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View Full Version : A few things to look for/avoid in buying safe


Lockman
01-25-2006, 8:13 PM
Have been a California locksmith since 1973 and a shooter longer than that. Suggest this:
1.Safe should have a MECHANICAL lock.(not Electronic)
2. S& G lock is best. Try to get one with a "spyproof dial" that you read from the top rather than the front.
3.Get the largest one you can afford or fit in the space available.
4.BOLT IT DOWN!
There are a lot of good safes out there. I have had a LIBERTY SAFE (Washington series) for 10 years.Still works fine. Lockman ( No representation without taxation!)

Librarian
01-26-2006, 10:16 PM
1.Safe should have a MECHANICAL lock.(not Electronic)
30+ years experience has got to count for a lot - why not an electronic lock?

metalhead357
01-26-2006, 11:51 PM
30+ years experience has got to count for a lot - why not an electronic lock?

More prone to failure...and for our tinfoil hatters, and EMP burst, however small could really & readily make your weapons inaccessable when you'd arguablely need them most!

Electronics.......... I know they're not made by Microssoft, but what can you do when you get a BSOD on your gun safe???????(LOL!!!!)

Metalhead


(Good posts & good questions, +1 both):D

socalguns
01-26-2006, 11:51 PM
I'm not a locksmith, but the way I figure it

they are susceptible to various forms of radiation, overload ...
and worst of all they're accessible from the outside,
so you can replace the battery,
and a thief can break in without damaging the safe.
With a mechanical lock a thief will have to do some drilling

Pablo
01-27-2006, 1:05 AM
Warranty is another thing to consider.
1. Will they try to fix your safe at home?
2. Who pays for a safe tech to open the safe?
3. Who pays for a safe tech to repair the safe?
4. If repair is not possible in-home, who pays the freight to the factory and back?

Gnote
01-28-2006, 8:28 AM
I'm not a locksmith, but the way I figure it

they are susceptible to various forms of radiation, overload ...
and worst of all they're accessible from the outside,
so you can replace the battery,
and a thief can break in without damaging the safe.
With a mechanical lock a thief will have to do some drilling

This is may be a stupid question but how is a electronic lock accessible from outside? How can a thief break in without damaging the safe?

50ae
01-28-2006, 9:24 AM
I have a Liberty safe, forgot the model but I bought it in 96 and it weighs 635# empty. I have the high gloss forest green finish and love it. It was the bigest safe I could afford that I could move with 3 guys. I have the S&G mechanical lock and once you get used to it, it is quite quick, maybe not as quick as a digital, but it doesn't have batteries that fail so it is worth it to me. FWIW, I moved it into my house, off of the truck with two guys but I never, ever, want to attempt that again. It was quite scary, glad I spent so much time at the gym though!!!!

stator
01-28-2006, 9:57 AM
Electronic locks can be defeated by what is called 'glitching'. Glitching is about putting the microprocessor in an unreliable state so the program counter randomly jumps. In this case, the thief would keep the random jumping until it jumps to the section of code which unlocks the safe.

All of the cipher locks requred by the government for secured areas do not have external power supply because of this. The locks get power by motion such as spinning the lock dial or cranking the door handle a few times.

Fatcat
01-28-2006, 7:26 PM
Hello Everyone! My first post and I wanted to share my buying experience in safes. I purchased mine from Sturdy Safes in Fresno:

http://www.sturdysafe.com/

I visited their factory and they took time to explain and demonstrate their products. The safes are all business, no fancy paint jobs(but available at extra $$$) or zillions of dead bolts around the door. Most people seeing my safe think it is a big commercial freezer (plain ole' battleship grey paint) The staff were very friendly and professional in giving me an education on safe design and security strategies. A lot of mis-information is out there. Click on the "information" tab and read.

