The GCDG-9216 is a locking steel security cabinet with double doors that can protect a variety of valuables, from small coin collections to rifles. For those with multiple firearms to protect, the security cabinet can securely store 16 to 31 guns. Multiple padded shelves offer enhanced organization. (stack-on.com; 800-323-9601) | specifications | Size: 38 x 18 x 55 inches| UL Listing: N/A| Fire Resistant: N/A |MSRP: $649
Sleep Safe makes a number of furniture pieces with built-in firearm storage drawers. The Cherry Nightstand, approved by the DOJ, uses a fingerprint scanner to give the user instant access to a handgun while providing a fashionable addition to a bedroom. (sleepsafe.com; 916-783-1160) |Specifications | Size: 26 x 20 x 27 inches | UL Listing: N/A| Fire Resistant: N/A | MSRP: $1,175
Offering both fire and theft resistance, the Ironworks AF6042x safe offers an antique steel finish on the outside and a faux leather fabric on the interior. Tamper-resistant doors and locks offer additional security against theft. This 1,150-pound model has more than 39 cubic feet of storage for rifles, handguns, documents and family heirlooms. (rhinosafe.com; 800-701-9128) | specifications | Size: 60 x 42 x 27 inches | UL Listing: RSC | Fire Resistant: Yes | MSRP: $3,769
Designed specifically for gun owners with a variety of tactical rifles, the Stronghold XL Tactical Edition safe has a rotating rack that allows any gun it contains to be quickly accessed. This 1,100-pound safe includes a moisture control system, LED lighting and a fully carpeted interior. (revolutionsafes.com; 770-466-6181)|Specifications | Size: 72 x 36 x 32.5 inches | UL Listing: RSC| Fire Resistant: Yes | MSRP: $3,995
Holding up to 48 guns with its three-in-one Double Sportsmen’s Rack, the Fatboy Jr. from Liberty Safe provides a lot of storage capacity for the price. It has a 60-minute fire-resistance rating at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and is UL listed as a Residential Security Container thanks to its tamper-proof design. (libertysafe.com; 800-247-5625) | specifications | Size: 60.5 x 42 x 25 inches | UL Listing: RSC | Fire Resistant: Yes | MSRP: $1,559
Hiding valuables in plain sight can often be as effective as locking them away in a heavy steel box. The Oak File Cabinet from Hidden Safes has a locking drawer safe that’s accessible through a hidden key switch/push-button mechanism. The company also specializes in custom installations of hidden gun safes that can double as a safe room and tornado shelter during an emergency. (hiddensafes.com; 901-213-0111) |specifications| Size: 13.25 x 14 x 2.125 inches (safe drawer) | UL Listing: N/A |Fire Resistant: N/A| MSRP: $2,900
Recognized by gun dudes everywhere, the Fort Knox Defender line of gun safes offers a good balance of security and fire resistance. Additionally, they are highly customizable, from the interior configuration to the type of locking mechanisms to the exterior colors. The Defender 6026 model weighs 703 pounds and offers 16 cubic feet in internal storage space. (ftknox.com; 800-821-5216) | specifications | Size: 60.5 x 26 x 23 inches | UL Listing: RSC | Fire Resistant: Yes | MSRP: Starts at $2,200
As the company name implies, the KF1509 offers a full hour of reliable fire resistance for documents and other valuables in this compact, 125-pound safe. It uses an electronic lock and offers an internal, adjustable shelf for user customization.(fireking.com; 800-457-2424)|Specifications | Size: 14 x 16.5 x 11.75 inches | UL Listing: N/A | Fire Resistant: Yes | MSRP:$580
Featuring a state-of-the-art biometric fingerprint reader, the Barska AX11650 is a medium-sized steel safe that is large enough for jewelry, small valuables and handguns. It operates on AA batteries and includes a key backup. The safe’s locking mechanism features three solid steel locking bolts, and the overall unit weighs approximately 48.5 pounds. (barska.com; 888-666-6769) | specifications |Size: 14 x 13 x 19.75 inches |UL Listing:N/A|Fire Resistant: N/A |MSRP:$571
The American Security Products (AMSEC) RFX703620 offers two hours of fire protection plus a range of security features to provide excellent security for guns, documents and other valuables through its 6-inch-thick doors and 3-inch-thick walls. The largest safe in the company’s HS series, this 76-by-42-by-29.25-inch safe is UL rated TL-30X6 after extensive torture testing by Underwriter’s Laboratories. Available in 11 different colors. (amsecusa.com; 951-685-9680)| specifications|Size: 76 x 42 x 29.25 inches|UL Listing: TL-30X6| Fire Resistant:Yes|MSRP:Starts at $13,460
