GIMMICKS ABOUT GUN SAFES:
This gimmick is added to make the safe more attractive (customers also prefer a beautiful 5 spoke handle in the center of the door), however, it's the most impractical place to put the handle. It doesn't allow shaft support, so it has a high chance of the clutch getting loose and wobbling. Clutches and shear pins are needed for this linkage design. They are made to break when the safe is being attacked, but this makes it more susceptible of being broken into by simply beating the handle up and down. Or, a little girl playing around, jerking on the handle while it's locked can get you locked out and needing a locksmith. Another problem, is cluttering of the safe door with a lot of moving parts mainly because it needs to reach the handle. More moving parts = a higher chance more things will break. The best linkage designs will have a handle more towards the left of the safe, while facing it.
When heated Palusol expands, but it shouldn't need to be heated up before there is a tight fit. The Palusol door seal is a specific size, about the thickness of 2 dimes. The door of the safe would need to fit the door frame of the safe body exactly the same every time in order for there to be no air gaps. It doesn't matter who manufactures the safe, one gasket does not fit all safes perfectly. A custom fit gasket is important because it will fit the door perfectly every time, without needing to be heated up first. It's also only rated for one hour, and UL wasn't the one who tested it.
Their Many Moving Dead Bolts
For example, when you are looking at money vaults that are nearly the size of our 2822 safe, you will notice they have one of the highest security ratings listed at TL30, and they only have 3 (moving) locking lugs, none of which are located on the bottom or top of the door. You might wonder how is it that a safe with a total lug count of 5 can be rated one of the highest in security and the answer is this: a smart locking assembly and lots of thick steel. We feel gun safes should be treated this same way. It's not the number of deadbolts that make it more secure, it's the smart locking assembly and the thick steel. Remember, it doesn't matter how many thick moving dead bolts safes on the market throw out, it still wont stop a burglar from penetrating through the side if the safe if it only has 10 gauge of steel or less on the walls.
Having longer dead bolts is not as important as how the dead bolt is supported in the door. A good locking assembly and thick steel could keep the door locked at a quarter of an inch engagement.
Some deadbolts look huge, but upon closer inspection there is not much of a deadbolt. Besides for this design not being as secure, they also have no support for the deadbolt as it engages when you shut it. This leads to damage by simply trying to close the door while a rag, or a strap from a rile is in the way. This video will show how to test this on your next safe.
Some use Sheetrock as their fire proofing (which they refer to by many different names to throw the customer off), made primarily for the construction of fire walls in buildings. These materials ARE NOT designed for use insulating, they are designed to block fires. True insulators, you will find, will not be any type of Sheetrock/fire board.
Some safes on the market have inadequate welding along the lock bolt assembly, and body. Even though they look like they did the trick, they wont be as strong as they claim. Your dead bolts and safe body are only as strong as the welds that hold them to the door.
Their 2300 Degree Ceramic Insulation
Gun safe companies are aware of how much this type on insulation cost, so most try to cut corners by not lining the safe completely. For example, they would line the top or bottom of the safe, or just the walls and lead to you believe they line the whole safe. Other safe companies only give you half inch of ceramic and try combining it with Sheetrock and still claim the high ratings, but there is still not enough good insulation being used to make it work. We tried these methods out in actual house burn downs and they failed.
In 3 and a half minutes a house fire can reach over 1100 degrees and goes drastically up from there. One of the first things that burn off a safe that has been in a serious house fire is the paint and sticker decals. Next to go is the dial. This alone melts off at about 530 degrees. The handle on safes are usually made on aluminum so this might be melted off next. Another thing to look for is the objects surrounding the safe in the picture. If there are wood wall studs still standing near the safe, or if it's obvious everything around the safe wasn't burned into a bed of ashes, the fire didn't hit the safe as bad as the safe might appear to be burnt. Be leery of pictures that are actually showing you safes that have not been in a serious house burn downs. In reality, most house fires will not be so forgiving.
In another effort to save money, other safe companies may not install a proper raised mount for the combination box. Instead, they simply weld the hard plate directly to the door. Unfortunately, a weld to the hard plate can be broken much easier because of the lack of the supports strength. Some hard plates are not even hardened all the way through. Although it's not visible, most safes have cheap residential grade quality locks, but the Group 2 combo boxes will out perform any residential grade lock box and are designed to last generations.