Sturdy is not very well known, but I believe they offer the best value for your $$$. Best thing is to visit them in Fresno since they do not do much advertising and no local So.Cal dealers. That's a big disadvantage. But if you're considering investing in a BIG safe ($1K - $2k) and considering the high-end brands like Fort Knox or Liberty - give these guys a shot.

Librarian
01-28-2006, 11:15 PM
Electronic locks can be defeated by what is called 'glitching'. Glitching is about putting the microprocessor in an unreliable state so the program counter randomly jumps. In this case, the thief would keep the random jumping until it jumps to the section of code which unlocks the safe.I have heard of this before. What about the feature of 3-tries and you're locked out? How long would it take to glitch your way to 'open sesame'? If UL approves a lock, is it the case they don't test for that attack? How does a 'glitcher' avoid simply frying the processor? Glitching looks hard to me - what should I know about the problem that will help me properly evaluate the risk?

Gnote
01-29-2006, 7:31 AM
The good mechanical lock manufacturers also make electronic locks. Ths includes Sargent and Greenleaf. The good electronic locks are suppose to use the same technology as an ATM machine.

I'm confused about this glitching thing too. Would someone please enlighten me. (Note: That was not sarcasm, I really would like more info please.)

metalhead357
01-29-2006, 10:35 AM
I would like to know as well (Specifically) about glitching....but somewhere between 'this IS a public forum" and the thought that the knowlege would be 'again' out there in the general pop is a lil' scarry (I'm sure) for those with electronic locks.

I know the theory, as already stated, is to "jump" the circuit and have the codes/numbers skipping...

Now as to WHAT DEVICE can one attach to do this--- AND NOT fry the entire unit...You got me. And I know I dont want one in my possession as that would surmount to "burgler tools" when you dont have a legit reason to have them.......... But it Seems if you had one of the devices...ANY device that could throw the electronic lock either back to "default" or into a test mode you'd be more than halfway there. If you could somehow concievably get it to default mode then the factory code(s) for opening the door would work...........and those are often times (unfortunately) as simple to get as contacting the manufacturer:eek:

After years in the security world. I can say this-- just remember folks... ANY safe can be gotton into- the idea of a safe is to REDUCE how quickly it can be done. Criminals need means, motive and opportunity.... you aint ever gonna change motive: so you're left monkeying with reducing thier opportunity and/or severely increasing thier "needs" (the means) by which they'd need to get in.

Yea, a crook is a crook; but a robber who takes a firearm from the closet corner only needed .02 seconds. A "walk away" safe THAT IS NOT BOLTED DOWN takes about as long to get it outta the house....and then they can have at it in the 'luxery' of thier own hut and spend hours/days/weeks getting the sucker open..................


Metalhead

TRP PRO 1911
01-31-2006, 2:32 AM
Hello Everyone! My first post and I wanted to share my buying experience in safes. I purchased mine from Sturdy Safes in Fresno:

http://www.sturdysafe.com/

I visited their factory and they took time to explain and demonstrate their products. The safes are all business, no fancy paint jobs(but available at extra $$$) or zillions of dead bolts around the door. Most people seeing my safe think it is a big commercial freezer (plain ole' battleship grey paint) The staff were very friendly and professional in giving me an education on safe design and security strategies. A lot of mis-information is out there. Click on the "information" tab and read.

Sturdy is not very well known, but I believe they offer the best value for your $$$. Best thing is to visit them in Fresno since they do not do much advertising and no local So.Cal dealers. That's a big disadvantage. But if you're considering investing in a BIG safe ($1K - $2k) and considering the high-end brands like Fort Knox or Liberty - give these guys a shot.


