Buying a Gun Safe: Where’s the Beef?

“Where’s the Beef?”  That famous line sold lots of hamburgers for Wendy’s because it pointed out that their competitors’ burgers had very little meat.  In the same way, when it comes to gun safes sold by big box stores, you could ask “Where’s the Steel?”  Gun safes found in box stores usually have very thin steel in the doors and bodies, in spite of the manufacturers’ claims of security.  The doors appear to be strong because they are up to 1 ½” thick, but that is usually just thin steel wrapped around drywall.  One manufacturer brags that they have “thick 12 gauge” steel.  Really?  12 gauge steel is barely one-tenth of an inch thick!  And that is supposed to protect your guns worth thousands of dollars?  Steel that thin is easily cut by power tools, or pried open with basic tools.

Try this test with a gun safe in a box store:  With the door open, put your knee into the front of the door and then pull hard toward you at the top. You can probably feel the door flex a little.  Imagine how easily it would bend if someone used a pry bar!


The picture on the left is Brand X.  The door looks good because the edge is 15/16”, but the steel is only a roll formed 12 gauge, just .1046 of an inch.  The center picture is Amsec’s BF gun safe.  The edge is only ½” thick, but that is a solid steel plate – 4.7 times thicker steel.  On the right is a Graffunder Castle series door edge:  1” solid steel plate, 9.5 times thicker than Brand X!  If you want to protect your valuables don’t settle for 12 gauge steel.  Gun safes with steel plate all the way up to 1 ½” is available.  You won’t see them at a box store, however; you will need to go to a safe dealer.  Will they cost more?  Of course they will.  But it does not make sense to keep your gun collection (or silver, gold, cash, jewelry, etc.) behind a flimsy safe door that can easily be pried open or cut.

One other thing . . .  Safe manufacturers that do put lots of steel in their doors will tell you that!  They want you to know it.  If a brochure (or salesperson) won’t tell you specifically how much steel is in the door it will be 12 gauge or less.  Visit a knowledgeable, honest safe dealer – not a box store – to be sure you are buying real security.