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Firearms Accessories: Holsters, Safes, Lights & more If it locks up, carries, fits on to or cleans up your firearms, discuss it here.

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  #1  
Old 12-01-2008, 1:08 AM
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Default Basic safe information for beginners

Quote:
No safe is burglar proof, but a safe will buy time -- time is what the average burglar doesn't have. He wants to break in, steal something of value, and get out as quickly as possible.

-- Holt Bodinson
Start here: Gun Safe Buyers' Guide.

That page, at the bottom, has the direct links to twenty five (25) manufacturers' web sites, where anyone can explore the models available. Information at those links can help you answer questions like "How does X compare to Y?"

For further questions along those lines, it would be really helpful if you would provide the brand name and model number, and even better to provide a link to the manufacturer's web page for that exact safe.

The next link is on the above page, but Brown Safe Manufacturing has a page (among many others on the web) that explains the safe ratings for burglary and fire resistance. Lots of other info at Brown Safe, so browse a bit.

Some important terms in safe theft-resistance:

* Net Working Time - This is the UL term for testing time which is spent trying to break into a safe using tools such as diamond grinding wheels, high-speed drills with pressure applying devices, or common hand tools such as hammers, chisels, saws, and carbide-tip drills. If a safe has been rated with a 30-minute net working time, (TL30), the rating certifies that the safe successfully withstood a full 30 minutes of attack time with a range of tools.

* Theft resistant - This rating means the safe provides a combination lock and minimal theft protection.

* Residential Security Container rating (RSC) - This UL rating is based on testing conducted for a net working time of five minutes, on all sides, with a range of tools.

It costs the manufacturers money to have Underwriters' Labs certify their products. It is a manufacturer's business decision whether to spend that money for that purpose, and the lack of a UL rating is not necessarily a negative indicator.

------ Brief FAQ ------

Should I anchor my safe?
Generally, YES. If someone can move it in, someone else can move it out.

You need to worry about whether your landlord will complain about holes in the wall/floor, whether there are utilities under your concrete floor, whether the concrete is thick enough, whether the concrete is a tensioned slab, whether your safe already has anchoring holes.
Can I put my safe in my garage?
Generally, YES. If temperatures fluctuate inside the safe, you may need desiccant or something like a Golden Rod to keep moisture away from your guns.

There are also issues of visibility and access to your tools which may be used to open your safe!
Can I put my safe upstairs?
MAYBE.

Depends on how big it is - whether it will go up stairs or in a freight elevator, whether it will fit through halls and doorways.

Depends on how heavy it will be, loaded.

Depends on the kind of construction of the building.
Why can't I find Safe X on DOJ's Roster of Firearm Safety Devices Certified for Sale?
If it's a safe-sized box, it does not have to be on that Roster. DOJ says safes can be acceptable unlisted:
Quote:
Regulatory Gun Safe Standards

DOJ regulatory standards require a gun safe to meet either:

All of the following requirements:

1. Shall be able to fully contain firearms and provide for their secure storage;
2. Shall have a locking system consisting of at minimum a mechanical or electronic combination lock. The mechanical or electronic combination lock utilized by the safe shall have at least 10,000 possible combinations consisting of a minimum three numbers, letters, or symbols. The lock shall be protected by a case-hardened (Rc 60+) drill-resistant steel plate, or drill-resistant material of equivalent strength;
3. Boltwork shall consist of a minimum of three steel locking bolts of at least inch thickness that intrude from the door of the safe into the body of the safe or from the body of the safe into the door of the safe, which are operated by a separate handle and secured by the lock;
4. Shall be capable of repeated use. The exterior walls shall be constructed of a minimum 12-gauge thick steel for a single-walled safe, or the sum of the steel walls shall add up to at least .100 inches for safes with two walls. Doors shall be constructed of a minimum of two layers of 12-gauge steel, or one layer of 7-gauge steel compound construction;
5. Door hinges shall be protected to prevent the removal of the door. Protective features include, but are not limited to: hinges not exposed to the outside, interlocking door designs, dead bars, jeweler’s lugs and active or inactive locking bolts.

or

All of the following requirements:

1. Is listed as an Underwriters Laboratories Residential Security Container;
2. Is able to fully contain firearms;
3. Provides for the secure storage of firearms.
How big a safe should I get?
Folk wisdom is "twice as big as you think you'll need". That doesn't always make economic sense, of course, but the number of guns - and other valuable things which fit in safes - tends to grow rather quickly.
Should I get a manual dial or an electronic keypad lock?
If you get a good one, it seems to be a tossup.

See Electronic Keypad VS Dial Combinations from Valuesafes.

Which does lead to "what is a good one?" Sargent & Greenleaf and Kaba/La Gard are the best-known reputable lock manufacturers. So-called "commercial" grade electronic locks are designed for more use, so tend to be more reliable.

