your safe, they will be able to get in with little noise or damage.  Your best change of stopping this type of thief is other anti-burglary measures, but this type of attack is extremely rare.

Back to the Beginning


Myth:  Most burglars are….

Statistically your average burglar is:

  • A white male under age 25 lives within a few miles of your home.
  • In the majority of cases he is a stranger.  In about 1 of 3 of cases you know him, even if just as an acquaintance or by sight.  He may have mowed your lawn years ago or helped you move.
  • He is on foot during the day in the month of August carrying no tools.  
  • He is opportunistic and hasn’t done much planning.  
  • He’s doing it to use the money for drugs and partying, or even just for the thrill of it.  
  • He will try to verify no one is home, possibly by ringing the doorbell.  
  • He gets in through an open door or window.  
  • He goes straight to your master bedroom and then to your home office.  
  • He’s inside your house for an average of 8 to 12 minutes.  
  • He steals $2,116 worth of household electronics/appliances, jewelry, a purse/wallet/cash, and/or tools.  
  • He stashes the loot in a semi-public location and then disposes of it within 24 hours for a fraction of what you paid for it.  
  • You discover the theft and call the police.  They come, search the scene, and write a report.  
  • You never get your stuff back and no arrest is ever made.  
  • You now have a 4X higher chance of being broken into again, often within the next six weeks but only after enough time has gone by for insurance to have replaced your stolen items.

The problem with these statistics is that they don’t necessarily represent gun thieves.  Guns are stolen in 4% of burglaries.  I’ve known a couple ex-criminals, one of whom at one point had bought a stolen gun.  I asked him what he paid for it.  I was surprised that he paid closer to retail price than I expected for a crappy model pistol (my opinion anyway) and a few boxes of ammo.

Aside from cash, few things a burglar can steal will net the kind of return that guns will.  Jewelry, electronics, and tools will only get pennies on the dollar.  But as you know, guns hold their value.  A gun that can’t be traced back to a particular criminal is very valuable to him.

If you’re interested in a gun safe for protection from burglars, it’s important to look at the thieves that are actually stealing guns.  I haven’t found any specific statistics for burglars who target guns.  I don’t know if there are any available, especially because so only 14% of burglaries are ever “cleared” with an arrest.

From reading burglary accounts, news stories, and statistics I’ve put together the following non-scientific profile of types of gun thieves:

TypeWhen
Break-In?
Number of Guys?Physical
Strength?
Bring
Tools?
Getaway
Method?
Armed?Knows
You?
Junkies,
"Smash & Grab"
Daytime1 to 2VariesRarelyOn FootRarelyMaybe
Career ThiefDaytime,
You're away,
You're home
2 to 4StrongSometimesOn Foot /
Vehicle
SometimesNo
Safe CrackerDaytime,
You're away
??YesVehicle?No

Crime reports show that novice burglars tend to commit crimes close to where they live, but older more professional burglars are more mobile and travel farther.  Based on my research I think a good portion of thieves that target guns are my second Career Thief type, so this is a lot of my focus.

A Safe Cracker type thief will have absolutely no problem with a gun safe.  Fortunately these types of thieves are very rare.  If you’re a FFL with significant inventory, you have NFA / Class 3 weapons, or some otherwise valuable collection you might attract that caliber of criminal.  In that case you’re going to need a serious commercial safe or vault, but your insurance has probably already told you that.

Back to the Beginning


Myth:  My valuables are hard for a burglar to find.

It’s true most thieves are not very organized or prepared, and many do dumb things.  But one thing they are excellent at is knowing where to look for valuables in a house. Remember many career criminals live in high crime areas and don’t use banks, so they are experts at hiding valuables.

The last time my mom’s house was burglarized, the guy broke the glass of an unlocked window in the TV room, set off the alarm, and ran straight up the stairs to her bedroom.  He took a pillowcase off the bed, threw all of her jewelry in it (a lifetime of $20 earrings), and ran out the back door.  I was surprised that he went straight to the bedroom and ran past the TV and laptop computer, but this approach is actually common.