I have a Sturdy Minuteman and love it. No frills and most of all very secure. They build safes for the US military and most interestingly, the CA DOJ uses their safes for evidence. Other government agencies use their safes for evidence/weapon storage.

accordingtoome
01-31-2006, 2:47 AM
i bought a Sentry 14 gun with an electronic lock. I like it cuzz it opens in about 3 sec.. punch the code and done! what if you hear somone in the house at night... its dark.. you can just feel the pannel and punch in the right numbers.. beeps and your in. Or what if you hear a loud noise and your scared>>( yes we all get scared/nervious) its a lot harder to panic and punch in the wrong code then to slip on the dial and start all over again.
I live in a bad neighborhood and i doubt a common street punk or a crack head is going to know anything about breaking into a safe bolted to the floor and wall. Speed is key when your going through someones house and even though its worth a try i figure after about 10 minutes they will just give up and leave. thats just my .02


ohh and about the EMP.. after you slide off the cover of the ele lock there is a hole where a huge key goes (supplied from Sentry) to open your safe. I guess they should advertise that more.

jessegpresley
01-31-2006, 9:54 AM
Have been a California locksmith since 1973 and a shooter longer than that. Suggest this:
1.Safe should have a MECHANICAL lock.(not Electronic)
2. S& G lock is best. Try to get one with a "spyproof dial" that you read from the top rather than the front.
3.Get the largest one you can afford or fit in the space available.
4.BOLT IT DOWN!
There are a lot of good safes out there. I have had a LIBERTY SAFE (Washington series) for 10 years.Still works fine. Lockman ( No representation without taxation!)

The internet is full of people who say they know. Somebody posts a 4 point list of good safe qualities, but doesn't tell you the reasoning behind them or why these points are necessary.

If you go to thehighroad.org there's a guy over there that everybody seems to listen to, and he dumps all over Liberty, Cannon, Browning etc, calling them "residential security containers" and not safes. There seems to be a specialist on every board.

I havne't been a locksmith for 33 years, but from my own limited research, Liberty has a pretty piss-poor warranty as opposed to say, Cannon. I got the below from the Liberty website:

"If there is a defect in either materials or workmanship of the locking mechanism during your lifetime, we will fix it *free of charge. Liberty will also repair or replace your safe *free of charge if it is damaged during a fire, a break-in or break-in attempt during the lifetime of the original purchaser. The damaged safe must be returned for evaluation to Liberty Safe and Security Products by prepaid freight."

2 problems with that paragraph. First, nowhere else does it tell you what the *'s encompass. And *'s are never a harbinger of anything good. Secondly, returning the safe to Liberty for "evaluation" could easily cost $300 each way; which could total 1/2 to 1/3 the cost of a Liberty safe.

Just check out thehighroad.org and search for "residentail security container" or "gun safe". I think he said that Fort Knoxx safes were the bare minimum in acceptable security.

Pablo
01-31-2006, 11:35 AM
I got the below from the Liberty website:

"If there is a defect in either materials or workmanship of the locking mechanism during your lifetime, we will fix it *free of charge. Liberty will also repair or replace your safe *free of charge if it is damaged during a fire, a break-in or break-in attempt during the lifetime of the original purchaser. The damaged safe must be returned for evaluation to Liberty Safe and Security Products by prepaid freight."

2 problems with that paragraph. First, nowhere else does it tell you what the *'s encompass. And *'s are never a harbinger of anything good. Secondly, returning the safe to Liberty for "evaluation" could easily cost $300 each way; which could total 1/2 to 1/3 the cost of a Liberty safe.



That's why I posted this on page 1...;)

Warranty is another thing to consider.
1. Will they try to fix your safe at home?
2. Who pays for a safe tech to open the safe?
3. Who pays for a safe tech to repair the safe?
4. If repair is not possible in-home, who pays the freight to the factory and back?

jessegpresley
01-31-2006, 12:20 PM
Hi Pablo, that's why I'm leaning more towards Cannon at this point. I live in a 100 year old Victorian and don't think my floor can handle the 1,000 lb plus safes that Fort Knoxx has.

There are good deals on both Cannon and Liberty at Costco.com.

50ae
01-31-2006, 1:39 PM
I betcha your 100yr old Victorian will handle more than a new house will. That house was made of real timber, not the soft, wet stuff the new houses are.

jessegpresley
01-31-2006, 4:22 PM
I live above the garage, so anything going through my floor will have another 10 feet until it hits cement.

