UPDATED February 10, 2022 This piece has been updated to reflect the emergence of new technology
Christian Mathews Security Writer
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a record 232,400 guns get stolen every year. 172,000 of these get stolen during burglaries. So your concerns about getting a small fireproof gun safe are justified. But it’s not just burglaries you should concerned about. Standard everyday gun safes have been proven not to keep guns safe in case a fire breaks out in your house.
You could also be looking to invest in a small fireproof gun safe for other reasons other than keeping your guns safe from fire, i.e. just to lock your guns away to comply with laws in your jurisdictions, or even to get a discount on your premiums to the insurance company.
With a proper gun safe that has fireproofing capabilities you should be able to cover all bases. So let’s get into how to choose the best small fireproof gun safe.
1Use of safe
At a minimum, your small fireproof gun safe should be able to keep your guns safe from fire. But, there’s still the issue of burglars, or the risk of your gun getting in the hands of kids, acquaintances etc. For this reason, you’ll want to go for something that offers protection against fire, while also being able to properly secure your guns against unauthorized access.
In some jurisdictions it’s required to have a secure safe to protect kids, whether or not you have kids. It is also worth noting that you can be an accessory to a crime, just by failing to secure your gun, in the event your gun is stolen and used to commit a crime.
However, if your gun is stolen in your safe, the fact that you tried to secure your gun will help ward off any possible lawsuits that may come your way.
Beyond keeping your gun safe, it is a great place to keep other valuables safe too. Think important documents, valuable jewelry an digital information. Ensure you know how to backup your laptop to an external hard drive and keep it secure in your safe.
This is the most basic of lock types for safes. Essentially to lock or unlock the safe, you’ll need the exact key to the safe’s lock. This can be in the form of an electronic key or the traditional key.
Mechanical Combination Locks
These utilize a number sequence to open the lock. Most of these combination locks use one or several cams or disks which interact when rotated. When the right combination is used, and the inscribed symbols on the disks match, the safe unlocks.
Electronic Combination Locks
Electronic combination locks are very much similar to mechanical combination locks, only that the key sequence have to be entered on an electronic keypad.
Biometric locks utilize your biometric data to either lock or unlock the safe. This can be in the form of an iris scan, or a fingerprint scan. They are more convenient compared to passwords in that you don’t need to remember them, and they provide a quicker way of opening your safe in case you need to get to your guns fast.
A time lock is simply an accessory to another lock. The lock only unlocks when the preset time reaches, regardless of whether you or someone else knows the right combination to the lock.
Time Delay Combination Locks
Time delay combination locks are electronic combination locks, only that it works to delay any attempts to unlock the safe by a defined amount of time, set by the owner. So even with the correct sequence/ code, no one, even yourself can unlock the safe.
The recommended safety rating for a fireproof gun safe is 1 hour. The fireproof gun safe you choose should be able to protect your guns for at least 1 hour incase of a fire. However, do not expect anything not made of metal to survive in such a safe. This means documents, media storage devices etc. will be destroyed irregardless.
A basic fireproof safe is rated at RSC 1 (Residential Security Container) meaning it can make it through a 5 minute attack. RSC 2 rated safe would make it through a 10 minute attack being executed by two people
While some proponents may argue that bigger, heavier safes offer more protection for your guns, lighter and smaller versions of these safes offer the same level of protection, with the added advantage of convenience when moving the safe; and even an easy time mounting the safe so it doesn’t stand out in your house.
5Mounting and securing the safe
Should you mount your safe to the wall? Probably not, a burglar just needs to cut through the wall, and remove your safe, then go pry it open from somewhere else.
To properly secure your guns, you need to have your fireproof gun safe mounted to the floor. Preferably, the safe should be mounted to a concrete floor, rather than to a timber floor which can be easily cut through.
Also, you should mount your safe in a part of your house that doesn’t scream for attention. Most people install their safes in the bedroom, which is a very bad idea.
In most burglaries, burglars are more likely to head straight for the bedroom, as most people tend to keep their valuables there.
You are much better off mounting your safe in a less obvious part of your house. The laundry room, guest room etc. are some better options. The more inconspicuous the safe is in your house the better.
That concludes it for small fireproof fireproof gun safe. As a recap here’s what we’ve gone through.
We started with the scary statistics on the rising number of burglaries, then we got to the various types of lock safes, all the way to safety ratings to consider when choosing a small fireproof safe and finally we discussed size consideration on fireproof safes and the best way to mount and secure a safe.
As a note, a fireproof gun safe should be used together with a burglar alarm system for more security. When burglars know that the cops are coming, they’re more likely to abandon their mission completely.