It also appears that there are some models that keep the control electronics outside the safe, leaving the lock vulnerable to simple outside manipulation. Since S&G and La Gard locks are commonly available, there's no good reason to settle for less.

EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) damage is certainly possible, and if it were to occur might disable the lock. Given the actual frequency of EMP events so far, few locks are designed to resist it.

If that really worries you, you can spend $1,000+ on an X-09.

Just as no thickness of safe wall or door is guaranteed to keep out criminals, no lock is perfect either.
California Law and safes
Once you have selected and installed a safe, or acquired a 'lock box', it is sometimes possible to satisfy California's firearms safety device requirement by submitting a 'safe affidavit' when purchasing a firearm.

See also the wiki section on locks and safes.
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Last edited by Librarian; 09-23-2011 at 9:27 PM..
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Old 12-01-2008, 1:09 AM
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Some technical information...

What does 'gauge' mean for steel?
See the chart here: http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/ga...eet-d_915.html
How are burglary safes tested?
Here's the Underwriter's Laboratory description: http://www.ul.com/global/eng/pages/c...tymyths/safes/

For a rather dramatically-enhanced version, see Meilink TL30 Safe Burglary Test at UL on Youtube

That page also will bring up links to other safe-test videos.
What is the actual construction of a TL-15 or TL-30 Burglary resistant safe?
AMSEC has put that on their web site:

Construction Requirements
  • U.L. listed Group II, 1 or 1R combination lock.
  • 750 lbs. minimum or comes with instructions for anchoring in a larger safe, concrete blocks or on the premises where used.
  • Body walls of material equivalent to at least 1" open hearth steel with a minimum tensile strength of 50,000 P.S.I.
  • Walls fastened in a manner equivalent to continuous " penetration weld of open hearth steel with minimum tensile strength of 50,000 P.S.I.
  • One hole " or less, to accommodate electrical conductors arranged to have no direct view of the door or locking mechanism.
============

12/31/2011

Member cranemech found this excellent safe/lock Q&A site:

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Locksmithing-3110/
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Last edited by Librarian; 12-31-2011 at 3:17 PM..
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  #3  
Old 09-09-2011, 12:19 AM
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Feel free to add info to make this a better FAQ.
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Old 09-09-2011, 12:24 PM
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Excellent, I was just looking for one!
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  #5  
Old 09-23-2011, 3:01 PM
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I filled out the bottom half of the affidavit (for DOJ lockbox) and produced the receipt from the online company it was purchased from. I made sure it was on the list. All went smoothly. thanks
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Old 12-31-2011, 3:28 PM
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Default

Just found what seems to be a useful link:

There is also an entire blog about gun safes - http://gunsafesblogger.com/ - associated with a commercial site. (They're big fans of 'buy American' - a good plan, I think, if you can afford it.)

Quote:
About

Here you’ll find free information about gun safes and home safes including videos, reviews, How-To articles, and useful tips. Stay informed about new products and promotional offers on safes and other security products. The Gun-Safe-Guru is experienced with all types of safes and has a vast database of information to draw from – feel free to ask a question any time!
It IS a commercial site.


And, member cranemech found this excellent safe/lock Q&A site:

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Locksmithing-3110/


Although it has little to do with safes, this .pdf doc has a nice discussion of locks: http://www.blackhat.com/presentation...t_ollam-WP.pdf


Gun Hoo has reviews and comparisons; they say they are
Quote:
The Comprehensive Consumer Resource for Safes for the Home and Office

Update 6/26/13

Another article, this time from Gun World - their Buyer's Guide (2011)
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Last edited by Librarian; 07-18-2015 at 1:58 PM.. Reason: update link
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  #7  
Old 06-05-2012, 5:02 PM
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kinda explains things a lil better. good info
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Old 06-05-2012, 5:08 PM
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Two issues I continue to wonder about:

* Best moisture barrier to install if safe is bolt to concrete slab. Many have moisture problems.

* How do you seal the penetrations in the safe (bolt holes, power hole, etc) to address moisture (maintain moisture barrier) and fire concerns (heat expanding sealer?).
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Old 06-06-2012, 12:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AAShooter View Post
Two issues I continue to wonder about:

* Best moisture barrier to install if safe is bolt to concrete slab. Many have moisture problems.

* How do you seal the penetrations in the safe (bolt holes, power hole, etc) to address moisture (maintain moisture barrier) and fire concerns (heat expanding sealer?).
AS far as a moisture barrier is concerned, you could put silicone caulk around the washers on the bolts into the floor, I doubt a membrane would help, but TBH, I have never considered this an issue before right now.

