Considerations When Choosing a Gun Safe

You should have a secure location to store your guns to keep them protected and out of the wrong hands.

The wrong hands are not only intruders but kids that may live at home or be visiting. It does not matter if you only have one gun or a collection, and some insurance providers might even give you a discount if you have a home gun safe.

A gun safe and a locking gun box are two very different things. Gun safes come in many shapes, sizes, and prices. This guide will give you some things to consider when looking for a safe gun for your needs.

Types of In-Home Gun Safes

A cabinet-style safe is usually taller and will not only hold your handguns but your long guns as well.

In-wall or floor gun safes are discreetly and permanently installed in a wall or floor of your home. They can be outfitted with a turn, electronic, or fingerprint lock.

Hidden Gun Safes are not really gun safes and look like everyday objects like a wooden shelf or bookcase.

Smaller gun “lock boxes” are perfect when you want to prevent a pistol or handgun from getting into the hands of kids. They are easy to store and move to different parts of your house. Some can also double as a way to transport your firearm.

Important Gun Safe Features

Size and Weight

Will you be using your safe for long guns or handguns? If it is for long guns, you will be looking for a cabinet safe that will weigh more and be harder to move. Also, consider buying a bigger safe than you think you will need. Let’s face it, for many of us, firearms have become a hobby, and our collection continues to grow.

Exterior Safe Design

The thicker the steel, the better. One of the most confusing aspects of choosing a safe is the steel thickness or gauge. The lower the number, the thicker the steel is. Some “safes” are made of nothing more than thin sheet metal. For comparison, a penny is 1.55 mm thick, and that’s about the same as a piece of 16-gauge sheet metal.

gun safe penny thickness

Thick steel is harder to cut and more resistant to break-ins, and you should try to find something at least 10 gauge or thicker if it is going to be used for theft prevention. The thickness is not as big of an issue if you are trying to secure your guns from kids or unauthorized users.

Gun Safe Locking Mechanism

Key, fingerprint, electronic, rotary combination, and dual lock choices are available when shopping for a gun safe. Electronic locks run on a battery that will need to be changed occasionally, and you must memorize a combination.

Rotary combination, also referred to as dial locks, locks are not as quick to open as digital and fingerprint locks. Dial locks are durable and trouble-free, plus they do not require batteries or electrical power.

Gun Safe Rotary Lock

Fingerprint locks are a superb choice if you want the fastest possible access.


Push button locks are quick and do not require you to fumble around looking for a key when you need quick access. These will also allow multiple people to access the safe, and you can even program some with different combinations so each person has their own.

Keypad Gun Safe Locks

Fire Protection

Some safes offer added fire protection, preventing damage from heat or water. You never think it will happen to you, yet home fires occur. I was reminded of this today when a friend posted a picture of his house on social media that went up in flames the night before.

Gun Safe House Fire

Select a safe with a UL fire-resistance rating because they are designed to withstand fire damage and the water used to put out the flames.

Stealing a small safe or locked box is not hard, so you should bolt your safe down to the wall and/or floor when possible. Nothing is impenetrable, but the harder you make it to get into it, the less likely someone will be for someone to try. A gun safe, along with a home security system and camera system, might slow the criminal down long enough for the police to arrive.



Brian Armstrong grew up in a small farm town in rural Indiana and learned to shoot before he learned to drive. His career began as a firefighter and medic in Ft Wayne, IN. Throughout the years, he has owned multiple businesses, from construction to technology. His life has come full circle, and he is back to his emergency services roots, teaching emergency first aid and firearms courses.

Brian believes that the best way to learn “HOW” to do something is to first answer “WHY” you do something. He is an average guy with views like yours and is now sharing the knowledge gained from teaching, learning from others, and researching the topics you don’t have time to explore yourself. Follow him at @LetsTalkDGU




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3 thoughts on “Considerations When Choosing a Gun Safe”

  1. Thank you for explaining that you should consider what kind of lock you want for your gun safe. My sister just got a gun after getting her license. I’ll be sure to mention this to her so she can consider how to best store it in her home.

  2. Michael Tsamoulos

    Not all finger print safes sense your print 100 percent off the time.
    I prefer to have one print type and one old fashion 4 digit combination type as a backup.

    Last thing you need is it not to work if an intruder is near

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