Pursuant to the recession, more and more people have been shifting to tangible investments like precious metals. And the FBI has acknowledged a rise in bank robberies as thieves go where the money is. These are good reasons to have an adequate safe, but you have to make sure it fits your current and future needs and that it can’t be opened by an unauthorized individual.

Quite a few safes are stolen from owners every year because the owners did not secure them to the structure of their home. In Miami, burglars dragged a large safe through the victims’ home and into the backyard. The thieves were unsuccessful in opening the safe, but they did succeed in damaging the safe beyond repair and destroying the tile floor and several doorways and walls. At least 3/8-inch self-tapping wedge bolts are recommended to secure the safe to the floor (usually done by the installer at little or no cost). For either condo dwellers or renters other (less attractive) options include using epoxy instead of bolts to secure the safe or camouflage to hide it. A great product is the BedBunker modular safe, which is designed to replace the box spring under the mattress. Bed Bunkers are compatible with most standard bed frames.

Consider the following elements before purchasing a new safe, to ensure it fits your needs, space and wallet.

Safe Selection Keys

First, from what or whom are you going to protect your items against? Most safes have a fire rating that will help protect the contents from a blaze. Vault-type safes from makers like Browning, Cannon and American Security are good for both high temperatures and long exposure. Locksmiths have repaired vaults after thieves have knocked off the dials, hinges and handles, but more often than not the thieves were unsuccessful in accessing the vault’s contents—all the owners’ belongings were still inside. Smaller or even single-pistol safes permanently secured to something tough inside your home can have the same deterrent effect. Some good options are the one- and two-pistol safes made by GunVault and SpeedySafe.

SIZE MATTERS: Because many first-time buyers immediately regret not purchasing a bigger gun safe, simply go as large as you can. Although large gun vaults are great, smaller freestanding in-floor or in-wall safes or vaults designed to hold just one firearm for quick entry are valuable as well. Smaller safes, especially the in-floor or in-wall models, are much easier to camouflage—casual visitors will have no idea that you have a safe in your home. If you do not have long guns to store or have just a couple of pistols, getting a smaller safe can save you a lot of money.

MATERIALS: To determine how tough a safe is, look for the Underwriter’s Laboratory TL ratings. Safes with a TL-15 or TL-30 rating means a safe can respectively withstand 15 or 30 minutes of a break-in attempt by a crew using carbide-tipped blades on construction-grade power tools and heavy-duty drills. Verify the thickness of the steel used and the number and thickness of the fire-resistant gypsum boards (5/8-inch boards are better than 1/2-inch boards with spacers).

LOCKWORKS: Locks come as standard dials or electronic keypads, both of which most people seem to prefer and find convenient. Standard locks still have appeal because they are cheaper, reliable, maintenance free, and quiet to use and will not lock you out for too many failed attempts—electronic locks will. The combination pattern on an electronic lock keypad can be changed by the user and is easier to remember and easily input in the dark or for those with older eyes. Conversely, the standard lock is slower to use, hard or impossible to open in the dark and requires a locksmith to change the combo.

PRICE POINTS: OK, price is what most people base their purchase on—not need, size or functionality. If cost is your bottom line, here are some options.

Cannon Safes offers the Patriot, which features a massive 4-inch steel composite door, 12-gauge Uni-Body construction and a verified fire resistance of 1,200 degrees/30 minutes. Patriots are finished in a durable matte paint, bear a stylized silk-screened Patriot logo and are priced from $1,142 to $1,714.

The industry standard for quick-access storage of handguns is the GunVault, which uses a No-Eyes Keypad and a biometric-technology Bio pad. Gun Vaults offer convenient car or bedside storage that cover just about every gun storage need. They run from about $100 to $400.

My safe protects my guns, valuables and my family. It can prevent an unimaginable tragedy, the loss of priceless loved ones. Purchasing a safe certainly is smart. Seems cheap now too, doesn’t it?

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