Choosing a Gun Safe

There is much more to gun safes and pistol safes than most buyers know. Box store employees don’t know much about them either. Think about this: If all you want to do is keep your children away from your guns, any box store unit will do that. But for real fire protection or to keep a burglar out, you need more than you can buy at a box store – you need to visit a safe store. Any container with a lock on it can be called a safe; we sell vaults. When looking for your gun safe or pistol safe, consider the following points:

  • Brands. There are about 40 brands in the U.S. and most come from China. Companies like Winchester, Browning, Remington, etc. do not make gun safes, they merely sell the rights to use their famous names. A well-known name is no guarantee of quality because most of these are, in fact, cheap imports.
  • Steel. For good security you need lots of steel, plain and simple.  The cheaper the safe, the less steel there will be – and the less likely you are to find out how much steel there is. If there was heavy steel the manufacturer would be proud enough to tell you. Chinese steel is also lower quality.
  • Size. Size matters; it is important to have choices from a very small handgun safe, to a long-gun safe small enough to fit in a closet, up through a monster gun safe that will hold a hundred rifles.
  • Interiors. Most gun safes come with a “combo interior” where one or both sides can hold guns, and one side can have shelves for gun safe accessories, ammo, papers or other things. More options are available, however, to meet your requirements precisely. Fort Knox has eight standard configurations and will also do specials.
  • Hinges. Some manufacturers only use hidden hinges which restrict the door opening to about 90 degrees. About 95% of the units we sell have external hinges which will open 180 degrees for better access. We let you choose internal or external, as well as hinges on the left or the right.
  • Locks. Standard lock options are traditional mechanical dials or electronic keypads. We also offer Redundant Lock systems in which the vault has both dial and electronic locks. We are not big fans of “finger print” locks, but will install one if that is what you prefer. A high percentage of cheap safes don’t really have a lock, just a solenoid plunger. Box store employees won’t know the difference.
  • Fire ratings. While some units have no fire protection, most claim “fire ratings” of 20 minutes up to three hours. Many of these are completely bogus, however, and some have never even been tested. Internet sellers and box stores will just pass on the same bogus misinformation given them by the manufacturer.  An honest, knowledgeable safe expert is your best source of information.
  • Color. Box stores normally stock one or two colors. Choice is a wonderful thing – Fort Knox offer 16 different colors to fit any décor. They will even do specials if, for instance, you want to match your team’s colors. High gloss paints normally cost more than textured paints; textured paints resist scratches better.
  • Security features. Relockers are necessary for security, so all of our gun safes have them. In our store we can show you what they are, how they work, and which competitors’ safes do not have them. We will also not sell a gun safe without hard-plate steel protecting the lock. Box stores will.
  • Warranty. All safes come with warranties. Most cover locks and paint from one to five years, compared to Fort Knox who covers locks and paint for as long as you own the safe. Everyone claims they will replace damaged units after a fire or break-in.  Go online to read their official warranty statement, however.  You will see that they only repair or replace the safe if you do not have homeowner’s insurance!  The exceptions to this major industry scam are American Security and Fort Knox.
  • Buy your vault from a place where they service safes. It just makes sense that a company like Hoogerhyde knows more about gun safes than a box store or gun store that cannot service safes – not even the ones they sell!

The bottom line is that when purchasing a gun safe or a pistol safe, you need the whole package – options, good information, expert advice and real security. Come to Hoogerhyde Safe & Lock in Grand Rapids, MI!