You make a valid point, "they don't build them like they used to" could completely apply to my floor. I wonder how I could find out how much it will hold?

Librarian
01-31-2006, 8:09 PM
If you go to thehighroad.org there's a guy over there that everybody seems to listen to, and he dumps all over Liberty, Cannon, Browning etc, calling them "residential security containers" and not safes. There seems to be a specialist on every board. I dunno about dumping, but that is the UL rating for everything [probably] those folks sell, so far as I can determine. For example liberty safe (http://www.libertysafe.com/homesecurity.lasso?page=3), chatting up their line vs others, says You should look for the safes that have passed actual break-in tests by professional safe crackers if you want to buy more time. Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) hires experienced safe crackers to test the security resistance of residential security or gun safe and commercial safes. To receive their Residential Security Rating, a residential security or gun safe must pass four stringent tests....Nothing wrong with RSC. But see my post 'what is a safe' (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=150)

socalsteve
02-02-2006, 11:19 AM
Here is a safe:

http://www.mysecuritypro.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1465

Notice the thickness of the wals & top/bottom - My copy didn't work well but
The exterior is 72" tall the interior is 55" that is 17" for thickness - you don't cut through that!
The width 35" outside 28" inside thats 3.5" for each side - which would be very hard to cut through even more for depth.
This weighs 3206 lbs and cost $3760 at this site - maybe you can find better.

It is only 21 cu . ft. and it is rated ONLY 30 minutes burglar proof! Lifetime for anyone who would break into my house.

This is a safe everything else is a residential box.

socalsteve
02-02-2006, 11:20 AM
NOTE I think the site misstated the interior height - i think it should be 65 not 55"

Fatcat
02-02-2006, 9:21 PM
Dude - ever run a gas powered cut-off saw for 1/2 hour?

odysseus
02-02-2006, 11:31 PM
3206 pounds. How did you move this around? Did you pay for a service? Is it actually inside the house? That's heavy.

Here is a safe:

http://www.mysecuritypro.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1465

Notice the thickness of the wals & top/bottom - My copy didn't work well but
The exterior is 72" tall the interior is 55" that is 17" for thickness - you don't cut through that!
The width 35" outside 28" inside thats 3.5" for each side - which would be very hard to cut through even more for depth.
This weighs 3206 lbs and cost $3760 at this site - maybe you can find better.

It is only 21 cu . ft. and it is rated ONLY 30 minutes burglar proof! Lifetime for anyone who would break into my house.

This is a safe everything else is a residential box.

Librarian
02-03-2006, 12:01 AM
3206 pounds. How did you move this around? Safe mover, probably. With the right equipment it's not that difficult, but it's a heck of a lot more than I want to try.

Abysmal
02-03-2006, 11:12 AM
Greetings.
This is my first post to this board.

For the last couple months I have been shopping HARD for a new Gun Safe.
And I think I have narrowed it down to either an

AMSEC BF6040
http://www.amsecusa.com/gun-safes-BF-main.htm
or maybe an

AMSEC RF6528
http://www.amsecusa.com/gun-safes-HS-main.htm

So far as I can tell these are the ONLY real Gun "Safes" on the market.
Does anyone on this list have any experience with either of these or have any reason they would suggest that I NOT consider buying one.

I have found one online shop willing to part with the BF6040 for $1,984 Delivered, which seems like a very good price.

Of course the RF6528 is WAY more money, but seems to be a full vault quality unit rated as "Tool-Resistent", something I have not seen on ANY other gun safe??

I also came across a PENTAGON TL-30 Rated safe.
http://www.pentagonsafes.com/_Commercial-gun-safes.html
This thing looks pretty bullet proof, but over the top on cost as well

Also, just asking for personal oppinion here, is it worth a little bit more money to get the extra 12" of height and go for a 72 rather than a 60" safe???