Statistically the most popular places for a thief to look are:

  • Master bedroom dresser drawers
  • Master bedroom closet
  • Master bedroom under mattress
  • Freezer

Do you have any valuables in those places?  They’ll be the first place a thief will probably look.  If they can’t get it the first time, they may have seen it and be planning on coming back for it.

Back to the Beginning


Myth:  My burglar alarm will protect me.

There is some truth to this, as statistically houses with alarms are almost 3X less likely to be burglarized.  These statistics may be misleading though, because most burglar alarms require a monthly monitoring fee.  Due to the fee they are purchased by higher income homeowners, who have lower risk of burglary.

Burglars Often Defeat Alarms

Plenty of alarms are circumvented by all types of criminals.

Novice Smash & Grab thieves by definition get in and out before the police could possibly respond.  This happened during 2 of my mother’s 3 burglaries (the third was to a storage building which wasn’t alarmed).

Career Thieves will do things like cut the phone wires leading to the house so the alarm cannot call the alarm company.  Then they set off the alarm and wait outside for the police; when the police don’t come they go back inside and tear the alarm off the wall.  Many alarm companies offer cellular options so that the lines can’t be cut.

False Alarms

The biggest drawback of the 15 million monitored alarm systems in the US is caused by the number of false alarms.  Nationwide, between 92 to 99% of all burglar alarm calls made to the police are false alarms, representing 10 to 25% of all police calls.  Another way to look at it is that false alarms account for 35,000 police officers nationwide working full time.

Some police departments have started to charge homeowners fees of over $100 for responding to false alarms.  In many precincts, residential burglar alarms are assigned the lowest priority.  That means if a cop is responding to the burglar alarm and almost any other crime occurs, he or she will do those calls first.  Their shift may end before your burglar alarm call is answered, passing it to the next cop.

In many communities, the average response time to a burglar alarm call is hours.

Best Use of Burglar Alarms

No study has ever shown that alarms actually help catch burglars in the act, and alarms do nothing to help identify the perpetrators.  In general, the purpose of an alarm is to act as a deterrent, and to shorten the time of a burglary.  Without an alarm a thief might be able to spend hours in your house without much risk of getting caught.  Burglar alarms work best if part of a layered plan of protection.

Back to the Beginning

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Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this information. I have a decent off-brand safe, one thought to be a high quality safe. Now that I better understand the construction requirements, I realize that my safe is very vulnerable to attack and will be sure to bolt it down in the next 10 days! While I think a 7 – 10 ga plate safe can be constructed to be very strong, I now know that size does matter in wall thickness and construction. Thanks for the education!

  2. Juan Carlos says:

    Very informative web site. Haven’t taken it all in yet, but here’s an important point: you can have the best safe in your state, but if you’ve got family (especially kids) – it’ll be easy for the bad guys to get in. You’ll open it for them. Have heard some very disturbing trends that cartel/gang folks are using. Even if you’re willing to die for the contents – if your kids are there you *will* open it for the crooks.

    Loose lips sink ships is one of the most important parts of this whole website!

  3. Good info there my neighbor has his small business safe broken into they used something to widen the box so the door would come off. They only targeted the safe as it held 25k in gold. He suspects it was exterminator company as they were the only ones who went into the room in the year. I have been very concerned I have is 1990’s amsec not very good only 1/4 ” door and 3/16 box. I need to upgrade, but I have installed a camera system and a cellular connected security system which is battery backed so nothing other then a cell jammed could stop it. I still want to upgrade my safe. I think the only thing that will let me sleep at night is a TL-30 safe. We had those in a pawn shop my family owned robbers attempted to pull one over with a tow strap didn’t work just spun their tires as it weighed in over 3800 lbs.

  4. NickyBalls says:

    I have a Liberty safe, which the delivered to my door for $2200 total. It has 1/4 plate steel construction, and a very thick plate door. I opted for their fireproofing, which adds 3″ of fire proofing fiberglass, as well as a q4ga inner steel shell.

    Ironically, the Field and Stream “safe” at Dicks (on sale for 799 plus 200 delivery), was made entirely of 14ga steel…LOL!

    In other words, just the inner liner of a Sturdy Safe is equivalent to a Field & Stream from Dick’s. We won’t even get into pry resistance, etc. , as there is NO contest!

