Safes

Safes

This is a discussion on Safes within the Related Gear & Equipment forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have been researching safes and I am soliciting expertise from anyone familiar with safes. It seems there are only a few aspects of security: ...

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Thread: Safes

  1. #1
    Restricted Member Array SelfDefense's Avatar
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    Safes

    I have been researching safes and I am soliciting expertise from anyone familiar with safes.

    It seems there are only a few aspects of security: weight, thickness, and number of bolts. A local safe salesman explained that he could get into any safe in ten-twenty minutes if he had the proper tools.

    He mentioned that more bolts (especially upper and lower) prevented bending the door with a crowbar. Thickness prevents attacking the safe directly. And weight, of course, helps keep the safe from simply getting up and walking off where the BG could take his time and get inside.

    He has a 24x20x36 safe with 1" thick door and walls. It weighs over 900 lbs. (WOW) He wants to sell it for $800. It seems like a good safe for an apartment (ground floor) to protect handguns and valuables.

    Is there anything else I need to consider?


  2. #2
    Member Array levi333's Avatar
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    Is this a custom made safe? You say it has 1"thk walls/door, somehow I doubt thats solid steel. Do you know what gauge steel they are?
    Have you seen this site, it has a very good safe writeup:
    http://www.6mmbr.com/gunsafes.html

    Also, don't expect to get a long gun in there.

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    Senior Member Array ICTsnub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SelfDefense View Post
    I have been researching safes and I am soliciting expertise from anyone familiar with safes.

    It seems there are only a few aspects of security: weight, thickness, and number of bolts. A local safe salesman explained that he could get into any safe in ten-twenty minutes if he had the proper tools.

    He mentioned that more bolts (especially upper and lower) prevented bending the door with a crowbar. Thickness prevents attacking the safe directly. And weight, of course, helps keep the safe from simply getting up and walking off where the BG could take his time and get inside.

    He has a 24x20x36 safe with 1" thick door and walls. It weighs over 900 lbs. (WOW) He wants to sell it for $800. It seems like a good safe for an apartment (ground floor) to protect handguns and valuables.

    Is there anything else I need to consider?
    The door is not how you bust a safe, the body is the weak spot. If that is 1" solid, you got a tank there. Less than a buck a pound is a steal on hamburger, you go figure on a safe.

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SelfDefense View Post
    It seems there are only a few aspects of security: weight, thickness, and number of bolts.
    Don't forget: how well you secure that safe to the structure, whether bolting to the foundation or building the house around it, can dramatically impact its moveability. 900 lbs is only as immovable as the next beefy handtruck in the hands of someone who has moved one before. It's not that tough, and it's child's play with two guys and the right tool (handtruck), even at 900 lbs. I've got a 1600 lb unit bolted to the foundation of my home, stuffed into the corner of a room against the rest of the house. Short of backing over it with a forklift to dislodge it from its current spot, it's not going anywhere.

    Thickness prevents attacking the safe directly. He has a 24x20x36 safe with 1" thick door and walls.
    Define "thickness": of what part of the safe is that thickness referring to? The steel shell used to make the body panels of the safe, or the entire thickness of the "wall", insulation and materials and all?

    For resisting the onslaught of a thief's tools, the stronger, thicker and better the skin of the safe, the better. If that part is 1" thick of tool-resistant, high-grade steel, then you've truly got something there. Better, yet, if that outer body has another layer inside that resists tool attacks, and another layer inside of that that houses your valuables, you've got high-quality protection. Keep in mind that many mfrs. advertise a "thick" wall, but they'll end up having simply ~16ga of low-grade steel in the body with an inch worth of insulation and other "pretty" materials. 1" thick? Yeah. Still, a safe that small that's 900 lbs suggests it might well be 1" of body/steel thickness. Verify. Be certain.

    Also of some importance is how tight-fitting the door is, and how well it seals. Hot air in a fire gets in through the seams, besides cooking the whole unit's body. Wider seams also allow for pry-bars to be jammed in.

    ... to protect handguns and valuables. Is there anything else I need to consider?
    Fire resistance. Assuming a claimed fire resistance to 1200*F, keep in mind just how low that is. At about 300*F or so, paper begins to incinerate, plastics get toasted, gun stocks begin to cook. I've got a safe that protects to 1750* for an hour, which is about the minimum I wanted, given the dual need of theft and fire protection. The papers still go inside another small, fire-resistant unit inside my larger safe. It's still not enough to truly protect in a hot, long fire, but it's about as good as it gets until you spend 5-10x the amount I did.

    Also ensure you have a method of dehumidifying the space. A good dessicant or a plug-in "golden rod" sufficient for the size.

    One final note: don't advertise. Don't publish the make/model, where you put it, etc. Better to have a nondescript gray box in a corner that could be anything, that doesn't advertise how to get into it, that others don't know is there, etc.

    For some good reading, check out posts made by these folks on The High Road: a1adbj, cb900f. Food for thought.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array BIG E's Avatar
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    That actually sounds a little pricey for a safe that size. Do you have the maker or specs? Whats the fire rating?

    Weight doesn't matter. You should have it bolted down from the inside. The biggest part of keeping your stuff safe is not telling everyone about it. Don't show off your gear and new safe. As a matter of fact... hide it. Install it in a wall if you can. If they can't find it they can't steal it.
    Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft!

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    VIP Member Array semperfi.45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BIG E View Post
    The biggest part of keeping your stuff safe is not telling everyone about it. Don't show off your gear and new safe. As a matter of fact... hide it. Install it in a wall if you can. If they can't find it they can't steal it.
    When I converted our walk in attic to a walk in master closet I custom installed an Amsec Super Brute floor safe while it was still framed out. Concealed is concealed and it is a really hard find. No one has ever seen it except me and the wife.
    Training means learning the rules. Experience means learning the exceptions.

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    Restricted Member Array SelfDefense's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great replies and excellent web sites.

    The safe I am looking at is a custom safe and it is, indeed, 1" thing all around. I don't know what gauge steel so that is something I need to find out. Do they 'glue' thinner gauge steel together or could it be the 1" is simply a solid piece? Another thing I need to find out.

    I was also unaware of the need seal the door. This particular safe is not fire resistant. The store owner claimed that buying a small fire safe box would be sufficient to protect valuable papers and media. It was designed as a burglar proof safe but now I am armed with more questions based on the inputs here.

    How do you plug in stuff in the safe (lights, golden rod)? Should there be a hole somewhere and wouldn't that compromise the safe (especially for fire protection)?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array stanislaskasava's Avatar
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    One square foot of 1" steel weighs approximately 40.8 pounds, so if the safe is 24x20x36, then:

    2 sides 24x36 = 1728

    2 sides 20x36 = 1440

    2 sides 24x20 = 960

    total square inches = 4128

    4128" = 28.66'

    28.66 x 40.8 = 1169.6 pounds

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