When it comes to protecting belongings as valuable—and as dangerous—as your firearms, it’s crucial to make sure you have a storage solution that’s up to the task, come hell or high water.
Enter the fireproof gun safe.
Fireproof gun safes are a gun owner’s best line of defense against thieving hands, careless accidents, and unforeseen disasters in the home. But how do you know which is the best fireproof gun safe for your home?
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Fireproof gun safes are built double-tough to stand up not only to break-ins but also extreme temperatures, like the kind that might pose a threat during a house fire.
Whereas ordinary gun safes only guard against tampering and forced entry, fireproof gun safes are specially designed to withstand scorching heat for prolonged periods. This added dimension of security makes them effective against just about any common emergency situation you’re likely to encounter.
Let’s say a fire was to break out in your home, but you had your guns tucked away in a trustworthy fireproof gun safe. Once the blaze had been extinguished, you could expect to find the safe still standing with your guns unharmed inside, even if the surrounding structure had been reduced to rubble.
A good rule of thumb is to go with a safe that’s roughly one-and-a-half to two times bigger than you think you currently need.
If you have a total of 12 firearms, for instance, you would want to look for a safe that could hold around 20-25 guns. That way, you’d have the option of expanding your collection in the future without running out of storage space.
Note that the advertised capacity of a given safe refers to the number of individual slots in the unit, not the number of complete firearms it will hold. Extra-large hardware, or pieces outfitted with scopes, extended handles, or other add-ons, could take up multiple slots, making the actual per-gun capacity significantly lower.
Along with overall size and capacity, the main thing you’ll want to consider when selecting a fireproof gun safe is the fire rating itself.
All fireproof safes have a coded security rating posted somewhere on the cabinet (usually along the door’s inner edge). You’ll want to make sure that the safe you’re looking at has a minimum UL rating of “RSC Level I.”
An RSC Level I rating means that the safe in question is strong enough to withstand five uninterrupted minutes of attempted cracking by a single individual wielding basic hand tools.
If your budget permits, think about spending a little extra on a safe with a UL rating of RSC Level II or III. A Level II rating means that the safe is fortified against break-in attempts by two would-be thieves with more aggressive tools for up to 10 minutes; a Level III rating guarantees protection against two people armed with heavy-duty equipment for up to 10 minutes.
Not sure how to find the best fireproof gun safe? Check out some of these options below:
Steelwater’s Heavy Duty Fire Protection Gun Safe is an absolute tank. Standing at nearly five feet and weighing more than 400 pounds, it’s a big safe that comes with big benefits in terms of security and user appeal.
Reviewers rave about the smart design, rock-solid construction, and long-term durability of Steelwater’s new-and-improved Heavy Duty model. Excluding a few gripes about overinflated capacity claims and some purported outlier discrepancies in fireproofing performance, it’s hard to find anything bad to say about this safe.
Steelwater has a reputation for delivering products that offer both rugged security and high-end practical amenities, and the Heavy Duty Fire Protection Gun Safe is no exception.
The cabinet is practically impenetrable, with a body molded from 12-gauge steel, a 5”-thick one-piece door with zero cracks or gaps, and a tamper-proof keypad system. In short, no one is getting into this bad boy without a whole lot of headache.
Inside, the safe is spacious, luxuriously upholstered, and well-lit. It features removable shelves that can be reconfigured at will for flexible storage and a touch of customization, as well as a bonus door organizer useful for storing smaller firearms, ammo, and compact go-to accessories.
If you’re on the hunt for a superior consumer-grade gun safe that can survive just about anything man or nature can throw at it, you’re unlikely to do much better than this.
The 36-40 Gun Safe by Stack-On is another oversized safe that boasts above-average resilience and bookoos of storage space, all at a reasonable price.
The consensus on the Stack-On 36-40 Gun Safe is that it’s big enough to hold an arsenal of firearms and accessories, unyielding enough to deter forcible entry or mild-to-moderate fire damage, and affordable enough not to be prohibitively expensive.
What few downsides are commonly mentioned include quality control oversights on certain features, such as the molding of the keypad and the fit of the felt finish inside. These issues don’t affect the product’s performance, however, and are therefore easily overlooked.
In addition to its built-to-last construction, the primary appeal of this safe is its mammoth storage capacity.
Thanks to the cabinet’s generous internal dimensions and freely-adjustable shelves, it can house a whopping 36-40 firearms, including multiple combinations of long guns and pistols, not to mention the additional storage created by the pouches in the door.
The multi-point locking mechanism and reinforced lock plate also do a lot to compensate for the relatively basic keypad system and short PIN length.
The Stack-On 36-40 Gun Safe is a forbidding whopper of a lockbox that ranks a close second to the Steelwater Heavy Duty Fire Protection Gun Safe in all the areas that count most.
