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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 11-28-2006, 11:49 AM
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Question How good is your safe?

Ok, I have to open this up for discussion!
I have been researching a small size gun safe for a couple of weeks now. Space is my main limitation, but I also want to keep things affordable.
Now, here is where I have the problem. I called a number of known vendors (Sturdy, Amsec, and more) and aside for “ours is the best, others are snakes oil” comments, none could really provide quantitative data about the performance of their safes.
How many of your safes withstood an attack?
How many of your safes withstood a fire?
How many of your safes were just hauled off the property?
It seems like no one has any kind of real statistics about how good a safe is. I hear folks say “Brand X is a good safe”. What in the world does that mean? Does it mean that it sits at home and decorates your living room really well?

How do YOU know that your safe is really “that good”?

So, let's hear from folks several things:
1) What brand safe do you have
2) Has there ever been a break in attempt at it and how did it do?
3) Was it ever exposed to fire and how did it do?

It's ok if you tell us of someone else's safe too, but only someone you know first hand.
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  #2  
Old 11-28-2006, 1:11 PM
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See http://www.6mmbr.com/gunsafes.html

The UL standards are a good place to start.

From the Brown Safe link on that page:
Quote:
How are safes Rated?
The rating systems for safes are defined by construction or performance. Generally, a construction rated safe is lower priced since it's model has not been subjected to an independent lab for testing. Performance ratings are generally ranked by amount of time your valuables are safe when under attack by either fire or burglary. The following tables are greatly simplified, but can give you a general idea of how safes are rated. Make sure to always ask you dealer what the rating is.

Construction Ratings
B Steel, doors less than 1 inch thick,
walls less than 1/2 inch thick
C Steel, doors at least 1 inch thick,
walls at least 1/2 inch thick
E Steel, doors at least 1 1/2 inches thick,
walls at least 1inch thick
ER Safe or chest labeled with:
"UL Inspected Tool Resisting Safe TL 15 Burglary"
F Safe or chest labeled with:
"UL Inspected Tool Resisting Safe TL 30 Burglary"
or
"UL Inspected Torch Resisting Safe TR 30 Burglary"
or
"UL Inspected Explosive Resistant Safe with Relocking Device X 60 Burglary"
G Safe or chest labeled with:
"UL Inspected Torch and Explosive Resisting Safe TX 60 Burglary"
or
"UL Inspected Torch Resisting Safe TR 60 Burglary"
or
"UL Inspected Torch and Tool Resisting Safe TRTL 30 Burglary"

Performance Ratings - Burglary Classifications
TL - 15 Successfully resist entry for a net assault time of 15 minutes when attacked with common hand tools, picking tools, mechanical or portable electric tools, grinders, drills or pressure devices.
TL - 30 Successfully resist entry for a net assault time of 30 minutes when attacked with common hand tools, picking tools, mechanical or portable electric tools, grinders, drills or pressure devices.
TRTL - 30 Successfully resist entry for a net assault time of 30 minutes when attacked with common hand tools, picking tools, mechanical or portable electric tools, grinders, drills , pressure devices and oxy-fuel gas cutting or welding torches.
TRTL - 60 Successfully resist entry for a net assault time of 60 minutes when attacked with common hand tools, picking tools, mechanical or portable electric tools, grinders, drills , pressure devices and oxy-fuel gas cutting or welding torches.
TXTL - 60 Successfully resist entry for a net assault time of 60 minutes when attacked with common hand tools, picking tools, mechanical or portable electric tools, grinders, drills , pressure devices, explosives and oxy-fuel gas cutting or welding torches.

Performance Ratings - Fire Classifications
4 Hour Maintain an interior temperature of less than 150 degrees F and an interior humidity less than 85% when exposed to fire (up to 2000 F) for 4 hours.
3 Hour Maintain an interior temperature of less than 150 degrees F and an interior humidity less than 85% when exposed to fire (up to 2000 F) for 3 hours.
2 Hour Maintain an interior temperature of less than 150 degrees F and an interior humidity less than 85% when exposed to fire (up to 2000 F) for 2 hours.
1 Hour Maintain an interior temperature of less than 150 degrees F and an interior humidity less than 85% when exposed to fire (up to 2000 F) for 1 hour.

UL Labels
If a safe or chest bears the "Underwriters' Laboratories, Inc." , then is model has been fully tested by this highly respected independent laboratory. On the UL label will be a complete performance coding. If your safe has an UL label, make sure to have the sales staff explain the complete label codes to you.
Safes with a UL label are supposed to be built in the same way as the tested examples, thus should perform similarly to the UL testing results.

