Gun safe..... opinions


Active Member
Always just had my guns in various closets in the house.....getting more pressure from my wife to get them locked up. The ammo is far away so their is very little chance of an unfortunate accident.

Anyways, Not a bad idea as they likely should be protectors from theft as well the kids and people all together.

Anyone have any opinions. I don't need a HUGE safe.....about a dozen long guns and a few pistols. Should I put it into my basement? What about garage?

Not sure if it would be wise to get 2 smaller safes as opposed to 1 larger one as that would allow me to move them easier if I wanted to?

My parents really harp on getting a water resistant safe as well due to potential firefighter water that could ruin them in the process.

Let's hear it.
I'm going to give you a concern that I doubt anyone else would mention, but the threat is as real as the nose on your face.

Electronic locks on a gun safe could (and likely would) be made unusable from an EMP blast. Imagine a terrorist attack where an EMP bomb was set off and you couldn't get into your gun safe, because the electronic lock was fried.. Need I say more? It will happen someday and thousands of gun owners with electronic locks are going to find themselves in this situation.

If you have an old dial type combination lock, there is no concern with this. That is the only type safe I would own, and I was already thinking about this concern years ago when electronic locks first started coming out.

Now other people are becoming concerned with this, and some companies are coming up with methods to overcome the problem. Below is a link where some folks are discussing Cannon's fix for the problem, and many of the other companies have their fixes as well.

If you think this is science fiction and that I'm crazy for thinking about it, I would suggest that you spend some time researching it. EMP is a very real threat, and it has been discussed on the floors of congress many times. The blast of a nuclear bomb sends out EMP as well and sun flares do the same thing.

  • Read here what happened in Hawaii when the US tested a nuclear bomb over 800 miles away:

  • Read here how that the Solar Flare event of 1859 set paper on fire of the desk of telegraph operators and shocked many of them. If this happens in modern times, the world is in for a mess.

So worry about your fire resistance, your water resistances, etc, etc, etc.......but don't forget the most important thing.......

If we both survive and meet up after the big one hits, you can thank me for saving your life then....;)
A friend of mine bought a safe about 1.5 years ago. He did his research and then asked me what I would get. He laid all the info he had out and showed me the one he liked(appearance, price, brand, gun capacity, digital keypad). I picked out the one I liked and then told him to, at least, double the gun capacity and to get a dial. If the house burnt and he had to get stuff out of the safe, he could at least get the door open, instead of waiting on the company to send a new keypad or locksmith to come tear it up getting it open. He said that he only had x number of long guns and hand guns and they would fit in the safe he chose. I then told him that he had 2 kids to buy rifles and shotguns for at some point in their life and that he would need more gun room. Scoped rifles also take up the space of 2 long guns. He didn't like that he was going to have to spend more money, but once he thought about it, he ended up buying the bigger safe and was glad he did once he put everything in it. He hated spending the money on them delivering it, but he was glad he did that too. The nearest place that deals in safes exclusively(best selection, better quality, better prices for what you get) is 32 miles away in Nashville. We would have had to load a heavy safe on the trailer, drive 32 miles home without issue, unload it at his house, and get it in the house without breaking something or someone. They pulled up, backed up to his deck, used a special dolly that lifted and could move the safe, rolled it into his house and placed it exactly where he wanted it, in about 15 minutes. They put little pads under it(wood floor) in case he didn't like the spot and we could slide it around. We ended up moving it and it took 4 of us, almost everything we had, to get it to slide with nothing in it.

My advise is to count your firearms, count 2 for scoped rifles and shotguns, figure out how much room you need for paper work and valuables, then take and double the capacity(unless you are done buy guns:rolleyes:), get the highest burn temp/time you can, and make your choice from there. Find someone that deals in safes(exclusively if possible) and get a good brand and quality. Get a dial too. I never thought about EMP or solar flares, but I did think about fire and a melting keypad.
The above posts are true. Def double size of guns you have. Get most you can afford. And don't watch youtube videos as you will see they are a joke for the most part on fire protection and ability to break into most of the units affordable by most. As with most locks, they are just a deterent and if a thief wants your crap, he will get it. I've got a friend with a safe room for his guns and family. Only thing I think would work but I"m just not that paronoid. Good luck.
Good advice above. I was not aware of the electronic lock issue. Good info to know. I've always heard to buy based on fire rating. Get the best you can afford. As far as room it's like a garage, shop or tractor, again buy the biggest you can afford.
Maybe I'm learning something as well. I thought safe with digital keypad had a mechanical override (key)
Maybe I'm learning something as well. I thought safe with digital keypad had a mechanical override (key)

Some do and some don't.

Spend some time searching various Internet forums where this is being discussed, and you will find lots of people who say that their electronic locked safe doesn't have a key override.

Also, I would be extremely worried about a safe that could be opened simply with a key. If it can be opened that easily, the lock can be picked that easily by a thief who is good at lock picking.

Finally, how easy is it to lose a key - or forget where you hid it - or you place it in a convenient place near the safe where the thief finds it.

I personally would not own a safe with an electronic lock, key or no key.

