Where to Find Cheap Gun Safes

Where to Find Cheap Gun Safes

I have never been a fan of the word cheap!  It makes me think of inferior products or something that is going to break quickly because it is poorly made.  Maybe we should talk about inexpensive safes instead of cheap safes.  Let’s explore both definitions:

Cheap Safes

  • Manufacturers cut corners on the thickness of the steel that they use for building the sides of the safe.  A cheap gun safe will have 14 or even 16 gauge rolled steel instead of plate steel.  A concrete saw can cut through 14 gauge steel in seconds and a fire ax can even be used to compromise a 16 gauge safe.  When purchasing a quality safe, you should be looking for 8 or 10 gauge rolled steel.  This will be more expensive, but it is worth it.  Also look for a UL rating of  “RSC” which stands for residential security container, which is the minimum amount a gun safe should have.
  • Cheap gun safes will have fewer locking bolts such as only three and are of smaller diameter.  Most better safe have at least 6 if not 8 bolts that are at least 1″ in diameter.  A locksmith will tell you that any safe bolts can be defeated with enough time and the right tools.  Some safe manufacturers built “relockers” into their safes that trigger during an attack, locking the door in place permanently.
  • There are many ways that a manufacturer can built cheap fire safes.  There are several different rating agencies for fire safes including Underwriters Laboratories (UL).  As a way to save money, safe manufacturers may test their safe in their own labs, not following the same rigid procedures that an independent lab may use.  Also, if the safe says it comes with a “fire-liner” or “ceramic fire layer”, these are not the same as a fire safe.  These will not protect the cheap fire safe contents for any length of time.
  • Moisture is your gun’s worst enemy.  Many cheap gun safes are sold with no door sealing gasket installed.  This can allow moist air to enter the safe and for rust and mold to form on your guns and destroy your paper contents.  Also, a good door seal is a necessity for both a waterproof safe and a fireproof safe.

Now that you know above, what to look out for, let’s talk about how you can save money on a safe.

Inexpensive Safes

  • One alternative to a gun safe is a metal gun cabinet.  These cabinets are not nearly as indestructible as a gun safe, but they may cost 25-50% of the price of a comparable sized unit.  Understand, though that these will not protect your guns against a determined thief as well as a gun safe, but if cost is an issue, consider these.
  • Modular safes are made by several manufacturers including Dakota Safe.  These are units that are delivered in several boxes and assembled at your site.  They are perfect for anyone that doesn’t want to haul a 1000 pound safe down the stairs.  They are also slightly less expensive, because they are made of lighter steel.  Because they can be assembled just about anywhere, you could consider improving the security of the unit by wedging it into a corner or even in a closet that makes it more difficult for a criminal to gain access to the thinner side panels.
  • StackOn Safes markets some cheap gun safes, but they are still made with some nice features such as barrel holders, carpeted interior, and six 1″ locking bolts.  Their 8 gun safe with combination lock weighs just 160 pounds and is 52″ tall.  See the Stack-On 8-Gun Safe with Combination Lock here for just under $300.
  • Lastly, if you are on a tight budget, but want all the features, consider a used gun safe.  You can find them frequently at safe dealers and on CraigsList.

Stay away from cheap safes, but look for inexpensive safes by reading the specifications and details of what you are purchasing!

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