Doesn't mean non-UL safes are, on that basis only, less secure. Does mean with non-UL you don't really have any good way to tell.
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  #3  
Old 11-28-2006, 3:29 PM
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TAG for pics
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  #4  
Old 11-28-2006, 5:45 PM
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the owner of sturdy told me he put a few safes in fire dept burn downs of condemned houses (training fires) until he refined the combination he has now. plus the one actual customer owned safe he has on the website.

that's all I have to go by...but I will say that my friend had a brinks 1 cubic foot (80 lb) handy safe that walked away last month when his spot go breached by bad guys.
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  #5  
Old 11-28-2006, 5:49 PM
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My main concern in buying a safe was looks and ability to not get hauled off. I bought a Liberty that is 635# empty and lord knows how heavy full. It would take quite a few guys to haul it off so I'm not really worried about neighborhood burglars.


As far as the rest of the stuff goes, it is a fire safe but I'm not about to test it!!
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  #6  
Old 11-28-2006, 6:49 PM
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You'd be amazed what two tweakers with a dolly can move.
Well, Make sure you bolt it down to the ground.. using redheads concrete fasteners or bolts through the floorboard.
Iv'e got three 9/16 studs holding mine down..
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  #7  
Old 11-28-2006, 7:28 PM
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Believe me, I've seen a lot of tweakers and two of them with a dolly aren't moving this thing(full) anywhere. Two of us big guys with a dolly nearly killed ourselves getting it out of the truck(empty). Getting one in the truck is something else entirely.
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  #8  
Old 11-28-2006, 7:32 PM
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I agree that is why Ive always borrowed a friends roll back tow truck when it was time to move any of my safes.

I own a few safes that total over 10,000 lbs one of them is about 4500 empty so I can totally relate with this.

My lightest safe weighs in at 1500 LBS

Quote:
Originally Posted by 50ae
Believe me, I've seen a lot of tweakers and two of them with a dolly aren't moving this thing(full) anywhere. Two of us big guys with a dolly nearly killed ourselves getting it out of the truck(empty). Getting one in the truck is something else entirely.
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  #9  
Old 11-28-2006, 7:41 PM
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If space is your main consideration then mine is probably about perfect, depending. It takes up a little less room than a lazy boy so it can be thrown in a corner and has enough interior room to handle most peoples collections and their wife's stuff too. Generally you're going to rent a fridge dolly along with a truck when moving and it can be moved with that a 3 to 4 guys empty.

As far as cost if you don't get the fancy finish the price really comes down.

As far as quality, any of the good, heavy safes are all about the same save a few which are significantly heavier so I wouldn't worry all too much about the brand name on it.
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Old 11-28-2006, 7:49 PM
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Yeah, those are real safes. I dont think 2 Tweakers could move mine and its one of those 14 gun Home depot models. Better safe than sorry tho.
Then again, just pony up for a big safe the first time and just fill it up. that ways you wont have to worry!
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  #11  
Old 11-28-2006, 7:51 PM
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Anyone have a digital keypad type safe? What are the pros/cons of owning one of those? Security concerns?
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  #12  
Old 11-28-2006, 8:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepRescueService14
Anyone have a digital keypad type safe? What are the pros/cons of owning one of those? Security concerns?
When I bought mine they were an option but I decided against it.
Pros-you can change the number whenever you like and it is quite quick.
cons-batteries die at the worst possible time and after a fire it would certainly be dead.

Regular S&G lock
Pros-no electronics, works every time no matter what.
cons-a bit slower but you'll get pretty fast with practice.
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  #13  
Old 11-28-2006, 10:17 PM
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Default How I would steal a heavy safe

Seems to me there is one big difference between an owner installing or moving a safe and a thief grabbing it -- the thief isn't stealing the safe, only the contents.

So he doesn't care if he knocks it over, scratches it, scrapes it. If he has to bust up a concrete pad to break it loose, no big deal other than the time involved. If he destroys an exterior wall to drag it outside, or knocks it down a flight of stairs, he might not care. If he is looking for jewelry or cash, who cares? Even if he wants any guns or ammo which might be inside, he might be willing to take a few scratches. If it is merely heavy and not bolted down, just knock it over onto a few pipes and roll it over to where your truck is. Then a come-along onto a trailer and away he goes.