Best wishes.....
I took my dial off and installed a electronic.I suppose there could be an issue some time but I hated the fact of having to do the combo and then ending up between 2 numbers to get it open.
My friends has a key and so does the one we have at work. It is to lock the dial so it can't be rotated. It is for when you go out of town or don't want someone trying to rotate the dial(ue.- when you are on vacation and have someone watching the house for you).
I actually googled this and last night and saw a discussion on another forum that stated the EMP risk actually is very low probability of affecting safe electronics. Not that I know anything, just sharing another opinon.

In a word, NO. I believe you would have no problems with an electronic lock in a safe after a nuclear EMP at 250 miles altitude or so. There are 3 "waves" of a high-altitude EMP that must be considered: E1, E2, E3.

The short-lived E1 pulse would be shielded by the safe itself. The lock's microcontroller might reset momentarily, but so what, it will still open the lock.

E2's wavelengths will be too long to fit in the aperture of the lock, and won't produce much of an electric field there.

E3, the one that knocks out the power grid, won't be conducted into your lock because it's battery powered, and its long, long wavelengths are far too large to generate a large electric field in that small space between the lock dial and the metal.

As an electronics engineer who was designed circuitry that had to operate near a nuclear explosion delivering a 1-megarad dose, I wouldn't worry about it.
So, a person on the Internet "believes" there would be no problem.

I'm perfectly fine with anyone believing anything they want to and taking whatever risks they want to take, as long as what they do affects them and not me. I could care less if a skeptic can't get into his gun safe as long as I can get into mine....;)

The truth is that the general public doesn't know what all the possibilities with EMP are. Our military does know and other militaries in other countries know as well. And, it doesn't have to be something detonated at "250 miles altitude." It can also be a small device from the side of the street corner. I will stick with my dial locks, and I certainly don't want a "key lock" as has been discussed - due to the fact that a good lock picker would have a field day with that......

Wonder what the electronic genius would think about the new EMP weapon that Raytheon just came out with that, "...irreparably disabled the computers and electronics within seven targets in a one-hour period. The cameras recording the operation were also disabled...". Read about it here:

One other thing that hasn't been discussed is the high failure rate of electronic locks on gun safes. Here is a quote from a professional locksmith with 22 years of experience saying that his experience shows electronic locks fail 20 to 1 compared to dial locks.


"Electronic locks, however, can have all kinds of issues, and none (except bad key-pad) are easy to fix, and when one goes bad, it must be drilled into to open it. IMO, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ an electronic lock will ultimately fail, but a matter of ‘when’ it will fail. Over the past 10 years or so, since electronics have become more and more prevalent, I’ve had to drill open bad electronic locks vs. bad manual dial locks on a ratio of about 20-1.

My professional opinion is to get the manual dial lock, unless you’ve got a good friend who is a locksmith/safecracker..."

So, I rest my case. Sounds to me like we don't need any EMP to cause an electronic lock to fail - they do a fine job of failing on their own....By all means, don't let the coonhound break wind near one......:D I wouldn't have one if you paid me to take it. Best Wishes!!!
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The dial does not have the risk factor as the electronics have. Whether it will ever be compromised I don't know but eliminating the risk is reason enough for me to keep my dial lock safes. And If I were to buy a new safe it would have a dial lock.
As others have already mentioned, buy double what you think you need and buy the best you can afford at that size. You’ll put more than guns in it and might have a son that helps fill it up :).
I have a Zanotti gun safe. It is a modular safe and comes in 6 pieces. It makes it extremely easy to get it up or down stairs and each piece does not weigh that much. The door is the heaviest piece. Also, always lag your gun safes to the floor when they are in their permanent location. Buy a safe twice as large as you think you will ever need.
I spoke to the owner of Zanotti recently. He used to offer electronic locks as options on their safes. He no longer does. He said the problem is that the electronic locks fail at a much higher rate than regular locks. The real problem is getting a competent locksmith to the location to work on the failed lock. So Zanotti only offers regular locks. I believe they are Sargeant and Greenleaf locks. I would never own an electronic lock on any gun safe.
Gun safes are nice to keep kids and smash and grab thieves from getting valuables. All box store gun safes can be opened in under two minutes with a couple crowbars. Google U tube to check it out.
Looks like they took most videos off showing how to open these safes. I saw one where they used a 3 pound hammer along the top edge of safe and only took 3 minutes. I need to bolt my safe down.
The ammo is far away so their is very little chance of an unfortunate accident.

Let's hear it.
Like the gun shooting someone???????

Most of my guns are loaded.

Do you want a safe for theft, or to protect you from your gun shooting someone?
Like the gun shooting someone???????

Most of my guns are loaded.

Do you want a safe for theft, or to protect you from your gun shooting someone?

Mostly for theft but also to keep the kids out of them. I do have a loaded pistol that will be ready regardless......the others is what I want to put away.
BC Buck makes a good point. Just about any safe can be gotten into in a long term SHTF scenario with enough time. Needing a firearm fast is a different story.

Not 100% related but one year I went hunting and had a trigger lock on my gun, but left the key at home. It did not take long to drill that trigger lock off.
Zanotti gun safe..

These are quite interesting......doesn't look like they are any cheaper than a normal one, but at least I could break it down and move it myself it I wanted to.

I looked a bit and shown 20 min at 1200 degrees......on the lower end of fire protection but that is expected I guess considering the construction of it.