Buying a "gun safe"

How I found the right gun safe for my needs.

Written by rtfjr86
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The first thing I bought after I finished my rifle build is a gun safe. My two main concerns are keeping my children away from my guns and preventing theft. My kids are so young, that for now, my primary concern is theft. Guns are a hefty financial investment and at the same time they are so easy to steal. I imagine the illegal firearms market is huge. Anecdotally, everytime I’m watching cops and a suspect is in possession of a firearm, it always comes back stolen.

Safes are rated for their security and fire protection by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). After doing a bit of research, I found that many “safes” on the market today have no UL rating and many just achieve the lowest UL rating which is residential security container or RSC for short. RSCs are basically just a steel box with a lock on it. They can withstand a minimal attack for a short period of time. Most of what we see from safe manufacturers is just marketing fluff. Safes start to get really expensive and heavy before they begin to achieve higher UL ratings. With this knowledge in mind, I was able to have reasonable expectations when looking for a safe. Again, I needed:

  1. Somewhere to keep my guns from being stolen.
  2. A safe that is large enough to grow my gun collection into.
  3. Something that is substantial but not so heavy that I could not install it myself.
  4. Something that offered some additional storage for important documents.
  5. Something that was in my price range of up to about $600.

I ended up purchasing a Liberty Safe Revere 30 from Tractor Supply Co. It is essentially Liberty’s entry-level Centurion series safe, but a couple of hundred dollars cheaper than on Liberty’s website. An additional goodie that I did not see on Liberty’s website was the safe door organizer which is about an $80 value. The “30” in the Revere 30 is supposed to be the number of guns the safe can hold. This seems like a wild over estimate. Heck, even Liberty on their own site says the largest Centurion series safe has a 24 gun capacity. This again emphasises how almost everything is marketing when it comes to “safes”. I would probably guess the safe would hold about 18 guns (long guns and pistols). This provides more than enough space for my three guns at this time with room to grow my collection. It does have a UL listed digital lock that runs on a 9v battery and has a light for the keypad. 

The safe weighs about 375 lbs. I drove it home myself from Tractor Supply Co. Myself and two buddies of mine got it upstairs after about 30 minutes of effort, most of which was getting it around the 180 degree bend on the staircase. It was now time to install the safe in its final location and bolt it down. The safe came already bolted to a pallet which I would have to remove from the inside. I tried to use the default code for my safe to open the door, but it failed over and over again. I even got locked out of my keypad for a couple of minutes because of too many failed attempts. I called Tractor Supply Co and they were able to give the code that they set it to in the store. This makes perfect sense to keep some joker from changing the default code and locking everyone out of the new safes in the store. Once the pallet was removed, I was able to fit the safe perfectly in the closet and bolt it down. I bought some heavy duty lag bolts and washers from Home Depot and rented an impact driver which made short work of anchoring my safe.

With my safe upstairs, out of sight from smash and grab robbers, and bolted down, I feel more confident in its ability to keep my valuables safe. I learned that buying a “safe” is about having reasonable expectations for what you are purchasing. No safe is unbeatable, but you can make your safe a harder target.


An inconspicuous closet


The safe fits completely in the closet


The door organizer was included with the safe

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