A Gun Safe Buying Guide for Pistols — Welcome to the Basics!

Safety is an essential element of gun ownership. In fact, the first thing that should be considered when purchasing any gun is safety. Safety is executed in multitudinous modalities. There is safety in handling and transporting, and then there is the safety involved in how the firearm will be stored. The specific firearm in question here is a pistol.

When preparing to buy a gun safe for your pistol, there are a number of things that should be considered. These considerations can become quite complex, based on a number of variables; however, this guide is going to stick to the basics, meaning they can be applied to the purchase of any pistol gun safe.

Understanding the Duality of a Gun Safe

safe lock 1Every gun safe has at least two purposes. The first purpose is to service the number one concern of every gun owner, to protect their loved ones from accidental shootings. It is vital for every gun owner to know where their firearm is at all times. If it is not on their person, it should be securely locked away in a safe, where minors cannot access it. Accidental shootings are a leading cause of death among minors. Children are curious, and they don’t understand the severity associated with what can be done with that gun. They don’t have an understanding of the concept of finality. So, the first use of the safe is to protect the family from a tragic mistake.

Secondly, the next use for as gun safe is to protect the weapons from theft in case of a burglary. With the volatility of the current economy, home burglaries are on the rise, and guns top the list of the most stolen items during a home burglary. Following guns are prescription medications, alcohol, video equipment and jewelry.

The FBI made the observation that homes with gun safes were basically unaffected during burglaries, with a few portable electronic goods and prescription medications being the only things stolen. This is because the guns, jewelry and other expensive items are stored in the gun safe. Criminals don’t have the time nor the resources to melt through 10 gauge steel with the hopes of finding something worthwhile.

Choosing a Pistol Safe

There are seven essentials that should be present with every safe, regardless of style.

  1. Locking Bolts

A gun safe can be a foot thick; however, if the locking bolts are of a poor quality, the safe is worthless. If a person is going to attempt to circumvent the mechanisms of the safe, the bolts are what they will attack. The bolts are secured into the body of the safe, and they are designed to go deep into the doors of the safe to ensure that the door cannot be pried open. What is important to understand is that the more bolts a safe has, the better. Experts recommend having at least four bolts to consider a safe to be top notch. Besides the number of bolts that a safe has is the coverage, which refers to the number of the sides of the door on which there are bolts. The less expensive safes have all the bolts on one side of the door. There should be at least dual coverage, meaning that there are bolts on at least two sides of the door.

  1. The Thickness or Gauge of the Metal

Most gun safes come in a thickness of 12 gauges or lower. Honestly, 12 gauge is too thin. A thief will be able to break into the safe with a blow torch. A good metal gauge for a safe is 10 gauge or lower; however, you have to remember that the thicker the walls and doors of the safe, the more the safe will cost. The value of your gun safe should be up to the task of protecting the value of the content that will be stored in the safe.

  1. Lock Quality

digitial lockThis is another one of those elements that can make or break a safe. If the lock is of a poor quality, the safe is useless. There are several elements that a gun safe lock should possess. First and foremost, it should be childproof; however, while being child proof, it should be easily accessible for you to get to in a hurry if necessary. If it takes more than 15 seconds to get the lock open, it is not a good gun safe.

  1. Fire rating

fire safetyA goof gun safe also has to double as fire protection. Not only does it protect your guns from fire damage, but valuable documents and family heirlooms can be stored in the gun safe as well. A residential fire has the capacity to reach as high as 1,200 degrees F up to 1,400 degrees F. It is important to understand the dynamic of the average house fire, because most gun safes will come with a 30 minute guarantee for 1,200 degrees F; however, this guarantee is more of a sales gimmick that any real true protection. The reason is that the average house fire rages for 20 to 45 minutes, and reaches temperatures up to 1,400 degrees. Find a safe that can handle at least the average house fire.

  1. Size and Capacity

A common mistake is to assume that because you are buying the safe to store a handgun that the safe should be small; however, you should take into consideration other items to be stored. You should also consider any future gun purchases you may make. The last thing that you want to do is end up having to purchase another safe because you don’t have enough room for additional items.

  1. The Location Where the Safe will be Stored

The safe should be stored strategically, giving consideration to the need for easy access in case of a burglary. The location that is chosen will have some impact on the safe that will be purchased. There is no need for buying a safe with a height of six feet, when the clearance in the location where it will be placed is only five feet.

  1. Warranty

A gun safe should have a lifetime warranty, and any safe that does not have a lifetime warranty is not a gun safe you want in your home. You want a warranty that covers any defects or necessary repairs to the safe, but you also want a warranty that will replace the contents of the safe should someone successfully circumvent the safe.


Using the points here will assist you in making a problem free gun safe purchase. Sometimes, keeping it simple is the best way to go.