A thief is tremedously liberated by not caring about the safe itself. He won't use a torch if he cares about the contents, but once he's dragged it away, he has a lot more time to cut into it mechanically.
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  #14  
Old 11-28-2006, 10:23 PM
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Well, being that I'm in the burbiest of the burbs I'm not too worried about them taking it through a wall or rolling it out on pipes and getting a trailer down to my front door is easier said than done as it would high center on the steps and the brick mailboxes are in the way anyhoo. If you live in an area where things such as this could happen then maybe it's time to fortify the whole house.
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  #15  
Old 11-29-2006, 2:16 AM
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Got a digital because of a bad habit losing keys.
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  #16  
Old 11-29-2006, 1:24 PM
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Went to a Liberty safe dealer today. I asked him what he thinks of Studry and he said he doesn't know of them. I do like the fact the the Liberty folks give you a lifetime warranty and the dealers will install it in your house and bolt it to the floor if you ask them too.

I spent about 30 minutes on the phone with the Sturdy folks. They really differentiate themselves from the rest with their ceramic wool fire protection. I wonder just how good that is.

Decisions... decisions...
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  #17  
Old 11-29-2006, 4:15 PM
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I would advise against a key lock but a regular big ol' bank dial is just fine. Mine can be locked with the dial open if need be so it can work just like a key locked safe.
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  #18  
Old 11-29-2006, 6:00 PM
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I wish I lived in a neighborhood that I could shoot things in my yard with my shotgun. That would be awesome.
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  #19  
Old 11-29-2006, 7:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepRescueService14
Anyone have a digital keypad type safe? What are the pros/cons of owning one of those? Security concerns?
Dealers and articles claim that the digital break more often than the mechanical locks.

On the other hand, digital locks are easier to open, and much easier to reprogram. I am leaning towards the digital due to its advantages.
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Old 11-29-2006, 8:25 PM
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Treelogger, Thats a bad thing. Yikes. I think ill stick with my mechanical dial safe for now. A 5 second open time would be nice, but its only 15-30 secs to open it anyways. Now just imagine if that rattlesnake had been a bunch of angry people with flaming torches and pitchforks in front of your house...
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Old 11-29-2006, 8:45 PM
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When I'm getting into it every day it doesn't take me more than 10 seconds.
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  #22  
Old 11-30-2006, 12:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Satex
Dealers and articles claim that the digital break more often than the mechanical locks.
Probably. Get a commercial-grade digital, good for a couple of dozen cycles per day, and you'll avoid most of that.
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  #23  
Old 11-30-2006, 8:32 AM
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Anyone got a recommendation for a safe that could go into an apartment?

I'd hate to have something either fall through the floor, or be impossible to move out. I'd be happy with something that locked and didn't have a door that you could pry open with your hands.
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Old 11-30-2006, 8:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarecrow Repair
Seems to me there is one big difference between an owner installing or moving a safe and a thief grabbing it -- the thief isn't stealing the safe, only the contents.

So he doesn't care if he knocks it over, scratches it, scrapes it. If he has to bust up a concrete pad to break it loose, no big deal other than the time involved. If he destroys an exterior wall to drag it outside, or knocks it down a flight of stairs, he might not care. If he is looking for jewelry or cash, who cares? Even if he wants any guns or ammo which might be inside, he might be willing to take a few scratches. If it is merely heavy and not bolted down, just knock it over onto a few pipes and roll it over to where your truck is. Then a come-along onto a trailer and away he goes.

A thief is tremedously liberated by not caring about the safe itself. He won't use a torch if he cares about the contents, but once he's dragged it away, he has a lot more time to cut into it mechanically.
I had a friend once who solved this problem by placing a 3000 pound safe in the basement.

You'll need more than pipes to knock it up stairs.
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  #25  
Old 11-30-2006, 9:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aluisious
Anyone got a recommendation for a safe that could go into an apartment?

I'd hate to have something either fall through the floor, or be impossible to move out. I'd be happy with something that locked and didn't have a door that you could pry open with your hands.
Take a look at these that you assemble in place:

http://www.gunngard.com/

and

http://www.zanottiarmor.com/

Buy one that is larger than your bedroom door and safe removal is impossible (unless opened).
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Old 11-30-2006, 12:55 PM
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Every time I think I have converged on a safe I like, someone claims it’s a high-school locker.
I like the Sturdy, Liberty Colonial and AMSEC BF series, but every manufacturer trashes the others!

I just got off the phone with Ron from El Cajon Gun Exchange and he is very passionate about safes. They have a video they made and show in their store and they also have a bunch of safes on the floor that you can see the mechanisms. I think I will pay them a visit to see what I can learn.

This is turning out to be a real frustrating experience.
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Old 11-30-2006, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Satex
Every time I think I have converged on a safe I like, someone claims it’s a high-school locker.
I like the Sturdy, Liberty Colonial and AMSEC BF series, but every manufacturer trashes the others!