    My buddy spent 2900 on a Liberty “top of the line” safe, and after seeing my Sturdy, he is ordering their largest safe!!!!

    • I wouldn’t buy snitching shirt of a graffunder. You will hand that safe down to generations of kids. I sent to a amsec and graffunder dealer and saw for myself the pried open safes and why graffunder is the way to go. It’s $7500 entry fee but I’ll never replace it.and let’s face it, it’s just a bad ass safe.

      • Anything short of a graffunder

        • I wouldn’t be so quick in your assertions. Sturdy safes may not be as pleasing to the eye as some others, but their safes are top quality and should be on anyone’s short list.

    • Kell490 says:

      I was going to buy liberty but after seeing how easy it is to cut though them with a gas powered cutting wheel I’m rethinking my decision.

    • What liberty safe is 1/4 plate steel would have to be 3 gauge to be 1/4″? Liberty doesn’t make anything thicker then 4 gauge that is there presidential starts at $4000+. You said you got one delivered for $2200. I would say that is 14 gauge those are very easy to use a rechargeable sawzall on like the jewelry story in this blog they had a liberty safe see how they sawzalled into it. I would get rid of that cheap safe and get a sturdy safe. You probably think it’s 1/4 thick because you see the folded steel door looks thick it really just just folded 14 gauge steel. Those are easy targets for pry attacks.

    • 2900 is not going to buy anything close to top of the line in a Liberty. Dead in the mid line is more like it.

  5. Love all of this information. Even the name brand trusted companies websites are using various terminology that sounds fancy but really doesn’t disclose the doors construction or thickness of steel. While I’m sure some of this is security reasons it doesn’t help the consumer to know if they can trust even the cheaper versions of the real quality name brand companies anymore. This information has clarified alot of what I’ve read online to look for with pictures so I can put hands on safes in showrooms and determine if I’ll be trusting that I’m paying for quality security and not false security. Thank You!

  6. John Bannon says:

    I ran across your article while looking for UL and CEN comparison for some UK safes I have purchased. I have printed your article and will use it to educate. I do not sell junk safes. Your article had some great points I had not thought of. I am sometimes at a loss of words when I am trying to educate a client. This info will help, and I will read it many times. Thank You and Warm Regards, John Bannon.

  7. Thanks for showing how the bolt is supposed to work on a gun safe. My dad has a gun safe, and he’s been working on ways to make sure it’s not accessible unless he needs it. I’ll have to show him this article. Thanks for sharing!

  8. To the commentor Kelly who wants a TL-30 safe. This is a fire rating, not a security rating.

    I googled TL-30 safe and seen a guy on the AR15 forum who bought a used one from a jewelry store that went out of business. It had the TL-30 fire rating and he was crowing how good a deal it was at only 250.00.

    He had taken photos of the door inside and it had sliding tabs instead of locking bolts. I noted the tabs only went through 1 thin outer later of steel and then were secured inside via small looking bolts through them. In other words there was scant little protection against a pry-bar attack.

    Those tabs would have folded and allowed the door to be pried open pretty easily if the door was loose fitting enough to allow pry-bars in.

    So the point is a TL-30 safe has a 2 hr fire rating, the TL-30 rating does not mean it is more secure, though it would most certainly be better then a cheap gun safe.

    After reading this article I am going to have a utility room size cement pad poured at my next house that will support a lot of weight and then have a shell of a room built. I’ll then line the walls with 12 inches of re-bar reinforced concrete and build my own door to secure it. I’m a welder-fabricator-machinist so this will end up being bank vault level door and it will be a permanent feature of the house. I plan on it being large enough to use as a panic room as well as a vault and gun safe. It will be hidden behind a false wall in a closet that will not be easy to spot unless you know it is there and then I’ll put a small bait gun safe in a closet but concealed so any labor or delivery guys in my house will not know it is there but burglars will quickly find it.

    Link below to the AR15 post with the great deal on a TL-30 safe. Take a look at the photos of the door and notice how the large locking tabs and poorly supported inside the door. Would I buy this safe for a cheap price, sure but I would then dismantle the door and weld in supports for the tabs so they would not be easily bent. This safe is better then a cheap-o gun safe but still not great just because it is TL-30 rated.

    https://www.ar15.com/archive/topic.html?b=6&f=46&t=333841

    If this link does not work use the one my sig is linked to, I used the same link as the one above to the AR15 forum article.