50BMGBOB
02-03-2006, 12:24 PM
Yes, bigger is better! I have a shelf across the top for handguns and such. I also have a hole cut in the shelf so I can put my 50 in without taking it apart.

Abysmal
02-03-2006, 12:48 PM
Other than the cost, is there ANY real downside to have more internal volume??

This beast will be living in the garage, so space isn't a problem. Just not sure that more and more internal height will be very usefull..

socalsteve
02-03-2006, 9:53 PM
I haven't bought a "good" safe yet...just have the "entry" level which doesn't worry me too much sense I live in a pretty safe neighborhood.

But, when the re-modeling is done I am planning on getting something that will take 1/2 hr with a gas saw to get into.

I want a TL-15 or 30 but they are so heavy and pricy. Still when the re-modeling is complete I may spring for it - I figure after the HELL the contractor put us through we may live here forever and if we don't...the movers can handle it.

I have seen some for the high $3,000 range but the shipping adds another $1,000 +.

I am going to drop in on AMSEC one day when I am visiting friends in Fontana and see if they have any seconds.

I have heard you can save on shipping if you live in Cal. some distributers will arrange to have it shipped from AMSEC in Fontana. No way can I & my friends move anything that is 3,000 or 4,000 lbs.

I am not ragging on the other safes but if they are less than 1/4" double walled and less than 3" thick on the sides and tops - well then a super thick door just doesn't matter.

Where can you get the BF 6040 for $1984 deliverred? That sounds pretty good for the price.

I like the 72" just because I have used every square inch of my current safe. And, I can tell the wife "this top shelf is all for you"!

Abysmal
02-04-2006, 6:52 AM
Thanks for the comments.
Never owned a gun safe before, and don't want to have to buy a 2nd one.
So I want this to be my ONE and only purchase and I want it to be right the first time around.

As for the good deal.
Follow this link.
http://www.mysecuritypro.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=2135
$1,984 with FREE delivery!

Still hunting to see if I can find a killer deal on a RF6528, thus far the best I have found is $3,985.

Abysmal
02-04-2006, 7:10 AM
Still educating myself on all of this and thought this was interesting.

Burglary Classification TL-15
Signifies a combination-locked safe designed to offer a limited degree of protection against attack by common mechanical and electrical hand tools and any combination of these means. Has sucessfully resisted entry* for a net working time of 15 minutes when attacked with common hand tools, picking tools, mechanical or portable electric tools, grinding points, carbide drills, pressure applying devices or mechanisms.

Burglary Classification TL-30
Signifies a combination-locked safe designed to offer a moderate degree of protection against attack by common mechanical and electrical tools and any combination of these means. Has successfully resisted entry* for a net working time of 30 minutes when attacked with common hand tools, picking tools, mechanical or portable electric tools, grinding points, carbide drills, pressure applying devices or mechanisms, abrasive cutting wheels and power saws.

Burglary Classification TRTL-30
Signifies combination locked safe designed to offer a moderate degree of protection against attack by common mechanical and electrical tools and cutting tools and cutting tourches and any combination of these means. Has successfully resisted entry* for a net working time of 30 minutes when attacked with common hand tools, picking tools, mechanical or portable electric tools, grinding points, carbide drills, pressure applying devices or mechanisms, abrasive cutting wheels, power saws, impact tools and oxy-fuel gas cutting or welding torch (test gas limited to 1000 cubic feet combined total oxygen and fuel gas.)

Burglary Classification TRTL-60
Signifies a combination-locked safe designed to offer a high degree of protection against attack by common mechanical and electrical tools and cutting torches and any combination of these means. Has successfully resisted entry* for a net working time of 60 minutes when attacked with common hand tools, picking tools, mechanical or portable electric tools, grinding points, carbide drills, pressure applying devices or mechanisms, abrasive cutting wheels, power saws, impact tools and oxy-fuel gas cutting or welding torch (test gas limited to 1000 cubic feet combined total oxygen and fuel gas).