While technically marketed as a document and media safe, Steelwater’s compact AMSWS-610EL safe is ready to pull double-duty as a handy repository for small defense weapons and accessories.
With smaller safes like the AMSWS-610EL, it’s all about ease of placement, accessibility, and use. These are the points reviewers bring up time and time again, praising the unit’s simplicity and structural integrity and downplaying trifling concerns like minimal internal organization and the inclusion of a few plastic parts.
Not every gun owner needs a safe large enough to park a Buick in. For those who are just looking to keep one or two handguns off-limits, the AMSWS-610EL is your best bet.
This safe is the most compact solution on the list with only 1.5 cubic feet of storage space inside, which means it will comfortably hold a couple of pistols and boxes of reserve rounds without eating up an inconvenient amount of floor space. It’s light enough to make moving it only a slight chore, but still hefty enough to prevent an intruder from carrying it off.
Another major plus is the ability to program up to four separate passcodes, each of which can range from 4-16 digits for varying degrees of encryption. The keypad and handle are also set close together, making it a cinch to pop open in a hurry.
Its impressive balance of low-budget toughness and minimalistic craftsmanship makes the AMSWS-610EL a no-brainer for defense-oriented gun owners hoping to minimize spending while maximizing security.
What you see is what you get with Barska’s FV-500 Fireproof Vault Safe, and that’s a good thing. What it lacks in bells and whistles, it makes up for in confident design, longevity, and value.
Reviewers seem pleased with the FV-500’s simple, easy-to-use design and satisfactory level of low-cost security. Some users have reported rare malfunctions with the digital locking mechanism, though they noted that the issue didn’t occur during manual unlocking via bypass key.
Barska’s FV-500 Fireproof Vault Safe is a no-frills, workaday storage solution ideal for the handgun enthusiast that isn’t too picky about looks or customizability. While it’s not likely to stop a determined burglar or out-of-control conflagration, it’s nonetheless a respectable shelter that does its job as advertised.
One spiffy feature of this safe is the automatic lock-out mode, which will render the unit unopenable except by one of the two included bypass keys in the event that an incorrect passcode is entered too many times in a row.
The FV-500 is a safe choice (no pun intended) for thrifty small arms owners who don’t want to have to compromise when it comes to security, space, or price.
Not to be discounted, the 24-Gun Fire and Water Safe by Heritage Security Products promises decent storage potential and versatile protection against the elements at a competitive price.
While not the juggernaut that the comparably-sized Steelwater Heavy Duty is, this big-and-tall gun cabinet can take a beating with the best of them.
The 24-Gun Fire and Water Safe offers a respectable security-to-cost ratio that should meet the needs of the average gun owner to whom the threat of theft or fire-related disaster is a remote risk.
Admittedly, the unit’s interior capacity falls short of the cavernous depths its XL stature suggests—its fixed dividers don’t leave a lot of room for more than a handful of long guns. That said, it ought to be more than sufficient for modest collections. Plus, the deep cubby-style shelves are ideal for keeping boxes of ammo, carrying cases, cleaning kits, and other firearm-related miscellany neatly compartmentalized.
This is also the only storage solution detailed here that’s explicitly rated for protection against water, so you can rest assured that it will keep you covered in the event of a flood.
Despite the fact that there are better products out there, Heritage Security Products have an all-around winner in the 24-Gun Fire and Water Safe, which is a fine if basic offering for gun owners seeking to safeguard an assortment of rifles, shotguns, handguns, and gear.
More than being merely a place to stow away your prized pieces, ammo, and accessories when you’re not using them, a good gun safe is insurance against unforeseen circumstances that could have costly consequences.
If you’re uncertain whether the advantages outweigh the expense, consider how much more you might stand to lose in the event of a fire or break-in. Chances are, the financial setback you would suffer would be far greater than the cost of even the priciest consumer-grade safe.
At the end of the day, the biggest benefit that a fireproof gun safe can give you is peace of mind—and there’s no substitute for that.
There are a number of gun safes on the market today that are advertised as “fireproof,” but only products that have undergone extensive performance testing are worthy of your hard-earned money.
No matter what safe you end up going with, it should be your top priority to confirm that it’s made of quality materials and rated for the kind of conditions you could realistically expect it to face in a worst-case scenario. Feel free to check out any of the high-quality products above to find the best fireproof gun safe for you.
With so many factors to weigh when optioning a fireproof gun safe, it’s natural that you should have some lingering questions. Here are a couple of the most common, plainly answered to help you make an informed decision.
As a general rule, any safe worth its salt will run you somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 to a grand, depending on its individual capacity and specs.
If you think you have more to lose by not purchasing a safe than you do by making the financial commitment, the short answer is a resounding yes.