    • Jeremy says:

      I love the idea of a concrete room and have thought of the same thing for my next house but wouldn’t a stihl concrete saw and jackhammer make quick work of the concrete wall?

      • GoingBonkers says:

        If you’re in the Panic Room with your guns odds are the sawcutter criminal will have sawed his last piece of concrete.

    • Actually, that’s not quite right. TL (tool), TRTL (tool & torch), and TXTL (tool, torch & explosive) are burglary ratings, meaning the safe will withstand an attack against the rated attack ‘tools’ for a specified period of time – 15, 30, or 60 minutes. That’s against the door; the addition of x6 means the rating applies to all sides, not just the door. A TL 30 safe would be a pretty good barrier against theft.

    • Robert,
      The website went over what TL-30 means the safe has withstood 30 minutes of professional safe crackers. He even shows a video of UL doing the test on a TL-30 has to last 30 minutes of brute force attack. Those old TL-30 Jewelry safes with the small bolts are much better then any sheet metal gun safe. It’s not the size of the bolts but the type of steel used if they bolts are made from hardened steel it won’t bend even if they look small. Read the entire website before you commit.

  9. Jeremy says:

    Very good information. I debated back and forth about getting a gun safe for my firearms but in the end I decided against it. If a burglar comes into your house and sees a gun safe he will realize you have firearms and direct his attention to the safe and possibly get into it and steal everything anyways. I personally decided it would be better to just hide all the guns and to anyone entering my house you would have no clue that I am a gun owner. I know it is taking a risk but even my closest friends who know I OWN guns don’t know where I keep them, so a total stranger would have no idea that there are any guns in the house and will move onto other less valuable things like tv/computer/etc…

  10. Bill Lowery says:

    It appears to me that one key element to prying the door open is laying the safe on its back, and having ample room to work the pry bars. In a situation where the safe is in a confined area, and bolted down prying open the door would be most difficult as you would not be able to manipulate the bars for leverage. Proper placement of the safe is not really discussed. I believe this is of the most importance.

    • Absolutely right Bill. A confined area and bolting the gun safe down (so it can’t be attacked on its back) are huge factors in protection. They’re covered in detail in Where to Put a Gun Safe. The Ideal Closet Location shown there takes advantage of confining your confined area element to protect the non-hinge side of the door against pry attacks.

    • Exactly! Nobody ever does a real world test. How about taking a Cannon or Winchester safe say a 64 gun safe that you can get at TS and mount it to the floor and against a corner wall and see how easy it would be to pry on with a wall that in the way of a large pry bar. I think the crook would just use a grinder with a cut off wheel. You could just put a sticker that says 100 pounds of black powder inside. Or really store gun powder on the one side that is exposed. Won’t be a good day for him that’s for sure! 😊

  11. What about buying a cheap gun safe or a decoy and leaving it empty, or filling it with popcorn foam? The thief will waste all of their time breaking into the decoy and afterwards probably be completely freaked out that they just got punked.

  12. What’s the best safe for $2,000?
    Thanks

  13. could you get a medium range safe and add steel to the inside of the jamb so it couldnt be forced open as easily?
    seems like a guy with a welder and some steel bar stock could design it to be alot more pry resistant.

    • Ron,
      They could but it’s about cost of steel now older gun safes going back in the 90’s had thicker steel but the locking system wasn’t good no re-lockers in most case so drill attacks on those safes today with cheap flexable inspection camera it’s easy to see how to open it after a few drill spots using a unibit step drill bit. Those drill bits cut very fast even 4 gauge steel. Now days drill protections and re-lockers are a must. People don’t want to spend $4000-5000 on a safe they want to spend around $2500 or less. My best advice for small collections is use the NRA insurance and get a sturdy safe brand they are the best for the money.