You question about sealing holes against fire penetration, a simple commercial fire caulk will do the trick. DO NOT USE product designated residential fire block, they are not the same. Great Stuff Fireblock (expanding foam) is flammable... worthless. Get the 3m stuff it's the right way to go.
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Old 06-06-2012, 12:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burbur View Post
AS far as a moisture barrier is concerned, you could put silicone caulk around the washers on the bolts into the floor, I doubt a membrane would help, but TBH, I have never considered this an issue before right now.

You question about sealing holes against fire penetration, a simple commercial fire caulk will do the trick. DO NOT USE product designated residential fire block, they are not the same. Great Stuff Fireblock (expanding foam) is flammable... worthless. Get the 3m stuff it's the right way to go.
Thanks for the comments. As far as moisture barrier, some have suggested cutting a piece of sheet aluminum to put under the safe, some suggest tar paper, some suggest using a vapor barrier used for laminate flooring, some suggest coating the bottom of the safe with a silicone caulk, some suggest sealing the garage floor, some suggest mounting it so it is slightly elevated so air can circulated . . . lots of suggestions/ideas . . .
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:56 AM
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Default Very informative gun safe video *WATCH*


Great info for anyone, especially us gun owners.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:27 PM
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Long and fundamental
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Old 02-04-2013, 1:07 AM
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question here I am soon to be first time gun owner on 02/09/2013 and who do I submit the safe affidavit too, would I need to submit directly by mail or fax to CA DOJ or to the FFL. I will be buying a safe in the next couple of days before I pick up the firearm.

Last edited by ROAD_DOG; 02-04-2013 at 1:34 AM..
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Old 02-04-2013, 1:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROAD_DOG View Post
question here I am soon to be first time gun owner on 02/09/2013 and who do I submit the safe affidavit too, would it be directly to CA DOJ or to the FFL I will be buying a safe in the next couple of before I pick up the firearm.
FFL keeps it, as documentation the gun was delivered as the law requires.
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Old 02-04-2013, 1:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Librarian View Post
FFL keeps it, as documentation the gun was delivered as the law requires.
oh ok I see and would I need to have the lock box or safe with me when I pick up the firearm to transport back home.
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AAShooter View Post
Thanks for the comments. As far as moisture barrier, some have suggested cutting a piece of sheet aluminum to put under the safe, some suggest tar paper, some suggest using a vapor barrier used for laminate flooring, some suggest coating the bottom of the safe with a silicone caulk, some suggest sealing the garage floor, some suggest mounting it so it is slightly elevated so air can circulated . . . lots of suggestions/ideas . . .
Responding to an old post, here, but:

One issue to be aware of is galvantic corrosion. If you use metal as a barrier between the safe and the floor, make sure it's the same kind of metal as the safe. In other words, if you have a steel safe, don't use aluminum sheeting, or you will actually accelerate the corrosion process if any moisture ever gets in there. This is particularly an issue if you live near the ocean, as salts compound the problem. The key point is just to make sure the metals don't touch, however... if you wanted to use sheet aluminum but cover the sheeting with a plastic/rubber membrane, like shower pan liner, that would solve the metal-to-metal problem. This can be an issue (to a MUCH lesser extent) with steel to steel as well, if you use drastically different grades of sheet steel, so I'd go ahead use some sort of barrier there as well.

Personally, I'm thinking some ceramic floor tiles would do the job of elevating the safe a tad without any danger of burning, and they'd be plenty strong enough to hold the weight (as long as the safe is lowered onto them relatively carefully).
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Old 02-15-2013, 9:58 PM
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I've been looking into a vapor barrier solution before bolting my safe down. I've got some leftover Redgard from a bathroom remodel. Figure I'll apply a coating or two to the bottom of the safe and to the floor where it will be installed.

Any thoughts on Redgard?
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:35 PM
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I'm no expert on safes, I just have some experience with unexpected issues with dissimilar metals in wet conditions. Any sort of effective non-metal vapor barrier should be fine, I'd think. The one advantage to raising the safe off the ground, however, is keeping things bone dry in the hopefully unlikely event of unexpected water. One spilled beer (let alone an actual water leak) can introduce water between the floor and whatever is touching the floor. If its the safe touching the floor, whether or not the floor itself it waterproof won't stop liquid for wicking in, and once between the floor and the safe bottom, that moisture is going to be stuck for a LONG time. That's why I like the idea of getting the safe up off the ground at least 1/4" or so, and ideally allowing at least some airflow to dry anything that manages to get in along the floor (or at least it won't matter since its not the safe bottom).
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Old 03-19-2013, 2:42 PM
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1/4" gap under a safe is plenty of room to get a saw blade in there to cut the bolts. Just sayin. Something to think about.
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Old 03-19-2013, 4:50 PM
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Good point, although (a) that's sure not an easy cutting angle, and (b) must be one hell of a saw to reach the BACK bolts as well as the front ones.
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Old 04-07-2013, 7:49 AM
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Anyone have a good source on how to move one? I've got an 800 pound safe coming in about 4 weeks.
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Old 10-18-2013, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpoonKiller View Post
Anyone have a good source on how to move one? I've got an 800 pound safe coming in about 4 weeks.
A sturdy dolly and a couple (few) good friends. I just had a 560 lb safe delivered awhile back. One trick that helps quite a bit is taking the door off before you move it. This reduces the weight significantly.
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Old 11-19-2013, 2:54 PM
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To Burbur and kkp, this is seemingly basic but rather complicated physics. Concrete is a reservoir material in that it hold an amazing quantity of water. (I'm an architect I deal with this sort of stuff all the time, and its something of my specialty) Nature seeks equilibrium in all things. Just like temperature or air pressure, water in the form of both bulk moisture (fancy a** term for water) and water vapor will flow from places of more moisture to places of less moisture. You cannot stop it, but you can slow it down by breaking its path of travel. Concrete wicks moisture, but metal does an even better job.

