A gun safe (also known as a weapon safe) is a freestanding fire and/or burglary safe with an area of the safe configured specifically to house weapons.
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The following story best illustrates this tip: A long-time client's safe was subjected to an intense home fire. The fire burned for hours at very high temperatures. Despite this onslaught, paper contents within the Brown Gun Safe were kept below flashpoint. The multiple cases of .50 caliber ammunition at the base of the safe, however, did ignite. When fired through a gun, bullets produce very little smoke. When ignited through non-standard means, however, excessive smoke is a common byproduct. In this instance, the erupting ammo cases obliterated all contents within one foot of the ammo cases and caused heavy smoke damage to the rest of the safe's contents. Even with the extensive smoke, most of the safe's contents, largely paper memorabilia and photo albums, survived intact. Had there been no ammo containers, however, all of the safe's contents would have made it.
Think twice before storing any ammo in a safe, as your exposing the other safe contents to higher risk.
Avoid storing large amounts of ammo or powder inside a safe. If ignited, the ensuing pressures can outpace the safe's ability to safely vent, creating the potential for a safe grenade.
When shopping for a gun safe, be aware of features that are only seen on gun safes such as internal hinges, fire liners, etc., as they are usually marketing features more than safety features.
The gun safe industry is very competitive, and pressure from a marketing department for 'new features' can actually reduce a safe's ability to protect. Instead, look at commercial safes to identify the features most essential to a safe's protection, because these safes are built to endure in extremely high burglary risk environments. For example, external hinges are a standard feature on commercial safes because the average burglar will waste valuable time trying to cut or pry them. Unknown to the criminal however, in any quality safe the hinges simply swing the door and are in no way part of the security of the safe. Changing a safe's door to internal hinges may add a visual appeal, but it also means a burglar will immediately attack the lock and other more vital areas on the safe.
If you do opt to purchase a straight fire safe with no burglary protection or a fireboard-based fire/burglary safe, be sure to keep a quality dehumidifier inside the safe at all times. That's because moisture evaporating from the fireboard insulation can often travel into the safe's interior, creating a damp environment that rusts metal and dampens paper-based belongings.
Composite-clad fire safes don't suffer from the above mentioned moisture problem as the inner burglary safe is fully sealed off from the moisture medium by thick, seamless steel walls.
A dehumidifier is still a good idea for any safe installed in an area where there is high humidity or a drastic change in temperature throughout the day, like the garage, as it will absorb any excess moisture.
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