Burglary Classification TXTL-60
Signifies a combination-locked safe designed to offer a high degree of protection against attack by common mechanical and electrical tools and cutting tools and cutting torches, high explosives and any combination of these means. Has successfully resisted entry* for a net working time of 60 minutes when attacked with common hand tools, picking tools, mechanical or portable electric tools, grinding points, carbide drills, pressure applying devices or mechanisms, abrasive cutting wheels, power saws, impact tools, and oxy-fuel gas cutting or welding torch, nitroglycerin or other high explosives equivalent to not more than 4 ounces of nitroglycerin in one charge (entire test must not use more explosive than that equivalent to 8 ounces of nitroglycerin).

*Entry means for:
Safes classed TL-15 and TL-30 -
Opening the door or making a 6 square inch opening entirely through the door or front face.

Safes classed TRTL-30-, TRTL-60, and TXTL-60 -
Opening or making a 2 inch square opening entirely through the door or body.

50ae
02-04-2006, 7:16 AM
I'd call one of your realtor buddies and see what he says. If he doesn't know he knows somebody that does.

I live above the garage, so anything going through my floor will have another 10 feet until it hits cement.

You make a valid point, "they don't build them like they used to" could completely apply to my floor. I wonder how I could find out how much it will hold?

Librarian
02-04-2006, 2:46 PM
Still hunting to see if I can find a killer deal on a RF6528, thus far the best I have found is $3,985.I bought mine from a place in Hayward - about a dollar a pound, delivered and installed (positioned and leveled). Dealer doesn't keep them in stock; took a couple of weeks for Amsec to build one, ship it to Hayward, get it to my place.

Abysmal
02-06-2006, 12:44 PM
And what is your satisfaction level with it???

Librarian
02-06-2006, 1:31 PM
And what is your satisfaction level with it???
Rather high.

No one has attempted to break in to it, thankfully, so I don't know from personal experience how well it would resist such an attempt.

The door alone weighs about [600?] 150 lb; the lock mechanism is solid and smooth. The leveling is extremely good - the door opens to a position and stays there, no drift. It has enough room for my current needs (Note: once a safe appears, other Significant People are likely to discover reasonable uses for it; this can take up some space).

Since theft of firearms is a significant source of guns for criminals, it seemed to me I should deny them my guns in the best manner I could afford.

[600 pounds? Nah, can't be - I can swing it back and forth with 1 hand, and the inertia is the same, even if perfectly balanced; I'm nowhere near strong enough to toss 600 pounds around!]

Lockman
02-14-2006, 6:52 PM
Unless you tell folks about the sacks of gold Krugerrands and the pound or so of uncut diamonds
that you keep in your gun safe it is highly unlikely
that your gun safe will be attacked by a real professional safe man.

Have seen numerous safecracking attempts by unskilled burglars. Mostly hammer and pry bar stuff,
a few drilling jobs that wound up looking like swiss cheese. In most cases the safe was wrecked-BUT-
never opened!

TL-15 and TL-30 UL rated safes are usually commerical money chests
and jewelery safes. Overkill for a gun safe.

Most gun safes on the market will do a good burglar protection job. Fire protection is somthing else...

I like mechanical safe locks over electronic because:
1.Electronic locks are not as hard to break into.
No I am not going to tell you how or why...
2.EMP and other weird voltages that may be present
and effect lock operation.Once had to remove 13 elect fast food safe locks for this reason. ???
3.Lower mech lock failure rate.
4.No battries.
Lockman(No representation without taxation)

jessegpresley
02-21-2006, 2:14 AM
Don't most electronic lock safes also accept a key? Like regular combo dial safes?

metalhead357
02-21-2006, 7:08 PM
Don't most electronic lock safes also accept a key? Like regular combo dial safes?

I've seen 'em both ways...with and without. Been a while since I looked once I heard about EMP and the idea of a dying or dead battery