What you need is what architects and building performance geeks call a 'capillary break', i.e. something to stop the 'wicking' action. The scary thing is the more you dehumidify the inside of the safe the more it attracts moisture to it. It gets there by flowing out of the concrete slab, into the feet/legs of the safe an into the nice dry air inside. Look at old safes sitting on concrete their get are always rusty, this is precisement why.

Here's what you do to solve this problem. You prevent the feet of the safe from having any direct contact with the concrete. This simple act will break the capillary action. I recommend neoprene pads (cut up an old worn our wet suit) between the safe and the concrete slab. Some people use a bituminous membrane (roofing material. But I like neoprene because th weight of the safe will not 'sandwich out' the neoprene and defeat your efforts.

But again I need to stress, all it takes is one square inch of bare metal on contact with that slab and you've provided a path for this moisture to travel. Just like with air flow, a small opening doesn't prevent air flow, it creates a venturi which concentrates and accelerates the air flowing from higher pressure to lower pressure. You've got to have a complete barrier or it will not work.

The darned anchor bolts are an even bigger problem. You mount these directly into the slab. Their an amazingly effective path for moisture to travel within. The solution is simple, but again requires attention to detail. Epoxy is a nasty material, but it has its uses, and among those is that it simply does not pass moisture. If you epoxy the bolts into the slab you break that capillary action between slab and metal bolt. Voila! Here again though, every bit of area of that bolt that will be in contact with that concrete slab needs to be coated with epoxy before you insert it into the slab. Oh and the epoxy will take 24hours to set before you can bolt down your safe so get the layout template before they deliver your safe and install the bolts a couple, three days before. More curing time cannot hurt.

When in doubt do both of those things; neoprene pads between the safe's feet and concrete slab and epoxy your bolts into the slab thoroughly and you are GTG
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Old 11-27-2013, 1:08 AM
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For you fellas worried about leaving a gap under the safe for fear of crooks using a sawzall and hacking your anchor bolts and stealing the safe, FEAR NOT!!! A trip to your local auto parts store and about $25 bucks will make them damn near impossible to saw!!! Get yourself 4 wheel hub bearings. The ones shaped like this, \_/ and its a ton of needle bearings covering the outside. Have fun cutting them, lol. Iv found its pretty damn hard to cut somethig that spins. A buddy of mine showed me this trick. And i tried to prove him wrong with a sawzall and attack the bearing covered anchor bolts that were secured to the garage floor. I failed miserably. cheap investment that will almost guarentee your safe stays put.
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Old 12-07-2013, 4:13 PM
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Hello, still kinda new here on the CG site but as a 3rd generation locksmith and safe tech, if anyone has any questions concerning the physical safe or locks, feel free to pm me. I have used, sold, installed and worked on a number of safes and vaults through the years. So if I don't have the answer right away I can certainly get the information to you and or point you in the right direction.
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Old 12-07-2013, 8:26 PM
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Wow, great info. Will try the hub bearing trick.
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Old 12-07-2014, 2:49 AM
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http://gunsafereviewsguy.com/articles/
Lots of useful info.
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Old 07-19-2016, 9:44 PM
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Don't know why I was looking, but ran across this a day or so ago: http://www.sargentandgreenleaf.com/EMP/

Quote:
Sargent & Greenleaf Electronic Locks are
TESTED and PROVEN EMP-Resistant

Sargent & Greenleaf's high-security electronic locks are proven to withstand military-level EMP attacks, giving you full access to your valuables even after an EMP emergency.
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Unless there is some way to amend a bill so you would support it,
the details do not matter until the Governor signs or allows the bill to become law.

Ask CA law questions in the How CA Laws Apply to/Affect Me Forum
- most questions that start 'Is it legal ...' go there.

Not a lawyer, just Some Guy On The Interwebs.


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