  14. steven marlowe says:

    they use the weight of the safe against the strength of the doornot saying it could not be done but bolted to the concrete floor would make a difference

  15. I’ve been going crazy studying these things to find the right one. Weight is a major issue as I have a 1926 wood floor 2 story house. Of course I want the thing in my bedroom on the second floor. At our local gun shows, we have 3 different companies that exhibit. My point, is i practically climbed into a liberty, with my flashlight, and gave it a very thorough inspection. Not only are the bolts pressing against the very thin steel of their safe body in a pry attack, but I found parts without fireboarding. The boarding in the bend of the body to make the area for the door, the fireboard fell off into my hand, it was stapled into place by staple gun, and it barely was enough to keep it in place. They look so solid, but they definetly cut corners. And the video on their website prying the revolution/centarioun model, you can see where it’s right about to pop open , if they only had 5-10 more seconds, ohp! They failed, they couldnt get in, oh what a wonderful safe, they failed to break in! LOL.

  16. Kevin j says:

    I learned more in this one article than I have from the days and days of searching the Internet to learn more about safes, trying to make a wise purchase. Thank you so much for your research and links.

  17. Why not Just get a decent safe and a kickass alarm system? Unless you have to evacuate your home the alarm system will get the police and yourself there within a half hour. I think you should have both.

  18. Frank Dolatshahi says:

    Thank you so much for this video. Great education for someone like me who is looking to buy a safe and confused by all the marketing gimmicks! It seems like the only real protections these safes can offer is protection from Fire to some degree. I’ll focus on getting a decent safe with Fire protection in my focus now. If the thieves want to break in your house (when you’re not home) really nothing will stop them. Unfortunately you can’t booby trap inside your home either because then the thieves can sue you if they get hurt!! Silly laws! (Ok, I won’t go there… another topic that burns my behind!). Thanks again.

  19. Clyde Z says:

    I was doing my due diligence in purchasing a gun safe. After starting my research I quickly found myself looking for commercial safe as most of the “readily available” (meaning price right and local/on shelf) are poorly manufactured. Then I said I better learn more before I make a foolish purchase. Thank you for this article. I will save some more money and make a better purchase.

  20. GoingBonkers says:

    Just when I thought I knew which gun safe to buy!! You have seriously educated me on safes and looks like I’ll need a second job to afford the one we need. Dang!! Thank you for the terrific & enlightening information. I now see how most of us are duped into purchasing subpar equipment. Hubby is going to be disappointed without a big box under the Xmas tree this Christmas.

  21. Kevin M. says:

    Build a little stage out of wood and place it in the corner of your basement, then put a cheap drum set on top, but build it so the bottom of the stage has a removable, slide-out with your guns.

  22. A Private Person says:

    “•An average of 172,000 guns are stolen per year, totaling $27 million annually.”

    That stat doesn’t pass what data scientists call “The Snicker Test.”

    In fact, it may be off by as much as a factor of 10.

    • Hello Private,
      Thanks for your comment. I try to keep the data on the site as accurate as possible, and so appreciate when anyone draws my attention to a potential error.
      Those figures come from the Us Department of Justice Crime Data Brief “Firearms Stolen during Household Burglaries and Other Property Crimes, 2005-2010” NCJ 239434.
      From Table 2 “Average annual burglaries or other household property crimes involving the theft of at least one firearm, by theft characteristic, 2005–2010”, the Number of stolen firearms listed is 172,040. Lower down on that page (page 3) on the left is the bullet “Property crimes involving only stolen firearms resulted in an average annual loss of $27 million.”

      All the sources cited can be found in the Sources section, along with a caveat about statistics.
      Cheers,
      Jaime

      • Please ignore the naysayers. Your site helped me make a well informed choice. I just had a Sturdy Safe delivered with lots of steel upgrades. Thank you for the hard work you have put into this tutorial.

  23. Great writeup! This is the best summary online anywhere!!!
    Thanks

  24. Jaime,

    Great site and thank you for sharing your detailed and deep knowledge of gun safes. Love the clear, factual presention of the material.
    Have you ever reviewed Brown’s HD Plus TL-30, or TL-15 gun safes? While they are not UL 72 certified (and I’m beginning to wonder more and more what non-UL 72 certified fire proofing is really buying me) Their HD TL line seems to be pretty well constructed and do seem to be UL 687 certified.

  25. Richard Trawick says:

    Great articles on Gun safes!
    THANK YOU AND PLEASE KEEP REALITY GOING!

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