Secrecy can be the best security. For a homeowner wanting to keep a rifle, handgun and other valuables hidden in plain sight, Tactical Walls offers several home-defender products, including the 1242 Rifle Length Shelf. This magnet-locking unit serves as a beautifully finished wood shelf with storage space for an AR-15, pistols and more self-defense gear. Various finishes are available to help blend the shelf with the existing décor of your home.(tacticalwalls.com) | specifications | Size: 50.75 x 5 x 14.5 inches| UL Listing: N/A | Fire Resistant: N/A |MSRP: $395 to $455
The Pistol Vault from Titan Security Products is a locking box to store a handgun for quick access in an emergency. The Pistol Vault can be mounted in a variety of locations, including to the rails of a bed, the wall, the floor or even in a vehicle for on-the-go security. The 10-pound safe features ultra-rugged 14-gauge-thick steel construction and installs in minutes. (titangunsafe.com; 800-930-6430) | specifications | Size: 12 x 8 x 2.5 inches | UL Listing: N/A | Fire Resistant: N/A | MSRP: $399
Both easy to conceal and space saving, the Closet Vault is designed to fit between wall studs in an interior wall. Made from 16-gauge steel, it is tall enough to store rifles and other valuables, yet low profile enough to be concealed behind hanging clothes or other items. Two tubular key locks have been added to the top and bottom for additional security when quick access is not required. (vlineind.com; 805-520-4987) | | specifications |Size: 50 x 13.5 x 5.75 | UL Listing: N/A | Fire Resistant: N/A | MSRP: $586
The Warrior from Vault Pro USA is an upright safe featuring fire resistance, continuous welded seams, a steel stepped frame and no fewer than ten 1-inch locking bolts. Upgrade options include 2,300-degree Fahrenheit fireproofing, steel reinforcements and LED lighting. All of the Vault Pro safes are made in the USA. The Warrior can hold up to 20 long guns with scopes. (vaultprousa.com; 800-299-6929) | specifications | Size: 60 x 25 x 25 inches | UL Listing: N/A | Fire Resistant: Yes| MSRP: $1,199
For most of us, a safe is the most practical way to protect firearms and other valuables from theft and natural disasters.
Theft-Resistant Safes: Safes are the next best method for safeguarding your possessions. While most safes look alike, they vary widely in terms of resistance to fire and to physical attack by burglars.
Constructed of solid metal walls, these heavyweights are the battleships of safekeeping. Advances in technology have provided burglars with better tools, so safe manufacturers have had to keep pace. Thieves attempt to cut, pry or drill their way to the contents, so class ratings (1 through 5) are a standardized way for consumers to judge a safe’s level of protection.
Class ratings are based on door and wall thickness plus resistance to attack (for example, having internal instead of exposed door hinges). UL ratings use letters to indicate resistance to specific types of attack: DR for drill resistant, TR for torch resistant, and TRTL for tool and torch resistant.
Fire Beaters: Document safes and media safes are a sandwich of fire-resistant insulation surrounded by steel. While protecting the contents from fire, these safes do little to prevent determined burglars. The Underwriters Laboratory, an independent organization that tests and certifies U.S. products, certifies fire-resistance ratings using a scale of A through C.
Class A safes protect documents up to 4 hours at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Class B protects documents up to 2 hours at temperatures up to 1,850 degrees Fahrenheit. And class C protects documents up to 1 hour at temperatures up to 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit. Combination fire-and burglar-resistant safes provide both kinds of protection.
Installing The Safe: The location of your safe is important. A safe in a basement will survive a fire better than a safe on an upper level. On the whole, corners are better locations because walls are less likely to collapse near corners in the event of a fire or natural disaster. A safe in a garage is vulnerable because burglars can use a truck-mounted winch to pull a safe out and haul it to a remote location where they can attack it over time. I prefer safes with mechanical locks because electronic locks, while quicker to open, use batteries, which can be problematic.
Purchasing by price alone is false economy. Look for a hassle-free, no-cost repair or replacement lifetime warranty. Some insurance companies offer discounts to policyholders that keep valuables in safes.—N.E. MacDougald
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