I just got off the phone with Ron from El Cajon Gun Exchange and he is very passionate about safes. They have a video they made and show in their store and they also have a bunch of safes on the floor that you can see the mechanisms. I think I will pay them a visit to see what I can learn.

This is turning out to be a real frustrating experience.
Dude, if it's big and heavy and you can't knock the door down with a hammer, don't sweat it. Those safe makers scream about their products because they hope the volume of their voice will distract customers from the fact that the safes are pretty much the same.

Honestly if you think high tech bank vault crackers are going to go after your safe, you probably need to do something about it other than buying a bigger, badder safe.

Like join the witness protection program.
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Old 11-30-2006, 1:04 PM
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I decided to go with a safe that couldn't be opened with the tools in my garage. Since I have a Sawzall, anything less than 1/4" steel was out. I bought a GSA Class Map and Plan/Weapon container which has 3/8" steel door and walls for $100 at a surplus auction.

So unless the burglar has a cutting torch, they're not getting in. But this 1000 lb box won't fit in most apartments.

I saw some pics posted on the High Road of a RSC opened by a couple of tweakers with an axe. It supposedly only took about 5 minutes for them to get in the side and the door. Given that a burglar might have an axe to break in the house in the first place, I would definitely not go with anything less than 1/4" steel all around.
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Old 11-30-2006, 2:18 PM
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I just got off the phone with Liberty - the company, not dealer.
The person I spoke to claims that in the past two years that he has been there, not a single safe was returned to them after being broken into. He did say a number were damaged due to attempted brake-ins.
He also said that they replaced a few due to fires and all held up pretty good.

Last edited by Satex; 11-30-2006 at 4:40 PM..
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Old 12-01-2006, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottj
I saw some pics posted on the High Road of a RSC opened by a couple of tweakers with an axe. It supposedly only took about 5 minutes for them to get in the side and the door.
5 minutes resistance is all an RSC is rated for.
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Old 12-01-2006, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Satex
Every time I think I have converged on a safe I like, someone claims it’s a high-school locker.
I like the Sturdy, Liberty Colonial and AMSEC BF series, but every manufacturer trashes the others!

I just got off the phone with Ron from El Cajon Gun Exchange and he is very passionate about safes. They have a video they made and show in their store and they also have a bunch of safes on the floor that you can see the mechanisms. I think I will pay them a visit to see what I can learn.

This is turning out to be a real frustrating experience.
cannon also has a lifetime warranty for fire, theft, etc. and, they will pay to ship it back to them for fix, replace.

best part is that costco sells them, so you get it pretty cheap.
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Old 12-01-2006, 1:49 PM
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http://www.gunlocker.com/

I see some safes are starting to come out with biometric security features like thumbprint readers. I'd like to get one that has access via either a thumbprint or a traditional dial if the reader fails somehow. I don't know of anything on the market that has both yet however.
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Old 12-01-2006, 5:06 PM
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Wouldn't it be cool if a Lojack-type, GPS tracking device would work inside a safe? Seems like it would be a popular compliment to the physical security aspect.

Obviously the requisite power source, ability to operate from within a strongbox (prolly the biggest issue?) and cost would be key. Any thoughts on this? (I'm not very knowledgeable about the physics of this particulary application so go easy on the responses please...)
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Old 12-01-2006, 5:12 PM
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AIRC S&G makes a biometric and dial combination or maybe it was a biometric and push button combination.

I have it somewhere in my favorites ill have a look.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOW2000
http://www.gunlocker.com/

I see some safes are starting to come out with biometric security features like thumbprint readers. I'd like to get one that has access via either a thumbprint or a traditional dial if the reader fails somehow. I don't know of anything on the market that has both yet however.

A gelcell would be fine for the power the only question would be the antenna.

Once a bad guy took the safe if he saw the antenna wire that would be the end of the tracking system most likely as the safe would provide a real good shield if the antenna were only inside the safe.



Quote:
Originally Posted by milsurplover
Wouldn't it be cool if a Lojack-type, GPS tracking device would work inside a safe? Seems like it would be a popular compliment to the physical security aspect.

Obviously the requisite power source, ability to operate from within a strongbox (prolly? WTF does this word mean? the biggest issue?) and cost would be key. Any thoughts on this? (I'm not very knowledgeable about the physics of this particularly application so go easy on the responses please...)

Last edited by SemiAutoSam; 12-01-2006 at 5:15 PM..
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Old 12-01-2006, 7:19 PM
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Transmitting from inside a safe is a huge problem since a fully enclosed metal box also happens to be an electro-magnetic Faraday cage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by milsurplover
Wouldn't it be cool if a Lojack-type, GPS tracking device would work inside a safe? Seems like it would be a popular compliment to the physical security aspect.