Waterproof means it will go through a flood up to certain depth of water, for a certain amount of time. Be leery of companies making these claims on ads and when asked about it, they give a answer of "It's waterproof because the fire seal is expands due to the heat. In addition, the safe is so hot, the water from the firemen's hose turns the water into steam, so no water gets in." There is only one RSC that was designed to be waterproof and the best they could do is up to two feet of water for 72 hours. It's also one of the flimsiest RSC's on the market.
Only sheet #1 is really protecting the linkage. To get to the linkage parts, one would only need to go through the first sheet of steel before getting to the linkage. Not two sheets. This is the reason why it's important to buy a safe who offers the thickest gauge possible for the first layer. Watch out for the word "composite" when they are referring to the total gauge thickness on the door, to ensure you know what gauge thickness the outer layer really is.
Some gun safe doors on the market are about 6 inches thick, but only formed out of 12 gauge steel and have way too much dead air space. When safe companies list how thick the doors are, but don't list the gauge it was formed from, be leery!
One manufacturer's safe claimed a rating that doubled right after they tested with another testing facility. When it comes to a fire safe rating by UL, you can bet it's a realistic temperature reading. There is no RSC (Residential Security Container), currently on the market with a UL fire rating, lined with fireboard or other materials. If the safe manufacturer didn't make up the reading in their ratings and actually had it tested by a independent testing company (who runs the test according to the desires of their customers), they will disallow the time it takes to cool off, and point of no return (which is the point where the cant be quenched before the contents are damaged). That’s similar to taking half the fire test out that UL would have performed. It's the reason why they can make something that's not even an insulator, look like it will work. What’s left is just burn time. They take it all the way to near combustion on the inside, then they stop the test. It’s hard to compete with a real fire liner when your dealing with only $30 worth fireboard (Sheetrock). We don't follow the pack and get them tested like this, we tested them in real life burn downs and got real life results.
Gun safe companies love to tell you what their warranties cover, but what they don't tell you is things that can void it, such as, changing the combo, cosmetic alterations made of the safe, over torquing the handle, shutting the door too hard and not keeping the lock properly maintained by a professional. A lot of safe companies only cover the linkage parts for a year with their Lifetime warranties, which is bad for safes with lots of moving linkage parts in the design.
Whether they were "Awarded UL Residential Security Container" , or "Awarded two U.S. patents for its innovative security enhancements" it's best not to believe they were really awarded anything. Safe manufacturers pay to get ratings and patents, who's cost is then passed down to you. The requirements to be rated a RSC are depressingly low, so to brag about meeting the requirements isn't saying much about the safe. For example, the safe video with the two guys and a crow bar, was a UL rated RSC.
A safe company called Patriot Gun Safe told customers they make the whole safe in the USA, when in fact majority of it was made in China. They wouldn't allow anyone to visit their manufacturing facility. This same safe company went out of business and robbed thousands of their customers and other businesses of their hard earned money. Other safe companies do as little as paint the safe along with various other minor add ons and call it American made. You must ask, specific questions like; "where were your safe bodies made?", "where were are your safes assembled?" and "do you import anything on the safe?" to get the right answer.
Beware of safe companies that brag about their hard plates and relock's protecting the combination box, but say nothing about protecting the linkage leading up to the combination box. It is every bit as important to protect the key parts of your linkage as it is to protect the combination box itself. One of the primary attack points happens to be the linkage, which many manufacturers simply do not protect. The safe you buy should have a hard plate protecting the combination box as well as the independent relock. Make sure the hard plate is not welded directly on the door.
Most safe companies brag about their glass relockers, which are glass plates that can set off ‘relockers’ if hit (shattered) by a drill. If this happens, the safe will lock up, and even the original key and combination will not open it anymore, however, what they don't tell you is that they are sensitive. Slamming the safe door too hard can break them.
Their Gun Count
Beware of the gun count listed. Most manufacturers will say they have (for example) a 16 gun safe but there are only 12 slots. Not only that, but out of those 12 slots given, only 10 on your guns will actually fit because it's so snug. Sturdy Safe states the amount of gun slots given per safe and gives ample room for riffles with scopes on them.
There is one safe manufacturer that advertises a 13.5" depth but when you measure the usable space shelf depth, it only measures 11". Other size allusions include: 1. Big spoke handles that are included in the depth dimensions, which can stick out three inches. 2. Various types of door organizers which need to be accommodated by cutting down the interior and gun rack space about four inches. 3. Gun Counts (as mentioned above). 4. Weights higher than the safes actually weigh. No wonder everyone says buy bigger than you think you need!