Obviously the requisite power source, ability to operate from within a strongbox (prolly the biggest issue?) and cost would be key. Any thoughts on this? (I'm not very knowledgeable about the physics of this particulary application so go easy on the responses please...)
As far as the biometric locks - the fingerprint ones. I wouldn't trust them at all. A number of simple attacks have been demonstrated successfuly. The scary part is that they were done using jell-o!
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Old 12-01-2006, 8:57 PM
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Digital keypads vs EMP...

http://www.fas.org/nuke/intro/nuke/emp.htm

I will stick to a S&G combo lock on a safe..
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Last edited by Steyr_223; 12-01-2006 at 9:01 PM..
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Old 12-01-2006, 9:54 PM
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Quote:
How many of your safes withstood an attack?
How many of your safes withstood a fire?
How many of your safes were just hauled off the property?
Attacks: Yes, one "forcing" attempt by the five year old. He was unsuccessful. No attempts since then since I told him that stuff is dangerous.
Fire: none thank goodness!
Brute force move: other than by myself on the lighter one (I'll never do that again) none.

I'll just cut and paste from an older thread:

I have a (Cannon) T27 which is their Tradional series, top of the line model. I like it a lot. Fit and finish are good to very good. I recommend however that you avoid their electronic lock made by Kaba Mas. I had two fail on me. The first time was catastrophic. I found out how well my safe was built by the amount of time the locksmith took to open her up (4+ hours). I ended up installing a S&G mechanical lock. Anyway, all's better now. Oh BTW I got to look at the inside of the door where the locking mechanism is located. It is very nicely/neatly made. Even the locksmith commented that since it took him so long to "break in" he thought it was a good safe.

I got mine from Dean Security in the SF Valley. Customer service was good when I had my problem so no complaints there.


Addendum: the only other electronic lock I would ever consider again is the spin powered electronic locks. Those are trés cool. We have those at work but they take forever to open. With practice I can open my safe in less than 6 seconds.
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Old 12-02-2006, 2:55 PM
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I spent two hours today at El-Cajon Gun Exchange. Ron (the owner) is very passionate about safes and he has a number of the big name: Amsec, Liberty (doesn't sell them), Cannon, and Prosteel/Browning.

They have an excellent video showing what the manufactures don't want you to see. The best thing is that they have different safes with the door panels removed so you can evaluate them for yourself (if you are so inclined).

It was a very good educational experience! At this point, it seems like the ProSteel safes have some of the best made safes out there, and I was very disappointed with the others. Lets say it this way, seeing shinny 1.5” bolts without seeing what’s driving them is useless. Also, I am very happy I won’t be purchasing any Liberty product – they are a joke.

Anyway, if you are looking into a safe, do yourself a favor a stop by El-Cajon Gun Exchange. If you aren’t in SoCal, find a local safe store that will show you what’s inside, not just how many nice colors it comes in!
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Old 12-20-2006, 2:01 PM
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Just in case others search this thread, here's a safe that's biometric, has manual key backup and external power backup. the only problem is it's pricey ($550) and won't fit a longun
http://www.buyasafe.com/Burglary_Pro...es_p/hz-53.htm

Last edited by brighamr; 12-20-2006 at 2:05 PM..
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Old 01-10-2007, 12:50 AM
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...let me illuminate the other side of the digital vs dial locks debate on simple RSC gun safes:

I believe the latest S&G generation of digital locks are pretty good. Also, they are UL rated higher as Group I locks. On a RSC container, no one is going to try to bust a Group I lock, and will work the brute force method if given an opportunity.

The speed of entry is the best asset. With the combo you can be inside of your safe in a couple of seconds flat. Very fast. Next advantage is being able to change the combo as often as you want yourself, and in the S&G it has other features as a time-delay to open if you want to program that in (more business need then anything).

For the rattlesnake story, I also have heard of people under great stress not able to accurately work a traditional spin dial due to the duress. Hands shake, mind forgets how many spins and direction, eyes blur seeing the tag lines meet the dial. I don't know what kind of lock you have, but the S&G takes 2 9volts (only needs 1 to work) and gives ample warning of it going down. Of course they can, and it is recommended to change them out every year or so just for giggles if you don't use your safe often.

As far as EMP, there is no guarantee that any EMP would fully disable your lock. It is not connected to any major grid of power/telco lines. Nor does it have a lot of wires and is inherently pretty shielded. If you had a nuke close enough go off to roast it, you might not have the ability to spin the dials anyway...
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